summer

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!

JUMP THE GUN WITH HOCKEY DAD
August 1, 2016 6:33 pm

After a long week of work, who can’t appreciate a nice beach trip. Windows rolled down and music blasting with your friends cracking jokes, this is the best way to relax during the summer. Two Australian men, Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming, and their passion for music and beach trips have crafted the perfect music for these beach trips inside their simple and beautiful band, Hockey Dad.

Dreamin’ was their first EP which was warmly welcomed among the alternative and indie communities in 2014. A great sound for their first EP: fully of energy, bright guitars and gritty drums. After touring and a few singles during the past years, their new album Boronia is due to arrive August 12th.

In the spirit of summer time fun, they’ve already released a few singles and just yesterday a new music video for their newest single from the upcoming album which is appropriately called Jump The Gun. The track starts with an addicting string of notes from the guitar as the bass and drums hop in a bit after. Just like the video showing Stephenson and Fleming jumping in the glistening water to surf, the song brings the feeling of diving into the cool ocean water to you wherever you are. A perfect song that is as timeless as a sweet summer sunset. With such a relaxing and enveloping music video, it will make us all say to our daily responsibilities the lines of the chorus, “I don’t want to go home, I’m having too much fun…I don’t want to go home, so leave me alone.”

A superb addition to the repertoire of Hockey Dad’s summer surf songs that makes me all that more excited for Boronia later this month.

ODE TO THE END OF SUMMER
5:21 pm

All good things must come to an end as all people know. Be it the final climax of your favorite summer movie, the ultimate ladling of icy green summer gazpacho, or even the sunset on the last day of your final real summer vacation, time has a cruel habit of overstaying its welcome and continuing to exist well beyond our capacity to enjoy it.

Truly, we must savor these dwindling summer days. There is only ever today, always and forever, presented as future but turned present upon confrontation and then past as it disappears into memory. Hauntingly beautiful, terrifyingly predictable, waveringly consistent; the end of summer has been staring us down since the end of spring. Despite my best effort to avoid eye-contact, it is time to acknowledge its mystery and gear up for September.

So with that in mind, we’ve assembled a few songs you might enjoy to help get you there. Don’t think of it as goodbye summer but as hello autumn. It is the most thoughtful of seasons, chilly and colorful, waiting in the wings, eager to take its place as the metaphysical envelope in which we live our daily lives.

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.

IT’S IN LOVESPEAKE’S DNA
June 13, 2016 12:30 pm

If you like dancing, you’ll love Lovespeake. DNA, the Norwegian band’s debut album, seems tailor-made for listening to while swaying back and forth with a frozen margarita in your hand. Formed from members of angsty indie rock band Emma Eye Jedi, Lovespeake sounds like the night before the morning after.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS got to trade some emails with vocalist/guitarist Pav (Alexander Pavelich), and find out what’s good in the land of the midnight sun.

Congratulations on your debut album, DNA. Did you do anything special to celebrate?

Thanks! I actually went to London that week for some sessions and hung out with a bunch of friends from university. It was a blast!

Did you help come up with video ideas for the title track?

We worked closely with Ferdinand Film bouncing ideas back and forth. We really wanted to implement the colours and branding from our artwork. Our lead designer Jørn made the concept and created these giant painted boards that we used for our photoshoot, so we ended up using them in the video too. Rebecca, Christopher and the team over at Ferdinand Film did a great job coming up with the story and making it work with the music.

Do you prefer performing at large festivals, or in smaller (more intimate) clubs?

The more the merrier! I always find it easier to play for larger crowds, feeding off the energy they create… it’s the ultimate rush. The more energy we get from an audience, the better we play. But we go into every show with the same attitude: give those folks the time of their lives, and it doesn’t matter if it’s only 10 people! And even if 9 of those people are talking or not paying attention, you still need to give everything you’ve got to that one person who’s there to see YOU. I definitely like playing sweaty, intimate shows when there’s a passionate crowd, but there’s nothing like playing at a huge festival where you’re pretty much guaranteed a good audience.

What’s it like to be a band performing at a festival?

In our experience, artists usually have a nice area to hang out with sofas, snacks and drinks. Some festivals also arrange activities and excursions. It’s always fun to get to see the sights where you play…when you’re a broke musician the only time you really get to travel is when you’re on tour, haha! We’ve never toured on a bus before, but in any case we love meeting fellow artists and making new friends.

I think you’re the first band I’ve interviewed from Sandvika. What is the music scene like in Norway?

The Norwegian music scene is at an all-time high at the moment, thanks to the recent success from artists like Kygo, Aurora, Matoma, Alan Walker and Kvelertak. A lot of eyes are looking to Norway…There’s a lot of great new music emerging at the moment. I think actually Norway has the highest number of festivals per capita or something! There’s festivals everywhere, and my favorite festival has to be Malakoff.

What are your favorite local places to see live music?

In Oslo there are some great venues such as Parkteatret and Rockefeller. Good size and great sound.

Are there any Norwegian bands you feel deserve more attention?

Look out for up-and-coming artists like Ary, Carl Louis, Coucheron and Baya.

Your sound is often described as “psych pop.” Does that seem accurate to you?
I think there’s definitely some dreamy, psychedelic elements in the production and instrumentation to justify that term, but I’d say that a majority of the album’s emphasis lies more towards retro-electronic indie pop, blending in with feel-good disco and soul.

Do you listen to much disco, or music from the 70s?

Oh yeah! I grew up with that stuff.

Are there any albums from that time you can recommend to someone looking to expand their record collection?

I recently made a little Spotify-playlist with some of my favourite disco tracks! You can listen to it here:

Also, more 70s feel-good tracks that will definitely put you in a great mood for summer:

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’ll be releasing a few more singles, some music videos, and touring. First up is the UK in June, then a festival summer in Norway and booking a big album tour in the fall. We really hope to make it to the US soon. And I’ll also be writing some brand new music. Gotta keep going!

FIRST ENCOUNTERS WITH A SEXY MOTHERFUCKER
April 25, 2016 12:56 am

We’re done crying now.

The shock has worn off.

That or my brain still refuses to fully accept the situation. Either way, the Beasts and I are choosing to smile.

I’m no expert on Prince. But I saw the blow bounce around the office on Thursday. The collective lurch we all experienced upon hearing that news.

EVERYBODY loved Prince. Probably because Prince was pretty much all about Love. So, in an effort to celebrate that love, I gathered together a few of my fellow Beasts to share their personal Greatest Hits’ of Prince.

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I think he introduced me to sex through Purple Rain. I saved for 3 weeks to buy the vinyl then snuck it into my basement and listened to it religiously until I finally could see the movie. That movie opened my eyes to so many things like family dynamic, love, sex and trying to be an artist. Then later “Get Off” was my jam. That song exudes sexuality. I mean just watch the video.

Prince inspired me on every level and in every way.

-Kim

The first time I heard Prince was when I snuck into my sister’s room when she wasn’t home so that I could use her stereo to listen to the radio. I was in the 3rd grade and not allowed to listen to the radio alone. I turned to the station where I had recently heard a UB40 song for the first time, so I had a sweet spot there. That’s when “Kiss” played. I didn’t know what this feeling was, but somehow I knew, at that very moment, I was being educated. I locked my door, closed my eyes, and whipped my frizzy head of hair around as if that was only way to listen to something like that.

If I didn’t obey the rules before, I sure as hell wouldn’t start after that. 

-Annie

I will never forget my mother blasting Prince’s greatest hits through the house every Saturday when we had our weekly house cleaning dance party. Although I’m deeply saddened, it has helped to know how he was multitalented and a recording maniac.  I love that all of that sound and precision could come from one single individual.

Most importantly the man was a guitar God, not to mention I’m convinced he was the sexiest person of all time. All 5 feet and two inches of him. The man was a sex idol in the most elegant of ways.

RIP, you sexy beast.

-Desarae

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It’s not shocking to see the common threads. Of course Prince seems like music you should have to listen to in secret when you’re young. OF COURSE it gives people sexual awakenings.

And the beautiful thing is that it will continue to do that for as long as the human race listens to music. There are already decades of artists influenced by Prince. Even a decade or two of artists influenced by artists that were influenced by Prince. He spawned and expanded a whole branch on the tree of music genre.

It’s normal to feel shocked. But don’t dwell too much on the Prince you lost. Instead find the Prince out there in your world today. Find that feeling he gave you when you listened to his music for the first time.

Find that next Prince. Whether it’s a musician or an artist or a lover. Go out and make some new little Prince fans. I’m pretty sure that Sexiest of Motherfuckers would prefer that to anything that could be called moping.

If you still are having trouble putting a smile on your face, I’ll leave your with a word from Ian. A Princely Parable, if you will…

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One time in high school I was showering at the gym, like where there’s a bunch of shower stalls in a row with curtains, and “When Doves Cry” came on the crazy loud stereo. So I obviously had to start dancing like the not-giving-a-fuck-badass that I am, except I slipped and got tangled up in the curtain and fell out of the stall onto the floor. Everyone laughed but I played it cool, because how can you not with Prince in the air?

#traumatic.

-Ian

FAREWELL TO THE APACHE RELAY
February 8, 2016 10:55 am

You already missed your chance. The Apache Relay was here bringing the masses heart and soul with their indie-Americana sound. But no longer. On September 21st, 2015 the band posted this on their social media pages, explaining that they are going their separate ways. Let me tell you why that is too bad.

The group formed in a dorm at Belmont University in Nashville, and grew to represent much of what the “Nashville Sound” has become: Indie rock with touches of folk, bluegrass, rhythm & blues, and pop. Pleasant harmony sits in a bed of modern production, and highlights Nashville’s emphasis on song writing, as opposed to song making. While this sound is growing into a formula for some, The Apache Relay was on the front end of it. Though they never quite achieved the status of other artists in their ballpark, like Local Natives or Fleet Foxes, they showed strong promise that they might.

The Apache Relay gained notoriety after their second album American Nomad when they opened a number of dates for pop-bluegrass all-stars Mumford & Sons.  They also got some attention when their song “Power Hungry Animals” was featured in the movie The Way, Way Back. While not exactly a blockbuster, the film supported a pretty stellar cast, and shed an interesting light on The Apache Relay’s song. Look at it in the context of the promotional “music video” they made.

It’s essentially a trailer for the movie. The song plays while clips of video from the film plays over it. Yet it could totally work on its own. It doesn’t have the look of a music video, but with small changes in editing and color, it could. Take away the distraction of Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, and a few other actors you’d recognize, and you’d be left with a music video that nails the feel of the song. We see images of a coming of age story. A teenage boy struggles through smattering of classic themes: loneliness, romance, body issues, family, youth, father issues, a summer away, friendship, etc…

The beauty of this is that these are exactly the kinds of themes that The Apache Relay should be reminding you of. The modern “Nashville Sound” is built on them. Bands like Mumford & Sons and Local Natives rely on this nostalgia to complete their music. Their songs are striving for an emotional power in addition to just sounding good. Pop and Dance music is escapist; It makes you forget about your problems and just feel good. Adele makes you cry. Indie-Americana has an element of memory tied to it. It’s a return to roots, a call home. The blend of folk and bluegrass style with modern instrumentation and production is the old become new. The past become present. It’s a return to youth, to summer. To that time that you did that thing that changed the way you think.

This is why “Power Hungry Animals” is featured in the trailer for “The Way, Way Back.” Prominently. It comes in at the end. At the time when the trailer is showing you conflict and tension and growth and love. When the trailer needs to say “This movie has warmth and depth and feeling,” it uses this song, and it is the song that takes your interest in the kid and turns it into care.

Yet The Apache Relay is gone. But do not dismay! Front-man Michael Ford, Jr. has made an appearance or two, and their parting message specifically says the members are looking to “explore new endeavors.” There doesn’t seem to be any news on this front yet, but in the meantime, there are three albums of Apache Relay to work through. If that well runs dry, check out some other Nashville indie-Americana acts, like Humming House,  Sugar & the Hi Lows, or Knoxville’s Cereus Bright. Hopefully that will hold y’all out until a reunion comes around.

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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Blown Away By Allie X
September 17, 2015 11:16 am

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Allie X, I’m your bitch! Hey, that’s how the song goes… But seriously, the Beasts had the privilege to see this rising star from Toronto perform her set at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn last night, and we were truly blown away. The dark pop princess brings a stellar performance, with elements of art and fashion intertwined. Behind those shades lies a girl on the precipice of something Xtraordinary.

Don’t let the pop label fool you. Allie is a classically trained pianist, and her background is clearly present in her sophisticated compositions and arrangements. Her lyrics speak to a generation that has been disillusioned by the rapid disintegration of social norms, from sexuality to drug use, but does so in an empowering way. It’s a high form of art disguised as commercial.

She began writing songs as ‘Allie Hughes’ back in 2006 and just recently released her first EP as Allie X in April. The move notes a culmination of a journey that has taken her from humble Canadian roots to the glamour of Los Angeles, where she works professionally as a songwriter. Though the road has been long, the journey has just begun.

The packed house and roaring applause was just a small indication of the fate of this sensational performer. Expect big things from Allie X and if ever she passes through your town, be sure to check her out. You will be blown away, I promise.

Alberta Cross Is Back In Town
September 15, 2015 9:31 am

Alberta Cross stopped by their adopted hometown of Brooklyn this past Monday night, as they kicked off their North American tour with Heartless Bastards, in support of their upcoming self-titled album, available in October. Petter Ericson Stakee and friends graced the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg and the Beasts were out to welcome them. It was a packed house with a friendly vibe and the sentimental tunes had us all on the same wave.

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Stackee is a humble giant on stage, and his live set is a masterful display of musicianship. His alternative Euro rock-ness is complimented by the eclectic styles of a pedal steel, a french horn, mandolin, and heavy bass. The songs off the upcoming album are sure to tap into the manifold of music tastes in your heads. Even with some minor technical difficulties mid-set, the crowd had plenty of love and energy to bounce back at the band.

A personal highlight was when they brought it back to the early days with a toned-down yet still heavy rendition of “Low Man,” off their very first release The Thief and The Heartbreaker from 2007. It’s been quite a ride for Alberta Cross. I first heard of them through Last Call with Carson Daly back in 2010. Only three years prior, Stackee (originally from Sweden) met his musical counterpart Terry Wolfers at a bar in northeast London. One year later, they were officially calling Brooklyn home, and we’re happy to see them back around. Unfortunately, It won’t be for long.

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Make sure to check out a set when they pass through your town. These guys are true working musicians, and will be on the road all across the country and in parts of Canada (eh), for the rest of September. You won’t regret this unique blend of soul and independent rock and roll. You can find all the tour dates here!

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