Category: psych pop

Live Footage: Joe Wong Performs “Nite Creatures” in a Backyard

Last year, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and JOVM mainstay Joe Wong. As a musician, Wong has had a lengthy career as a drummer with stints in NYC-based noise rock act Parts & Labor — and he’s toured with Mary Timony and Marnie Stern. But over the past handful of years, he has made a name for himself as a prolific composer for TV and film, crafting scores for Master of NoneRussian DollUgly DeliciousAwkafina is Nora from Queens, The Midnight Gospel, To All The Boys and a lengthy list of others. Wong is also the host of the popular The Trap Set podcast.

Written in in the years between his father suffering a stroke in 2010 and his death in 2019, Wong’s Mary Timony-produced, full-length debut Nite Creatures featured 10 ruminative and baroque, psych pop songs that thematically explored the intersection of melancholy and joyful surrender. In the lead-up to the album’s release, I wrote about five of the album’s singles — including the slow-burning album title track “Nite Creatures,” a swooning and rapturous bit of psychedelia that thematically explored existential dread and sounded a bit like Scott 3 era Scott Walker.

Wong recently shared some intimate and gorgeous live footage of “Nite Creatures” filmed last year in Pasadena, CA backyard that features Wong backed by strings and keyboard. Originally premiered as part of Flood Magazine‘s Neighborhood Sessions, the live footage serves as a bit of a taste of what to expect of Wong’s forthcoming tour with his backing band Nite Creatures, which will feature Wong (vocals, guitar); Ex Hex and Helium‘s Mary Timony (guitar); Atoms for Peace‘s, Roger Waters‘ and Beck‘s Joey Waronker (drums); Faraquet’s and Medications‘ Chad Molter (bass); Lo Moon‘s Crisanta Baker (keys); Kid Congo’s and The Makeup’s Mark Cisneros (flute); John Zorn‘s, Bjork‘s and Anthony Braxton‘s Shelly Burrgon, along with a string octet and horn quartet.

Two of the newly announced dates will feature Joe Wong and Nite Creatures opening for The ZombiesColin Blunstone — and then backing Blunstone as he plays his solo debut album One Year for the first time ever, in conjunction with the release of the expanded 50th anniversary reissue through Sundazed Music. Tickets go on sale Friday at 9am Pacific/noon Eastern. You can purchase tickets here: https://www.nitecreatures.com

Tour dates, which include a November 8, 2021 stop at The Gramercy Theatre are below.

JOE WONG + NITE CREATURES LIVE SHOWS

October 2 Dana Point, CA – Ohana Encore @ Doheny State Beach **with Pearl Jam

November 2 Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater **with Colin Blunstone

November 8 New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre **with Colin Blunstone

New Audio: Toronto’s Absolutely Free Releases a Sprawling, Politically Charged Single

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach. The Canadian psych trio’s full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and received widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

During the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile the’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations and shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for a September 24, 2021 release through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

Last month, I wrote about Aftertouch album single “Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.” The album’s latest single “Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix.

Continuing a run of expansive and mind-bending material, “Remaining Light” was originally written in 2016 and was informed by the disturbing trend of rising gun violence against marginalized populations at the time of its creation. The song thematically tackles the weighty issues of structural racism, poverty and injustice that are embedded into society’s often corrupt and exploitive systems — all while sounding like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens.

“‘Remaining Light’ expresses the frustration felt towards invincible and corrupt institutions that uphold structural inequities, including police brutality and manufactured poverty experienced primarily by racialized communities,” the members of Absolutely Free explain. “Written during a heat wave in the summer of 2016, the song dishearteningly remains as relevant as ever today.”

Stockholm-based psych pop/dream pop duo Astral Brain — Einar Ekström (production, composition) an Siri af Buren (vocals, lyrics) — can trace their origins back to the breakup of Ekström’s previous band Le Futur Pompiste. Although the band split up, Ekström continued writing new music with the hopes of eventually teaming up with a new vocalist.

Back in 2015, Ekström was introduced to af Buren, who is also a member of Malmö-based act Testblid!, an act that Ekstrom was a fan of for years. The pair bonded over mutual influences, and they decided to work together: af Buran began writing lyrics and melodies for the arrangements that Ekström had written years before.

Over the past two years, Astral Brain released a couple of singles while working on their forthcoming full-length debut album, The Bewildered Mind, which is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through Shelflife Records. Sonically, the album reportedly find the pair drawing from and blending elements of cinematic soundscapes, jazzy library music, early electronic music, 60s psychedelia and other genres into their own sound.

The album’s first single “Five Thousand Miles” features af Buren’s jazzy delivery ethereally floating over a gorgeous arrangement centered around twinkling keys, a hypnotic motorik groove and a soaring hook. Sonically, “Five Thousand Miles” brings Young Narrator in the Breakers era Pavo Pavo to mind, as it possesses a similar nostalgia-inducing, retro-futuristic sound paired with a careful attention to craft.

New Video: Aussie JOVM Mainstays POND release a DEVO-like Ripper

Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND — currently, creative mastermind, songwriter and producer Jay Watson (vocals, guitar, keys, drums, synths and bass), who’s also a touring member of fellow Aussie JOVM mainstays Tame Impala; Nicholas Allbook (lead vocals, guitar, keys, bass, flute, slide guitar and drums); Joe Ryan (vocals, guitar, bass, 12 string guitar, slide guitar); Jamie Terry (keys, bass, synths, organs, guitar); and Jamie Ireland (drums, keys) — have released a handful of critically applauded albums that have seen the band’s sound gradually morph into increasingly synth-driven psych pop.

2019’s Tasmania is POND’s most commercially successful and critically applauded album to date, with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. Conceived as a sort of sister effort to its predecessor, 2017’s The Weather, Tasmania thematically is a dejected and heartbroken meditation on our current sociopolitical moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo, shame, blame, responsibility, love, and the impact of colonial empires. While accurately capturing the restless, anxious dread that most of us have been feeling, the album doesn’t completely wallow in self-pity and fear. Rather, it encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life while we still can.

The Perth-based JOVM mainstays ninth album, the aptly titled 9 is slated for an October 1, 2021 release through Spinning Top Music. Produced by the band’s Watson and Ireland, 9 reportedly sees the band pushing the sound they’ve established and honed over the past few albums even further while attempting to recapture an anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Toast, a slow-burning and atmospheric song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbrook’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a song that seems equally indebted to Avalon era Roxy Music and Quiet Storm R&B. But lyrically, the song addresses the massive bush fires that devastated much of Australia and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown. 

“Human Touch” is an uptempo banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths, scorching feedback and distortion, a relentless motorik groove, blown out beats and a rousingly anthemic hook. The end result is DEVO-like thrasher. POND’s Nicholas Allbrook describes the inspiration for the song, saying “one time a woman was smashing up a car outside my house, begging me to help her steal it. It was a lovely day. She was wired but sweet in a way. Her dog, Josie, was sitting in the passenger seat being very cute and fluffy. We talked for a good few hours in the sunny cul-de-sac and neither of us ended up committing grand theft auto. The music started with a grimey Casio loop Jay made, that we built the song around.” 

Directed by Duncan Wright, the recently released video for “Human Touch” stars the band’s Nicholas Allbrook in a 70s styled suit, high heel boots and headphones dancing in the middle of empty, morning streets. An old Panasonic cathode ray TV is almost nearby, playing footage of Allbrook putting a tape into a tape player and pushing play, rocking out in a studio and stock footage of a disastrous fire. “My original idea was to be dancing in the central business district of Perth, being thoroughly ignored by suits on their lunch break,” Allbrook explains. “Turns out me and Duncan Wright are both quivering Fremantle natives and terrified of the City. When Duncan saw a pretty sliver of morning sunlight in the West End we figured, stuff it, let’s do it there. Zero people is kind of the same thing as being ignored by lots of people, right? I need some human connection blah blah blah. It was super fun to make. We didn’t really have a strict plan and I overcame by anxiety about dancing in platform shoes to no music at 9am on a Tuesday morning like a kook”.

New Video: Mexico City’s Petite Aime Releases a Hilarious and Trippy Visual for Dance Floor Friendly “Elektro”

Mexico City-based psych pop act Petite Aime was founded by Little Jesus bassist Carlos Medina. Last year, Medina (guitar) was joined by Aline Terrein (vocals), Isabel Dosal (vocals), Santiago Fernández (bass) and Jacobo Velazquez (guitar) to write and record the project’s self-titled full-length debut.

Slated for an October 1, 2021 release through Park The Van/Devil In The Woods, the Mexican psych pop act’s self-titled debut reportedly finds the band crafting material that fluctuates between different genres and styles based on psych pop and psych rock while touching upon influences like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Big Thief, Magic Potion, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Crumb. Lyrically the album’s material is generally centered around an expression of the existential angst gendered by the search for the “self” in an increasingly impersonal world,. where the line between what’s real and what’s virtual crystallizes.

The album’s latest single “Elektro” is a dreamy yet club friendly bop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a hypnotic motorik groove, and propulsive four-on-the-floor paired with ethereal French vocals, complete with a vocoder drenched coda. While sonically nodding at From Here To Eternity-era Giorgio Moroder and JOVM mainstay MUNYA, “Elektro,” was actually inspired by dreaming and dreams. “We tried to translate a dream where you don’t know exactly where you are going but you let yourself go,” the band explains. “Stars come down to Earth and transport you to another world and although you know you are enjoying it you’ll always miss the place where you come from.”

The recently released video begins with a Members Only jacket wearing man, listening to music on his Walkman and jamming out in an abandoned mall. Initially, the viewer may think our protagonist is hopefully alone in a post-apocalyptic world much like our own — but towards the vocoder-drenched coda, the protagonist is surprised when he sees a crew of friends, who invite him to join.

Lyric Video: Chennai’s The F16s Release a surreal and Dream-like Visual for Shimmering “I’m On Holiday”

The rising Chennai, India-based indie rock act The F16s — currently Abhinav Krishnaswamy (guitar), Harshan Radhakrishnan (keys), Joshua Fernandez (vocals, guitar) and Sashank Manohar (bass) — can trace their origins back to 2002 when its founding trio met while attending college. Over the better part of the past decade, the Chennai-based quartet have been busy: their debut EP Kaleidoscope caught the attention of Rolling Stone India, who listed them in their Artists to Watch For feature. 2016’s full-length debut Triggerpunkte was supported with touring across the Indian festival circuit, as well as a six city tour across Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Eventually, The F16s caught the attention of Oxford, MS-based indie label House Arrest, who signed the band and released 2019’s WKND FRNDS EP, an effort that won furhter attention internationally, as well as on this site.

Building upon a growing international profile, the band’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2019’s WKND FRNDS, Is It Time To Eat The Rich Yet EP is slated for an October 22, 2021 release through House Arrest. Naturally, because of the myriad challenges of the pandemic’s impact in their homeland, their forthcoming EP was completed in a more DIY fashion than their previous released. Much like neighbors, friends, loved ones and countrymen, they experienced and survived some very dark days, but during the EP’s creative process, they oped to write music that was uplifting as a direct reaction to experiencing how a global pandemic needlessly compromised and devastated not only the lives of millions across India, but more personally their own. Through extended periods of economic uncertainty and a corresponding focus to develop and further hone their craft, the EP’s material explores alienation with lyrical wit in fact — “dancing to our doom,” as one band member frames it through pairing bright and sunny sonics with dark and uneasy lyrics. As the band sees it, the EP is essentially a joyful celebration of the human condition — under duress and desperation. And in desperate times, desperate people often find creative ways to make things work as best as they can.

Sonically and aesthetically, the EP reportedly sees the band pushing their sound to the furthest reaches of their influences. During lockdown, the members of The F16s moved in together to hole up and write and record the EP, bringing Harshan Radhakrishnan’s studio with them. They started each day of the EP’s production listening to Frank Sinatra and classic jazz tracks and throughout the day, they would listen to a varied mix of genres from psych rock to post-punk to trap with artists like Vince Staples and The Strokes on repeat. The eclectic listening habits wound up influencing the EP’s eclectic sound and aesthetic.

pop leaning indie rock, it also reflects the fact that we can no long remain oblivious to the social, environmental, economic, and political injustice that plague our world. It shouldn’t be surprising that the members of The F16s saw last year as a year for the “awakening of the oppressed,” especially in their native India, where the pandemic managed to further magnify the stark inequalities between the oppressed poor and working classes and the greed, negligence, incompetence of those in power. And as a result, the dreams of a “swimming pool and a yacht” on WKND FRNDS is completely shattered — and revealed to be vapid and silly.

Is It Time To Eat The Rich’s latest single is the is the swooning “I’m On Holiday.” Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, shimmering guitars, a steady backbeat, layered multi-part harmonies , “I’m On Holiday” features elements of classic doo-wop, The Beach Boys, 80s synth pop and New Wave and 60s psych pop meshed together in a kaleidoscopic yet accessible fashion — while reminding listeners of their unerring knack for crafting an infectious, razor sharp hooks.

“‘I’m On Holiday’ can be construed as a classic case of denial and delusion behind familiar themes of love and tenderness,” the members of The F16s explain. “The track, like the rest of the EP was perfected during the first wave of the pandemic. In previous releases, WKND FRNDS and Triggerpunkte, the band enlisted outside help for mixing and post-production. The new single and EP had us shifting operations to Josh and Sashank’s place — we set up a makeshift studio to finish it, chopping and changing segments to our hearts content, while Harshan undertook the arduous task of mix engineer. The pandemic, in a way, forced us to work within our means and keep things in-house. It also permeated into our writing, as days passed with the four of us on our phones in different stages of doomscrolling, wondering when the light of respite would show up and bring us back to normalcy.”

Directed by The F16’s Sashank Manohar, the recently released surreal and dream-like lyric video for “I’m On Holiday” features The F16s and Mitra Vivesh. In the background, the band is on a picnic that goes horribly yet comically awry while the stunningly gorgeous Vivesh peacefully sits in the pool of water in the forefront. She’s completely unconcerned with whatever is going on in the background — until one of the band members walks up and grabs her hand.

“Circumstances persuaded us to look within once again while making the video. It began as a minimalist idea that gathered steam within minutes, snowballing into something executable overnight,” the Chennai-based quartet explains in press notes. “Sashank sat in the director’s chair as we sourced our own props and items of importance, while our friend Shantanu Krishnan took the plunge with us as cinematographer. Mitra, the star of the video joined us with zero hesitation, providing the audience with the much needed distraction from our unsightly mugs. The band made up the background, convening for a picnic that goes comically awry, an accurate yet exaggerated reflection of their dynamic. As one (Harshan) proceeds to make mincemeat out of another (Abhinav), a third (Sashank) breaks away from this cycle of antagonism, joining Mitra in the waters to sit serenely, unbothered by the melee.”

New Video: Acclaimed Toronto-based Psych Act Absolutely Free Releases a Trippy and Hallucinogenic Visual for “Interface”

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalists Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of now-defunct experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être helps provide a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound. The trio’s 2014 full-lengths debut, Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and received widespread critical applause from the likes of Pitchfork, The FADER, Stereogum, BrooklynVegan, Exclaim!, Under the Radar, PopMatters, AllMusic and countless others.

In their decade or so run together, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile the’ve toured alongside the likes of Alvvays, Youth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations and shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up.

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for a September 24, 2021 release through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album finds the members of the band “wanted to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future.

Aftertouch’s second and latest single, “Interface” is a cosmic and dreamily maximalist song. Featuring expansive song structure with glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired and plaintive vocals, the song is centered around a dexterous bit of craft, as it features an accessible, pop friendly melody and an enormous hook. Sonically, speaking the track reminds me quite a bit of Amoral-era Violens — in particular, I think of “Trance Like Turn.”

Absolutely Free’s Matt King explains: “Written as a pseudo-love song that interludes between two versions of self, Interface recalls an adolescent summer where I spent every waking hour on early web-based chat programs, instead of going outside. Typical coming-of-age feelings of loss and confusion were further conflated by prioritizing an emerging potential of a new virtual identity more ‘real’ than a physical self.”

The recently visual for “Interface” by Aussie artist Benjamin Portas features a surreally vibrant neon color palette and features two young people connecting through internet chats in a dystopian world much like our own.

Mini Malibu is a self-taught, emerging Biarritz, France-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who employs a decidedly DIY ethos to his work: he writes, records, produces and mixes everything himself — and every new project finds the emerging French artist yearning to switch styles and sounds while being centered around his love of bass and guitar.

The emerging French producer’s debut effort ily EP was released a few days ago and the effort’s first single “Surf In Spain” is centered around a sinuous groove, glistening synths, the French artist’s plaintive vocals and a big hook. And while sonically recalling a lo-fi version of Currents-era Tame Impala, thanks to his effortless mixing of psych pop, synth pop, psych pop and funk, the song as the emerging French producer explains “is like a photograph of the end of a 6 year relationship, between funny stories and heavy feelings.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme’s Hazy and Nostalgic Ode to Young Love

Parisian psych pop act and longtime JOVM mainstays  La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the then-completely unknown band had managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DIY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and their debut, that year’s  Le Podium #1 EP.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of La Femme returned to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.” 

2013’s critically applauded and commercially successful full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin found the Parisian JOVM mainstays making a wild, creative and sonic left turn incorporating motorik grooves and synths to the mix — while eventually landing a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, La Feme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others. 

was released earlier this year through the band’s own Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL. In the lead up to the album’s release, I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

ool Colorado,” a cool yet bombastic single that seemed indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while being an “ode to the San Francisco of the 70s — and to Colorado, the first American state to legalize cannabis. 
Disconnexion,” a surreal what-the-fuck fever dream centered around pulsating Giorgio Moroder-like motorik grooves, a fiery banjo solo, atmospheric electronics, twinkling synth arpeggios, a philosophic soliloquy delivered in a dry, academic French and operatic caterwauling. 
“Foutre le Bordel,” a breakneck freak out that meshed Freedom of Choice-era DEVO and Giorgio Moroder with ’77 punk rock nihilism. 
“Le Jardin,” an achingly sad lullaby written and sung in Spanish — the band’s first song in Spanish. Inspired by a trip to Spain that the band took a few years ago, the song as the band explains “is a kind of an old-school slow dance, which underlines how fate random and fragile. The moments we go through, sometimes very sudden, from shadows to light, and vice-versa.”

Paradigmes’ ninth (!) and latest single, “Pasadena” is a slow-burning and woozy ballad featuring a vocoder’ed intro and centered around thumping, reverb-drenched beats, atmospheric synths, twinkling keys and alternating boy-girl vocals that as a whole sounds like a narcotic-induced haze. Written as a informal response to “Septembre,” a song off their sophomore album that was about the entire school world, “Pasadena” finds “Sepetmbre’s main character as a teenager, and is about budding school-age romances, primarily their seemingly carefree nature, their eventual difficulties and the weight of peer pressure. The song manages to make references to situations that are familiar to many of us, because we’ve all experienced them in some fashion — the swooning passion of new, young love; the bitter taste of heartbreak; the difficulties in moving forward and the like.

he recently released video for “Pasadena” is a hazy fever dream full of aching nostalgia for the meet cutes in Chemistry class days — but seen through the perspective of an adult, who seems to miss how simple things seemed. The band explains that for the first time in their decade-plus history, they made videos for each of Paradigmes’ 15 songs with the intent of creating a full-length movie, which they hope to release next fall.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays POND Release a Trippy Visual for Slow-Burning “Toast”

amount of virtual ink covering the acclaimed Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND: Led by its creative mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Jay Watson, who also performs in JOVM mainstay act Tame Impala, the act which also features Nicholas Allbrook, Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and James Ireland has released a handful of critically applauded albums that have found the act initially releasing work that was kind of like Royal Trux meets Cream and gradually morphing into progressively psych pop and synth pop territory.

nia is their most commercially successful and critically applauded album with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. The album was conceived as a sort of sister effort to its immediate predecessor, 2017’s The Weather. Thematically, the album is a dejected and heartbroken meditation that touches upon our current moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo. shame, blame, responsibility, love, blame and colonialism/empires. And while accurately capturing the undercurrent of the restless, anxious dread that most of us have felt for a while. But rather than wallowing in self-pity and fear, encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life — frolicking in the ocean, rolling around in the grass, the sweet feeling of being in love and so on while we still can.

The JOVM mainstays’ Watson and Ireland produced and mixed, ninth full-length album, the aptly titled 9 is slated for an October 1, 2021 release though Spinning Top Music. 9 reportedly finds the band pushing their sound even further while attempting to recapture an anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

cking in at a little over four minutes, 9’s latest single, the slow-burning and atmospheric “Toast” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a sinuous bass line, a steady backbeat, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbook’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a song that sounds like a slick synthesis of Avalon-era Roxy Music and Quiet Storm R&B. But lyrically, the song addresses the massive bush fires that devastated much of Australia and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown.

“The intro chords came from a Joe Ryan demo mysteriously titled ‘Toast’. I’ve never asked Joe why he landed on that name, and I probably never will, but it pointed toward the image of fat-headed gobblers touching flutes of bubbles, watching the End of Days gallop over the horizon. I often wonder about those people — the money hoarders, climate change deniers, earth-pilferers and adventure capitalists. Are they nihilists or anarchists or do they really believe they are to be saved by some Rock Opera Jesus? We may never know, but here is ‘Toast,’ which is hopefully as smooth as the smooth, smooth sailing of our glorious leaders fat old white lives,” Allbrook says.

Directed and edited by the members of POND and Alex Haygarth, dine, drink champagne and relentlessly toast each other in the sky — with little concern to anything down on earth. “We filmed the clip on a green screen in an abandoned garden centre in one continuous take. It cost us $300 to make (the price of four takes worth of champagne). I ate five fried eggs over the course of it. Another installment in a long series of homemade Pond videos,” Jay Watson says of of the video.