Noise

VIDEO PREMIERE

Dove Lady - Can't Be Sad

By Gerard Marcus

I’ve been a friend and fan of DC-based musicians Jermey Ray and Andrew Thawley for a while now, and one of my favorite things about their joint project Dove Lady is the way their music floats between absurdity and deep psychoanalytical critique. It’s music which shows that it’s sometimes easier to process the harsh truths of life when you turn them into a joke. Not by emotionally distancing yourself from reality enough to laugh away in a state in ignorant bliss, but rather by embracing the cosmic joke of existence until laughing is the only natural outlet for expressing your feelings. In their new video for “Can’t Be Sad,” Dove Lady teamed up with New York director (and ThrdCoaster) Bucky Illingworth to explore this state, painting an abstract tale of emotional and psychological fracture that warps reality and perception. The video is a rollercoaster of shifting energy and imagery, a controlled chaos which perfectly conveys the torn sense of self explored in the track. What is happiness? What is sadness? What is love? What is hate? Dove Lady’s answer lands in an ambiguous middle ground. You’re not really sure what’s up or down, but somehow that’s ok.

Dove Lady play this Friday (2/15) in Washington DC at Dangerous Pies DC with Bottled Up, Super Natural Psycho, and Clear Channel. Link to the event here.

VIDEO PREMIERE

JOBS - Pink

Gerard Marcus

Perfection is weird; it's by its very definition never obtainable. According to Merriam-Webster, perfection is “freedom from fault or defect.” But who decides what’s a fault or defect? JOBS' new video for their single “Pink” considers that question at its core, turning what some people might see as faults into a video that is pretty close to that elusive perfection.

“Pink” the track is a wild combination of pulsing rhythms, distorted guitars, and surreal vocals that more directly evoke imagery than meaning. It’s a song of sensation that ask you to listen deep without any expectation of reward. Directed by Britt Ciampa, the video portrays two characters dragging objects through what seems like a parade of ghosts. JOBS' singer-guitarist David Scanlon’s distorted image is overlayed throughout, creating a beautiful collage of hyper-stimulating imagery. Britt Ciampa's work as a visual effects artist really shines in the video. Using visual ideas he discovered through failures at creating photorealistic fixes in his usual work as a vfx artist, he creates a visual language for this video that pairs excellently with the driving pulse and distorted sounds of JOBS track. He created perfection out of imperfection, and what’s more perfect than that?

VIDEO PREMIERE: Wsabi Fox - Yes Ma'am

Will Shenton

Deep in the sludgy, kaleidoscopic hallucination that is Wsabi Fox's newest video, "Yes Ma'am," we see and hear flashes of somewhat unexpected instruments: a violin, a cello, a saxophone. Though they're mainly used as accents, this eclectic ensemble hints at the wildly creative energy of the artist. Not content to make a straightforward tune, "Yes Ma'am" boils over with ideas through a haze of controlled mania.

The video is composed of a series of half-remembered vignettes—Wsabi Fox dancing or clawing at her painted face, musicians plugging away dutifully at the off-kilter time signature—all layered with colored lights and an ephemeral filter that give them dreamlike qualities. But more than a dream, "Yes Ma'am" feels like hypnosis. Its nearly seven-minute runtime and relentlessly propulsive guitars draw you in, bombarding your senses and drowning out anything beyond the borders of the screen.

"Yes Ma'am" is simultaneously a delightful nightmare and a headbanging assertion of power ("I'm the motherfucking boss," Wsabi Fox declares). It'll worm its way into your head and refuse to let go.

Catch Wsabi Fox's GUSHING EP release show July 18 at C'mon Everybody (Brooklyn) with Charmaine Lee, Mary Knapp, & CP Unit

REVIEW: Palberta - Roach Goin' Down

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Phillipe Roberts

Palberta announce their presence with a screeching “We’re Palbertaaaaa!” in the closing third of Roach Goin’ Down, delivering a clunky, bass-heavy hip-hop beat sprinkled with blips of detuned guitar. Like a professional wrestler playing their entrance song just before delivering that perfectly choreographed pile-driving finisher, the move would feel anti-climatic and awkward if it wasn’t so characteristically them to ignore any conventional order of operations while spitting on your expectations. Live, the trio switch instruments almost as fast as they leap between ideas, a would-be performance gimmick that illuminates just how damn singular their approaches are behind the kit and in front of an amp. On the strength of showmanship and increasingly bizarre songcraft, Palberta has become a bit of an open-secret sensation, but Roach Goin’ Down is their strongest argument yet for blowing the doors wide open.

For all of those individual qualities and instrumental quirks, what makes Roach Goin’ Down such a big leap over its predecessors is how accomplished they’ve become at fusing them into a seamless—albeit slightly prickly—whole. Highlight track “In My Fame - Jug!” is ruthlessly efficient with melodies. Its first section is a pile-on of scraggly guitar, bass chords, and splashing percussion, ricocheting off each other in a thrilling chain-reaction explosion. As it glides to earth to start part two, soft guitar strums carve a path onwards—not towards a conclusion, but a circular conversation that fades gradually into the distance, a sound they explore again on “Jumping From Lamp to Lamp,” with an added dose of sprightly loneliness.

Indeed, despite the textural and tonal grit that Palberta are fond of, the outright poppiness of punk tracks like “Big Time” sound almost too smooth to be the work of a noise (or noise-inclined, if you will) band—until they tear it off like a BandAid in the last few seconds with a howling sax solo. The titular chanting in “Cherry Baby” cleaves through the wonky pulsing of horns and bass around it, detuned to its surroundings but perfectly preserved in an airtight bubble that’ll keep you humming it for days. Palberta have always performed this delicate balancing act, but these snippets of hypnotic warmth have never sounded so deliberate, even if they come packaged with an equally fierce punchline.

Roach Goin’ Down’s cover art features the visages Ani Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser whipped into a single slimy heap, differentiated only by glasses, teeth, and hair, in a real case of blended identity that mirrors the album. Unless you see them perform the songs live, it’s nearly impossible to tell who wrote or played what part. And somehow, the longer you listen to Roach Goin’ Down, or allow yourself to be taken in by the wacky, impulsive construct that is Palberta, the less you feel the violent urge to deconstruct and divide that gooey whole into something piecemeal. If you need things to make microscopic sense, don’t listen to this album. If you want to hear Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” transfigured into a Rage Against the Machine-style basher, exposed for the bloated corpse of a track it was by way of annihilation, you may have found your record of the year.

REVIEW: Clebs - I'm Here

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Phillipe Roberts

At core of Clebs’ debut EP is the question looping through every recording since the first wax cylinder: what here is human? Recording is an exercise in artifice, a selection and compression of real-time events into an endlessly repeatable fantasy. With their first foray into the art of sonic distillation, vocalist Emilie Weibel and drummer/producer Jason Nazary go for the jugular with a particularly violent approach; I’m Here quite literally feels like a mutilation of their personalities into a unitary, Frankensteined sound-beast, flexing its reconstructed muscle in an exploration of these newfound capabilities. Though some moments gesture towards sunnier pastures, the most surprising element of I’m Here is how firm its footing feels in the long stretches of abstracted body horror, slicing apart familiar rhythms, melodies, and sampled sound into something that feels truly alive, twitching with a dangerous curiosity.

From start to finish, the organic, pulsating fusion that is I’m Here manages to sound painstakingly labored over without overworking the ear. Every second is brimming with immaculately designed easter eggs and microscopic detail. Pitched-down voices buried under fuzz on closer “Light Spectrum” combine with bubbling, randomized arpeggiations to eerie effect; as a whole—and this is meant as the sincerest of compliments—it comes off as the soundtrack to a late-night infomercial from another dimension, a peek behind the static curtain into a mundane glimpse of the beyond.

Truly, Clebs’ finest gift may well be in creating trancelike environments that feel as if you’re observing them from a distance, or from a bubble of relative safety. “Bass Chrysalis” (WHAT A TITLE) is a shining example. The glitched-out voice breakdown in its latter half, where thumps of bass pound against the sharply pitched gliding melody, doesn’t so much consume you as linger, tantalizingly, just out of reach. Clebs are masters of the experimental tease.

When the duo branch into immersive, pop-like territory, they never quite let themselves run wild or become too consumed by rampant emotionality, preferring instead to constantly tweak and tune their creations like a pair of obsessive technicians. Though it emerges chopped and crushed, leaking a trail of vocal teardrops from Weibel, opener “Homemade Bread” is the record's most out-and-out danceable excerpt. Its central beat flails and flops with a drunken urgency. Nazary weaves a staggering polyrhythmic collage, populating it with buzzing snippets of Weibel’s voice placed deep into the mix. The track leers with a frightening intensity, threatening to break out into some form of “drop,” some kind of sustainable, emotive four-on-the-floor chug, but never does.

Even the title track, whose looped, bumping beat comes the closest to providing the sturdy bedrock necessary for a pop song, can’t help but inject blasts of howling noise, roaring in at jarring volume to keep you awake and aware through the haunted nursery rhyme chanting of “If the bomb explodes, then you come back home.” I’m Here is not for the faint of heart, nor for the faint of head. But if you’re looking for a brief detour into stranger waters or a peek into the grizzly unknown, look no further.