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.
Vancouver rock band Jo Passed, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Joseph Hirabayashi (Spring, SSRIs), has shared the visuals to "Pet Crows," a standout tune from his 2016 Up EP. Animator Liam Hamilton conjures up aggresively strange hand drawn images to soundtrack the song's fitful, unconventional movements. Hirabayashi says the "the characters Hamilton comes up with are fantastic, likely decent halloweeen costumes too." Hamilton is also touring as a drummer on Jo Passed's upcoming tour, which stops through Brooklyn at Union Pool on 11/3, supporting Ratboys and DAGS!. Check out the delightful, and somewhat disturbing, halucinatory video below.
Strobe Talbot are a happy anomaly, a longstanding trio that consists of Jad Fair and Mick Hobbs of Half Japanese and percussionist Benb Gallaher, all based in different countries. The release of their most recent record Funland comes a decade and a half after the last Strobe full-length, with a playfulness that belies their age as a band—it’s an album full of wide-eyed love songs like “Superstar,” a blissed-out two minutes traversing the feeling of being “in the arms of happiness, in the arms of yes it’s true, in the arms of me and you, in the arms of love.” With Fair’s declarations, sitars roll alongside a choir of spectral voices in a giddy, transcendent rush. Fair made a video with his signature paper cutting animations to complement the song’s staggering sweetness, with cats, birds, flowers, and one-eyed monsters looking on as human couples gaze into each other’s eyes. Set to the headlong drumbeat and dreamy animations, Fair’s wordplay sounds perfectly natural—“The best thing that ever done did / it is here and it will not hid / it will not slip and it will not slid / yeah, solid! Superstar!”
Stream the video below. Funland is out now on Moone Records, and the limited-edition vinyl has a morphing hologram effect featuring some of Jad Fair's artwork (you can see a demonstration here).
Brooklyn power-poppers Fits have been tearing up the scene for a couple years now, and for good reason–their loud, playful, DIY aesthetic is shaped as much by bandleader Nicholas Cummins' smart and pointed songwriting as it is the band's growing up around and playing in DIY spaces such as Shea Stadium and Silent Barn. The band–Cummins, Brian Orante, Emma Witmer (of gobbinjr), and Joe Galarraga (of Big Ups)–play to these songwriting chops, crafting each minute-long burst of Cummins' songs into something anthemic and cathartic. Their new song "Hot Topic," off their upcoming debut album All Belief is Paradise, starts off with a lazy guitar and languid vocals, a sound that betrays Cummins' lyrical barbs: "You would have not been pissed off if I stood behaved, but I frayed when I did 'cause I can't." The song grows louder as Cummins' voice grows more urgent, but then, after a pause, the song settles into a swooning instrumental groove through its end. It's the sort of song that, after its minute and a half is over, you'll probably repeat and repeat.
"This song is about losing your voice, getting caught in the throat, and missing an opportunity to stand up for yourself and who you are," said Cummins. "In that way it's about a failure, but it's also not an apology. National coming out day was last week and it reminded me of this ever-present pressure to describe, defend and explain your identity in really personal ways to complete strangers all the time. The personal is definitely political and all of us are intertwined but sometimes you don't want to be a narrative, you just want to be a person who's like, eating a bagel or playing Starcraft of going to the beach and stuff. Society can be exhausting and it can be really easy to forget that we're all individuals, with 8 billion gender presentations and 8 billion selves. You don't owe everyone all of your courage all of the time."
Atlanta’s floral print make guitar pop full of hazy, woozy melodies and textures, but strained through razors: their songs are full of sputtering stops, false starts, and sudden detours. Take, for instance, the opening track of their new album mirror stages, called “sweepstakes life": the song begins with an bouncy guitar line and playful melody, but soon devolves into a squall of noise that leads into a mumbling piano ballad. The band–made up of singer/guitarist Nathan Springer, drummer Paul DeMerritt, and bassist Joshua Pittman–rotates through genres and styles almost naturally, a gift that belies their origins of meeting by chance through Facebook. “egg rites” alternates between an American Football-esque post-rock and overwhelming distortion. The title track, one of my favorites, is perhaps one of the most discordant ambient songs I’ve ever heard.
"mirror stages was recorded between March 2015 and October 2016,” said Nathan Springer. “The bulk of the album was recorded in two separate two day sessions at Broad Street Visitor's Center in Atlanta in the late summer of 2016. Graham Tavel recorded, produced, and mixed the album. These songs gestated much longer than the songs on our EP 'woo' and are a lot more varied in style. We were going through some weird stuff at the time, and consequently the tone of the album is a little darker than our previous recordings.”
mirror stages is out October 20 via Tiny Engines. Listen to the album below.
Evan Zierk's new album on Atlantic Rhythms dissects our understanding of time and perception, the tones vibrate a space within. Zierk's skillfully blends together a minimal palette of sonic textures to create a vibrant world that swirls around your skull. Drifting/Bending simulates a loss of gravity, akin to an out of body experience, hovering as an observer. Zierk's gliding arpeggios dance from ear to ear, their pulse moving like a newly formed organism. Evan Zierk is joined by longtime collaborator Nate Mendelsohn playing alto saxophone, whose presence further adds to the feeling of drift, “Bending” causes an awareness of the complexities of perception and sensation. Spatial cognition is left behind, these deeply transfixing and spiritual tones drown out any other input.