I am hours away from becoming a father of twins(!! might be quiet on this front for a while, folks). When I came across this fresh “electronic Afro Kraut beat” song from Germany about “twins,” it was probably going to become the last post for a while, but a completely fitting name and vibe to put me into the right mind-space. Come celebrate with me and jam out with these heads.
Philly’s Kevin Sul spent most of his music life playing in punk bands, but then decided he needed to go in another direction so he branched out into experimental electronic music. He says his new project is “in the realm of electronic, noise and sugary sweet pop. I enjoy music that can mix multiple genres, or even better, take you somewhere new as a listener. For this project, called Cumquat, I’ve tried to abandon as many ‘normal’ instruments as possible to achieve this. The majority of the song is based around manipulated synth sounds, samples and found sounds. At the same time, it is still (hopefully) a catchy pop song.”
I enjoy it, but its weird to see her sounding so damn pop. I guess its been moving in this direction since Oblivion. Gotta say I’m just not that excited about the new album, but I’ll wait for a leak before passing judgement.
Grimes - Art Angels LP is up for pre-order now, release is slated for December 11th, but a disclaimer notes that due to all the industry delays at pressing plants, it’ll probably be delayed.
This young shamelessly pop-loving Florida native, despite believing in staying plain on the outside, puts a powerful punch from the core of his dance-track inside. As he suggests, “get out of your disguise!” I expect more of these beauties in the near future.
“I live in Orlando, Florida. So as far as pop music goes, there’s not much of it here. I was blessed to find my producers David Whitemore and Adam Sliger who record me out of the Sunray Recording Studio,” he tells me.
“I write 100% of all of my lyrics, melodies, and tracks. I’ll make a pretty solid demo in Logic and then I’ll take it to my producers, which then we’ll piece it together, tweak some synths and record/mix/master everything. I also do all of my own graphics, website work, social media, the whole nine yards.”
Most importantly: “I turn 21 years old this Saturday.“
After you listen to his new song, do you want to help me wish my new friend a happy birthday?
This ultra colorful video was sent my way recently with a Letter to YVYNYL explaining why and how the song was meant to share in its experience.
My name is Nick - my girlfriend Jen and I wrote, produced and mixed an album over the last two years alongside shooting a music video for the first track in our living room. We’re ready to share “Gates” with the world and would be honored to have it live on your blog.
“Gates” is a thank you letter for the gift of managed anxiety after years of searching.
After several years of playing guitar based music in bands like A Million Years and Whale Belly, I started recording joke songs with Jen using Ableton Live. If the song made us laugh we went with it. And it wasn’t uncommon to throw in samples from movies with narrators sharing visions of the future and babbling about time travel.
In the winter of 2013 a lot of things happened all at once. A Million Years, my focus for the previous three years called it quits, I lost my job, and I began having a mysterious health issue where my breathing would suddenly feel incredibly constricted. I was experiencing intense anxiety for the first time in my life.
Out of money I moved back into my childhood bedroom in suburban Long Island and decided to put a little more energy into the electronic production I had been playing with up until that point. At first I had planned to be home for no more than 3 months while I looked for a job, but the more music I wrote the more obsessed I became in finishing an LP. Even when I found a job I kept using every night to create demos. Still suffering from anxiety during this two year writing period, a friend introduced me to Focalizing, a meditation practice that among its many applications can help people with anxiety. This became my second obsession.
“Gates” was written after a specific moment in a grocery store where I was standing alone in an aisle and suddenly could barely breathe. At that moment I remembered the practice I had been working on, closed my eyes, and brought my attention into my body. Immediately I was thrust into a calm, pleasant place. I was feeling better than I had in months only moments after being at an all time low. The pressure that was pushing my chest in lifted and I was breathing normally again.
This song describes my experience that my all time lows, my worst moments, can actually be used as gateways for healing. These moments are forks in the road and at each fork I can let my mind race with thoughts of, “is this it, am I going to die now?” or bring my focus into the moment and let something better prevail. This experience (along with many more since) has made me thankful for the anxiety, it led me to a gift that improves my life.
The video is a concept inspired by the visuals that can appear when doing this type of meditation. Swirling colors on the back of your eyelids often occur alongside deep calming sensations. To create this, we filmed food coloring and nail polish falling into pools of water. Sometimes before the food coloring hit we stirred the water which caused more unexpected results. We then had a friend shoot us on a second day in front of a green sheet and joined all the results.
Minnesota’s Colin Scharf wrote me a heavy letter to describe the low level death vibes behind this new dark but not hopeless song:
Colin here, from Minnesota indie quartet Good Night Gold Dust. I’d like to share with you our newest single, “Waves”. I struggled with the lyrics and music for about two years before I thought they were good enough to bring to the band. Sometimes I still don’t trust the syntax on the chorus:
“I’ve forgotten how to forget the bad parts / It’s getting harder to remember the good”
That checks out, right?
A few years ago, a friend drowned in a lake. A year before that, another friend died in her sleep. Two of my uncles recently passed away—one in a fucking county jail; the other of a massive heart attack. I missed my uncles’ funerals because of distance: I live in Minnesota; they were in New York. I missed Jen’s and Charlotte’s funerals because of work. I know that’s bullshit. You never miss the funeral. But things progress so quickly. These are among my biggest regrets.
The deeper regret is that I was only permitted a brief window with them. I wish I’d had more time.
Jen, who drowned, was tight with some of our friends. I didn’t know her very well. Really, I wrote “Waves” for her, and for our friends. The last time I saw Jen, she was skateboarding on a summer afternoon. We smiled. And then she was gone.
Charlotte was a songwriter. She loved the Clash, and sang like Lucinda Williams. We still don’t know how she died. I like to think she passed away like Joe Strummer, peacefully, in her sleep. For a long time we couldn’t listen to her songs without crying. It’s gotten easier, and I’m glad for that. They’re such good songs.
My uncle Bill was an alcoholic. He was the baby of my father’s family, child number four of four. He loved hunting, fishing, trapping. He and my father had a strained relationship, and those tensions unfortunately colored my own perception of uncle Bill. I never let myself get close with him.
My uncle Bruce would speak like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack. In the summers, when I was a kid, he and my aunt would throw up their camper in our big countryside front yard. We’d roast corn over campfires and in the mornings uncle Bruce would cook pancakes for my brother, sister, and me.
You won’t learn about these people through our song. But maybe you’ll learn about people like them; people from your own life. And maybe others will do the same. If anything positive can come from their absence, let it at least be a great song.
Of course Princeton’s Sam McDougle has been creating music while working toward a PhD in Neuroscience. Such complimentary disciplines, right?! But if you think about it, and I do a lot, music and the brain’s function are deeply and indelibly intertwine in a glory of mystery. Luckily, Sam shares his Yo La Tengo influence on his sleeves, so you don’t have to give him an MRI to understand that.
Chairlift sound like a lot of fu-fun on new single Ch-Ching
Chairlift do us bloggers a favor by making their new single actually something everyone can spell out loud (remember Amanaemonesia? yes.) - Ch-Ching the thing is called, an it sounds like the kind of emotion we’d experience if the money is rolling in (hence the ch-ching sound). Caroline quirks optimistically over a handclap slash hip-hop beat, but the song is actually about the millions of impulses constantly happening when living in New York and trying to deal with it. Sounds like a lot of fun. Ch-Ching!
Stoked to see new music coming from these lovelies!
Where are you today? Are you in the clouds? Or is the sun waking you up from a fog. “I have no answer,” sings Tori Michelle over Colton Toy’s breathless melody. This video directed by Jazmin Garcia hits the perfect note in its creative design, and blossom’s its own storyline.
Greg tells me “the lyrical content [of this song] is mostly me being nostalgic about Chicago (my hometown) and more specifically, walking along Lake Michigan in the winter with a significant other as a teenager. Also, it’s more generally about how often we blame ourselves and others for things we/they can’t help.”
It makes sense as he continues, that “musically the song was very much inspired by Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting and it seemed to make sense topically with all the imagery of Chicago (in my head at least).“ Certainly sounds like it.
Gothenburg’s singer Johanna Nordström tells me this intriguing single with an even more interesting story:
In Jolympix early days we went to play in Bamakó, capital of Mali, West Africa. We hooked up with some great musicians who were going to guest our show at Exodus, a venue at the Hippodrome horse racing tracks. The vibe couldn’t be better. The sound engineer turned out to be a rapper and we saw the horses from stage, racing in a slow pace in the heat.
All of a sudden, they called from the hotel, there was a state coupe happening and the military had taken over the president palace and the tv station, airport was closed. We left all the instruments and took a cab to the hotel through a nervous city. The feeling was surreal. How could this peaceful friendly place and musical epicenter turn into first page news in a couple of hours?
We couldn’t take it in, instead we got disappointed like kids that we couldn’t play that night. We didn’t know how long the curfew was going to last, how serious the situation was, how we would get food etc. We were stranded in a small hotel with the staff and guests. There was a Spanish pilot who took the family father role, a journalist who reported news to the world and us, a french grandma who had lived in Timbuktu, a very colonial racist sales man and his prostitute for the night.
The lights were turned off and a unarmed guy guarded the non existing gate. Information and rumors reached our ears, a hotel down the street is looted, the president is shot.. Somebody asked if we wanted to buy a living goat. Grandma cooked it. As privileged people, we spent the time talking, drinking, worrying, hanging by the pool, exercising, making music, sometimes we heard gunshots from the street, it’s only in the air they said.
After a week, the curfew was off and we played at a small open air club. The atmosphere electrified with emotions, you could feel how all of us needed the music in that moment, that it actually spread some hope and love. The airport opened the next day and were lucky to be on the first plane to Europe. Very mixed feelings of relief and frustration to just leave it all behind.
This globetrotting Seattle born artist tells me, “my friend Chris and I made this video with footage we took last winter. It’s mainly shot around Higham on the Hill – the area we were living in England. It’s a quaint old English village with lot of trees, small brick houses, and a lovely long winding road. I recall that Chris and I were attempting to shoot footage that captured what it was like to live there in that particular season, at that specific time. Kind of like a visual journal entry.“
Hey! did you ever come up with a new music blog list for 2015?
Every so often I get a note from a band who’s disappeared off into the either and somehow rebirth. Band leader James Marshall tells me, “I know the previous song you posted of ours announced the death of Tiger Waves but hey, I guess nothing can ever really be destroyed.” Amen.
Classic track from post-punk Switzerland. The Sounds of the Westway LP was re-issued by Slumberland Records, but is currently out of print for you vinyl hunters. Also, would someone go update their criminally non-existent Wikipedia post?
Milan’s space cadets are out for more. Fitting that director Emmanuele Delrio chose to shoot it in Gibellina, Sicily because “the town was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968 and there the artist and architect Alberto Burri wanted to create one of the largest land art in the world.”
I’ve been collecting new tracks for this project so that I can share them with you together in one bundle. I’m thrilled that this project is attracting wildly talented new and innovative artists from all over the globe. On this short mix, you’ll hear diverse elements: two songs from Japan (though one of them pretends to be Russian for shits and giggles), a poetic song from Australia, another from New Zealand (the one track here not a premiere, I just love it so much I can’t help but plug it again), yet another from England, and of course a smattering of new ideas from far corners in the United States. I love that part of doing the premiere mixtapes. Have a listen!
Photo by Jeffery Silverstein from Singles Club, used by permission.
Time passes. Or it doesn’t. Maybe it’s a trip that we all get fooled about experiencing together. In that vein, I decided to put together a group of songs for you, dear readers, that feel the essence of my elemental beings of music here in the late summer days of 2015.
Artwork by Colin Holloway, used with permission.
Time tangles some mighty webs, don’t it? You blink yr eye and all of a sudden you’re in a completely new world, new skin, new haircut, new seersucker suit. This weird journey we’re on, the surrealism of it all keeps yr mouth agape and full of wonder. And this, friends, is just a small soundtrack.
Tracklist + DL = http://bit.ly/catscradlemix
Don't give in to the A/C - roll those windows down! Crank up that stereo. Embrace it. Maybe these are a set of summer tunes for yr vacation roadtrips, or perhaps just yr backyard BBQs. Slow down and feel 'em.
Original artwork by o_lie. Used with permission.
Check out more yvynyl mixtapes here: http://bit.ly/yvynylmixtapes