On Wild Palms, Iguana Moonlight transports the listener out of Ilya Ryazantcev's cold and bustling home of Moscow and into a playground of cosmic isolation. The record, part of a cluster of full-lengths soon to be released on Not Not Fun, proffers a delightful relief from spatial and sonic claustrophobia: in its hazy meanderings, Wild Palms nurtures an unhurried space that sounds truly otherworldly.
The record's final track—"VI"—represents perhaps the most alien transmission from the Russian "bedroom voyager." As found sound of ocean waves plod about the track's woozy atmosphere, a form trickles out of an arpeggiating pattern that gently swells into shape. The result sounds like an excavation, a deep probing of the fissures between each bleep and a spectral analysis of each bloop. But Iguana Moonlight's ethereally "equatorial" conjurings don't fall prey to a reactionary escapism; rather, the extraterrestrial landscapes he hallucinates project an uncanny gut-punch of the sublime, as visceral as it is beautiful. Like the white sand of Ryazantcev's imagined beach, "VI" worms its way into the cracks between toes and lingers there, tickling the skin.
Wild Palms lands June 30, courtesy of Not Not Fun. Step into the cosmic beach of Iguana Moonlight's "VI" below.
Lilting without lull, Multa Nox's latest track from her upcoming full-length Living Pearl, lusters. Propelled by a gentle momentum of clicks and sputters, the dreamy "i have not whispered everything i can bear" inhabits a milky sonic space lacquered with a textural richness of drone tones and vocal ornamentation. In this space, Brooklyn-based sound artist Sally Decker bathes her composition in a softness inflected with an incantatory grandiosity that swells along with the inertia of the gingerly shifting drone. The exact words that she utters remain blanketed in a gentle ambiguity: what flickers in and out could be some permutation of the words "just" and "end"—only the phonemic traces stand out amid the wash of sound.
Language, enunciated in Decker's whispers, becomes disentangled from signification, becomes vibration, becomes physical. And with that, her whispers bear an enormous weight: the ability to transform words into something sumptuous, something delectable.
Multa Nox's LP Living Pearl is out June 2 on NNA Tapes. Stream "i have not whispered everything i can bear" below.
Ben Katzman, the impresario behind BUFU records has an insatiable love for rock n roll. His solo project, Ben Katzman’s DeGreaser, is his primary outlet for his playful and absurdist take on rock tropes. We Bled to Shred is the newest record from the band—a heavy metal concept EP in which DIY rock is threatened by a musical machine beast called the Bloggernaut, which uses evil show promoters and publicists to undermine the scene. This record finds Ben Katzman in good company, backed up members of American Nightmare, Guerrilla Toss, and Diamond Plate. The EP’s title track is its first single, a two minute battle cry of NWBHM inspired metal, complete with finger tapped guitar breaks and double stopped riffs. The song isn’t exactly victorious—its reflection a life of grueling touring that often seems to offer little in return. But Katzman finds some pride and justification when he barks that he and his DeGreaser have bled to shred. It's hard not to believe him.
Check out the track below. We Bled to Shred is out June 30th on BUFU Records.
Haunting harmonies drifting through a deep foggy night, the eerie vocals of L.A.'s Dimples begin to tug away at your insides. Their new LP Whimpers on Nicey Music is a collection of cerebral folk music floating atop smoke signals only to be confused for a mirage. Their meticulously designed campfire soundscapes seem to evaporate out of their souls, appearing and vanishing into thin air. “Chains of Shame” bleeds a raw emotion that lingers even after the sounds dissipate. Dimples weave a droning melody that is met with their hypnotically soothing voices. In the video for “Chains of Shame” presented by Giraffe Studios, an old man wearing a cowboy hat wanders down an empty highway. His suit is adorned with rhinestones and decorated to look like a skeleton. He sings along to "Chains of Shame" as he carries himself along this endless highway, hovering like a ghost.
Whimpers is out now on Nicey Music. Dimples is on tour starting at the end of April, check the dates below.
El Murki’s Breakeadito hurdles along at a ludicrous speed. From the very first locomotive kicks of “Kagemusha S.A.” to the slippery juke stutter of “160 Tranqui,” a tilting inertia propels each fragmentary transmission that composes this album from the Argentinian producer otherwise known as Leandro Ramirez. At this streaking velocity, the sounds—ranging from synth squeaks to vocal shards—atomize into discrete blips, components of the stuttering pastiche formulated by El Murki’s goofball poetics. In this state of overdrive, the quantized particles of Breakeadito highlight “Kahn” smear into a chromatic spectrality textured by sputters and pings. And it’s a sumptuous, though overwhelming, texture. But what sticks here isn’t necessarily the full weight of the variegated onslaught but the twinkling moments, always-already receding from the Buenos Aires-based producer’s fecund momentum. As an exercise in truncation and reassembly, Breakeadito seems to grasp at an ecstatic futurity—a resplendent vision of a joyous Latin American reality.
Joey Agresta is a junk shop cashier in Burlington, Vermont who moonlights as a mad doctor style musician, crafting strangely layered, skewed pop songs on an eraser headless tape recorder under a mouthful of culinary themed names. His releases under monikers like Joey Pizza Slice, Son of Salami, Salami Junior, etc, have graced dedicated weirdo labels like Night People, Feeding Tube Records, Goaty Tapes, OSR Tapes and more. For his newest, upcoming release, Let’s Not Talk About Music, which he has announced today, Agresta has forgone the cured meat sobriquets for his own given name, signifying the more serious subject matter of the record. “I Feel Like Shit And I Want To Die,” the first single from the record, finds Agresta embracing a lo-fi jangle pop sound, with bright, chiming guitars and a casiotone organ evoking a shambolic hymn. The lyrics, like the title, are disarmingly straightforward, ruminating on the strain deep sadness can place on relationships, and the anxiety and insecurity that strain evokes. It’s one of the most accessible and relatable things Agresta has ever made; and one of the saddest too.
Listen to the song below. Let’s Not Talk About Music is due out May 12 via Wharf Cat Records.
From her time as a co-trickster with Dean Blunt in Hype Williams, to her cycling through various aliases for different releases, Inga Copeland has never made easy legibility an artistic priority. Her debut full length, 2014’s Because I’m Worth It, was released as copeland, while a subsequent EP, RELAXIN’ With Lolina saw her take on the name Lolina. Last year, she retained the name Lolina for an album called Live In Paris that was not, actually, recorded live in Paris, however insistent the sinister chant of the titular phrase three minutes in is. Today she has shared a cryptic video for a track called “Fake Bond,” with the video’s still image splitting the difference between her monikers by referring to her as “Inga ‘Lolina’ Copeland.” The track is built around a wobbly electric piano loop that switches between two, unbalanced feeling meters, anchored by a slick, mischievous bass line. Meanwhile, strange, waterlogged sounds interject here and there, as if performing a modernist ballet.
Banny Grove waltzed onto the scene last year with the debut Who Is She?, a pop album that blends moving balladry with positivity and well-placed schmaltz. She’s the glam, cartoonish alterego of Rabbit Rabbit’s Louise Chicoine, accompanied by Peter Nichols of Grape Room, and together they put on an act with big dramatic energy. For Banny Grove, no subject matter is too small for fascination, and even the cheese dream gets its deserved airtime. In the video for “Cheese Dream,” directed by Philip Steiger of Nancy Shirley, a petticoated Banny Grove engulfed in strings of cheese grapples with the “spongey mess” of a nightmare that’s left her tossing and turning. Over punchy entwined guitar and synth lines, her refrain of “Don’t tell me, don’t tell me everything will be OK!” is almost real and desperate enough to wake us. The dreamy visuals reel us back in, though—fields of trees and flowers and the spinning sight of the duo in a sunlit river. This is a good primer for their imaginative live set, and Banny Grove will be touring the US celebrating “Life’s Wonders” throughout April and May. See their dates below.
Alex G is now (Sandy) Alex G—putting to rest long years of confusion between the Alex Giannascoli we know and love, and a very different, west coast singer-songwriter who also goes by Alex G, and, of course, restauranteur and my personal favorite Chopped judge, Alex Guanarschelli. The (Sandy) prefix isn’t too unusual anyway. It’s been part of the URL of Giannascoli's Bandcamp for a long while. The announcement is accompanied by a new single from his forthcoming record, Rocket. “Proud” continues the folksy, country-inflected sound explored on the previous single, “Bobby.” It’s a handsome song, with a lazy shuffle and a Floyd Cramer-style piano that dances around the mix. (Sandy) Alex G’s sweet vocal melody belies the complex, ambivalent relationship the song maps out—one that mixes admiration and resentment in equal measure. In the chorus, Giannascoli ruminates on the possible consequences of his own failings, a train of thought that proves too difficult to follow by the end, when he lets the last line, “if I fuck up,” trail off into the fade out.
Andy Molholt, member of bands like Speedy Ortiz and Very Fresh, pursues his own particular musical vision as Laser Background. Under this moniker, Molholt explores the affinities between psychedelia and childhood. “We Trust,” the opening track to Laser Background’s eponymous, debut EP, features a Spongebob Squarepants-style sea shanty chorus amid waves of flanged guitars and laser blast synth washes, while follow up record Super Future Montage’s “Fantasy Zone” sets Prince-like pitched up vocals against a Mega Man-core backing track.
“Climb the Hill” is the second single from Dark Nuclear Bogs, Molholt’s forthcoming record. If you have an affinity for anagrams, you might’ve noticed that Dark Nuclear Bogs is an rearrangement of Laser Background—a play on mid-career self-titled records that refine or subvert a band’s vision. If “Climb the Hill” is any indicator, then this trope will bare fruit. Not only is it one of Molholt’s most fully realized pop songs, it simultaneously pushes his music and production towards more textured, out-there, and evocative territory. It’s centered around a sparkling, nursery-rhyme keyboard line that’s rhythmically a little unbalanced, dropping a couple of bars here and there as it loops. The effect is something like the musical interpretation of a psychedelic crib mobile. It’s a compelling backdrop for Molholt’s pretty, hazy vocal melody, which relates what he has described as a “bit of psychedelic fiction”— a story about “a bell that you can ring” but can’t hear unless “you are pure.”
Being a kid, when a good chunk of what you experience every day is new and weird, is probably pretty trippy. The wooziness of psychedelia in music has often been used to explore hazy ambiguity between pleasure and terror; presence and non-presence. By connecting this ambiguity with the susceptibility to experience that comes with childhood, Laser Backgrounds makes psych-pop that’s remarkably affecting.