Dream pop

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: GRACE JOYNER, CHARLESTON’S WOOZY FOLK SONGSTRESS
August 5, 2016 12:45 pm

Grace Joyner, the Ashville-via-Charleston electronic-folk songstress is our August Artist of the Month. Hers is a story of reckless abandon, picking yourself up when you’re down, and chasing the dream to the end of the earth (which so far is a distance that spans from the Carolina coast to the outskirts of Kentucky). Nonetheless, Joyner’s voyage wouldn’t have even been possible if it weren’t for the pack of boundlessly collaborative strays known as Hearts & Plugs.  We’re going to talk about them too, but first, let me lure you in with a little bit of old fashioned dialogue:

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 “Yoooo, Joe!”
“Oh, what’s up Zimmerman?”
“So…you know Johnnie?”
“Yeah man, me and Johnnie are real tight.”
“Dude, you should come out this Friday”
“Word, yeah”
“Let me text Dan”
“Dan?”
“Yeah, you know, Jenkin’s friend”
“Oh, he’s friends with Jordan too I think”

If you’re an aspiring musician you’ve been part of that ‘crew’ before. You know exactly what I’m talking about.  That group of friends that think they’re going to start a band, travel across the country in a minivan, and upend our entire social infrastructure. Maybe you meet in a basement, or perhaps a front porch.  There’s no formal membership, no secret handshake. While you’re far from new age cult status, certain vestiges of hippy culture might seep in occasionally. Countless students have formed similar cadres. Why? Because they want to live in the moment. Be a part of the bonfire jam sessions that catapult musical revolutions. Discover new forms of sonic expression and collectively explore the universe together to make sense of its stellar enormity.

The thing is, occasionally, one of these slacker collectives actually sees it through to the other side. Occasionally, hipsters mobilize. Word spreads and they start to pick up steam. They score gigs, sell out local venues, generate revenue, invest in better equipment, chip in for a recording studio, and before you know it, are a permanent fixture in the local music landscape.

Hearts & Plugs is one of these collectives.  Based in sun-scorched Charleston, South Carolina, Hearts & Plugs is a burgeoning music label built around an intimate nexus of friends that were probably jamming on someone’s porch not too long ago.  They’ve since amassed a steady following thanks to a robust roster of folk-centric indie pop acts oozing with creative juices.

Front and center of the operation is founder and director Dan McCurry. He brings with him a breadth of business savvy accumulated from past business experiences; both the ups and the downs. The label started out of necessity when his own band, Run Dan Run, needed a new home to record their sophomore album.  As such, they recorded Normal in 2011, Hearts & Plugs first official release. Hearts & Plugs’ in-house recording studio is operated by Wolfgang Zimmerman, who also plays the drums for Brave Baby. The sleek psych-pop outlet is also one of the label’s rising stars, having garnered critical praise for their sophomore release Electric Friends—think Arcade Fire in scope, sonically akin to Tame Impala, with a rugged southern twang. Other noteworthy members include alt-country rockers SUSTO, and doo-wop post-punkers Gold Light, and many more. Almost every act on the Hearts & Plugs team is a collaborative affair of interspersing band members.  At some point while contributing backing harmonies, Grace Joyner joined the mix.

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It didn’t take long for Grace Joyner’s woozy yet robust vocal palate to get noticed.  Her first solo recording came in the form of Young Fools—fleeting and vulnerable songs culled from emotional pangs of successes, failures, trials, tribulations, ambition, and regret.  Exemplified by tracks such as “Be Good” and “Young Thing”, the EP effectively captures Joyner’s essence, drawing comparisons to other strong female voices such as Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey.

Two years of relentless gigging and creative musing, Joyner was ready to record her debut full-length album.  Maybe Sometimes in C is a vibrantly colored folk symphony that showcases both Grace’s impressive vocals coated in an immersive synth backdrop.  Maybe Sometimes in C allowed Grace further opportunities to hit the road and expand her reach, recently touring through the Carolinas and Kentucky with Gold Light in support of their album Visions.

I got the chance to ask Grace Joyner a few questions about her recent creative pursuits, about living in Charleston and collaborating with Hearts & Plugs, and what’s next on the docket.  Check it out:

Q: You’re a Charleston gal, a city which–although certainly known for being a great travel destination—it’s also a city with a jam-packed music scene, does Charleston feel underrated to you at all?

A: The Charleston music scene has been rapidly growing in the last couple years thanks to Dan and Hearts & Plugs, along with some amazing venues, such as The Royal American. Throughout that growing process, I believe it has been getting the recognition it deserves. There are a lot of amazing musicians there, and we have all been working together to get Charleston on the map for music. I really think it is starting to get there.

Q: Speaking of, it would be hard to find a group of musicians more passionate about and gunning harder for a music scene than Hearts and Plugs.  How’s it been working with them?

A: It has been truly inspiring to see Hearts & plugs develop into what it is now. It is such an example of what a good idea can become if you combine it with hard work. Dan is an amazing visionary and I am very thankful to be a part of what him & Megan are doing.

Q: I’m try to pin down the Charleston music vibe—there are lots of artists, lots of musicians, so it’s impossible to boil it down completely—but what’s separating Charleston from another large music scene in the vicinity, like say, Asheville or Carrboro?  

A: Something about the Charleston music scene that I think is very special is the sense of community. We really are a family. We all collaborate all the time and are constantly supporting one another. Some of us have known each other for nearly a decade. We have maintained such a comfortable creative space, and I think that is what sets us apart.

Q: Speaking of Asheville, you were recently on the road with you were recently on the road with Gold Light, they seem like a fun crowd—and it looks like you hit up some cool places—how was that tour overall?

A: The tour was magical. Joe, from Gold Light, contacted me a couple months ago with the idea of collaborating and doing a short run together. I don’t think either of us were expecting it to go so smoothly and seem so natural. The band we had with us were such a great group of people and at almost every spot we hit we had these serendipitous moments. Everything fell into place on that tour, and we are about to start working on another one with the same group. Hopefully the details will be worked out in the next couple weeks.

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Q: I didn’t realize the album cover for Maybe Something in C was a cropped photo of you in a bathtub filled with some kind of dark blue liquid–what was the story behind that photo?  Who took it?

A: So that was an idea I had, and we just kind of went with it to be honest. My roommate Keex took the photo in my bathroom. We used a blue bath bomb to get the coloring. I just thought the image was interesting. My bathroom has this mundane vibe to it, and I thought adding a romantic contrast would turn out well.

Q: So is Maybe Sometimes in C, actually in the key of C?  Or are you riffing off of a completely different reference and I’m just completely missing it?

A: No you are pretty much on point. There was a running joke with my producer, Wolfgang Zimmerman, about how often songs are in C. It is easy for me to write in that key, so he was always teasing me about changing it up. Of course they are not all in C, but it is a reference to that. Also there is a line in the first track, “I’m not crazy, or maybe sometimes…” It has to do with recognizing value even when there are faults.

Q: I saw an Instagram pic of Hug O’ War, were you a big Shel Silverstein fan growing up?  Has his poetry snuck itself into your lyrics at all?

A: I LOVE Shel Silverstein. Hmm…that is a good question though. I think I resonate with a lot of themes he plays around with, but I can’t pinpoint any direct lyric references. My favorite poem of his is “The Perfect High.”

Q: There’s another pic of The Velvet Underground performed by ET Anderson & Grace Joyner?  Seriously?  That’s the coolest thing ever!  

A: That was an awesome night. ET Anderson let me join in for a Velvet Underground cover set for an event as Nico. I was honored. It was so fun.

Q: I saw you also posted a Tina meme, are you a big fan of Bob’s burgers?  Is there a particular burger joint in Charleston we should be aware of?

A: Wow I am so impressed. You have done so much research. I am a fan of Bob’s Burgers, but to be honest I don’t eat a lot of burgers… I will say Moe’s Crosstown has amazing brunch & I hear they have great burgers so that is what I am going to go with for this question.

Q: I’m a North Carolina guy myself–I was glad to see your allegiance to the Carolina Panthers, did you enjoy watching them kick ass last year?  Are you excited for the season to kick off again?

A: My family is from North Carolina so I grew up a fan of the Panthers. Watching them kick ass last season was so fun. Cam is such a babe. I am sure we will kill it this season.

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Q: Last one—this is all you—what’s up next for Grace Joyner?  Any new projects on the horizon?  Cool collaborations?  Hitting up the recording studio anytime soon?  When’s your next show?  When are people not from below the Mason Dixon line going to see Grace Joyner live?

A: We have a little run in Columbia & Charleston the weekend of 8.19-8.20. Then we have some other Carolina shows coming up in the next couple months. Currently about to start planning another tour with Gold Light for the Fall & we are working on extending our reach! I haven’t had a whole lot of writing inspiration until recently. So many ideas are rolling around in my head & I am just about ready to start working through them. I expect a good amount of new songs on the horizon, and soon after that it will be in the works to get them out.

Hearts & Plugs is an excellent source of fresh musical discovery, and even though I’ve listened through more than a handful of their artists this week, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.  They’ve put a lot of work into honing their craft. More importantly though, their label is a guiding light post for the bold, the artistically curious, poetically odd, and all around atypical.  We’re eager for more!

Until next time, check out the label’s awesome spread of merch as well as their Summer Essentials playlist, below!

DIVE INTO DIIV THIS SUMMER
July 14, 2016 11:12 am

diivAfter three and a half years of silence since the release of their first album Oshin, DIIV finally returned this February with Is The Is Are and stayed true to their shoe-gazey vibes. They’ve already toured around Europe earlier this year, now bringing their new tunes to fans all over the U.S. this summer. So what took them this long to get their new music out?

It’s really hard to write and record a double record when you’re playing all over the world and you’re getting on flights and driving around or whatever -says Zach, vocalist/guitarist of the band.

It’s a lot of work. They work you hard nowadays. You have to tour. That’s what you have to do. (Under The Radar)

Though this New York native band is pretty young in age (they formed in 2011), they’ve been through a hell of a ride through their musical and personal journeys. Remember when Zach Cole and Sky Ferreira were “arrested driving to a DIIV show in Cole’s unlicensed van, where they are found with heroin and ecstasy”? (NME). In addition to that, he cancelled his European tour and ditched his manager. People were starting to see DIIV as a bunch of guys who lived a ‘Rock n Roll lifestyle’ that spent a little too much time on drugs to make music and did whatever they want. Despite all the negative attention they got, they picked back up and continued to write their music as a band. But honestly, who cares if they’ve fucked up in the past when they came back with such a solid album?

It’s hard to know, sometimes, what draws people to the band. When people come up to me after the show and talk to me about the music itself, it makes me really happy because I’m like, “You’re not here for some weird reason. You’re here ’cause you listen to the music and you appreciate it and like it.” That’s what it’s all about for me, just the music. (Austin Chronicle)

The one thing this band does best is that no matter where you hear them – a record in your room, a small 100 person venue in Brooklyn, or an arena – they’ll always sound like DIIV.

The music’s designed so that we can play in a basement and sound great or play in a fucking arena and sound great. Like, we could go up onstage at a U2 show, punch the Edge in the face, steal his guitar and play on all the band’s gear, and we would still sound like DIIV. (Rolling Stone)

So go do yourself a favor and pick up their latest album Oshin to upgrade this summer with some beachy indie-rock tunes.

SCHOOL ’94 EXPLORES NEW DIRECTIONS IN “BOUND” EP
June 10, 2016 12:35 pm

The music of Swedish 4-piece band School ’94 builds an ethereal soundscape, incorporating driving pop-rhythms and cascading synth, characteristic of classic indie/dream pop. That said, the music doesn’t leave you with a shoegazed wall-of-sound sensation. 

The tonalities are crisp, and the transitions are easy to follow. You almost find yourself waiting for the music to reach an apex, and when the sonic wave breaks, you settle back into the song and Alice Botéus’s propulsive vocals. 

School ’94 hails from Gothenburg, Sweden and is a part of Luxury Records. On Jun. 8th of this year the band released Bound, a six track EP, which includes the popular single “Common Sense.” If purchased through Bandcamp, you receive unlimited streaming of the EP through the Bandcamp App, as well as the option for a quality download in MP3 and FLAC file formats. 

Listening to “Bound,” it’s clear that the band has evolved from their 2014 EP Like You, which is rooted in more characteristically indie, subdued melodies that leave you with a sensation similar to bands like The Drums. Even so, this initial sound behooves School ’94 in the early part of their progression as a band.

In Bound, especially in the EP’s title-track, School ’94 embraces the rock element in their music, drawing on heavy-hitting riffs and a sound that flits around the edges of garage rock bands like Fuzz

Still definitely rooted in indie origins, School ’94 is exploring the edges of the dream pop and alt-rock genres. Their sound is buoyant and refreshing in a realm that many bands get stuck in a rut of repetition and imitation.

School ’94 provides a contrast with the more spirited tracks on the EP with songs like “We Turned Out To Be Lovers,” which emphasizes mellow, bass-centric tones. The sweeping vocals and gentle melodies pick you up and carry you through the song, as if the music is preparing you to dive into the next track. 

“Bound” just feels natural, like the band is giving us an insight into their world, rather than forcing out a particular style of music. 

The EP is available online where you can also buy a 12’’ heavy sided vinyl that contains both the “Bound” EP (side A), and the “Like You” EP (side B).

AGE 18, LUPA J PULLS US IN
April 11, 2016 11:16 am

Sometimes it’s difficult to enjoy a prodigy, not because their inherent level of talent isn’t drop-dead impressive, but because we’re confronted with the stinging reality that we’ve inadvertently missed the opportunity to attain a similar level of mastery.

Enter Imogen Jones, aka Lupa J, an Australian electro-pop songstress with a naturally well-built set of bells, and impeccable songwriting chops to boot.  She also happens to be a mere 18 years old.

Lupa J parses together her ethereal intone with an eclectic pallet of atmospheric samples, sharp beats, and shimmering violin, for which she’s also classically trained. Lupa J’s immersive concoctions pull you deep into her shadowy abyss: a love affair that’s equal parts Grimes, Kid A-era Radiohead, and the stylized theatrics of Kate Bush and BJork. Her music twists your nerves down your spine like the negative space in a horror film–These aren’t the dabblings of a typical high school music student, Lupa J is a true example of an Atypical Beast, through and through.  And her moniker is fitting indeed, as Lupa translate from Italian to “She-Wolf.”

Lupa J also already has a moderate collection of tracks that are available via her SoundCloud, including her newest single “Numb” which will be including on her forthcoming debut EP My Right Name, which will see release later this year. While she hasn’t ventured abroad yet, you can only assume it’s inevitable a music label scoops up an artist as ambitious and marketable as Lupa J in short order, hopefully granting us a chance to catch her state side in the near future.

GOODBYE HEART: RESTLESS NIGHTS
March 2, 2016 10:52 pm

Seattle is home to the space needle, kick ass scenery, hipsters (c’mon we all know it’s true) and the up-and-coming dream pop duo Goodbye Heart. Friends Sam Ford and Nila K Leigh started their musical journey in New York City and decided to mix their musical tastes together. Using electronic percussion, synthy upbeats and velvety vocals they created their E.P Restless Nights in 2014.

Sam and Nila have said that their influences range from “The Cure to Johnny Jewel to Nas” and they describe themselves as, “Drawing inspiration from lush, textural movie soundtracks and their native New York City hip-hop roots.” Their EP tracks include “Just Kids,” “Don’t Slow Down,” “Seconal,” “Wish” and “How to Make Friends in a New Town.” Each track will simultaneously trap you in a surreal indie film that you stumbled upon and force a jam sesh in your car. To hear Goodbye Heart’s E.P check them out on sound cloud here.

WILD NOTHING: LIFE OF PAUSE
February 24, 2016 3:55 pm

Jack Tatum aka Wild Nothing has returned with Life of Pause, his third full-length installment on Captured Tracks. Once again Tatum builds majestically shimmering dreamscapes that incorporate a varied palette of influences. This is a record dripping with nostalgia, which seems to not only stem from the particular sounds Tatum jives towards, but also the themes from which Life of Praise revolves. Not uncommon among aspiring artists coming of age, Tatum’s sound explorations mimic his own personal experiences as he grapples of themes not unfamiliar to the Dream Pop cannon: identity, coming of age, love.

lifeLife of Pause opening track “Reichpop” grabs you right through the time-space-continuum portal into a Remain In Light-era Talking Heads groove accompanied by nonsensical lyrics “I am the silencer / I am the only one”.  “Japanese Alice” opens with Shoegazey guitar swerves recalling My Bloody Valentine, but then quickly settles into a funk cut more akin to Toro Y Moi. “Lady Blue” sounds like it was penned by Buckingham-Nicks for Fleetwood Mac’s forgotten late-70s synthesizer record.  It’s on “Lady Blue” that Tatum begins one of many spacey inward discussions about love, “will I find a way / to make sense of the way that you love me?” On “Every Women’s Wisdom”, Tatum points out to a perspective lover, “I don’t believe in heaven / but baby, you can be my church.”  Who wouldn’t be flattered by that line? The title track has an odd resemblance both sonically and stylistically to Foxygen’s “How Can You Really”, which makes sense since both artists cup their hands into a similar stream of hazy 70s leisure rock vibes.   On “Whenever I” Tatum comes full circle, realizing, “And I thought you were onto me / And I thought you’d be good for me / But I know what you are now.”

Overall Life of Pause is nothing short of an entrancing, fluid, well-constructed collection of tunes. If you’re into either neo-psych wave of bands currently in vogue such as Tame Impala or the aforementioned Foyxygen, or dream pop standbys like Beach House or Kurt Vile, this record is a shoe in.  The only real critique is that 11 tracks and close to an entire hour’s worth of transcendental psych can really start to drag on.  But perhaps that’s not such a negative, as it allows you to come back another day and still have a few fresh tracks to bring you back in.

Wild Nothing will be touring extensively in support of Life of Pause, check out dates here.

STILL CORNERS LIVES
February 1, 2016 12:10 am

When a band goes more than two years without releasing anything, their fans begin to worry. Or worse, forget. That’s why it was something of a Christmas miracle when Still Corners released the single “Horses at Night” at the end of 2015. It was their first release since their 2013 LP Strange Pleasures and well worth the wait. I’m pleased to announce that Still Corners is very much alive.

To commemorate the occasion, ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with writer/producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray.

You released a new single, “Horses at Night”, at the beginning of December. Is this in anticipation of a new album?

TM: We wanted to put something out before 2015 ended, we had just finished that song and thought yeah, let’s put this out. It’s not on our next record and was just a one-off really.

Will there be a tour in 2016? Any U.S. dates? How about SXSW?

TM: Yes we’re planning some SXSW shows and a new tour as we speak.

You toured with Chvrches in 2013. Are there any experiences on that tour that stood out to you?

GH: There were tons of people at the shows, lots of great cities. I remember driving through New Mexico, just seeing this massive expansive flat desert with mini-tornadoes everywhere, appearing then disappearing as we drove. We spent a lot of time in our van. Nothing like waking up on your friend’s armpit, just in time for sound-check. I just remember having my imagination rejuvenated more than anything else.

Tessa, you sang in choirs before moving to singing with Still Corners. What was it like to make that jump? Was there anything that surprised you about singing with a band?

TM: To suddenly be standing in front of a huge drum kit and guitar amps and synthesizers took some getting used to. I didn’t really have any idea what it would be like, but we hit our groove. The feeling you get after a performance is similar though, it’s a big high when you come off stage and know that the audience was into it.

What are your favorite venues in London? Are there any parties or club nights you’d recommend?

GH: Bush Hall is great. For larger shows the Barbican and Shepherd’s Bush. Any night at Cafe Oto.

Greg, what advice can you give for someone in the U.S. who is looking to move to London? What was it like for you when you first moved there? Scary? Fun?

GH: When I first arrived my mind was blown; I needed a new mind after that. My advice is to do it all. Ask around for a cheap room, rent is high. Bask in the glory that is the National Health Service and never worry again about convoluted over-priced healthcare. Drink pints often. Get rid of your car, you won’t need it.

Are there any foods from your native Texas that you wish they had in London? What have been your favorite foods in the U.K.?

GH: Proper Mexican food, but there isn’t proper Indian food in Austin. You can’t win.

Be on the Lookout for Still Corners in 2016.

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN WASHED OUT
January 29, 2016 12:04 am

Have you heard a song and wished the artist made more music? Well if you’re a Portlandia fan, you’re in luck.

Ernest Greene is an artist from Georgia whose song, “Feel It All Around” is the theme for the IFC comedy, but you probably know him from Washed Out. Greene’s music is dazed synth pop, self described “no-fi” and it makes me feel like I am in a big tub of glitter. Light, lucid, and aqueous. He definitely has the power to take listeners to other worldly planes, almost as if one was experiencing an astral projection. Washed Out is dream pop royalty.

Washed Out currently has two studio albums, Within and Without (2011) and Paracosm (2013), and 3 EPs, High Times (2009), Life of Leisure (2009), and Untitled (2010).

Washed Out’s latest album is beautiful and summer-like, a prime record for road trips. Washed Out describes himself saying, “the sounds have a very worn, distressed quality about them, much like an old sample. But they also offer much more flexibility because they’re playable.” Throughout his albums, he plays 50+ instruments, mainly focusing on old keyboards.

Currently signed to Sub Pop, if you want to see Washed Out, you’ll have your chance on July 15th at Forecastle Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. Washed Out is also preforming a DJ set in Chicago on March 25th. If you’re around and want to be swept into another dimension, I’d recommend checking either of the sets out.

MEET IAN
December 22, 2015 9:00 am

Ian isn’t that nice boy from the library your mom wants you to meet. Ian is actually a dream pop trio that originated in Boston, during singer/writer Jilian Medford’s tenure at Berklee. Now based in Los Angeles, bandmates Medford, Tim Cheney, and Damien Scalise have released their eponymous EP and are working to bring their diaphanous sound to the masses.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Jilian to chat about her time at the famous music school and the band’s first time at CMJ.

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You released your first EP during your senior year at Berklee. How did your experience there shape you as a musician? Was there a lot of competition between you and your classmates?

JM: Berklee is a very interesting school. Most of the kids I know and was close to while attending ended up dropping out after their 2nd or 3rd year. I had thoughts of doing the same but my mom wouldn’t let me and also I wanted to finish and walk in graduation with funny socks peeping through the bottom of my gown!

There is a lot of competition at that school, and it drove me to start exploring different ways of expression, because I just didn’t feel like I was pushing myself enough or I didn’t feel like I was fully executing my projects to my full potential. So I decided to seek out Mark Fede for our EP (he has worked bands like Guerrilla Toss and Fat History Month) and it was a huge step in the right and certain direction for this band.

The recording process was short and sweet and hot and sweaty in August of 2014. We mainly recorded this tape to have something to give people on our summer tour but it ended up taking many twists and turns in a positive direction that we are so grateful for! People actually listened, I didn’t really know what I expected but I just didn’t know if anyone would listen.

Your first CMJ festival was this year. Did anything stand out to you about your performance?

JM: Cake Shop was special! The spot itself reminds me a lot of this spot in Boston called Great Scott so it was a familiar vibe. It was the end of CMJ so the show was quaint and filled with familiar faces, plus a few new ones, and my best friend Ellen Kemper from Palehound came and it was the best surprise since she had been so busy all week.

Something that really stood out was a 60-year-old woman asking me if she could buy our shirt that says “don’t call me” on it, since she had just left her husband of 30 years and wanted to wear it next time they saw each other! Kick ‘em 2 the curb!

How did you prepare for the show?

JM: [The band] hung out in a practice space together and got our new songs all worked out so we could be comfortable dancing while playing them.

Did you discover anyone new?

JM: OooOoo!! Loved seeing PWR BTTM! That was my first time seeing them play and it was incredible. So intimate even though so many people were there, and they managed to engage every single person watching. It was admirable.

Always love seeing one of my favorite bands Kal Marks at the Exploding in Sound showcase as well as Palm! Got to catch Protomartyr at the Sub Pop showcase, had to pee the entire time during their set but it was worth the wait, their new record is fire fire FIRE!! And they are even better live; Joe Casey’s stage presence makes me think of Bill Murray.

Were you able to try the pizza while in New York? How did it compare to the pizza in LA or Boston (where you’re based now)?

JM: We did eat pizza, I remember it clearly because we ordered a chicken bacon ranch pizza and couldn’t stop chanting CHICKEN BACON RANCH down the street all night long. This is my breakdown of foods between BOSTON NY AND LA: Boston has the best donuts (dunkin donuts, strawberry frosted, keep it simple baby), NY has the best pizza and hot dogs, LA has the best Mexican food ~ taco trucks till infinity.

What can fans can expect to see from you in the future?     

JM: The future, especially this coming year is really exciting for us. We will be relocating to LA in the next couple months to see if that is the spot for us, or to at least escape for the winter, and finishing a record to come out later next year, which will hopefully be accompanied by a lot of touring and traveling and seeing new places, faces, plants and dogs!

YOU WISH YOU KNEW: WISHYUNU
October 21, 2015 8:43 am

Wishyunu (pronounced Wish-You-Knew) is a psychedelic-electronic duo hailing from Portland, Oregon composed of drummer Tony Bertaccini and vocalist Bei Yan.

Like the greenery that surrounds it, Portland’s music scene is a highly fertile place that has given birth to a variety of genres. While Portland and the surrounding cosmopolitan areas in Oregon are known for being central to the rise of garage/grunge rock in the late 80s and alternative rock in the 90s, the mid-late 2000s ushered in an extension of Portland’s DIY creative ethos into the realm of indie-pop and electronica. Bands like Beach House, M83 and Washed Out had begun flaunting the popularity of self-programmed drums and highly compressed/reverberated vocals on the national stage. Portland bands quickly followed suit as new dream pop groups like Blouse, Pure Bathing Culture, and Radiation City began rising out of the woodwork.

Wishyunu’s sound – programmed beats beneath drone-like synths and a highly effected female vocalist – is by no means a groundbreaking endeavor. Their sound is familiar, reminiscent of the shoegaze and dream pop musical trends that have since passed. However, there is something uniquely captivating about the music when you isolate it from its popular music context and listen closely to the material. There is a cinematic quality to each of their songs with psychedelic drones oscillating between the drumbeats and smoky vocals creating this lushly layered and almost poly-rhythmic sound. The song “Summer Suit” the B-side off their most recent two-track 7″ Photoplay has an effective hypnotic quality to it, as if taken from the score of an action movie soundtrack (the soundtrack to Drive comes to mind). The track captured not only the attention of the BEASTS but also the attention of NPR as they featured it on Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing back in July.

As for what’s next for Wishyunu, it seems a bit under wraps. The band’s Facebook indicates that they are currently unsigned and touring locally so it seems safe to say they’re not gearing up to lead a nation-wide shoegaze dream-pop revival. However, outlets like Oregon Public Radio and NPR have indicated that they are gearing up to release another full-length. Perhaps the band has their sights set on something huge that will travel beyond the tree-lined Oregon walls. Only time will tell.

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