Girlpool

The music Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad release as Girlpool occupies a transient space. Their constant evolution makes it perfectly impossible to articulate exactly where their project falls within the contemporary musical canon; this is one of the many reasons Girlpool’s music is so captivating.

Never before has a group’s maturation been so transparently attached to the maturation of its members. This is due in large part to the fact that Girlpool came into existence exactly when Girlpool was supposed to come into existence: at the most prolific stage of the digital revolution. Both online and in the flesh, Tividad and Tucker practice radical openness to the point where it may even engender discomfort; this is exactly the point where it becomes clear why theirs’ is such a special project: they accept the possibility of discomfort—Chaos—and show you how to figure out why you might feel it. This is achieved through their ability to empathize as best friends and partners in creation, with the intention of making music that provokes.

They met in November of 2013, and released their self-titled EP just 3 months later. Both were playing in multiple bands at the time. Harmony was 18. Cleo was 17.

The growth they have fostered in one another over the years explains the project’s disparate discography; each record is a photograph of Girlpool, growing over time. Their roots are a certain shade of punk—organized chaos dressed as earworms. “Where You Sink,” one of the first singles off their upcoming record, What Chaos Is Imaginary, gives you an idea of how much things have changed since 2014.

It’s not all good.

“I was experiencing a lot of mental health issues,” says Tividad of the title. “That song comes from a place of being disconnected from reality. The world is so complicated. It's hard to believe in magic, or that anything exists.” Notice the order: magic, then the principle existence of things. A peak into Harmony.

Though it is the 3rd track on Girlpool’s newest record, “Where You Sink” was written at a time when the two were living in different states on the East Coast. It proved to be a period of immense change for the both of them; each focused—more than they ever had before—on their solo music.

“Before, we would build our songs together with four hands, from the ground up,” says Tucker, referring to the songwriting process that produced the debut EP and 2015’s critically acclaimed follow-up, Before The World Was Big. “Our songs used to be intertwined in a different way. We brought our separate experiences to the songs that we crafted together, we valued understanding that they were multidimensional.”

Their solo work consistently breathes new life into Girlpool. The two have since become comfortable with the process being more independent, more fluid. They both take part in the production and arrangement of the music, but they’ve strayed from beginning hand in hand in every instance. They connect somewhere along the way, working together when it feels right.

Discussing the new process, Harmony says, “It’s helped me find validity in parts of my writing I found to be unapproachable. I thought my stream-of-consciousness was unsophisticated.” There’s probably a great pun available re: shedding self-consciousness to release a more sophisticated stream-of-consciousness. In any case, What Chaos is Imaginary—the record and the song—is what the stream looks like when self-consciousness is shed.

Where Harmony embraces chaos, Cleo organizes it. “It’s hard for me to feel completion without achieving a vision that I have. I’ll imagine the kind of climate I want to create inside a song,” says Cleo of his process. “Once I fall in love with the direction, it’s getting there that can take time.” Finishing a song may take time and even prove to be difficult for him at times, but the product is invariably polished. Considering the near-perfect balance in the songs on What Chaos is Imaginary, their dynamic makes sense. “It took a really long time to record this record. It feels like a photograph of a very transitional time.”

What Chaos is Imaginary is a collection of songs unlike any Girlpool songs you’ve ever heard, exactly what Powerplant was to Before The World Was Big. For the first time, it is clear who wrote what song. 2019 will see drum machines and synthesizers and beautiful/new harmonies and huge guitars and at least one orchestral breakdown by a string octet.

“It was invigorating playing stripped down and raw when Girlpool began. As we change, what gets us there is going to change too.”

It’s hard to imagine what might follow What Chaos is Imaginary. Girlpool’s growth has a steady momentum forward, towards something greater with every stride that they take. By the time the record comes out, they’ll be far from here, wherever here is.

On her debut EP Sugar & Spice, Hatchie delivered the sonic equivalent of falling deliriouslyin love: a sustainedrush of feeling, renderedin swoonymelodiesand gauzyguitar tonesand endlesslyhypnoticlayers of sound. Now, with her full-length debut Keepsake, the Australian singer/songwriter triesoncountlessnew textures, exploringeverything fromindustrialto new wave to dance-pop, handling each with understatedelegance and pure, powerfulfeeling.In the making of Keepsake, the Brisbane-bred musician otherwise known as Harriette Pilbeamrecorded in a home studio in Melbourne and worked again with John Castle—the producer behind Sugar & Spice, a 2018 release that prompted Pitchfork to dub her the “dream-pop idol of tomorrow.” And while the album begins and ends with two massively catchy pop tracks—the brightly defiant “Not That Kind,” the euphoric and epic“Keep”—many songs driftinto more emotionally tangledterrain, shedding light onexperiences both ephemeraland life-changing.Throughout Keepsake, Hatchie’s kaleidoscopicsonic palettedraws out distinct moods and tones, continually revealing herdepth and imagination as a musicianand songwriter. On lead single “Without a Blush,” jagged guitar riffsand woozy rhythms meet ina sprawling piece of industrial-pop, with Hatchie’s gorgeously airy voice channeling loss and longing, regret and self-doubt. Another industrial-leaning track, “Unwanted Guest”unfolds inwobbly synth lines and fantasticallyicy spoken-word vocals, alongwith lyrics about “being dragged to a party I don’t want to be at, then getting at a fight at the party, and kind of hating myself for it but hating everybody else too.” Meanwhile, on “Her Own Heart,” Hatchiepresents a radiant jangle-popgem that puts a singular twist on the post-breakup narrative. “I’d seen people in my life go through breakups and end up with no idea what to do with themselves,”she says. “I wrote that song from the point of view of a girl who winds up on her own and embraces having to figure out who she is, who doesn’t let her life get turned upside-down like that.”Elsewhere on Keepsake, Hatchie brings an unlikely transcendence to the most tender of moments. With its softly pulsingbeats and slow-buildingintensity, “Secret” spinsa heartrending anthem from what she describes as “confiding to a friend about your mental health struggles, the things you can’twork out on your own.” On “Kiss the Stars,” Hatchie’s cascading guitar work and mesmeric vocals meet with lyrics capturing a preciseform of melancholy. “With that song, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a Sunday afternoon when the sun is setting and you don’t want the day to be over—that awful end-of-weekend feeling,” she says. And on “Stay With Me,” Hatchie offers up Keepsake’s mostutterlyrhapsodictrack, all incandescentsynth and unstoppablerhythm. “At first I thought I could never put that on my album—it felt too dancey and pop, and I figured it couldreallyshine on someone else’s record,” she says. “But then I realized: I’m the one dictating whatmy sound is; what I put on my album is up to me.”Thatself-possessed spirit infuses all of Keepsake, whichultimatelyserves as a document of a particularly kineticmoment in Hatchie’s life. “I’m not much of a nostalgic person when it comes to memories, but I do have a tendency to hold on to certain

things, like tickets from the first time I went someplace on holiday,” says Hatchie in reflecting on the album’s title.“It made sense to me to call the recordthat,at a time when I’m going to probably end up with a lot of keepsakes—and in a way, this wholealbum isalmostlike a keepsake in itself.”

Fronted by dynamic lead singer Chloe Chaidez, the Los Angeles-based four-piece Kitten make '80s post-punk-influenced dance-rock and synth pop. The daughter of former Thee Undertakers drummer Mike Chaidez, Chloe grew up listening to a mix of punk and '80s new wave bands like the Go-Go's, the Motels, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. A precocious adolescent, Chaidez formed her first group, the cover band Wild Youth, at age ten. Three years later, she had formed Kitten, and with producer/manager Chad Anderson began working on original material. In 2010, when Chaidez was only 15 years old, Kitten released the driving, guitar and synth-heavy EP Sunday School. That same year the band signed to Atlantic. Two years later, Kitten returned with their sophomore EP, Cut It Out. In 2014, Kitten delivered their eponymous full-length studio debut, which featured the singles "Like a Stranger," "G#," and "Doubt."

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