Tag: BRAIDS Flourish//Perish

New Video: Married, Art Pop Duo, The Parlor Releases a Thoughtful Meditation on Grief

With the release of their critically applauded sophomore album Wahzu Wahzu, the Altamont, NY-based art pop duo The Parlor, comprised of multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, production and husband and wife team of Jen O’Connor and Eric Krans further cemented a growing reputation for a fearless willingness to explore a variety of sound palettes and styles while crafting intimate and thoughtful pop music; in fact, the Altamont, NY-based duo have progressed from indie folk to stomp and clap trance folk to “campfire disco” as Pitchfork described Wahzu Wahzu.

Slated for an April 13, 2018 the Altamont, NY-based art pop duo’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Kiku derives its name for the Japanese word for chrysanthemum. According to O’Connor and Krans, chrysanthemum began blooming in their farmhouse garden immediately following their second miscarriage, and for the couple, the flower became a symbol of their grief, despair, resilience and faith. Sonically speaking, the album represents a continued evolution of their overall sound, as Kiku is the duo’s first foray into trigged samples and orchestral synth soundscaping. “Kiku grew into something we never anticipated,” the couple admits in press notes. As they were grieving, they turned to their art and began writing and recording material inspired by what they were feeling and thinking, as the couple says they felt themselves “reaching out across the plane of the living and the dead, where we stumbled upon the tiny hand of the soul we lost. We brought a pice of her, of Kiku, back with us.”

Understandably, the material on Kiku sounds gloomier and more anxious than their previously released work while reportedly balancing a playful and relaxed air at points that suggests that while profoundly serious, the album can be coquettish, sexy and earnest; in some way, the album is meant to be the inner world of a couple, who keep trying over and over again — perhaps, because as cheesy as it may sound to some, they have each other.

Kiku’s first single, album opener “Soon” draws from dream pop, contemporary electro pop, movie soundtracks, jazz and experimental pop in a heady and swooning mix — and while to my ears, bringing to mind the work of Moonbabies, Beacon, Softspot, Mazzy Star and Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS, the members of The Parlor manage to specialize in incredibly slick and lush production featuring soaring hooks paired with fearlessly heartfelt lyrics and sentiment. Yes, it’s meant to break your heart time and time again, but with a deeper purpose — to remind the listener of their empathy. Grief is grief is grief. We all know this and we all experience it at various points in our lives, and we try to move froward; that is what people do after all.

As O’Connor and Krans explain in press notes, “‘Soon’ was intended as a metaphor for the stages of grief. The chrysanthemums represent grief itself. We carry grief around with us, often to unlikely places. We try at times to let it go, to fling our grief from great heights or hope it’s carried off by time — an offering to the flowing waters of the hills. But ultimately we find ourselves steeping in it, drowning in it, and ideally cleansed by it in a baptism of intentional release. Allowing ourselves to stop fighting forces us to experience things that, as humans, we often try desperately to avoid. Allowing ourselves to dance in glowing sunlight empowers us to reclaim our spirit. And we are transported to a deeper place of understanding of one’s self and of the human experience as we know it. ‘Soon’ is an expression of painful hope and illuminated heart.”

The duo directed, shot and edited the video for “Soon” and naturally, the video prominently features chrysanthemums throughout — sometimes the husband and wife duo proudly and defiantly carrying them about, at other points, the flowers are being offered to the proverbial flowing waters of time or treated as a sort of sacrifice; but no matter what the flowers and their grief is inescapable — until they accept it.


New Video: The Dark and Surreal Visuals for Vaarwell’s “You”


Comprised of Margarida Falcão, Ricardo Nagy and Luís Monteiro, the Lisbon, Portugal-based indie pop trio Vaarwell, derives their name from the Dutch word vaarwel, which translates into English as farewell — and since their formation back in 2014, when the members of the band met at a music production class, the up-and-coming trio have received attention in their native Portugal and internationally with the release of their debut EP Love and Forgiveness, which revealed a sound that paired ethereal and delicate melodies with minimalist instrumentation and production. Adding to a growing profile, the trio had been included in 2015’s FNAC Best New Talent Compilation, named Tradiio’s “Artist of the Week,” played at the renowned Portuguese music festival NOS em D’Bandada and more recently commissioned by French designer Philippe Starck to write and record a track for his exhibition at the Groninger Museum during this year’s Eurosonic Nooderslag Festival.

“You,” the achingly melancholy and gorgeous, first single off the Portuguese trio’s forthcoming full-length debut Homebound 456 will further cement their reputation for pairing Falçao’s tender and ethereal melodies with a minimalist production featuring warm and soulful keys with subtle industrial clatter, fluttering electronics and shimmering guitar. And while sonically speaking, the song reminds me of Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS, the song has a narrator who spends a significant portion of the song self-flagellating herself for getting herself fooled by someone she shouldn’t have, who has hurt her in an egregious fashion — and as a result, the song possesses a visceral sense of confusion, bitter heartbreak and desperate searching.

Featuring production work from the Playground Production Company, the accompanying video further emphasizes the brooding contemplative feel of the song, as the video has the trio sitting in a deserted, late night parking lot while a human-sized teddy bear stalks and stomps around nearby. And as the band’s frontwoman is seemingly focusing on some past event or situation and caught within her own revelry, the teddy bear stomps around — without anyone treating it as out of the ordinary; in fact, even the bandmembers quickly treat it as a feverish figment of the imagination.

New Video: The Hauntingly Gorgeous Visuals and Sounds of Benjamin’s Brother’s “Room 505”

Benjamin’s Brother is a fairly mysterious British electro folk/electro pop act comprised of a producer and songwriter, who writes and records under the moniker of Benjamin’s Brother and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends who pair haunting and ambient productions with songs that lyrically focus on death, desire and pain, among other subjects. The act’s latest single “Room 505” is an eerily sparse production featuring contemplative piano chords, plaintive, falsetto vocals, stuttering drum programming and brief burst of mournful horns. Sonically, the song reminds me of BRAIDS’ impressive Flourish//Perish but with an aching yearning at its core.

The recently released video features a dancer performing in sparsely arranged room with her doppleganger — but is it all an delusional within her head? Interestingly, the video manages to suggest the internal struggle between our real, internal self and the self we project out toward the world.

New Audio: Icelandic Trio Samaris Releases a Seductive and Tense New Single That Reveals an Expansion of Their Sound

Comprised of Þórður Kári “Doddi” Steinþórsson (producton),  Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir (clarinet) and Jófríður  the  Icelandic act Samaris have received national and international attention for minimalist electronic production paired with lyrics that drew from 19th century Icelandic poetry; however, after a […]


Comprised of Kristin Henry (vocals) and Brad Boettger (production), Seattle, WA-based  duo NAVVI have developed a reputation for crafting brooding and propulsive electro pop; in fact, the duo have had their work appear on a compilation curated by renowned French electronic label Kitsune, and they’ve received press from a variety of media outlets including NME, Brooklyn Vegan, Impose, The Line of Best Fit and Jay Z’s Life+Times, among others. Building on the early buzz they’ve received, the Seattle-based duo will be releasing their long-awaited full-length debut Omni later this week through Hush Hush Records.

Now earlier this month, I wrote about “Close,” Omni‘s gorgeously minimalist electro pop first single thad the duo pairing Henry’s sultry and intimately with a sleek and hyper-modern production consisting of crisp, yet stuttering drum programming, ambient, swirling electronics, bleeps, bloops and boops, layers of shimmering and buzzing synths. and a propulsive groove while reminding me quite a bit of BRAIDS’ Flourish//Perish and Octo Octa’s Between Both Selves; in other words, the single possess a bracing and icy chill that belies an urgent and swooning Romanticism. Omni‘s second and latest single “What Reason Do We Need?” will further cement the Seattle-based duo’s reputation for crafting chilly and atmospheric electro pop as you’ll hear stuttering and skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, trembling bleeps and bloops and beeps and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Henry’s sultry yet ethereal vocals. Sonically, the song reminds me a bit of Bear in Heaven‘s I Love You It’s Cool but with a plaintive Quiet Storm-like sensuality at its core.