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Post Animal break down their debut album Track by Track: Stream

Track by Track is a new music feature in which we invite our favorite new artists to break down each song on their latest album.

Years of sweaty DIY shows, career shifts, and jam sessions will come to fruition for Chicago neo-psycho rockers Post Animal this week. Tomorrow, the band will embark on a massive headlining tour of North America in support of their debut album, When I Think of You in a Castle. It’s not due out until Friday, but Consequence of Sound is premiering it in full below.

When I Think of You in a Castle began to coalesce during a 2016 retreat in a haunted Michigan lake house where the band began recording in the midst of what drummer Wesley describes as “an uncertain time for us as a band.” In a press statement, he adds, “Before this album, we weren’t sure what the future of the band was going to look like. I was considering moving to Los Angeles and [guitarist] Joe [Keery] was off filming Stranger Things. We didn’t know where we were all going but we knew we wanted to make an album with all of us in the same room.”

Those sessions, which the band describe as “magical,” served to solidify Post Animal’s future as a unit. The band toured extensively in 2017 while bassist Dalton Allison perfected the album’s mix and Jared Hirshland, brother of guitarist/keyboardist Jake, handled mastering. What you hear on the final effort is the sound of a band of brothers, including drummer Wesley Toledo and guitarists Matt Williams and Javi Reyes, connecting over a shared passion for psychedelic, poppy rock. Lead vocals are shared by all — even Keery, who despite not joining the band on the road sings on the peppy “Ralphie” and the sludgier “Gelatin Mode” — a testament to the fact that this is the work of a truly collaborative group of musicians.

Check out the album below:

When I Think of You in a Castle is due out on this Friday, April 20th via Polyvinyl. Pre-order it here. For more on what went into the creation of the record, the band has broken down the album Track by Track.

“Everything All At Once”:
This song didn’t start as an instrumental intro; our early demos had vocal harmonies moving throughout. We recorded it first of the bunch, and set up a few mics on an acoustic guitar and a Casiotone portable keyboard. It started to rain outside, so we opened the window and tracked two takes straight through. In post production, our friend Adam mixed some pads and synth bass in. The instrumental version reminded us of our time at the lake, so we left the vocals off.

“Gelatin Mode”:
The first song we finished for the album. We took segments from the original demo, which we recorded in our basement in Chicago, and organized the intro, verses, and choruses. It needed a climax, so we workshopped riffs until we found one dramatic enough. Before we decided on the lyrics, “Javelin Throw” was the main phrase, then “Gelatin Mold”, and finally “Gelatin Mode”. Don’t be shocked if you hear something else live.

“Tire Eyes”:
This one’s been in the oven for at least three years. The first version was much less frantic with a melodic, meandering guitar riff playing through the verses, which are now very rhythmic. It probably wouldn’t have made the cut for the record, but just before we left to track, we rehabbed it in a jam and fell back in love. We had our friends Mr. Cadien and Mr. Malcom join us for some harmonious joy at the end; Malcom’s responsible for that angelic yell in the finale.

This was the first song we recorded with a live guitar ensemble. Javi had just arrived to start guitars and Dalton was dehydrated and noise-fatigued after recording drum — lying on the porch in woe. We set up the mics in a circle in the living room and decided to start with something difficult. After about 20 tries we had the take of the Ralphie intro that made the record, and with this take we established the way we’d police ourselves for the next tracks to get live takes we’d be proud of.

“Heart Made of Metal”:
Life, in this song, is a person named Lorelei. It’s lyrically about convincing oneself to not fear the change around them, and eventually succumbing to the answerless way we’re all tossed through existence.

Post Animal -- When I Think of You in a Castle

“The Castle”:
When I Think of You in a Castle was originally the title of this song. The short vocal verse is about love, and longing, and using imagination to create a feeling of togetherness. It’s placed at the beginning of Side B as a mostly instrumental breath; some peace before the deep dive that follows.

“Special Moment”:
This song is a response to the pop tunes in the album’s first half, using a quirky half-step progression to create something both off-kilter and digestible. We didn’t have enough headphone inputs or good amps to accommodate all four guitars recording at once, so Jake recorded “Special Moment” headphone-less and through a 10-inch Fender starter amp.

“Victory Lap:Danger Zone”:
Our rowdiest track. It’s about playing through a conflict in your head and building it up until you hit rage, aka the “danger zone.” The meditative end acts like a partial resolution to that inner conflict. Falling in line, but not completely satisfied. For when you’re stuck in a metal box.

“One Thing”:
This song is the slow cooking burner on the record. In the same suit as the end of Victory Lap, it’s about coping with something that you can never get away from. The song arrived at the lake house as only bass and synth. All of the guitar harmonies were written just before recording.

Dirtpicker was the last song we tracked drums for. Immediately after finishing we had to take a break because a cup of coffee spilled all over Dalton’s computer. We had no back up of the two days of work and played a disparaged game of catch in the front yard as the computer dried out. Three hours later, we fired it up and it worked. Everything could’ve ended right there. The computer is fine.

“Susie (Bonus)”:
When you’re done with the record, crack a cold one and take Susie for a spin.

Post Animal 2018 Tour Dates:
04/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
04/19 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
04/20 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
04/21 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
04/27 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
04/28 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
05/02 – Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin
05/03 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
05/04 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
05/06 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival
05/24 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
05/25 – Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha
05/26 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
05/29 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
05/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
05/31 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
06/02 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
06/04 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
06/05 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
06/06 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
06/09 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/11 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
06/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
06/16 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
06/17 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
06/18 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
06/19 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
06/21 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
06/22 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
06/23 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
06/26 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
06/28 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
06/29 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Front Room
06/30 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry

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High Sunn details the Origins of new single “I Thought You Were There”

Origins is a recurring new music feature in which a musician breaks down the various influences of their latest track.

With his 2017 debut EP, Hopeless Romantic, San Francisco’s Justin Cheromiah offered a peek into his world of young love and heartache. Now, the 18-year-old indie songwriter known as High Sunn will expanded on that release with his full-length debut album, Missed Connections.

Due out May 4th through PNKSLM, the album picks up where High Sunn’s EP left off. The record touches on all the uncertainty and fears associated with growing up — the unrequited crushes, fluctuating feelings, and a sense of being without direction. It also sees the multi-cultural Cheromiah (he’s of Native American, Chinese, German, and Filipino descent) teaming up again with producer Dylan Wall (Craft Spells, Naomi Punk).

Today, Consequence of Sound is premiering a new song off the LP, “I Thought You Were”. Here, Cheromiah channels his love of ’90s indie rock — think the whimsy and chunky, angular guitars of Built to Spill or Modest Mouse. “I thought you were there/ But when I opened my eyes I saw nothing but air/ Was it a disguise?” he asks in search of a loved one. “Where are you?”

Take a listen to the track below.

For more insight into the new offering, Cheromiah has detailed the various inspirations that helped bring “I Thought You Were There” to fruition. In addition to the music of Coldhart and Richie Jen, boba tea and skateboarding played an important role.

Ocean Waves:

This film really inspired me to create a lot of the songs on the album. The whole scenario that the character was in seemed to be very cute and innocent. I rewatched this about 5-6 times. It’s one of Ghibli’s underappreciated films that deserves far more recognition. Anime in general really influenced the making of “Missed Connections”. I spent a lot of time watching several series/movies. Haha ew huh. In particular, the song, “Kokuhaku”, is the most significant product that came from watching the anime. The cliches in anime are perfect.

Coldhart — “I Don’t Wanna Die In California”:

Coldhart has always seeped into my playlists. He is one of my favorite artists actually. I had the opportunity to work with him and release his tapes, which is something I never would have imagined. Well, at the time I recorded the album, this specific song was on repeat. The depressive and emotional nature of the song comforted me in a way and played some influence in the writing process.


screen shot 2018 04 11 at 9 46 23 pm High Sunn details Origins of new single I Thought You Were There: Stream

Everyday I used to get boba (milk tea). Instead of eating a meal for lunch, it would be boba. I would skip a meal to get my fix after school. It’s super unhealthy, but soooo good. Hahaha. I remember that I would have either Jasmine Milk Tea or WinterMelon Tea next to me whenever I wrote a song. I even had my drummer, Joe, go on a boba run when we recorded in studio.


When I wasn’t writing or watching anime, I was outside skating. It’s a form of therapy that either helped clear my mind or think more deeply. It’s good to take a break from writing music and doing something else you really like. If I didn’t get outside and skate, I would have probably lost my mind.

Richie Jen — “Too Softhearted”:

This song is a must listen. I occasionally revisit this song because of how cheesy (but good cheesy) it is. It’s a classic. This is the OG of emo music hahaha. I can feel Jen’s heartache through his soft cries. It definitely accompanied me when I was writing the album.

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The Nude Party detail Origins of new track and video “Chevrolet Van”

Origins is a recurring new music feature providing artists a platform to dig into the influences of their latest single.

Considering the odds, it’s understandable that some folks aren’t completely on board with the idea of chasing the rock and roll dream. Passion and even talent can only take you so far, they may argue, and this whole music business thing is such a crapshoot anyway. If you started your career playing naked parties in a Boone, North Carolina college house like The Nude Party did, the prospects may seem even more dubious. But as the garage psych sextet make clear in their new song “Chevrolet Van”, they’d rather enjoy themselves playing tunes and traveling in a van than wearing a suit and tie.

The lead single from the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut (out July 6th via New West Records), “Chevrolet Van” captures all the pleasures of performing music with your best buds in its easygoing, barroom twang. In the accompanying band-directed video, The Nude Party give a tongue-in-cheek response to anyone who would tell them to pursue any other occupation. Interspersed with scenes of the six-piece imagining slacking off in a boring office life are clips of them playing in a dusky dive. It may not be the most glamorous life, but flash forward a few decades and The Nude Party — now played by their actual fathers — are still completely content to be rocking out in the same rundown bar.

Check out the clip below.

For more on what inspired “Chevrolet Van”, The Nude Party’s Patton Magee and Connor Mikita have broken down a few of the track’s real-life Origins. Check those out below.

Our Ford Econoline E350, “Aubustus Gibbons”:

screen shot 2018 04 11 at 12 06 51 pm The Nude Party detail Origins of their new track and video Chevrolet Van: Watch​​Photo via Facebook

At the onset of our first big tour, we were gifted a Ford Econoline E350 Van from bassist Alec’s family. It’s a hulking Army Green 16-passenger workhorse that they used to take on family vacations. With some modifications like creating a combo bed / gear storage space, burglar-proofing the back door, and adding an external luggage box on top, we’ve made Aubustus Gibbons into a mobile headquarters. And it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that we spend half of our lives in that van.

We would’ve called the song “Ford Econoline Van” but that just doesn’t have the same ring that “Chevrolet Van” has. Maybe someday when Aubustus retires, Chevrolet will give us one of theirs in exchange for the free advertising. — Patton Magee

Letter from Pops:

simpons fatherly advice The Nude Party detail Origins of their new track and video Chevrolet Van: Watch

My brother spent a while in Asia backpacking around, and had loose plans to move to Korea for a while and teach English. Essentially he just wanted to go on an adventure. Upon hearing this, our grandfather sent him a letter detailing how he aught to amend his plans and start focusing on narrowing down his career options and select one to stick with forever. “You are a juncture at which I think you should be focusing on setting goals… and beginning to narrow the choices of a career… I wonder if the plan to teach English to Koreans would further your career path.”

The letter was absolutely meant in good faith, and definitely came from a place of love, but it demonstrates that rift in reality between us and the old school traditionalists. Our song is a tongue-in-cheek response to that letter. It’s a counterpoint to the idea that your life should just be constant preparation for the future. — PM

DIY Touring, One Tour Especially:

15940702 638343259678398 41488068015499515 n The Nude Party detail Origins of their new track and video Chevrolet Van: Watch

​​Photo via Facebook/Kyle Foy

In the spring of 2016, near the beginning of our touring days, a relentless email attack paid off with an offer to open a few shows for The Growlers on their Chinese Fountain tour in Florida. Immediately we agreed to the tour understanding that we’d have to book quite a few dates through Florida ourselves to fill in the gaps around The Growlers shows. We arrived in Orlando for our first show together, and parked our trash filled, steamy air condition-less van next to The Growlers massive tour bus. The place was sold out, one of the biggest crowds we’d ever played for. People were asking for our autographs and buying tons of our merch, we felt like little celebrities.

Riding high on this wave of good fortune, we began our self-booked leg of the tour in St. Augustine at Shanghai Knobbys. Immediately we noticed something awry when the aged, flickering marquee outside the bar simply read “Patton”. Our confusion quickly faded as we realized the bar’s tragic mistake in assuming Patton’s name when signing off emails was actually our band name. As we were shrugging off this minor miscommunication, from the dark wooded edge of the parking lot appeared an ork-like man in an ankle length leather trench coat who claimed to be filling in for the normal bartender. Upon telling him that the bar was locked, he told us he didn’t have a key and quickly began breaking in to the bar through a side window and climbed in over the jukebox. The show we played ended up being double booked with an open mic night which favored us because the two other performers were the only audience members. No one else showed up.

To wash off the shame of this humbling show we decided that an inebriated midnight skinny dip in the Atlantic was in order. This went successfully, but when we returned to the spot we had left our clothes we realized someone had taken everything. Inside of these clothes were most of our wallets and cell phones which were never recovered and naturally complicated the rest of the tour. Thankfully, Patton was able to throw up on most of the inside of the van which was then steam broiled in the Florida heat.

This tale is a snippet of the memories created when living nomadically almost year round. Times like those make us wonder if good stories are worth many of the sacrifices made to chase that neon rainbow. They usually are. — Connor Mikita

Pre-orders for The Nude Party are going on here. You can also catch the band on tour with Sunflower Bean and Ron Gallo at the dates below.

The Nude Party 2018 Tour Dates:
04/11 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room *
04/12 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge *
04/13 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
04/15 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent *
04/17 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium *
04/18 – VIsalia, CA @ The Cellar Door *
04/19 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room *
04/21 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
04/22 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *
04/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
04/24 – El Paso , TX @ Lowbrow Palace *
04/26 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
04/27 – Austin, TX @ Levitation Music Festival
04/28 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
04/29 – Houston , TX @ Satellite Bar
05/01 – Memphis, TN @ Growlers
05/03 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East
05/04 – Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
05/05 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern
06/01 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery ^
06/02 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel ^
06/03 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Back Room ^
06/05 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor ^
06/06 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 ^
07/05 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade

* = w/ Ron Gallo & Twen
^ = w/ Sunflower Bean

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Preoccupations share a Track by Track breakdown of their new album, New Material: Stream

Our recurring new music feature, Track by Track, sees an artist breaking down each and every song on their latest record.

On the last lyrics on the band’s third album, New MaterialPreoccupations lead singer Matt Flegel snarls over and over again, “And we can’t help ourselves.” Sure, he describes the album as an “ode to depression” and some of the songs deal with the inevitability of death and the possibility of nuclear holocaust, but there’s a chance that the line actually means something else – the post-punk band’s obsession with tinkering in the studio.

Several times throughout our lengthy, beer-fueled conversation in Flegel’s quaint, new apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, multi-instrumentalist Scott “Monty” Munro seemed like he was speaking a different language. He talked at lengths about the various gadgets he used to create the band’s behemoth of a new record, their first since 2016’s self-titled effort. Recorded entirely by Munro, New Material was built on a steady diet of psychedelics, very late nights, sci-fi movies on mute, and lots of beer. There was also constant travel, as the band recorded in a 100-year-old schoolhouse in a small town in British Columbia, an Airbnb in Los Angeles, a hotel room in Rosarito, Mexico, a cabin in Montana, and Arcade Fire member Richard Reed Perry’s Montreal studio.

But throughout all of those intoxicated middle of the night recording sessions, the band maintained their constant mission to experiment. “My perfect goal for a record would be to have something that you know is rock music but you can’t tell what any of the instruments are,” Monty explains. Multiple times throughout our interview, I mistook guitars for synths and vice verse, which only goes to show Monty largely succeeded in his goal.

Hear it for yourself by listening to New Material below via Spotify or Apple Music.

With the debate over their former band name finally in the rear-view mirror, the Canadian band was more than happy to explain the influences and stories behind each of New Material’s eight tracks, a bleak – but occasionally beautiful – listen. Find their Track by Track breakdown below.

Scott “Monty” Munro:
I think this was the first one we did. We recorded it in a lot of different pieces. All of the drums in that whole intro, [drummer Mike] Wallace did in one take and I processed the Christ out of them a month later. We recorded the drums that day having no idea that’s how they were going to sound later. We didn’t even get to the sound until we got to Ymer, BC for the second session. For a month, we had just the raw drums and the bass.

MF: Once we got that initial sound, we kind of knew that was going to be the first song on the record. It definitely has a first song vibe. That was one of the first ones we finished and one of the first ones I ended up finishing vocals on, which I usually save until the very, very last second. It’s also one of the most punked out songs, I feel like.

SMM: That one also was when Justin [Meldel-Johnson (M83, Wolf Alice)] approached us about mixing the record. That was the track that was done at the time, so that’s the one that he did the test mix for, which was essentially the mix on the record. They did a few tweaks to it, but the test mix came back pretty much how it is on the record and that’s what led us to deciding to get him to mix the record after that. Plus, starting with rad, weird-sounding drums is a good way to start a record.

No guitars on that song. It’s actually all synth. There’s a sample of Matt playing guitar though.

MF: Here’s the thing: I wrote the guitar parts and we were like, “Let’s do it on synth, but it’s too fast to play on synth, so we’ll slow shit down and then play along with the slowed down thing and then speed it up,” which we did. When we sped it back up, it ended up sounding like guitar anyways. It was a very convoluted way to get to that.

SMM: That was the last song that we did for the record. Also, that one is almost entirely loops. The keyboards and stuff are all played over the top of it, but the rhythm track is just a loop I think for the whole song.

MF: I’m playing some congas on that song! That was a last minute vocal one too. I was kind of scrambling to finalize all of the lyrics and we tried to record some shit when we were in Mexico in a hotel room.

SMM: We used the choruses from the Mexico hotel room. Me, [guitarist] Danny [Christianson] and Flegel were like, “We’re going to finish this song today,” and then we went out and got a giant thing of margarita mix and two bottles of tequila and were just in our hotel room at a resort in Mexico. We just drank all of the tequila.

MF: On the halftime breakdown, we were trying to ape Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”. I just wanted the bridge to be very Bronski Beat. It’s one of my favorite songs ever. It’s the highest I can sing too, which isn’t very high. When I wrote the melodies, I very much was thinking about the David Byrne/Brian Eno shit, the major key harmonies over minor stuff. We’ve always got something in mind that we’re trying to create. We might get there in a different way so it ends up sounding like us, but we’re definitely looking to that kind of shit for inspiration.

Preoccupations -- New Material

The New Order fist pump chorus!

SMM: The bass and drums on that song is a live take to tape, which is the only one on the record that’s like that.

MF: I had a guitar riff that sounded like OMD or something for so long. That one took awhile to break down to the basics.

SMM: We did a full other version of that song when we were in Montana that was fully electronic.

MF: We decided in the end that it was better as just a bass line with some pumping drums. I couldn’t figure out what else it needed and then finally, one night, we had a breakthrough at the studio [in Montreal]. I just picked up a guitar, played that riff – I didn’t put any thought into it at all – and it just kind of came out. That song ended up being the most stripped down of all. Again, lyrics were last minute. That vocal take was almost a scratch vocal take that I did in the studio in Montreal that no one had heard. You can kind of tell that I’m alone in the studio messing around with weird vulnerability in my voice. I was scared it was going to sound too weak, but I liked the way it sounded. The lyrics are bleak, but in my mind, they’re the most positive ones on the record. It made me feel good, which for the rest of them, not necessarily. Those lyrics for me were kind of cathartic and made me feel good by the end of it. That’s our version of positive, a song called “Disarray.” [laughs]

MF: We had the concept of doing these uncomfortable swells. It ended up relating to the lyrics in that one pretty well. That was kind of a full band effort more than any of the other ones.

SMM: We kind of got the loop going and talked about what we wanted to do, but then threw on a couple of sci-fi movies on silent on the TVs in that house and Wallace just jammed along to those loops for a long time and I just recorded it all. We went back in and built the drum part out of the jam. We were trying to get the Iggy Pop “Mass Production” bass sound and I think we did OK.

MF: Everyone’s always asking about the, “Please don’t remember me like I’ll always remember you” shit and everyone wants to know what that means, but I’m not going to tell anyone. I don’t know [if I like talking about lyrics]. You’re laying yourself bare in front of everyone – you’re throwing your diary out into the world for everyone to read, but it’s fine. This one especially was fairly personal, I guess. I had to write out all of the lyrics and I was like, “ooh” – I didn’t realize how bleak it was. I tend to always go in that direction with writing anyways, which is getting all of the terrible feelings out of me so I can remain happy and able to laugh. It’s my outlet for stuff like that.

That song was just bass and drums until the day before it got mixed. We were trying to rip off Health and Efficiency [by This Heat], but then we just never did really.

MF: One of their songs ends in this drum loop and it builds off of this loop – that’s kind of what we were drawing from.

SMM: I had my friend’s sampler and Flegel had a bunch of recordings of him and me just drunkenly jamming on these pianos. We made a bunch of samples and that’s pretty much all the stuff at the end.

MF: Those drums, you processed the shit out of. We realized as a loop, you could kind of tighten it up in a weird way and give it this weird swing that’s really hard to do live – it’s not quite in time. These guys were on mushrooms just fucking around. That rhythm has been kicking around for a while.

SMM: [At the very end], that’s just a voice memo that Flegel had of Danny jamming on synth when we were in Montana. We were in LA trying to finish this song and we were going through both of all of our voice memos to see what we had for sounds. I’ve always liked records where the fidelities are quite different are patched together out of a bunch of recordings. I always like it when it’s a little different, like digging through voice memos. I often make samples out of field recordings that I have because then you can manipulate it into something.

MF: Things that people think are guitars are synths. We get this weird satisfaction when we’ve done something in a completely ridiculous, convoluted way that we wouldn’t get if we just plugged a guitar into an amp and threw a microphone on it. It keeps it fun.

This one came out of nowhere, honestly. It was the quickest we’ve written and recorded a song out of any of the rest of the songs on this. Which is funny because it’s the one that sounds like it’s the most technically complicated one, but it was definitely the fastest. We did that in a couple of days.

SMM: That one was a bit of a blur – we did that whole song in like maybe two days. Matt wrote that really technical guitar part at the beginning one day and then I split it up into two guitar parts and played it. That lead guitar part, I’ve had that kicking around for like eight years. I’ve had that riff for a fucking long time.

MF: The song’s about nuclear holocaust, just a little positive song. [laughs] There are similar vibes on “Solace” and “Decompose”. “Solace” is about the inevitability of death and finding someone you can enjoy that with while you can. That’s where the solace comes from. It’s uplifting I think.

preoccupations photo by pooneh ghana Preoccupations share a Track by Track breakdown of their new album, New Material: Stream

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

SMM: This is a goth jammer. This song is sort of interesting from a production standpoint because when we were in Montana, Flegel came up with that drumbeat and the rough chord progression and then I programmed the drums and just ran them through an amp. Me, Matt, and Danny jammed on the thing on three keyboards live for like 15 minutes. We just cut it down and that’s the song.

MF: That’s us live in a room.

SMM: I did two takes when I was drunk in the studio by myself late at night in Montreal where I just listened to my keyboard part and tried to jam along to it and then listened to Danny’s keyboard part and tried to jam along to that, but those are blended in the back of it. It’s literally just us jamming along to a drum machine. We did the vocals right at the end in the Airbnb in LA.

MF: I was completely sick with a head cold and it was the last one we did vocals for. It’s absolutely the slowest song on the record. Sometimes, you’ve got to grind shit down to a dirge I think. It also wasn’t somewhere where we’d gone with the other songs and I kind of liked that arc.

SMM: I feel like it’s kind of like a tip of the hat to ’80s and ’90s goth shit, which is music that we all love. It’s definitely just Danny, Matt, and I just drunk in Montana jamming late at night. Danny played some really nice stuff there that sounds nothing like keyboards – I don’t know what the fuck he was doing.

MF: I like ending it on that note without any words. I also feel like as far as the lyrics go, they’re very weighty on this record and very lengthy. I really liked the idea of stripping everything down to two fucking chords and that’s it.

SMM: In Richie’s studio, he had this VCS3, the Eno synth. I knew that I was going to use it on the record at some point, I just didn’t know what for; it was one of those pieces of gear where you knew it was going to make its way on there somehow. Anytime there was a lull when we were working on whatever, we’d just dick around on the VCS for a minute. I really overdid it on purpose – there are maybe 15 or 20 tracks of VCS on there and probably 30 or 40 tracks of guitar and bass. All of the keyboards are back and forth.

MF: There’s just so many layers of noise that you sort of start hearing things. We’re not playing any lines at any given point at all. It’s one note of shit, but it’s sound playing with your ears.

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Vitamin String Quartet cover Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” for Record Store Day 7-inch: Stream

10 Things… is a recurring new music feature in which an artist digs deep into a particular topic.

The Vitamin String Quartet love music, and not just their own. The Los Angeles string quartet have built a career out of reworking their favorite tracks across myriad genres into sumptuous, symphonic renditions that often cull new resonances from timeless tracks. They’ve previously remade tracks from the likes of David Bowie, Lorde, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Bruce Springsteen, and now they’ve taken their bows to something a touch weirder. For Record Store Day, Vitamin String Quartet have tackled two of The Flaming Lips’ most enduring tracks: “Do You Realize??” and “All We Have Is Now”.

Using only two violins, a viola, and a cello, the outfit has added another beam of color to the Lips’ kaleidoscopic aesthetic. The grandeur of the original cuts, both of which come from 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, is given a different texture here, one that maintains the band’s inherent whimsy while indulging the songs’ melancholic undercurrent.

The songs are coming on a Record Store Day 7-inch on April 21st before hitting digital retailers on the 27th. As an early tease of the unique release, you can stream VSQ’s version of “Do You Realize??” below.

In further celebration of The Flaming Lips, Vitamin String Quartet brand manager Leo Flynn and project director James Curtiss have shared 10 Things they love about Wayne Coyne and co. Though the string quartet is known for covering a vast range of artists, the deep cuts, obscure references, and promotional stunts they cite below demonstrate the depth of the band’s fandom.

“Race For the Prize (Remix)”:

Gah, what an opener. This cut, a remix of a song that would reprise at the tail end of its album, might be one of the greatest track 1’s of all time. So immediate, so bold, both lyrically and sonically. The Soft Bulletin is often cited as one of the best albums, not only of the ‘90s, but in the whole of rock and pop. This song is one of the biggest reasons why.

Their Craftsmanship:
No matter how tripped-out a Lips tune is on the surface, there are always super-strong musical ideas, guitar riffs, bass lines, what have you, underneath it all, propelling things forward. Despite an occasional air of frivolity (see below about a particular gummy artifact), the music of The Flaming Lips is very much built to last.

They Want To Work With Everybody and Everybody Wants To Work With Them:
Collaboration is a sure-fire sign that a musical act just wants to play. As such, Wayne and the boys might be the most playful musicians in the history of pop music. Seriously, who haven’t they collaborated with? Erykah Badu, Yoko Ono, Phantogram, Nick Cave, Biz Markie, Henry Rollins, Bon Iver, Peaches, My Morning Jacket, Miley Cyrus; if you haven’t collaborated with the Lips, you were probably dead at the time.

The “Mystery Act” at The Peach Pit After Dark:

Back when the Lips were in danger of being forever regarded as a one-hit wonder with the “novelty” song “She Don’t Use Jelly”, they decided to just embrace their success and take a guest spot performing their hit in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. We’re all the better for it, as the musical moment is a wonderful time capsule of all that was good (the Lips) and all that was god-awful (it starts with Kathleen Robertson’s hair) in 1995.

Wayne’s Grays:
The Lips frontman reminds us all that age is no excuse.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots: The Musical:
For the handful of fans who got to see the sadly short run of this show at La Jolla Playhouse, it was revelatory. Big and bold, the show was 99% sung, structuring its narrative around songs not just from the titular album, but from other Lips releases. It was a love story filled with whimsy, melancholy and giant robots, just like any Flaming Lips show ought to be. Here’s hoping it might find a revival sometime in the near future.

Gummy Song Skull:

The Lips never met a silly idea that they weren’t willing to push to the Nth degree. This 2011 release featured four songs, on a USB drive, in a gummy brain, which was encased in a gummy skull. And, yeah, those four songs were never released anywhere else. Only The Flaming Lips could get away with ephemera like this.

Back when the Lips decided to release their 8th album as four separate CDs that you would have to play simultaneously, it was seen as yet another tripped-out exercise from an oddball band that thrived on tripped-out exercises (case in point: the compilation album they put out that they called Finally the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid). But, man, talk about creating art that demands a communal experience. In honor of that, we’d like to propose four different VSQs, together on one stage, performing this mythical quadraphonic album and let’s get Wayne to conduct the whole thing!

“Halloween On the Barbary Coast”:
Here, in one song, buried on the lesser-known 1992 (though it should have been 1991) album Hit to Death In the Future Head, you can hear the birth of so much of what would be celebrated as indie rock in the 21st century.  All the freak-folk, neo-psych, art rock, whatever; it starts here. Also, the title is so evocative of a time and place all us weirdos would to want to be part of, that it’s kind of funny that lyrically it turns out to be about the Lips guys spending too much time in Vegas in the ‘80s.

Wayne Coyne in Jingle Bell Rocks!: 

The wonderful 2014 documentary details the lives of collectors, fans, and musicians who are obsessed with Christmas music. It’s a wonderful showcase that treats its outsider subjects with genuine love and interest. In it, Wayne talks not only about the joys and sorrows surrounding the holiday, and in turn the music that generates, but also about how the search for a holiday movie that never existed, described to a very young Wayne by his mother, led to the creation of The Flaming Lips’ own Christmas film, Christmas on Mars.

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Cold Fronts share the Origins of their new single “This Always Happens”: Stream

Origins is a new music feature in which artists have the chance to share the deeper inspiration for their newest single.

Cold Fronts founder Craig Almquist has seen 15 different supporting cast members in his band over its eight-year existence, but he’s always kept the ethos of driving garage pop going strong. With 2015’s Forever Whatever debut, the lineup of Almquist (vocals/guitar), Max Steen (guitar), Alex Luquet (bass) and Joe Killian (drums) finally seemed to feel right, and so Cold Fronts locked it in. After the record’s release, they began collaborating on music together for the first time. The results will be seen when their sophomore album, Fantasy Du Jour, drops April 20th via Sire Records

The new effort’s opening track, “This Always Happens”, finds Cold Fronts firmly in their groove. Almquist delivers Albert Hammond, Jr.-esque licks while singing seething lines about the disillusion that comes with too many failed romances (“Take a shot, but you can’t replace/ What you had, or what you don’t know/ When I fade, babe, you always glow yeah”). Behind him, the band turn in fuzzy garage pop filled with frustration and exasperation. Take a listen below.

Almquist has given us deeper insight into “This Always Happen” for our latest Origins feature. Read on to learn why 2015 had as much of an impact as ’70s/’80s punk icons The Cramps.

The Cramps –“The Way I Walk”:

I love how wild the singer Lux’s vocals are. I really admire how unhinged he is when performing and wanted to go for a similar vibe when recording the vocals. I definitely remember watching this video of them performing in a California State Mental Hospital with my buddy Zach who I wrote the song and being very inspired by it.

The Modern Lovers –“I’m Straight”:

I love the hopeless romantic side of Johnathan Richmans lyrics. There is something so honest and conversational about them that I really admire, its very sincere. This Always Happens is about when you like someone, you think it might go somewhere, and then you see them dating someone else.I feel like everyones gone through something like that where you have genuine feelings for someone but it doesn’t mean they’re “the one”. I listened to The Modern Lovers a lot over the past couple years and its become one of my favorite records, this is one of my favorite songs.

Zach Sewall:

My buddy Zach and I have been making songs together for a while and we wrote “This Always Happens” together. We’ve made a bunch of songs and he turned me on to The Modern Lovers and The Cramps. We wrote it in the summer of 2015 and have released a couple songs on SoundCloud over the years. He also introduced me to our guitarist Max who’s had a big impact on the band. They have a group called Vexxed thats putting out an EP in April on Rare MP3s, definitely keep an eye out for it, its sick.


screen shot 2018 03 15 at 1 27 30 pm Cold Fronts share the Origins of their new single This Always Happens: Stream

I wrote this in the summer of 2015 and had been been on tour for a good chunk of it. It was a really stressful year for me, we were touring hard on an album that as far as I knew was never going to see the light of day. Half my band quit two weeks before a two month US tour and we also had our first show in the UK booked. I had also just gotten out of a five year relationship to top it all off and was feeling like a real lost boy. I think thats where some of the darkness and pessimism in the song comes from.

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Acid Dad share a Track by Track breakdown of their self-titled debut album: Stream

Our recurring new music feature Track by Track finds an artist breaking down the entirety of their latest record.

Brooklyn psych punks Acid Dad are set to deliver their highly anticipated debut full-length this Friday, March 9th, via Greenway Records. Ahead of the official release, the entire thing is streaming in full below.

Acid Dad spent the first three years of their career building towards this 11-track moment. After gaining attention for their live shows around their hometown, they dropped their first EP, Let’s Plan A Robbery, in 2016. That lead them to bigger tours with the likes of Thee Oh Sees and Diarrhea Planet, picking up more acclaim as they brought their rock across the country. Each step on the journey has found them honing their ringing, catchy punk style, even going so far as to toss out their first attempt at their album to ensure the songs reached their fullest potential.

The 11-tracks that finally made it onto Acid Dad are well worth the wait and effort. The band turns to influences as far ranging as Bob Dylan (“Die Hard”) and Archers of Loaf (“2Ci”) in surprising ways, creating songs that are as lyrically intriguing as they are musically enthralling. Whether they’re droning into the haze of “Mow My Lawn” or storming towards freedom on “Mistress”, Acid Dad balance dynamic melodies and unhinged punk with such precision that you’ll never find yourself bored.

Take a listen to Acid Dad below.

For their Track by Track breakdown of their debut, Acid Dad cut right to the heart of each song.

“Die Hard”:
Don’t like New Years resolutions, backroom politics, or drunken orangutans.

“Mr. Major”:
Inspired by our indecipherable Russian delay unit and propaganda.

A companion piece to anyone having just moved into a metropolis prison.

Post 6AM rave on a accidental synthetic overdose.

“Come Outside”:
Arguably the most dad rock by way of Nassau Coliseum song on the record.

A sharp stoned march to the emergency room.

Below freezing lab rat in a constricting relationship with another frozen lab rat twice its age.

“Bada Bing”:
Hard hat striking, bull riding, sweaty little peach fuzzing teenage anthem.

Acid Dad -- Acid Dad

“Mow My Lawn”:
Being forced to mow your lawn on a Sunday.

“No Answer”:

Is this alternative country? I think so.

Acid Dad will support their debut with a large spring tour, including newly announced European dates for May. Find their complete docket below.

Acid Dad 2018 Tour Dates:
03/07 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd
03/08 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
03/09 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
03/10 – Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover
03/12 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
03/13 – Houston, TX @ Walters
03/14-18 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
03/20 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
03/21 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
03/22 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
03/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill *
03/24 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hi-Hat *
03/25 – Reno, NV @ Loving Cup
03/28 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
03/29 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle *
03/30 – Indianapolis, IN @ Pioneer *
03/31 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub *
04/01 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern *
04/04 – Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone *
04/05 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement *
04/06 – Louisville, KY @ Kaiju *
04/07 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel *
04/13 – Asbury, NJ @ The Saint *
04/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Sound Hole *
04/20 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
05/11 – Amsterdam, NL @ Q Factory
05/14 – Manchester, UK @ Jimmy’s
05/15 – Glasgow, UK @ Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
05/16 – Liverpool, UK @ Sound Basement
05/17 – London, UK @ The Shacklewell Arms
05/17 – Brighton, UK @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
05/18 – Le Havre, FR @ Le McDaid’s
05/19 – Paris, FR @ E’sapce B

* = w/ No Parents

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Guided by Voices break down their new album, Space Gun, Track by Track: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature that finds an artist breaking down the entirety of their latest album.

Robert Pollard is well-known for redefining what it means to be prolific. The 60-year-old rocker’s career has consisted of over 100 albums, a number he hit just last year with Guided By Voices’ first double LP, August By Cake. The indie alternative outfit also dropped How Do You Spell Heaven in 2017, but 2018 will see Pollard and the group deliver only one full-length. It’s called Space Gun and is out March 23rd. Well ahead of the street date, you can stream it in full below.

Pollard recored Space Gun with GBV’s most recent lineup, a mix of veterans (Doug Gillard and Kevin March) and newcomers (Mark Shue and Bobby Bare Jr.). The band mastermind has said he feels invigorated by the current mix of musicians, and that their “adroit talents pushes him to more daring and dizzying heights.”

Take a listen to Space Gun below to see just where those new heights take Guided By Voices.

For more insight into GBV’s latest offering, guitarist Doug Gillard has broken down the album track by track. See what he has to say below.

“Space Gun”:
A powerful opener, layered guitars & analog synth white noise. I think this is what’s meant by “tour de force,” musically speaking.

“Colonel Paper”:
Adventures in late-night trash can grazing. Tried to have a super thin guitar sound & still make the song muscly. Bob’s vocals, Mark’s bass, Kevin’s drums and Travis Harrison at the board all helped to achieve that.

“King Flute”:
Song about King Flute, an “ill-fate squire.” Some great drum fills by Mr. March, and I added a mellotron flute part by way of my smartphone.

“Ark Technician”:
Third consecutive number featuring a character named in the title. But unlike fantastical protagonists Col. Paper and King Flute, this Ark Technician may be more autobiographical, though veiled in its conveyance. And if you couldn’t give a rip about all that, you can just enjoy the beautiful damn song.

“See My Field”:
A great Pollard melody inside of a yearning, pretty rock song. Bob wanted strings on this so it features a combination of mellotron with strings.

“Liar’s Box”:
A song kerning towards prog but still flowing and catchy, culminating in the refrain, “Summons of a glass/ To a sad, sad heaven.”

“Blink Blank”:
A hyperbolic post-punk observation on the current state of the world to end side A.

“Daily Get Ups”:
A song you could get up to daily, meaning wake up to. It’s peppy and cool.

guided by voices space gun Guided by Voices break down their new album, Space Gun, Track by Track: Stream

“Hudson Rake”:
“Its funky on the Avalon.” You are implored to “Do the Hudson Rake,” which may be an imaginary dance, but whether it is or not, it denotes a giant yard tool that would dredge up all the bodies dumped in the Hudson by the rat smashers.

“Sport Component National”:
A multi-part song about SCN, a TV sports channel, tied together by the intro/re-intro brought to you by sinister Beach Boys. “There’s a night game breaking out”.

“I Love Kangaroos”:
Kids of all ages will love “I Love Kangaroos”, a song about traveling and sailing. A power-pop song you can slow dance to. I would say its super-catchy, but so are most of the songs on Space Gun.

“Grey Spat Matters”:
Short heavy scorcher with incredible vocals. Infectious. One of several we tracked to two-inch tape.

“That’s Good”:
A ballad that Bob had written some years ago. A melancholy song with an amazing melody that builds. This is another one that called for strings, and I was honored to arrange them for this song, which includes more mixing feats by Travis Harrison.

“Flight Advantage”:
We had fun recording this one together as a band. “Birds will fly, the spiders will dance,” but it’s a heavy rock song, like something from Tommy-era Who, sped up.

“Evolution Circus”:
Heavy album closer dealing with history, explorers and Biblical ghettos, featuring some Bare Jr. harmonies near the end.

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White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share “Paint Yo’Nails”: Stream

10 5 Things… is a recurring new music feature that lets an artist go H.A.M. on a particular topic.

This year marks 10 years since White Mystery first started rocking out in the Chicago DIY scene. To celebrate, the sibling duo are doing what they’ve done every anniversary since 2010: releasing a brand new album on April 20th.

Hellion Blender is the band’s ninth full-length overall, and caps off the mission they set for themselves when they first started: to release one album every 365 days. The 10-track effort once again demonstrates the seamless collaborative energy between Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White as they tear through a garage worth genres, from the country-tinged punk of “Goody Two Shoes” to the psychedelic jamming of “Paint Yo’Nails”.

The latter track, a thumping trip of wahing guitar and drums that shift from sashaying to pummeling, is being debuted today to preview the record. Take a listen below.

Pre-orders for Hellion Blender are going on here. To further commemorate their 10th anniversary, White Mystery have decided to pull back the veil on five secrets they’ve kept hidden over their years as a band.

Sky High:

White Mystery, photo by Diane Alexander White

White Mystery, photo by Diane Alexander White

White Mystery filmed a super secret music video on the rooftop of Chicago’s tallest building that may never see the light of day. The city-born sibling duo performed an ode to their hometown, “Take A Walk”, on an industrial level so high it was “where the window washers push off.” And yes, it was very windy! An employee of the facility confirmed that White Mystery is indeed the first band to ever play at that elevation in the city. (Photo attached, by Diane Alexander White )

Terrence Malick:

gallery movies terrence malick copy 1024x691 White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

Years ago, White Mystery was invited to perform in a Terrence Malick film based in Austin, Texas. Low and behold, Alex and Francis jammed with Robert Plant from Led Zepplin on the movie set. The White Mystery/Robert Plant trio jammed blues standards whilst on camera for a dazzling cast of stars, which included Ryan Gosling. It was truly a spiritual experience, and Francis even had a speaking part. Unfortunately, the footage was left on the cutting room floor.

Four Syllable Titles:

picture 41 White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

White Mystery has released a new album every year on April 20 for the past decade, and until now, adhered to a strict album naming pattern of only four syllable titles. The song White Mystery, “Rapid Overdrive” also contains a hidden secret, with each word in the song spelling out “ROYGBIV” and “CMYK,” the colors of the rainbow, and printable spectrum of hues.

4/20 Possession Ticket:

screen shot 2018 03 01 at 11 07 31 pm White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

Francis shot off a bottle rocket outside of the Cake Shop in Manhattan, New York and got busted by the police on April 20, 2012. They took his weed and wrote him a ticket, but don’t worry, the ticket was written incorrectly and got thrown out.

Bar Room Brawl:

17 mag bar fight seminar krav maga zenica 1 White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

Folks close to the band know that White Mystery was involved in a vicious bar room brawl in Austria while on it’s first European tour. There was punching, kicking, screaming, biting, and then, lawyers. Fortunately, they beat the case with help from the club’s sound guy, and are able to return to the European country where it took place. Francis walked away with a nasty shiner, but you should have seen the other guy.

Hellion Blender Artwork:

White Mystery -- Hellion Blend

Hellion Blender Tracklist:
01. Boy Next Door
02. Two Flast
03. Penny Saved
04. Paint Yo’Nails
05. Unlucky XIII
06. Goody Two Shoes
07. Ghost Signs
08. White Mystery TV
09. Disco Ball
10. Part Deux

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Caroline Rose offers a Track by Track breakdown of her new album, LONER: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist takes us through each song on their latest album.

It’s refreshing to see an album so completely indistinguishable from the artist who created it that their personality is right there on the cover. LONER, the sophomore effort of singer-songwriter Caroline Rose, is truly an expression of both passion and personality, with Rose  writing and arranging every song on the record as well as standing front and center on both its artwork and in its music videos. To just look at the cover image — Rose, glazed over in fitness gear, lighting a pack’s worth of cigarettes — is to grasp the album’s blend of humor, yearning, and sarcasm. In an era of endless, ear-numbing streams, LONER grabs your chin and commands your eyes.

Alongside producer Paul Butler, Rose oscillated between keys, guitar, and bass while also programming the synths and drums and taking on mixing duties. The result is a bold, kaleidoscopic collection that propels Rose far beyond the fetching rockabilly of her debut, 2014’s I Will Not Be Afraid. LONER dabbles in a bit of everything: A rubbery bass line pulses beneath tactile, cabasa-like twists amidst the self-aware sleaze of “Soul No. 5”, plucking violin strings form a sturdy spine for the single’s lament that is “Getting To Me”, and pop-inspired synths snake their way through nearly every corner of the record. “I’d say this album was as much inspired by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as it was late-’70s punk,” Rose says in a press release.

LONER is out today, and you can stream the whole thing below via Spotify and/or Apple Music.

To give further insight about LONER, Rose takes us through the LP Track by Track, sharing which song’s her favorite, which one was written entirely on an OP-1, and which one reminds her of “Mambo No. 5” (spoiler: It’s “Soul No. 5”).

“More Of The Same”:
I often think about things like faith and what we choose to put our faith in. When I was a kid I used to put my faith in everything, I believed in everything. I was convinced that magic and Yoda were real. I literally practiced moving things with my brain knowing that one day I would be able to master the skill. When I wrote this song I was channeling that moment of disillusionment when this faith in things, in people, in the world, starts to fade. In the song I liken the feeling to floating around in a vacuum of space, but this is really just a visual for when the magic trick is revealed and suddenly you don’t know what to believe in anymore. When the flaws in people and in things you love are discovered, it’s a growing pain that’s both humbling and disappointing.

I always imagined a sort of demented prom queen character in this song, like a blend between Carrie and Drop Dead Gorgeous. I visualize a lot of my songs, so they sort of end up becoming movies in my head, but obviously they start out from a place of personal experience. I wrote this as if I’m having a conversation with myself, kind of like the angel and devil sitting on my shoulders. I was doubting myself, feeling like I couldn’t be what people were asking of me, that I’d choke under the pressure of it all. As we all know it’s a common stereotype that women can’t handle their emotions in pressure situations, so the song also plays with the conflicting feeling knowing that if I were to choke under pressure I’d just become another stereotype.

Ha! I don’t know how much there is to say about this, it’s not really mysterious in any way, nor is it preachy. I want and need money just as much as anybody else. It’s pretty self-explanatory methinks.

“Jeannie Becomes a Mom”:
This is my favorite song on the record. I wrote the entire thing, hooks and all, on an OP-1, which is an amazing little digital synth you can fit in a backpack. I love playing this tune but I also love the story it tells. It was loosely inspired by a friend who accidentally got pregnant, but I took a lot of creative liberty with it and blended a lot of things I was feeling in my own life. Every so often I’ll have bouts of pretty bad anxiety, where it feels like I’m running out of time. It makes me think about all my goals, that no matter how many dreams I fulfill I’m never going to be able to outrun time or my often rude reality. Jeannie is a little bit of me and a little bit of my friend and a lot bit of everyone attempting to build a dream-life for themselves.

“Getting To Me”:
I remember exactly when and where I wrote this. It was in my little apartment in Vermont I’d painted to look like a hacienda-meets-bizarro-taxidermy-shop. I was extremely lonely at the time. I hadn’t dated in years and really wanted to be with someone. Tinder was not for me but it seemed to be the only way to meet queer people in an predominantly straight place, which felt doubly lonely. I remember walking down the street and seeing couples everywhere. Every time I’d go to a restaurant alone I’d have to watch the waiter take away the place setting across from me. I eventually just started sitting at the counter and found it funny that that’s where all the single people sit. It’s interesting what you notice when you’re alone with your own thoughts.

“To Die Today”:
Thinking about death, to me, helps me fully appreciate life. I’ve heard that a near-death experience is extremely sensory, that it can feel like a warm wash come over you, the relief of leaving your body, or like you’re covered in light. I’d really rather not die any time soon but I would love to experience this. Sometimes it brings me real comfort knowing that all the pain in life is only temporary.

Caroline Rose -- Loner

“Soul No. 5”:
This song has gone through five different versions, hence the “No. 5” (also because it fondly reminds me of “Mambo No. 5”). I wrote the original years ago, but it always bugged me how earnest it was. As my style took shape I found the lyrics just didn’t challenge me anymore, so when we were in the studio my co-producer Paul Butler gave me really good advice. He said, “just take the piss out of it”, which in British means, “have fun with it”. It makes me laugh now. I am not ashamed in the least that it’s a feel-good song.

“Smile! AKA Schizodrift Jam 1 AKA Bikini Intro”:
(haha) What a ridiculous song! This is most definitely poking fun at all the times I’ve been told to smile in my life. I originally had twice as many voices in here but having to listen to them over and over was slowly dragging Paul closer to the brink of insanity. They’re mostly mine and Paul’s pitch-shifted, but he also found a way to record these robot voices from the internet, which were pretty hilarious. Schizodrift is what I call my genre of music and “Schizodrift Jam 1” was this amazing jam I’d recorded of my old band playing together for the first time. This is us recreating the jam sesh.

I love this one so much, it’s my riot grrl feminist surf punk anthem. It’s about so many things, but mostly about being female-identifying in the entertainment industry and the standard we’re supposed to live up to. This one’s best listened to with middle fingers up.

Caroline Rose, photo by Matt Hogan

Caroline Rose, photo by Matt Hogan

Whenever I get anxious or slightly manic the paranoia immediately sets in. I wouldn’t say my music is fettered with paranoia but it definitely makes an appearance more often than not. In this case you’d think I’d be talking about trash talk from other people, but I’m really pointing out the loud chatter in my own head. I am and always have been my own worst enemy, which I think is true for a lot of people out there.

This is as close to a love song as you’ll get on this album. In the most blunt sense it’s about a very visceral jealousy I’d had over an ex who was falling in love with someone new (I like that you can’t really tell if I’m jealous of the man or the woman in the story). It was very painful because I really thought I was over it and had moved on, but when you realize you’re still in love with someone the thought of them being physical with someone else drives you mental. Your imagination starts playing very mean tricks on you.

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