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VIDEO: In “Off the Rails,” Wallice is Holding All the Strings

Photo Credit: Jerry Maestas

L.A. artist Wallice shares the music video for “Off The Rails,” the title track to her new EP, out Friday, June 4th independently. The video portrays Wallice and her band as avatars of a Sims-like computer game, with her actions unexpectedly controlled by a puppet master unseen until the very end of the video. It’s a humorous metaphor for the way our current lives seem to be directed by an ever-present but unseen hand.

Musically, the track is an effervescent slice of indie pop. Beginning with Wallice’s innocent, if slightly stoned solo vocal, she’s soon joined by angelic overdubbed harmonies that fill the listener’s ears, until the track explodes with the full-band arrangment: surf-style guitar with mixed electronic and acoustic drums share the stage with Wallice’s vocal.

Wallice says of the new track: “’Off the Rails” is about feeling like you don’t have any control over your life and that the world is against you—and that you’re the only one that feels that way,” which definitely seems reflected in lines like: “my life’s a mess but I don’t give a shit/I never try my best I learn to live with it. I live my life like I’m the only one going off the rails.”

Fuzzy synth bass towards the middle changes the vibe slightly, and soon Wallice’s vocal begins to feel as distorted and reverbed as the lead guitar. Eventually you can hardly tell the difference when her voice and the guitar blend into one another at the very peak of the songs’ build-up. The guitar almost becomes an extension of the narrator’s buried stress and desperation. Gabe Hernandez





VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: On “Let Go,” Karaboudjan Lets Loose and Opens Up

Billy Kim’s a busy person. Along with being a multi-instrumentalist member of electronic musician Tycho’s touring ensemble since 2016, he’s also been hard at work making music of his own as Karaboudjan (a reference to a ship in the Belgian artist Hergé’s classic children’s comic strip The Adventures of Tin Tin). And now we have our hands on “Let Go,” the second single from his forthcoming debut EP, IMAGO, scheduled for release this September, along with and exclusive look at the new music video for the track.

Intended as a tribute to Kim’s late father, “Let Go” feels simultaneously chilled-out and hard-hitting, if such a thing is possible. If it is, it’s certainly thanks to Kim’s excellent use of dynamics in the production, with fluorescent synth pads and electric pianos deftly sharing space with reverb-drenched guitars, rubbery bass guitars, cavernous, strutting drums, and spiraling tape-delayed vocals, while the whirlpool-like builds to the chorus betray a definite psychedelic streak in his sound.

“I want to thank you for your time here,” sings Kim during the chorus. If this new single is any indication, we’re eager to spend more time in Karaboudjan’s musical world very soon. Gabe Hernandez





On Psych-Jazz “Kensho ! EP,” The Growth Eternal Finds Quality Over Quantity

Tulsa native and L.A.-based psych-jazz auteur Byron Crenshaw unveils their second official work as The Growth Eternal. Clocking in at a brisk 10 minutes, Kensho ! EP, is a collection of six lovingly-crafted miniatures that offer, according to the artist, “…introspective sentiments on Black identity, love for the environment, social media anxieties, and more.” Crenshaw continues: “This EP comes from my direct experience, me trying to see and connect with my true nature. I hope it helps you like it helped me. If it does, that’s Kensho.”

Kensho is a Japanese word from the Zen tradition, roughly translated as “seeing one’s true nature.” And these six tracks, although just a taste, feel as if we’re getting a small but vivid glimpse into the artist’s inner world. The songs pulse with anxious and wobbly, pitch-shifted vocals; haunting, spiraling vocal harmonies; guitar fragments filtered through a broken kaleidoscope; skittering minimalist grooves, and elastic and jazzy bass lines reminiscent of L.A. jazz/R&B virtuoso Thundercat. In other words, it’s a view into a complicated yet fascinating musical world.

Here’s hoping that The Growth Eternal shares a fuller look at their true nature with listeners soon. A fuller sense of Kensho. Gabe Hernandez





Trick Gum’s Quirky Debut Single “Hot Rifle” Turns On The Offhand Charm

Photo courtesy Trick Gum

L.A. duo Trick Gum is the work of producer Justin Raisen (Charlie XCX, Angel Olsen, Yves Tumor) and Jordan Benik of cult LA band Sweaters, and their debut single, “Hot Rifle,” sends out a strong current of left-field 90s indie pop quirk.

The new track marries tasty acoustic drums to a loping, charmingly clumsy fuzz bass, jaunty rhythm guitar touches, and gravely bass vocals. They show some real muscle in the chorus, with lines like “I am cheap perfume/I’m your prince of doom/Come get and eyeful/Of my hot rifle,” but overall the vibe is of two buddies horsing around, while still showing off their considerable skills in the studio.

The band says “‘Hot Rifle’ is about being pushed to the edge and losing your faith in societal norms, the moment you give up on the rules and consider stealing a very large amount of money, and the peace that dwells within you in this moment, freed from the constraints of principle… in other words, a summer jam.”

If only pondering grand larceny had a soundtrack a catchy as this. Gabe Hernandez

 





VIDEO: In “Fool,” Jonny Kosmo Makes A Surreal New Friend

Photo: Joseph McMurray

LA artist Jonny Kosmo has built a dedicated following fusing immaculately-produced 70’s-vintage funk/soul tunes with an at-times truly surreal visual sense that evokes contemporaries Unknown Mortal Orchestra, albeit with a seemingly more playful and innocent heart. But with his latest video, “Fool,” which also serves as a preview for his upcoming album, “Pastry” (out June 4th on Feeding Tube Records in the States), he’s upped his game on both fronts. 

The track itself is a warm, pleasantly viscous slab of gently psychedelic slow-funk steeped in 70s Stevie Wonder-era synths, shimmering tremoloed guitars with occasional wah-wah lead flourishes, a bass line as thick as hash oil, and soulfully gauzy close-mic’d vocals.  

The accompanying video, however, left us questioning our sanity in the best way. Set in a hilly beige meadow that could’ve served as a Windows ’95 desktop background, Kosmo sings the title track while intently at work with a metal detector. He ends up crossing paths with an unusual new friend, and the dance party ensues. It’s simultaneously hilarious and unsettling, another example of the David Lynch-lite vibe that is quickly becoming a Jonny Kosmo signature. Gabe Hernandez

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