dream pop from Tokio, Japan
dream pop from Tokio, Japan
bedroom pop from Melbourne, Australia
bedroom from Long Branch, New Jersey, USA
dark pop from San Diego, California, USA
Ulysses S. Grant? That was the 18th President of the United States in 1869-1877. Grant Ulysses? That is Canadian-Orillia Teenager Cole Mendez’s solo project, written, recorded and produced from his bedroom.
Grant Ulysses has two music videos out entitled “Wealth” and my personal favourite track by him: “Selfish”. These two songs aren’t exactly happy, rather depressing actually but they are his two most alternative, catchy and up-beat songs. The Twin Visions EP that I’m reviewing however, is as Cole himself puts it “A more cohesive and fleshed out musical project”. This EP is unlike his previously released songs. I find this EP to be more Indie and Dream Pop with a haunting aspect throughout each of the four tracks. All songs sound hopeless with lonely lyrical content and amazing guitar tone to accompany the theme all throughout this EP.
Every song on Twin Visions had a catchy, quirky guitar intro to it, except on the track “Apathy” in which case had a groovy-ass bass intro to it. The guitar intro’s reminded me of a Peter Sagar from Homeshake like feel to them and it’s safe to say I dug it. The instruments, in particular guitar and bass are stimulating and the vocals on Twin
Visions are really lo-fi and daunting.
FAVOURITE TRACK: Apathy
FOR FANS OF: Night Sins, (early) Homeshake
Text by Lukas Foote
Recently I had chance to ask Skymning coming out of beautiful lands of New Zealand few questions and also premiere his new album Rekindle. You can listen to his beautiful ambient music on bandcamp.
I grew up in Slovakia which has always been on music (cultural) periphery. New Zealand seems to be in similar position. How the music has been growing there and how it was able to spread to other countries?
I guess New Zealand is the same to an extent – we’re pretty far away from everywhere and although in more recent years we’ve seen a lot more international artists touring it still seems ignored to some extent. The New Zealand music scene itself is pretty great. There are a whole bunch of artists doing awesome things and plenty of local shows to go to which is great. I guess without the internet I’d have pretty much no chance of spreading my music internationally or even within New Zealand for that matter. But things like Soundcloud and Bandcamp really give you the best platform to promote your music to an international audience.
Do you like creating music in New Zealand?
New Zealand is the only country I’ve ever lived in so I’ve not got anything to compare it to so I guess my answer would have to be yes. It’s a really beautiful country. I live in the capital and I’m still surrounded by nature most of the time which is great. I guess I draw a lot of inspiration with my music from nature just in terms of creating environmental soundscapes. It’s really important for me to not be trapped in a windowless apartment in the middle of a massive city so I’m very fortunate.
Have you ever considered moving somewhere else? Where it would be?
I’d like to travel but I have no idea where I’d choose to move. The world is such a massive place. I guess Scandinavia seems pretty untouched and beautiful much like New Zealand. I mean the name Skymning is Swedish so I guess I have some kind of attraction to that part of the world. We don’t get much snow here either I think I’d like that.
Are you part of a music community or has your music been produced in solitude? Also past months many artists from New Zealand have been getting worldwide recognition. Why not sooner?
I began making music in solitude but the New Zealand music community is pretty small so I guess it wasn’t too long till I felt like I was a part of something bigger. I work with a collective called Kerosene Comic Book and it’s been great working with them to put together remixes or mixtapes. I haven’t been following her music too closely but I guess Lorde is probably behind recent international recognition of New Zealand music. Having a #1 single on the American chats and winning Grammys is pretty amazing for a girl her age regardless of location.
What are your favorite artists from New Zealand?
To be honest most of my favourite New Zealand artists are just friends I’ve met through music. People like Race Banyon Eskimo Eyes Yvnalesca. There seems to be a growing electronic beat scene within young New Zealanders and it’s really exciting to see it evolve. Bands like Caroles Cheats and Sheep Dog&Wolf are awesome too. I went to some festivals over the summer – some of which had international artists but some just local and it was great to see just how much is going on in such a small country.
You have been working on new album. Will it be different to previous stuff you have made?
Right now I’m working towards another mixtape with the collective I was talking about before Kerosene Comic Book. There are a bunch of us (Race Banyon Yvnalesca Totems Career Girls – the list goes on) who all have the same goals with our music I guess. We’ve put out a couple of mixtapes so far and it’s just really nice being able to support each other and kind of pool whatever buzz we have as individual artists into hyping up compilations we’re all really happy with. We’re releasing the tape on 4/20/2014 keep an eye out. kerosenecomicbook.com
What was your biggest inspiration when writing new songs? What is the toughest part of doing music?
As I said before my biggest inspiration is probably my environment. It’s great working with a collective too I feel like hearing how amazing everyone elses’ music is has really pushed me to try and do better and I think everyone else feels the same. The toughest part for me is probably just trying to stay original and developing my music. Creating my own sound which is consistent with my other releases and doesn’t sound like I’m ripping off another artist’s sound.
And lastly list three top artists right now?
Oh man that’s a hard one. First I’d have to say Ricky Eat Acid. Three Love Songs is absolutely incredible I’m so gutted I missed the 12″” of that. Hmm second maybe I’ll say Race Banyon. The dude’s only 17 and is by far one of the most talented dudes in the country. I just want the best for him I really hope he starts to get some massive international recognition because he really deserves it. Lastly I’ll say Lil Wayne. If you haven’t given him a chance now’s the time download Dedication 2 and Da Drought 3 and get buck!
And as bonus here is a premiere of new beautiful album Rekindle:
Questions by Filip Zemcik
Answers and photos by Skymning
I have been aware of the A. Powell / Fog Lake for almost a year now. I stumbled upon his music within an email I received from “birdtapes” after asking if they ever planned to do a release with Canadian artists – they replied with a FL’s Bandcamp link. However, asking me to keep quiet about it; I just couldn’t – Instantly; within minutes, I emailed Fog Lake and asked to do a collaborated effort from a song I wrote recorded after breaking a window in my apartment. He said yes. We finished the song, and ever since then have remained very connected with each other, for this: I am very thankful.
Well now – let’s get to what is really important here – The newest work by Fog Lake, Virgo Indigo the 2nd 2014 release from the ever-growing label: Orchid Tapes (born in Toronto, now located in Brooklyn, NY).
Side note: Orchid Tapes are a heaven-sent label in sad state that is: the music industry.
As mentioned. I have had my fair share of alcohol induced nights staying awake till 5am screaming and shouting to the Holy Cross EP, but this new piece of work – really is, quite the magnum opus for a young musician like Aaron. Every time I listen to a song from this gent I think to myself “fuck, this guy is a prophet for everything in music I have ever needed.” – However, VI can really speak through translations to anyone avid open eared listener. With VI comes an advantageous effort to really stay true to yourself, and what you want to do with the sounds you enjoy. Flawlessly, Aaron triumphs his efforts with VI.
I am not entirely sure if there is a conceptual meaningfulness to Virgo Indigo, but I can’t help but picture the grayness’ that is the East Coast of Canada. I feel waves. I sense motion whilst deep within a heart capsizing itself. Drifting in from folk pop driven song like “nocturnal blues” – then wending itself outside with an ambient track like “transcanada” – but again, Aaron’s accomplishments blush with brilliance – almost effortlessly this man knows what he’s doing – and exactly how he is going to finish it. The track the personally whims my soul – is “erik”. From beginning to end I hear whispers of the Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, but with a dark twist. This is a brand new sound, all alone – Aaron has accomplished something unique. There’s so much more I can say about Virgo Indigo, but now I have to go and pre-order the cassette before they are all gone.
And shit dude, be proud of yourself – because so many of people around the world are.
Thank you, Orchid Tapes
Thank you, Fog Lake/Aaron Powell
Thank you, Filip
Michael Charles Hansford
Introducing Michael Bringardner aka Michael Parallax from the heart of Florida is not necessary for many of you. It has been a while since I have discovered Michael’s music. I still remember listening to Vicious People over and over again in the summer of 2012 while I was working at my father’s company. During that time I never thought that I would have a chance to meet Michael in person and see his live performance.
It was last summer when I visited Orlando for the musical festival Total Bummer 4ever – the best festival I have ever gone to – that I was able to experience Michael’s music live. Seeing Michael’s live set was definitely one of the best moments of the festival. A crowd dancing wildly bodies covered with sweat singing together on every song and feeling the enormous energy flowing through Michael. It was a collective spiritual and musical experience. Moreover for his set’s finale we followed Michael to a building under construction to sing with him ending our musical séance. It would not be the last time I saw him live.
I had the great honor of touring with Michael and his amazing sister Malee aka MoonLasso for a few weeks. I was travelling with them from Florida up to Philadelphia and experiencing their live sets over and over. I danced every single night and never did I feel bored. Michael playing his music live is something you want to see and hear again and again. Somehow you are always connected to him and you feel the music flowing through your body especially your heart. You have to experience the feeling to understand.
When I heard Michael was working on a new album I was excited because I knew it was going to be great. I expected that some songs that I heard at shows would be included. I knew the album versions would be different but I was sure I would not be disappointed. I am not.
Wilderness Years (Spirit Cat) as a whole has no weak point every song stands on its own merit. Each song carries some message hidden in the text wrapped in beautiful music and melodies. The intro Two Years along with Growing Splendid has the ambient folk fusion found on Michael’s previous record Vicious People but rest of the new album is highly built upon samples catchy beats different sparkling sounds and the pop-y styling of Michael’s voice.
The album has so many fine musical details which are only discovered after many repeated listens. Michael paid a lot of attention to make everything sound perfect. Simple dance beats combined with galactic noises and catchy lyrics makes you want to dance and sing along with him.
Michael uses his lyrics to tell stories about love and so strong is the imagery that you feel like you have experienced it too. Michael in his songs often invokes nostalgia with references to older hits which most of us remember from our childhood and from our parent’s playlists. When both aspects are combined the songs are so easy to sing along with; therefore everyone eventually ends up doing just that.
A simple description of this type of music is provided by Michael himself when he labels his music as “Celebratory Electronic Spiritual Revival Tent Music”. The spiritual feeling in the songs is especially strong and it gradually creates a bond between you and your musical priest Michael Parallax. It is harder to do it while listening to the album on your iPod but once you experience it live you will feel it forever. If you ever have a chance to see him do not miss that opportunity. I know I will go to Michael’s shows as many times as I can and I know it will never be enough. It is similar with this album which is currently being looped in my ears for many hours.
Go and grab Michael’s album whether a digital copy or a cassette from my great friends at the label Spirit Cat from Tallahassee. They are all great people and I will support them forever because they deserve that and much more. If you have met them you would understand why. And finally an excerpt from song Growing Splendid to demonstrate Michael’s amazing songwriting skills:
“I don’t talk to ghosts
I can still see them
i can hear them laugh at me
when i’m talking to the ceiling
i don’t believe it’s cold
i don’t believe it’s winter
you can’t hear the branches breaking
i can’t hear them either
do you believe in love
do you believe i’m loving
do you believe in anything
is there anything worth believing
do you believe in trust
do you believe i’m trusting
won’t you tell me anything
well i don’t believe you.”
Text by Filip Zemcik
Photo by James Dechert
Having upgraded from trio to quintet with the addition of Abi Reimold (guitar/vocals) and Erin Patricia (synths/vocals) Philadelphia’s Pill Friends look to improve upon their stellar sophomore Birdtapes offering Blessed Suffering. Check out my interview with frontman Ryan Wilson as well as a brand-new track below!
Jude: I really dug that Modest Mouse cover you did for the Maggot House session. I take it you’re a fan? Is Lonesome Crowded West your favorite LP of theirs?
ryan: everything isaac brock released up until 2005 is incredible and each of those releases holds different prominent forms for certain periods ive worshiped them all throughout middle and high school. ive been listening to building something out of nothing lately and i love every song except for medication thats the only song previous to good news that sucks lk the ending is good but the first part is annoying as shit i hate it.
One song on the album you put out over the summer Blessed Suffering that really stood out to me was “”Mall Goth””. It’s easy to overlook but I think it’s really powerful and minimal and also includes some of my favorite lyrics of the release. How do you feel about the track? What’s the story behind the lyrics?
mall goth is one of my favorites it’s pretty much about learning to kill an old self for another destructive self and the longing for death. Its mainly a song about wanting to kill yrself but having other personal obligations. Mall goth refers to the oxford valley mall which is a museum of the early 2000s it’s all just nothing really
Is there a particular song that you’ve done that stands out as your personal favorite?
wearing my dead dog’s skin and murder me for my sins.
A ton of great Philadelphia bands have cropped up lately Mumblr Roof Doctor you guys. What’s going on up there?
nothing except for mumblr Alex g and cough cool.
What’s the best band you’ve seen that hasn’t released any recorded music yet?
cold foamers and eleby. both are from philly and have eps or demos out now but both bands are killing it so far from what ive seen of them. Cold foamers just released their first full length and it’s the shit
For your next full album are you going to go as lo-fi as you went on Blessed Suffering?
the next album is going to be recorded and produced by scott stitzer (mumblr) who recorded blessed suffering and i cant say how the production quality will be determined because i honestly dont know. i mean i think it will be generally lofi but scott as a producer and pill friends have developed together from the beginning. he recorded our first demos when he had really just started to record other bands and in this last year scott has developed into a great producer and he continually just keeps getting better. we recorded some tracks at a studio here in philly on and off the past few months and everything fell into perspective for me i dont want anyone else to record the next pill friends lp except scott.
Favorite Birdtapes release?
there isnt one bad birdtapes release in my bullshit opinion but all the splits that just came out (starry cat/boy crush porches./lvl up and alex g/rl kelly) are all incredible. my favorite song off any of them would be townie blunt guts by porches. at the moment though. Also new olive drab is about tocome out and Reid is pretty and it sounds great.
Worst album you own?
hymns w/ johnny desmond i found a bunch of dumb records and this one was the worst i love traditional hymns but i dont why this record just sucked like i hate his voice and makes me not like the songs which is bullshit
What’s a suburban white trash christ?
suburban white trash christ is the emptiness of societal structure that one experiences growing up in a Christian dominated youth and finding no substance within it all
Text by Jude Noel
Originally published here
This is the first album review I have ever done. It will be short.
So I decided to walk around in this Southern Ontario snowstorm in the east end (no sidewalks in sight) whilst listening to Ricky Eat Acid’s newest LP for the very first time. I will also record my efforts when I get home. The time is 9:47pm.
As I walk down King Street in London Ontario during the heaviest snowfall of the winter I am completely swallowed by Ricky Eat Acid’s newest release “”Three Love Songs”” from the emerging Brooklyn based label: Orchid Tapes from Warren in Foxes In Fiction – I am connected. Sam Ray (also from Julia Brown and other jam acts from the area) has been known from myself as quite the limbed artist in our world. He can go from every angle from surreal and abstract – to literal and crisp to make it completely his own; seemingly effortless this man has undeniable talent.
Once in a while in the deep midst of this dark and ill world; something arises from the ashes in debris of the minimum wage life – something is born from the pain. And this album rises from surface of this benign void. This album does this to me. You can’t help but correlate your own sadness and what you think your worth within it.
Personally what I get from his newest release is something sadder and more excavated than any ambient release I’ve heard since some of Eno’s “”Apollo”” releases or even bleeding from the same veins from Ambient Krautrock releases from the 70’s (Cluster Neu and Bowie’s “”Low”” album that was inspired by the Krautrock mania).
There is something untowardly bare in “”Three Love Songs”” catharsizes of melancholic noise.
The album also features another Orchid Tapes beauty; Infinity Crush in the track “”It will draw me over like it always does”” which sounds like something you could mesh together on a walk in the streets of Mumbai when all the street musicians original merge together to create something entirely your own. Sam really has aligned so many genres into one with Three Love songs and the work and self-evaluation from his previous releases is finite and clear. The track “”Inside your house it; will swallow us too””Â is the heaviest hitting composition in this great piece. It brings me to high school on the mornings after waking up from doing a new drug for the very first time or having lost your virginity to the wrong individual. It illuminates the regrets from my past while at the same time showing us a door or window on how to carry on with perseverance. The noise has a pulse on the hard-working DIY individuals that will admit they write for themselves to help themselves. It is beautiful.
Sam Ray is someone to look out for.
& Three Love Songs will find you. You have no choice.
Text by Michael Hansford
Photos by Ricky Eat Acid