Week in Pop: Jay Som, Love The Unicorn, Sven at Work

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Providing you with a weekly beacon of light to accompany your voyages across life’s rocky and uncertain shores; Impose’s Week in Pop celebrates the latest from artists who work tirelessly to make our shared world a more beautiful and fascinating place to inhabit. With a host of breaking exclusives and media to present, we first look to the top buzz headline tickers: Big news that Kanye & Kim Kardashian West announced the birth of their baby boy Saint West, the couple also donated 1,000 shoes to Soles4Souls, hot on the heels of Kanye winning the Shoe Of The Year award; Grammy Awards nomination hype; My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields’ joined Dinosaur Jr. the other night during their Bowery Ballroom residency; Chief Keef dropped Nobody 2; Mac Demarco announced more tour dates & the Mac DeMarco Fan Club operated by his mom Agnes and manager Michelle Cable; Animal Collective announced 2016 world tour; Migos’ Offset released “First Day Out” upon being released from jail for drug and firearm possession, and then Migos dropped the Zaytoven produced single, “Case Closed”; NOTHING announced new album Tired Of Tomorrow available in spring 2016 from Relapse Records; Primal Scream announced new album Chaosmosis available March 16 via their imprint First International / Ignition; A$AP Ferg dropped “Tatted Angel”; The Mountain Goats announced their 2016 tour; Duran Duran announced tour; Wavves, Best Coast, Cherry Glazerr announced February tour; The Replacements biography Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements available March 1 from Da Capo Press, written by Bob Mehr; Bradford Cox versus the cult of Corgan, plus subsequent apology from Cox; Spike Lee versus Chance the Rapper; Jared Leto versus Taylor Swift; Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin versus Pete Doherty; The Weeknd sued over “The Hills” sampling in film, The Machine; Neil Peart talks retirement from drumming and Rush; Wu-Tang Clan’s legendary Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album was apparently purchased by the notorious Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Schmendrick Martin Shkreli; the Obamas announced their 2015 favorite songs, Barack selected Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost”, Michelle chose Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”; we mourn the passing of Holly Woodlawn (transgender icon immortalized in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”), and our dearest and warmest thoughts are with Nardwuar at this time.

And as 2015 winds down, we bring you a handful of world exclusive eleventh hour breakthroughs from the international community of artists and dreamers like Jay Som, Love the Unicorn, Sven at Work, Agent blå, Lil Freckles, We Are Temporary, Blue Daisy, Brandon Locher, Spookey Ruben, ft. guest selections (& an interview) from Sarah P. and more—in no particular order.

Jay Som

Best year ever—Jay Som, Melina Duterte of Summer Peaks wildly ambitious solo offshoot.
Best year ever—Jay Som, Melina Duterte of Summer Peaks wildly ambitious solo offshoot.

Over the course of this recent Thanksgiving weekend, Melina Duterte released her first big solo full-length under the Jay Som moniker with the awe-inspiring and already much lauded Untitled. The Brentwood by Bay Area artist made a name for herself outside of her band Summer Peaks caused headline level commotion with debut single “forget about it kid”, featured on London DIY tastemakers Beech Coma’s Compilation 3 as the opening launch song, receiving continued praise in the UK markets creating what Gold Flake Paint‘s Tom Johnson aptly phrased in response to Untitled—”A snapshot of what’s been and a perfect foreword to what might and certainly should come next.”

And this is no hyperbole of the majesty and might that Melina has created with Untitled. The sporadic release to a home spun audience network of fans spread through word of mouth endorsements and enthusiastic recommendations (described in the Bay Bridged’s review) with resounding chatter, responses of expressive adjectives, and flowery poetics that are continuing to gain further attention from the international music & arts communities, collectives, & so on.

Untitled offers immediate gratification that does not require one to be familiar with Melina’s work with Summer Peaks, nor previous single releases. Even those familiar with a handful of masters that were being traded amongst artists and labels for the past year will discover them and more in a crafty album order that keeps the DIY thrills in a constant state of beguiling wonder. Melina’s collection of “finished & unfinished songs” that were created during the span from March 2014 to October 2015 proves to be one of the year’s most masterful and ambitious releases where the one woman army of Jay Som has the listener wondering “how in the world did she create that sound?” at every turn. Untitled leaves the kind of impression that can make a destitue artist give up, or inspire a struggling artist to produce every aspect of their work all on their very own time, tek, terms, rudimentary tools, and tones.

“Peach Boy” is the opener that you have waited ever since the Jay Som singles “forget about it kid” and “I Think You’re Alright” have entered your life. Untitled‘s nine song run is full of so many critical home recorded breakthroughs that “Peach Boy” almost goes under-appreciated as the effervescent and intimate opening ceremony song that is worthy of obsessive repeat listening as a single it own’s right. Melina busts out all the big home recording guns to create an invitation to a full experience of some tightly kept feelings turned into expressions organized in sections of musicl suites. “Ghost” fades into the picture with paranormal vapor traces of heart hemmed oragami paper folds registered through carefully arranged guitar executions where all sounds and feelings cross over into the alternate dimensions of existence. Delivering a multitude of moods through intricate mixes and remarkable economies of instrumentation and recording implementations; Melina errs on the many facets of the creative and playful sides where new cadences and controls of electric chord effects contribute to the pure rock and roll revelry heard on “Next To Me”.

And then right as Melina brings the energy of a Bay Area/ Brentwood house show, street slapping beats key in the ignition of the mega-dream crashing machine of “Drown”. Chords that flux in and out of tonal pitches of notes are complimented by Duterte’s hushed and moody breaths that relay late evening thoughts of a deeply felt state of solitude sung in between the chorus sound sections of coos and mixing where the entire production becomes as high as a skyscraper (or as deep as a bottomless abyss). The pensive and reflective continue their course as the sound shifts into the heroic on the cryptic “Our Red Door” where the Jay Som art of making the tightest sort of slacker sound around effortlessly rides into one section of pure hooks and the most stunning power chords that words fail to convey in full. There is also a motif of escapism that permeates the otherworldly aspects of the Jay Som universe, like on “Unlimited Touch” where Melina takes a proverbial step back from the conventions of reality for something of a mystical ethereal zone. Preferences pertaining to polite declines on “Why I Say No” finds Melina embracing an autonomy of the self with the slickest self composed, mixed, and made sounds imaginable. Maintaining consistent surprises and intrigues all over Untitled, “SLOW” is the infectious emerald that Melina springs on you eight songs in that presents an amazing array of addictive arrangements and a brilliant guitar-firework display that takes place alongside the closing refrain of “take it slow…” The ride ends with “Turn Into” (which many who were familiar with these previously unreleased songs assumed would be the start of the album) that presents a killer chord stew sewn together by Duterte’s dreamworld woven vocals that acts like a prelude to the next Jay Som adventure.

In our initial conversations with Melina over the unexpected release of Untitled, she shared the following prologue to the album:

This album was a spur of the moment decision after a few glasses of wine on a Saturday night. I had about twenty recorded songs I wrote from when I was 19 to now and had an itch to give listeners some sort of a release rather than the singles I would put out every few months. Each song is like a snapshot of my life after high school—mostly about dealing with the frustrations of growing up as a young adult and woman.

Behind the DIY scenes with Melina.
Behind the DIY scenes with Melina.

The recording process was my favorite part of the album. I would obsess and dissect the instrumentation, arrangement, and mixing to the point where I was washed in self doubt. In the end it helped me experiment different techniques with songwriting and producing.

Above all, I had a ton of fun with Untitled and I hope anyone who listens can find something they can connect to.

No sooner had we began planning our coverage of Untitled when we received the following release from the California based People Person Collective called People Person Covers People Person that opens with Jay Som covering Future Shapes’ “Feel” featuring Melina’s most electronically imbued sound yet, while Future Shapes’ covers her 2015 summer instant-classic “I Think You’re Alright”.

Following up our feature with Melina Duterte from last March, we had an opportunity this past week to discuss the making of Untitled and more.

Describe further your processes of obsessing, dissecting the instrumentation, arrangement, and mixing of your work. The results are remarkable.

When I write a song I usually take ideas from voice memos on my phone or my tape recorder. I’ll think about the instruments needed for the song, how I can manipulate them with various effects, and then I’ll practice the performance of the track. Most of the time I would rush the songwriting portion because I’d be too eager to record—I always have this feeling that the best ideas I develop in that moment could slip away at any second. It took me a long time to stray away from the idea that you have to stick to a strict form of writing to make any type of pop song.

Mixing is simultaneously frustrating and satisfying. You can spend hours hooked on one track and never be happy with the way it sounds, then out of nowhere you can have magical moments. I was taking a couple audio classes at the time learning the basics because I was only familiar with my DIY methods I built since I was 13. I start with a scratch guitar track and use it as my guide to record the drum set, bass, guitars, extra instruments, then vocals last. I would utilize my bedroom’s natural reverb while using close miking methods—4 or 6 mics on the drums, a mix of DI and 1 mic on amps, and blend with a room mic. I didn’t have enough mic stands at the time so I would duct tape random objects to keep the mics from falling. Pretty janky.

In the zone with Jay Som's Melina Duterte; photographed by Carly Elizabeth.
In the zone with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte; photographed by Carly Elizabeth.

How did bouts of self-doubt further fuel experimenting with recording techniques, songwriting styles and production?

Throughout the time I was working on the demos, a couple people told me that I needed to focus on certain genres—dream pop, shoegaze—to be taken seriously. I never want to be lumped into a category of music, but at the same time I don’t mind. I just believe that any musician or songwriter shouldn’t feel any pressure to experiment with something out of their comfort zone.

I’ve always been influenced by the production of Phil Elverum, The Walker Brother/Scott Walker, Tame Impala, and power pop bands from the 90’s/early 2000’s in terms of their sonic layering. I would get so caught up in trying to emulate my favorite records that I lost focus in the pleasure of creating. I realized that I shouldn’t over-analyze due to my lack of knowledge and accessible equipment. There are a load of things I would do differently in this album, but I’m trying to practice simplicity. Also—I’m still super self-conscious about my voice and the way I play drums.

Melina in blue; photographed by Veronica Brooke.
Melina in blue; photographed by Veronica Brooke.

If Untitled did have an alternate title, what would it be & why?

I guess I would have named it “Turn Into”. I was originally going to release an EP with “Peach Boy”, “Ghost”, “Turn Into”, “Drown”, and “Our Red Door”. “Turn Into” is about self-reflection and how awful it is to not feel like yourself—at the same time the pain is temporary and ultimately leaves room for growth. I don’t see Untitled as a finished body of work so I chose a lazy option.

You’ve mentioned that there are more Jay Som songs in the can. What should we be expecting & excited about on future releases?

There are songs being written! I’ve been keeping the tunes from Untitled in my pocket for a while so it’s strange to listen back at my work from before. My songwriting hasn’t changed a ton but I’ve definitely grown and I can’t wait for people to hear something I’m serious about.

Reflective moments with Melina photographed by Veronica Brooke.
Reflective moments with Melina photographed by Veronica Brooke.

Other things in the works from your other projects, Summer Peaks, etc?

We’re finishing up on our second album at Hyde Street Studios with Scott McDowell. He’s extremely talented and basically the fifth Summer Peaks member. In the meantime we’re setting up shows for the new year and planning a tour.

Jay Som battle plan for 2016?

Working on the live set!

Listen to more from Melina Duterte’s Jay Som solo endeavors via Bandcamp/Soundcloud.

Love the Unicorn

The latest from Rome's Love The Unicorn, featured from the left; Raffaele Capasso, Riccardo Menghini, Marco Salah, Lorenzo Zandri & Francesco Martino.
The latest from Rome’s Love The Unicorn, featured from the left; Raffaele Capasso, Riccardo Menghini, Marco Salah, Lorenzo Zandri & Francesco Martino.

Rome based band Love the Unicorn announced their upcoming album A Real Thing available January 22 from We Were Never Being Boring, and we are proud to premiere the Andrea Ferrara video for “Weekend” that celebrates the inherent holidays that Saturdays and Sundays bring weekly. A quintet of Raffaele Capasso, Riccardo Menghini, Marco Salah, Lorenzo Zandri, and Francesco Martino make a sound that fits into the aesthetic brand line of the WWNBB Collective where portraits of themselves and moments captured in songs of longing are conveyed through wistful lyrics and an addictive intertwining of electric organ whirrs tangled cables of blissful guitar chords. As the conventional work week draws to a close, Ferrara’s video provides both the perfect introduction to the band with all the cues, hints, and intimations of what wonders await and events commence once sundown at Friday falls.

Love the Unicorn’s video for “Weekend” begins with spinning globes that then transition to the band posing leisurely together on a mid-century style couch. Screen tests are composed with each of the band members along with a flurry of still photographs enjoyed by the Unicorn lovers over soda pop and cigarettes. Andrea Ferrara’s video cuts between images of the band’s press photo-opp/filming session, b/w moving images of the group performing, segments of the band styling up for a night out on the town, to finally making it out into the night of a cold winter evening. Love the Unicorn’s song adds up the sum of all feelings and anticipation that builds up all work week long in anxious waiting and hoping for what holiday fare they might find from the carefree fun that can happen over the course of a 48 hour mini-vacation. “I was trying to feel good, ready for the weekend…” The lyrics run from the feelings that long for a freedom and release from the bonds of school and work with romantic hopes sprung from eye gazing sessions that hope for further amorous company on a Saturday night. Every note, progression, and lyric hinges on the possibility of seemingly endless excitement, entertainment, and all the amour that anyone can enjoy within a two day span of time well spent. Following the debut video for “Weekend”, read our long-distance interview with Love the Unicorn.

Describe for us the untold and lesser known history about how Love the Unicorn banded together as a group.

Love the Unicorn banded together as a group more than once. Last year Emiliano (Marco’s brother and LTU’s founder) left the band. We thought it would be impossible to go on without him, but after meeting Lorenzo we got in the studio to record some stuff together. It was like: we’re a new band!

Give us stories on what the making of A Real Thing was like for you all.

It was exciting to share an apartment together near the studio for many days. We ate the worst pasta and drank the worst beer (we moved in there with no money!). We worked with Lorenzo Caperchi, best sound engineer ever; every thing in the making of this record was like an incredible experience, and we would do it all again.

A chat with Love The Unicorn.
A chat with Love The Unicorn.

What sorts of real things were incorporated into the dream-world like sound of Love the Unicorn.

For this record we wanted to give more importance to the music rather than the lyrics. So the final outcome is just what we are. It sounds like the same old things we do, it sounds like the bands we love…

What was the making of the video for “Weekend” like?

We decided with Andrea Ferrara (friend of us and video director) to film everyday life scenes, except for the moments when Marco sings staring at the camera. Everything was quite quick and natural.

A casual jolly Roman holiday with Love The Unicorn.
A casual jolly Roman holiday with Love The Unicorn.

What is an average weekend like for you all?

We spend our weekends in different ways but usually not together. Our perfect weekends are when we’re on stage playing music and having fun.

How does your surrounding town of Roma inspire you all creatively or otherwise?

We still think that Roma is the most beautiful city in the world. But it’s not the best place for who wants to make music. There are not many artists that we find inspiring here, not many clubs where to play. Rome is a wonderful city that musically doesn’t have much to offer us.

What are you all listening to right now on repeat?

We still follow all the american indie-rock scene and bands belonging to our favorite music labels such as Merge, True Panther, Captured Tracks… But in this period we’re listening to old classic rock bands of 70’s or bands from Cherry Red Records on repeat.

2016 hopes, dreams, and wishes?

In 2016 we’ll be on tour in our country. We hope to announce a European tour for next summer. We really hope that “A Real Thing” will reach people in many parts of the world.

Love the Unicorn’s album A Real Thing will be available January 22 from We Were Never Being Boring, preorders available now for EU & US.

Sven at Work

Meet Sven at Work, aka Portland's Tyler Keene.
Meet Sven at Work, aka Portland’s Tyler Keene.

Portland artist Tyler Keene formerly of And And And and Log Across the Washer is now Sven at Work, presenting the world premiere of “Pattern Interrupt” off his upcoming album Jan available December 14. Being the last release of the year from Birmingham purveyors of futurism Noumenal Loom, Tyler’s latest sound find him settling into the role of ambient producer by creating instrumental droning sound-scapes that feels like a soundtrack for future documentaries and films that revolve around the ideas and concepts of the earth sciences, along with other sector schools of multimedia presented survey subjects.

Sven at Work’s “Pattern Interupt” utilizes a combination of humming sustained synths, sporadic fade-ins and fade-outs and keys are also accompanied by electric guitar note touches that work in unison with the synthesizers that set up the audio environment’s parameters. The track serves like a number designed for sequences of travel by plane, train, car, bus, or spaceship where the keyboard samples mimic the internal circuitry of memory as additions and chord disrupt the atmospheric patterns and textures Tyler has tightly knitted together like a winter sweater or a heavy threaded jacket.

Other Sven at Work tracks like “She Is Alone” express comfort and companionship for lonely hearts through synth presets that signal desires straight to the heart. Setting up elaborately displayed keys and tones, Tyler delivers clusters of chords that are bathed into the electronically swirling ether that transports the listener to their own respective inner thought zone places of the mind’s many hallow chambers. “Alone” feels like a time elapsed take on a day spent with one’s own self sitting thoughtfully and zoning out to the theater of consciousness.

Sven at Work's Tyler Keene; via Twitter.
Sven at Work’s Tyler Keene; via Twitter.

On the track “Non_Art”, a cluster of Tyler’s audio experiments come together to create a motorik musical moment. At first synth sustains and random notes collect in a quasi-cacophony that creates a kind of blind for the listener until the turning point that takes place roughly around the 3:55 mark. From here a new hope and a new odyssey built out of an enthusiastic drum machine beat and synths that are made and sequenced to strike nervous system response triggers to create euphoric feeling. The aesthetic eschewing title of “Non_Art” partakes in the art of combining sections of the avant-garde and abstract with ultra-rich audio exceptionalism that helps to close out 2015 on the highest note.

Tyler shared some words with us about the evolution from Log Across the Washer to Sven at Work:

“Mistakes can usually be corrected later; the time that is lost in not making a decision can never be retrieved”

– Jan Carlzon, Swedish businessman

80% of the album is a sketch that attempts first and foremost, to study the relationship of harmonics derived from an informative prior–the drama of the previous chord. Along with the discovery of limitations, this established dynamic. The survey of melody, distinct from the harmonics, is serendipitous; not a model to the overall aesthetic. This operational scope was valuable in an instrumental setting with the intention of turning narrative to dialogue; speaking with, not for.

The objective, to transport the listener, seemed radical when held at a distance. As if this isn’t the true nature of music!

I get reminded of following my dad around Wolohan lumber eating popcorn, so hot and tired in my puffy jacket.

Sven at Work’s album Jan will be available December 14 on cassette & digital via Noumenal Loom.

Agent blå

Introducing Gothenburg, Sweden's Agent blå, photographed by Hilda Randulv.
Introducing Gothenburg, Sweden’s Agent blå, photographed by Hilda Randulv.

From Gothenburg, Sweden; we introduce you to Agent blå who just released their debut 7″ with the prestigous imprint Luxury Records (home to Bam Spacey, Makthaverskan, School ’94, Westkust, etc) giving us the stateside premiere of their standout single “Strand”. The group of secondary school chums Emelie Alatalo, Lucas Gustavsson, Felix Skörvald, Josefine Täck, & Arvid Christensen make modern day musical splash like streaks of dyed hair strands that maintain a revered passion for the Brit pop classic canon.

On the debut of “Strand”, Emilie’s sings out a song about “trading sleep for sleepy eyes,” “trading thoughts for holding hands,” where evening adventures evolve with each fall of darkness presenting new and “different meanings every night”. Agent blå relishes and delights in the dark clad cloak of dim-lit confusions that occur in the sun’s absence that meditate on the cryptic words and dialogues that don’t make much sense that retain an unabashed love for the mutual sharing of colloquial sentences. Creating a based aesthetic that sounds like squatting in the crypts and mausoleums from world history’s rogue’s gallery of divas and dons of darkness; Agent blå put the ‘goth’ back in Gothenburg on a single that sends out flares into the starry (but moonless) night that signal great things to come in 2016. After the debut of “Strand”, read our interview with the up and coming Swedish band.

What sorts of secret agent manners and spy-like noir informed your moniker of Agent Blå?

We just really needed a name for the band. At first we thought of “agent svart” (black), but then we figured it sounded a bit ridiculous so we just went with agent blå (blue).

Tell us about how Agent blå formed.

Lucas, Felix and Emelie started the band since we didn’t have anything better to waste our lives on. Then we invited Josefine, who showed Arvid one of the songs we were working on. Apparently he liked it, since he’s now our drummer!

Describe what’s good, fun, and interesting right now in Gothenburg, and elsewhere in Sweden.

There’s a lot of interesting gigs and clubs going on in Gothenburg. Loads of good local bands and pretty decent coffee prices.

Agent blå's Emelie Alatalo, Arvid Christensen, Josefine Täck & Felix Skörvald; photographed by Erik Bjarnar.
Agent blå’s Emelie Alatalo, Arvid Christensen, Josefine Täck & Felix Skörvald; photographed by Erik Bjarnar.

What have you all been listening to obsessively?

We have quite similar taste in music but the big favorites are Suede, Communions, Birthday party, Iceage, the Cure and the Libertines.

What’s next after your Luxury 7″, and what can we expect from Agent Blå in 2016?

We’re most likely going to release our debut album next year and also tour together with other bands from Luxury. Eat a lot of food. Then we’ll see. But we can assure you it’s not over yet.

Agent blå’s Strand 7″ is available now from Luxury Records.

Sarah P.

Sarah P. set 'Free'; photographed by Christoph Neumann.
Sarah P. set ‘Free’; photographed by Christoph Neumann.

In anticipation of Sarah P.’s debut solo EP Free we give you the following first listen featuring introductory words along with our latest conversation. Formerly one half of the Athenian duo Keep Shelly in Athens, Sarah’s solo path is one committed to embracing the ever shifting grounds of changes that shakes off the shackles of pretension with a sharp wit and smart electric pop know-how. Sarah has made a record for her audience to live within while breaking free from whatever trappings are holding them back from their dreams. The Berlin by Athens artist provided the following introduction to the much awaited Free featuring liberating instructions for the listener to take heed of:

There is one thing I want you guys to do while listening to Free. I want you to reflect on your past, on your dreams, on where you’re standing. Free is moving on–if you feel trapped somewhere, somehow, for whatever reason, break from it, break free! We’ll be always moving ahead, that’s inevitable. Don’t let your life slip out of your hands.

I put my full self, 100%, 200%, my soul and my blood into this whole thing. My blood, my soul. I rolled my sleeves up and got my hands dirty. I built something from the scratch, together with a small team of fine people. Together with them, we gave life to what I had in mind. We are the definition of the DIY. We are the ultimate DIY. I am pretty sure that never again in my life I felt so proud of something. I’m here, open, vulnerable, renewed, naked, like a baby. I’m here, do you hear me? Am I restored? Maybe. Am I happy? Yes. Because what I do is representing me. Because what I do is what I wanted to do. We’re the small fish in a sea full of sharks. We do what we do, what we want, what we love and nobody will ever take that from us.

Stay true to your dreams, make them happen. We’re a bunch of bones and flesh. We all have brains but only some of us are using them. It’s all about picking sides- which side are you on?

Stop relying on other people to bring your vision into life. You know better. Stop expecting from others to understand. Try put in words what lives in your head and visits you in your sleep. Communicate. Stay balanced. Try to not freak out when they let you down. Try to keep it out. Don’t storm out–have a clear line, have a clear goal. Do you see it already? You’re almost there. People will come and go, but those who stick around are pure gold. Treasure them and respect them. And you know what? Respect them all.

Free is now free to go. Free is now ready to be out there and to be heard. Here it is:

Sarah P. continues to turn the pages in the chapters of her own self-penned book that moves forward from her last KSiA release from Cascine, collaborations with The Bilinda Butchers, Sun Glitters, and more; Free lives up to it’s liberating theme and everything you would expect from the international DIY pop star. The push for absolute freedom of the spirit, mind, body, and artist as a whole begins with the ruminations of “Dirty Sunday” that percolates with thought and a stew of percussive elements. Sarah discards unnecessary baggage in exchange for staying true to her visions on the turf reclaiming that deals honestly with the oft complicated processes of letting go of the past. Every song is comprised of original orders and arrangements that are anything but expected and ordinary where Sarah P. keeps her fans engaged and constantly surprised with the way each of her songs progress. Dialogues and monologues spill from the inner mental spaces to the outwardly illustrations of desires like on “Little Soul” to the wanderlust urges and inspirations that unveil on the alluring beckon of “I’d Go” that break free from the chains that repress artistic inception and fully realized conceptions of creative manifestation. Sarah takes on the comforts and confines of home with a tongue-in-cheek twist on roles and identity on the catchy “Dishes”, right before moving onward to the already much lauded single favorite “Moving On” that breaks the electro-pop molds and archetypal models. The grand exit song ‘Golden Deer” featuring Hiras closes the Free EP out with an extravagant curtain drop where Sarah whispers “we move, we dance, we fall apart, we’re drunken souls in the heart” with an affectionate, and confident smile and embrace. Read our most recent conversation with Sarah featured after the jump:

sarah p week in pop 1
Sarah P.; photographed by Bertrand Bosrédon.

Describe the liberating process of moving from KSiA to your solo endeavors.

It wasn’t an easy journey. I wouldn’t have left KSiA if I didn’t have my reasons, but every separation, every break up hurts, no matter what. They say that everything gets better with time and I cannot but fall in with the saying. It took me much time to move on and make my peace with the past. I flew from here’s and there’s to end up in Berlin, with broken wings but ready to heal and fly again. I made Berlin my home, I recorded my songs. “Free” is marking my healing process. It’s been all about moving forward and look, here I stand now-able to hold my record that I released via my own label [ERASERESTART]. Girl power!

What sorts of exhilarating freedom did you feel & find during the process of making Free?

It was the first time that I sat down to make my own music. In the very beginning, I found myself to be very self-conscious and scared. I’ve been told before that I couldn’t make my own music and so, I was nervous to even try. As a reaction to my previous work, I actively decided to explore different paths. I didn’t want to sing ethereal lines anymore, I didn’t want to drown my vocals in the reverb. If it was to sound like a dream, then it should sound like a nightmare. I wanted to re-invent myself. During the songwriting process, I felt free to let it all out. I didn’t want to just scratch the surface – I wanted to show everyone who I really am.

How do you feel your own sound has developed & expanded solo wise?

I clearly have 90s/early 00s pop references. I’m mixing up many different kinds of music, though. It’s probably more pop than my previous work and darker. But it all comes with a wink, you know? My music might sound naive, pointless or simple at a first listen, but I made it all with a cheeky smile on my face. If Free (my music, in general) has to be labeled as a music genre then I’d say I make sarcastic pop. Is that a genre? I was never good with labels!

Feeling free with Sarah P.; photographed by Anne Tsitselis.
Feeling free with Sarah P.; photographed by Anne Tsitselis.

What are you listening to right now obsessively?

Oh dear, I love the album that Editors made. It’s just beautiful – pure magic. Kate Bush vibes. It’s just so powerful and reflected. In my opinion, that’s the ultimate sound of 2015. If 2015 was an album, it would be “In Dream”.

2016 hopes & dreams?

2015 left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I might be holding my record, I might have found the exit of the dark tunnel I was lost into, but sweet dear mother god, what’s been happening in the world? My hopes and dreams are for a better world – no matter how cheesy that sounds. We’ve been acting like trash for a long time, walking careless and spreading our idiotic hate all around. It’s about time that we get ourselves together and work on getting up again. My hopes are that we get out of the downspiral we’re on and rebuild. There’s still time!

Sarah P.’s EP Free will be available December 14 from ERASERESTART and will be playing tomorrow December 12 in London at Birthdays with Teddy and Jakil.

Lil Freckles

We caught up with Brooklyn emcee Lil Freckles to get the 411 on her new mixtape.
We caught up with Brooklyn emcee Lil Freckles to get the 411 on her new mixtape.

Brooklyn’s Lil Freckles follows up her debut tape Plan B with Sleep On It that goes hard and next level with a variety of narratives and perspective of an East Coast queen bee busting out of the hive. Going hard with a big heart underscore the mixtape heard on the Ben Rosen produced opener “Us Over Everything”, to the future forward knocking track “Next Level Bitch” produced by Max Tannone, to the Josh Leavitt cloudy production that unwinds outward on the title track.

Freckles claims the throne and more on the Neckfood produced forward track “Feminist Kings”, featuring a verse from FlapJak that separates the men from the “fuck boys” and so on, keeping the attitude on the edge with the Self Williams produced “Can’t Care”, bringing the second chapter to the title cut “Sleep On It Pt. 2” produced by Ben Rosen. Moving forward on the Ben Rosen production “Your Brother”, busting out anecdotes, examples, and more “fuck dreams” paradigms on “Classic Case” featuring Kyle Rapps and Pan production. Hats off to Freckles who runs hard throughout as heard on the Josh Leavitt cut “Our Mothers”, before closing it all out with the ceiling crashing cut produced by Pan called “Glass Ceilings”.

Lil Freckles was kind enough to share some behind the scenes insights about her new mixtape:

Sleep On It is my second mixtape. It was recorded over the course of a year in my friend Kyle Rapps’ living room. Not to be corny, but it is a real snapshot of that year in my life. Am I proud of this mixtape? I really fuckin’ am. I’d like to think I found the perfect mix of irreverent humor and real hip hop shit. There are a lot of things that I recorded and was like “Woah, I can’t say that”, and then I said “Yes I can. In fact, I have to.” A lot of the content is funny, but it’s not a joke. The songs on this tape are from the heart and that’s why I think you will relate to it. The producers (Ben Rosen, Max Tannone, Josh Leavitt, Pan, Neckfood and Self Williams) all bring heat with their beats, and there are incredible features from Kyle Rapps and FlapJak. You’re going to love it as much as I do. What else can I say? I don’t know. It’s lit.

Brandon Locher

The instrumental-instrument arts of Brandon Locher; photographed by Olivia Locher.
The instrumental-instrument arts of Brandon Locher; photographed by Olivia Locher.

Ghostly International presents Looped Visions featuring the artwork of the multi-talented artist/musician Brandon Locher who shares his own aesthetic designs on instruments that allow you to loop, twist, and playback anything you want. In Locher’s own words:

“I drew both of the designs side by side to help create a visual balance so the front and back of the boxes would complement each other. Thinking of the object itself, able to record, loop playback and pitch bend the sounds around you inspired me to draw two pattern designs that focused on repeating looping lines. The artwork showcases what is visually happening inside the box when the electronic circuitry is in use.

Check out the following video for further insights and instructions from Brandon himself:


yuzima week in pop 1

NYC’s YUZIMA dropped the latest listen from Behemoth {Insta-Album} with “Say What You Mean” that further follows the artist into the foray of wielding the power of noise to make new dramatic art forms. “Say What You Mean” sees the Gun Hill Projects, Bronx raised artist rising from crunchy atmosphere of noise and restrained percussion where Yuzima’s delivery brings his emotive visions of power and sonic realities to life. The new single cuts through the superficiality of didactic to pursue something deeper, more pertinent, and real.

We Are Temporary

All the latest from Stars & Letters boss Mark Roberts' solo labor of love; We Are Temporary.
All the latest from Stars & Letters boss Mark Roberts’ solo labor of love; We Are Temporary.

Mark Roberts, Stars & Letters boss announced that his debut We Are Temporary album Crossing Over will be available February 19, sharing the visuals for “You Can Now Let Go” edited together from Nadine Asmar & Georges Hazim’s Dans Mon Cocon. The things that exist in existential and ineffable ways that extend far beyond the confines of the lift & death continuum here are summoned in beat scale bounties of synth spelled architecture. Mark takes you deeper and closer with the following personal insights expressed here, as well as with the following video:

Describe the liberating power in writing “You Can Now Let Go”.

About four years ago, I suffered a debilitating panic attack tripped by a frightfully gone-wrong high. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move my left arm, couldn’t speak, couldn’t get my heart to stop racing. Certain I was having a heart attack, I called 911, and by the time I arrived at the hospital, I was in such emotional distress that the nurses even threatened me with restraints.

That night in the emergency room, waiting to die, and instead falling asleep, I had a dream.

It was a dream that had come to me twice before—vision-like in clarity and otherness. On both occasions, I found myself standing just short of a mountain summit, the air thick and opaque with rays from a setting sun, and just a few steps ahead, perched atop the summit, a figure stood scintillating in golden light. In both dreams the figure asks me to come to him, his palm gently opening towards me. His presence feels like home and harbor—all origin, all destination. On both occasions, I was too scared to reach towards him. Convinced I would die in my sleep if I touched him, I instead forced myself to wake up.

But this night at the hospital, when my dream reappeared a third time, things were different. Again the golden figure reached out to me, and again I was afraid, but in mind I felt I was at the end, and had nothing to lose. So I let go, reached for him, and fell through myself—down, down, all the way down. I came to in the same hospital room, but the room and everything in it were made of golden light, and everyone I ever loved was waiting for me. And although some people were unfamiliar to me, I felt and knew that I was no stranger to them: they loved me, they had watched over me, and they had been rooting for me all my life. I felt loved, held, and of this world.

I went home in a fog the next morning, and for the next few weeks tried to make sense of what I had felt: the fear and the release. Confused and exhausted by all of this, did what any musician would do: I began coping with the experience by writing about it, which in turn birthed “You Can Now Let Go”. Depicting the moment of death not as trauma, but as a quiet and radiant farewell, it helps me remember what I learned that night: when interconnection, acceptance, and joy flood through you, it is a moment to embrace, not escape.

The video is full of cathartic release. How did the French film Dans Mon Cocon fit into your aesthetic vision?

The moment I happened across Dans Mon Cocon on Vimeo, I knew it was the perfect counterpart to “You Can Now Let Go”. Even prior to any editing, the song and film just seemed of one mind, one heart. The directors, Nadine Asmar and Georges Hazim, just succeeded so well in capturing an incredibly subtle and quiet way of transitioning from life to death, and I felt the film’s vision of what it might feel like to die matched my own near-death experience so well.

The rest of the vision came together when I started to cut the film down from 9 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes, and began amplifying my take on the film through visual effects. The original movie has a whole second part to it, set in the Garden of Eden. In my mind, however, the climax of the film as it pertained to my song really lay in the first part, which ends with the light enveloping the woman in the bathroom: it’s the moment of crossing over, of “letting go”. So without a second act to lean on, I had to figure out a way of building narrative and tension much faster then the original. And one way of doing so was to create a whole new character (or “presence”) which was light itself: light as a the coming of death, light as death itself. All of the strobing lights flooding the windows, the flickering; the white fields of light enveloping the woman in the bathroom: I created these in post-production.

Finally, after weeks of working on the video, I felt like I had transformed the original film into a music video of my own—one that told a unique story and mirrored the story of the music.

To my utter surprise, the directors (and even the actress) soon discovered the video I had made from their footage, and were extremely flattered and proud of the way I transformed their work. Bless their hearts for sharing their craft with the world and making it available for people like myself to reinterpret by ways of Creative Commons. They are heroes in my mind—brave, generous, and trusting. I might never meet them in person, but I will love them forever.

Describe the resonance that Crossing Over has for you, now that you’ve finished this full-length song cycle.

Man, ha ha…it’s been such a long journey, aye? For starters I just feel a mix of relief, pride, post-climax melancholy all wrapped into one.

On the one hand, I’m immensely proud of the album: it captures what I wanted to communicate—chronicling years of panic attacks; a near-death experience; the feeling of being unlovable; a lasting, but turbulent marriage that almost ended in divorce; the radical difficulty, as an atheist, of being married to a devout Mormon; and the hope and optimism I feel despite it all. It’s a gorgeous record and I’m very proud of it.

On the other hand, I already feel deeply sad and disappointed about this album. It’s the best my life and abilities can currently offer the world, and yet I don’t think it will find an audience. My publicist and I, for example, just spent weeks fielding nothing but rejections and passes from the bigger blogs. The sum total of my life is my music, and it appears to be of little interest to people. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a bit embarrassed, hurt, and deflated.

That said, one incredibly powerful outcome of sharing “You Can Now Let Go”, along with the backstory to this song, was that I learned that—even among my friends—I’m not alone in struggling with repeat panic attacks. One friend, whom I would never have expected of this condition, shared this with me:

‘Since I suffer from anxiety attacks myself, it was absolutely breathtaking to read your story and the honesty you shared. The way you described the feeling, when you went to sleep that night, is something I discovered many times as well. A lot of people still aren’t talking about their personal, psychological problems since society and people still think that your are “wrong” and you just have to “get yourself together”. So far about the personal stuff…it is good to see that you made something good out of this terrible incident. I’m not that far yet. But your story and the song gave me hope. Thanks for that.’

I can’t tell you how much comfort I took from this message. For a moment, everything seemed worthwhile: the thousands of solitary hours of writing music; the self-doubt and emotion roller coaster of sharing it; my considerable credit card debt and negative account balance; the fear of not being good enough. Obscurity and irrelevance are a tough pill to swallow, but messages like that one give me hope that one day people will discover my music and find meaning and value in it.

What’s next for you, We Are Temporary, Stars & Letters, and more? 2016 hopes, meditations, and prayers?

To be honest, I’m taking a bit of a break from Stars & Letters. Between my day job, my marriage, We Are Temporary, and having a little 6-month old puppy to raise, there’s just too little time to develop a label. So rather than do it poorly, I’ve been encouraging my artists to venture forth and seek out partnerships with new labels. Every artist I’ve ever worked with deserves, to my mind, the world, and so I don’t wish to hold them back in any way. I’m sure I’ll come back to Stars & Letters within the next year or two, but until then, I’m happier on the sidelines rooting for them.

As to We Are Temporary, it’s too soon to tell what 2016 will bring. Much depends on how this record does, and—so far—we’re only one single into it it’s launch. With three more videos, numerous remixes, mix tapes, and interesting merch to come (for example flex-discs printed onto actual MRI and X-RAY stock!), I hope more opportunities open up. For example, a German promoter just got in touch with me and wants to help me put together a tour in Germany, which would be wonderful. I’d also like to start venturing outside of New York City more and play shows along the East Coast—something I’ve been putting off, since I don’t own a car. Baby steps, in other words.

Right now my focus is definitely on my new album, which releases on February 19th 2016 (not coincidentally also my birthday). And if there’s one resolution I have for the new year it’s this: it took me three years to complete “Crossing Over” and, come hell or high water, I don’t plan on taking that long for a follow-up.

Lastly, here’s my prayer to you and your readers: Be well, may you feel loved, of this world, free of shame, and unafraid—not just in death, but also in life. Happy Holidays to you. Until next time.

The We Are Temporary album Crossing Over will be available February 19 from Stars & Letters.

Blue Daisy

Blue Daisy; photographed by Raymond Van Mil.
Blue Daisy; photographed by Raymond Van Mil.

Having begun the UK portion of his Darker Than Blue tour along with US noise-spitters Ho99o9; check out R&S’s own Blue Daisy who presents the Kwesi Darko video for the blistering beat-busting cut “Kwesi Darko”. The Kwesi Darko video distorts the analog-static-scan-lined seemingly straight forward minimalist visual that adds a whole other layer of hell-fire and brimstone to the post-hip-hop industrious sounds of crumbling empires. With head and mind crushing sounds not unlike the sonic words crumbled by dreamcrusher, Blue Daisy puts the writing on the walls himself with the following words on the apocalyptic nature of the modern era:

We are in very hostile times in the world, no government or man made system will hold me or put fear in me to be nobody but me! I’ll run with pure anarchy!

Spookey Ruben

Catching up with the legend himself—Spookey Ruben.
Catching up with the legend himself—Spookey Ruben.

Canadian legend Spookey Ruben released Modes Of Transportation, Vol. 1 back in 1996 on TVT and now readies the re-issue of Modes of Transportation Vol. 1 Re-mastered 20th Anniversary available December 15 from Hi-Hat Recordings, sharing the previously unreleased single “Knife in the Water”. Revisiting what many fellow artists and music fans have already discovered, Ruben works in the self-made solo artist realm in a minimalist style that takes on the form of a fringe artist doing it all himself. “Knife” presents strange situations of life or death high stakes in a bizarro sequence of scenarios involving inciting incidents, scenes of the crime, forensic analyses, and a host of super sweet and smooth electro dose of pure DIY gold.

Mr. Ruben was very kind to share some exclusive words of reflection with us regarding the re-issue of his works dating from the 1995/1996 era:

I knew I had some old recordings kicking around from my early studio period that I wanted to dig up and add as bonus tracks on the re-issue—But I was nervous about what shape they were in…I was guessing—at minimum—they’d need a serious remix. But I was totally surprised and blown away by the sonic quality and quality of the songwriting. Three out of four of the bonus tracks: “Knife in The Water”, “Machine Language” and “This Truth— are untouched originals (The 4th bonus track is a Live recording of my band, in Copenhagen 1997)—You gotta hear this shit!

Dai Burger’s self-titled EP is available now from Rinse, and we give you a listen to all the snazzy & bouncy action produced by Darq E Freaker. Putting the moves and diva mode in drive, “My Lil Dance” breaks down the commencement dance moves, breaking into the ASB offices and taking the crown on the sassed-out “Class President”, running the numbers and crown jewels on “Dai 1”, breaking it down with some warm nu-rhythm & blues on the romantic leaning “73)”, right before the closing cut breaks hearts, backs, and necks on the artist’s addictive & irreverent self-produced “Choppin Necks”. Keep an ear and eye out for more from Dai Burger in 2016.

Italian Tempelhof (producers Luciano Ermondi and Paolo Mazzacani) along with Gigi Masin (Venetian icon, infamous auteur, composer, etc) dropped their latest collaboration with a listen to “Tuvalu”, courtesy of Cascine/ Berlin francophiles Hell Yeah. With word of a new album arriving in spring, “Tuvalu” continues the essential ambient canon that these collaborating authors have pioneered throughout the years. Masin made landmark moves and breakthroughs with Talk To The Sea, Lifted 1, etc; Tempelhof with Frozen Dancers both teams’ push each other even further than on their previously collaboration Hoshi. Prepare yourself for a jet-flying trip around the world while the next chapter of environmental music for planes, Bali, London, and more stamps for the passport storybooks of sound. Your ticket to destination earth is here with found and remade visuals from Sorry Boy.

L.A. Girlfriend continues her holiday tradition of the LAGF Christmas saga with the stop action animated video for “Crying On Christmas” that front woman Sydney Banta dedicates to “the lonely hearts, broken hearts, & ghosted hearts.” With a host of holiday hugs and tinsel kisses, “Crying” is made up like a timeless glamorous holiday special that can be watched all season long (and for seasons to come) that illustrates new romantic hopes through the tears that pour like snowfall.

Detroit duo Josh & Josh, aka Gosh Pith return with the new serene, seductive, and slightly sedated single “Gold Chain” that combines materialism with matters of the immaterial. J & J described to us the single as being “a ratchet love song about the constant conflict between the meaningful and the meaningless,” where chords cue sparse percussion machines and reiterations of “I ain’t even fucking with that other side” that refuses to hide away affection and feeling while entertaining that ever alluring appeal of that gilded adorned promise of the temporal and questionable permanence. Catch the band live December 14 in Chicago at Schubas, December 17 at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade Records, December 18 in Detroit at Populux with GRiZ.

Mississippi’s Rock Eupora dropped the eternal youthful sentiments of staying young forever and eschewing any “come of age anything” on the exuberant single “I Don’t Want To Grow Old” from the upcoming Soon the Sun Will Come release. Catering to the cult of carpe diem, Rock Eupora brings some Southern brewed big time pop made for the big stages or a local dive attended by the closest of friends and fans.

Italian videographer/filmmaker Francesco Brunotti presents his latest directed video “A Mood Apart” made for fellow countrymen Japan Suicide. Their album We die in such a place is available via the French imprint Unknown Pleasures Records, Brunotti’s video presents the artist’s digitally rendered Romanesque ruins where busts and statues exist in places between hell and heaven in scenes that feel ripped straight from Dante’s Inferno. Watch as a fight between elaborate sculptures takes place like an alien/abstract war breaking out between angels and demons in some kind of altered-astral plane.

Pinkshinyultrablast has announced the forthcoming album Grandfeathered available February 26 from Club AC30, presenting us with a listen to “The Cherry Pit” that lives up to the Russian group’s chosen moniker where dream particles collect together in intricately woven patterns that shape the dreams and memories yet to arrive.

LA’s Cassandra Violet dropped the time concerned and connective constraints and strains on patience with ultra-infectious pop of “Take My Time”. Taken from Cassandra’s EP Body & Mind available January 29, the artist makes the most in vocal and electro-minimalism that body electric to the cerebral channels and corridors of creative expressionism.


LA’s Henri dropped the Dark Star via Monstertooth Records that features the danced-out title cut that features the title cut featuring contributions from Dan Heath, and the ultimate trip track “Only Love Will Take Me There” featuring a dub-wise and Heidi Höven remix to top it off.

Louisville’s Lacey Guthrie, Maryliz Bender, & Kevin Ratterman aka Twin Limb dropped the BreakerBox Productions directed video for “Don’t Even Think” that provides added animated attributes to a TL exclusive warehouse performance session.

Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, aka Ibeyi dropped the re-working of “Stranger / Lover” by hot-shot pop man Mark Ronson who turns and twists the Franco-Cuban twins cut with an uptown-ish kinda funk.

POP ETC (from the ashes of The Morning Benders) dropped the new single “What Am I Becoming?” off the upcoming album Souvenir available January 29 that ruminates over the events and experiences that contribute and composite the gestalt of our beings. Intimations of lyrical lines like “I used to smell the smoke, now I watch the flames” allude toward the struggles and turmoil that arises from the timelines and progress sheets of daily existence.

Melbourne, Australia Dizz1 drops his Shots Fired EP December 11 from Strange Neighbor and we have the title cut remix courtesy of LA’s own Sweatson Klank (formerly Take). Dizz1’s prayers and transcendence from expressed obstacles and tribulations is further lifted by Klank’s remixed of Los Angels meet Melbourne kinda swagger.

AJ Pantaleo of Bueno presents his latest droning work with “Hội An” recorded, mixed, and mastered at Sherlock Danger Studios that finds the artist working in further visceral, moody, and cinematic style terrains. While the production and mix itself remains firmly rooted in the minimalist traditions, Pantaleo makes full use out of gurgling synth distortion that keeps you hanging on the threads of what sounds and rhythms are yet next to appear.

Italy’s Ophiuco drops the album Hybrid via Seahorse Recordings on December 18 and we have the FrameByFrame Studio animated video for “Pneumatic Psycho Bodhidharma” that brings stop-motion-action of characters between worlds that exist in enchanted realms. The edges between worlds of the ancients, and metropolis ziggurats attempt to make of the future attempt to make a connection with each other to bridge the gulf of separation with collected binds of folderol from both respective places.

Paying homage to the great modern writer who dared to push the envelope, The Henry Millers bring the addictive and lively attitudes with their new single “Ready” from their forthcoming Castle EP (available this winter). The NYC group brings the big buzz and electric fuzz to their sound that embodies the whims and wills that are down and up for whatever wonders may walk their way. Keep a close eye on the ‘Millers in 2016.

Stockholm’s Korallreven may have called it a day but not until releasing one more single titled “Here In Iowa” which just received the Peaking Lights remix treatment. Found off the upcoming 12” EP for Be With Records available on Record Store Day April 16; listen now as the Swedish group gets their dance kicks tricked out even further with a Midwest frame of mind.

Also available today, hear the anticipated EP from Emily Yacina titled Soft Stuff that is certain to bring some heart, and hearth warmth to your season of snow & sleet. “Loser” is the kind of hypnotic self-crafted sacred song gem you make in your apartment when you are all by your lonesome, with “Gone” measuring absences in various manners, to the heat rising feels of “Hot Air”, the funky dream guitar grazing of “Funky Girl”, the title track “Soft Stuff” that is made from the very hallmarks and trademarks of Emily’s sound, right before closing with the hexes and hearts of “A Curse”. For those late to the Emily Yacina party, there is no greater time than now to become a super fan.

From their upcoming Captives EP; check out AMFMS’s video for “The Girl” that involves canoe rowing, religious relics, good luck charms, and a mysterious disappearing lady of the lakes all acted out to the band’s haunted sound.

Colours dropped the law and electro-convention defying pop of “Lawless” off the Ivory album available February 26 from Victory Records. The Florida based duo of vocalist Kyle Tamo and percussionist Morgan Alley fuse together their sensibilities pertaining to pop hooks and rhythm to create a legislative like sequence of sonics that extend beyond the bound books of legal writ.

Primitive World’s Purple Caps EP is available now from R&S full of deluxe dance suites for days, and we got your viewing of the Sam Willis video for “Azimuth” that features race-track variations and visual abstractions to contemplate the audio American primitive sounds at play.

TÜLIPS dropped the Jacob Halajian and Roham Rahmanian pure-energy video for “Perfect Love” off their album Doom & Bloom available now from Lolipop Records. Watch as Taleen Kali and the gang take center stage among the bright lights and flashy fun that exudes the sounds of DIY LA pop in full bloom.

Field Music delivered the Andy Martin video that stars Graeme Hoppe in “The Noisy Days Are Over” from their upcoming album Commontime available February 5 from Memphis Industries. Follow Graeme as he goes about his day where jovial performance video images of the band appear in the most random of places along the way.

Oakland’s Naked Lights declared the forthcoming of their On Nature album available January 29 from Castle Face, dropping the nu-dadaist post-post-art punk action of “Hedges”. The East Bay quintet brings you a big bouquet of all the classic anarchic attitude and free-wheeling fun that you love with a sound of future nu-punk to come.

Enter the psychotropic zone with the wild-eyed seizure-inducing visuals from Nick Ciontea for The Silence’s “Ancient Wind Part 3” off the recent Drag City release Hark The Silence. Watch how the electrically-amped instruments, woodwinds, vocals and more are provided with their own flashing lysergic psyched-sighted party favors.

Playing San Francisco’s Noise Pop festival February 26 in SF at Rickshaw Stop with GEMS; check out the remix of Chris Prudhomme (vocals) and Reese Donohue’s (producer) “Refractor” (off new Polyvinyl album Horizons) courtesy of Lexington, Kentucky nu-pop visionary Ellie Herring. The pop mentality that you love the Palms for is retained here through Herring’s new survey that finds further grooves of synth-stitched patterns and elongated expressions.

Frameworks dropped a listen to the a-side of their Time Spent EP available February 5 from Topshelf Records where the Gainesville quartet brings about their loudest vocals and shredding guitar chords that follow up on the promises found from 2013’s Small Victories and their smattering of singles and splits since.

Check out the phantom dance pop chill channels on Adult Bodies’ new single “Ghosting” featuring Beca. Paranormal allusions from Beca’s vocals serve as center stage beacon of lights through the Bodies carefully guided sequence of synth & rhythm.

Watch the Daynier Adan and Nick Goldring video for Quiet Hollers’ “Mont Blanc” from their self-titled album that presents rural post-apocalyptic sentiments about a family surviving after the next big one hits sung by frontman Shadwick Wilde ruminating about how it all went wrong.

Stockholm’s Promise & The Monster release their new album Feed The Fire January 22 from Bella Union and we give you a preview of Billie Lindalhl’s spirit assuaging vocals and the group’s enchanted and ethereal audio with the video for “Time of the Season”.

Check out the following electro-doused preview piece from Aga Wilk’s Mecanica Records release Moon EP. Analog synths here are stretched out in a dark gazing drone strike against the mercenary battle bot denizens of the digital empires.

Cian Nugent’s album Night Fiction will be available from Woodsist January 29 and we bring you some of that lost weekend wiles with “Lost Your Way” made in Bow Lane Studios in Dublin with Girl Band’s Daniel Fox and mixed by Brendan Jenkinson. This is the ode for those that have gotten a little lost while arming themselves in an agoraphobic retreat with a smattering of 70s singer-songwriter LPs.

For those late to the Fowler party, check out the the album i am in love with myself made by San Franciscans Forrest, Eli, & Simon that is the perfect gift for everyone in looking for the newly appointed sons of the late-great-Jeff Buckley, and the continuing creative adventures that further convey what that influence’s relevance means.

Atlanta’s Ben Cramer operates under the handle of Old Sea Brigade, sharing the night ride resting cut “Sleep in the Park” found off the January 22 slated self-titled EP. ry 22nd, Songs of pained attachments are told through the acoustic strummed sentiments connecting the charged imagination of former connective aftermaths from previous passages of projection affection.

Half Japanese’s new album Perfect comes out January 22 from Joyful Noise, and we bring you the latest from the Jad & David Fair bros with the animated and kinda adorable video for “Hold On” that is sure to lift up all mopey hearts this winter.

Ipswich, MA by Seattle by UK’s Barns Courtney shared the warm single “Goodbye John Smith” that delivers piano lead memories that have come to pass that are resurrected by Barns’ personal approach to evocative balladry.

From the UK’s Shields fresh from making the touring circuit rounds; we bring you a listen to the crisp electric pop for fields, amphitheaters, road trips, and more on the popped-out Face To Face single. Opening with the title cut in question with extra bold snazzy synths, “Gone in a Flash” tackles the temporal by way of a crowd pleasing toe tapper, right before closing out with stand-out “Enemy” that redecorates the possibilities of neon dazzled pop indebted to the creative and technological breakthroughs gifted from the 80s.

Seattle’s Pillar Point dropped some dance-dazed-dose of diligence with the flighty “Dove” off the upcoming Marble Mouth album available January 22 from Polyvinyl. The weekend has now officially commenced.

Making big moves, Nottingham duo Shelter Point drop some new singles today including the following “Glass Into Gold” that fuses granules of sand into alluring electric ore in the following winter perfect pop to help keep you warm from the outside elements.

With our pal PJ Sauerteig, aka Slow Dakota readying the release of The Ascension Of Slow Dakota for Massif Records in early spring; hear the fringe-folk religious-mystic musings on “I Saw Christ Crying in Hermès” that observes messianic mythological figures in strange places set to an array of strumming strings.

Flowers’ new album Everybody’s Dying To Meet You will be available from Fortuna POP! February 12 and we bring you the Finnigan Kidd video for “Pull My Arm” that features performance space imagery lead by the band’s own spirited Rachel Kenedy.

Hear Swahili Blonde’s new single “Rose My Emperor” off the Neurotic Yell album And Only the Melody Was Real available January 22 featuring further entrancing synths and electro-kissed enchantment from Nicole Turley. Tales of empires, empresses, and emperors take the stage on the following pop gem.

Vancouver two-piece Francesca Belcourt and Brittney Rand are Mu shared the bright inspirational glow of the indulgent and decadent pop of “Debauchery”. From Belcourt & Rand’s upcoming II EP available February 12, the duo deliver duos on “Young” that sip from fountains of youth that relish in the fleeting moments and snapshots that are conveyed in sounds illustrated in the newest of electrically enhanced audio artifices of beauty.

Sarah P.’s Week in Pop

A portrait of Sarah P.; photographed by Agnes Fox.
A portrait of Sarah P.; photographed by Agnes Fox.

With Sarah P.’s Free EP available December 14 from ERASERESTART, the Euro globe-trotting artist/icon took a moment to present her own following Week in Pop guest selections:

Matthew Dear, “Deserter”

This song sums up my years from 2010- 2014 and that should be saying it all.

Ghostpoet, “X Marks The Spot” feat. Nadine Shah

That’s a really, really beautiful song. In its simplicity, it manages to strip you down and pierce you in a way that makes you reflect on what you’ve done to deserve such a thing. Ghostpoet is sharing a piece of himself, a slice of himself. Great album, too. Shedding Skin has been one of the albums that we’ve been playing at home, in Berlin.

Berlin by Athens icon, Sarah P.; photographed by Christoph Neumann.
Berlin by Athens icon, Sarah P.; photographed by Christoph Neumann.

Florence + The Machine, “Delilah” (The Odyssey – Chapter 6)

I didn’t quite understand the whole album – it was a lot to take in, but this song is truly a masterpiece. Florence’s lyric skills shine as never before. It makes me want to dance with Delilah as well, if that’s to reveal to me a new way of living. That’s a song I can relate to very much. Since the moment I listened to it I felt it to my bones. If Deserter was my soundtrack till 2014, Florence and The Machine pick it up from here.

Kate Bush, “Jig of Life”

That’s a bit old, but classic and golden. “I put this moment over here.” Kate Bush is too special for our world. We don’t really deserve to be blessed with her music and talent. She’s a fairy and a demon and an angel and a woman and a man and the most precious thing you hold and treasure. (I’m a fan, obvi).

Editors, In Dream

Listen here via Spotify.

This. Record. Is. Amazing.

Follow Sarah P. via Twitter.