3 Discoveries of Lukas Foote No. 2

As a contributor and avid music lover I try to shed light on various genres of music, especially when it comes to my personal write-ups on the ‘3 Discoveries’ section. My objective in these discoveries is to showcase different bands or artists from a vast amount of different genres, ranging anywhere from our familiarity of lo-fi pop to even trap or other forms of hip-hop. I discover a wide array of music daily, and each 3 Discoveries on my behalf will uphold a very versatile musical taste each contribution. I hope each and every reader may find some sort of attraction to the music on hand, even if it may appear outlandish.

Here are my are my 3 Discoveries this week…

Sad Sack by Milk Teeth

Milk Teeth are a 4-piece punk band from Bristol, UK. Although they self proclaim they are punk, you could call them even grunge in this day and age. Milk Teeth are pretty distinctive and could be compared to the likes of old-school Title Fight. Sad Sack was released this year back in April and has been playing aloud on my Spotify repetitively this past month. What makes Milk Teeth a force to be reckoned with is their prominent vocal chemistry between members Becky (Bass/Vox) and Josh (Guitar/Vox).  I strongly recommend throwing this on your aux cord this summer while driving around in your car.

Lush by Creepers

If you’re not familiar with Shiv Mehra, you may know him from being the guitarist of the black metal/post-shoegaze band Deafheaven. This 7-track EP released from his side project Creepers came out late October and is a really haunting and tentative release. Lush sounds ghostly and has an uncanny atmosphere all throughout the EP. I urge fans of bands like Grave Babies or Night Sins to give Creepers’ Lush a thorough listen to.

Derek Wise

This is perhaps my favourite pick in this section. Derek Wise is a dude straight from Toronto and his soundcloud is packed with a unusual, unique breed of rap/hip-hop unlike what I’ve ever heard before. Wise is an XO affiliate and his style could be described as a relaxed and effortless one, but remains on point with his rapping delivery. Derek Wise has an upcoming project out soon called Moms Basement, but in the mean time scroll through his soundcloud and listen to bangers of a track like my favourites- Kenzo, Lake, Rose Gold.

Text by Lukas Foote

Issue #4 of Discoveries

Review ~ Jimmy Pop – Varsity Blues ~ by Berkley Bragg

It seems as though the independent music community engulfed in the small town of Grand Rapids, Michigan is infinitely expanding, and Jimmy Pop is at the forefront.

Bands like Heaters, Ghost Orchard, Dear Tracks, CARE, SAPPHIC, and so many more. One of the more established musicians from the area, James Allen, has procured a substantial number of music projects in the last few years with Youth Camp, Jade TV, and more recently Jimmy Pop, who recently released the debut record, Varsity Blues. 

With these previous projects in mind, it is easy enough to discern the similarities and aspects of each within Varsity Blues. Without that background, it may just seem like a tasteful jangled album, but it really works either way. Varsity Blues does form it’s own shape apart from these separate projects in the fact that much of the record creates a more ascertainable instrumental atmosphere as opposed to Jade TV, a project that relies more on the inclusion of layered vocals.

A few singles released in the last few months are present here with, “Coca-Cola Crush” as well as, “Hang Around”, both of which co-exist on the same realm of relaxation. “Hang Around” provides a more melodic and airy feeling. If you meditate to spacious layers of reverb then I think you can find your addiction in “Hang Around”. “Coca-Cola Crush” closes the record off with a guitar and vocal melody fit for the credit scene to a really slow and emotional film. Not to say that Varsity Blues is exuberantly emotional as it does linger and soak through your pores in the kind of way you want after a long day.

Essentially, give a listen to the whole of Varsity Blues and drift away.

Text by Berkley Bragg
Photo by Jimmy Pop

3 Discoveries of Berkley Bragg

I feel as though each of these three records work well with the seasons and have certainly done their part in keeping me collected in the last few weeks. They are also some of the more unique pieces that I have stumbled upon in a long while and as such, deserve as much credit as I can give.

Katie Dey’s Asdfasdf is something between a really wonderful dream and an unstable nightmare. In both ways the record works to perfection, providing the most bizarre warped vocals that i’ve ever heard, but still soothing me to sleep at the same time. I am at that point in my life where brooding, depressing sounds have found their way into the “recently added” section of my iTunes library, with “Fear o the Dark” being my most played. The best part about this record, however, is the completely off-the-wall, happy-go-lucky Wes Anderson styled anthem that is “Unkillable”. I couldn’t believe the amazing transition that Dey created between “Fear o the Dark’s” verge of death lament and the treetop screamer in “Unkillable”. That transition alone makes the entire album worth every minute. I really can’t say enough incredible things about Asdfasdf.

Stay Cool Forever’s Among My Slime is another mess of abrasive bliss that i’ve been absolutely enthralled with. On the surface, Among My Slime feels silly, almost childish in a sense, but the eccentric instrumentation is just one layer of the sound. If you strip that away you’ll have something much more endearing. Tracks like, “Fun Wound” and “Cecilia” teeter on the edge between playful and semi-serious, just the way I like it.

I Dont Wanna Die In Here’s self titled effort has been an ever expanding release considering every time I return to their Bandcamp page, the album has another two songs. Right now, I Dont Wanna Die In Here is my go-to for something sweet and serene. Much of the record sounds as if it was recorded on a mid 20th century telephone, giving it the essence of an “ultimate” lo-fi release. “Never Stay but Dont Leave” as well as “Stop Fight” also work with playful emotions (do you notice a trend?) evoking wistful and exuberant energy and at the same time, something so unperturbed.

Text by Berkley Bragg

Issue #3 of Discoveries

LUKAS FOOTE PRESENTING COLE MÉNDEZ OF GRANT ULYSSES

The last time I saw Cole Méndez – who goes under the moniker of Grant Ulysses – was at a birthday bonfire at his buddy’s house in their hometown of Orillia, Ontario. That night was filled with cheap beer, cheap cigarettes and good conversations. Much like how Orillian’s can produce great parties, they can also produce even better music. The first musician that comes to mind when I think of Orillia music is the man himself: Cole Méndez. Cole manages to capture such an unfathomable atmosphere and tone in his music that you be a fool not to pay attention to him. I recently got a chance to talk to Cole Méndez about his other musical projects, the deep meaning behind his moniker and about his song writing process. Enjoy!

Hello Cole, how are you today?

I’m pretty good man. Always pretty good. It’s been a while, we gotta get together this summer and make some shit.

This has to be asked: I always wondered where exactly the name Grant Ulysses came from?

Well, Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States, and happened to be President during the American Civil War. He helped lead the Union Army in defeating the Confederacy. Honestly, it’s a name that’s kind of personal to me now – living as a mixed race kid in perpetually pale Northern Ontario and having to deal with confederate flag-waving redneck assholes. Plus it sounds cool, it’s easy enough to remember and spell – all the important stuff. 

gu1

Where did your Dream-Pop influence derive from? At the time I knew you, you were in a Pop Punk band. Those are two pretty different genres on the end of the spectrum. Did you always have a very versatile music taste?

Growing up I played classical piano, and my dad always had old blues and jazz stuff playing in the house – but then I would go to school with Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in my Walkman – so I grew accustomed to a lot of different stuff. I got into pop-punk and heavier stuff when I started high school. A lot of those genre DIY bands are friends with the new underground shoegaze/dream-pop crowd, and I started gravitating towards that sound and then going backwards in time to see what really influenced it and how it evolved.

It’s impressive to see you play/have a part in tons of other musical projects up there in Orillia. What other musical projects are you a part of and where do you find the time to be in them all?

I play piano in the Cole Mendez Trio, and we just play jazz at corporate gigs and restaurants and stuff. It’s a good time. It is where my real musical passion is – plus it pays better than the Dream-Pop stuff. Other than that I keep forming these bands with friends, a noisy-garage rock group called Obituary Names, the bluegrass band Wildwood Flower – we always manage to get a few practices in before everything falls apart. There’s a lot of talent around but it’s a hard time to try to be dedicated to one thing. That’s why I like solo projects.

gu2

You write, record, produce and play every instrument in this Grant Ulysses project. That’s admirable and talented. Have you ever thought of taking Grant Ulysses as a full band/what do you do if you play live?

I’ve been looking into getting a live band together for a while now. The main issue is what I said above, as well as me either forgetting how to play my own songs on guitar, or being so far away from where I was mentally when I wrote the old stuff that I don’t even want to touch it now. 

I recently saw in a tweet of yours that new Grant Ulysses material is on the way. What could listeners expect from this release compared to earlier work on the Twin Visions EP?

Yeah, I’m working on a new EP. I have a single already done, plus an unreleased cover of a pretty popular song that I might throw up on YouTube. This EP definitely has a fuller, richer sound – and that comes from more interesting chord progressions, as well as getting more electric piano and synthesizer sounds behind everything else.

Do you have a favourite song of yours?

Shadows is my favourite track on the old EP, but I never think about that. My unreleased single called “Treasure Chest” is what I’m really digging at the moment. Those and the old Obituary Names song Selfish still really resonate with me.

Your lyrics are very gloomy and melancholic; I mean that in a good way. Where do you get your lyrical inspiration?

This is a long answer. I get a distorted version of reality really. I’m constantly observing things (objects, emotions, ideas, behaviors, relationships) around me and writing them down – but in more abstract forms or maybe in their most distilled version. Each line starts out as an entire idea first; like I remember earlier today I was walking and saw this tiny apartment complex and started writing about being able to touch all of your possessions at the same time. Then I try to say that in as little words as possible, and that becomes a line. With that, structurally, I think of each line, as it’s own individual idea more than attempting to create good flow line to line. Each one is self-contained. I don’t know if that’s as evident in my earlier work as it is in the forthcoming material. In my songs I try to focus mostly on the melody and timbre of my voice, and the way it sits in the mix. I like to think of my voice as another instrument more than anything else.

Could you walk me through on your thought process and recording of my favourite track of yours, Apathy?

Yeah man. That song’s interesting because there’s no actual rhythm guitar part, only two different leads. I definitely remember starting with the intro bass line, just a cool riff I worked out messing around. The lead guitar parts in the verse are pretty repetitive, forming a bit of a chord structure but that just floats overtop of what the bass is doing. I usually write linearly, coming up with all the instrumentation for one part before moving onto another. But I think bass still came first as I started working on the chorus, it just kinda falls together. I’ll just loop sections and mess around until I find something that works, and then I’ll record it. There’s no bridge as well, I hate bridges. I don’t think any of my songs have one bridge on that EP. And oh, everything’s recorded in Logic Pro X.

What music have you been jamming to lately dude?

Hyperview [Title Fights new record] is absolutely killer. It’s a huge influence on the next EP for sure. Everything on Run For Cover is great, and I’m really digging what Turnover’s new stuff sounds like. I’ve always listened to a lot of DIIV and Mac DeMarco, and I know other stuff on Captured Tracks is great, but I haven’t listened to everything. I also really like the direction Ceremony is taking on their new LP The L-Shaped Man. That’s all new stuff though. Like I said, I got super into the original dreampop and shoegaze stuff. I started listening to a lot of MBV, Slowdive, Ride, Galaxie 500, Jesus and Mary Chain, the Stone Roses, the Sundays, Spacemen 3, the Pastels. Shit like that. I don’t necessarily draw inspiration from that but it’s good to have some context for what people today are doing.

Couldn’t agree more on that new Ceremony LP man. And finally, any bands or albums people should check out that we may not of heard?

Shoutout to my good friends in Shagwagon. Check out what they’ve been putting out. It’s that good DIY psychedelic bedroom pop shit.

Follow Cole on Twitter: @grantulysses
Twin Visions EP available for download here: 
grantulysses.bandcamp.com
Read a review on Twin Visions right here: 
start-track.com/review

Questions by Lukas Foote
Answers and photos by Cole Méndez

3 Discoveries of Lukas Foote

Creepin’ by Sad Actor

In case you were uhh.. ‘preoccupied’ and hazy on April 20th of this year, chances are you probably missed Philadelphia’s own: Sad Actor’s third release entitled Creepin’. Creepin’ is a fuzzy, grungy, emo-esque EP compiled with discontent and despair. This 2track EP is a great follow up from their previously (and my favourite) EP called Try To Remember that came out last November. I suggest ya’ll get in on that Philadelphian music scene; that city has released nothing but great bands and songs.

Outta Control by Acid†Priest

This stoner-rock n’ roll band hailing from Toronto, Canada has been filling my ear buds with intense emotion. It’s no secret this band absolutely rips. Their début EP Outta Control has drawn in some serious attention and not just within the Southern Ontario music scene. Alexisonfire/Gallows member Wade MacNeil -who now DJ’s a rock station in T.O- has even given the deserving band radio airtime. Also, in the words of Wade: “Congrats on finding a kick ass band name in 2015”.

Nightfall (Prod. Lederrick) by Wicca Phase Springs Eternal

If you weren’t aware of this newly founded project by ex- Tigers Jaw member Adam Mcllwee, now you do. Adam in Tigers Jaw was known for his scratchy guitar tones and personal style of his intriguing, droning, unique voice. It seems now he has now taken those abstract vocals to a new location, in the form of an electronica/trap project under the moniker Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. As Adam himself puts it, his music could be described as “Morrissey meets Chief Keef”. That’s a pretty interesting and badass hybrid if you ask me.
His forthcoming album called Abercrombie & Me is releasing soon and this is a single off of it called Nightfall I’ve been jamming to lately. I do recommend scrolling WPSE’s soundcloud and figuring out for yourself- what you should think of it.

Text by Lukas Foote

Issue #2 of Discoveries

Review ~ Girlpool x Slutever Split ~ by Catherine Chamberlin

I stumbled upon this split a week or so ago on Bandcamp while I was just browsing through. I remember hearing about Girlpool through mutual friends back in Florida, so my best interest was to give their split with Slutever a listen. Both bands hail from the city of Los Angeles and released this split in October 2014 before an east coast tour.

I can relate a lot to this split in the spirit of being a 20-something-female, just wanting to have fun and trying not to give a shit (but really giving a shit) about anything. The lyrics are very relatable and catchy and the guitar chords that Girlpool uses in their songs, although simple, perfectly complement with Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s harmonizing vocals. Girlpool covers Slutever’s “White Flag” as the intro track to this split and you get the angsty female punk feel right away. Songs about being in a place you need to get away from and dumb boys and going to shows are the contents of this split.

girlpool

Girlpool

Slutever is completely new to me and I am pleasantly surprised by how equally great they are. Their sound is a lot more lo-fi punk than Girlpool, but the combination of these two groups together is perfection. Their songs have a garage rock, grunge feel to them as well, particularly the song “Stomach Ache” which ends the split. The guitar riffs are distorted and drone on and I love it. The lyrics too are easily going to get stuck in your head when the chorus rolls around playing “I’ve got a stomach ache”

slutever

Slutever

If you are looking for some great female punk musicians, I recommend you check out Girlpool and Slutever on Bandcamp and Facebook. These gals have got an abundance of other songs and albums available and their split together will leave you needing to listen to more.

girlpoool.bandcamp.com ~ facebook.com/girlpool

slutever.bandcamp.com ~ facebook.com/sluteverforever

Text by Catherine Chamberlin
Photos by Girlpool and Slutever