Germany

PREMIERE: Fir Cone Children - On My Plate (Feat. Krissy Vanderwoude)

fir cone children - magdeburg2.JPG

Will Shenton

Taken from Fir Cone Children's forthcoming LP, The Straight & The Curly, "On My Plate" is a dream-punk tune packed with the whimsy of the mundane. Alexander Donat and Krissy Vanderwoude's vocals weave a shimmering tapestry among the driving piano and soaring guitars as they sing about something almost universally familiar: a kid who doesn't want to eat his dinner.

There's something delightful about giving such dramatic treatment to such a banal scene. "I want to eat something else / I do not want what's on my plate," the duo sings in the buildup to the frantic chorus, in which they emphatically declare, "No fork / No knife / No food / No fruit / No vegetables." It almost reads as a parody of self-serious punk (or subgenres thereof), presenting a child's tantrum in a style usually reserved for grander rebellion.

Fir Cone Children do seem to be getting at a broader theme than the literal narrative suggests. Choice, at any age, can be paralyzing, and the birds in the bush are often more appealing than the one in the hand. Perhaps these are impulses we have to overcome to truly grow up, but it's hard not to relate to the kid—sometimes you just want to flip the dinner table and throw a fit.

Be sure to catch The Straight & The Curly July 13 on Blackjack Illuminist Records.

REVIEW: Lingua Nada - Snuff

Raquel Dalarossa

Lingua Nada are a hard band to pin down. They’ve been described as everything and anything, from progressive pop to math rock, and their own Bandcamp page’s tags run the gamut from shoegaze to emo. It has to be impossible for a band to truly embody all these genres, right?

That’s one assumption that quickly goes out the window after a listen to the band’s full-length debut, Snuff. Indeed, despite the inclusion of just ten tracks, the material here covers a hell of a lot of ground. It’s an astonishingly well-integrated mishmash of sound, practically bursting at the seams with a live wire energy that drives the band’s ecstatic experimentation.

Though it’s formally considered their debut, it’s easy to tell that Snuff is no amateur release. For the four-piece—led by Adam Lenox Jr. on vocals and guitar (as well as on recording and production duties), with Michael Geyer on second guitar, Arvid Sobek on bass, and Valentin Tornow on percussion and trumpet—this has been a long time coming. Based in Leipzig, Germany, Lingua Nada has gained some traction in the European indie world, having spent the past two years touring rather relentlessly to support a couple of EP releases. Even as far back as 2014 the band were already recording together under the name “Goodbye Ally Airships,” though their only LP with that moniker exhibits more straight up emo and post-hardcore tendencies. It’s clear they’ve done a fair amount of maturing their sound since then.

Snuff deftly incorporates the band’s obvious love for hard-driving punk and noise-rock with lighter moments of shoegaze and pop-rock. Opening track “Svrf Party” pretty much gives you a taste of all of these pieces upfront, nearly causing auditory whiplash right out of the gate. With a penchant for near-operatic drama and frenzied, guitar-driven tempos recalling thrash metal, it can take a lot of energy just to listen to this stuff, but it’s always rewarding.

“A Netflix Original,” for example, starts off with a barrage on all your senses, but quickly evolves into math rock-leaning arpeggios, with string instruments and synths adorning a buildup to a joyous post-punk jam. Other highlights include “Cyanide Soda,” an almost danceable track with some of the catchiest riffs on the album, as well as “Shapeshifted,” at once moody, brooding, and soaring.

Lingua Nada's Snuff is a wild ride without a doubt, but it's one you won't regret taking. Just be sure to buckle up. 

PREMIERE: John Moods - Leap Of Love

6309B559-5437-4544-804F-4A5FE0B4D274.png

Will Shenton

John Mood's "Leap Of Love" opens like the dawning of a dream. Replete with somnolent warmth, it wraps the listener in its melodies and falsetto vocals before whisking them off to a hazily affectionate realm. "A love song which remains a mystery even to its creator," it evokes the universality of romance while simultaneously acknowledging that, on some level, it will always be unknowable.

Like the rest of his forthcoming LP, The Essential John Moods, "Leap Of Love" was written by artist Jonathan Jarzyna (of Fenster) during a solo hike of the Iberian coast. Originally recorded on his cell phone with no instruments but a backpacking guitar, the lush texture of the track is all the more staggering.

The Essential John Moods will be out April 20 on Berlin label Mansions and Millions. In the meantime, let the balmy yearning of "Leap Of Love" wash over you.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Konsequence - Feels Pt. I (ft. Rory Fresco)

Kelly Kirwan

"Feels" is a word that's spent the last couple of years redefining itself in the pop culture lexicon. It’s a vibe, an aura that follows you like a halo—in short, it’s mood. And as the title of Konsequence’s latest single, "Feels Pt. I"—the first from their forthcoming EP, Studio City—it captures the song's simmering, defiant atmosphere.

Konsequence is a duo of brothers from Munich, Germany who now reside in Los Angeles. On "Feels Pt. I" they were joined by Rory Fresco, a Kansas City native whose career took a serendipitous turn when his single "Lowkey" auto-played after Kanye’s upload of "Real Friends" on SoundCloud. Together, Konsequence and Fresco have created a track that’s overflowing with nonchalance. It’s a song that’s aggressively unruffled, pressing forward in a confident stride without losing its level head. Fresco’s voice takes on an automated warble as he stresses certain notes, letting us know that there won’t be any distractions en route to his end game—everything trying to stand in his way is background noise.

The accompanying video follows three women (Tegest Worku, Samira Prudentos, and Aissa Niang) as they navigate the streets and hidden nooks of LA. Interspersed are shots of them staring at the camera, holding a sign that says "Feels," and walking lackadaisically through parking lots or lounging around at parties. The trio is a unit, their bond often emphasized by arms draped over each other's shoulders, and they embody the confidence of Fresco's lyrics with body language alone. "Feels Pt. I," both song and video, are filled to the brim with a charisma you wish you could bottle. Studio City promises to do just that.

PREMIERE: Fir Cone Children - We Will Never Die (feat. Krissy Vanderwoude)

Kelly Kirwan

Fir Cone Children knows how to lay down a groove. Berlin-based artist Alexander Donat opens his latest single with a simmering guitar line, one that wriggles it's way between your shoulder blades and alleviates any trace of tension. You're left loose-limbed and ready for a sultry sway, nearly expecting the thermostat to rise from the warmth of the melody. "We Will Never Die" rolls on for just over two minutes, it's funk-laden introduction gradually giving way to mild doses of distortion, a few fuzzy garnishes for added texture.

Krissy Wanderwoude acts as the vocal complement to Donat, their airy pitches intermingling across the sound waves with a dreamy effect. Together, they create a relaxed haze that you would link to the happy lethargy of summer nights. Which makes sense, considering the lyrics, “It’s summer / Isn’t it / I know / 'Cause it’s so warm.” On occasion, the song swerves into what feel like small whirlwinds, interludes filled with slow-moving echoes, as if we were listening to them under water.

Fir Cone Children has crafted a song that captures the fleeting feeling of infinity. It brushes off fears of mortality and instead raises its hands to a beat that repeats, “We will never die.” And it’ll leave you feeling the same way.