Nate Terepka's debut solo effort, Sunlight Farm, is an EP that feels instantaneously classic — from opener "Tempelhof," in which the Brooklyn-based musician mellifluously croons over bright piano chords and shuffling percussion, to tracks like "Out In Sun," where a pulsing, resonant 808 beat is overdubbed with vocal croons and acoustic plucks. It's a stunningly beautiful release that links quintessential rock sounds to an experimental future, walking a tightrope between past and present over the course of seven tracks.
Such a sonic aesthetic is not surprising for Terepka, who as a member of psych-rock outfit Zula has made experimental-yet-accessible alternative music his bag. Whereas Zula's last release Grasshopper feels more textural and atmospheric, Sunlight is characterized by organic instruments playing counterpoint to various discordant electronic swells. It’s an ambitious effort for an EP, but Terepka pulls it off in a way that simultaneously isolates and engrosses the listener, a product of his desire to “acknowledge [isolation’s] importance while also trying to reach beyond it” throughout this release.
Christina Schneider has been putting out music under the monikers C.E Schneider Topical, Jepeto Solutions, and Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant, but it’s with the name Locate S,1 that she’s taken her specific brand of off-kilter bedroom pop to its dizzying, prismatic peak. Schneider’s most recent album, Healing Contest, produced entirely by Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, was released in April on Sybaritic Peer and is by turns inviting and disorienting. That half-facetious tension in the title plays out over the course of the album: Just when you think you’ve got them pinned down, these songs turn themselves inside out.
On “1 800 Capital C,” Schneider brings that tension to the fore by working sharp, catchy songwriting into a heady dreamscape of post-ironic elevator music. She told AdHoc over email that she wrote it in the shower in Greece, while “thinking about American capitalism.” As such, it’s easy to fall for lines like,“Have you even tried the simulator / Have you breathed the cool mist of the mist machine?” Schneider wraps you in what feels like a theme song for the cool mist of capitalistic inertia before you can ask yourself if you’re buying what she’s selling. Through a veil of lilting synths, she implores: “What we want you to do is / Pick up the phone and call the number on the screen.” All we have to do is call.
The decidedly lo-fi video for the track, which we’re debuting today, was directed by Taylor Ross (of Surface To Air Missive). Schneider told AdHoc that the video “features everybody who played on the album, and that makes me happy.”
For her newest album as Half Waif, Nandi Rose Plunkett knew she needed a change. Just under a year ago, she and Half Waif guitarist Adan Carlo and drummer Zack Levine (who’s also Plunkett’s partner) relocated from their longtime home of Brooklyn to the much quieter, tinier town of Chatham, New York. They now share a home - and a life - in a small town not far from where Plunkett grew up in Williamstown, MA.
Living this close to home for the first time in years, with a long-term partner, away from the madness of the big city, Plunkett was able to approach her music more consciously than ever before. On Lavender, Half Waif’s sophomore album, she’s unsparing and honest as she explores the complex, potentially ephemeral nature of familial and romantic relationships. Although it’s not unfamiliar subject matter for Half Waif, over the band’s most assured and robust electronic art pop arrangements to date (not to mention some truly haunting piano ballads), Plunkett’s almost philosophical straightforwardness is profoundly bone-chilling, maybe even radical. “There’s something to be said for...crafting something with the conscious thought of, ‘Okay, I want to write the song in this manner. I want to come into it with this specific goal,’” she tells AdHoc over the phone, with Carlo also on the line, as she recounts Lavender’s genesis. Her deliberacy has resulted in a thrilling next step for an already exciting act.
Adan, how has being in Chatham, where you haven’t previously spent much time, influenced your writing with Nandi and Zack?
Adan Carlo: Being up here offered us the opportunity to really be 100% in a creative space. In a place like Brooklyn or even somewhere like Montclair...we wouldn’t necessarily be living together. We wouldn’t have been able to focus on [making Lavender] as much as we did. It was waking up, working on it…’til we were going to bed.
Nandi Rose Plunkett: We don’t really see anyone else except for each other. [Laughs] There are days that are just completely filled with making music. It’s great; we don’t have anything else to do. [Laughs]
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.
Featuring Ashley Kossakowski on bass, Johanna Kenney on guitar, and Roger Cabrera on drums, Groupie make contemporary garage rock with nods to 1990s riot grrrl sound and a political edge. On “5 Year Plan,” a song from their forthcoming sophomore EP, Validated, the Brooklyn band ruminates on what it means to be successful and the unachievable expectations that we often put upon ourselves. Over pulsating bass, precise drum patterns, haunting harmonies, and yelps, Kenney’s vocals convey feelings of confusion and vulnerability, which the song ultimately reinterprets as a source of empowerment.
“‘Five Year Plan’ encompasses the contradictions of our modern lives and the push and pull of doubt vs hope,” guitarist Johanna Kenney told AdHoc via email. “[The new EP takes the] first EP into a deeper, moodier exploration of vulnerability and resistance. We strive to challenge what it means to be a rock band in an industry that is still largely white male dominated,” echoes bassist Ashley Kossakowski.
The members of Brooklyn-based indie outfit Barrie hail, variously, from Baltimore, Boston, São Paulo, London, and Upstate New York, but they met at Greenpoint's The Lot Radio, where half of the band worked. Despite their geographical differences, they create a cohesive sound on "Canyons," their psychedelic, bass-heavy new single. On the heels of the release of "Canyons," we caught up with the band and discussed Tinder, their writing process, and their upcoming show at Baby's All Right on February 8 with NADINE and Lexie. You can listen to their new single, "Canyons," below.
AdHoc: You’re all from very different places: England, Brazil, and the East Coast. How did you all meet?
Barrie: We all met though the Lot Radio in Greenpoint, through our friend Joe Van Moyland. He actually had the idea for the band and connected us all.
Portland-based Haley Heynderickx has been making waves with her spirited musings on self reflection, religion, and growth. Her new single, "Worth It," explores the difficulties of defining oneself in the shadow of other's expectations. The ways in which the song unwinds itself, with a faster tempo in a dramatic buildup, is reminiscent of the triumphant feeling of overcoming those anxieties. Over winding guitar riffs, she sings, "Maybe I've, maybe I've been selfish/ Or maybe I've, maybe I've been selfless / Maybe I've, maybe I've been worthless, or / Maybe I've, maybe I've been worth it."
Over email, she told AdHoc a little bit about the song's origin story. "I was living in a house with six women at the time and attempting to pursue music as more than a bedroom act," she wrote. "In this, I was struggling to find confidence and purpose in it. Writing 'Worth It' was a cathartic release at the time, just allowing myself to take up space and make as much noise as I could in our basement without driving my roommates too crazy. After several weeks, this song got carved out. It has been through a lot and it means something new to me each time I hear it. (Unfortunately, not a Missy Elliot cover.)"
New York-based Eli Sundae, né Eli Dreyfus, creates upbeat music infused with humor and wit, which he appropriately has dubbed “idiot rock.” His new video for “Bite My Tongue” reflects this ethos, taking a seeming jab at a genre that can sometimes be unbearably pretentious (indie rock). The video, directed by Carlen May-Mann, is an absurdist and colorful trip. Flanked by muscular sidekicks sporting hair wreaths that harken back to ancient Greek gods, he sings over a contagious bass line. At one point in the video, the song explodes into synths, and confetti pours down onto Dreyfus, who lays motionless, bathed by multicolored lights. Afterwards, the video abruptly cuts to Dreyfus, seemingly unfazed with his Greek goddess sidekick sprawled across his lap.
Via email, Dreyfus informed AdHoc that the video takes inspiration from the "emotional beat of romantic competition, drawing in equal part from Ancient Greek Olympics and Apple's '1984' commercial."
"This video explores the pain of looking your rival in the eye," he wrote. "You hate them, because they stand between you and everything you want, and yet they are your closest equal. In that moment they understand you with more clarity and empathy than anyone."
Relatives are a New York and Providence-based folk-rock band whose slow-burn melodies and roundabout lyrics are equal parts playful, bookish, and melancholy. The duo—Katie Vogel and Ian Davis—started writing together in 2007, and their close kinship is evident in the strength of their songwriting.
Their new album, Weighed Down Fortune, is filled with songs that are spare in instrumentation yet feel lush and full. “Hope Springs” rides a bouncing beat and jumpy melody in service of puzzling, circuitous lyrics like “surely someday we’ll find that after all it was intended as such.” Perhaps the funkiest and most immediate song on the album, “Typee,” counters its danceable beat with cryptic lines like, “It’s an apocryphal world—we can’t keep scratching our noses but never stop the itching as such.”
Another track, “The Ambiguities” reminds me of Mount Eerie and Julie Dorion’s excellent 2008 collaboration Lost Wisdom, both in its intimate vocal harmonies and in the simultaneous sorrow and hope embedded in its lyrics. Davis says he drew inspiration for the song in “Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, a novel by Herman Melville about wealth, loss, sex, death, and angst." Melville’s novel and Weighed Down Fortune are alike in more ways than one: Both are oblique and evasive works that touch on romance, philosophy, writing, and family dynamics; but, in the end, a simple strength and beauty shines through.
Hot Releases, the North Carolina based label run by Ryan Martin just came upon its 9th anniversary of operation. To celebrate they have released a new eclectic batch of albums that speak to the spectrum of sounds curated by Martin throughout the last 9 years. One of these releases, AF Hyperlink comes from the mind of Alex Chesney, whose work in Ashrae Fax and Faster Detail culminates as Gam Spun. Both a revival of Chesney's alias from the early 2000s and a journey into new sonic terrain, Gam Spun is a testament to Chesney's inventiveness and songwriting ability. AF Hyperlink is a collection of 10 vibrantly warped shoegaze instrumentals full of decadent synths, ecstatic guitar tones, and vigorous percussion. Providing a lush perspective within the realms of dream pop and shoegaze, Gam Spun carves a unique headspace to crawl inside. These heart-pounding compositions evoke feelings of both a fantastic futurism and a hazy nostalgia, blending together within their own space-time.