Catharsis — the expression and venting of powerfully felt emotions thru intense artistic practice — is the fundamental principle of great drama, and the focus of Giek_1's EP, Escape. The titular escape resonates on many levels: the artist's past escapism thru the use of hard drugs, her escape from a...

Litanic Mask - Vampire Album Review
On Vampire, the second LP from gothy Portland synthpop band Litanic Mask, the trio draw upon vampire mythology to comment on the inability of people to connect. Like their name, a Litanic Mask is a thin veil, separating the viewer from the viewed, while giving a ritualistic flair. In this case, the porcelain shield would be the sound walls of noisemakers Mark Burden and Andrea Kulish, whose pounding beats, pulsing synths and melodic keyboards make rays of light in the darkness, through which vocalist Kenna Jean swims in and out of focus. While she sings, "All I wanted was to see/ Your reflection in my mirror", you get the sense that it might be she, and not the other person, who vanishes into smoke when you look.
In this stop-motion animation for Pure Bathing Culture's "Dream The Dare", director Hayley Morris -- along with illustration help from Caleb Wood -- turns what PBC describe as "psychedelic emotional imagery" into psychedelic visual imagery. Full of colors soft and bold, an array of whirling geometric shapes and hand-drawn projections comprise landscapes that are ever-mutating, as a raven flies about in its dreamy world. Below, Pure Bathing Culture and Morris share details about the intention behind this track and video, as well as its mythological inspiration and technical details.

Hayley Morris (Director)

Pure Bathing Culture (Musician)

How did your collaboration first come to form, and throughout the process, how much of an exchange of ideas was there?
Hayley Morris (Director)
Sean Pecknold, who made Pure Bathing Culture's music video for "Ivory Coast", was nice enough to recommend me for the "Dream the Dare" video. I loved the "Ivory Coast" video and song and was really excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Pure Bathing Culture on this video. I love their music. Dan and Sarah were fantastic to work with. They were drawn to the color palettes I use in my work and the dreamy and somewhat psychedelic imagery from my past videos. They were interested in having me bring this aesthetic into the "Dream the Dare" video. Dan and Sarah also felt that having a hopeful message was very important. From these initial guidelines I formed the idea and developed the style. Once I started production, the band trusted me to do my thing.
Pure Bathing Culture (Musician)
Our friend Sean Pecknold, who is an amazing director and animator as well -- and who directed the video for our song "Ivory Coast" -- shared Hayley's amazing video for the Iron and Wine song "Joy" with us. It's such a beautiful video. We immediately knew that we wanted to work with her. We had one initial conversation with Hayley where we shared a very rough stream of consciousness theme involving the crow, and she completely understood and took it from there. She was communicative about her ideas throughout the process, all of which we loved.
BRAIDS Flourish//Perish Arbutus Records Montreal-based indie band BRAIDS make music that one rarely encounters: music that is meant to be processed and digested, bit by bit, as opposed to gulped down in one large bite. BRAIDS' 2011 debut Native Speaker was a lush, layered, complex swirl of dreamy melodies, and while their sophomore album Flourish//Perish has a similar feeling, it is a longer record that allows for expansion upon their sound. Aside from the vague comparisons to post-rock/shoegaze/indie pop, it is difficult to put specific genre categorizations on BRAIDS. Each song on Flourish//Perish has its own tone and tenor, making it a bit hard to conceptualize; the overall effect is delicate, intricate, at times jarring, and alternately soothing.
Pure Bathing Culture Moon Tides Partisan Records (2013) Moon Tides is dreamy atmospheric pop, swathed in romantic reverb, but what does this predilection towards cavernous sounds say about our current obsessions? Pure Bathing Culture reflect a number of themes of the indie underground like a crystal ball, that are easily missed or ignored with cursory reductive listening. There's more going on here. Moon Tides takes steps towards defining the spirit of 2013 -- or one manifestation of it, anyway. First of all, let's look at the fact that Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille transplanted to Portland, OR from Brooklyn in 2011, after playing together in the retroactive folk rock band Vetiver. This reflects the cultural shift away from industry and big business, as Brooklyn was the place to make it during the 2000s. This westward push shows a growing interest in mysticism, meditation, quiet simple enjoyment of life and of nature. It shows Portland's increasing role as a cultural mecca, for a particular type of person. No one has named this westward push, and as such, it still has interest and potency. Even though they haven't been there that long, Pure Bathing Culture are quintessentially Portland, and are a useful lens through which to notice things going on here in the Northwest. They are a gender-balanced duo, which is something you see a lot of here in the City Of Roses. They transubstantiate the mood of '60s mysticism (Moon Tides features themes about astrology, crystals, tarot cards), and place them in a modern context. You could interpret Pure Bathing Culture departing Vetiver as the culture leaving behind '70s psych folk wanderings, the freak folk of the 2000s, and stepping into the '80s. Moon Tides reflects what people like, what people are like, what we all gravitate towards.

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you funkeh. +++ FULL POST + TOP POPS! COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS Empress Of - Systems EP (Terrible Records) Brooklyn-based Empress Of is picking up...

CASCINE: The Sound of Escape Now

This mixtape is an ode to the tender elegance and unbridled wanderlust of every springtime renewal. It's our way of saying: goodbye endless winter, hello brand new sunshine. Music for floating overseas through seasons of change, following the cyan expanses, or just heading out to the open sky. This is the sound of innocence won back. Take a deep breath, and jump right in. Curation and descriptions by Sandra Croft, Cascine's publicist.

www.cascine.us

 

Julian Lynch Lines Underwater Peoples (2013) As somebody who studies ethnomusicology at a major university, a scholarly pursuit I assumed was long since dead, Julian Lynch is probably more qualified to being writing this review than myself. His dedication to music both in regards to society and history is admirable, but it is Lynch's own musical output that he will eventually enshrine him as memorable in a larger sense. On Lines, Lynch's sixth solo album, it is not as though the singer-songwriter/composer has approached the process in any appreciably different way, but the outcome here is vastly different than past efforts. Be it on Mare, Orange You Glad or even his spare tracks for old Underwater Peoples compilations, Lynch has been nothing if not consistent in the way he tweaks his sound and his vision per each album. It remains simple enough to pinpoint the Madison, WI. resident's sound, yet from record to record his noise never grew tiresome. Lines is by no means a pop record, no matter how convoluted the term has become in recent years, but Lynch finally seems willing to open up his sound to more rhythmic, sonically pleasing patterns. The result is a record that doesn't drain the listener mentally or emotionally quite as much as Lynch's earlier work, yet it retains much of what makes him so endlessly fascinating as an artist.

 

Misfit Mod Islands & Islands Stars & Letters The unfortunate burden that Portishead has to bear with being an innovator is the multitude of bands that have subsequently been trying to imitate their sound. In keeping with the Portishead reference, there is something about Sarah Ann Kelleher's (who moniker is Misfit Mod) debut album Islands & Islands that just sounds dated, like she's trying to revive a scene that everyone has already moved on from. It just gives me the feeling that I'm back in the UK in 1998, and she's playing at a bar.