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.