On “Sugar & Spice,” the title track from Hatchie’s debut EP, the Brisbane, Australia songstress sings, “We could outlast it all.” Though the song’s lyrics revolve around an uncertain future, they could easily double as a mission statement for Hariette Pillbeam’s unique brand of pop music, which feels less tethered to modern conventions than it does to universal feelings, like longing and lust.
Hatchie’s songcraft relies heavily on massive, major-key hooks, with reverb-drenched vocals and jangly, shoegaze guitars giving depth to the EP’s intimate lyrics. Upon first listen, the tunes are honey-sweet, but repeat spins reveal some vinegar beneath the surface, like when Hatchie sings, “Baby, I’m a piece of glass, I shatter so fast,” on “Sleep.”
Ahead of her Hopscotch performance on September 6 in Raleigh, NC, Pillbeam spoke with AdHoc via email about her earliest influences, the story behind the Hatchie moniker, and when fans can expect some new music.
AdHoc: When did you first starting writing music? Is there someone in your life who inspired you to pursue music as a career?
Hatchie: I toyed around with ideas as a teenager, but didn't really write full songs until I was about 19 and started taking it more seriously. I wouldn't say there's one person who inspired me to do it; I've wanted to do it since I was a kid and always had support from family and friends. I always wanted to write my own music and play it myself, so I looked up to singers like Carole King and Jewel.
Jerry Paper is one of the most lovable weirdo-pop entities in music. Toying with existential themes and ego dissolution, mastermind Lucas Nathan crafts uncanny, captivating tunes informed by muzak, lounge music, and bossa nova. Onstage, he transfixes audiences with gyrating movements that flow under his signature silk robe.
This fall, Nathan will release Like a Baby, his first full-length for Stones Throw Records. It’s his most approachable work to date, while never sacrificing the surrealism that makes his music so bizarrely satiating. We chatted about the transportive video for “Your Cocoon,” collaborating with Weyes Blood, and escaping New York City’s oppressiveness for his native Los Angeles.
AdHoc: Let’s start with this video for “Your Cocoon.” How did you get involved with animator Steve Smith?
Lucas Nathan: I met him when I moved to LA a few years ago. He was neighbors with the comedian Jay Weingarten. I’ve been collaborating for years with my friend Cole Kush who lives in Canada. Cole and Jay had been doing some stuff, and I was about to move to LA, so apparently Cole told Jay, Jay was neighbors with Steve, and we ended up getting together and collaborating. Steve is a genius. He’s just a really good animator. I love him.
Is that an actual 3D model of your head in the video?
The head came from another project that involved scanning my head. We went to this place where they scan all sorts of stuff. You go into a cube made up of very fancy cameras. It’s something like 250 cameras that are all rigged to take a picture at the exact same time. So you just get an insanely hi-res version of your head. I am very happy with what Steve did.
Nebraska-born, Brooklyn-based indie rock group Navy Gangs first came to our attention back in 2016, with their brilliant self-titled EP. Their eagerly awaited follow-up, Poach, comes out August 3 on Modern Sky. Delicate Steve, who worked with Navy Gangs on their last release and has collaborated with Mac DeMarco and Paul Simon, resumed producer duties for Poach. The 14 track album is sprinkled with the band’s signature energetic riffs but also offers doom and gloom in songs "Dark Days" and "Vampire."
We chatted with lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Tillwick and bassist Wilson Keithline just before they headed out to shoot the music video for their latest single and Poach opener “1Alone.” The track is one that Tillwick says is "a song I wrote in my first New York apartment 1A... [it's] about the FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling, and how to embrace it."
AdHoc: I love the single you released, “Housekeeping” and the video with the cute little cardboard cut out of you. Can we expect the rest of the album to have a similar vibe?
Matt Tillwick: No! The album is pretty dark—that’s probably the happiest song. It’s pretty widespread of an album; it has light and dark throughout and really ties in to all of the moods of being alive.
How long have you been working on these songs?
MT: Some of them are a couple of years old, and some of them are a couple of months old. We decided to record a bunch more songs than necessary and just pick through those.
Brooklyn-based producer White Cliffs may not be on your radar yet, but he is having quite the year, between signing with Foreign Family Records and touring with Big Wild. His songs are big and full of feeling, with catchy guitar riffs and mesmerizing vocals — and “Daisy,” which we’re debuting here, is a great first glimpse of his ability to craft an irresistible pop melody. It eases in with an infectiously bright guitar riff, and sounds as warm as a summer day.
“Daisy is a song about someone who is having trouble getting up and doing what they want to do with their life” says White Cliffs. “It’s about letting go of fear and moving on towards happiness. This is especially personal to me, because this year I decided to take my music in a direction that I’ve always wanted to.”
Brendon Avalos, the bassist and vocalist of Brooklyn rock band B Boys, has given us a present with solo effort Gift Wrap. “Either Way,” the first single from his upcoming full-length, Losing Count, is a no wave gem. The percussion is gleaming, a shimmery metallic base for the blanket of synths and vocals he weaves overtop. He chants the chorus like it's a mantra, the repetition reflecting the song's inward-looking gaze: "Self-reflection, dissent is normal."
“The song is about trying to understand yourself better through meditation," Avalos told AdHoc via email. "I took some drugs that messed with my head, so I started meditation as more of a restorative thing, and then kept pursuing it because it really helped with some other anxiety-related problems I was experiencing. This song in particular is more of an ode to how meditation was really helping me through some stuff at the time.”
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.)"
Triathalon craft subdued yet affecting pop music. Full of warm synths and clever, minimal beats, their songs feel best suited to solo listening sessions aboard cramped trains, hurried walks home in the rain, and intimate conversations with friends in your bedroom. And since they relocated to Brooklyn from Savannah, GA, the trio has been hard at work, recording and gigging around the city as they prepare to drop their latest full-length, Online, via Broken Circles next month. We spoke to Adam Intrator about the band's move, the New York scene, and the challenges of being on the road ahead of their upcoming tour, which they'll kick off with a record release show at Baby’s All Right on February 28.
Big Bliss are speeding into 2018. Named “New York City’s Hardest Working Band of 2017” by Oh My Rockness, they played a whopping 150+ shows last year. On February 2, they're releasing a 7-inch double-single through Exit Stencil Recordings. Their newest music video, “Contact,” is a testament to their ability to plunge you into a dream world with their effects-laden post-punk.
"Contact" is a driving whirl of sound. The pinging guitars perfectly accentuate the shimmering cymbals. The gently insistent timbre of the vocals pulls at you and lulls you into a trance as Tim Race and Wallace May plead, "Give me every moment, give me all your time." The video is gorgeous in its own right. Haze and rich colors engulf the band as the camera cocks from one angle to the next. The band pushes themselves into panes of glass, contorting their lips and noses as if they're trapped. They rub their faces, then rub red and black paint onto the glass.
Over email, guitarist and vocalist Tim Race told AdHoc, “'Contact' is about attachment and anxiety of distance, and how it’s dealt with considering modern communication. In the video, we used a giant piece of plexiglass, paint, and a ton of smoke to gradually obscure the image in between us and the camera to illustrate the idea."
Brooklyn producer R.E.L. keeps the tempo high and the rhythm driving on “906,” an outer-limits blend of acid-soaked keys and cavernous handclaps. It's a crate-digger’s dream, piling on infectious drums, sinister bass rumble, and divine ambient synths in search of that perfect dancefloor high.
The man behind the moniker, Ariel Bitran, has been cooking behind the scenes for quite some time, notably as a booker for gone-but-not-forgotten BK haunt Palisades, Sunnyvale, and currently, Mercury Lounge. Though he’s made the leap into Manhattan nightlife, Bitran remains firmly indebted to the scrappy ethos that carried him there. Via email, he explained to AdHoc that the sonic legacy of “906” is “in many ways a reaction to my personal discovery of the NY DIY dance/electronic scene while running Palisades.” Fresh, aggressive, and packed with instrumental flavor, “906” brings a vivid image of that scene to life.