The Oakland-based group The Pleasure Routine aren’t out to re-invent the wheel. As they state themselves, they are “a throwback to decades past, when bands meticulously crafted vintage tones and timbres, capturing their moody and dreamy sonic landscapes on analog tape.”
What shows in The Pleasure Routine’s music is a nod to past eras, but also an understanding of their own modern sound. Their debut LP Sugar Mountain is a wonderful blend of art rock, blues, and a California flair that shimmers on each track. This record is the kind of record that you play while driving down the PCH in an old Camaro with your best friends.
The topics range from coming-of-age to disillusionment, but throughout there is this undertone of optimism amongst the melancholy. The bright, clean sound of Sugar Mountain plays a major part in this. The band gels together in a way that you know they get each other as musicians.
When Sugar Mountain releases on 7/1/2016, I suggest you give it a try. It might bring out some nostalgia in you, especially if love bands like The Velvet Underground and The Stooges.
The Pleasure Routine can be found at:
Here we are, another mass shooting. The biggest in US history. This time the target was the LGBT community who have had to face hate-filled rhetoric in this country for too long. Frankly our politicians are lazy and indifferent, yet they have the audacity to Tweet “Thoughts and Prayers” to victims they couldn’t care less for. If they cared they would have been taking action to stop shit like this. Fuck your insincere prayers you megalomaniacs; they are simply hollow words at this point. Gun violence is beyond anything we can fathom in America at this point. Instead asking your gods to do something, why don’t YOU try doing something since you have the power to do so. Fuck your lobbyists. Fuck your special interest groups. Fuck your kickbacks. If you don’t lift a finger to stop violence you don’t deserve to hold public office. I’m pissed. I’m done with an ineffective government feigning empathy for something that can be prevented.
Music is able to bring out countless emotions from you. That is probably why, more than anything, we are all drawn to it. Music is also able to bring you out of yourself and into an entirely different world.
Mount Fuji and the Galaxy’s record Everything is Beautiful really is an embodiment of these concepts. The Salisbury, Maryland act band describes themselves as “acid-folk, dream-pop, and psychedelic-ambient.” The album itself is supposed to represent a situation in which “the narrator’s life passes before his eyes as he is abducted by aliens one night in a hotel in the middle of a road trip.”
The concept behind the record actually works. You feel the intense isolation and panicked thoughts coming through the entire record. The experimental sound is absolutely gorgeous and packed with various effects along with the vocals, guitars, keys, and percussion.
In so many ways this record reminds me of Neutral Milk Hotel or other folk-ish bands that aren’t afraid to step outside their genre. One critique some may level at the album is the slightly mumbling vocals, but as an avid listener of Radiohead this doesn’t bother me. I think of the vocals as another instrument in the mix as opposed to some music where the vox are in the forefront.
Everything is Beautiful gives you beauty you can relate to, but it also throws a ton of dissonance your way to stretch your perception of beauty. It’s a fascinating ride and I recommend you head to the Bandcamp link below and check this record out.
Everything is Beautiful by Mount Fuji and the Galaxy can be found at:
When you look at current music that fuses electronica and rock sounds, you typically get a bunch of indie hipster nonsense. The music doesn’t have any bite to it, and more importantly, it is derivative of everything in its genre.
But wait, there’s actually good stuff out there.
Enter KLOQ. These guys have gotten a ton of press from my site because they deserve to be huge. With their newest LP Behind the Screams, the band has pushed their sound even further. This is not to say that the aggressive “punktronica” is no longer present. The LP just simply features a greater expansion on KLOQ’s core style. Most noticeable are the incredible melodic hooks in the choruses. The songs are infectious in a way that I have not seen from this band.
Present in Behind the Screams is also a shift in lyrical focus. There is a more obvious sociopolitical viewpoint. It is clear that the band have something to say about the state of our world, and it comes across as passionate rather than preachy. Just look at the album’s cover and you will notice that Behind the Screams is clearly a progression in the overall message of the band.
Between the infectious grooves and hooks, it really is a pleasure for me as a music journalist to recommend this record to you. There is so much nonsense on the radio nowadays that the talented artists sometimes get lost in the static.
KLOQ is a band that should never be lost in that static.
Behind the Screams releases on Friday 6/10/16. Follow KLOQ at:
I find myself in a surreal position today. As you may have heard, the campus of UCLA (my alma mater) experienced an active shooter situation. It was a murder/suicide in which a student killed a professor before turning the gun on himself. The campus put itself into lockdown while the FBI and SWAT moved in to sweep the hot zone.
I woke up to alarming messages from my friends asking if I was OK (I haven’t been near UCLA since graduation), then I promptly began to go through every UCLA contact I had to see if they were OK. I was relieved to find out everyone near campus was alright and that it had not been a rampage but…it could have been.
The Engineering 4 building isn’t far from the heavily populated BruinWalk and Ackerman Student Union. If this psycho wanted to take as many down as possible he could have. I knew this day would come when it was my school’s turn for a shooting incident. Tonight a family is mourning the loss of a beloved professor and family man who didn’t ask to die. It almost seems sociopathic of me to say it is not as bad as it could have been. Now a child has lost a parent, a university has lost an educator, and our campus has lost its sanity.
We’ll never be the same after this. We’ll be more paranoid, I just know it. So what do we do? I guess the only thing we can do, get on with our lives. Additionally we need to pressure our politicians to do everything possible to end gun violence in this country.
When can we say enough is enough?
As Pennywise says in this song, “It’s Up To You.”
The interesting thing about the electronic genre is that you find all types of styles. Some people are gunning for the charts, while others are all about pushing boundaries. Baltimore based artist lafflines (aka Alex Lippert) falls more into the latter category.
In his debut album “Arrest in Acquiesce,” there is what I would call a “sonic collision” of sorts. There is dissonance and consonance, melody and atmosphere; and all of this is a good thing.
The record experiments with beats, loops, and various samples to make a sonic experience. I wouldn’t really call these songs, that is far too simple. What is going on here is an experiment with sound that challenges the listener. You hear stylistic echoes of artists like Aphex Twin, John Cage, and Philip Glass; but ultimately you hear lafflines.
In the artist’s own words:
“I try to record…in an effort to stumble upon accidents and something that’s outside of my expectations…to discover and find something new. Many of my samples vary from elevator music, African disco/tribal music, religious choir recordings and classical pieces.”
If you are looking for a challenge where you are encouraged to engage in your listening experience; I recommend giving “Arrest in Acquiesce” a try.
“Arrest in Acquiesce” by lafflines can be found at:
I’m always on the lookout for new and fresh artist to brighten my day. I recently came into contact with the music of Jake Aldridge and I can say I was pleasantly surprised. His new single “When I’m Feeling Down” is a combination of rap verses (via Jake) and pop choruses (sung by Ellie Jamison). Jake’s Suffolk accent gives a unique charm to his rap flow, and it works well against Jamison’s bright vocals.
The song itself is a celebration of friendship, the kind that is everlasting. In Aldridge’s words he wanted “to thank my best friend for always being there for me and I hope” the song “inspires others to be thankful for their true friends as well.” The lyrics which play off of this theme are easy to remember and make for a great radio single (the easier a song is to remember the more likely it is to chart).
The production of the song, from the instrumentation to the mixing (done by producer Johann Elliot), is done just right. There is a tendency for people these days, especially with pop songs, to over-produce the track. “When I’m Feeling Down” has just the right amount of effects to give it a good feel and nothing beyond that (which is a good thing).
If you want an upbeat song to give your day some needed sunshine, I suggest you check Jake Aldridge’s single out.
“When I’m Feeling Down” can be found at:
Jake Aldridge can be found at: