Get that AC unit secured so it doesn’t kill someone on your street and celebrate the beginning of a season of sweat with fresh music.Read More
A rant about musical identity and a playlist with more earworms than you can count.Read More
It’s all shiny, new, sun-peeking-behind-the-clouds kind of music.Read More
etween your allergies and trying to make it to graduation parties and finals, this playlist will lift you to energetic highs, soulful grooves and danceable melodies.Read More
John June Year are a lot like their music video for "Hollywood" they're premiering on Sound in the Static today. It begins somewhere in a two-dimensional world, or an impossibly foggy concert where only silhouettes are discernable. It's sophisticated and cool, but you're just dying to know who's behind the screen.
The Iowa band (Greg Heysinger, vox and guitar; Colin Sullivan, guitar; Kyle Talbot, keys and vox; Parker Wolfe, drums and Cory Talbot, bass and vox) might try to be honest-to-God rock, but they come out with something irresistibly catchy and frankly, pop. But good pop. If you took a step back from TV On The Radio towards the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that's about where John June Year stand in the musical spectrum.
Directed by Bruce James Bales and produced by Greg Heysinger, Jason Reed and Bruce James Bales, the video comes after the release of their Pop Sucker EP released in December.
Simple, clean and intriguing –– there's no hiding from the hooks of John June Year.
When I came across art-rock, Virginia duo, Various Eggs, I was having one of those soul-sucking, horrifyingly melodramatic and supremely unmotivated days.
And then the moment I started listening, I felt a change in me. Like the snap at the end of "Interstitial #1" from their EP Don't Expect Much From Others, it cracked my emotional spine back into place.Read More
Sleepy pop songs, melodic rock and gentle beats will ease the chilling winds and give a mild reminder that spring is on the way. New music from Colorado bands, Marti & the Dads and Panther Martin and some sultry minimalist electronic from SALFUMÁN.Read More
In the wake of a fifth album, Faded Paper Figures talked to Sound in the Static about weird tour moments, evolving as a band and managing outside careers.Read More
Chicago jangle, math rock band, Spooky Action Space Captain have been on my radar for some time. Their sensationally catchy "Not My House" has had me screaming at my windshield since it's January 2014 release. So I have to admit my mention of the band is severely delayed.
They are lyrical and melody craftsmen, fitting honest and simplistic lines with inventive but easily listenable guitar pieces. Their song "Go To Bed, Crumpleton" off a four-way split between Pride And Ego Down, SRVVLST and Tir Ashleen on Tightwolf Records is no exception. Groggy vocals grow into flourishing guitar lines. Then spinning drums transition into thoughtful screams.
It's complexity shrouded in an air of lackadaisical excitement. And get excited for more, below is a teaser to their upcoming song:
It starts with the cool electronic soul of FYFE and creeps into Cineplexx's Argentinian disco. A splash of garage rock and a lot of international artists this playlist breaks borders and bursts a part genre molds. Get into it.
"Everything Is Everything" / Gabriel Garzón-Montano
This is what happens when you mix funky vocals, incredible bass and soul. It's perfect.
"Te Quiero" / Cineplexx
Just skip to this song if you want to pull some shapes.
"River" / Ibeyi
It's more than afrobeat, it's cleansing for the soul. That's all you need to know.
If there are two things immediately obvious about Ben Cassorla, it's his love for jangle guitars in his newest EP amigos and an impressive collection of musician/actor friends. He's toured with Ben Riley, Thelonious Monk's drummer and as a hot commodity guitarist with Dawes, Washed Out and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Ben spoke with me over the phone during a tour opening for Blitzen Trapper with his own band, Cassorla, named after his last name.
"It's been a slow journey from playing my music none of the time to now almost all of the time," Ben said. "Finally I started to decide I wanted to make my own music. I got a little sick of all of the touring. I loved playing music every night but I found it a lot more satisfying when it was my own music."
On Cassorla's latest EP amigos, he put those touring relationships to use. Each song features a different collaborator including Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, Crash from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Eric Earley from Blitzen Trapper and Parks and Recreation star, Aubrey Plaza.
"I just felt like I have this great group of people that I know who are great musicians and offer great things to the world and I wanted to take advantage of that," Ben said. "We’ve all worked before in the past, so it was easier to make it all happen. I would just say okay, this song, I want you to sing it. Will you sing it?"
In the music video for "Bona Fide" Plaza paddle boats around a pond in LA playing, yes actually playing, saxophone.
"Her on a boat playing saxophone, I couldn't think of anything funnier," Ben said. "When I was making that album I wanted her to be a guest on a song. She said let's do this. I said if you’re going to play saxophone, we’re going to have to make a music video."
The video also features a performance artist dancing around New York subway stations, ferry rides and streets.
"I like the idea of him and Aubrey doing totally separate things but coming together," Ben said. "And having some sort of weird relationship across the video even though they haven’t met each other yet."
This dual life can also be said for Ben's personal life. He lived in Harlem and Bed-Stuy during college and for four years after but recently moved to California.
"In Bed-Stuy, I loved the Apple Bees where Michael Bloomberg was said to order strong long islands iced teas on Monday mornings," Ben said. (For any New Yorkers wondering, that Apple Bees is located on Fulton and New York Ave.)
Ben is now based in Glendale, Los Angeles. He says LA allows him to be more creative and pickier about shows and projects he takes on.
"If you’re looking for things that New York is good at in LA you’ll be disappointed," Ben said. "It doesn’t have good pizza or bagels and driving sucks. I don’t really like the weather in LA...But the tacos are amazing. The pace of life is a whole lot slower, not everybody has to hustle as hard. There's less of a need to make money to pay rent."
Before hustling for rent, Ben was introduced to music by his mother. She taught him classical piano starting at the age of four.
"Finally for my seventh or eighth birthday I got a beat up acoustic guitar, a tiny one," Ben said. "A few years later my dad ran over it with his car."
Luckily when he was nine he bought his first electric guitar with a $50 bond from his grandma, citing it as one of the happiest days of his life. It was a red Stratocaster, inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
More recently, he's inspired by the simplicity of John Lennon's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
"It changed how I make a lot of my music, it's so simple and direct and that was the music I connect to and make," Ben sad. "When I made this album, amigos...the mixer and master I work with were always incredibly happy to work with me because most stuff has 48 different guitars on it. My stuff is one bass, guitar, vocals, drums. It makes their life a lot easier."
I asked Ben about the recent trend of using backtracks on stage and electronic instruments, and if he holds one over the other. He said they're two different animals. He used real drums on amigos which made the recording process harder but added a looseness that he loves.
"To be honest, i don’t judge it either way," Ben said "In the studio using electric drums, it’s a different instrument."
He released track "The Right Way" with Mighty Mike (producer who worked with Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepson) that uses nothing but electric drums. He said that the track comes from a totally different place and has a very different sound.
"Live, I think I prefer doing it all with other people because part of the fun of the music is in interacting with people," Ben said "But at the same time i can’t judge."
This next year you can look forward to an EP coming out from Cassorla, some opening tours and the beginnings of a full length album.
"I can’t make any promises," Ben said. "Just performing, making a lot of music, new touring, try as play as many as possible collaborations with as many great people as we can."
Listen to the full amigos EP:
A lot of things about October are spooky: the crisp wind, ominous clouds and your roommate wearing a horse mask to answer the door. What's even spookier, is how much great music was put out in the last month. New tracks by Sunboy, Baths, Wampire and Of Montreal.
Sinkane - New Name
It's soulful but so innovative. It's about that infatuation you have when you meet someone new. Learning a new name is hard, but you just have to when they're so cute.
Made In Heights - Ghosts
More irresistible melodies and lilting vocals from Made In Heights. Finally we can stop playing "Vices" on repeat and instead have this one on.
Wampire - The Amazing Heart Attack
Wampire just released their full length album, and it's great for getting motivated to slack off.
The August SnS playlist features new music from Speedy Ortiz, Sunboy, Wampire and hidden gems from Montreal band, The Backhomes, Capgun Coup from Omaha and Cool Sounds from Australia. A unique flair comes from each town, but the songs reside on a similar lazy, late summer wavelength.
Slip into a cool summer night or a steaming hot afternoon with new electronic, rock, jangle pop and whatever else they're calling it these days.
- Capgun Coup - Twist and Shout
- Esta. - Lexo
- Wyatt - Attention
Savage Sister's newest release, Huge Moves 7", comes at a transitional moment for the band. After a guitar-less EP, Wild Sleep, and in the wake of a vinyl release, Huge Moves offers a brief yet complete take on the unique place Savage Sister occupies in the Chicago DIY, dream music scene.
Michael Tenzer, frontman of Savage Sister, had an existential crisis at 26 when he moved home to St. Louis after attending college in Chicago. In May of 2012, the desperation in his relocation inspired him to create music as Savage Sister.
The original band consisted of drummer, Nicholas Piontek, bassist, Jamie Kerry (who was found through a Craigslist ad) and vocalist, Kate Gettinger. The group put out their first EP, Legs June of 2012.
"This is back when I wasn’t quite as sure how to produce music as I am now and it definitely shows," Tenzer said. "But eventually life got in the way. Jamie moved to North Carolina and Kate went back to school for optometry."
Tenzer decided to move back to Chicago, and found current Savage Sister members: vocalist, Chloe Lundgren and bassist, Caitlin Klask.
"Last June we released our first debut album, it was self-released digitally," Tenzer said. "Since then we’ve been a pretty prolific band. I don’t sit idly with music because I like throwing ideas out there and seeing what works."
Their most recent release, Huge Moves 7", released June 6 of this year was created after Tenzer took a brief hiatus from the guitar.
"I was thinking 'we’re a shoegaze band but we don’t even use guitar, what do you think about that?'" Tenzer said. "But that didn’t last too long because I started to miss the fluidity of playing, the guitar is by far my strongest instrument."
"Huge Moves" begins with a drumbeat that calls to mind a climactic romance scene out of a John Hughes movie. It's then paired with an ethereal layer of reverb and the sylph-like voice of Lundgren.
The next track, "Composure", acts as an interlude between the title song and "Little Claws." It's drenched in reverb and plays as an introspective reflection – a fresh rinse before the next expression is made.
"I made that song ["Composure"} pretty quickly actually...cumulatively speaking in about two days" Tenzer said. "Any ambient prelude that you hear on the albums, it’s more about the feeling and capturing some kind of emotion. Even if it’s similar, it’s going to be different to the person who’s listening. They’re total mood pieces. I like to include those because I think it’s a nice ebb and flow."
The final track "Little Claws" begins with another ear-catching beat, but this time is met with a solid melody that brings a different side of Savage Sister. A more tangible, grounded song.
"It’s just a funky, very dreampop track," Tenzer said. "We have that funkier dreampop side where we like to indulge ourselves a bit. You can bounce to it."
In October, the band plans on releasing a full-length vinyl with BLVD Records, a local Chicago record label.
"The vinyl is going to be trying to balance those two aspects of creating something – in a romantic way, creating that atmosphere that I strive to have, but also making it fun and enjoyable to listen to in all different scenarios, not just in your headphones," Tenzer said.
Tenzer doesn't believe Savage Sister occupies space exclusively in the genres of shoegaze or dreampop. He thinks of his music as "dreamgaze" with influence from ambient sources like Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel as well as shoegaze bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins.
"It's such an obnoxious term [dreamgaze]...but we want to craft melodies that are essential to the song and not just layers," Tenzer said. "We try to draw elements from all of the dream spectrum of music."
Tenzer's goal creating music as Savage Sister is to combine the sense of conceptual romanticism with a digestible structure.
"I think ambient is almost a description of–this is going to sound lame–but it's a description of romance to me," Tenzer said. "Like orally speaking, I wanted it to be very romantic, transcendent. Ambient music has always really spoken to me because that's the kind of the person I am and what I find important in life."
The name of the band also reflects the transcendent yet comforting sound they have. It came from one of Tenzer's favorite movies, The Silence (1963), about two competitive sisters who travel across the country. The movie described by Tenzer, highlights the best and worst aspects of women, something that he associates with the romanticism in his music.
"Our music is informed by a feminine energy even though it’s primarily coming from me," Tenzer said. "It’s almost my conceptual–this is going to sound really pretentious– like my conceptual idea of coming to terms with both the reality of women and also the idealism that I have of women, and just the duality of it. A women can be amazing but also disgusting, like everybody. But being a hetero-man, that’s what I’m interested in."
For more from Savage Sister, check out their extensive catalogue of music at their Bandcamp.
June brings music festivals, thunderstorms and new releases. Sound in the Static has put together a playlist to accompany you on your long road trips, nights around a fire or to simply catch you up to speed on all the latest hits from Avi Buffalo, Sharon Van Etten, Sylvan Esso and Andrew Bird or to find new favorites like Phox, Bedroom and Ratking.
It's not quite summer, but it's definitely not winter anymore. Spring is a time for change, and ditching your jackets. It's also the time of year heading into the summer festival circuit that artists release new music.
Featuring new sounds by Baths, Real Estate, Tobacco, Sharon Van Etten and Jamie XX, this playlist will accompany getting work done, or the soundtrack to a BBQ.Read More