Author Archives: Mike Olinger

Needle Drop: Corbu, “Polygon Forest”

Brooklynite Jonathan Graves, aka Corbu, invites you into his Crayola dream.

“Polygon Forest” is a perfect name for the kind of neo-psych synth pop this New York outfit is capable of. Their outlandish imagery is part and parcel with the visual nature of the group who have included a coloring book in the liner notes of their newest LP, Crayon Soul.

To add to the psychedelic haze, Corbou recruited acid rock stereophile Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, MGMT) to mix the band’s self-produced 12 song set. The resulting recordings are arresting in their innovative soundscapes while remaining dreamlike, as to induce feelings of stoned exploration. Their new self-titled album is slated for release in early August.

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TVD Premiere: Carly
Van Skaik, “Behind The Velvet Curtain”

Carly Van Skaik’s firsthand tales of shadowy Tinseltown noir seem tailored for the silver screen and have already garnered song placements in several network shows including Shameless and The Magicians. Her single “Behind The Velvet Curtain” continues mining this moody vein, shedding light on the figurative Oz who pulls the puppet strings behind the religious hierarchies of the world.

Carly asserts “Behind The Velvet Curtain’ is about being wrongly persecuted and the overall hypocrisy of organized religion. “I grew up with my dad and his boyfriend in a very conservative religious community until about the age of 10 and witnessed a lot of hate and judgment toward my family because of who he was.”

“Meanwhile those same people would turn around and preach love and acceptance inside church doors. You see this kind of behavior all over the world. People killing each other over different interpretations of one scripture, people denying gay marriage licenses because it goes again their religious beliefs.”

The Carly Van Skaik EP is due out tomorrow March 24th, the same week “Blue Diamond Eyes” will air on subsequent episode of The Magicians.

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Needle Drop: Dan Lipton, “Dark Water”

Dan Lipton pulls celestial ballad from hangover haze.

Lipton’s rustic arrangements are all at once contemporary and powerful, yet steadily indicative of other masters of the singer-songwriting genre. His raspy quiver recalls Ray LaMontagne while the agile break in his voice conjures up the late Jeff Buckley. “Dark Water” was supposedly conceived while Dan nursed a hangover as he travelled the above ground ferries that run across Brooklyn looking out toward the sea.

There is something infinitely real about the overall vibe of Lipton’s words, set against the tympanic thrust of a hoop drum and tambourine. We experience the weariness, sense the blanket of stars above us, and almost taste the stale alcohol from previous nights’ soul crushing revelry.

“Dark Water” is taken from Dan Lipton’s full-length release, Breathing In which is in stores now.

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Needle Drop: Stone Cold Fox, “Change My Mind”

Stone Cold Fox deliver fever dream of psych disco.

Brooklyn quintet Stone Cold Fox laboriously hone their often spontaneous sounding tracks, emerging with a psychedelic form of disco that is swimming in punchy echo. It is often difficult for the five members to get a song through the birth canal, but ultimately rewarding for their die-hard fans who have come to rely on their quality output.

According to the band, “Change My Mind’ was “rewritten, revised, re-arranged so many times we lost track. We lost perspective so many times, we almost gave up on it. But we believed in the core of the song and forced ourselves to stick with it. Some songs take a day to write—everything comes together and it pours out. And other songs take years of piecemeal, with half mumbled phone recordings, acid synth jam sessions, and hours of studio time. This one was definitely the latter.”

Stone Cold Fox’s EP, “Tunnel Vision” is due in stores this spring.

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Needle Drop: Parlour Tricks “Broken Hearts/ Bone”

Parlour Tricks finds beauty in the mundane with pop-driven gem, “Broken Hearts/Bone.”

There is a lot that can go down within a 5-minute run to the local quickie mart, especially if there’s luxurious indie pop playing over the loudspeaker. And if the airwaves belong to the NY-based Parlour Tricks, things are bound to get messy.

If you’re thinking a bass grinding soundtrack might behoove acting on your animal urges in the popcorn aisle, think again. Parlour Tricks need only to lay down their honey dipped harmonies over finger snaps and twinkling piano for these Sunday shoppers to lose their minds.

The band is on tour throughout March.

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Needle Drop: Thirsty, “God Bless America”

Jonesing for some Rolling Stones? Perhaps a pinch of Lou Reed? A little three minute, three chord rock ‘n’ roll with no fancy additives? Well, look no further than London’s newest export, Thirsty.

A collaboration between The Quireboys spearhead Guy Bailey, Russian poet Irina D, and an assortment of venerated English rockers, Thirsty came to life early last year after the aforementioned players began an impromptu jam session and bonded over their punk/arthouse sensibilities.

Aping old school rhythm and blues may be all the rage for young indie rockers but this kind of appropriation often ends up as little more than a homage and rarely expands on the tried-and-true format. Gritty, off-the-cuff and beautifully authentic; Thirsty captures the imagery of their native London while throwing a rose towards the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, coloring outside the lines all the while.

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Needle Drop: YJY, “Amelia”

Emerging ambient indie rockers YJY flex noise pop muscle in “Amelia” video.

The New Jersey natives released their debut EP, “Couch Surfin USA.” in mid-2015 to local acclaim and a Top Emerging Artist nod from The Deli. While tracking their sophomore follow-up at Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn, the band found time to shoot a video for Couch Surfin’s glorious single, “Amelia.”

Inspired by the work of filmmaker Kenneth Anger, the video features some awesome and gratuitous hipster crotch shots via lead singer Steve Sachs as he lovingly details and buffs a bright orange 1974 Volkswagen Beetle. Groovy.

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TVD Video Premiere: Adam Lempel, “Berlin”

“So the song was actually inspired by the first time I went to Berlin on tour with my band, Weekends, in 2012.”

“We stayed for 3 days and it felt like the whole world was upside down. We went out every night until 11am and then slept ’til 5. The first night, we got there at midnight and then stayed up all night in this bar playing piano cause we had a radio show at the art school UDK at 7am. We showed up pretty jet-lagged and wasted and played in a tent in a classroom.

I actually heard the melody of this song being whistled from somewhere, but then I went outside and no one there was whistling. It was really strange. I heard this melodic fragment through the wall and then recorded myself singing it on my cell phone. To this day I still have no idea if I really heard it or if it was just in my head.”
Adam Lempel

Adam Lempel delivers expressive and exotic video for “Berlin.”

One part gypsy stomp, one part exuberant baroque party pop—“Berlin” is an exotic dose of the Baltimore-bred, Amsterdam-based producer’s newly christened solo work. While on tour with his previous noise rock band, Weekends, Lempel ended up in the hospital with pneumothorax—a hole in his lung. The brush with death cajoled him into the studio with the intention of capturing the music he always wanted to write.

We have the pleasure of premiering Lempel’s newest creation which features celebratory visuals from far off lands and an outstanding vocal performance by Amanda Glasser. Lampel’s new album, Still Life, is slated for release early this year.

Adam Lempel Official | Facebook | Twitter
PHOTO: ADAM KREMER

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Needle Drop: Sonya Kitchell, “Mexico”

It’s been seven years since we heard a full album from Sonya Kitchell and, judging by this lavish single from her new LP, We Come Apart, the wait was well worth it.

“Mexico” is a moody reminder of Kitchell’s artistic power, plummeting out of the speakers with a seductive groove, buzzy bass line, and a robust vocal delivery.

The stark images that accompany the track thread its somber beauty into an intriguing little package which calls listeners to explore Kitchell’s full body of work.

We Come Apart is due out the 22nd of January.

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TVD Premiere: Cassandra Violet,
“Take My Time”

“I was listening to lots of bubblegum pop—and I wanted to try to write a pop song on my looping pedal about how boys waste my time. I didn’t really know how to create pop sounds without any synthesizers, so I used whatever I had lying around my apartment.”

“I started by banging on a mason jar with a drumstick, and that became the marching-band beat throughout the song. It ended up sounding like a dance-y drumline filtered through Paul Simon circa Graceland, a big mishmash of all of my influences rolled up into one weird part.”
Cassandra Violet

Los Angeles native Cassandra Violet premieres collage pop single “Take My Time.”

The Echo Park songstress, who cites Chaka Khan, Stevie Nicks, and Prince as influences, has a lot to offer on “Take My Time.” There are some retro, doo-wop undercurrents, flairs of hippie-chic dream folk, and an uninhibited vocal delivery that conjures up the early work of Regina Spektor.

It’s fantastically original music that is both playful and innovative while retaining a strong feminist angle. Cassandra’s upcoming 2016 EP, “Body & Mind,” is to be self-released on January 29 and will be supported by a small West Coast tour.

Cassandra Violet’s “Body & Mind” EP release party is Saturday, January 29 at LA’s The Lost Room.

Cassandra Violet Official | Facebook | Twitter

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