Tag: Transgressive Records

New Video: Julien Chang Shares Funky Yet Introspective “Snakebit”

Throughout 2019, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and college student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). Initially only thought of as “just a trombone player,” the Baltimore-born artist surprised his peers when he quietly began releasing original music saw him playing multiple instruments while meshing psych rock, pop-inspired melodicism and jazz fusion-like experimentation and improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belied his youth. Thematically, Chang’s work sees him tunneling towards deeper truths, while touching upon everyday existentialism, love, life, art — and his own life as a human and artist. 

Those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, who signed Chang and released his acclaimed full-length debut, 2019’s Jules, which featured: 

  • Of The Past,” a sleek, early 80s-like synth funk-based track centered around dexterous musicianship and pop melodicisim 
  • Butterflies from Monaco,” a slow-burning Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like track
  • Memory Loss” an 80s synth funk inspired song that continued a remarkable run of self-assured material centered around dazzling musicianship and big hooks. 

Chang’s highly-anticipated — and long-awaited — sophomore album The Sale is slated for a November 4, 2022 release through Transgressive Records. Partially recorded in Baltimore and partially in his Princeton dorm room, The Sale is a DIY effort with Chang playing all instruments — with the odd exception of a few notable cameos from some Baltimore locals, classmates and old friends. Thematically, The Sale‘s material sees the rising Baltimore artist exploring the discrepancy between two worlds, a struggle to get comfortable in either one of them, and an artistic fascination with that very struggle. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Marmalade,” a single that found the Baltimore-born artist leaning heavily into lo-fi indie pop with the song featuring glistening guitar lines, punchy drums, Chang’s layered, ethereal falsetto and some remarkably infectious hooks. But the song is underpinned by Chang’s long-held penchant for expansive, psych pop-influenced song structures.

Interestingly, “Marmalade” isn’t as much of a love song, as much as it is about the way one’s memory makes sense of love — and the experience of being in and out of love. “I think the point is that memory runs up against certain limits in sense-making and then has to start relying on fictions,” Chang says.  “I wrote ‘Marmalade’ at a time in which this feeling of passionate regret had just finished transforming into something domesticated, incorporated, and basically mundane — a part of everyday life, something that pops up in the mind from time to time and causes me to scrunch my nose.”

Chang continues, The verses are the positive struggle of trying to make sense of a past romantic experience; the choruses are the ensuing confrontation with non-sense (“I nearly lost my name!”); and the euphoric outro is the resulting victory of a false memory (“I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love!”)

The Sale‘s third and latest single “Snakebite” sees Chang effortlessly meshing elements of smooth jazz, jazz fusion, Tame Impala-like psych pop and pop in what may arguably be the lush, funkiest and yet most introspective song of Chang’s growing catalog.

“‘Snakebit’ emerged during a period of transformation. This was around the time I left Baltimore for University in the middle of New Jersey,” Chang explains in press notes. “The awkwardness of the transition and the discomfort of ‘growing pains’ provoked in me a kind of creative agitation which found its outlet most decisively in this song. But the song is not only about changing. It is also about encountering change: in a reflective turn, encountering myself who is changing and then interrogating him, testing the limits of the ‘new me’ before finding that I am really not so different.”

Created by multidisciplinary artist Vaughn Taormina, the accompanying video for “Snakebit” draws from an eclectic array of influences including Jacques Tati’s Playtime, 80s Japanese advertisements, the concept of dopplegängers and more. The video also begins with “Snakebite Side,” a cinematic and jazzier, kissing cousin to the original single.

“The song takes the form of a self-interrogation. I have changed, but how? and when? Why? This video simulates the fragmented, unfocused, and self-contradictory search for clues that one falls into trying to answer,” Chang says of the video. “Taken as a whole, the animations all seem to go together on a single string, but examined individually, it is clear that what binds them is not any logical order. In this sense, the video has the structure of a dream. While dreaming, a rapid sequence of freely-associated images and events seems to make perfect sense. It is only upon sober reflection the following morning that these images and events become absurd, random, and nonsensical.”

New Video: Julien Chang Shares Dreamy and Meditative “Marmalade”

Throughout the course of 2019, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the acclaimed Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and college student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). Initially only thought of as “just a trombone player,” the Baltimore-born artist surprised his peers when he quietly began releasing original music saw him playing multiple instruments while meshing psych rock, pop-inspired melodicism and jazz fusion-like experimentation an improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belied his relative youth. Thematically, Chang’s work sees him tunneling towards deeper truths, while touching upon everyday existentialism, love, life, art — and his own life as a human and artist.

Those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, who signed Chang and released his critically applauded full-length debut, 2019’s Jules, which featured:

  • Of The Past,” a sleek, early 80s-like synth funk-based track centered around dexterous musicianship and pop melodicisim
  • Butterflies from Monaco,” a slow-burning Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like track
  • Memory Loss” an 80s synth funk inspired song that continued a remarkable run of self-assured material centered around dazzling musicianship and big hooks.

Chang’s highly-anticipated — and long-awaited — sophomore album The Sale is slated for a November 4, 2022 release through Transgressive Records. Partially recorded in Baltimore and partially in his Princeton dorm room, The Sale is a DIY effort with Chang playing all instruments — with the odd exception of a few notable cameos from some Baltimore locals, classmates and old friends. Thematically, The Sale‘s material sees the rising Baltimore artist exploring the discrepancy between two worlds, a struggle to get comfortable in either one of them, and an artistic fascination with that very struggle.

“Marmalade,” The Sale‘s first single sees the acclaimed Baltimore artist leanings heavily into lo-fi indie pop with the song centered around glistening guitar lines, punchy drums, Chang’s layered, ethereal falsetto and big, infectious hooks. But the song is underpinned by his penchant for expansive, psych pop song structures.

Interestingly, “Marmalade” isn’t as much of a love song, as much as it is about the way one’s memory makes sense of love — and the experience of being in and out of love. “I think the point is that memory runs up against certain limits in sense-making and then has to start relying on fictions,” Chang says.  “I wrote ‘Marmalade’ at a time in which this feeling of passionate regret had just finished transforming into something domesticated, incorporated, and basically mundane — a part of everyday life, something that pops up in the mind from time to time and causes me to scrunch my nose.”

Chang continues, The verses are the positive struggle of trying to make sense of a past romantic experience; the choruses are the ensuing confrontation with non-sense (“I nearly lost my name!”); and the euphoric outro is the resulting victory of a false memory (“I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love! I remember falling in love!”)

Directed by Layla Ku of New York-based collective MICHELLE, the mesmerizing and trippy accompanying visual for “Marmalade” features a mix of still photography and video that includes New Wave-inspired split screens as the video follows the rising Baltimore-born artist driving to the beach, at the beach sitting in an office chair while brushing his teeth and staring at a TV — and playing his guitar in an abandoned, graffitied warehouse space.

New Video: Rapidly Rising Artist Julien Chang Releases a Lysergic Visual for “Memory Loss”

Over the past couple of moths, I’ve written a bit about the rapidly rising, 19-year-old Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and current university student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). Chang surprised his peers when he quietly began releasing original music during his senior year in high school. Initially only thought of just as a trombone player, the Baltimore-born, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s earliest material found him playing multiple instruments while meshing pop-leaning melodicism, psych rock and jazz fusion-leaning experimentation and improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belied his relative youth.

Now as you may recall, those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, the label home of SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma and JOVM mainstay Neon Indian, and the label recently released Chang’s highly anticipated full-length debut Jules last Friday. So far I’ve written about the album’s two previously released singles  — “Of The Past,” a sleek, early 80s-like synth funk-based track centered around dexterous musicianship and pop melodicisim and the slow-burning, Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like “Butterflies from Monaco.” Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single “Memory Loss” is centered by syncopated blips and bloops, a sinuous bass line, shimmering synths and Chang’s plaintive falsetto and a yearning for an unreachable and halcyon-tinged past. And while seemingly influenced by 80s synth funk, the song continues a run of incredibly self-assured singles featuring some dazzling musicianship and big hooks.

“A worsening memory is something I’ve always been worried about,” Chang explains. “The song was made with a kind of structural rigidity in mind, and about memory’s natural lack of it when having trouble putting faces to names, for example. It’s easy to be frustrated by that feeling, but being left with a sudden emotional reaction sparked by some stimulus for an unclear reason can be as lovely as it is disorienting.”

Directed and shot by Haoyan of America, the recently released video for “Memory Loss” is shot through a disorientating and lysergic haze with a wistfully nostalgic air, as it’s centered around memories of a  lover, dreamy and easygoing summer days and trippy imagery. “The ‘Memory Loss’ video was shot by Haoyan of America. The vision was totally his, arrived at after spending some time talking to each other about the song,” Chang explains. “That’s what I wanted to do when we first started looking for video directors—find an artist that I trust and have them commit to their own path of inspiration. I think a lot of music videos require the visual artists to bend to the will of the musician. It was really exciting to see Haoyan work as an artist creating something that both augmented my song and stood on its own an independent and magnificent visual piece.” 

New Audio: Julien Chang Releases a Shimmering and Nostalgic Synth Funk-Driven Single

Over the past couple of moths, I’ve written a bit about the rapidly rising, 19-year-old Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and current university student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). Chang surprised his peers when he quietly began releasing original music during his senior year in high school. Initially only thought of just as a trombone player, the Baltimore-born, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s earliest material found him playing multi-instruments while meshing pop-leaning melodicism, psych rock and jazz fusion-leaning experimentation and improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belied his relative youth. 

Now as you may recall, those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, the label home of SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma and JOVM mainstay Neon Indian, and the label will be releasing Chang’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Jules on October 11, 2019. So far I’ve written about the album’s first two singles — “Of The Past,” a sleek, early 80s-like synth funk-based track centered around dexterous musicianship and pop melodicisim and the slow-burning, Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like “Butterflies from Monaco.” Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single “Memory Loss” is centered by syncopated blips and bloops, a sinuous bass line, shimmering synths and Chang’s plaintive falsetto and a yearning for an unreachable and halcyon-tinged past. And while  seemingly influenced by 80s synth funk, the song continues a run of incredibly self-assured singles featuring some dazzling musicianship and big hooks. 

 “A worsening memory is something I’ve always been worried about,” Chang explains. “The song was made with a kind of structural rigidity in mind, and about memory’s natural lack of it when having trouble putting faces to names, for example. It’s easy to be frustrated by that feeling, but being left with a sudden emotional reaction sparked by some stimulus for an unclear reason can be as lovely as it is disorienting.”

New Audio: Baltimore’s Up-and-Coming Julien Chang Releases a Slow-Burning and Lysergic New Single

Last month, I wrote about the up-and-coming, 19-year-old, Baltimore-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and current university student Julien Chang (pronounced Chong). And as you may recall, Chang surprised his peers when he began quietly releasing music during his senior year in high school. Initially only thought of as just a trombone player, the Baltimore-born, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer’s early material found him playing multiple instruments and meshing pop-leaning melodicism, psych rock and jazz fusion-leaning experimentation and improvisation with a sophistication and self-assuredness that belies his relative youth. Those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, the label home of SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma and JOVM mainstay Neon Indian, who will be releasing his forthcoming full-length debut.

“Of The Past,” Chang’s debut single and the first official single off his debut EP was a sleek bit of early 80s-like synth-led funk that’s centered around carefully crafted pop melodicism, a sinuous bass line and plaintive vocals. But I think the most interesting aspect of the song was it revealed a dexterous songwriter and musician, who can effortlessly bounce between funk, jazz and pop within a single song — and in a mesmerizing fashion.  “Butterflies from Monaco,” the forthcoming EP’s second single is a a slow-burning track that finds the Baltimore-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer seamlessly meshing the blues, 50s rock, 60s psych rock and pop — but with a lysergic haze reminiscent of Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles. Interestingly, the song was inspired by the concept of the butterfly effect — and as a result, the song focuses on the interconnectedness of all things. 

Julien Chang (pronounced Chong) is an up-and-coming Baltimore-born 19-year-old, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, producer and current university student, who surprised his peers when he began quietly releasing music during his senior year in high school. Interestingly, only thought of as a trombone player, Chang’s early material found him playing multiple instruments and meshing pop-leaning melodies, psych rock and jazz fusion experimentation and improvisation — with a sophistication that belies his relative youth.  Those early releases caught the attention of Transgressive Records, the label home of SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma and JOVM mainstay Neon Indian, who will be releasing his forthcoming full-length debut.
Self-recorded and self-produced in his bedroom, “Of The Past,” Chang’s debut single is a sleek bit of early 80s-like synth-led funk that’s centered around carefully crafted pop melodicism, a sinuous bass line and plaintive vocals — but interestingly, the track reveals a dexterous songwriter and musician, who can effortlessly bounce and dart between funk, jazz and pop in a mesmerizing fashion.
Chang will be embarking on his first ever tour in October — and the tour begins with an October 15, 2019 stop at Baby’s All Right. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
10/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
10/28 – London, UK @ Bermondsey Social Club
10/29 – London, UK @ Servant Jazz Quarters
10/31 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique Witloof Bar
11/01 – Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden

New Video: Phantastic Ferniture Release Whimsical Visuals for “Dark Corner Dance Floor”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Sydney, Australia-based band Phantasmic Ferniture, the garage rock/guitar pop side project (of sorts) of acclaimed singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin and two of her closest and dearest friends, Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K. Brennan. And as the story goes, the band can trace their origins to a birthday gathering at a Sydney bar to celebrate Jacklin’s 24th birthday. At some point, a group hug had manifested itself with all ten of the group’s participants drunkenly promising to start a band together. “Only four of us remembered,” Hughes recalls. The band’s core and founding members bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for fern-related puns and leisurewear, and they would meet up whenever their individual schedules would allow, writing songs and playing smatterings of live dates to an increasingly devoted audience.

Eventually, Jacklin, Hughes and Brennan decided that Phantastic Ferniture wasn’t a side project, and they should focus on writing and recording an album together, centered around the fact that the band would be a lot more spontaneous and less technical than their individual pursuits. “That was the fun part,” Jacklin says in press notes. “Ryan never played drums in bands, Liz had never been a lead guitarist, Tom didn’t play bass and I’d never just sung before.” Hughes adds “We wanted a low level of expertise, because a lot of good music comes from people whose passion exceeds their skill.”

Now, as you may recall, the band’s self-titled full-length debut was released last month through Transgressive Records, and the album finds the band adopting their mantra of not overthinking and focusing on the urgency of the moment as the basis of the writing and recording sessions that produced it — but underpinned with a sense of whimsy. The album’s second single “Gap Year” was a 90s alt rock-inspired track that recalled  PJ Harvey while the album’s third single “Bad Timing” was a bit of rollocking indie rock with a cinematic sweep. The fourth and latest single off the Australian indie rock act’s debut “Dark Corner Dance Floor” is centered around a shuffling disco-like bass line, shimmering guitar chords and soaring, anthemic hooks making it one of the more danceable songs on the album although its underpinned by love, awe and disappointment. 
Co-directed by Nick Mckk and Phantasmic Ferniture, the recently released video for “Dark Corner Dance Floor” continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Mckk while featuring the band’s Jacklin and Hughes dressed up and wandering the streets of Sydney in a way that nods at David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street” — but with a charming goofiness. As Jaclkin and Hughes explain in press notes, ” When you’re a kid from out of the city you think Darling Harbour is the essence of Sydney. The aquarium, the Ferris wheel, the IMAX theatre. You imagine when you finally make it to the big smoke you’ll spend your weekends falling in love under the lights of the high rises. Turns out if you move to Sydney you’ll probably never go there. We wanted to capture that feeling we had when we were two starry eyed teens imagining a fake city life.”

New Video: Phantastic Ferniture Returns with Mischievous Visuals for Soaring Album Single “Bad Timing”

Although I’ve suffered a number of frustrating technological setbacks, you may recall that last month, I wrote about Phantasmic Furniture, the  garage rock/guitar pop side project (of sorts) of acclaimed singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin and a collection of some of her closest and dearest friends, Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K. Brennan. And as the story goes, the band can trace their origins to a birthday gathering in a Sydney, Australia-based bar to celebrate Jacklin’s 24th birthday. At some point, a group hug had manifested itself with all ten of the group’s hug participants, drunkenly promising to start a band together. “Only four of us remembered,” Hughes recalls. The band’s core and founding members bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for fern-related puns and leisurewear, and they would meet up whenever their individual schedules would allow, writing songs and playing smatterings of live dates to an increasingly devoted audience.

Eventually, Jacklin, Hughes and Brennan decided that Phantastic Ferniture wasn’t a side project, and they should focus on writing and recording an album together, centered around the fact that the band would be a lot more spontaneous and less technical than their individual pursuits. “That was the fun part,” Jacklin says in press notes. “Ryan never played drums in bands, Liz had never been a lead guitarist, Tom didn’t play bass and I’d never just sung before.” Hughes adds “We wanted a low level of expertise, because a lot of good music comes from people whose passion exceeds their skill.”

Slated for a July 27, 2018 release through Transgressive Records, Phantastic Ferniture’s self-titled debut finds the band adopting a mantra of not overthinking — of focusing on the urgency of the moment, while being whimsical. “Gap Year,” the second single off the band’s full-length debut is a 90s alt rock-like track that struck me as owning and spiritual debut to PJ Harvey. “Bad Timing,” the third and latest single of the single continues on a somewhat similar vein as its immediate predecessor — rollicking indie rock with a cinematic sweep centered around a propulsive rhythm section, psych rock-like guitar pyrotechnics and a soaring hook. 

The recently released video for “Bad Timing” continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with director Nick Mckk and the video finds the band mischievously employing the use of fern imagery — with some friends holding potted ferns in front of the band members. At one point, you even see them put a fern-related puzzle together — because, of course! As the band’s Jacklin says in press notes, “We have to really thank all of our friends who came and made this clip with us. It turned out to be quite a painful process but probably good for our dwindling musician specific fitness levels. I think all our arms were aching for about a week after. I think anyone who is already on the fence in regards to our use of fern imagery is going to really hate us after watching this. We had also just got back our puzzle that features on the cover of our record and were putting it together while we waited for each shot to be set up.”

New Video: The Cinematic Yet Whimsical Visuals for Phantastic Ferniture’s “Gap Year”

Phantastic Ferniture is the garage rock/guitar pop side project (of sorts) of acclaimed singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin and the band features some of her closest friends, Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K. Brennan can trace their origins to a birthday gathering in a Sydney, Australia-based bar to celebrate Jacklin’s 24th birthday. At some point a group hug manifested itself amid pinball participants with all ten of the group hug’s participants drunkenly promising to form a band together. “Only four of us remembered,” Hughes recalls. The band’s core and founding members bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for fern-related puns and leisurewear, and they would meet up whenever their individual schedules would allow, writing songs and playing smatterings of live dates to an increasingly devoted audience.

Eventually, Jacklin, Hughes and Brennan decided that Phantastic Ferniture wasn’t a side project, and they should focus on writing and recording an album together, centered around the fact that the band would be a lot more spontaneous and less technical than their individual. “That was the fun part,” Jacklin says in press notes. “Ryan never played drums in bands, Liz had never been a lead guitarist, Tom didn’t play bass and I’d never just sung before.” Hughes adds “We wanted a low level of expertise, because a lot of good music comes from people whose passion exceeds their skill.”

Slated for a July 27, 2018 release through Transgressive Records, Phantastic Ferniture’s self-titled debut finds the band adopting a mantra of not overthinking — of focusing on the urgency of the moment, while being whimsical. “Gap Year,” the second single off the band’s full-length debut is a 90s alt rock-like track that to my ears reminds me a little bit of early PJ Harvey as the rollicking and expansive track is centered around buzzing power chords, a propulsive rhythm section and a soaring hook — and in some way, the track may inspire some listeners to loosen up and venture off someplace to experience and see things, and to discover themselves. But as the band’s Elizabeth Hughes says about the song, “This song is about just doing what you need to do, with no expectation of any kind of return. It’s about trusting your instincts and not seeking validation …Julia and I are performing our hearts out to absolutely no one at one …The lack of audience doesn’t dull our enthusiasm, and we know our companionship and community will be enough of a reward. It’s poignant because we grew up in the mountains, both desperate for a stage.”

Directed by Nick Mckk and Phantastic Ferniture, the recently released and incredibly cinematic visuals for the song features the band’s Jacklin and Hughes performing an dancing and while not seeming desperate for an audience and for a stage, the viewer will immediately pick up on the isolation of their surroundings, and the companionship that the duo has.
 

New Video: The Surreal and Psychedelic Visuals for The Moonlandingz’ Manchester-Inspired Single “Black Hanz”

Featuring The Eccentronic Research Council‘s Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer and Fat White Family‘s Lias Saoudi and Saul Adamczweski, The Moonlandingz are both a side project and a semi-fictional guitar pop act, whose latest single “Black Hanz,” is as the band refers to in press notes “a song for our times, born out of abuse; abuse in the workplace, abuse in the street, abuse by the sniveling toe rags we call a government, abuse for daring to dream and to be different,” and “a celebration of the Outsider, the socially inept . . ” Sonically speaking their sound manages to mesh a facsimile of the Manchester sound — twinkling synths, guitars fed through delay and effects pedals and a driving motorik groove — paired with a sneering and ironic punk sentiment, and a mischievous and menacing spoken word section towards the song’s bridge.

The recently released video features a Ziggy Startdust-era David Bowie rocker who gets picked on, ridiculed and threatened everywhere he goes for both his ridiculous, alien-like appearance and for having the bravery to not fit in. The video goes into much stranger territory when the rocker’s Fairy Godmother swoops down to save him from a bunch of thugs — and then promptly places him where he belongs, fronting a rock band. Simply put it’s fittingly and goofily low-budget while emphasizing the song’s central theme of celebrating those who are proudly different and are proverbial square pegs – but with a subtly 60s psychedelia.