indie pop

PREMIERE

Slow Dakota - Creation of the World

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By Abigail Clyne

Don’t let the joyful nature of the track fool you–Slow Dakota’s new single, “Creation of the World,” is asking the big questions. The title alone hints to this track being more than meets the eye. PJ Sauerteig (Slow Dakota) is joined by Margaux Bouchegnies on vocals and Corey Dansereau on trumpet. Throughout the song, the duo ponders where their urge for expression comes from. “I can’t decide if I write from some Great hole inside,” they sing, and compare their way of creation to that of Christ, “If Christ spoke Mountain Ice all because His Life was flat and dry.”

Later, the pair wonders if their inspiration perhaps comes from a more positive place, “Or do I sing from some Great abundance, bubbling high.” In the end, much like the different expressions of God shown in the Old and New Testaments, it seems a balance has been struck. Creation, and therefore expression, comes out of both desperation and love. The constant plucking of the guitar and later addition of the trumpet allows for this self analysis to never become dour. We all need a helping hand to guide us through the weighty questions, and Slow Dakota makes it both easy and profound all at once.

VIDEO PREMIERE

Arc Iris - Dylan & Me

By Gerard Marcus

The music of of Rhode Island’s Arc Iris has always come across to me as other-worldly. It’s a mix of their genre fluidity, the attention to detail in both the sound and structure of their songs, their overall musicality, and their mind boggling live performances. Everything they do blends together to present a fully realized universe of its own, an art so specific that it could only come from the depths of the minds that crafted it. Interpreting anything about their world and creating something within it is a daunting task, but that’s exactly what animator Anne Beal has done with Arc Iris’ new video for “Dylan & Me.”

In the video, Beal’s use of various animated elements allows her to make a visual representation that beautifully compliments the expansive realms of Arc Iris’ music. In a musical universe that feels boundless, Beal chooses to represent constraint. Pattens tesselate, band members are found frozen in time, figures effortlessly glide between designated frames before spinning into fractalized versions of themselves. The whole work seems to be stuck between constant motion and complete stillness–this tension is what gives the video its transfixing power. A surreal dream space showing infinite possibilities even in worlds with restraints.

Arc Iris will be starting a tour soon including residencies in Brooklyn, NY at C’mon Everybody and shows in Burlington, VT. Check out full dates down below, and if you are here in Brooklyn with us, be sure to go check them out live. They have consistently produced some of the more memorable shows I’ve seen throughout the years.

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PREMIERE

Slow Dakota - Canticle 69

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By Abigail Clyne

Has pornography ruined sex? That’s the question Slow Dakota ruminates on in his new cheekily-titled track “Canticle 69” (a risqué joke for the dutiful church goers who know a Canticle is a biblical hymn). The song opens on ebullient marimba and bass line pulsing continually, setting the scene for a successful sexual encounter. The falling scales and washes of sound mirroring the waves of ecstasy one hopes to feel during some good old hanky panky.

With the downward slide of the word “Easy,” PJ Sauerteig enters the scene, but he doesn’t seem to be having a good time. It seems not even this breezy intro can make things enjoyable. “Easy frankly, I’d rather have a Terabyte, a copy of a clone.” Real life sex has become gross, the sterility of porn has replaced the real thing, “Wonder when I fell so out of love with hair and spit.” In the end, he’s honest with himself, “And I can’t even keep it up I guess that means goodbye.” Why bother pretending?

The buoyancy of the track gives way at the end to a meditative spoken word section reminiscent of a biblical story. References to a man and his camel berate our singer, “They stood before my porch staring up at me with beady eyes and said ‘you ruined it, you ruined it forever.’” It seems he’s given up. The simulation has indeed superseded the real thing.

Check out more about Slow Dakota on his Instagram here.

VIDEO PREMIERE

LIP TALK - Ad Junkie

By Abigail Clyne

For LIP TALK’s video for her new song “Ad Junkie,” director Ellen Donnelly creatively delves into the surreal and odd ways social media affects our minds. Frontwoman Sarah K. Pedinotti lies in a dreamily-lit bedroom, phone glowing in the palm of her hand. A man with a camera for a face sits next to her watching and, presumably, documenting her behavior. Sarah sings “you are in my head so I take you home / You are in my bed so that I’m not alone.” We’ve rapidly normalized having social media, and by extent the larger world, in our bedrooms. The camera-faced man, the corporate and capitalist structure that take advantage of our psychological weaknesses for profit, joins us in this intimate space. The beautifully rhythmic chorus “And I swallow them up, swallow women and men in a minute” has a hypnotic affect, and we have all been overtaken by this force. With “Ad Junkie,” LIP TALK has crafted a song that’s almost as catchy and addictive as the social media she’s singing about.

Check out LIP TALK’s new album D A Y S, available now via Northern Spy Records here!

PREMIERE

Monkeybars - Practical Suede

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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.