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

3 Discoveries of Lar Eade-Green

I Was Trying To Get There But It Was Hard To See From The Balloon by Henry Demos & Lewtrakimou

Pants, jumper, headphones on tangled hair and the stamp from last nights gig transferred onto my face. I have dedicated the morning to listening to the whole 23 tracks of the Henry Demos & Lewtrakimou split and I am feeling very content. Jingly Jangly sad core: combined they have pretty depressing song titles Sad As Buckets, Useless, Worried, Starve…. And the list continues! ‘Sad As Buckets’ just repeats the lyrics “sad, sad ,sad, sad, it’s fucking sad… she’s really sad” but then there are tracks like Man, Tie A Sucker Down which make me want to sofa dance. There is also an ambience to a lot of the tracks that makes me feel like I should be listening to the album in a cathedral, with Henry and Lew dressed in robes.

Holiday by Dog Legs

Dog Legs are the duo Moe Meade and Liam Bradbury, haling from Brighton, UK. On bandcamp they are tagged as alternative, garage, indie, noise, shoegaze, pop. At HQ (my house) we have been listening to their Holiday EP cassette on repeat and have been making alternative genres for Dog Legs… so far we have come up with “direct pop” and “not beating around the bush pop”! I have never been good at remembering lyrics but find great pleasure in shouty singing the few words I can remember on loop, so a band that will release a track purely consisting of the lyrics “I TRUSTED YOU” are my kind of band!

01112014 by Sitcom

Sitcom (AKA Jake Lazovick) is bedroom pop from Baltimore. Sitcom’s latest bandcamp release is 01112015, a very colourful live album consisting of blue shoes, green hats and yellow jackets! My love for Sitcom started with Yellow Jacket (and a live version of this song features on 01112015). I remember discovering Yellow Jacket back in January, just before heading off to my night shift. I finished my shift only with the memory that I found a really great track the day before, with no idea of the artists name and no recollection of where I found it. I went on “operation search for THAT track” and then stropped when I thought the song had run away from me forever… I remember eventually finding it, listening to every single one of Sitcom’s bandcamp uploads and going to sleep happy.

Text by Lar Eade-Green

Issue #1 of Discoveries

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING RAFAEL GRAFALS OF HEART AND SOUL

A special characteristic of a music blogger is meeting a large number of people over internet. That’s how I have met Rafael Grafals, owner of Heart And Soul music blog. When you are following Orchid Tapes scene, you are probably familiar with his blog. He belongs to that type of people you will never forget you have met. I really admire his great taste in music and after this interview I have realized I also share with him a lot of thoughts and ideas.

What was the impulse to start a (tumblr) music blog?

I had just started digging through bandcamp and found a lot of really cool music that no one I knew was really talking about. I would send my friends links to stuff all the time and decided to just turn it into something I did. I also started reading blogs like We Listen For You and Flashlight Tag that really inspired me to start blogging.

Recently you have reached 1000 followers. How long did it take?

Yikes. It took too long for sure. I’ve been doing this for years now but I feel like just last year I figured out what I’m doing and how to blog (fairly) consistently.

How did come up with the name Heart And Soul?

I honestly can’t even remember. I just remember not being happy with the previous name (Brighter Sounds) and wanting to change it up. Sometimes people ask me if it’s a Joy Division reference and I just say yes.

Do you remember the first band/song you have posted on your blog?

Yeah! It was Grandpa Was a Lion. Can’t remember the specific song but I remember specifically that it was GWAL because he was a huge reason why I started music blogging. He also emailed me the other day saying he’s working on music again which I am really excited about.

Have your music taste changed since you started your blog?

Definitely. Exposure to a lot of weird stuff on bandcamp has led to me learning about a lot of music just because I’d hear a band and find out the who/what inspired them. I’ve learned a solid amount of music history because of it too. Also writing led to me being exposed to a lot of cool electronic music which I didn’t really have much of a background with when I first started.

Do you have any criteria that a song or an album should have to be posted on your site?

I guess I just try not to write about bands that are already really well known. I don’t have a specific line that I draw but no one needs to hear me talk about Arcade Fire or something. In terms of style, I guess I’ve been writing more about pop music lately but I still write about ambient / drone stuff too.

What is your three most favorite genres and why?

Pop music, in a very broad sense of the word, is really inspiring to me. I just think there’s a lot that goes into writing a melody that sticks really well, or a hook that gets stuck in your head. Ambient music has always been about escapism for me, sort of creating spaces where I feel safe so I love it a lot. I feel like there’s a lot you can do in ambient music like dealing with catharsis and portraying emotions in a purely sonic way that I really like. I guess hip hop would be the third. It just feels like a genre that keeps getting weirder and weirder and is really open to change.

Have you ever thought about making living out of your blog or music? 

I used to think I wanted to make a living off of music writing but the more I think about it the less appealing it seems to me. I don’t know, I guess there’s a fear if becoming really jaded or hating writing once it becomes my job.

Have you ever thought about stopping doing your music blog? 

Funny that you should ask because I’ve been thinking a lot about ending the blog after this year is over. I still love writing but I feel like the blog has sort of run its course at this point. I’ve been doing this for a long time now and I’ve loved it but I might be ready to move on. I’m giving myself the rest of the year to think about it, though. I could easily end up changing my mind.

What was the first record you have ever bought?

First CD I ever purchased was the Paul McCartney Back in the US Tour live album. I actually haven’t listened to it in a while but I used to play it every night before I went to bed on my parents’ boombox. 

Which type of physical media do you prefer and why?

Vinyl is still my favorite form of physical media. My sound equipment honestly isn’t even great enough for me to notice a huge difference between vinyl and high quality digital music but I love having album artwork in a larger, physical form and I think there’s a lot of great stuff you can do with vinyl packaging.

You are also hosting shows. Do you find it difficult? 

I only recently started doing that so I don’t have much experience but the two shows I’ve booked so far have been pretty easy to set up. That’s also because the spaces I booked them at have been really easy to work with and very cooperative.

What was your favorite show you ever hosted? 

Honestly haven’t hosted enough to have a stand out favorite yet. The two shows I’ve set up so far (Secret Mountain / Pebbles / Free Cake For Every Creature / Florist and Margo / Steve Sobs / Noble Oak) have both been really special for me.

Do you prefer music venues or special places, house shows? 

I honestly have no taste in venues besides absolutely loving the Silent Barn here in Brooklyn. It’s the only space I’ve made any real emotional attachment with and that’s just because everyone I’ve encountered there has been fantastic.

Recently you had your first gig. How did it turn out?

It was great! I played with Red Alder and it was such an honor because I’ve been listening to her music since before I even started recording my own. I had a really great time and felt like my set went really well. It made me really excited to play more shows and work on more music in the future.

rafael

Rafael at his first gig

Have you always wanted to write own music and start to play shows?

Yeah I’ve been involved with music since around the 5th grade so I’ve always loved the idea of writing my own music and performing it so it’s been something I wanted to do for a really long time.

How did you decide how your music project should sound like?

I feel like the sound itself happened naturally. I just started trying to make music that was a direct extension of what I was feeling and what I needed to make for myself. Like I mentioned before, ambient music for me has always been about escapism so that’s sort of what I went into this project with in mind, a way of sort of getting away from all the negativity I’ve encountered in my life, creating a safe space for myself because often I don’t feel very safe.

What are your plans with the blog and your music project?

The blog can really go anywhere at this point as I’m not really sure what I’m gonna end up doing with it. As far as my music project goes, I just wanna play a lot of shows and get back to recording soon, maybe release a tape before the end of the year.

Have you ever wanted to start a label?

It was a dream of mine to run a label for a while but now I’m not too sure. It’s definitely a huge investment and I’m not sure if it’s something I could take on given the things I’m working on at the moment. It would be really great to start one some day though.

How did you meet all people in music scene Orchid Tapes, Teen Suicide, FMLY, etc.?

Pretty much through the internet. Most of the time it’s that I make some sort of connection with them online and then we meet in person at a show or something. I feel like this still happens even with local musicians.

Do you find it hard to manage school with your interests?

I actually don’t go to school. I’m working five days a week though which often sucks the inspiration out of me and makes it hard for me to want to be creative or do writing. 

Do you have any specific dream regarding music?

That’s hard to say. I don’t have any long-term goals at the moment that are related to music. The one thing I feel I really want to accomplish is making music that heals people in the same way a lot of my favorite records have helped me through a lot. I’d love to be able to give back in that aspect and help someone through art.

What are your three recent best discoveries?

Big Hush, Ruhe, and sister palace. I found all three of them on bandcamp digs in the past few months and I love all of their work so much. Big Hush and sister palace are more pop leaning type bands that are just really good at songwriting and Ruhe is an ambient artist whose album Chamber Loops has been really inspirational to me lately.

Name one advice you would give other music bloggers based on your experience.

I guess the main piece of advice I’d give is never feel like you have to generate writing on a super strict schedule or else you might feel pressured to write about things you might not even care about that much.

And last two questions. Why did you dyed your hair blonde and why did you changed your middle name to Bandcamp?

Haha well the bleach blonde thing was just a result of me having wanted to do that for a while and finally being pushed to do it after a few of my friends tried it. The Bandcamp thing was based off of a joke someone made about me and my friends where they took a picture of us and said, “wow look they came dressed as bandcamp.” A lot of my friends still don’t let me forget about that so I played along with it and made it my middle name on Facebook (but then they made me get rid of it).

Questions by Filip Zemcik
Answers by Rafael Grafals
Photo by Fairleigh Rose

LAR EADE-GREEN PRESENTING ELLIS OF TRUST FUND

It was the Autumn/ Winter of 2013 and I was living in a flat above a bookshop, which turned out to have a very leaky roof! We would be rudely awoken by a drip, drip, drip and begrudgingly get out of bed to try and collect the rain drops in buckets, with the water seeming to appear from everywhere. It was around this time that I got numerous tweets from Ellis (AKA TRUST FUND) asking whether he could crash on my sofa after playing a gig. The leaky roof did not deter him! These were the days when Ellis was touring lonesome with a little help from Mat Riveire. Fast forward a year or two and he is now playing with a full band and after numerous smaller releases (including a split EP with Joanna Gruesome) has just released his debut album No One’s Coming For Us via Turnstile Music!

I am very happy to present to you my email interview with Ellis from Trust Fund!

Hello, how are you today?

Eurgh, I’m ok. Can’t sleep at the moment and haven’t really spoken to anyone in 4 days cos feeling quite anxious. My dad reads every Trust Fund interview there is though, so dad if you’re reading this, don’t worry.

You have released your debut album ‘No one’s coming for us’ through Turnstile, which is all very exciting….

Yeah, I agree that it is exciting, and a couple of months on it still feels exciting to me so that’s good I guess. They asked to put it out after it was already finished, which surprised me cos i thought it was maybe not recorded well enough for them to want to put out. But they didn’t wanna change anything and they have been very supportive so far, and have let me choose obnoxious artwork (for this album and for the next album).

Reeks of Effort have released ‘No one’s coming for us’ and your EP ‘Don’t let them begin’ on cassette, as well as you having two tracks on Sick of Hits vol.2 limited edition tape… What do you like about cassettes?

Nothing really? I like them fine, but Max who runs RoE is into tapes, and so it’s his choice rather than mine. I guess to an extent it’s about resisting ‘mainstream’ formats or whatever, and trying to create space for yourself away from that, but I think the format is only a small part of doing that — record store day and stuff maybe shows how you can’t keep a format safe from big label interference cos if there’s money there then they will just come back.

When I saw you play in 2013 you were playing solo with a little help from Mat Riviere and you both slept on my sofa. You now have a band behind you, how did that come about?

I think the band just sounded better than me on my own (Mat is a great drummer so that was always good), and I gradually got less confident about playing without them, and enjoying playing with them so much more.

Are the days where you were travelling to shows by public transport and sleeping on peoples sofas behind you!? What are your top survival tips for doing tours on a small budget?

Nooo that is still mainly what is happening. I think we have stayed in a hotel a few times but it has always felt like a bizarre novelty. i don’t have any advice really, sorry. Just do what you want.

You have been on tour supporting your debut album, how do you and your band normally entertain yourself when you are on the road? Have you got any fun tour stories?

We play Jelaball.

When I saw you in Manchester you were all talking about your stage banter! How is your stage banter coming along?

Umm quite badly I think. Roxy has a thing where she makes a joke about “#TheDress” at every show. I think it is pretty hilarious but either people have never heard of the dress in some cities (including Cardiff and London which seems unlikely), or they have a very short/selective memory. It is usually met by silence.

On your 7 date Feb ’15 tour you travelled from Bristol to Glasgow so I am sure you have spent lots and lots of time on motorways. What is your favourite service station?

They are all the same to me except for Tebay which I dislike.

I did a Health degree and can’t help being a little concerned that bands will struggle to have a healthy balanced diet when they are touring. I can just imagine everyone eating copious amounts of crisps from service stations. What is your staple diet when you are on tour?

Umm I have a lot of M&S salads? And a lot of crisps but crisps make me feel bad. Sometimes I sit in a massage chair at the services but they aren’t on and it’s uncomfortable.

What are your favourite veggie/ vegan places to eat?

In Leeds (where I live now) it is probably Grove Cafe or New Ho Garden. Although what I mainly like from New Ho Garden is things in satay sauce, but my friend Emily told me how to make it and now I can do it myself kinda.

What have you been listening to on repeat recently?

Infinity Crush and also just people talking to help me sleep.

I see that you are on the Green Man line-up!! I went there last year and it is such a beautiful festival. What else do you have lined-up for 2015?

Not much else in the summer, maybe another couple of shows. Then Autumn/Winter will be busy hopefully.

You can get yourself a copy of No One’s Coming For Us here

Interview by Lar Eade-Green
Answers by Ellis

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING ANDI DVORAK OF FETTKAKAO

I have met Andi Dvořák at Creepy Teepee festival in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. He was there with bands from his Austrian label Fettkakao based in Vienna. We have not talked a lot, but later I have approached him over internet and we chatted few times. Then I have met him again at another Creepy Teepee and we talked a little bit more. From time to time he sends me news from his label and I am always happy to check it out. Last week I have approached him with few questions about his label and music life as well.

When and why did you start the label Fettkakao?

I started Fettkakao in the summer of 2005. In my understanding, everyone was participating and communicating within the punk community, which I was part of since my early teenage years. I was writing a fanzine, playing in bands and setting up shows w/ friends, so starting a label at age of 25 was doing another one of those things.

What is the story behind the name?

Krawalla from Räuberhöhle (Berlin) was visiting us in Vienna. During her stay at our shared flat, my friend Lisa Max asked Krawalla if she’d already had a fettkakao, she was referring to the way I made Hot Chocolate. From that day on, I was called Fettkakao by Krawalla.

fettkakao

Do you remember your first release?

Of course! It was the the Vortex Rex – Short Attention Span 7″. For me, it was the punkest record/act in our area, but I knew no one around us would put that out. It wasn’t indie enough for the established labels, and it didn’t fit the punk formula of the HC labels.

Which type of physical media do you prefer?

I love vinyl. I was socialized with that medium. Nevertheless, my main focus lies on the artists and the documentation and manifestation of their work.

It is hard to run a label in Austria?

I guess as hard as it is everywhere else. We have an okay funding system here, but shipping prices are very high, and since I don’t intend to release sellable items in the first place, it is always a question if I will recoup the costs.

Have you ever thought about moving to some other country?

Yes, but not because of the label. Also, I really like living in Vienna.

How do you approach bands to be part of your label?

I release music by friends of mine, people I admire and feel connected to, like their art, performance, message and music, I guess.

Do you have a lot of music submissions?

Not that many, people still send me emails though.

What should a band have in order to be released by you?

Something to say? But really, I constantly figure out myself what it is. As said before, my friends make great art and I am still making new friends.

How big is alternative indie scene in Austria, particularly in Vienna? Are you part of some community?

What’s really changed in the last 10 or so years in Vienna is that you always have something interesting happening here. People became active. You’d go out and discover something new: shows, art exhibitions, queer feminist performance festivals – all very punk, very thoughtful. Also labels like Totally Wired or Bachelor – they really keep things moving.

graphikkinder_schrenhuber

Andi and his DJ box

Do you find music reviews important?

Well some write ups never hurt. I still want to share by releasing music.

Do you get a lot of attention in other countries?

Yes. From people like you, luckily. But the thing is that I work locally, because things happen around me. Since my involvement with punk rock, on the other hand, it was communicating around the globe. First letters, fanzines and tape trades, later e-mails and what not.
I still set up shows for touring bands I am a fan of, and also like to tour. I never thought of Fettkakao as an Austrian label, I just happen to live here.

What do you consider as the biggest success with your label?

Being surrounded by a good community, where people are inspired by each other. This is not my success, but I can see how one or more labels could help.

I know you are also working with Mile Me Deaf. Do you enjoy it? How did you met them?

I released a 7″ and an LP and you’ll find MMD tracks on both compilations. Wolfgang was in a band called Killed By 9 Volt Batteries and joined Sex Jams, who released their first single on Fettkakao. Even though it was around much longer, MMD was Wolfgangs little known solo project. By late 2010, I was setting up an MMD show and thought about releasing a 7″. It turned into a band later and they have released 3 records on Siluh, their current label.

What is the toughest part of running a music label and being a manager?

You work with human beings which is wonderful, but it can be challenging sometimes.

Are you able to make a living off of music?

No, I don’t live off it and I never intended to.

You are also part of a band called Lime Crush formed from Fettkakao family. Why did you start that one?

I haven’t had a band in over 10 years, although I helped out and played (mostly bass) in bands I was working with from time to time. But I wanted to be in a punk band again, performing, being part of the writing process, and traveling around. So I asked Panini, Veronika and Nicoletta and they all said yes!

What are your plans with this music project?

We released a 7″ in January, toured a little bit and now have recorded a song for the upcoming Totally Wired compilation. We are doing some shows with Alte Sau from Hamburg in May and then play some shows in Hungary in July. We are working on some more shows in June at the moment as well.

What is your biggest music dream?

Playing with my friends and being able to tour.

What did you listen to when you were a child?

I liked some radio songs, but did not give it much attention. I was more impressed by Ghostbusters and cartoons than by music.

Do you remember the first physical record you ever bought?

It must have been a Credit To The Nation or Therapy? LP. I first listened to stuff my sister had. She introduced me to Rock music.

Name three new bands that are worth checking out.

Kristy and the Kraks, Trash Kit, and Dubais.

Question by Filip Zemcik
Answers by Andi Dvořák
Photo by Peter Schernhuber

Review ~ Molly Drag – Open Casket Hidden Meaning ~ by Lukas Foote

I have said it before, and I will type it again: Molly Drag will have you waving around in a sonic ocean of ambience, despair and heartbreak. The same thing could be said about the newly released Molly Drag song “Open Casket Hidden Meaning.”

Molly Drag - Open Casket Hidden Meaning

At the start of this track, the familiarity of the paulstretch effect is heard. The paulstretch effect was used quite a bit in the Molly Drag fulllength debut: Deeply Flawed. This effect has become a signature, or a characteristic trait for Michael Hansford. Hearing the paulstretch over some slow acoustic picking right off the intro of OPHM gives the song the nostalgic notion of another ambient, nebulous, slow-jam.

The lyrics are very bleak, unpromising, and full of depressing topics such as death (“My coffin thrown into the ground/fills the empty spaces here/I am the blood, you are the crown/She feels the bodies buried here.”), addiction and the bad trips you may conjure up while high (“Addiction always has its waste/but your hands were on my face/and you were suffocating me.”). I would not expect any different subject matters from a song inspired by a funeral.

Molly Drag’s Open Casket Hidden Meaning is part of a 15-track compilation by MD’s label Hellur Records entitled “I Still Call You My Friend”. It is currently available up on Bandcamp for the ideal hipster price of “Buy Now name your price” and includes other great tracks on it by label mates such as Claws & Organs and Sorority Noise.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Molly Drag

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING JACK STANSBURY OF PRINCESS REASON

Behind the name Princess Reason you would probably look for a female musician, but the truth is different. Jack Stansbury formerly coming from College Park, Maryland – living now in Los Angeles, has been doing music under this name for a while. I remember following his music from its very beginnings and it always had a special place in my music collection. His songs have a special bedroom lo-fi vibe that is fitting for my taste. We worked a few times on compilations for my website and talk a little bit over Facebook about different music topics for quite some time now. I have decided to do a short interview with him about his music life as Princess Reason.

princess reason

When did you start playing guitar? Why this instrument?

I started playing guitar when I was 14 because my friends played and it seemed like a fun time. I became obsessed with music very quickly. Guitar was the easiest to play, and you can start writing your own songs on it after you learn two chords.

Who was the biggest motivation for you?

My friends that were already playing and trying to create things in a new way. I always drew and made things, but this was something different.

Do you prefer writing music by yourself?

I guess so. I write riffs constantly and then pair them with some words, and eventually a song sometimes emerges. However, when the song is played by the band the other players bring their own compositions to it and it changes. I prefer when what I’ve done alone is brought together with other contributions.

What is the toughest part of writing process?

Turning a riff into something that sticks, that i actually want to play over and over again.

What are the sources of inspiration for your lyrics?

With lyrics I mostly approach them as an element that complements the sound of the song. The actual words come from observations, characters, a mix of things.

Have you ever thought about stopping doing music?

Not really, it seems like I can’t stop making it. It’s just a part of what I do on a basic level.

Your songs have specific sound. How did you achieve that?

I think it’s probably my voice, it isn’t particularly good but it’s different. With my home recordings a specific sound developed just out of my limitations.

How did you end up with name Princess Reason?

Princess Reason is the name of a character from the book The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It is a book with a lot of puns, it’s one of my favorites. It is worth checking out, and definitely worth showing your kids (if you have any).

You have moved to California. What was the reason? Do you miss your hometown?

I moved to California to work in film, but I wasn’t very happy in LA and I came back to Baltimore. I’m very glad to be back home. I met some nice people in Los Angeles that I remain friends with, but it wasn’t for me.

Did the moving affect your music?

Not really in any kind of sound or genre way, I had less access to recording equipment in LA so that changed my recorded sound a little bit. I didn’t have drums so i used a keyboard drum track, and my amp was my roommates bass amp.

You were part of college label Tricot Records. Was it hard to have left it behind?

It is something I miss, but I also realize nostalgia isn’t worth spending a lot of time with.

You are planning a new release. What should listeners expect?

This is the first release to be recorded with a full band. I’ve been very lucky to play with great people. Mike (Drums) and Morgan (bass, vocals) are terrific musicians. It’s also the first release to be recorded outside of my room. We recorded the songs here in Baltimore with Chester Gwazda and the sound quality and mixing has significantly improved. He was awesome to work with and I think the recordings reflect it.

What your plans with Princess Reason? Do you have any musical dreams?

I’d like to keep making songs and playing with friends. That’s about all I need from it.

What did you listen to when you were a child?

When I was young it was probably mostly Beatles and Stones. The first CD I bought was “Big Willie Style” by Will Smith.

Which musicians inspire you the most?

My inspirations change but I’m I’ve been pretty consistently inspired by musicians and bands like Silkworm, Double Dagger, Malkmus, and a whole bunch more in a list that would be boring to read.

Name three recent albums that you find very good.

Peals “seltzer” tape, Romantic States self titled. My friends Ratburn put out a new record in January that is very enjoyable called “uncertain origins”.

Question by Filip Zemčík
Answers by Jack Stansbury
Photo by Megan Lloyd

Review ~ iris – Haunt Me ~ by Lukas Foote

If you’re looking for a band that’s a suiting fit to play aloud at your funeral, then look no further, because Toronto’s 4-piece Emo-Shoegaze band iris delivers a haunting and depressing soundtrack.

This 5-track EP entitled “Haunt Me” was released this passing Valentine’s Day and is consistently filled with a combination of strong bass lines, glistening reverb/chorus guitar tones, heavy crashes on drums and your typical washed out, trance-like vocals.

The lyrical content on Haunt Me is very minimalistic, by that I mean all the song lyrics are short, very somber and resemble short poems rather than traditional song lyrics. Nonetheless, iris leaves the listener to interoperate the undeniable synergetic chemistry between vocalists Danielle Clark and Brad Garcia’s lyrics. Such tracks like Ragdoll: “I’m ripping at the seams/That you helped me sew/Shove your kind words in my wounds/Try to save me so” showcase the depressing atmosphere that Haunt Me is built upon, and how the EP offers no sight of hope.

What I like about iris’ EP the most is the overall heaviness compacted into it. The intensity is conveyed throughout the EP in the form of piercing- hard-hitting drums and cymbals on behalf of Matt Tomasi and as well as rhythmic, crying bends from a combination of Scott Downes and Brad Garcia’s guitar work.

Every single track on Haunt Me gives off the utmost sense of despair and melancholy; these adjectives come so naturally when describing the final track on the EP “This isn’t goodbye…” The song starts outs with a solo guitarist slowly playing through the intro, what follows is a unsettling pause that communicated more emotion then what could have been vocalized. And just when you thought that the pause was going to last an eternity, the profound sounds of cymbal crashes and grave guitar chords reinvigorate the listener and keeps them captivated through the other half of the song, “This isn’t goodbye…” certainly delivers.

I would strongly recommend iris’ Haunt Me (and their Killers cover too) to anyone that has an underlying passion for multi-layered, dominant sounding shoegaze that resembles bands like Slowdive or Whirr.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Iris

Review ~ Kane Strang – Blue Cheese ~ by Berkley Bragg

In some ways, Kane Strang’s debut release, Blue Cheese, is much like that of it’s Dunedin, New Zealand predecessors from the “Dunedin Sound” era of Flying Nun Records and Propellor Records. As a fully cohesive record, however, Blue Cheese creates a layer of sound that the records of the 1980’s were unable to do, blending the lo-fi aesthetic these bands crafted with a more clear and pristine recording technique.

There is something oddly familiar, yet so peculiar in the sound of Blue Cheese. The atmospheric presence on, “Full Moon, Hungry Sun” may play a part in that feeling as it encompasses an expanse much farther than it really is. It is easy enough to imagine this track being played on a grassy lawn to thousands, almost in a headlining festival ambiance but the actual recording feel’s much more intimate. Blue Cheese works with the same lo-fi sounds that have become so commonplace to find on Bandcamp with the rise of artists like Mac Demarco, however, Kane Strang recasts this typical sound with more depth, more accentuated songwriting, and a clearer focus.

In all, Kane Strang has taken something that has become so prevalent and abounding in the independent music sphere and turned it on it’s head to make something meaningful and memorable. Each track from Blue Cheese is inherently different in it’s own right, making for a really captivating listen, begging for more and more attention from it’s keen listener.

Text by Berkley Bragg
Photo by Kane Strang

Berkley runs music blog passwords2tracks.com

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING JUDE NOEL OF HALF GIFTS

Despite the fact that I have never met Jude in person, we are pretty close. Especially when we are talking about music. We both run blogs and small (cassette) labels. Additionally, he publishes a small B/W zine in small editions. We have collaborated in several ways. The last thing we worked on together was a compilation for Valentine’s day. This short description fits to a young blogger Jude Noel from Half-Gifts living in Kentucky. Recently, he celebrated his 17th birthday, so I asked him few questions about his music endeavoring.

jude noel

How did you start doing your blog?

It started out in early 2012. I was starting to take an interest in writing at the same time that I was getting into bands like Wild Nothing and Craft Spells. I would always talk to my friends and parents about albums I was enjoying, but nobody I knew seemed to share the passion for discovering new music that I did. I decided to set up Half-Gifts as a music “diary” of sorts, a way to channel my interest into something constructive.

How old were you when you started your blog?

When I first started I had just turned fourteen. I feel like my age was something that made people interested in my reviews at first, so it definitely gave me an advantage when it came to attracting readers early on. Now that I’m seventeen, I find it fun to look back and see the progression of my writing and music tastes over time.

What was your motivation to start digging deeper in music scenes?

I remember during the summer after I finished fifth grade I was really starting to take an invested interest in music after watching Explosions in the Sky and The Decemberists play live on an episode of Austin City Limits. Besides the CD copy of Belle and Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister that my parents kept in the car, it was the first indie music I was exposed to. The Explosions In the Sky set affected me in particular. I remember waiting for one of the members of the band to start singing, but it never happened. I was transfixed by the quiet intensity of each person on stage and the minimal, intricate guitaristry. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. I went out to Border’s Books and bought a copy of The World Is A Cold Dead Place soon afterward, which I listened to constantly. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite albums.

Discovering Bandcamp was what really got me deeper into underground music. The idea that someone’s bedroom recorded album can be heard instantly over the internet fascinated me and, as a person who can be obsessive about his interests, I began to spend a lot of my free time using the site to browse new shoegaze and chillwave music. From then on, Bandcamp browsing has been the main factor in what I listen to.

How do you manage going to school and blog?

School will always come first for me. Whenever I have a lot of free time to myself at home, I make it a point to take advantage of that and spend some of it working on material for Half-Gifts. Sometimes I’ll write a review on my lunch break in the library.

Are your classmates reading your blog? Did anyone want to contribute?

My closest friends have checked the blog out, but it seems like most of the readership is pretty far removed from me. It’s cool knowing that I can connect with people all around the world, though!

And not really, I have had a few people submit reviews to me and usually I’m more than happy to publish fan-written work.

How did you come up with idea of printed zine?

I picked up an issue of King Cat Comics at Shake it Records and found it beautifully intimate and personal. I see an issue of a zine as an open letter to all who stumble upon it and King Cat’s peaceful, zen-like approach to cartooning resonated with me, making me seek out more independent publications like it and ultimately to start a zine of my own.

Is it cost efficient to print your zine?

I usually break even by the time all the orders come in.

How long does it take to actually make it?

Usually two to three weeks. It takes a while to plan and compile interviews, but writing the reviews is quick and fun when I get into a groove.

How do you choose content for each issue?

I try to keep Half-Gifts as a record of my evolving tastes, so whatever I happen to be listening to at the time of publication is what I choose to include. This approach tends to give each issue a good variety of genres and sounds for me to write about.

Is your dream in the future to publish in a proper magazine about music?

That would be really cool! I love seeing my work in print; it makes it feel more “official”. My dream is honestly just to keep doing Half-Gifts! I have fun doing it and it gives me a sense of purpose. No matter what happens with Half-Gifts, I’ll be happy as long as I’m still writing about the music I enjoy.

Do you prefer working alone?

Yeah, I’m really particular about the image of my work. I like for everything down to the design of the blog to reflect my personality and state of mind. I want it to be a diary of sorts. But if I enjoy someone’s artwork or their writing and they’re interested in submitting material for the zine I’m totally cool with it!

How do you choose bands for your reviews?

I usually choose whatever I’m most enjoying at the moment whenever I get the chance to sit down and write. I make sure to write about music that’s fresh in my mind. The main criteria for what I review is that it has to be beautiful, minimal and intimate. If an album fulfills those three requirements, I’m probably going to like it enough to give it a review.

Do you read reviews on other sites?

Yup! When I do, I check out Cassette Gods and Raised By Gypsies. (and Start-Track of course!)

What do you think about writing negative reviews?

I refuse to do it, at least on my personal blog. Since I’m reviewing pretty obscure music, I feel like it would be destructive to hit them with a bad review. I prefer to make honest recommendations rather than to tear an album to shreds. If I were reviewing more well-known albums for a larger magazine/website, then I’d feel more comfortable panning an album. There’s so much negativity out there and I find positivity more rewarding.

Do you think there is something like an ultimate taste?

As long as you are actively seeking out new music and are willing to give anything a shot, your taste is the ultimate taste! Sounds kind of corny, but it’s something that’s taken me a long time to figure out.

What do you think of sites like Pitchfork?

I check them out occasionally, but I don’t have much of an opinion one way or another. I wish they’d review more bandcamp albums, though.

Is your taste progressing as you are getting older?

For sure. When I first started the blog I listened almost exclusively to shoegaze and chillwave. Now I’m into a much greater variety of music. I’m mostly into twee-ish stuff at the moment. I listen to a lot of c86, PC Music and lo-fi pop these days. I’m starting to listen to more pop music too, haha. I like Chris Brown’s “Loyal” more than I’d like to admit, and I’ve started to get into Madonna.

Do you play music yourself?

I make little song sketches on Garageband for fun. Making shoegaze and Yung Lean inspired hip-hop is fun for me as I love to layer guitar riffs and synths on top of each other.

Did you ever want to be in a band?

Yeah! It’d be fun! I’m always down to collaborate on music with new people.

What your plan for future with your blog/label?

Just to keep doing what I’m doing and to have fun with it! I’d like to come out with a t-shirt or something, though. That would be neat.

Name three songs that have been stucked in your head recently.

Madonna – “Live To Tell”, Jessica and the Fletchers – “Air Balloon Road”, Earl Sweatshirt – “Grief”

And lastly, name three bands that had shaped your music taste the most.

Wild Nothing, Tiger Trap, Cocteau Twins

Questions by Filip Zemčík
Answers and photo by Jude Noel

http://half-gifts.blogspot.com/

Review ~ Chips Calipso – I Walked Outside and Felt the Sun ~ by Lukas Foote

It’s been a full year since the ever so famous gapped tooth rockers album “Salad Days” by Mac Demarco has greeted the publics’ ears. You may ask yourself: “Where is this young, care free music being produced at?”. The secret is this kind of youthful “slacker” rock music is hiding down south, or down under, depending on how you look at it. It is in the form of a fellow by the name: Chips Calipso, hailing from Melbourne, Australia.

IWOAFTS EP COVER

I never quite understood the music coming from Australia but I did know that it was catchy and damn good. Chips Calipso’s “I Walked Outside and Felt the Sun” is consistently filled to the Olde English brim with weird intros that intrigue and captivate you immediately upon listen. Time after time throughout this EP you can hear the solid use of vocal and guitar effects. The EP takes you through a wide variety of genres ranging from indie dream pop to psychedelic garage rock in the matter of 30 minutes.

What I found really creative on “I Walked Outside…” was the vocals. This EP included your classic surf rock, reverbed, washed out vocals, but they had different tones of vocal reverberation on various tracks throughout. It was enjoyable to here a new vocal take on reverbed, melancholic vocals especially in this genre of surf rock/slacker. Such tracks as Dehiwala Junction you can hear some distant, echo-ey reverb to the vox and there were songs like The Pines 2009 which had a scratchy, smudged, gritty reverberation to it. Chips Calipso uses an array of vocal effects. Whether or not that was his intention on “I walked Outside…” I still found it to be ingenious, very imaginative as well as a great expansion to the tiny perimeter box that surf rock never seems to step out side of.

Chip Calipso’s “I Walked Outside and Felt the Sun” is compressed with quirkiness, originality and chaotic cohesiveness. If you are a fan of Demarco or Walter TV, I would strongly give “I Walked Outside and Felt the Sun” a thorough listen.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Chips Calipso

Review ~ ACAB Rocky – Truce ~ by Filip Zemcik

When you know a band from its starting point, you can see the whole development of their music. ACAB Rocky from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is one of these cases. I know Samuel Wells since his previous music endeavouring, when he was playing in Jackie Trash. I released their EP on a cassette a while ago. After some time, he decided to begin with a new project and that is how ACAB Rocky was born. The fact is, I have followed them from the beginning and became one of their earliest big fans. I can remember listening to their first two releases, which belonged to my lo-fi lieblings.

Nevertheless, those times have passed and they have come out with a new album and a completely different sound and atmosphere. The truth is, I had a chance to listen to Truce before it was officially released and I was overwhelmed by how they have progressed. At some point, bands decide that it’s time to “grow up” and decide to do a studio album. In the case of lo-fi bands, this transition may harm their uniqueness and make the sound flat, inclining to mainstream ones. However, ACAB Rocky have managed this pretty well, and released a solid album.

To be more specific, the opening song Matches, released as a single before the whole album was out, belongs to those you can listen over and over. The catching phrase “I don’t know what you’re up to, or up against” lingers in your mind forever. The math-rocky riffs in the background are mastered in excellently. The rest of the album is much slower, with various shoegaze passages, and Samuel´s voice slowly singing the lyrics makes you sink into songs even deeper. Additionally, all guitar riffs are completing every single song, and what more in several moments create an amazing dreamy atmosphere.

When listening to songs on loop you are able to discover that little nuances which make every song really unique. Especially in case of Stella, the slow and grungy passages of the leading guitar are made in perfect balance. The best way to fully grasp the essence of the whole album is to put headphones on, play it loudly and enjoy every bit of it. I like how ACAB Rocky has moved their sound to a more mature level and songs are full of hidden gems.

Truce definitely belongs to your playlist and you should head to their bandcamp and buy their music. I wish they could get a bigger buzz for such great piece of music. Moreover, I am looking forward their further albums. I expect even greater pieces, which will shine in my (not only digital) music collections. I am really glad I have come across this band through my blog. ACAB Rocky belongs to the best young bands in the current music scene in Canada.

Buy a cassette via Hacktivism Records.

Read an interview with Samuel Wells from ACAB Rocky.

Text by Filip Zemcik 
Photo by ACAB Rocky

Review ~ Us & Us Only – Bored Crusader ~ by Rob Arcand

Sometimes I wonder about a time when music was not only an IRL manifestation of online content. When everyone bombs the internet with aggressive PR emails, glossy VEVO accounts and an overwhelming number of soundcloud links, it’s sometimes crazy how much production goes into online branding for bands who may not have earned it yet. Especially in a genre like ‘emo revival,’ a term which has reached global ubiquity thanks to bands like The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), and You Blew It! *breathes*, it feels like there’s a lot of bands out there aggressively marketing hundreds of ho-hum releases that make even the most devout emo fans roll their eyes.

In comes Us & Us Only; a few days ago, the Baltimore legends quietly released a stunning three-track EP titled Bored Crusader over on Steep Sounds and within the its brief 8-minute run time, the release packs an incredible punch of crass guitar harmonies, subdued synth lines (do I hear a violin?!) and impressive arrangements and production. Fronted by Kinsey Mathews, Us & Us Only has been making noise in the Baltimore scene for the last few years, quietly putting out a string of stunning releases online. After seeing these guys open for Attic Abasement this summer at Club K, I was floored by their live presence, which on this release, they’ve paired perfectly with some hi-fi elements of a Topshelf-tier mainstay, while maintaining a sound that carved out their place as hometown heroes to begin with.

On “Hex,” Matthews bellows, “Traverse the town by broomstick/ Leave home/ Fake sick/ Traverse the town by broomstick/ Lay low/ Move quick.” These heartfelt lines about cutting toxic relationships become a manifesto as the band thunders into the track’s most climactic moment. As the EP proceeds, tracks cover themes of loss, loneliness and the afterlife with the poise and nuanced talent of a skilled lyricist who’s clearly put time in the craft.

I’m continually left thinking, for once, about just how honest these tracks feel. After growing slightly tired of emo-leaning things as a whole, this EP sits in a really refreshing place and a testament to what I found in emo to begin with: honest lyrics, soaring energy and an unmatched sincerity not seen elsewhere in the music industry. If anything, these tracks have got my heart racing at the thought of a potential full-length from these guys and, more wholly, I’m left feeling optimistic about the state of emo (or ‘emo revival’) in 2015 thanks to little bandcamp gems like this one.

Text by Rob Arcand
Photo by Us & US Only

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Review ~ you bury me by PINE ~ by Lukas Foote

If you enjoy sweet, innocent vocal melodies and songs about heartbreak and cigarettes, then Ottawa’s Indie-Ambient-Emo band – PINE will suffice your needs.

PINE 2

PINE’s you bury me was produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Cory Bergeron at Pebble Studios in Ottawa. The simplistic yet colourfully intriguing album artwork was done by Kyan De Vere. The EP’s title: you bury me is the English translation of the Arabic word “Ya’aburnee” which according to PINE’s Bandcamp means “A declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them” and that’s exactly what PINE’s debut EP is bursting at the seams with in the form of lyrical content on the issues of abandonment and wrenching heartbreak.

What I find really impressing about you bury me is how PINE can communicate such immense sadness all in just a sheer 15 minutes. Every song on this EP is packed with such dreamy reverbed guitar tones. The drumming is crisp yet steady while maintaining a heavier style. Not to mention the gentle female vocals to accompany the songs as well as the noteworthy tempo changes from drawn-out intros to rhythmic/clashing outro’s.

One of the most creative things I dug on “you bury me” was the second track off the record “Father//Layla”. The first verse of the song is directed at the Father from Layla’s (his Daughter) point of view. The second verse tells the story from the father’s perspective, which gives the song a new dimension that we don’t see in music nowadays I feel. It is a unique way to compile a song because it gives the listener emotional vibes that that resonates with us in a connective way that not many songs get across.

PINE’s you bury me will have you not only wet head-to-toe, drenched in a whirling pool of reverb, but also by the tears you will inevitably shed after listening to this huge of an EP.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Pine

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING SAMUEL WELLS OF ACAB ROCKY

Samuel Wells is a young musician from Victoria, British Columbia. I first came across his name when I started listening to Jackie Trash and later on released their album on cassette. He then started a new band called ACAB Rocky with similar lo-fi sound as JT. This year he released two ambient albums under his own name. However, now he and his pals from ACAB rocky are going to release their new studio album. When I first heard the new single Matches, I immediately fell into it and have decided to ask Sam a few questions about his music projects and his life in Canada.

sam wells

You are releasing in the near future a new album with a completely different sound than previous releases. How have you decided to do your studio album?

Well we have always just made the music that was appealing to us. When we started working on a new studio album, we were listening to a lot of math rock, and emo music so naturally it melded into what we were doing.

Did you have a clear idea before recording how the new album will sound?

Both yes, and no. When we went to Vancouver to record we definitely knew we wanted all the layered guitar parts, but a lot of the synth work that shows up on the EP was added during the mixing stage, and just came of experimentation.

ACAB Rocky is three-piece band. Do you have a lot of time to practice?

We practice pretty frequently to stay tight for shows.

What’s the story behind your name?

When we first started the project we just chose it as a joke. “ACAB” is a very typical punk saying that we just thought was sort of funny. Eventually the band name will change, but it’s alright for now.

You are all pretty young. Are you on the same page with the plans for the band?

We like to take things one step at a time. I think we all definitely want to tour, and put out another record in the near future. Other than that though we haven’t thought a whole lot about what exactly we’re going to do.

I assume you are all from Canada. How did you guys all met?

Well, Oliver (drums) and I grew up together as kids. We’ve known each other for about 13 years now. As for Colt (bass) about 3 years ago we started a very short lived punk band with another friend of ours which Colt was a part of. When ACAB started playing live we needed a bassist so we brought in Colt, and he has since become a full time member of the band.

Does your hometown of Victoria have any music community?

Indeed it does. It has a huge punk and metal community. As well as fairly sizeable folk community. Victoria is a pretty artistic town so there is always plenty going on.

Which bands from your area would you recommend to listen to?

Pinner and is a great lo-fi garage-y band that I love very much. Also Woolworm (who are actually from Vancouver) is as extremely underrated band.

Have you ever thought about moving somewhere else? Where it would be?

Being that we’re all still in High School it’s hard to say exactly what will happen, but I think Oliver and I plan to move at some point. I’ve always found places like Olympia appealing, but as of late have also been considering Montreal.

Recently you have started a solo project with a more ambient, experimental feel. Have you been creating the songs for a longer time period or it is just a recent thing?

For quite a while now I’ve loved ambient and experimental music. Maybe 4-5 months ago I just started making it out of boredom, and found it extremely enjoyable. I threw it online to see if anyone would be interested, and it’s been going quite well. I plan to release a full length sometime in the middle of this year.

Which bands have shaped your music taste when you were growing up?

I grew up on some modern classics like Neutral Milk Hotel, and bands of that sort, but a few artists who have shaped what I do would be Mount Eerie/The Microphones, Steve Reich, Tim Hecker, Swans, Slint, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Women.

Was having a band your dream? How did you come to play music?

I grew up around a lot of music. My father, brother, and cousin are all professional musicians so I think it was implanted in my head at a young age that I could in theory do that. I always played some kind of instrument, but it wasn’t till I turned 15 that I started taking it a bit more seriously.

What do you find the most difficult about writing lyrics? What’s your inspiration?

I have trouble writing directly about myself. I find it easier to just write about characters. Even when singing in first person it’s more than likely not directly referencing myself. I also write a lot of my lyrics while recording, and just see what happens.

What is your biggest dream regarding the ACAB Rocky or your solo project?

Personally I’d love to see something I put out get a vinyl release, as I collect vinyl myself.

And here is the new ACAB Rocky’s single:

Questions by Filip Zemcik
Answers by Samuel Wells from ACAB Rocky

Review ~ Fox Academy – Luxury Beverage ~ by Rob Arcand

What it sounds like: Julia Brown, Adore, 1996, flatsound

Cutesy music in 2015 is nauseating; as ukulele youtubers and casiopop bandcampers consistently churn out different shades of the same regurgitated twee novelty, the Internet often feels incredibly over-saturated with a feigned claim to cuteness. With every scan through new releases, the amount of simply weak attempts at ‘indie’ endear we’re continually inundated with as listeners is overwhelming.

Luxury Beverage, the new album from Portland duo Michael Todd Berland and Christian Novelli, understands this; beneath this thinly veiled cuteness, the duo merges a self-aware nuance of this DIY twee aesthetic with eerie, deeply melancholy undertones. The album is continually seeped in a shameless cuteness; with track titles like ‘i see yr cute decor,’ ‘perrywinkle murder mystery,’ and ‘lavender blood’ and continual references to softer colors, stun guns and grape soda, the pair continually return to youthful cuteness and nostalgia thematically. But unlike others that use clichés of cuteness to compensate for a feigned authenticity, Fox Academy seem obsessed with using a clearly transparent cuteness to thinly veil deeper mental health issues. Much like Julia Brown’s first album, to be close to you, Fox Academy use indulgent twee melodies and arrangements from cheap keyboards, jangly guitars and skittering drum machines to craft an endearingly sweet album musically, further adding to the almost uncanny valley effect of the lyrics. Like a cuteness stretched so far that it’s slightly frightening, the album indulges in both the sappy and the sinister; on ‘lavender blood,’ the duo write, “turn into dust it’s dripping from my gums/ its not enough/ stay neat and healthy/ you need to help me.” Lines like this ooze simultaneously sweet and sinister undertones and give the overall feeling of the album the rough equivalent of looking at a discarded doll, one-time occupying a place of love and affection, but now resigned to a dusty and broken place in the bottom of a dumpster far from home.

Where many of the Internet’s pseudo-cute clichés seem to force-feed themselves through cute vibes in an attempt to compensate for a lack of originality, Fox Academy has internalized this cuteness and attempt to use elements of this wide-eyed youthfulness to speak to the more troubling elements of adolescence.  At times, the lyrics seem to recurrently return to troubling, alienating moments of middle class youth. On ‘vampire banquet,’ the duo write, “ivory ceilings burgundy walls, theres blood i can feel it, as we float through the halls/ and as I start to spin the whole room gets dim,” contrasting images of the comforts of a middle class youth (ivory ceilings and burgundy halls as means of wealth and ‘image’ of the suburban middle class) with ambiguously eerie images of blood (could this be a stand-in for self-harm?) and spinning, a clear image of dysphoric disorientation. Ultimately, Luxury Beverage impressively moves beyond many twee clichés to become a deeply nuanced album, oscillating between a self-aware embrace of DIY clichés and the eerie, darker tones of a jaded middle class youth.

Text by Rob Arcand
Photo by Fox Academy

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Review ~ Deeply Flawed by MOLLY DRAG ~ by Lukas Foote

Residing from the same small town as Molly Drag’s founder: Michael Hansford of Midland, Ontario- that has the population of 10,000 people all snuggled right into the shores Georgian Bay is where I was first introduced with Hansford’s musical projects. I was aware of Michael’s music since the other band he’s currently in: The Raspberry Heaven, was just a solo acoustic act, and if you wanted to travel further back into time of the Midland music scene, I would even bring up the first band I ever saw Michael perform in, which would of been the Post-Hardcore band: Demi Cassanova. Whom from what my 13-year-old mind can remember rocked the walls (literally) of Native Friendship Center’s in northern Ontario.

ghost

Molly Drag is Michael Hansford’s newest project however. An emo, experimental, shoegaze one. Majority of this LP was recorded in an apartment building in London, Ontario as well as a place known as Satans Cove also in London. Michael himself produced this LP alongside with Jake Jackman and was entirely mastered by David Newell.

To fully understand and grasp this LP I feel you need to know a bit about where it comes from. Deeply Flawed is derived from stories about Michael himself, stories of his friends/peers and his hometown of bittersweet Midland. A thing that I enjoyed about this LP were that the lyrics in it were not entirely about his own self-struggles and situations, but rather a combination of other stories he has heard through others. The lyrics contained depressing content and a lot to do with emotions, love, drugs and relationships. What I really dug in this LP was the spoken word segments in throughout the album too in such songs as “Upbringing” and “Sacrifices Speak”.

The really creative thing I found notable in Deeply Flawed was the track layout. The track layout of this LP was organized in my opinion to feel as if I were hearing a theatrical performance. The track “Sacrifices Speak” gave me the impression of the song being a reflection/a look back thus far on the record. It served as an intermission break if you would and I found this really artistic.

Another noteworthy thing I found in Deeply Flawed was not only the significant dynamics between the acoustic and electric guitars heard throughout, but also the synergy between Michael and every person featured in this album. Such tracks as “Deflowered” with Ryan Sweet or my personal favourite “Bleeding Out” with Emily Hathaway exemplify this.

Molly Drag’s Deeply Flawed will have you waving around in a sonic ocean of ambience. Rocking you back and forth with the feeling of despair, heartbreak and homesickness…in the greatest way imaginable.

You can buy cassettes and CDs via Hellur Records.

Read interview with Michael Hansford here.

Text by Lukas Foote
Photo by Molly Drag

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING MOLLY DRAG AND THEIR ALBUM DEEPLY FLAWED

Molly Drag is new sad-pop project of Michael Hansford from London, Ontario, Canada. I have known Michael for a long time. We worked together on a cassette release on our label Z Tapes under his other moniker The Raspberry Heaven. He also did two reviews for START-TRACK and we talked a lot about music. Now, his new project Molly Drag has recorded a new 76 minutes long LP, and I have decide to ask him some questions.

michael hansford

The first time I came across your name it was connected to your previous project, The Raspberry Heaven. Why have you decided to start a new one under different name? Does it mean that your old moniker is dead?

The Raspberry Heaven is a band only now. We only write and play shows together. So it’s not a moniker of any sort. Molly Drag, however, is only me. I write it, and sometimes will have a backing band.

Your new album is finished and you posted on your facebook that it depicts your last 4 years. Have you been writing these songs for a longer period of time?

Basically these songs have been kicking around either on paper or in the back of my mind. I kept them messy for a while, and then my good friend Jake Jackman came over and helped me come up with the idea to record a double album. I already had the “molly drag” title in mind for a solo project. The songs poured out very naturally after we started. And for basically two months, I would work, walk an hour home, record all night. It was quite cathartic.

ghost

Is it hard to write and sing about topics that are connected to your life?

Yeah, it’s difficult sometimes.  But also relieving. It feels good after a while.

Most of the songs have sad, emo vibes. Is it coming from your personal feelings or it is a music style you feel good in?

Most of it is storytelling of things that have happened. Some of the stories aren’t even mine, but from friends of mine. It feels good being able to be honest through you art or whatever.

You live now in London, but you grew up in Midland. Do you miss your hometown?

I actually got to visit Midland over the holidays after two years without being back. It was crazy. Living in London is cool, but I will always have a deep love for where I grew up and how beautiful it is in the winter.

molly drag

When you moved to different town, did you try to fit in? Have you became part of a music community?

No. I just went to college. Started meeting people. Went to shows. And then I found myself opening for Bif Naked at Call The Office here in London, and then the music thing turned into a weekly thing. It happened very fast actually.

What are some of your favorite bands in the area you live?

There’s so much good music in London right now. Currently, I’m really into Raised By Swans, Single Mothers, Drew Thomson’s solo stuff, Heart Attack Kids, Hindsight, First Ghost… there’s so much I’m forgetting I think, but yeah, the scene is strong here right now.

Did you ever consider moving somewhere else? To another country?

I would love to move to Boston, or even Philadelphia so I could get to see all my favorite bands, but I’ve always wanted to move to France for the food.

molly drag 2

You work closely with Fog Lake from other part of Canada. How did you become friends with him?

Aaron from Fog Lake and I have been talking for a long time, around 2 years almost. We collaborated on an old Raspberry Heaven song. Then this past summer, we did a short tour together and I filled in as an extra guitarist for his live act. It was so cool because I think his music is absolutely stunning.

Do you have any dreams connected to your music?

I just want to be able to keep recording my own albums and playing shows with other cool people. I really want to start touring more with friends and make new friends.

What are your plans with this new project?

I am hoping to play some shows out in Seattle with the Hellur Records family. Zayn and the guys from the band Mixtape Minus have helped me so much in order to release this album properly. It means so much to me. I really want to go party with those guys.

Have you consider touring USA or other countries?

A tour in the east coast of the states would be cool. I’ve always wanted to play a show in Philadelphia, or New Jersey or something. I really want to travel a lot more this year and would love to tour after I release this album.

Molly Drag’s new album is coming out tomorrow (10/1/2015) on Hellur Records, listen to it here:

Read a review of Deeply Flawed written by Lukas Foote here.

Questions by Filip Zemcik

Answers and photos by Michael Hansford from Molly Drag

Review ~ After Talons’ Demos – Talons’ by Rob Arcand

Growing up on the Internet is hard. With every NPR First Listen or Pitchfork Advance, we’re forced to briefly forget how disposable our music is in 2014 and bury our attention into hopelessly transient SoundCloud clips. For every musician attempting to make it today, it’s especially daunting. Even after the first hit, the first thousand listens, or the first [insert success-quantifying statistic of choice], there’s no guarantee of longevity. For every mildly famous Internet buzz band, there’s always a million who never follow it up with anything and a million who never get such an opportunity.

Buried under years of html compost and digital indifference, one such musician, Mike Tolan, formerly of the modestly-famous post-rock band The Six Parts Seven, has been quietly recording earnest folk songs for close to a decade. The songs, under the name Talons’, are pathetic in the purest sense of the word; steeped in pathos of paying off college debt, working for minimum wage with employees who’ve never heard of the Microphones, and spending late nights on the Internet, Tolan tragically embraces the realities of growing old, lamenting the loss of his twenties and the wide-eyed idealism of his earlier releases, like Songs for Babes and Love in the Time of Panera. On “Tired of IPAs” from his After Talons’ demos, Tolan, once a sneering ‘indie’ elitist, speaks to feeling old in his thirties and shamelessly embracing his own sincerity, singing,

“I got tired of irony when I was twenty/ making fun of everything/ I realized that I actually thought Fleetwood Mac were great/ but when I stopped laughing and tried to grow up/ I just saw the stupid and the sad”

Much like Sun Kil Moon’s recent everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, stream of conscious release Benji, Talons’ crafts songs with frank, plain, and deeply sincere language often unfamiliar in folk music, which regularly has come, to me at least, to feel absorbed in lofty metaphor and seemingly-daunting pseudointellectual absurdity. Each release from the aging Mike Talon wholeheartedly embraces that absurd, almost dysphoric feeling of the division between wanting so badly to relive your twenties as carelessly and recklessly as you once did, now paired with the wisdom and awareness of how awful things turned out living that way.

At the same time, Tolan seems obsessed with aging gracefully, becoming a grandfatherly sage only just beginning his thirties in a world that has been deeply unkind and unforgiving. Lyrically, the songs continually return to resignation with age, as Tolan (and an industry itself which seems to thrive on perpetuating and reinventing youth) asks, “How is it possible for an artist pushing thirty to stay relevant? Is it even worth it to even struggle through the PR hype cycle again?”

This all begs the question, “How do we know when we’ve peaked?” When we’re all pushing thirty, an eternity in years spent scrolling through Tumblr gifs and Facebook engagement photos, is it really possible to continually press onward with the wide-eyed sincerity necessary to make every album seem like our best? Are we forced to churn out hopeless mediocrity in hopes of touching someone? Or does growing up mean resigning to this middle-class purgatory, sitting at work and daydreaming of buying houses in the good part of town or sleeping in on a Saturday. If anything, Talons’ makes me feel a lot less alone with this plunge into an unknown age. This album (and Talons’ music as a whole) is music to grow old to, offering an enormous comfort when we’re all struggling to make sense of things.

Text by Rob Arcand
Photo by Talons’

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Review ~ Twin Visions EP – Grant Ulysses by Lukas Foote

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

FILIP ZEMCIK PRESENTING SKYMNING AND HIS ALBUM REKINDLE

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.

rekindle

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.

skymning

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

VIRGO INDIGO IN EARS OF MICHAEL HANSFORD

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.

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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

WILDERNESS YEARS IN EARS OF FILIP ZEMCIK

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

JUDE NOEL INTRODUCING PILL FRIENDS

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

 

THREE LOVE SONGS IN EARS OF MICHAEL HANSFORD

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””  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