"Wochikaeri to Uzume," the latest track from Sugai Ken's upcoming UkabazUmorezU full-length on RVNG, roughly translates to "welcome back and forth." And, from the welcoming and sonorous xylophonic percussion that introduces the clutter of sound to follow to the rich pauses that punctuate the tumbles of clocks, trickles, and feedback, the track roughly charts a series of sonic welcomes back and forth. At various instances boinging, hopping, and spilling, each moment of sound (and negative moment of silence that bookends each sonic puncture) feels like an ecstatic, sponatenous spillage, an unstable quark jolting out of position. If this review makes too liberal use of physical metaphor and anology, it's because Ken's music emphasizes the physicality of the art, the fact that each honk and slurp owes its existence to vibrations thrumming on the eardrum. Each tickling note upends the linear dimensionality of music; transposed into a physical interaction, a molecular concatenation, senses blur and striate. Music, on "Wochikaeri to Uzume," re-turns (in)to something atavistic. A clock ticks in the tense final seconds, ushering us into a time in which sound and feeling were one. Welcome back.
The human body is a theater of war, a site wracked with violence and desire. In the video for "I Wanna Be Your Dog," the second track off of VIOLENCE's upcoming Human Dust to Fertilize the Impotent Garden, a certain body—that of VIOLENCE's Olin Caprison—situates the writhing interplay and intertwining of the two. Garbed in lacy lingerie and a disfigured ski mask, Caprison smears two pregnant signifiers together, grafting the criminality of headpiece and the sultry, oversexed salacity of the bra into symbolic prostheses that map violence and desire onto the smudged red lipstick on Caprison's face. But the visual poetics of the tracks video aren't the only indicators of this prurient conflation: Caprison's lyrics are positively filthy. Pleading, they detail fantasies of degradation and animalization, where the intimacy of "want[ing] for you to hold me close" gives way to "whip[ping]," "cover[ing] in spunk," verbal abuse, and even "giv[ing Caprison] a reason to die." And the semantic distinctions between violence and desire aren't the only things Caprison blurs: the song itself appropriates sounds from industrial, black metal, and drill to sculpt its asxphyxiatory and percussive filigrees. The glinting, limpid tones that buttress the basic but anxious melody wouldn't be out of place on Geinoh Yamashirogumi's Akira soundtrack. But unlike Akira, a science-fiction thriller that defers its anxieties into an animated future, Caprison confronts a brutal present. As they pound their flesh on the concrete floor of the shack in the video, naked and sexualized vulnerability putrefies—before our eyes—into pain, clot, bruise: Caprison historicizes the present in unflinchingly exposing the disintegration of desire into violence, touch into assault. The setting of this curdling is burnt-out, graffitied and decrepit, but it's present, it's really there. It isn't post-apocalyptic—isn't even doctored. It's real life, not a horrific possibility, but an always-already vitiated present. Despite the trap-conditions, Caprison leaves us with the potential for escape: in the final, fading shot, they turn and walk out of the frame, out of the immediate and battered present and into an unseen space beyond the limits of what appears possible.
Sometimes there's a light at the end of the banal. Sometimes, everyone feels lazy, angry, nervous, bored, empty—and, for Hypoluxo, on their latest extended play Taste Buds, "nothing's crazy" about feeling anything. Most of the tracks on the record occupy these commonplace spaces of stasis but channel the boredom typically found therein into a restelessness whose chiming indie guitar and gently driving bass and drum lines propel the Brooklyn fourpiece into a sonic territory just kinetic enough to be addictive—something so addictive that it feels edible if not appetizing. The charming baritone lyricism and driving indie guitar condense into something to be gnawed, something that can be enjoyed ambiently on repeat but whose audial nuances—from the twinkling horn on "Nevada" to the sputtering and dovetailing melodies on "Sometimes"—reward undivided attention to the artistry couched beneath common places and feelings that Hypoluxo indulge. Taste Buds makes for gourmet indie rock, and it's delicious.
Amy Oelsner has been releasing music under the name Amy O since 2004 – her newest release, Elastic, is out 8/4 on Winspear. She currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana, and works at an after-school youth center, teaching young women about the power of collaboration through zines. She is releasing her own zine Yoko Oh Yes! alongside Elastic and was kind enough to give AdHoc a few words on the zine, which you can read below.
Amy O: On August 4th I'm releasing my new album Elastic on Winspear, as well as a zine called Yoko Oh Yes! that features interviews with women musicians from around the country. I'd actually been working on the idea of Yoko Oh Yes! before I even started Elastic. It worked out that the zine was coming to completion at the same time as the record and I realized it would be a perfect companion piece.
It had been a vague desire of mine to make a zine for a long time and I was at a point in my life where I was trying to challenge my perception of who I am and what I am capable of. I wanted to expand as a person and working on Yoko Oh Yes! felt like a really good way to do that. I wasn’t sure how to go about the process so I just took my time collecting interviews from about January 2015-January 2017. There are nine women interviewed in Yoko Oh Yes! I originally sent the interview questions out to almost 30 people, so it ended up a lucky accident that not all of them replied or else the zine would have been like 200 pages!
It wasn’t until I started collaborating with Jessie and Bethany from Shut Up and Listen that the zine really began to take shape. I know Jessie and Bethany through working at Rhino’s Youth Center, an after-school arts center for teenagers in Bloomington. They used to come in when they were in high school and do screenprinting, music, filmmaking, and radio. I was so impressed with them as teenagers, both in the quality of their work and the developed sense of artistry they had at such a young age. When they graduated and started doing Shut Up and Listen it made me so happy to see. I like the idea of working with other women as much as possible and it’s really important to me to support young women in particular, so it was a no brainer to talk to them about collaborating when the time came to work on the design aspect of the zine. They did a great job and I highly recommend checking out their rad zine series Shut Up and Listen.
Yoko Oh Yes! will be available locally in Bloomington, Indiana at Landlocked Music as well as at the merch table at my shows- along with vinyl, tapes, cd's and shirts. People can also find me on Instagram and DM me to get a copy of the zine. I’ll be working on getting them up on the store on my website as well. I’m really proud of this zine and can’t wait to share it!
Check out the cover image for Yoko Oh Yes and grab a copy for yourself at her 8/2 show with Yours Are the Only Ears and Bronze Float!
More Tour Dates:
7/31 - Philadelphia, PA @ LAVA Space
8/02 - Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville *
8/03 - Turners Falls, MA @ The Brick House
8/04 - Buffalo, NY @ Hostel Niagara
8/05 - Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
8/06 - Cincinnati, OH @ Wood Dungeon
8/10 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop +
9/14 - Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle ^
10/6 - Indianapolis, IN @ Fountain Square Music Festival
10/7 - Indianapolis, IN @ Fountain Square Music Festival
On Emily Berregaard's debut EP, Hallowed released on the new Portland, ME-based label Enmossed, slow washes of decadent drones facilitate some unique form of ascension. The Detroit-based artist conjures emotive drifts that encapsulate a comforting weightlessness. On “Yucca” and “Viola Soroia”, Berregaard creates expansive soundscapes using only voice and saxophone, molding, and shifting their sounds into immensely imaginative landscapes. Berregaard's compositions cause time to unfold in syncopation with our innermost psyche as alternate dimensions begin to pour out of our minds, untangling our awareness. On the B-side of Hallowed, Lack, and LXV reconstruct new translations of Berregaard's compositions. Lack's “Solis Lae” is a hypnotic juxtaposition of slow tempo contrasting rhythms, and ethereal looping drones that dissolve in the air, particles spreading outward. “Dreamless Sleep” is LXV's divine aural assemblage of deeply entrancing tones, and celestial communications. Releases on Enmossed are produced with recycled materials, water-based inks, and hand silk-screened covers by Laura Arteaga Charlton. All proceeds from each release go to a charity of the artist's choice.
In their new video for "Crush," Fits and video director/producer Molly Soda set out to depict both the burning desire, as well as the crushing self-analysis that comes with a serious crush. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it track is a power-pop gem. In under a minute, palm-muted guitars build into pulsating drums and bass until the entire track boils over with the refrain "the thing that you said, it wasn't O.K., not back then."
The band's own Nicholas Cummins says that "the song... can be taken a few different ways; it's about desire and crushing on someone, having a crush, but also about over thinking every wrong thing you may have said to them and being crushed under that self-analysis. For the video, Molly started a mood board that we ended up collaborating on, playing on those two meanings and how to visualize crushing and being crushed. The end result reads a bit like a fetish video but I'm cool with that. I also want to thank Amanda Laskey and Felix Walworth for lending their body parts and getting covered in cake and gum for me."
Everyone's experienced a crush like this. A flame of desire that proves so virulent that it threatens to tear you apart limb by limb. However, the journey towards fulfilling that desire can be its own crushing path. Fits know about such crushes all too well, and their video for the track reveals the folly of our love-struck ways through the only images that suffice, burning cakes and bouquets.
With the technology behind electronic instruments changing rapidly, many electronic artists have given their own sonic takes in the age-old argument of analog vs digital. Brooklyn's own Flash Trading belong to the camp of electronic musicians that seek to pay homage to classic analog sounds while pushing forward the genre through their bold songwriting. Their newest video for "Acceleration," off their upcoming EP The Golden Mile, which AdHoc is premiering today, plays with the line between the retro and modern by utilizing not only analog instruments, but also old webcams and video effects to film the music video. The video itself plays even further with this divide between the modern and the nostalgic through its depictions of the song lyrics written out on social media posts and text messages. In this way, even as the filtered bass, syncopated claps, and classic synth sounds that make up the track calls back to 80s and 90s electronica, Flash Trading reveals that through reproduction, all sound is ultimately timeless.
Today, AdHoc is premiering HDLSS's newest track "What Comes Next" from their forthcoming LP, Selections from DUMB, out 8/4. The track tackles minority othering, American secularism/anti-religiosity, and political/artistic responsibility. Masquerading as a dance song, the song's driving beat is clearly capable of moving one's body, but the HDLSS's lyrics are focused far more on moving one's mind. HDLSS's Fareed Sajan had this to say on the track:
"This song was born out of the incongruity of your insides not matching your outsides. That universal feeling that the way you look does not represent who you actually are. As a brown person, stereotypes have always followed me, and now, when Muslims are being demonized every day, it is even harder to escape. Hindus are perceived as Muslims. All Muslims are perceived on the same axis as extremists. Nuances get lost. It’s an issue any minority confronts, where an individual is forced to represent a swath of people, the Other, since most people do not know many South Asian, Latino, Black, LGBTQ etc. people... This puts people who have critiques of their own culture in a precarious position. And what does this do to a person within a faith who has doubts, or is still developing a faith, yet at the same time they are perceived to be a spokesperson? How does that affect his/her natural spiritual development? 'What Comes Next?' addresses that question by taking the perspective of someone grappling with being born into Islam, and fighting to understand religion in a nihilistic/narcissistic/consumer driven society."
When Danish Singer and Producer Anders Rhedin, better known as Dinner, began writing the tracks on his upcoming album, New Work, he looked to his favorite topic for inspiration: nonduality. New Work, out 9/8 via Captured Tracks, meditates on the spiritual concept through the influence of William Blake's Proverbs of Hell and his own change in lifestyle. Dinner decided that producing New Work required that he uproot himself and go to LA where he would work on the album with co-producer Josh da Costa (Regal Degal, Ducktails) and a host of American collaborators: Andy White (Tonstartssbandht), Charlie Hilton (Blouse), Rori McCarthy (Infinite Bisous, Connan Moccasin), Staz Lindes (Paranoyds), and Sean Nicholas Savage.
Of the new tracks on New Work, Dinner said, “A lot of my favorite music is American. I thought it would be fun to go a little bit less Euro on this one. I’m plenty Euro by myself, some might say. I wanted to add a different color.” But in the spirit of nonduality, "Un-American Woman," which we are premiering today, plays sonically with the apparent disconnect between the European and American pop sounds while ultimately revealing an underlying unity that exists between them both. Of the track, Dinner said, "Un-American Woman' is a song I wrote just before I stopped going out, just before I stopped sleeping around with women. The song seems to be about disillusionment and a fear of being stuck in a certain lifestyle. But it also touches upon the potential transformational aspects of suffering (or ‘Duhkha’ as the Buddhists say). Nothing’s black or white, good or bad. There is just life force moving. A constant movement. 'The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,’ in the words of Blake. I lifted that line for the song, of course.”
On the video and it's choice of dreamy locales, Dinner said, “the director and I just got in a car and drove through the desert, from LA to Las Vegas, to meet with the ballet dancer Hank DeMarco (Mac Demarco’s younger brother) and a group of his dancer-friends at a motel room. And then we documented our little journey as we went along. We just followed our intuition…Vegas is a very special place. I feel it is a nexus of dark, dark energy, to me. It was very important that we go there of all places. Ballet and vegas - it had to be that combination for this song. We drank milk and smoked cigarettes with the dancers. That seemed very important to do, too."
Couch Slut made a name for themselves on their debut, My Life as a Woman, through their bone-shattering riffs and the exorcising vocals of singer Megan Osztrosits. Now, on sophomore album Contempt (out 7/28 via Gilead Media), the band seems to have crystallized, or perhaps cemented, into a being that is as hauntingly beautiful as it is abrasive and sludgy.
New single "Snake In The Grass" showcases an effortless mix of both visceral noise rock and haunting ambiance, a sound that is as angelic as it is satanic and which was only hinted at on tracks like "Rape Kit" off MLaaW. The track has all the hallmarks of Couch Slut as we know them, the same brute militancy of drummer Theo Nobel and bassist Kevin Hall's rhythm section, the controlled chaos of guitarist Kevin Wunderlich, the piercing wails of Osztrosits, even the band's masterful use of feedback to produce the white noise that bookends the track. But what stands out about "Snake In The Grass" in particular is Wunderlich's guitar solo after the 3-minute mark. Just as Osztrosits' voice has been rightly praised for its ability to cut through the gargantuan sound of her bandmates, Wunderlich's guitar solo, with its airiness and reverberation that would be more suited to ambient guitar music or arena rock, stands as a moment unheard in Couch Slut's discography thus far. It Wunderlich's work here that elevates the track from a discrete focus on the dark conditions of the earthly to a view that encompasses both heaven and hell.
We can't wait to hear what other surprises lurk, waiting to be let loose on Contempt.