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Ilithios shows the "Way of the Future"

There's some songs that get you right there and I mean there. And while everybody has a different emotional G-spot it's recommend you check out the Deli music video premiere below [editor's note: first premiered on our IG account] because if the song alone doesn’t get you there then the visuals plus the music might. The video is comprised of equal-parts sweet and melancholic home movies of and by our featured artist spanning from his childhood to the near-present, a montage of grainy footage from Greece, Korea, and NYC that forms a fascinating family tree even if you aren't directly related to Ilithios and I'm guessing most of you aren't even though you're reading this.

The lyrics and visuals of “Way of the Future” play off the strange liminal state we've all been trapped in for the past year-plus and still not knowing what’s coming next (or not coming next) and thus the opening lyrical query: “When all this passes / will you still be around?” And if it sounds a little heavy well yeah but the music that carries these ruminations to your ears floats by gently and generously even when it's being acknowledged that “I know you haven’t seen me in a while / I know I’m not your favorite one no more." But the sentiment is delivered in such a way that it doesn’t sting and everything seems pretty chill except that by the end of the bridge Ilithios is imploring us to “take apart this fortress with one touch" in a not-so-chill fashion which again captures a certain hazy blend of longing, contentment, and perhaps an overdue reckoning.

The press notes for "Way of the Future" compare its sound to Perfume Genius, Twin Shadow, Father John Misty, Beach House, and Arthur Russell (Arthur Russell!) among others which is true enough but I’m also getting a certain late ‘90s/early 00’s REM vibe—not a super heralded period for the band but if you go and listen to New Adventures in Hi-Fi, Up and Reveal you'll find that these are some seriously vibey albums and that they've aged well. And speaking of vibes don’t stop there because Ilithios has recently hosted some cool locally-sourced shows--including an outdoor showcase around a month ago with Slalomville, Sean Spada, Space Sluts, The Planes, Ana Becker, Shadow Moster, and Kissed By An Animal (viewable in its entirety above) that's chock full of vibes of the good kind and who couldn't use some of those. (Jason Lee)

Remember Sports comes into their own on "Like A Stone"

This band of West Philly-ites used to be called Sports back in their Gambier, Ohio days perhaps in homage to the classic Huey Lewis and the News album—the one that had Patrick Bateman so excitedly touting its merits to his investment banker pal and rival right before hacking him to bits—but changed their name to Remember Sports (RS) most likely because they were too often mistaken for a Huey Lewis tribute band. Which actually isn’t too far off in a certain sense because RS also knows how to write a good catchy earworm hook when so inclined, a fact I can attest to because the album-opening “Pinky Ring” has been stuck in my head for about a week now and may necessitate playing “I Want A New Drug” on repeat here soon just to dislodge it for a little while.

On their fourth full-length release, Like A Stone, the band have really come into their own commercially and artistically. The record features a clear, crisp sound that gives the songs a sheen of consummate professionalism while also serving as a personal statement about the band itself. And yes I’m quoting Bret Easton Ellis via Mary Harron but hey our favorite ax murderer’s words are relevant here because Like A Stone is exquisitely executed and produced (production credit belonging to Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader, the latter name being almost too appropriate) featuring the band’s always strong songwriting fleshed out with arrangements that move through multiple peaks and valleys and discordant bits and mellow bits and various sonic stalagmites and stalactites like with the occasional appearance of steel guitar or banjo or circuit-bent electronics thrown into the mix. 

Still even with all these compelling musical details there’s a case to be made that the most striking instrument is the voice of lead singer and songwriter Carmen Perry. If you happen to be a classic country music buff, you may have heard the oft-cited quote from countrypolitan record producer and songwriter Billy Sherrill describing the “little teardrop” he heard in Tammy Wynette’s voice when she walked into his office as a complete unknown and then of course went on to become a genre-spanning legend. And that little teardrop was a big part of what made her voice so distinctive—all the little breaks and flutters and shifts in register and dynamics perfectly suiting the heartbreak at the heart of her best known and best loved songs. 

Well it turns out Perry also has a little teardrop in her voice, or maybe more like a medium sized teardrop at least, which likewise suits the heartbreak and romantic longing and emotional resiliance at the core of Like A Stone—from the peppy but bittersweet 39-second reverie over a “Coffee Machine” to the slow-burning-nearly-seven-minutes-long appeal to an errant lover to express their hidden feelings “Out Loud.” Another recurring and closely related theme is the nature of memory itself and the passage of time with lines about “archiv[ing] the past with some shit that won’t last you a lifetime” (“Materialistic”) and “taking in the scenery from the corners of your mind” (“Sentimentality”) and “just sit[ting] here till the clock runs out” (“Clock”) and “my eggs flow[ing] right out of me like clockwork every month” (“Eggs”) which all makes the Remember in Remember Sports suddenly all the more relevant.

But don’t be put off if this all sounds a little bit on the heavy side because the music and vocalizing on this album have an energy and warmth that balances out the darker sentiments and you can see how the band brings it live above. Plus did I mention in the video to “Pinky Ring” above you get to see Carmen Perry pelted with eggs while wearing big plastic goggles and there’s also a part toward the end where the viewer is instructed to put on 3-D glasses (that is, if you have a pair laying around) and in fact it does look like the end part is legit in 3-D so clearly this band know how to have some fun? And since I did just mention it, it’s probably time to take my leave now because I have to go return some videotapes. (Jason Lee)

band photo credit: Sonia Kiran


Kiss Hello Delivers Mid-Fi Summer Vibes On Their Latest Self-Titled Album

Kiss Hello wants to share a moment. The project is the pseudonym of DTLA-based experimental/alt pop auteur Linus Landucci, whose most recent self-titled album is an effervescent blend of nimble yet blissed-out electronic instrumentals and endearingly melodic, guitar-forward indie pop songs.

Standout tracks include "Juicy Time,” with its acrobatic, Jaco Pastorius-style bass, spun-glass synth pads, softly bit-crushed drum sounds, and ambient vocal samples, which evoke a nostalgia for a past that may never have actually arrived.

Meanwhile, “Don’t Fret” and “Goodbye (Smiling My Way Home) are summery blasts of beachy jangle pop with a distinctly California vibe, perfect for blasting over the speakers on a long drive up PCH.

Overall, Kiss Hello’s engaging mid-fi aesthetic and wistful lyrics demonstrate an advance from their earlier, more lo-fi and ambient work, and bring them into 2021 poised to be the new soundtrack to your socially-distanced summer outings. Gabe Hernandez


Jeremy Bastard threads the needle on debut LP

“Slipshod, down by evening

I needle cabarets

I cannot quit the feeling

I dressed up anyway--“


"Needle” is a word rife with many different meanings. A needle used to be required to hear pre-recorded music and maybe it still is if you're a vinyl junkie. You also need one to sew a sweater or scarf and other warm and fuzzy things. But "to needle" someone means to bug the hell out of them in a very un-warm and fuzzy fashion. Intravenous needles are used to save lives. But they're also synonymous with drug addition and deadly ODsAnd when you're on "pins and needles” you’re not sure whether to anticipate or to dread a future event. 

“Needle” is also the first song on Jeremy Bastard's Everyone Is History, There Is No Memory, his first full LP as the featured performer and producer. The album is full of warm analogue synths tones but mixed with a coldwave sensibility, and the overall sound is by turns murky and sleek or sometimes both at once. And who knows if we're talking about good needles or bad ones in a song like this, but either way much of music has a pins and needles quality to it in a way that reminds me of the Tech Noir scene in the first Terminator movie.

For one thing there's the death disco vibe of "Needle" that sounds just right for an 80s club with a chain link fence around a neon-saturated dance floor. But there's also something about the sound design like in how the soundtrack gets all echoey and distant sounding just as the scene above transitions to slo-mo visuals. And then the music transitions from diegetic to non-diegetic sound, but so gradually and seamlessly you could miss it if you're immersed in the action too much but it alters your perceptions either way.

Jeremy Bastard's music does this same thing too with overlapping layers of sound that alters your perceptions. Like when waves of echo seems to coalesce and follow their own rhythmic logic independent of the rest of the song. Or when a sound is pushed into the red far enough that you can get lost in its ruptured, distorted interiors. Overall there's a clear focus on being diffuse on the record (Official Paradox of the Day) but just don't get it twisted because this isn't an experimental noise project. It's still a dance record but one that threads the needle with sonic experimentation. 

Take for instance the first of the two tracks featuring Electra Monet on vocals, whose singing could be described as Nico-esque or if you prefer Jane Birkin-esque. Normally if you've got a voice like this to work with you'd expect the producer to make that voice sound as angelic and ethereal and "pure" as possible. Ms. Monet's singing on “Shadow Boxing” is all these things except pure (and all the better for it) because the production highlights the grit and grain of her voice (including, most unusually, the sibilance of echoing "Sssss" sounds) and of the instrumental sounds from the pounding drums to the insistent keyboard ostinato to the John McGeoch like guitar outro. These are dreampop angels with dirty faces.

But then next the third track "Love is a Mistake" (featuring Disolve) would be a perfect fit for John Hughes’ never realized sequel to Pretty in Pink because it's a hooky indie-electro-pop song with romantically tragic overtones that would be perfect for the scene where Duckie drives up to the class reunion blasting the song on his car's cassette player still bitter at how he didn't get Molly Ringwald in the end (sidebar: the ending of Pretty in Pink was changed because Duckie wasn’t considered Molly-worthy enough by test audiences). 

And Jeremy Bastard could play the DJ at the reunion prom because that's something he does too. And on Everyone Is History he holds onto that DJ-minded curatorial mindset by featuring a different singer/lyricist/collaborator on every other track or two, and according to Jeremy himself it was the motivating spark behind the entire project. Exiled to Florida for much of the past year, Jeremy turned to producing and long-distance collaborations as a way to maintain creative momentum and human contact. And in the process he may have found his future musical lane, or one of them, because this one-on-one approach apparently suits his creative muse, at least judging by other recent releases in this format (see below) and bonus non-album tracks from the album's various collaborators that keep popping up as b-sides to its singles like needles in a haystack. (Jason Lee)

New single "Jesus" begotten by Native Sun

Jesus” is the name of the new song by Native Sun and not unlike its namesake it’s got a certain hippie-freak vibe, and if Jesus Christ Superstar wasn’t already a thing it’d need to be after this song because it makes me wanna put on a flowing white robe and sing my heart out to the hills of Galilee, helped along by the song's assurance that "it's ok to lose your mind."

And did I mention it's over six minutes long--at least in its unedited form, the video version above is slightly foreshortened--and it’s got sections. Like how after an opening minute-and-a-half that's chock full of rousing guitar fanfare and lighter-waving vocals “Jesus” transforms into more of a glam number (actually it all kind of is) but more of a glam ballad and one that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack. And then before long we get a dueling guitar solo and another big chorus and then another tag team guitar section that takes up the whole last couple minutes up to the (not) ending complete with fake fadeout a la “Helter Skelter” before returning in even more frantic form but with a fadeout that sticks this time.

So yeah we've got a song here that makes even Jesus going to Hell sound cool. And maybe it would be cool because him and the Devil could hold a peace summit or at least just talk things out. But what's more alarming is how there's a reoccuring theme here, given that Native Sun’s last single was called “Government Shutdown” and it made that subject sound really cool too, but in more of a punk rock kinda way. So I’m not saying we should call the CIA or anything but maybe keep an eye on these guys is all I’m saying because there's clearly a subversive element at work. (Jason Lee)


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