chillwave

NEON INDIAN BACK ON THE ROAD
December 8, 2015 6:37 am

Neon Indian is finally back on the road with his new album Vega Intl. Night School and proves that it was worth the two year wait. Who knew he’d be flying halfway around the world to play for a Japanese crowd? Apparently it’s his “favorite place to be on earth.” Maybe he got some of that “popstar” quality from his father who was quite the musician in Mexico back then. Either way, I got the chance to enjoy how he rocked the crowd in Japan last week.

neonhihijk

Photo by Youka Nagase

neonindian

Photo by Youka Nagase

As Alan Palomo stands on stage you could feel the excitement in the room. People were shouting all kinds of stuff from “Neon Indian!”, “You’re awesome!” to “I love you, you’re hot!” His feet start dancing to “Annie” and shows us some bold dance moves to the reggae guitar beat and the girls in the front row are mesmerized by him. Very much like his album, it felt like a drunken memory with echoey vocals on top of the overlapping synth and flashing rainbow lights. The kind of drunken memory that I wanted to last forever. The Glitzy Hive is that song you just uncontrollably dance to like you’re at an 80’s party sporting a neon jacket. I mean, the lyrics literally say “Party, she’s at the monster party. Party, party” with the perfect beat so how could you even stay still during this song?

Unlike other musicians he doesn’t pull the kind of “bullshit” and tease his fans telling the crowd that it’s the “last song” when there’s clearly 3 more important songs that everyone’s been dying to hear. Instead he cruises through the set and tells us that the supposedly “last song” isn’t the last one because let’s face it, the encore is the best part and nobody wants a good show to end! Of course he leaves everyone’s favorite “Polish Girl” towards the end, leaving everyone on a high from all the chillwave.

IT ALL FEELS RIGHT WITH WASHED OUT
November 18, 2015 1:56 pm

If I were to take a wild guess, you, the reader, having ventured into our wondrous world of ATYPICALSOUNDS, might be into ‘indie’ music, which by that extension means, you might recognize this tune.

Washed Out Band Photo. Ernest Greene pictured.

The creative forces behind Portlandia didn’t randomly select that snippet as the backdrop for their sketch comedy roughly based around the ill-defined ‘hipster’ niche. Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around” was the anthem to a short-lived–yet indispensable–piece of nostalgia-injected ambient-electro dance pop that emerged circa 2009 that is referred to as “Chillwave”, often characterized by heavily distorted lyrics, synthesizers, and sampling.  Think Toro Y Moi Causers of This Neon Indian’s Psychic Chasms or Aerial Pink’s Before Today.

Washed Out is Athens, Georgia native Ernest Greene. He was discovered on, of all places, his MySpace account—which was still the social media mode of choice for most aspiring bedroom musicians at the time. Greene released his first two EPs High Times and Life of Leisure both within a short span in September 2009.  The former of the two was released via exclusively on cassette tape.  The latter saw a much wider release on Mexican Summer, a Brooklyn-based record company that specializes in elaborate vinyl packaging. Life of Leisure served as a major catalyst for Mexican Summer, which, along with Best Coast’s 2010 debut Crazy For You, was a hot commodity indie label at the time–and was certainly a major player in the vinyl craze that started around that time.  Greene next moved to Sub Pop where he released his debut full-length Within and Without in 2011 and followed up with Paracosms in 2013.

Thematically, Washed Out’s music tends to revolve around one central theme.  Look no further than his debut record cover.  That’s right: Love. Washed Out is a desperate romantic chasing after his muse. The titles of Greene’s tunes don’t really beat around the bush either; for example, “The Sound of Creation,” or “It All Feels Right.” His music is sensuous, immersive, and evocative, and at the same time, quite beautiful and dense.  Make-out music on a mild dose of psychedelia.

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: HONDURAS
May 31, 2015 6:41 pm

If you’ve been to see a hard rock show in the last month, Honduras has probably opened it. The Brooklyn based quartet has recently opened for Metz, Fidlar, Sunflower Bean, Twin Peaks and Blurr. Honduras seems to be playing a new show before you can even sign on to Twitter and hear about it. Perfectly blending surf and indie rock with punk, vocalist Pat Philips calls on the ghosts of little anarchists such as The Ramones or The Sex Pistols.

In textbook punk rock fashion, the Brooklyn based band (by ways of Missouri), doesn’t have much of a musical background other than just playing guitar “because there was one around my friends’ house and I fell in love” says guitarist Tyson Moore.

Pat and Tyson have been writing songs together for ten years. “Maybe it was weird collaborating when we first started out but I don’t remember, we always agree,” Tyson jokes. They have some unexpected influences considering the spirited anarchism in their music, citing Tom Petty and Wilco. Pat even went through a hip-hop, free style rap phase in adolescence. Clearly being in NYC has distinctively shaped their current sound. “I didn’t go through a true punk rock phase until I lived here” Pat says, “that’s when I got into Lou Reed, the history of CBGB and all that shit.”

“I think Pat is really good at pushing personality through in his vocals, which makes it unique and easy to get into” Tyson remarks. “A lot of bands get stale to me because of their vocals”. When writing together “Pat will usually come to me with a basic idea, and we’ll sit in my room and make a shitty ProTools demo with fake drums just to shape it and get a better idea what it sounds like” Tyson says. “When we first started out, chillwave and MGMT were really big, so we have been holding on for a return to guitar and bass music.”

Their track “Ace” is the perfect anthem for this comeback. The song could almost pass for a high-strung surf rock tune until you hear “destroy” shouted over and over again, with angst, to really drive the point home. The song, while wearing a mask of screaming bravado, is really just about personal weakness and feeling vulnerable with someone. “You’re my ace….destroy destroy destroy.” Many of the songs on the band’s album, Morality Cuts, express the same heartfelt, personal sentiments and are expressed through shouting vocals and the drone of an electric guitar. Honduras harnesses the universal quality of punk music that has been lost. Everyone has their demons, but we all have the same urge to dance, shove and scream when one of these songs play. Pat says that he uses his songwriting to work through things in his life, which is the opportunity Honduras affords the listener. The songs on Morality Cuts bare personal feelings with repression ecstatically escaping through every strum of the electric guitar.

When Atypical Sounds saw their show at Baby’s Alright last month, the band performed their new single Paralyzed. The track holds a trademark that has that raw, in your face attitude and serves as a promising preview to their upcoming album, entitled “Rituals” which we can look out for this July.

Photo credit: Brock Fetch 

Written by Alessandra Licul