ARTIST INTERVIEW: Monograms Discuss New ‘Silencer’ EP

Originally a solo project created by Brooklyn musician Ian Jacobs, Monograms is now a fully fledged band. Their latest release, Silencer, explores a grittier side of hook-filled pop music by distilling it with elements of lo-fi garage rock. There’s a sense of dreaminess that hangs over the entire EP, akin to looking through the haze of a smoky room. It gives Silencer a cohesive feeling, though the four songs were each recorded in different studios with varying lineups.

It begins with the surfy guitar riff of “Sharp Teeth,” with angsty, drawn out vocals that float dreamily over fuzzy guitars and a solid beat, as they reiterate a romantic plight: “Your smile, my disaster.” “Ok Promises” falls on the opposite side of the spectrum as an upbeat, dancey track with a breathless chorus. “Radio Controller” is slightly toned down in comparison, but still retains some of its energy in nervously descending guitar lines, while “Trails” is a straight ahead ode to late night living that ominously declares, “I’m just a vampire.”

Ian filled us in on how Monograms became a band, recorded Silencer and found the EP’s awesome cover art. Read on below:

AudioFemme: Monograms originally started as a solo bedroom project. How did you make the transition to a full band?

Ian Jabcobs: I wrote the songs that ended up becoming the first EP and recorded them as just a whatever-fun-get-some-songs-out-of-my-head kind of thing. I played a few shows solo with drum machines, and a buddy of mine asked if he could play some real drums. It took me about two seconds to realize the songs were a lot more fun with others in the room, so I just kept adding people and now Monograms is a four-piece band. 

I’m still the main song writer, but the other dudes in the band create a lot of things, especially during the live show, that I could never replicate. We have some new songs that have been much more collaborative, which I’m super stoked about.

AF: Each song on this EP represents a different lineup of Monograms, and was recorded during a different session. Can you elaborate on the different lineups, and your recording process/experience?

IJ: The four songs are a mix of about a year and a half of recording sessions, most of which started at home and then finished at different studios around Brooklyn. It was an interesting ride, because this was all during that time the lineup was changing and expanding.  All the tracks are from really different landscapes and head spaces, but I was just writing stuff, not thinking about a release. A couple of the tunes are from the drum machine days and some were written as a full band. It really wasn’t until just a few months before the EP was even released that I thought, hey, maybe I can make an EP out of these four tunes. So I did.

AF: Can you tell me about the Silencer cover art?

IJ: I follow a bunch of mixed media visual artists online… when I saw that image I knew right away I wanted it to be the cover. I liked that it was a person that’s there… but not really there. Also the theme of a few songs on Silencer are about how words and talking can be sort of meaningless sometimes. And I think that the imagery goes along with the EP title. 

I’m actually way more interested in what it means to other people. I think that’s honestly the biggest reason why I liked it so much. It’s simple but says something loud that’s open to interpretation.

AF: What are your major influences, musically and otherwise?

IJ: That’s kind of a tough one to answer cause I honestly think everything you do or see is an influence. For better or worse, it’s in there somewhere. I also listen to a lot of things all the time – modern hip-hop and books on tape not excluded.

AF: I feel like there’s a sense of dreaminess that connects the entire EP – is this intentional? To what extent are the songs inspired by your own life and experiences?

IJ: I don’t know if the psych/dreamy stuff is intentional but it’s definitely there. It’s a huge part of a lot of the music I listen to, but it’s probably just a sense of me trying to get my subconscious to write, it’s easier to do that when you can zone out a little. I think that’s where I want to be. Thinking but not too much, or at least not realizing it. Thinking is overrated. That said, all the songs are about my life experience, currently in progress.

Silencer is out now; listen below and download the EP here.

EP REVIEW: Roland Tings “Each Moment a Diamond”

True to its title, Roland Tings’ newest collection is sparkly and shined to perfection. To create this album, the Berlin-based, Melbourne-native producer worked through an obsessive routine where he repeated the same simple actions every day, like the route he took the studio or what he ate for breakfast. This structure aided the keen editing attention to detail present on Each Moment a Diamond.

The wordless tracks melt together, the beats meditative. In an interview with Self-Titled Mag, Tings described single “Slow Centre” as “a seven-minute ride in a cloud. The sound of being hit by lightning. An ode to the pioneers of hypnotic minimalism. A lo-fi computer generated image of a xylophone rendered in eye-splitting high definition.” His poetic descriptions of his own music are the best way to envision what he’s created with this latest release; the tracks resonate on a deep, primal level where they feel applicable to both everyday routine and otherworldly illusions.

As the only song with vocals, “Higher Ground,” featuring singer Nylo, serves the same purpose as seeking safe harbor in a deluge. As she sings about having and then losing everything, Nylo’s ethereal and airy vocals complement the fantastical imagery that Tings’ production evokes. It’s a beacon of security and certainty in an EP that otherwise challenges the perceptions of reality with its amorphous borders and dream-like repetitions. Tings may have been going through the motions while writing the EP, but Each Moment A Diamond reminds us of the beauty in perpetual action.

EP REVIEW: Milo Greene’s “Never Ender”

New music from Milo Greene is always exciting, and the group has been actively building up to their next great release after 2015’s Control. The quartet released their latest EP Never Ender through Nettwerk Music Group in February, and it holds much the same energy of past releases: a dark and somber mood mixed with vibrant, ethereal elements. It’s has a certain rawness and honesty to the emotions it unleashes – fear, anger, frustration, confusion, forced acceptance – and reflects the tension felt across the nation (and world) over the past few months.

Beginning with “I Know about You,” the EP starts off with a mysterious air that’s hauntingly aware as the vocals spin a tale of betrayal that should have been expected. A background of tinkling keys and foreboding chants anchor the eerie broken-hearted story’s many threads -anger for not seeing the heartbreak coming, frustration with former partner and their lack of guilt, and the self-righteous clarity that typically acts as a precursor to closure. Perhaps in this case it isn’t just an ex-lover whose betrayal the band laments, but rather the state of the world and the fact that our neighbors and family members brought us here.

The EP flows seamlessly into “We Kept the Lights on,” which takes a stab at the concept of a finished relationship from the opposite perspective. It’s an homage to finding strength and individual power despite not being able to leave no matter how badly you may want to. It’s cyclical, both in the soft “ooh’s” peppered throughout the song and its overall message of someone leaving and coming back to the same person repeatedly.

The single “Afraid of Everything” is the thesis of the EP: it’s a nod toward fear in a serious relationship as well as the fear that permeates much of our daily existence in the current turbulent state of affairs. It recognizes that the passing of time is our saving grace, as it’s the only sure-fire cure for recovering from a broken heart. As many people use courage in the face of adversity to get through the next few years, the song also serves as reminder that there’s always something to focus on that doesn’t rattle you to the core, even if everything seems scary.

Never Ender encompasses the cycle of moods we all find ourselves juggling: anger and fear one day and self-confidence and strength the next. As such, Milo Greene provide a battle cry for those struggling to find stability.

PLAYING DETROIT: Dear Darkness Slays on Latest EP

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Dear Darkness photo by Elise Mesner

Stacey MacLeod and Samantha Linn are distressed to impress, sharing their wonderfully warped worldview as as post-punk kitsch queens Dear Darkness on their latest EP She’s That Kind of Person, but I Like Her Anyway.

Released last month, their latest effort doesn’t stray far from 2016’s Get it Here EP. Faithful to their unhinged brand of glitter and grime this sonic adventure is less bashful bedroom eyes and more spontaneous arson speckled with deep throat kissing. Tongue between teeth rather than tongue-in-cheek, Dear Darkness revisits their affinity for braiding danger with crossed-legs innocence.

This time around, the girls turned up the fuzz with additional layers of synths and even more reckless percussive outbursts; taken together, their sound feels like a perfectly orchestrated tantrum. “Birthday Party” is a pouty psych-punk update to Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party” and “You Had it Comin” could easily soundtrack a David Lynch revenge montage sequence. “Let’s Blow up the Moon” which is, well, about blowing up the moon, is so heavily distorted that you would think they were playing on the moon, loud enough for us to hear back on planet earth but warped by outer space. It’s peppered with enough blood-curdling screams to wake Hitchcock from the dead. Cohesive even in their chaos, Dear Darkness proves once again that you’ve gotta have a light to go on living in the shadows.

Bat your lashes and take names with the latest from Detroit punk princesses Dear Darkness below:


ARTIST INTERVIEW: Jack Killen taps New York Noir for “Dangerous Lunch Crowd”

It was a dark and stormy night when I met Jack Killen at the TriBeCa bar Nancy’s Whiskey Pub. The rain outside, and the bustling, old fashioned environment inside, made it a fitting time and place to discuss his latest EP.  

Dangerous Lunch Crowd is largely inspired by his love of detective novels. “I like to write about pulpy subjects, and I thought it was cool to do a concept, detective fiction EP,” Killen explained. “It’s always, there was the girl, there was the bad guy, there was this detective or cop. And that’s basically it, you can make a story out of that. I think Raymond Chandler said, if you don’t know what to write, make the phone ring. Kick down the door. Do something dramatic.”

The four songs on Dangerous Lunch Crowd are crafted with help from this formula; their plots could be taken straight off the back of a detective novel. “Genevieve,” about a troubled relationship, starts with unexpected action: “You threw a glass of shiraz on my favorite t-shirt.” It also includes my favorite, highly specific lyric from the EP, “I remember you tweaking in my crummy apartment/ Watching a slowed down version of a cat video by some guy in Japan.” 

Meanwhile, power ballad “Lower” narrates a dark past, and the epic “Symphony Of Skin” could be interpreted as a familiar plot line of the detective seduced by the dame who waltzes into his office. “Renegade” opens with bare piano chords, and you can almost see the sun lighting up a strange cast of characters in a smoky bar: “There’s a party for the unwanted, the desperate and the haunted.” A cheesy guitar solo starts, stirring up trouble. His girl wants the kind of life he can’t afford. He’s a straight shooter who knows the rules well enough to break them.

“Renegade is about, for sure, a criminal,” Killen elaborated. “You know ‘Atlantic City’ by Bruce Springsteen? One of my favorite lines is in there: ‘Last night I met this guy, and I’m gonna do a little favor for him.’ Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, they were all doing the outlaw rock thing. It’s like, how do you get ahead in the world? That’s what the song’s about.”

Josh Slater, who directed the videos that accompany Dangerous Lunch Crowd, shares the obsession with pulpy detective stories. Jack listed some of their favorite writers, including Ed McBain and Charles Willeford. They also share a fondness for gritty, lo-fi music videos. The three released so far share a sincere goofiness, with loose, offbeat plots that seem like something you’d stumble across while watching TV at four a.m.  

Besides the literature and outlaw rockers he mentioned, what are Killen’s other influences? Musically, “If I could sound like Warren Zevon meets Sparks, that would literally be my dream,” he says. “I’m hopelessly obsessed with Warren Zevon. He’s tongue in cheek, but it’s so dark.”

When it comes to his work ethic, however, inspiration comes from an unexpected source: Charles Ives. “He was always the coolest guy to me, because he was a full time insurance salesman all of his life, but he’s also one of the most important American classical composers,” he explains. “He did a kind of bastardized American folk tunes. They’re cool as hell. He shows, if you’re neurotic enough, you can do it all.” Killen has also learned how to balance his musical life with a full time job. He’s a beer distributor, which lends its own source of inspiration. “I love the beer business because you get to go door to door, you get to talk to all the people. I’ve been living here for 11 years, and my largest influence, for sure, is just chaotic craziness of New York.”

Visiting these places ties back into the detective novelists, too. “I love Forlini’s. You read an Andrew Vachss novel, and they’re at City Hall, at that bar right there. Whether or not they make up fake names, they’re actual reference points of the city. And places like this,” Killen gestures enthusiastically at the Nancy’s Pub crowd. “It’s so exciting! Like, who are all of these people?”

Dangerous Lunch Crowd, recorded and produced by Graham Dickson of Crystal Fighters, is out now via Axis Mundi Records. Stream the EP below!

EP REVIEW: Rubblebucket “If U C My Enemies”

One thing that never tires me about Rubblebucket is that they can create unique, stand-alone tracks that each sound like they’re each from a completely different band. That, and their gratuitous use of brass (I’ll always be a ska kid at heart, I guess). Having not heard new music from the Brooklyn group since their 2014 release, Survival Sounds, it feels like a blessing to be graced by their new EP, If U C My Enemies, which comes via the band’s So Sensation Records.

The EP begins with a tinkling of keys on the track “Donna,” which sees Kalmia Traver’s washed out vocals and a groovy sax. If you close your eyes, you can practically see Traver on stage, dancing to this psychedelic number as she hits her perfectly timed falsetto. Next is the titular track, which hops around from being subdued and grounded to upbeat and energized. It kicks off with a heavy saxophone that’s balanced out by a perky trumpet from bandleader Alex Toth, then transitions into a quintessentially quirky Rubblebucket song with the help of Traver’s ascending vocals. The single is empowered and punchy, grabbing you by your shirt collar and dancing your around the room on its uplifting synths.

Following is “Not Cut out for This,” which is airy and sobering. The trumpet and lulling synths give it a more classic ska feel, and it’s the perfect dose of reality in such a small collection of songs. If U C My Enemies closes out with “Forlornification,” a funky, exuberant track that’ll leave your head buzzing with synths and brass. Its layered, gospel-like vocals and brass/guitar combo come full circle to enchant and haunt your mind, in the best way possible.

Rubblebucket plays their EP release show tonight at Greenpoint venue Warsaw. Stream the EP below.

EP REVIEW: Lee Triffon “Different Sun”


Welp, 2016 has been hellish, and we officially all need 200 percent more chill in our lives. And Tel Aviv-born, LA-based Lee Triffon is here to bring us those much-needed laid-back vibes in the form of her new EP Different Sun.

The album begins with Triffon’s wispy vocals projecting an ominous and slightly mysterious energy in her titular opening track. The music ebbs and flows with her airy voice, carrying you on a cushy cloud of low-key electronica. It transitions into her popular single “Mirrors in the Sand” from there. In this track, the songstress stretches her range a bit more, telling a heartfelt tale using raspy vocals alongside a slow synthy backing. The midpoint of the EP sees “Silver Bullet Gun,” which is a more unique style from the previous two tracks, deviating into a more pronounced and ambitious song than her other two–it reaches out and grabs you, holding you captive to its enchanting sound. Although slow, it’s repetitive tracking makes it so the song reverberates around your head. The next song, “Caves,” is a bit faster than the others at times, and has an urgent yet unsettled feel to it. It further complements Triffon’s mysteriousness, a quality which is palpable in all the songs on Different Sun. “Caves” is the last glimpse of sunlight on a particularly brisk winter evening, making it seasonally appropriate, but also a great way to end out an album. The last track is an orchestral version of “Mirrors in the Sand,” which is a more magical and theatrical spin on the original single.

Take a listen to Different Sun below, and maybe it’ll help you feel a bit more reinvigorated for the coming year.

EP REVIEW: Del Caesar “EP 2”

Del Caesar - EP cover art high-res

This week, the thought of getting out of bed and doing anything at all filled me with dread; scraping together thoughts and words about an album was the last thing I wanted to do. I feel for any band releasing music this week, I really do. Everyone feels terrible, and everyone’s mind is definitely not on music. But what originally drew me to Del Caesar makes me glad I’m writing about their latest release, EP 2, even now.

EP 2 opens with the jaunty “Like They Always Say,” which has an energy that defies the fact that it seems to loosely take place the morning after a bender. “Lie To Me” has a catchy call and response chorus that lodges pleasantly in the brain, while “Never Be Alone” is a moodier, soulful track that opens with perfectly complementary guitar parts.  “I’ll Bet” so encapsulates the sound of a 60’s/70’s love song it’s hard to believe it’s not a cover.

Their sound is true-to-the-original, decades old garage rock, with melodic bass lines and fuzzy, psychedelic guitar solos. There are flashes of the Stones in the vocals, which contain a hint of a playful sneer, and glimpses of T. Rex in the guitars. It truly feels like listening to a different era, which, at the moment, means a nice escape from reality. I highly recommend that you do yourself a favor this weekend and check out this album. Here, you can even listen to it below:

PLAYING DETROIT: Bevlove “Talk That Shit”


The incomparable maven of Detroit pop, Bevlove released her EP Talk That Shit last week which pop, locks and drops feral beats with a disciplined hip-hop assertiveness that undoubtedly rewires the game.

The 5-track EP is unexpectedly varied but remarkably consistent. It’s as if each song is a chapter describing the same night out documenting the fun, the madness and the humanizing need to not go home alone all filtered through Bevlove’s prismatic scepter of diva-dom. Yes, Lady Love reigns supreme on Talk That Shit but unlike other commanding, radio-ready pop endeavors, there is nothing isolating or exclusive about this particular journey into Detroit’s after-hours and Bev’s sexified psyche. It’s a call to bad bitches and vulnerable vixens to not just get lit, but to shine through the club fog and to rise above the unreturned text messages from that dude.

Opening with “Do What I Say,” a BDSM, girl-gang anthem that self-satisfies without apology leads into “Freaks” which modernizes Whodini’s 1984 classic and acts as a word of warning to future gentrifiers and suburban visitors. Then comes Bev’s brand of satiated delicacy with “Save Me” which doesn’t stray sonically but explores her range of tenderness and soaring vocals that are reminiscent of vintage Rihanna. Bev’s emotional duality is a vibrant essence especially when she goes from achingly wanting someone to stay and save her and flips the script on “Leave With Me” which details a one night stand and mixed signals, where (once again) she takes control; the EP’s constant and Bevlove’s secret weapon. Collectively, Talk That Shit is an immovable powerhouse that is relevant yet stays two steps ahead. However, the closing track “Champagne Bubbles” is unbelievably self-realized and there’s no doubt that Beyonce herself would envy the song start to finish. From the placement of vocal flight and the cathartic, heart-opening sonic build, “Bubbles” is a complete thought and is evidence of Bevlove’s inevitable ascent to the next-next level.

Turn up and bow down to Bevlove’s latest below:

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EP REVIEW + VIDEO PREMIERE: Catch Prichard’s “Eskota”

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Photo by Leif Huron
Photo by Leif Huron

When I first met Sawyer Gebauer – the weighty, valley-low voice behind Catch Prichard – he was called another name. He was in another country, manning a different musical project (the melancholy Europe-based Brittsommar), and far removed from his American roots. He was physically away from home, but also emotionally and culturally. Gebauer has often discussed “home” as a symbol in interviews, namely that you can never return to it in a pure sense. It is a theme so prevalent in his work that it informed a song title on his latest EP Eskota. But in spite of his itinerant past, it seems that he’s getting mighty close to a hearth of his own making.

In the past twelve months, the songwriter has re-tethered himself to American soil after five years gone. Gebauer settled in the Bay Area last fall after a cross-country road trip that centered on the recording of this very album, in a Texas ghost town no less.

That town, was called Eskota.

The story of Eskota’s making is just as mesmerizing as the record itself, to the extent that it’s difficult to examine them separately…much like it’s a chore at times to distinguish Sawyer Gebauer from Catch Prichard, the artist from the person. There is a vague picture, but one cloaked in so much romanticism that it is blurred.

What is clear is the intent. What Gebauer set out to achieve as he drove from Wisconsin to Texas was a simpler sound, one detached from the dense arrangements of his former band. It had to be stripped down and restrained – so in order to facilitate such a mood, he and engineer Brad K. Dollar set up shop for a week in an abandoned mercantile. In the heat they lazed by day and recorded by night, drinking beer to pass the time between.

The record itself bears an authenticity that perhaps wouldn’t have surfaced had the tracks been laid in a fancy studio. Despite its simplicity (the pared down instrumentation features only guitar, pedal steel, drums and the occasional bass and Moog lines), there is a lot to chew on – a soup of intricate production details born of the location. Take for instance “Howl,” ushered in by a creaking chair and built upon the chirping Texas night. “You Can Never Go Home Again” signs off with lilting pedal steel and a faraway cough, presumably that of someone in the makeshift studio. These elements tastefully season the album like a well-prepared meal.

There is a warmth in Eskota I’ve yet to encounter in Gebauer’s music, an openness and vulnerability that doesn’t always show in his previous work. These songs seem both universally narrative and deeply personal, covering heartbreak (“So Close To It), friends remembered (“Eskota”), and becoming a native stranger (“Hometown”). Sonically it sits in a saddle between country, folk and Americana of the early ‘90s. Gebauer’s ten-gallon voice resonates over the brightness of electric guitar and pedal steel, anchoring any sweet feelings we might have with a dose of blues.

Though it’s taken a lot of mileage for him to get here, it seems Catch Prichard has arrived. Maybe you can go home after all.

Catch Prichard will play Rockwood Music Hall on October 26th.  Tickets here.

Eskota is out October 21st via Devise Records.  Stream the video by Leif Huron below:


INTERVIEW/EP REVIEW: Luna Aura “Madhouse”


Some of us spend our whole lives trying to appear normal and follow the crowd, but sometimes the key to success is living your own brand of insanity. Artist Luna Aura has fully embraced this concept, by appearing in a straight jacket on the cover of her EP Madhouse, boldly stating “Crazy looks good on me” on the opening track, and radiating a sense of total independence that’s just as prevalent as the catchy pop hooks on her five songs. She may admit to craziness, but she’s free from any restraints, whether they be real or perceived, self-imposed or attempted by outsiders.

Luna took the time to answer our questions about her EP’s concept, production, and the start of her career as well as its future. Read our interview, and listen to Madhouse, below.

AudioFemme: Sometimes, women who think out of the box are dismissed as “hysterical” or “crazy.” Is the title Madhouse, and the act of appearing in a straightjacket, an attempt to spin or dispute that concept?

Luna Aura: The word “crazy” gets tossed around so easily, especially when somebody is doing something that is outside of the social norm, or pushing boundaries. People love comfortability. They spend their whole lives stifling the parts of them that make them special or different because there’s this fear that people won’t like or understand them. The straight jacket I’m wearing on the cover of the EP symbolizes me embracing what makes me different from the rest of the world. I’m reclaiming what it means to be “crazy.” I want to show people that it’s something to be proud of, and something to run towards as opposed to running away from.

Some may say that even trying to pursue a musical career is “crazy.” Did you ever encounter any criticisms in the early stages of your career? If so, how did it affect you?

I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in music, and of course, as a kid, I had adults that I respected telling me that I needed to focus on school or, at the very least, have a plan B to fall back on as an adult. I had this little voice inside of me telling me the exact same things. That voice still talks to me every once in a while. Usually when I’m making artistic decisions or big moves in my life. Everyone has that inside of them, and I want to be the person who never listened to all that negativity. I believe in myself and my dreams, and I’m sacrificing a lot to make them a reality. At least I know I’m not wasting a single moment of my 100 years on this planet.

What is your musical background? How did you become a singer, and who are your idols?

I started singing at the age of three. I fell in love with music early on, and I’ve never stopped making it a priority in my life. I began writing at the age of 10, performing at the age of 15, and here I am now! Some of my biggest influences were Janis Joplin, Bowie, Whitney, Toni Braxton, No Doubt, Norah Jones, and Katy Perry. None of these people were scared to be themselves, and I feel like that was always something that spoke to me as a kid.

How was the experience of writing and working with producer Evan Gartner?

Easy. Evan is brilliant, and so young, and so full of inspiration. Working with him was like doing a school project with your best friend. We knew what our end goal was and we just laughed, built off of each other’s insanity, and knew by the end of it that we made something very special.

Do you have any upcoming releases we should know about?

We are currently in the process of filming music videos for each song. Three of the videos are already pretty much finished which is exciting. I’m just so excited to show the people who love my music who I am as a person. I think these videos are great representation.


the black black

Adjusted I by The Black Black is a fresh, edgy take on post-punk and garage rock. Guitar riffs snake and snarl over heavy bass, but the serious topics the EP explores are balanced out by dancey drums. Their three songs acknowledge the strangeness of existing and growing up in the modern age without being dragged down by it. The culmination of this sound is “Personal Pronoun,” the EP’s standout track.

“Thematically, it’s kind of a break-up song, a song about the replaceable nature of relationships,” the band’s singer/songwriter/guitarist, Jonathan, told us. “Sometimes, you’re replacing the relationship but not the person, and the people blur together.”

Adjusted I is out now. Read the rest of our interview with Jonathan and check out “Personal Pronoun” below.

AudioFemme: Let’s start with your band name. What inspired The Black Black?

Jonathan: It’s actually a name I thought of before I had the band. There were all these bands that used “black” as the first word of their name, and it was kind of a reaction to that. Like The Black Keys, or The Black Eyed Peas, or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or The Black Eyes. I felt like it was used to make a band sound tough. So I was just like, “Oh, we’re the Black Black.”

It turned out to be a really bad name. It was a bad idea because there’s no words in it- there’s just “the” and “black” and “the” doesn’t count. In an internet age, you can’t search for it at all. I wouldn’t use it again. (laughs)

It definitely wasn’t hard to find you on Facebook, if that helps.

It’s better now, but for the first two years, it was impossible.

So, Adjusted I is a t-shirt!

Our EP is a t-shirt. I love saying that: Our record is a t-shirt.

How did that idea come about?

Our last record came out in 2014 and was on vinyl, and it just… it takes a lot of time to get vinyl. Pressing plants get backed up and it’s very expensive.  I have no interest in CD’s because I feel like CD’s are garbage- and often times you’re at shows and kids are like, “Oh I want to get something… but I don’t have a record player.” Well, I don’t want to sell them this record that they’re never going to play. That just wore on me awhile and we had the idea, we can put the record out sooner if we don’t do vinyl. It’s cheaper, it’s quicker, and everybody wears t-shirts. You’d buy a t-shirt for that price anyway, and you get a record too.

My favorite song was “Personal Pronoun.” Can you expound on its theme?

That’s actually my favorite song too…  Sonically, that song got the idea of what I wanted this band to sound like closer than any other song we’ve ever had. Thematically, it’s kind of a break-up song, a song about the replaceable nature of relationships. As you’re getting older, and had various numbers of different relationships, sometimes, you’re replacing the relationship but not the person, and the people blur together. And the whole thing can blur together as you get older. It’s not just one or two, it’s three or four. Or more.

Is your song “Territorial Trappings” a Nirvana reference?

It is a Nirvana reference; it’s a reference to “Territorial Pissings.” I guess the primary reason for that was there’s a line it that’s “You gotta figure it out, you found a better way.”  That’s a reference to the lyric  “Gotta find a way, gotta find a better way.” And thematically, the title just works for it. It’s about getting trapped by your surroundings.

Now Adjusted I is out, do you have any upcoming plans or projects?

We actually recorded two EPs at the same time, so there’s another that’s already finished called Adjusted II. That’s a sequel to this one, kind of. It’ll have similar themes and artwork.

EP REVIEW: Happyness “Tunnel Vision On Your Part”


When you were a kid, did you ever play with cornstarch and water? Some of you will think that is the most backwoods bumfuck thing you’ve ever heard, and others will know what the hell I am talking about. The thing about cornstarch and water is, it denies an absolute form. When you grasp it between your hands in a bowl it is chalky and solid, but when you lift it up, rivers of viscous white fluid run between your fingers.

It is this very conundrum of physics that comes to mind when I listen to Happyness, the London trio who recently released five-song EP Tunnel Vision On Your Part via Moshi Moshi Records. This record, much like their debut LP Weird Little Birthday bludgeons me with immediate satisfaction. I can say instantaneously, without a scrap of doubt: “I like this. This is good. This is different.” It is solid opinion, fully formed between my hands and in the bowl. And yet the moment I pick it up for closer examination, everything dissolves in my palms. Why is it good?

A sound you can’t quite put your finger on is the best and the worst thing that can happen to a music journalist. Though Happyness have been basted with descriptions like “laid back,” “slacker,” and most abhorrently, “chill,” I really can’t agree. There is more complexity at work here…more thought. When I listen to Tunnel Vision I don’t hear three happy slackers, but rather a team of gifted songwriters who know their way around hooks, texture, and a killer synth line. I doubt that they cut their teeth by slacking off and copying Pavement.

There are a few lovely things I can point to on this record, one being its steady warmth. There is a consistent shade of rose tinting these tracks, and a fuzz quality that’s equally cozy – as if the boys wrapped their amps in angora sweaters. The opener, “Anna, Lisa Calls” is a melancholy pop cut that has me wondering if the Beach Boys, Blonde On Blonde, or Elvis Costello were on rotation while recording, especially with those swerving, heartsick synths that remind me of Steve Nieve or Al Kooper organ parts.

The record seems to hang its head lower than Weird Little Birthday, its tone far more heartbroken than the snotty and wry debut. “Surfer Girl,” is a sleepy-eyed sad song that turns my Beach Boys suspicion into a theory. It is a washed-out, doo-wop waltz, complete with shore-encroaching waves and forlorn vocals.

At Tunnel Vision’s center is the infectious “SB’s Truck” which was the EP’s leading single. It is a lush ear-worm, spinning out a continual closing phrase that is bound to remain lodged in your head: “I come ‘round here/no real damage/movin’ in around my home.” Or at least, that’s what they seem to be saying in their trademark mumble.

Signing off is the title track: a straightforward dazzler that gets me hung up on the keys again. Whoever is writing these keyboard lines should probably keep their distance from me, as they seem to understand the fine wiring of my heart and could potentially cause an electrical fire.

I don’t feel any closer to coming up with a bar graph of reasons why I dig this band. But maybe digging something and not knowing why is the ultimate kind of adoration. Blind faith so to speak. After all, art isn’t about logic – it’s about instinct.



Brooklyn-based songstress VÉRITÉ creates empowering, emotion-packed music that has a tinge of surrealism, which can best be seen through her latest EP, Living.

The EP kicks off with “Constant Crush,” starting out slowly then steadily building up, both as a song and as a perfect intro to the album. It features Kelsey Byrne’s hauntingly beautiful vocals over an almost dark and foreboding backing. From there it moves onto single “Underdressed,” which tells a vulnerable story shielded by poppy synths and a danceable beat. “Rest” is a perfect midpoint for the EP and is where it changes from a typical synthpop album to one that holds a more eclectic sound. It’s easy to see that Byrne takes inspiration from other genres, like R&B, and weaves that into her tracks “Rest,” “Gesture,” and “Living.” From the beginning of the album to the end, it changes from upbeat singles to a collective piece of varying sounds, showing that Byrne’s isn’t willing to be confined to just one genre.

I was able to sit down and chat with Kelsey for a bit about her new EP as well as her musical influences.

Nicole for AudioFemme: You recently released your EP Living. What were your inspirations behind it?

VÉRITÉ: It’s strange in the writing process because you don’t think that much during it. I think it came together more in the editing process where I was taking moments and hyper-analyzing them and blowing them up. There weren’t any specific inspirations, and it was more me wanting to push myself and elevate myself.

I do a similar thing when writing. Like when I’m editing, it all comes together and seems to make more sense then.

Yes, exactly.

What sort of headspace were you in when you were coming up with the EP? I know you said you didn’t have any specific inspirations or a “Eureka!” moment, but was there anything that led you to these songs?

This was really the first time in my life that I had time to write. It’s an odd struggle to have—the luxury of time. It’s difficult, and there was a lot of anxiety and hyper-analyzing. I was really neurotic about it.

What is your favorite song off the EP?

They’re all my babies. I want to give five different answers. When I wrote Living, it was a good moment for me in life. I wasn’t hiding behind anything, and it really shows when I perform. I love them all.

I had a feeling that was the case! Is there anything you wanted fans to get out of your new EP?

My goal is to have people feel anything. I don’t care what they feel—hopefully it’s not violent anger—but any sort of emotions. I don’t want them to feel nothing.

Do you think your sound has evolved since starting out and the release of your EP?

I hope so. I think that with this EP especially I wanted to move away from “electro-pop.” It’s easy to get lost in the alt pop world. I wanted to really push it sonically. “Gesture” was more laid-back, “Living” is a downtempo R&B style. I was trying to really push it more.

What does your musical history look like? And what brought you to writing and performing?

Performing was always in my nature. I’ve been playing little shows since I was eight or nine when my dad was my band. I lived in a small town in upstate New York, and it was a conducive environment for that. I began writing more at 16 and 17. I developed this probably more into how I want to be interpreted. It’s been a slow process.

If you could collaborate with anyone—living, dead, whatever—who would that be?

Oh shit. Loaded question. Just, so many. I feel like lately my number one is James Blake. I feel like I’m supposed to say The Beatles or something, but based on what I’m listening to right now, I’d have to go with him.

Tell me about your plans for upcoming shows and releases.

Right now it’s just mainly finishing my current tour. Chicago last night was incredible, and I’m going from Minneapolis to Seattle to LA. I’m holding off on doing any festivals this summer and am focusing more on an album. I’m slowly plotting for future plans.

EP REVIEW: Phosphene “Breaker”


phosphene is the experience of  seeing light when none has actually entered your eyes; it’s where the phrase “seeing stars” comes from, and common causes include rubbing your eyes or being hit in the head. It’s the perfect name for the indie shoegaze trio from Oakland, whose latest EP, Breaker, is the sonic equivalent of a light in the distance. Sometimes it’s a warm glow, like on “Hear Me Out,” or flickering, like on “Ride.”

On one of Phosphene‘s best tracks, “Rogue,” it’s like neon sign, steady and bright, with a surge before burning out completely. The lyrics will resonate with anyone who takes the subway, though they namedrop the Bay Area’s version of the MTA: “BART is rocking me to sleep/ It keeps reminding/ Me of the loves I can’t keep.”  There’s a nice current that runs through the five songs, all wrapped up in a dreamy haze, worth checking out when you need to light up your life a little bit. Check out Breaker by Phosphene, below:

EP PREMIERE: Sam Greens “Rugs”



Premiering today on AudioFemme is Sam Greens’ new EP “Rugs.” In addition to composing his own experimental music, the Philadelphia artist has also worked as an engineer, and produced or mixed for variety of artists including Neef, Tunji Ige, GrandeMarshall, Rome Fortune and Spank Rock. His latest release, the EP “Rugs,” will be released May 13 via Rare MP3s and Grind Select.

My favorite kind of electronic music is the kind where you can’t immediately identify the human behind it. That’s why “Rugs” is so endearing; it sounds like a robot gained sentience but instead of overthrowing the human race, it decided to make some sick beats instead. 

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot of personality. Each track creates a distinct mood, from the celebratory “Soft Rugs” to the tough “SJMZ” (which features guest artist Jonah Baseball). Another local electronic artist, Moon Bounce, contributes soulful vocals on “Annuals,” while “Riding Shotgun” features a catchy refrain with a jazzy background. There’s an underlying, but not overwhelming quirkiness to the five songs. Production is more focused on creating the perfect atmosphere and letting choice elements stand out instead of throwing a million meaningless details into each track, and the result is as interesting as it is chill.

Grind Select focuses on interactive listening experiences, and this EP is no exception. Just follow this link, and you can create a digital drawing that pulses and changes color with the beat of “Soft Rugs.”

Listen to our exclusive stream of Rugs below, and pre-order it here.

EP REVIEW: Ruen Brothers “Point Dume”


Sometimes when I listen to a band, I make a judgement: Are they Beatles or Stones fans? The Ruen Brothers answer that question in their bio, stating that, like I suspected, they prefer the Rolling Stones. Generally, a band that likes the Beatles is a little more delicate, concerned with love and peace. A band influenced by the Rolling Stones is usually more brash, aggressive, and more likely to be at least indirectly influenced by the American blues musicians that the Rolling Stones idolized.

That seems to be the case with the Ruen Brothers, who are Henry and Rupert Stansall from the UK. Their first two songs, the bluesy “Aces” and “Walk Like a Man,” earned them the attention of  BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe and led to the brothers landing a record deal with Rick Rubin’s American Recordings and Republic Records. Rubin then produced their four-song EP Point Dume, enlisting Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sweeney (Chavez), and Ian McLagen (Faces) to contribute drums, guitar and keyboards.

Though their sound strays farther away from the blues and into pop on Point Dume, you can still hear their influences – which also include Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker – in each song. Henry has a deep, powerful voice that comes from a place of true sincerity, though a little muffled and rough, as if he’s singing between drags on a cigarette. “Motor City”  is a vintage shuffle that breaks into a pop chorus while exploring familiar topics like not being able to catch a flight home and name-dropping highways. “Vendetta” has a bongo heavy intro reminiscent of the British blues group The Yardbirds, and builds into a dramatic tale about the end of a love affair.

For such a short release, Point Dume is surprisingly solid. The EP’s best moments appear on the opener “Summer Sun,” a love song for summer with chilling background vocals. Henry’s acoustic guitar and his brother’s lead create a solid rhythmic background for the dreamy lyrics. True to the song, which is about waiting for the warmth of summer to return, there is little action in its video: Henry, Rupert, and an unknown woman are stuck inside their separate homes by bad weather, as glimpses of the outside world are shown on TV screens. Check it out below:

EP REVIEW: LVL UP “Three Songs”


Apparently, there is a right way to listen to some records, and I got it wrong when playing LVL UP‘s new EP, Three Songs. According to the lo-fi group’s Bandcamp pagelisteners should “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][dim] the lights, burning all candles found within the dwelling. With eyes open toward the ceiling, the listener feels dull heat from the candles in front of them. Eyes closed now, the listener begins to regulate their breathing and in time presses play on their device.” Since I’ve never been one for rituals, and out of fear of burning down my apartment, I just plugged my laptop into speakers and turned them up past the roar of the AC. The result? Still good. 

Three Songs is just that, and they follow the general format of their earlier work but break some new ground. “The Closing Door” is a melancholy track with heavy distortion and a slow, steady beat similar to songs on their last release, Hoodwink’dbut fades into and out of a slightly psychedelic jam during the bridge. “Blur” is a bright pop song reminiscent of tracks like “I Feel Ok,” but brings a new energy, particularly in the rhythm section, and a crisper, cleaner sound. “Proven Water Rites” is a mysterious end to the EP, containing most of the release’s angst: “Remember me, when I’m free I’ll be easy /Nothing underneath/ Breathing fire, breathing steam.”

Candles or no, Three Songs is a great listen from a band that has always had talent, but continues to evolve and polish their sound.

Check out the EP below, available to pre-order now from Run For Cover Records.


ALBUM REVIEW: Porcelain Raft “Half Awake EP”



Mauro Remiddi has had quite a life. The Italian born singer/songwriter once joined a Berlin circus at age 21, playing percussion, accordion, and violin to accompany the acts. He’s visited North Korea as an Italian musical ambassador and shaken hands with Kim Jong-un. Recently, a new adventure brought him to Brooklyn, where he recorded the EP Half Awake under the name Porcelain Raft. Not content to settle down for long, he soon moved to Los Angeles to mix the tracks and start his own label, Volcanic Field.

Remiddi has the weary voice of an artist who’s seen a lot, but managed to hold onto some hope and gentleness. The songs on Half Awake, true to the release’s name, are mellow and dreamy with an infusion of energy just below the surface. On the opening track “Leave Yourself Alone,” that energy comes from fuzzy synths under sparse guitars. On “All In My Head,” a less subtle dance beat works perfectly under an organ intro and Remiddi’s smooth vocals. He proves his versatility by ending the EP with the folkier track “Something Is After Me,” a song are heavy on piano and soulfulness. 

All of these elements are put into play on the title track. It starts with Remiddi humming a soulful intro, then a bass beat kicks in under his singing: “Should I come over? It seems that I’m half awake.” More drums and the plucking of a guitar are added as he makes up his mind: “I’m coming over/ I need to see you again.”

Half Awake is available now via Volcanic Field, and Porcelain Raft will be playing an album release show on Friday, June 26 at Baby’s All Right! Check out “Half Awake” below.



EP REVIEW: David Strange “David Strange”


Strange Dave has found us. (Sorry David, I had to!) A man of my own heart, the rocker has the confusing wizard sex appeal of Willy Wonka, except his wisdom doesn’t come across at all as sinister but rather sweet. Most creative pervy weirdos do have a secret heart of gold, a glittering calm aurora settling from the delightful shit storm of crazy that’s scattered all over them. On his self-titled EP he poses nearly naked, in a top hat and fur coat while holding a fish over his crotch. (What are you trying to say with that fish, huh?) The more you learn about the man the more it all makes sense. David Strange was a session musician and former guitarist for Courtney Love, all the while diving and digging into his own music on the side. Then one fine day Charlotte Kemp Muhl (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) took a listen and asked to become his producer. In addition to production, Charlotte contributes vocals and plays the drums on the fruits of their labor, the upcoming self-titled EP, David Strange, which was created in Yoko Ono’s home studio.


On the opening track “Mean World” he takes a feminist stance with lyrics to warn women of the dangers of being female in modern society over a steady, sublimely sleepy melody driven by Charlotte’s drums. “It’s a mean world, they’ll make you get down on your knees, girl.” Special shout to to David for addressing men’s tendency to assume desired friendship means desire to fuck; it doesn’t, and is an especially annoying facet of being female we gotta deal with. They twist the knob up to psych-rock on the hypnotic raunchy, in-your-face track “Aztec Corn.” The entire EP feels like it should be played amongst friends, around a bonfire in the desert while your goofiest buddy eats enough peyote to spit poetry like Jim Morrison.


“Call me by my Christian name…cocaine,” he begs in the red-waxed rock star seal of approval tune, “Cocaine.” Electric guitars wail through the slowed down, stripped away ballad of affection and sadness to the powder that launched a million brilliant conversations then wilted into just as many fetal positions. The EP waves farewell on the final track “Lion Tattoo” with slowed down strums, an au revoir from a sailboat flickering with lights as it heads out to sea. “And the strangeness is weird, like a girl with a sneer, whose tongue kisses me like a tiger…” In the single “Vitamin Pills” he relays “Don’t try to change me.” We won’t, if you keep doing you. Enjoy the video for “Vitamin Pills” below. Directed by Charlotte Kemp Muhl (multi-talented lady!) it uses carnival-esque macabre imagery (animal heads and pogo sticks) drenched in pink to convey the gypsy pop buzz of the song. Quite fitting for a musician who believes “reality is inherently psychedelic.” The EP comes out January 20.

EP REVIEW: Black Honey

black honey audiofemme

The Black Honey EP, which remains nameless, gives way to haunting echoes that give the listener insight into the longing nature of the songs. The lyrics in “Sleep Forever,” the first track, beg for a sampling of a situation over and over.

Black Honey hails from Brighton and consists of Izzy Bee, Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor and Tom Dewhurst. The group stays mysterious in the way that public information is pretty slight- even though they plan to tour “forever” and keep their music fresh and personal. The group will release their debut four song EP in a limited edition physical form which is made available only in the flesh at their shows.

The EP is made up of four demos, all full bodied and ready to blare.

The first track, released about four months ago, “Sleep Forever,” opens the album longingly with the lyrics: “I wish I could sleep forever ooh, I wish I could sleep forever with you.”

The song continues on in a sleepy way and the second track, “Teenager,” widens the scope of Black Honey’s capabilities. Unlike bands that stay stuck in one sound, Black Honey gets raw after showing a softer side on the first track.

“The night unfolds, hold me without your claws,” and throws “I don’t mind you got the war inside,” into the middle of the verse, sharing that openness with the listeners right at the get-go.

The third track, “The Taste” gets a bit sultry and more upbeat and almost slurs, “I can’t help myself.”

The closing demo track, “Bloodlust,” was released mere days ago and helps the EP run full circle, ending it on an upswing with an almost angry and annoyed tone.

“Bloodlust” closes in a sea of egging on with repeated, “Come on’s” that leaves you with nothing but the desire to follow.

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EP REVIEW: Avid Dancer “I Want To See You Dance”

Avid Dancer

A little under a year ago, Jacob Summers uploaded a song called “Stop Playing With My Heart” to his Soundcloud under the moniker Avid Dancer. Catchy, smoky, and riddled with Shangri-Las’ sentiment, his lo-fi vocals smoothly glide over the backing melodies in a way that’s both seductive and mysterious. When I first heard the track, it reminded me of two things: Link Wray’s “Rumble” (remember the uncomfortable silences scene at Jack Rabbit Slims in Pulp Fiction?) and the theme song to Twin Peaks. Similar to those songs, Avid Dancer’s ballad hits the right electric guitar chords to create a mood that straddles the line between alluring and slightly dangerous and unsettling. “I just want to be where you are,” he begs. “So, help me… Stop playing with my heart.

Almost a year after “Stop Playing With My Heart,” Avid Dancer released his debut EP I Want To See You Dance via Grand Jury Music. It’s four tracks long—and one of those tracks is “Stop Playing With My Heart”—but it’s quite an eclectic collection. The EP’s title and opening track, for example, is a pretty, synth-heavy disco-pop song that paints a cosmic world begging you to boogie. It’s not exactly dissimilar from that first single, but it’s certainly got a different vibe, a light-hearted and upbeat song with a tinge of groove. Think Starfucker and Hot Chip–only Avid Dancer is a one-man show. It’s not surprising that the music video for “I Want To See You Dance” takes place in a roller rink decked out with warm neon colored lights.

The EP ends with “Medication,” three and a half minutes of crooning and guitar strumming. The song showcases a few varying guitar chords with Summer’s voice digging into the acoustics of his instrument. It’s a demo; it’s dusty. It’s much more, for lack of a better word, raw. This in part has to do with the sheer simplicity of the song. Although there’s nothing really novel about the alternative-indie 90s vibe of “Medication,” the choice to wrap up his debut EP with a song that’s less glossy adds a new layer of complexity to his sound. In addition to making fun electropop songs, he can play the guitar and brood too! “Medication” is unexpected and surprisingly well-executed, and therefore pretty freakin’ enjoyable.

Like his music, there’s a fact about Summers that’s a little weird but also intriguing: he grew up in a strict Fundamentalist Christian household where he couldn’t watch MTV or listen to music that wasn’t associated with God. When he sent some songs to a friend, who told him the songs reminded him of The Kinks, Summers thought The Kinks were a new band! It’s kind of cute actually, and as it turns out, his lack of pop culture knowledge is irrelevant, considering how catchy I Want To See You Dance turned out to be. You can listen to the EP in its entirety below.

Avid Dancer just played CMJ and is currently touring with Cold War Kids.

11.07.14 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA w/ Warpaint
11.18.14 – The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA
11.19.14 – Belly Up – San Diego, CA
11.20.14 – The Regent – Los Angeles, CA
11.21.14 – Fox Theater – Oakland, CA
11.22.14 – The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA

EP Review: Little May S/T EP

Little May

Little May

What do you get when the members of Mumford & Sons are swapped out for three equally rocking women? You get something like the Australian folk rock trio known as Little May, who have a self titled debut EP, out yesterday via Capitol Records, that packs in some major feels. Rife with angelic harmonies from vocalists Liz Drummond, Hannah Field, and Annie Hamilton, this EP soars across the spectrum of human emotion in just a matter of five tracks, and it does so in that foot-stomping, kick-drum-pounding, Mumford way.

“Dust” is the song that opens this little Pandora’s box, luring you in with sweet emotive singing over melodically plucked acoustic guitar. It possesses the intimate feel of being in the recording studio, as if you are there to witness the inception of this beautiful song, so familiar that it quickly starts to feel like part of your own life story. The song is innocent enough until the lyric “and I’m not ready to ignite this now” — the sort of statement someone might make when the inevitable is about to occur, breathlessly uttered almost like a reflex. And just when you think this is going to be one of those sleepy, pensive tunes, the song sonically ignites. This is why the trio have drawn comparisons to Fleetwood Mac or Haim; the plucking turns to fast strumming, the bass starts rumbling in your chest and the whole song becomes larger than life itself.

“Hide” takes a different emotional approach. We go from the loss and longing of “Dust” to somewhat more tumultuous passive aggression in this track. The sound is less dramatic as it features more technical guitar work throughout, but the lyrical impact is emphasized. This track makes it apparent that this isn’t a girl group that sings only about the pangs and hurt of lost love; those waters get muddy when there’s the other woman involved, and this is what that song is about. When the song ends with the chant-like line “Can you see me count to three / No, I won’t play your hide and seek” there’s no self-pity, and you can begin to envision the faint outline of revenge on the horizon.

The next three minutes of the EP take you on the “Midnight Hour” train. The rustic guitar strumming hums underneath the solo whine of the lead guitar, which somehow (remarkably) is more emotive than the singing itself. This sleepy crooner steadily builds itself into a perfectly up-tempo moody jam. “Bones,” on the other hand, starts with a wallop and begins refreshingly fast, but it doesn’t keep that pace long before dipping back into a mellow verse. While the vocal harmony is ever-present on this track, there is some striking interplay between guitars. There is the rich, heavy chord strike, which leaves a heavy tone hovering above the verses, but also some distant reverberating licks clamoring to the surface and fizzling out quickly before the chorus. The light tread of the fuzz bass makes this song more atmospheric than some of the others, but the piano in the first chorus and throughout the rest of the song retains some charm in the ballad.

The EP ends on “Boardwalks,” an indie-folk track in all of the truest respects. It features the most undeniably catchy guitar picking heard since Of Monsters and Men or The Civil Wars’ slower material, paired with some sleepy, but impactful lyrics that could double as Little May’s mission statement: “We are not afraid of who we are but of what we have become.” By the end of the song, the Aussies prove again that all of their songs possess an intense transformative property, one that maintains the ability to transcend the power of their instruments.

The girls will be in New York for CMJ, followed by a show in Los Angeles. Stream the EP and check out the dates below!

10.21.14 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
10.22.14 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
10.24.14 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
10.27.14 – Hotel Cafe – Los Angeles, CA

EP REVIEW: Hugh “I Can’t Figure You Out”

Hugh I Cant Figure You Out


Southwark’s been knocking it out of the park lately with a glut of pearly pop-loving jams and London-based quartet Hugh is continuing the trend with their debut EP I Can’t Figure You Out. Filled with enchanting, sugar-sweet tunes that drip with wistful sentiment and lush textures, the EP presents a group that holds out hope for a more romantic tomorrow.

Quietly catchy with a distinct lounge-y undertone,  it’s an EP that da-dums and hums through a field of kaleidoscopic synths. And I Can’t Figure You Out is filled with pleas like “darling, don’t toy with me” and “careful with my heart,” weaving in and out between mechanical clicks and burbling synthlines that tease and toy with your heartstrings. From the positive affirmation-filled “Charlie” to the bedroom eyes-ready “I Can Be Your Light,” it’s always sweet, but never saccharine. With enough acidity in the form of off-kilter melodies and Izzy Brooks’s strangely sensual croon, it refrains from getting too fluffy or cutesy, instead choosing to swoon in a smoky dream world that’s not completely candy-colored.

The only part of the release that feels corny is the forced pseudo-rap on “Not Fair Too Far.” Paired with Brooks’s awkward vocal melody and an oddly-constructed synthline, it sounds like the accidental “experimental” track on an album that’s otherwise filled with excellent lounge-pop.

One small misstep is acceptable though, as there’s something incredibly alluring about I Can’t Figure You Out as a whole. Speaking with an acute sense of innocence and a hint of the kind of regret that just compels you to do better, it’s a gorgeous pop-tinged gem that provides the perfect soundtrack for all of your desirous daydreams.