Illiterate Light - Two Cats

Gerard Marcus

Richmond, Virginia duo Illiterate Light use their driving rock music to peer inwards, searching down into the hidden, uncontrollable emotions within. Their video for their new single “Two Cats” is a quirky study of one of these emotions: obsession. Shot for a film festival over a single day on Super 8 film, they restricted themselves to only in-camera editing, embracing the limitations of this technique to power their creativity.

The song “Two Cats” is about someone furious that their partner is moving away, who has gone ahead with the purchase of their two cats anyway in the hope that it will make them stay. In the video, we follow two characters, “cats,” who become unrelentingly fixated on a tight-fitted floral crop top. What ensues is a quirky story that starts as a more of a Sunday morning comic strip, but with no resolution in sight, escalates to an epic backyard brawl. It’s telling how Illiterate Light handle their emotions that they’ve created such a light-hearted story to explore the desperate obsession and anger of the song. The video is a unique and creative depiction of their inner turmoil, shining a satirical light on obsession to help us all see that, sometimes, it might be better to just let it go and not take everything too seriously.

Illiterate Light are playing Brooklyn Steel this Friday, January 11th!

And the rest of their tour:

01/12 – Washington DC @ The Hamilton ^
01/15 – Ft. Wayne, IN @ The Brass Rail ^
01/16 – Bloomington, IL @ Castle Theater ^
01/17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo ^
01/19 – Chicago, IL @ Park West ^
01/22 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi ^
01/23 – Columbus, OH @ Basement ^
01/24 – Lexington, KY @ The Burl ^
01/25 – St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall ^
01/26 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works ^
01/27 – Richmond, VA @ Broadberry %
01/29 – Ithaca, NY @ Haunt ^
01/30 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway City Arts ^
01/31 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall ^
02/01 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground ^
02/02 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair ^
02/05 – Newport News, VA @ Boathouse Live ^
02/06 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern ^
02/07 – Charlotte, NC @ Visulite ^
02/08 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle ^
02/09 – Charleston, SC @ Pour House
02/10 – Jacksonville, FL @ Theater Benefit ^
03/12-17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
05/03-05 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival

^ w/ Rayland Baxter

% w/ Mt. Joy


Monkeybars - Practical Suede


Gerard Marcus

Synth pop can set you in a dream, suspending you in a brief, hazy reality. Sometimes this is a place of relaxation, and sometimes the lush synths and driving grooves propel your feet off the ground and your fist into the air as you jump along in a state of disoriented bliss. Or maybe that's just me?

"Practical Suede" is right at the center of this synth pop dream space, balancing themes of patience, doubt, and life's most overwhelming experiences with a groove heavy enough to push you through it all. The brainchild of songwriter Eli Aleinkoff, Monkeybars features a cadre of talented artists, including Sahil Ansari on drums and production, James Wyatt on guitar, Peter Wagner on bass, and Aleinkoff himself on vocals, synths, and soprano sax. The song melds synth with creative horn production, stretching traditional synth pop sounds in a fresh direction. And Aleinkoff takes the brass a step further with a blistering soprano sax solo, doing a great job of shredding it while not distracting from the track's groovy vibe. "Practical Suede" makes for a great ending to 2018, and has me looking forward to what Monkeybars have in store for the new year.


Star Rover - Plain Air

Abigail Clyne

Star Rover’s video for their new instrumental single “Plain Air” is a dreamy dive into an ocean abyss. The video, directed by Nao Yoshigai, stars dancer Kaho Kogure performing elegant choreography beautifully juxtaposed within the rhythmic and trance-like instrumentals. The soundscape of the song is a creative combination of electric guitar, overdubbed sonar whale recordings, and a string arrangement which enters midway through, fleshing out the track's otherworldly dynamic.

The title of the song is a play on the “plein air technique,” which simply means to paint outdoors in the environment you are depicting. Kaho Kogure embodies this through dance, showing how her body moves through air, light, and water. In the video’s and song’s climax, Kogure’s previously measured movement explodes into a powerful and aggressive dance. She fully owns the space she inhabits in this beautiful moment, and shows what can be found when we allow ourselves to dive into the depths within us. 

Catch Star Rover live on December 13th at Secret Project Robot!


Breathers - 1-800-PAIN

Gerard Marcus

I have a friend who’s a bike messenger. One day while slipping through the streets of downtown Brooklyn, she rode into a car door someone opened without looking, flew off her bike, and hit the ground pretty hard. I went to see her after the accident and found her lying in bed unable to move. I told her she had to go to the doctor, just to make sure everything was ok, and she laughed. She didn’t have health insurance, couldn’t afford it, and the last time she was in a bike accident and went to the doctor she got stuck paying off thousands of dollars in medical fees. Unwilling to deal with that again, this time she decided to just stay home and self medicate until she got better. It took about a month. She’s riding her bike again now. 

Breathers is a band from Atlanta, Georgia, whose latest album ‘Designed To Break’ is full of synth pop gems designed to make you both dance and think. The new video for their single “1-800-PAIN” takes us on a surreal journey with protagonist Tommy Pain, a slightly sketchy lawyer who works in injury claims. Pain seems content within a system that takes advantage of peoples’ suffering for financial gain, until one day a minor work accident traps him in that very system. Pain tries everything he can think of to help himself, but the system does nothing but make his pain worse, leading to a moment of agony in which he destroys his own office. He collapses into a chair, sees his own ad on TV, and picks up the phone to call himself for help. It’s a brilliant critique of American healthcare and how it can drive us to forgo professionals and take care of ourselves by ourselves. Not because it’s a good idea or because we want to, but because, at a certain point, what other option do we have?

Breathers’ ‘Designed To Break’ is out now on Irrelevant Music check out and purchase the whole record HERE



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Jordan Feinstein

“I take a bath and a bottle of addys” TOLDEO sings in their new single, “Bath.” The track is a dream-pop bath and bottle of adderall, suppressing its inner turmoil beneath mellow sounds and major chords, an aural approximation of the pill’s effect. Even though the singer has been medicated since nine years old for anger issues, he still doesn’t “find the peace of mind or the answers.” But he’s certainly figured out at least one way of coping, and like those warm baths, this song’s wash of sound might just be another.