Neon Indian (DJ Set), We Are Scientists, Small Black

Neon Indian (DJ Set)

Neon Indian is the brainchild of Alan Palomo, who's 2009 debut record Psychic Chasms not only earned the 20 year-old a spot on numerous year-end lists, but assisted the forming of a genre that, though known by a few names now (hypnagogic pop, glo-fi, chillwave), summoned a very unique and specific electro-mangled sound. Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and SPIN all praised Palomo for his adventurous new sound, and he was tapped to perform at top festivals like South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and Sasquatch and also scored opening slots for bands ranging from Massive Attack and The Flaming Lips to Phoenix and Chromeo.

After nearly two years on the road off the success of his debut, Palomo returns this fall with his proper follow-up LP, Era Extraña. This time around, we see a darker shaded sound document that tosses somewhere between an 8-bit shoegaze record and peering through the fence of a teenage apocalypse drive-in flick.

Written and recorded last winter in an efficiency apartment in Helsinki, Finland during its short solstice days, Era Extraña was ice sculpted from arpeggiated synth-scapes and scribbled journal entries made during his stint there alone in constant solitude. "It's the closest you can get to feeling like you're at the edge of the earth," he says. "And there were moments where I lost sight of what I was really there to do."

The sample-happy stylings of his previous efforts have been traded in for acid-stained commodore 64 jams (See 'Polish Girl, 'Future Sick') and bit-pulped guitar sludge ballads (see 'Hex Girlfriend', 'The Blindside Kiss'). All throughout, the undulating moods of the record are guided by a haunted three-part instrumental titled Heart: Attack, Heart: Decay, and Heart: Release. Once completed, the layers were then thawed and reassembled by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT), who mixed the album and did additional production with Palomo at his upstate Tarbox Studios. The album sessions there were briefly taken on a scenic detour by a drop-in four-song EP collaboration with The Flaming Lips which was released earlier this year.

The album's Spanish title plays with the loose-hinges of the word extraña, which not only directly translates into 'strange', but also means to 'command the act of longing'. These themes of feeling an eerie absence in new strange times are explored throughout the album as a whole in his teenage ethos peppered lyrical musings in an end-days obsessed climate. Many of this is inspired by an ongoing love affair with the notion of what cyberpunk means in a year like 2011. The feeling can best be described in a recent interview where he noted, "We're now living in the era mysticized by a lot of future-geared 70s and 80s cinema, but it's definitely not quite how they imagined it."

Era Extraña is slated for a September 13th release on Palomo's own Static Tongues imprint in conjunction with Mom and Pop Records in North America, Transgressive Records in the United Kingdom and Europe, Pop Frenzy/Inertia in Australia and Big Nothing Records in Japan.

We Are Scientists

We Are Scientists bring the funk. They are the premier funk band in the world today, using grooves such as skunk, 'backwards,' and slippery-slide. We Are Scientists have been playing for 10 years, right on the nose. (A little more.) They're a three-piece, like Sting's old band, Greenday.

Kidrockers feat. Small Black

Formed at the tail-end of 2008 as a bedroom recording project, Small Black first made waves with their eponymous debut EP. Recorded in the attic of singer Josh Kolenik’s uncle’s remote Long Island beach-house/surfboard workshop, it served as an ideal introduction to the group with its pulsing patchwork synths and addictive, stay-gold hooks that seemed to unfurl themselves gradually over repeated listens. Slightly more immediate and polished than its predecessor, Small Black’s new album “New Chain” remains a continuation of this contrasting ethos – a delirious smudging of the lines between melancholy and nostalgia, tension and celebration, unabashed pop music and experimentation.

Sasha and Theo are brother and sister. While they draw from a wide range of influences, their music is best informed by the history of two people who grew up sharing a wall: summery Los Angeles weather, the simultaneous comfort and rivalry of family, and just the right hint of nostalgia. The Brother/Sister EP is the band's debut release.

In The Valley Below

Seldom has a debut single seduced so many, for so long. Two years since its release, In The Valley Below’s “Peaches”, which was first picked up by European alternative radio, continues as an international airwaves staple – testament to the enduring viral power of its sunny yet smoldering songcraft and celebratory surrender to mutual attraction.

In The Valley Below – Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob – meld adventurous art rock, squelchy synth pop, harmony-laden Americana, and woozy blues into something altogether different: stylistically elusive, yet oddly inclusive. Her loaded purr cajoling his weathered inflections, they craft gauzily compelling music at once introverted and all-embracing.

A small-town girl from Michigan, Gail discovered songwriting while holed-up on an even smaller Caribbean sailboat. A thousand miles away in Memphis, Jacob was inhaling Link Wray’s ragged rebellion and the darker side of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. In The Valley Below was born one Texas night when the pair, performing at SXSW in an experimental L.A. rock band, recognized their rare on-stage connection. Back in California, they plunged into collaboration with twin-like telepathy and a feverish, fated chemistry

Though never intended as a gigging band, ITVB’s genre-ambiguous, dreamily accessible expressions traveled well, inducing tireless touring. High-profile stops included England’s Reading and Leeds festivals, Rock en Seine in Paris, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Conan. They shared their journey with the likes of The Airborne Toxic Event, White Lies, Cold War Kids, and Robert DeLong.

In The Valley Below’s debut album, The Belt, is a mysterious, mesmerized and relentlessly melodic record that bares powerful tales of lust, loss and faith like open wounds, while hinting at hidden meanings. Opening with “Peaches”, it also births the huge, hands-aloft hooks of “Neverminders” and “Stand Up”. The deliciously lingering deathbed farewell of “Hymnal” and lived-in, love-in nostalgia of “Take Me Back” lend a throbbing urgency to the insistent, intravenously wanton “Palm Tree Fire”.

Self-written and produced, two of The Belt’s 11 songs were also mixed by Gail and Jacob, with others handled by John Congleton (St. Vincent, David Byrne), Pete Min (Airborne Toxic Event), Lasse Mårtén (Lykke Li, Peter, Bjorn & John), and Dave Sardy (Oasis, Band of Horses).

Personified by “Peaches”’ sunlight-through-the-eyelids abandon and cult-ish caress, The Belt is that most elusive of records: arcane, authentic, and effortlessly resonant across cultures and eras. Though the duo’s bond is uniquely theirs, we are all In The Valley Below.

BONZIE — the moniker for 18-year-old Chicagoan Nina Ferraro — isn’t a traditional confessional singer-songwriter. She’s more of an observer and commentator who is drawn to expressing the concerns of her generational cohort (the bond between independence and interdependence, not wanting to be manipulated, view of one’s self beyond society) with unwavering honesty, and delivering them with powerful abandon. It’s partly for this reason that Ferraro has chosen to release her songs under the moniker Bonzie (an image and word she’s long associated with her creative output) as opposed to her own name.

In a 2013 interview with the Chicago Tribune, she explained her decision. “There was something about it that felt egotistical to me, and music was never that sort of pursuit. Bonzie feels a lot better to go under, not only because it’s a pseudonym but also because it doesn’t subscribe to a language. There isn’t a conventional definition of Bonzie, and it’s more something where I can become it’s meaning.”

Ferraro has taken on the role of co-producer and mixer with LA-based Will Golden, teaming up with Tom Biller (Elliott Smith, Fiona Apple) on her debut full length album, Rift Into The Secret Of Things. Songs like “Convert” and “Daniel and the Great Solstice,” with their finger-picked acoustic melodies, swell with elegant string arrangements that raise the emotional ante of the songs.

The album’s title is inspired by a passage in one of Ferraro’s favorite books, Thoreau’s Walden. “It’s about how to get to the essence, to put aside intellect or logic in order to reach the truth, or whatever the essence of a thing is,” Ferraro explains. “Much of this album is shaped underneath that thought. There is a core to this album that ties the songs together. It’s subtle but it’s there. It’s difficult to declare the album any one thing because it varies song to song, but there is a theme. It’s my hope that the listener will be able to tap into that.” Bonzie is currently recording new music with producer Steve Albini in Chicago.

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