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VIDEO: With “Super 8,” DE’WAYNE’s Charisma Steals The Show

L.A.-based via Houston artist DE’WAYNE releases their debut album STAINS today, June 18th, via Hopeless Records and you can view a video right now for their latest single “Super 8.”

The track itself combines emo, synthpop, and rock sounds in a tight, meticulously produced package. DE’WAYNE’s vocal jumps right out of the gate from the top, accompanied by insistent rock fuzz bass and drums. Throughout, DE’WAYNE’s energetic vocal yelps are punctuated with Suicide-style delays that send their vocal into infinity. With lines like “I wanna film a porno on a Super 8” the lyrics are straightforward and not insightful by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re not really the focus here. They’re throwaway, a vehicle for the excellent production, hooks, and DE’WAYNE’s vocal performance. One gets the feeling that with the right song DE’WAYNE will be a household name.

Meanwhile, the video (directed by Joe Mischo) alternates between scenes of DE’WAYNE and a “friend” getting into various stereotypically “porno” role-playing antics and more performance-oriented footage of DE’WAYNE and their drummer among a curtain of chains and hooks. One shows the more deadpan comedic side of the artist, while the other adds a mild bit of sexual edge, although DE’WAYNE never strays into even PG-13 territory. It’s clear in his energy and confidence in performance that there’s a lot of promise here in DE’WAYNE. One hopes that their future material will show a maturity in songwriting that rivals their considerable pop idol-to-be talents. Gabe Hernandez

 





FRESH CUTS: With “12:55 PM” Celia Hollander Plays With Time And Wins

Photo courtesy of the artist

LA-based electro-acoustic composer Celia Hollander has released “12:55 PM a track from her upcoming album, entitled Timekeeper, out July 23rd on eclectic local label Leaving Records.

Hollander, with an MFA in Music Composition & Experimental Sound Practices from Cal Arts, describes her output as “…work that critically engages ways that audio and the act of listening can shape temporal perception, generate narratives, question cultural infrastructures, and cultivate social connection.” For us, it’s the audio shaping temporal perception part that draws our attention to “12:55 PM.”

The instrumental track begins with a clock-like shuffle rhythm, the sound of which is reminiscent of the electronic fizz of retro drum machines, before helium-tinged synth stabs begin bubbling up in the mix. Occasionally, tasty drippings of silicone-coated synth bass add some welcome low-end thickness to the soundscape.

On the whole, the track presents a vaguely tropical vibe, but not so much that you feel like serving up mai tais. “12:55 PM” fades in and out like an ocean breeze, but it’s also a chilled, yet caffeinated sonic landscape that entices you to dance, but could just as easily soundtrack your next dose of edibles. Hollander clearly has a way with manipulating a listener’s perception of time. The other tracks on Timekeeper are all titled after very specific times of day. What we can say with confidence is that we’re looking forward to losing some more precious minutes and hours in her delicate, enticing aural playground. Gabe Hernandez





FRESH CUTS: “Do I Have To Feel Everything” Finds Sara Noelle In Full Bloom

Photo Credit: Erik Hayden

L.A. based singer-songwriter Sara Noelle is a self-described “ambient-folk” artist and she’s released the first single for her upcoming album (title and release date TBD). Entitled Do I Have To Feel Everything, it’s her first release since her late 2020 single Christmas at Sea.

Produced by Dan Duszynski, the new track begins with insistent harmony synths, before a lush, lightly vocoder-tinged chorus of Saras fills the listener’s ears. Throughout, liquid synth pads tastefully bathe the arrangement, like layers of crystal blue seawater. A simple but weighty bass drum heartbeat holds down the rhythm while toms occasionally tumble through. The song gently crescendos with a full complement of electronic drums and angelic, wordless vocals. Melodically, there are (not unwelcome) similarities to Fleetwood Mac and Death Cab For Cutie, but overall the track gives the impression of being both propulsive yet meditative. It’s a difficult balancing act but one that Noelle and Duszynski pull off with grace, as nothing seems out of place, although many things are happening at once.

Lyrically, the mention of the “silent year/like time stopped,” instantly brings to mind our collective Covid year. And while the vibe of the music is a positive one, lines like “I don’t know where and I don’t know where I am/The closer I get, the farther I am” hint at a persistent sense of limbo and uncertainty about the future that many of of are likely feeling. Although it’s especially resonant at this time in history, Sara Noelle’s track carries a certain timelessness in its lyrical feelings of alienation. Gabe Hernandez





"Subversive To Care" comp released to benefit AAPI communities

In today’s fast-paced modern era of music streaming and profligate playlist making (not to mention Twitch DJing and all the other means of assembling original musical mixes) the notion of an old-school compilation album (or “comp”) may seem hopelessly out of date. But comps can still be wonderful things, and Subversive To Care (referred to as Sub2Care forthwith), which has been released to coincide with the launch of Paul Is Dead Records, checks off many of the boxes that make them good things.



For one thing, comps are often assembled to raise money for charitable/activist organizations and this one fits the bill with proceeds going to several AAPI organizations—The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (www.NAPAWF.org), Asian Mental Health Collective (www.ASIANMHC.org) and The Tibet Fund (www.TIBETFUND.org)—in response to alarming levels of hate crimes and ongoing struggles against prejudice against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

What’s more, a good comp is a great way to discover new music and new artists without having to continually troll Spotify’s Teen Beats playlist (granted, SyKo’s “#BrooklynBloodPop!” has its pleasures). And with 60 original songs by the original artists Sub2Care should keep you occupied for a while as you make your way from the start (Wake Up’s “Hurricane” in exclusive demo form; the band is pictured above) to the finish (Squires’ “Tombstoning”) so you basically have got a conceptual theme here of moving from wakefulness to the Big Sleep—not that you can’t skip around within and between individual tracks which is another one of the nice things about comps. They’re basically sampler platters in musical form.

Sub2Care was put together by the new LA-based label Paul Is Dead Records (with satellite offices in New York and Wisconsin apparently) and is likely named either after the notorious Beatles urban legend, or the recent death of Paul Van Doren, patriarch of the Van’s sneaker empire. And while LA artists predominate on the comp (speaking of Vans some of these LA artists no doubt look a lot like Jeff Spicoli or perhaps Phoebe Cates) there’s also a decent number from other locales including New York/New Jersey like Frankie Rose, New Myths, Mevius, Dahl Haus, CITYGIRL, Skyler Skjelset (Fleet Foxes), The Natvral (Kip Berman from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), and Shana Falana (featuring Shana Falana).

Across musical history, comps have occasionally played a key role in defining the sound of a nascent genre or a new record label—like the Lenny Kaye-compiled Nuggets (1972) that set an early template for punk rock, or the 1988 Sub Pop 200 comp that was a who’s who of future grunge all-stars—and while Sub2Care isn’t strictly speaking a “label comp” since it’s made up of tracks donated by “artists who are close friends and family members of our label” quoting label head and co-founder Evan Mui, it’s still got a certain vibe or aesthetic, if you will, while being pretty darn eclectic at the same time.

I would prospectively call this vibe or aesthetic Twilight Music. By Twilight Music I mean songs that’ve got a certain hazy/dreamy/slightly off-kilter quality whether they’re upbeat or downbeat or mid-beat. And in this way it’s good music for putting on around twilight say when you’re pregaming for a Saturday night out (tracks #13 and 14 are two good examples: Smirk’s “Do You?” and Eternal Summers' “Belong”) or waking up Sunday morning trying to recall what happened the previous night (rewind to tracks #10-12: Four Dots’ “I Left My Heart Pump In San Francisco,” D.A. Stern’s “Funky Holocaust (Drunk Demo),” and Big Nitty’s “Chemical Plant”) or songs that fit equally well for either scenario (for example, tracks 32-34: Dahl Haus’ “Silhouettes and Alibis,” Black Needle Noise’s “And Nothing Remains,” Built Like Alaska’s “Ran Into A Coroner").

So throw a few bucks in the Bandcamp bin for Paul Is Dead Records if you like what you hear. And in return you may discover a new favorite artists or two--whether one of the ones mentioned/displayed here or some other deserving object of your musical admiration. (Jason Lee)









 








VIDEO: “It’s All Right” Finds DIY-er Tatiana Hazel Working on Herself

Photo Credit: Yanin Gzv

L.A.-based Chicago native Tatiana Hazel’s latest track/video, <i>It’s All Right</i>, is a preview of her latest EP (after 2020’s <i>Duality</i> EP), and it’s difficult not to enjoy the track’s laid-back danceable groove and breezy vocals, while also being touched by it’s casual honesty about facing mental health challenges.

At points throughout the song, Hazel delivers some sobering lines about facing ones mental illness as well as general disillusion with “truths” presented by the larger world: “maybe i should take a good look at myself / and mirror check on mental health / couldn’t be clearer that I’m not doing well, darlin’ / and maybe everything you told us was a lie / maybe all we gotta do is pass the time / maybe everything is gonna be all right.”

Ultimately, though, the chorus takes solace in the idea that, as crazy as this life can be, having someone who loves you along for the ride can make things somewhat more tolerable: “It’s all right / It’s all right / as long as I know that you love me / as long as you are thinking of me.”

Listeners will find Tatiana Hazel’s pleasingly unaffected voice similar to other electropop chanteuses such as Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso. However, if one looks past her admittedly polished, Top 40-ready public image, one will quickly realize that, with Hazel not just singing, but writing, producing, recording, mixing, and mastering all but one of her EPs tracks herself, she’s a one-person indie pop dynamo well on her way to bigger, better things. Gabe Hernandez

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