"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles.

Psychic Twin

This adorable single from Illinois pop duo Psychic Twin comes as a part of Lefse Records' upcoming 7" series, which begins June 26th. Psychic Twin are kicking off the series with "Gonna Get Her" b/w "Deepest Part". May the reverb-laden, echoey vocals of vocalist Erin Fein whirl into your brainnnnnn as they remind you about the temporary, transient nature of all things and the importance of letting go. Each single will be limited to 500 copies, and will also be made available digitally. The next installments will include artists like Field Mouse, Sun Glitters, Mister Lies, an electronic side project of Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, and Big Search (Matt Popieluch of Fools Gold/Foreign Born).

 

Pre-order entire 7" Series From Lefse Records

 

Chicago-based illustrator and artist Jacob Van Loon has recently taken inspiration from the films of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. Two of Van Loon's latest pieces, The Moguls (Stalker) and Let Alone A Planet (Solaris) -- named after two Tarkovsky films of the same name -- are chaotic and multi-layered mixed media works inspired by the content, moods, and color palettes of those films. "I can't think of a director who has done more with film as a medium," says Van Loon of Tarkovsky. "I was dealing with the assignment of dense conceptual material during the painting process. I found it easier to speculate on the latent aspects of both films; the psychological confrontations posed by the pace, sound, and color." Though Van Loon readily admits that both films felt initially inaccessible to him, the Q&A below will show how repeat viewings led to the gelling of his artistic style with philosophical and psychological interpretations of Tarkovsky's themes.

(TOP) The Moguls (Stalker) Diptych 24"x40"; (BOTTOM) The Moguls (Stalker) Detail - Watercolor, graphite View entire Stalker Series On Jacob Van Loon's Website

 

MADNESS! A recurring series of audio WTFs and head-twitching, spine-tingling experimental fun (k)icks.

Giant Claw

Giant Claw's limited edition 12" will soon be released through Wool Recordings! For your easy listening enjoyment are four songs from release, now available digitally. More of their albums, complete with marvelous album cover artwork, are available on their Bandcamp. For a four-dimensional experiment in listening amusement, take such amusingly-named tracks as "Hobo-Cop" and "Spirit Heal Me" and custom-tailor them to a narrative of your own choosing, as devised in your mind's eye! The results are guaranteed to be cinematic in the most bizarre of '80s-sci-fi-meets-stoner-late-night-TV ways.

 

Buy from Wool Recordings

 

By way of Seattle and San Diego, artist Ian Ferguson seems to finally have hit his artistic stride amidst the urban rawness of Chicago. This documentary takes a quick glance at the new direction of his works -- with a special focus on large-scale works,...

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Apteka - Gargoyle Days
Despite never having met one another, Portland designer Dylan McConnell and Chicago's Apteka have grown a well-fitting artistic relationship through the years. McConnell's album cover for Gargoyle Days may be their most gripping collaboration yet.

QUOTES FROM: DYLAN MCCONNELL, DESIGNER ADAM LUCAS, APTEKA'S GUITARIST AND VOCALIST THEMES & CONCEPTS "We had worked with a sorta paranoid, dark op-art theme in the past for posters and albums (with a brief interlude of lopping off girls' heads). High contrast and fluid -- that's what I was going for." - Dylan McConnell COLLABORATION "We've been working with Dylan pretty much since the band formed. He's done all our cover art, and most all of our show posters so far. Things clicked from the beginning. He just has a knack of taking what we're doing musically and expressing it in a visual way. The funniest part is that we've never really met. He lives in Portland, and we're in Chicago. A mutual friend turned us on to him, but we've never had the chance to meet in person. It's all been through email. Which is kind of a weird way to communicate artistic intentions, but somehow it works, and he’s become this mysterious fifth member of the group." - Adam Lucas Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Dylan McConnell Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital, Typography (hand-drawn)

September 2012 In this music video for "Endless Summer", grit, dirt, and color intermix to play hokey pokey with minorly morbid imagery, mundane shots, and glitter. May 2011 When it comes to the genre of "garage rock," most listeners take the "been there, done that" attitude. It's just...

Other Electricities is from Miami, FL. Initially, we launched in Portland, OR in 2006 and before we knew it, we'd traveled around the world in a sense -- releasing sounds from international artists. Since we never stuck to one genre over another, our artists not only span the globe but span sonic styles and approaches. Thanks to Vivian Hua and Redefine Magazine for doing what they do and supporting us from the very beginning. We hope there's a little something for everyone in this mixtape. Many thanks to Tom & Tiffany Dorsey, Jet, Aaron Powers, the Sweat Records crew, Carl Saff, Jeff Brunetto, Patrick Ethridge, Jules, Kristin Bradshaw, Sabrina Heath, Matt Phillips, Laura Becker and everyone else who's been a part of O.E. in some way. Curated by Emile Milgrim, Owner and Co-Founder of Other Electricities

This groovy YAWN video somehow has 11.2K views and probably doesn't need our journalistic help whatsoever, buuuuut it needs to be written about anyway. For starters, the video tells you to: "give into the trance," to "not be afraid," to, "focus on the experience," and...

Listening to Scattered Trees' latest album, Sympathy, has been a curious experience for me. The same disc, under different settings and different circumstances, has been at times nerve-wracking and at times wonderful.

Now the obvious critique I'm sure most people would offer in regards to a band like Chicago's Secret Colours would be: lack of originality, plain and simple. But since this is tasty psych/garage stuff, I'm not even going to waste my time with any of...