PREMIERE

PREMIERE

Dances - Never Sexier Than When I'm Alone

Gerard Marcus

You meet someone and immediately hit it off. It quickly becomes almost shocking to think of a time before or after them. You start spending more and more time together, growing more and more connected, bringing an ease to life you’ve been looking for for a while. The only problem is that they now have to go. Far away. It’s a weird feeling, wanting to be near someone when you can’t. That rawness of a recent lover lost to distance is the central theme of Dances new single, “Never Sexier Than When I’m Alone.”

The video, directed by Alec MacDonald, is an intimate portrait of longing. Dances' lead singer and songwriter Trevor Vaz sits alone in local Bushwick dance spot Mood Ring contemplating moments that he wishes to share with a distant lover. As the night progresses and the alcohol flows, he finds himself wandering towards the back room alone, thrashing around while draped in silver and gold ribbons. Production choices like having Vaz function as his own bartender, or the subtle realty vs. fantasy element of watching himself on security footage, drive home the track's deep longing. The video beautifully portrays the solitude of yearning to be somewhere else, anywhere else, with the person you love. 

Venus Figurine comes out 10/12 via the new label Jubilee Gang with a release show on 10/13 at Trans-Pecos with Zenizen and Realworld

PREMIERE

Sivan Silver-Swartz - Sometimes and Sometimes Not

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By Gerard Marcus

Patience is a virtue. I heard this a lot as a child, and have learned to appreciate it more and more the older I get. There are a lot of things that can be gained from not being too hasty. Clarity, focus, wisdom–pretty much anything that requires more than a minor glance to perceive. Sivan Silver-Swartz’s new release Sometimes and Sometimes Not is an album that rewards patience.

Silver-Swartz's five track debut consists of four highly creative “indie rock” tracks sandwiching a beautifully simple song featuring piano and cello. The intricacy of the compositions, rich layering of sounds, and hard panning of percussion, guitar, and vocal elements is the first thing that captures your attention when diving into this record. But what fascinates me most is how Silver-Swartz utilizes time. Sometimes and Sometimes Not is about 42 minutes long with only five tracks. The shortest song is 7 min and 37 seconds. In case you’re wondering, most songs, especially those that fall into the world of rock, are between 3 - 5 minutes long. So what is Silver-Swartz doing with all that extra time?

Silver-Swartz is a composer. He currently is getting his MFA at Cal Arts and previously studied (along with myself) at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Please take this with a grain of salt since I am not the songwriter, but having studied with him and knowing a bit about process of composition, I will say that one of the things you learn to appreciate in composition is sculpting sonic experience over time. And that’s what Sivan does so well over these 5 tracks. He introduces you to a sonic space and leaves you time to fully soak it in before moving onto the next one. This space not only encourages you pay attention to the details of the compositions, but also enhances other elements of the songs like their lyrics, giving them a weight that can only come from attentive listening. It’s a beautiful study on the usage of time in rock music, and a great example of the power of not doing things in haste. 



PREMIERE

Moonheart - Breaking/Broken

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Gerard Marcus

Have you ever loved someone-a mother, a friend, a life partner-who’s emotionally sporadic? It has a way of making you lose yourself in anxieties that aren’t your own. Finding your way out of the maze of another person’s emotions is hard, and it can force you to learn how to emotionally separate yourself from aspects of their life. It’s not easy, not being hugged when that’s all you want, not seeing a smile after you told what you know is the funniest joke ever. But love keeps you there.

Moonheart’s new single “Breaking/Broken” reminds me of this space. The track is simple-lush synths layered over cavernous percussion and flickering electronics, with singer Kim Iman’s voice ping-ponging in stereo like rippling water running over it all. This simplicity is all in service of my favorite aspect of this track: its structure. The song opts-out of a familiar verse-chorus pattern, and instead floats through a lyrical stream of consciousness. It evokes the contemplation one has after yet another failure to connect with someone they love, remembering all the good and the bad in the relationship, while trying to figure out what comes next. This emotional middle ground is hard to grasp, but Moonheart has captured it perfectly.

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Bobey - Foothills

Gerard Marcus

I first heard Bobey on Golden Brown’s Perfectly Toasted Vol. 1 two years ago, and quickly fell for his minimal production style featuring looping guitar and almost mundane lyrics. His new single, “Foothills,” is a wonderful example of an artist honing his skills and bringing them to a new level.

“Foothills” begins with syncopated guitars, hypnotically layered in signature Bobey style. This immediately soothing atmosphere draws listeners into his meditative world, a perfect backdrop for the subtle and nuanced lyrics. They evoke wisps of memory, beautifully conveying a hazy recollection of everyday life. “I’m overworked / But I’m not sure / Called my old boss ‘You don’t work here anymore’.” Bobey’s lyrics depict time as a confusing, fractured thing. When combined with his repetitive and hypnotic production, they create a sense of timelessness that leaves the listener contemplating the space between relaxation and madness. Off his upcoming EP Siblings (out August 24th), “Foothills” is a magical exploration of the prosaic nature of memory and the stillness of time.

PREMIERE

Sun Kin // Miserable chillers - Adoration Room

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Will Shenton

When Kabir Kumar (Sun Kin) and Miguel Gallego (Miserable chillers) first met, they found that they had a lot in common: both were pop musicians, both were first-generation children of immigrants, and both had "fears about making art in a time where a tidal wave of history seems poised to crash down on us." But perhaps the most striking similarity between the artists is the playful sincerity they bring to their songwriting, allowing them to paint optimistic counterpoints to those anxieties. It wasn't long before they became long-distance collaborators, and Adoration Room is a sprawling, occasionally tongue-in-cheek debut for the pair.

Awash in everything from danceable synths to psychedelic guitars, Kumar and Gallego's voices and lyrical styles are naturally complementary. "I keep inviting you to things by accident / I swear this app was made to make me feel bad," Kumar sings on the wonderfully theatrical "Ringing," not long after Gallego gives us the vignette of "I thought of you at the bitcoin exchange / When we split a cab across town to the AMNH" on "Natural History." These little parodies of modern, digital life walk a tragicomic line, simultaneously seeming to mock their ridiculousness and empathize with the narrator. Maybe social media is a dumb thing to stress about, but it doesn't make the anxiety any less real.

Part of the appeal of Adoration Room is its tendency towards nostalgic reference, anchoring its contemporary woes in the comforting styles of the past. Miserable chillers' "Jamie" drips with Bowie-esque melodrama, while Sun Kin channels countless sultry, soulful crooners on opener "Veena." The list of homages and influences is too long to count, and the result is a sort of semi-satirical collage—some of the delivery is definitely goofy, but it's executed with the loving care of musicians who grew up steeped in the sounds they're channeling.

Replete with sometimes subtle, sometimes explicit nods to revolutionary politics ("Adoration, if all the work goes away and we're still / Paying for the leisure of the vain / Be patient, hope the guillotines have not been rent / Help me sharpen blades," Kumar sings on "Teri Ankhen"), the album regularly hints at a more hopeful vision of the future. But no matter how the tension between the socialist clarion call of "Teri Ankhen" and the dystopian, techno-libertarian tableau of "UBI" shakes out, Sun Kin and Miserable chillers are dedicated to at least one immediate material gain: irresistible pop.

Pre-order Adoration Room on Bandcamp, out 7/27