Floatie Prep Release of Debut LP Voyage Out With Latest Single “Shiny”

Photo Credit: Ash Dye

In the past decade, it has felt as though the concreteness once known as “fact” is shifting. What were once black and white truths have now turned grey, good and evil have grown nuanced, genre and labels are infinite, and there’s a general acceptance of fluidity in the nature of being human. Floatie, a Chicago-based band comprised of tight-knit group of friends ​Sam Bern​ (they/them) ​Luc Schutz​ (he/him), Joe Olson​ (he/him) and ​Will Wisniewski ​(he/him), explore these ideas sonically and lyrically on their new record Voyage Out, slated for release March 26 via Exploding in Sound.

“We’ve been looking very seriously into binaries, and it turns out they aren’t real. Human beings are always drawing conclusions about the things we don’t fully understand,” the band says over email. “It is a perfectly natural defense against a strange and incomprehensible world, but we believe abstract questions require abstract answers, so we turn to the language of music, to the vibrations of the spheres, and all we have learned so far is that we know nothing.”

The lyrics on the record can at times feel like listening in on a refreshingly authentic contemplation amongst loved ones. The group have been playing music together for over a decade, causing them to grow a fan base and community of musical peers in the Chicago indie scene, but surprisingly, Voyage Out is Floatie’s first release. “Nothing crumbles that is built on a foundation of love. Playing music with each other makes us happier than little piggies in a watermelon patch,” they say. “There’s a level of trust and understanding and openness that makes writing music with each other really easy. It does make for some distracting band practices though – if we don’t see each other for a while we end up just chatting the whole time.”

Throughout the record, Floatie morphs conventional indie music into something mesmerizing and swirling. At times the instrumentation can sound like a voice all its own, as though a debate between guitar, vocals, and percussion is taking place. Both chaotic and organized, simplistic yet dynamic, Voyage Out sheds genre and rejects definition. The precision the band engages with doesn’t limit their creativity as much as it challenges them to explore something new, a restriction the group seems to thrive under. Voyage Out was recorded by Seth Engel, a local Chicagoan who has been working with up-and-coming bands for the past twelve years, such as Ratboys and Moontype – bands that Floatie played shows with prior to the pandemic. Engel is known less for the sounds he introduces on the record and more for the way he forms an artistic space, with warmth and security in order to yield genuine and open results. 

“Working with Seth is like working with an angel in heaven. He’s always there in your corner, saying all the right things at the right time. He’s proven himself as a more than capable producer both with his own material he puts out as Options, and every other record he is involved with,” says the band. “He is also a dear friend and a fan of the music, so we knew we could trust his decisions when it came to translating the music into the recorded domain. Working with Seth is a blessing and a delight and a gift and we love him.”

The album’s second single “Shiny,” premiering today via Audiofemme, speaks of fate (“Some luck/It’s happenstance/Or consequence/I guess that’s the way it goes”) juxtaposed with choice (“I will try/Even if my brain says so”). Lyrically, it’s a narrative of rediscovering oneself in the wake of change caused by a relationship, and how partnership and the self interact. Floatie claims the song is about “forcing your own luck by committing to your decisions” – a sentiment which scoffs at fate while acknowledging that not all circumstances and outcomes are in our hands. The twisting and turning which takes place sonically reflects this concept; as the flow of the song recedes and advances, so does the confidence of its speaker. 

“The guitar may seem a bit out of fashion these days, but that doesn’t take away from its power as an instrument for channeling divinity,” the band says. “Usually Sam will bring a riff or two – or sometimes many riffs – for the rest of us to play with and modify until we have something that we all feel a connection to. The meaning coincides with the riffs, the vocal melody ensues and lastly the lyrics are finalized, marking the end of a quest for a song that (hopefully) isn’t a stinker.”

“This is surely a tried and true method for us, but we’re looking forward to experimenting with other processes for the next batch of songs,” they add. They’re also looking forward to playing more shows, as evidenced by the line, “I’ll take all the spice in front of me/I’ll go to another show” from “Shiny.” 

“The first live music event post-lockdown will be overflowing with spice, and we will all appreciate the live experience in a new and special way, and that is really exciting,” says Floatie. “The shift from counting on our fellow music community members to fill our creative cups has been an adjustment. What the lyrics are referencing are the things that we do in order to feel driven to challenge ourselves and sit down and write something. Without the stimulation and life of the outside world, I guess it becomes more of a personal responsibility and less of an active experience.”

As we come into a time where commonplace formulas for music, identity, and community are being challenged, Floatie pushes the boundaries of our familiar comforts. This isn’t an indie band that sticks to standard form and discusses conventional truths and dynamics – instead, Floatie experiments with something new on Voyage Out. Through hypnotic melodies and decisive rhythm, the band allows creativity to steer their path, a commitment which only yields new and exciting music from a band to keep on our radars.

Follow Floatie on Instagram for ongoing updates.

RSVP HERE: Ilithios Streams Debut Live Performance + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE. Due to live show cancellations we will be covering virtual live music events and festivals.

More solo endeavors are sprouting up now that many musicians have been left separated from their bands due to social distancing. Most recently, Manny Nomikos of Catty released a music video of him dancing alone in quarantine and a cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” featuring Rosie Slater. His latest project, Illithios (meaning idiot in Greek), stemmed from a collection songs that never fit well enough to bring to a band. All musicians write songs sometimes that come out of left field, but for Nomikos, a true New Yorker born and raised by a Greek father and Korean mother, the project has its roots in an identity of not feeling a true sense of belonging to either side of himself. The project’s namesake serves as a cover so that “no matter how idiotic it all turns out, at least it’ll be in character,” while the songs themselves range from Thom Yorke-inspired pop to personal drum machine fused folk. Never having performed live before the quarantine, Nomikos will have the unique experience of debuting this project via Instagram livestream. There are only a few tracks available online, so tune in for Illithios surprises tonight (4/27) at 8pm. We chatted with Illithios about how to get better livestream sound quality, Dodge Caravans, and his spirit animal quiz.

AF: You’re livestreaming your live show debut on Instagram. Is that as nerve wracking as having your first show in person?

MN: I hadn’t considered that really, but I suppose it’s way more nerve-wracking. Besides performing on your own, there’s also no physical audience to engage with, which makes the whole performance feel very unfamiliar.

AF: What is your live stream set up like? What’s your favorite piece of gear?

MN: This was the hardest part for me cause I was debating how much I should actually play vs. using samples/pre-recorded parts. I felt that rather than just play the guitar the whole time, I’d use a sampler and tape deck to trigger parts and focus more on a performance. Wasn’t sure I’d be very entertaining just playing a guitar for 30 minutes on the internet. So with that said, my fave piece of equipment is my Critter and Guitari Organelle which I’m using as the central part of the sound.

AF: It says your live stream will be presented in Hi-Fi, what does that mean exactly?

MN: Since being stuck at home I’m sure we’ve all been catching streaming shows and they all sorta have their ups and downs. Instagram live has the best foot traffic for live-streaming but their audio is garbage. So I’m running a bunch of software stuff I found to get IG live running off a laptop and using a proper audio interface so the audio doesn’t have that streaming washiness. Hopefully people put on their headphones and I don’t blow it in the mix and we all have a good time.

AF: One of your cover photos is what I think is a ’90s Dodge Caravan. I owned a 1995 Dodge Caravan named Patrick that was very dear to my heart. Do you have any good Dodge Caravan stories?

MN: There’s a special camaraderie of ’90s Dodge Caravan people. I have yet to meet someone who drove a Caravan who’s not a pretty alright person. I married a Caravan driving gal. One story that sticks out was driving with friends to the mall to get Doom 2. We were so excited to get home that I started to drive before my bud Lamar had closed the sliding side door. And I suppose the momentum or gravity or science did its thing and the door slid back so fast it flew off which was not good. We got it back on but it was never the same.

AF: What is your quarantine anthem?

MN: “Play at Your Own Risk” – Planet Patrol. Or Forest by Stella (with a Greek sigma).

AF: I saw on your Facebook invite you made a spirit animal quiz. What is your spirit animal?

MN: Ooooh… well first off, wanna make sure it’s clear that it’s not like a spammy quiz where I collect data or anything like that. I keep getting butterfly mixed with baby deer. Which is sad cause I made the quiz so I wouldn’t get butterfly but I suppose it can’t be avoided.

AF: What spirit animal do you think I am?

MN: We’ve had limited interactions so I’m gonna guess, based on your Kurt Cobain persona from your Sharkmuffin Halloween show… I’d guess you’re a bat mixed with a little bit of dog spirit. Bats have good intuition, they’re night creatures, are highly motivated but on their own schedule. Like you will make a plan to do your taxes, and you will do it and it will be well done, but like you’ll miss the tax deadline by like a few months. Dog mix gives loyalty and playfulness. I dunno, take the test and see how off I am!

AF: I took the quiz and turns I am 48% an Owl (so you were on track with the night creature), and 43% a Panda. 

RSVP HERE for Ilithios first ever live performance 4/24 8pm est on @mannynomikos Instagram.

More great live streams this week…

4/24 Sleater-Kinney (conversation), Harkin via Instagram. 2:30pm est, RSVP HERE

4/24 Play On: 3-day virtual music festival: The Flaming Lips, Weezer, Cardi B and more via Youtube. 12:00pm est, RSVP HERE

4/24 Post Malone (Nirvana tribute) via Youtube. 6pm est, RSVP HERE

4/25 Bethlehem Steel 24 hour live stream for NYSYLC. 10am est, RSVP HERE

4/25 Block by Blockwest: a Minecraft music festival: Pussy Riot, IDLES, Cherry Glazerr via Block by Blockwest website. 3pm est, RSVP HERE

4/27 WINTER via Baby’s TV. $5 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 Bully via Noonchorus. $8 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 The Footlight Drink and Draw via Instagram. 7pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 Exploding in Sound Live From Home feat. Pile, Shady Bug, Jordyn Blakely (Stove) + more via Instagram. 6pm est RSVP HERE

ALBUM REVIEW: Stove “Is Stupider”


Self deprecation abounds on Stove’s Is Stupider. It opens with “Stupider,” followed by “Stupid,” and later on, “Stupidest” and “Dumboy.” The record art labels Side A as “Side Stupid,” and Side B as “Side Beer.”

But for Steve Hartlett, who wrote all the songs and played all of the instruments on Is Stupider, stupid doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of knowledge, but maybe isolation, and a lack of identity; Hartlett created Stove after the dissolution of his former group, Ovlov. Stove is a combination of the words Steve and Ovlov. The struggle to find himself is a theme that runs throughout the album. It starts with the 20 second opener “Stupid,” which explains “Don’t  know who I am/ So I act like who I’m with.” He then addresses himself (or possibly a cat with the same name) on “Wet Food,” asking “Steve, where’d you go?” And “Dusty Tree” made the perfect Thanksgiving soundtrack, as it explores alienation from one’s own family: “Don’t you feel a bit insane planting your family tree? All the way the water never finds the seeds to grow.”   

Stove is lyrically introspective. Musically, the project is rough around the edges in the best way possible, with elements of grunge and post-punk. The music mopes a bit on songs like “Wet Food” and “Lowt-Ide Fins,” but bursts with energy on “Aged Hype” and “Dusty Tree.” Hartlett’s voice is earnest, if a little sad at times, and has a Guided By Voices-like ability to completely own moods and feelings for a few minutes at a time. Check out “Wet Food” below and you’ll see, he’s the smartest kind of stupid there is.


ALBUM REVIEW: Palm “Trading Basics”


What does the new release by Palm, Trading Basics, sound like? A machine: many parts weaving in and out, around and over each other, starting and stopping suddenly. Sometimes it’s smooth, and sometimes it sounds like the gears need some grease. On the dizzying track “Crank,” the vocals are like steam, rising before evaporating in the atmosphere. On a song like “Ankles,” where the words “I don’t need you anymore” are repeatedly choked out, they’re more like heavy exhaust. And like any well-built machine, Palm has an endless, relentless energy. It’s fascinating to watch (well, listen) but don’t get too close – some of its parts are sharp.

Trading Basics comes out today, and while it’s not exactly an easy listen, it’s worth it to be exposed to Palm’s amazingly abstract and arty form of rock. Take “Second Ward,” which starts off as a more straight-ahead rock song but suddenly introduces a creeping bass line, a dissonant, busy guitar line and low moans. The track abruptly breaks into a delicate section before switching gears again with snarling guitars and brash vocals reminiscent of Sonic Youth. You can never quite get comfortable with the track, which feels several songs in one. Then there’s the short and sudden “Drawn Straws,” which teases a hint of a bluesy guitar riff, played in a way that sounds like the strings are melting off of the instrument.

Palm’s musical ideas are bold, and seem endless – On Trading Basics, they’ve traded up to a sound that’s way cooler than your average rock band. The album is being released via Inflated Records and Exploding In Sound, and Palm will be playing an album release show tonight at Palisades along with Palberta and The Cradle.

CMJ 2015: Top 10 Parties Not To Miss


Unless you’ve been living under a rock or completely off the grid since fall started, you know that CMJ, possibly the best festival for discovering new music, is taking over NYC next week. There’s no way to see everything, but here’s some CMJ parties you definitely cannot miss (including ours):

10/13 – 7:30 pm – Good Room – Garage Land CMJ Showcase

The Garage Land CMJ showcase features some of the best acts to perform at the Good Room this year, including Watermelon Sugar, Gods, Casey Hopkins Duo, Acid Dad, Navy Gangs, Worthless, Savants, Surfbort and Tall Juan (bands listed in order of appearance, from first to last).  For a preview, check out Acid Dad: 

10/14 – 7 pm – Baby’s All Right – Brooklyn Vegan + Collect Records Showcase

Baby’s All Right is turning two soon, but before they reach toddler status, they’re throwing some awesome CMJ parties. One of those is hosted by the Brooklyn Vegan and Collect Records, with artists such as No Devotion, Wax Idols, Creepoid, and Foxes In Fiction.

10/14 – 7:30 pm –  Santos Party House – NME+PopGun+House Arrest Present CMJ Party

Two floors of acts, including Perfect Pussy*, Protomartyr*, Yung*, Seratones*, Hooten Tennis Club*, Dilly Dally^, Downtown Boys^, Shopping^, NICO YARYAN^, Car Seat Headset^, Yak^. RSVP on Facebook here.

(* upstairs, ^ downstairs)


10/15 – 8 pm – Palisades – KXLU FM + Burger Records CMJ Showcase

The cool California record label Burger Records is hosting the showcase with Michael Rault, Cool Ghouls, Dirty Ghosts, Slim Twig, Modern Vices, Howardian and UNSTOPPABLE DEATH MACHINES. RSVP here, and check out a psychedelic track from Cool Ghouls below.

10/15 – 7 pm – Cake Shop – Thursday Night Showcase

Featuring Robbing Millions, S, Tricot,  Shopping, Diet Cig, , Sweet Spirit and Weaves at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. Listen to all the bands quickly in the event’s creepy promo video:

10/16 – 1 pm – Palisades – Exploding In Sound Records Official CMJ Showcase

One of the best, most interesting record labels around, Exploding In Sound is throwing their CMJ showcase  at Palisades. Go and see Palehound, Big Ups, The Spirit of the Beehive, Greys, Palm, Stove, Washer, Kal Marks, Dirty Dishes, Swings, Flagland, Leapling and LVL UP. 

10/16 – 7 pm – Pianos – The Deli Magazine/Pianos CMJ Showcase

The Deli Magazine and Pianos have teamed up to bring you Vunderbar, The Fluids, Controller, Stolen Jars, Diet Cig, Eternal Summers, Beverly, Weaves, mild high club, ohnomoon, Paperwhite*, Yes Alexader*, MY BODY*, Solvey*, and The Golden Pony* (* means free/upstairs, the rest of the bands are in the main room for $10).

10/17 – 6:30 pm – Cameo Gallery – Audiofemme + Atypical Beasts Agency Showcase

We can guarantee this party will be amazing, because it’s being thrown by us! Come to the Cameo Gallery (which is unfortunately closing soon) to see some great acts like TOW3RS, Von Sell, The Prettiots, Lena Fayre, Beverly, and Monika. RSVP here, and get your tickets here!

10/17 – 12 pm – The Shop – Stereocure + Drunken Piano Showcase

Featuring Flamingosis, Moon Bounce, SUI ZHEN, A Sol Mechanic, Novelty Daughter, My Body, Bollywood Life, Crystal Ghost and more TBA. RSVP here!

10/18 – 3 pm – Palisades – Father/Daughter + Miscreant Records CMJ Showcase

Come to one of the last of the week’s events to hear Hiccup, Nicholas Nicholas, Bad Cello, i tried to run away when i was 6, Downies, Romp, Comfy, Vagabon, Fern Mayo, Bethlehem Steel, Diet Cig, SPORTS and PWR BTTM.



Leapling is a three-piece, experimental pop band from Brooklyn. Their last album was the February 2015 release Vacant Page: Ten misleadingly lighthearted tracks punctuated by the soft vocals and pleasantly dissonant guitar of Dan Arnes, the band’s leader. Before Leapling recently left on a short tour, he answered some questions about their upcoming album, musical influences, and how we should label their music, anyway.

AudioFemme: What can you tell me about your upcoming album? When’s the release date?

Dan Arnes: It’s almost completely done. It’s pretty tight but I think we’ll make our date…pretty soon.

I can’t share the name just yet, although if you look in the liner notes of Vacant Page you may find a hint or two. It’s definitely different from Vacant Page: A lot more direct and punchy, not quite as cryptic and tonally, it couldn’t be more different.

Were trying to find a director for the first singles music video now, actually. I loved doing the video for Crooked,” but unfortunately don’t have the bandwidth this time around. That was super fun and rewarding, but very time consuming. Next time.

AF: You recently tweeted, “Writing string arrangements is challenging and time consuming in ways I did not anticipate.” Are you using samples or live arrangements for the strings on the new album?

DA: All live arrangements. I’m writing for a string quartet on a few songs on this new record so it’s pretty prominent. I had strings in mind for these newbies right from the get go this time around. It’s very much part of the songs they’re on. There’s more standard rock stuff on the record too. It’s one big hodgepodge stylistically.

AF: What guitarists have the biggest influence on your playing?

DA: I like all kinds of guitar players, but some of my faves are Jim O’Rourke, John Dietrich, Lou Reed, Cornelius, Arto Lindsay, Sonny Sharrock, Jeff Tweedy, Syd Barrett and Tom Verlaine; People who mix the more interesting rhythmic, chordal stuff with the more angular, dissonant side of things. That’s very much what I respond to in music in general.

AF: Leapling played Palisades on 8/28 and 8/30- do you have a favorite NYC or Brooklyn venue? 

DA: Love Palisades but Shea Stadium is my spot. We go way back with them. Adam, Nora & Luke have been at it for so long and do it so well. We actually recorded this upcoming record at (the Shea Stadium founder) Adam Reich’s studio.

AF: Do you have any gigs you’re especially looking forward to on your tour?

DA: Yeah, we have a bunch of really good ones. I’m particularly excited to do [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”][Hopscotch Music Festival] this year. Were playing with Pile, Mitski and our awesome local pal SMLH

We always have a blast in DC- the house show scene there is pretty great. Atlanta is cool too, and we’re pals with a lot of awesome bands in New Orleans. There’s some good stuff coming out of there. 

AF: If you had to come up with a new genre to describe your music, what would you call it?

DA: I really should do this… it’d save me a lot of time after people ask “What would you call your music?” I call it noisy pop, weirdo pop… I’m pretty bad at this, it’s all pop to me.

Leapling Tour Dates:

9/09: Richmond, VA – Strange Matter 
9/10: William & Mary College (Williamsburg, VA)
9/11: Hopscotch Music Festival (Raleigh, NC)
9/12: Raleigh, NC – TBA 
9/13: NC State University – WKNC house show 
9/14: College Park, MD
9/15: New Brunswick, NJ – Nowhere, USA 
9/16: Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium 


ALBUM REVIEW: Palehound “Dry Food”


Palehound is Ellen Kempner, a former Sarah Lawrence student. Former meaning she dropped out, presumably because even if the school did have a 90s-inspired indie rock class, there wouldn’t have been much left for her to learn; the 21-year-old played everything but the drums on her new album, Dry Food. 

Dry Food is the Massachusetts-based artist’s second release after her 2013 EP, Bent Nail. It gets off to an aggressive start with “Molly,” a track that shows off Kempner’s instrumental skills with two guitar lines: one is wiry and playful, and the other brash, a machine-gun explosion of aggression. This duality continues throughout the album: you’ll hear gentle strumming and fingerpicking, twisting guitar licks, heavy distortion, feedback and nose dives down the fretboard – sometimes all in the same song.

The contrast in her music also applies to her singing. Her lyrics get personal, and are deeply aware, but there’s not so much vulnerability in her voice as a deadpan, matter-of-factness that masks most of the emotion. This works well with her songs – though Kempner isn’t afraid to get loud with her guitar; this isn’t dramatic or overly emotive music. Perhaps this is why she’s developed such a serious knack for imagery when it comes to describing feelings. So, the unwanted makeout session on “Easy” becomes “I’m pushing back your tongue/ With my clenched-teeth home security system,” and the tip-toeing of snobby “healthier folk” is revealed through Kempner asking, “Why don’t they hold me? They just cradle me like a homesick child.”

Possibly her best line comes from the title track: “You made beauty a monster to me/So I’m kissing all the ugly things I see.” Another key track is “Cinnamon,” a song that scatters guitar parts wildly over a smooth, shuffling beat. Kempner’s voice is cloaked in a heavy layer of reverb. By the end of the song she’s practically drowning in it, perhaps a result of a few too many rounds of “mixing water with gin and chasing it with cinnamon.”

If you take Dry Food as it is, it’s a short, but solid album. If you consider that it’s Kempner’s first actual album, and she’s still in her (very) early 20’s, the 28 minutes of casual heartbreak become even more impressive.

Dry Food will be available via Exploding In Sound on August 14th. In the meantime, check out “Healthier Folk” below.