Brooklyn-based producer White Cliffs may not be on your radar yet, but he is having quite the year, between signing with Foreign Family Records and touring with Big Wild. His songs are big and full of feeling, with catchy guitar riffs and mesmerizing vocals — and “Daisy,” which we’re debuting here, is a great first glimpse of his ability to craft an irresistible pop melody. It eases in with an infectiously bright guitar riff, and sounds as warm as a summer day.
“Daisy is a song about someone who is having trouble getting up and doing what they want to do with their life” says White Cliffs. “It’s about letting go of fear and moving on towards happiness. This is especially personal to me, because this year I decided to take my music in a direction that I’ve always wanted to.”
On Friday night, Scandinavian duo Smerz played a sold-out show at National Sawdust. Electronic up-and-comer MHYSA opened the show.Photographer Edwina Hay was there to capture the night, check it out below.
Last month Sasha Spielberg released 'Facepaint', the debut EP under her latest moniker Buzzy Lee and we are very excited to be presenting her first ever NYC performance at Park Church Co-op on May 16.
To celebrate the occasion, Buzzy Lee made us a "kick em out of your house kindly" playlist - the perfect mix for those generous enough to host a "kickback" but not cool enough to party til the sun rises.
Check it out below what Buzzy Lee had to say about each track and keep these tunes handy for the next time you need to usher out your guests with the aux cord!
On Tuesday evening, Car Seat Headrest played an intimate sold-out show at Market Hotel. Gold Connections, longtime friend of Car Seat Headrest's Will Toledo, opened the show. There was a magic, electric feeling in the air and the ever talented Lauren Khalfayan was there to capture it all. Have a glimpse into that beautiful evening below.
Deal Casino is a band from Ashbury Park featuring John Rodney on bass, Chris Donofrio on drums, and two guitar players named Joe— Joe P. and Joe C. — who also sing and play keys, respectively. Their new single, “Dirty T-Shirt,” is an indie pop ode to falling out of love, marked by weaving guitars and sparse percussion. The video for the track, which we’re debuting here, pairs its downtempo simplicity with footage of floating jellyfish.
First, the band found a video of jellyfish recorded by [director] Tony Yebra, which they decided to watch while they listened to “Dirty T-Shirt.” Later, Yebra couldn’t find the footage, so the band decided to drive to the Baltimore Aquarium and re-shoot it.
Sourcing footage for the video was surprisingly easy for the band. “On the day of the shoot, I had to break into Tony's house and wake him up before we finally got on the road,” says frontman Joe P. “We started bugging out as we carried a tripod, camera bags, and gear past security, but there weren't any issues. With the jellyfish footage finished, we set up a black backdrop in DC HQ [back in Asbury Park] and started filming the B-roll band shots, which were so relaxed —probably the most relaxed shoot we've done.”
I first encountered Naked Giants two years ago. The raucous Seattle trio came through my hometown on a break from tour, and ended up opening a show at the local watering hole. I showed up at the request of a mutual friend and — let me tell you — I was absolutely stuck on Grant Mullen’s energy as he slammed the pick into his guitar strings and whipped his head around. Gianni Aiello’s lanky figure towered over the crowd as he played bass and lifted his legs like he was marching. And Henry Lavallee’s drum playing was absolutely spot-on, a big grin on his face the whole time.
Recently, AdHoc gave Naked Giants a ring during a few days off from their tour supporting — and playing as the backing band for — Car Seat Headrest. We spoke about cheesy van jams and Vitamin RBY. Make sure to see them at Alphaville on May 10, and be sure to grab their latest, Sluff, over at New West Records.
Can you tell me a bit about your new album, SLUFF?
Grant Mullen: We took “Easy Eating” from [our EP] RIP. The rest of the songs were just collected when we started working with a label. We sent them all of our demos and stuff. We had an idea of what the track listing would be and then we just negotiated and compromised with them and found what we thought would be a good album.
Gianni Aiello: As far as context or meaning of the album, as Grant said, they are all just songs that we’ve been playing or writing over the last couple years. I feel like this album is kind of more just us learning how to put an album together more than anything else. It’s not like we were going in with any sort of mission; we were just kind of throwing the songs down because that’s what time required of us.
Grant: We wanted to make a pop album. That’s also part of it. We were like, let’s make this first one appeal to the masses as much as possible. So we were down with that and then we were able to just let it happen and take input from the label because we figured they knew what kind of songs would [work].
On their new album Pale Lemon, Sacremento’s So Stressed are taking on a new genre. With a background in heavier, noisy rock n’ roll, the band decided to make a pop album. Morgan Fox, who does vocals and plays synthesizer in the band, tells us that they decided to go the pop route because it more closely reflects what they listened to. On Pale Lemon, So Stressed tackle themes such as love and happiness through downtempo, melodic indie pop. Before the release of their new album via Ghost Ramp, we were able to talk with Morgan Fox about his crafting lyrics, changing genres, and finding inspiration in Young Thug.
What makes you most happy? How do you translate that into your music?
Nothing makes me happier than spending time with the person I love. She is amazing, and being with her is amazing. I have never experienced anything so good, enjoyable, and fun. It doesn't matter if we're traveling somewhere or trying something new or cooking dinner or even just reading in the same room together. Nothing compares. It's the best.
I try my best to take the grand and important feelings I have for her, write them down, and sing them. It's not the easiest thing in the world for me, because my feelings can be so big and I'm not the best wordsmith. But I do what I can to translate how I feel and what I think. It's nice when the music matches the tone of the words, but that's not at all essential to me. I'll sing about being in love in a thrash-y, noise song just as much as I will in a quiet piano ballad.
Brooklyn-based Shybaby made their debut last year with the hilariously titled PBR Tallbetch. The four-song EP married lyrics about skipping school and botched Tinder dates with the band’s carefree, pop-punk sound. Today, we're excited to debut Shybaby's pop-punk inspired cover of Mandy Moore’s 1999 pop hit, “Candy.” We also talked with singer and guitarist Grace Eire about the music scene in Brooklyn, the group's upcoming debut album, and finding inspiration in Maggie Nelson and Third Eye Blind. You can catch them live at Baby’s All Right on May 9.
AdHoc: Your lyrics take a lot of inspiration from your experiences as a young person in your early twenties. Is it difficult to write from a personal lens?
Grace Eire: Well, I’m leaning more towards 30 than 20, but I appreciate the mix-up. It’s never been difficult for me to write from a personal lens, because what can I possibly know better than my own self? I’ve also always been pretty introspective/introverted, so I spend a lot of time tossing over events and interactions with people. In fact, in school, my thesis was a 70-page first-person body narrative. What’s interesting to me about the switch to songwriting is that I’m more used to going on and on with long, painstakingly over-thought sentences. These songs, on the other hand, come to me quickly, and I tend to go with my first instinct rather than editing them incessantly. I like to think that keeps them honest and fun.
Chicago’s Varsity make lush indie pop about human relationships. Their new LP—Parallel Person, released April 27th on Babe City Records—is a self-described foray into the “uphill battle of isolation and popularity.” Fittingly, single “A Friend Named Paul” sees singer and keyboardist Stephanie Smith describing what she calls a “one-sided” relationship; it’s a sweet, syncopated jam, its bright, melodic instrumentation acting as a counterpoint to the lyrics. We caught up with Smith and guitarist Pat Stanton to discuss the band's new album, playing at SXSW, and buying lava lamps in bulk. Varsity play Union Pool on May 5 with Poppies.
What are you guys doing right now?
Stephanie Smith: We’re shopping online for lava lamps.
Why are you buying lava lamps?
Stephanie: We’re trying to figure out a cool stage show for our release. This might not be a good idea, but we need to find out what the going rate is for lava lamps.
I could see how that could look cool on stage.
Pat Stanton: The show’s on 4/20 too.
I think you’re kind of obliged to buy the lava lamps then.
Stephanie: I’m glad you agree—we’ve been having a debate.
Pat: I just don’t know how many lava lamps we need on stage to make it look cool.
When you’re in your early twenties, it feels like everyone is putting up a front. “Kindness Is Hot,” Ben Katzman’s Degreaser new single off of their forthcoming EP, deals with the difficulties of contemporary early adulthood like relating with one another in an age of obsessive self image, inflated egos, online dating.
The song is a fast paced, theatrical ode to courtesy. Over a glam rock guitar riff, frontman Ben Katzman sings, “be cool / be nice / be chill / that’s tight!” The theatrical Kiss-inspired track contains a spoken word break, appropriately followed by a wailing guitar solo. In advance of the single’s release, we talked with Ben Katzman about astrology, authenticity, and working with Colleen Green.
AdHoc: When did you start making music?
Ben Katzman: I’ve always been playing. The truth is I’ve always been playing music. My mom, who’s an astrologer, did my zodiac charts and saw that I lacked communications in my Ninth House. And, after that, she started sending me to piano lessons. Ever since I started playing music, I stopped having rage outbursts. I was like, 8 or 9.