Jerry Paper is one of the most lovable weirdo-pop entities in music. Toying with existential themes and ego dissolution, mastermind Lucas Nathan crafts uncanny, captivating tunes informed by muzak, lounge music, and bossa nova. Onstage, he transfixes audiences with gyrating movements that flow under his signature silk robe.
This fall, Nathan will release Like a Baby, his first full-length for Stones Throw Records. It’s his most approachable work to date, while never sacrificing the surrealism that makes his music so bizarrely satiating. We chatted about the transportive video for “Your Cocoon,” collaborating with Weyes Blood, and escaping New York City’s oppressiveness for his native Los Angeles.
AdHoc: Let’s start with this video for “Your Cocoon.” How did you get involved with animator Steve Smith?
Lucas Nathan: I met him when I moved to LA a few years ago. He was neighbors with the comedian Jay Weingarten. I’ve been collaborating for years with my friend Cole Kush who lives in Canada. Cole and Jay had been doing some stuff, and I was about to move to LA, so apparently Cole told Jay, Jay was neighbors with Steve, and we ended up getting together and collaborating. Steve is a genius. He’s just a really good animator. I love him.
Is that an actual 3D model of your head in the video?
The head came from another project that involved scanning my head. We went to this place where they scan all sorts of stuff. You go into a cube made up of very fancy cameras. It’s something like 250 cameras that are all rigged to take a picture at the exact same time. So you just get an insanely hi-res version of your head. I am very happy with what Steve did.
Palberta embody dissonance so naturally that it’s hard to imagine any other modus operandi for the New York trio. The way they wield atonality is almost Schoenbergian in its bravado. Their confidence, built up over years of uncompromising performances, now allows their songs to shine bright through a distorted pop prism. True heads will know that small-scale anthems have always been nestled deep within Palberta’s thorny world.
“Roach Goin’ Down,” the title track off their upcoming 22-track release on Wharf Cat Records, is one of these gems, focusing on rhythmic execution and vocal communion. Cowbells and hand claps dance atop a propulsive beat, as twisted harmonies alternate between cryptic reflections: “A new life, sitting in a new house/ A new house, sitting in a new life.” Suffice it to say: “Roach Goin’ Down” slaps. In fact, it’s probably never been easier to shake it to a Palberta song. Will you join us?
Roach Goin’ Down drops June 15th on Wharf Cat Records. You can catch Palberta on their upcoming US & Canadian tour.
Triathalon craft subdued yet affecting pop music. Full of warm synths and clever, minimal beats, their songs feel best suited to solo listening sessions aboard cramped trains, hurried walks home in the rain, and intimate conversations with friends in your bedroom. And since they relocated to Brooklyn from Savannah, GA, the trio has been hard at work, recording and gigging around the city as they prepare to drop their latest full-length, Online, via Broken Circles next month. We spoke to Adam Intrator about the band's move, the New York scene, and the challenges of being on the road ahead of their upcoming tour, which they'll kick off with a record release show at Baby’s All Right on February 28.
On “Utopia,” Boston-based duo Pucker Up play as if they were a wind-up toy, which is to say they let loose to deliver a kinetic and nervous performance. The rawness and repetition align with that of no wave-leaning contemporaries like Palberta, Palm, and DOG, yet Pucker Up’s rhythms and overblown tones resemble something more robotic. In this sense, James Patrick Meyer's (of Red Sea and Hellier Ulysses) video is a perfect accompaniment for “Utopia” the song: it pictures a bizarre deconstruction of the human body set in an uncanny valley of digital trickery and manipulated forms. When the track’s groove temporarily breaks down, so does the humanoid figure on screen, multiplying into an unsettling army of distorted bodies. The video thus creates an alternate reality of sorts—what this song would look like if it were blasted to the outer reaches of the internet. Pucker Up’s achievement is grounding the listener in our own world through the sheer physicality of their composition. Truly refreshing and galvanizing.
You can listen to the Utopia EP, out now on Designer Medium, here.
In a live rendition of his latest single “Grace,” Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Alex Izenberg projects his city’s nostalgia for the sounds of classic ’70s AM-radio pop. The setup is modest, with Izenberg at a piano accompanied only by a string trio, and the singer lays the plaintive ballad out with ease, displaying a sort of composure seldom seen in newcomers. The sentiment here is one of longing, as Izenberg hangs onto a past encounter with “Grace” cut short by the sight of an engagement ring. A darkness proceeds to hang over him as he proclaims in a delicate falsetto, staring into the camera: “The winter is long.” But then, “The summer is strong,” as the pristine, flower-filled church backdrop pushes back against any onset of darkness. The string accompaniment lifts the song up and helps Izenberg carry it along, and one can’t help but feel that this “Grace” won’t be burdening him for much longer.
“Grace” is off Izenberg’s debut album Harlequin, out November 18 on Weird World.
Body/Head, the experimental guitar-noise project of Kim Gordon and Bill Nace, have recently announced a new live-LP titled No Waves, out November 11th on Matador Records. They’re hitting the road in November and we’re psyched to help present their Brooklyn stop at National Sawdust on November 12th. In anticipation of that, Kim and Bill have kindly sent over a curated list of music and film directors that have been influencing their work as of late.