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.

Keep Shelly in Athens At Home Cascine (2013) There are no shortage of bands stitching gauzy female vocals to muscular machine drums and effects-laden guitars. Bands like Nite Jewel, Chvrches and Pure Bathing Culture have been dominating mixtapes and airwaves for several years. What separates Keep Shelly in Athens from the pack? Are they sincere, or merely bandwagon-hopping? On their inaugural flight, At Home, Keep Shelly in Athens rummage through three decades of electronic sounds – the '80s, 90s, and '00s. But what could have ended up as an awkward patchwork of unrelated genres is instead the refinement of the ore of inspiration, into a polished gem of pop perfection.

Kwes. ilp. Warp Records Kwes.' new album, ilp., is an immersive experience. It begins with "purplehands", a soundscape created out of found and captured sounds that have been processed and manipulated, and then added to with lingering musical notes. An aural walk in an urban park, complete with honking geese and hissing swans, this track morphs to become a song that is laced with memory and experiences. Something of a protégé, Kwes., or Kwesi Sey, has worked with such musical luminaries as Bobby Womack, Damon Albarn and Micachu. However, in a touch that signifies this artist's commitment to the personal and private, the biographical material accompanying this release informs us that his musical journey was kickstarted by a gift of a keyboard from his grandmother. A keyboard that he still uses. I find this emphasis entirely appropriate: ilp. is an album of personal ballads. Touching, intimate, engaging but always surprising and intuitively odd, each track is like a memento. Backwards echoes and unconventional multilayering effects offset charming and traditionally framed tunes that are sung, sometimes in a crooning, sometimes in a soulful voice. Behind classic phrasing and homespun lyrics, a palette of tampered, tempered and distorted sounds make up the musical accompaniment. Whether it is the childhood sweetheart recollections of "rollerblades"; the elegant and apparently analogous songwriting of "cablecar"; or the gospel clap and soulful elegy to an out of reach beauty that is "flower" -- this combination of both "pop and mad sounds" delivers an album that is both highly listenable and unexpectedly strange, without ever becoming overly obtuse.

In honour of the Year of the Water Snake and the festival's ninth year running, Symbiosis Gathering 2013 took us to the stunning isolation of Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale, CA to lose ourselves in an unbeatable line-up, and to then find ourselves in poetry, trees, healing domes, sacred fires and endless dives into the lake (for which we are all grateful). With an emphasis on the magic of transformation, Symbiosis provided an enchanted space of bio-psycho-spiritual healing, environmental and sociocultural conscious learning, and a unique source of musical inspiration. Among the many loved and soon-to-be loved artists was the powerful voice of Lynx, the free-flowing explorations of Mount Kimbie, and the ever-passionate words of The Coup.
Photography by Setareh Vatan

Lynx

Out of the untamed medley of transcendental ritual and primal movement that coloured the ether emerged, like a wild cat to the stage, Lynx: a woman whose roar resonated with deep earthy sounds that, like any shamanic heartbeat, carried the audience into a trance. Lynx's style marries folk, electronica, and traces of indie pop with her own beat-boxing, into a highly satisfying cross-genre hybrid, arousing overwhelming appreciation from a crowd immersed in continuous proclamations of love. With her first album, October 2010's On The Horizon, this Bay Area-brewed artist has been charming the world with her strong vocals for some time, and yet my first taste of her at Symbiosis was certainly a highlight of the festival for me, as it no doubt was for many others. Lynx creates a raw, sensual atmosphere throughout songs that swing from downtempo to upbeat rhythms. Her lyrics evoke archetypal imagery of a profound feminine power. On The Horizon presents a magical copulation of the inner unconscious in a poetic dance with a surreal surface world, as Lynx sings of existential ruminations amid romantic sentiments in a lyrical journey that hints at a negotiation of the self. At a festival focused on the partnership between two states of being, Lynx reaches symbiotic perfection through both technical eclectic success and a smooth voice that seduces the audience into watery world balanced between the emotive and the physical, leaving the crowd soaked in enjoyment and hungry for more. Luckily for all of Lynx's pre-existing fans and the new ones she created at Symbiosis (such as myself), her new album, Light Up Your Lantern, will be released on October 22nd.

V V Brown has released three albums since 2009 -- but it is only now that she is making a foray into the independent music world. Freshly divorced from her former major label home, Capitol Records, V V Brown has recently found renewed strength in herself as an artist with her latest record, Samson & Delilah. Themed around the Biblical tale, which mirrors the themes of vulnerability, slavery, and freedom that led to her massive career change, Samson & Delilah also presents a sonic change into moodier and darker territories, where hints of The Knife echo through, replacing previous tendencies towards mainstream pop appeal. A bold new audio-visual approach accompanies the record as well, in the form of a dramatic, carefully-plotted fifteen-minute short film directed by Jessica Hughes. Comprised into three separate music videos, the film bears similarity to mesmerizing black and white Japanese classics by Akira Kurosawa or Masaki Kobayashi, while catching a mood not unlike that of Ingmar Bergman films. They're transportive from part to part, leaving viewers wondering about the terrains to be crossed next. In this Q&A interview about the creative process of the short film, V V Brown speaks of being inspired by geishas and noir, Biblical stories and archetypal characters -- and the feeling of finding one's own artistic voice.
"Samson and Delilah is a story about strength and weakness. It's about the pendulum between the two. The story for me conjured up the idea of empowerment and fragility. When Samson was deceived by his love and was in the wilderness discovering and finding himself, waiting for his hair to grow back, this represents times in my life I have felt lost creatively. Hair clipped and [with] a sense of vulnerability. Delilah was the deceiver. Samson represents the artist and Delilah represents the cooperation. The Artist can often loose the strength of their messages in the corporate arena, and my own record label exercises my freedom and new strength." - V V Brown

CMJ Music Marathon 2013 is the time of year when one runs through the streets of the Lower East Side, hopeful that you will be able to get into a jam-packed venue to see your favorite band -- or maybe discover a band that you haven't heard of will become your favorite band. It's also the time of year for those of us who are not 25 or under try (in vain) to re-live our wild partying years, and for those of us that are 25 and under to stay up until 4 AM partying with the band that is sleeping on our couch. CMJ 2013 is one of the last of the big festivals of the season, so make the most of this indie music feast for the senses! Here are some of our picks for bands to put on your "must see" list:

Father John Misty

Saturday October 19, 2013 10:00pm - 11:00pm @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th St. Brooklyn, NY 11249) Having recently seen Father John Misty at Newport Folk Fest, I can guarantee this will be a good time. Otherwise known as J. Tillman, he released his debut album under the Father John Misty moniker in 2012. He plays a blend of indie folk and alt-country that is alluring to even the staunchest anti-country music fan, especially those that are into the recent trend of the classic rock throwback. - Judy Nelson

 

Shy Girls

Wednesday October 16, 2013 9:45pm - 10:15pm @ Tammany Hall (152 Orchard St. New York, NY 10002) Thursday October 17, 2013 8:45pm - 9:15pm @ The Delancey (168 Delancey St. New York, NY 10002) A unique indie take on soul and R&B mixed with electronica, Shy Girls were just covered in our Top Pops! section here. The Portland based project of Dan Vidmar has amassed a ton of media attention West Coast, and will attempt to do the same here in NY during CMJ. - Judy Nelson

Moodoïd Moodoïd Entreprise (2013)Modooid - Moodoid Self-Titled EP Album Review In a genre as expansive and sonically promising as psych-pop, there is a lot of ground to cover. On his self-titled 4-track debut, Moodoïd, Parisian Pablo Padovani seems to have acknowledged that fact implicitly, and met the challenge ten-fold. What's most impressive about Moodoïd's debut EP is its ability to combine multiple genres seamlessly, through the quality, variety, and—most importantly—interactivity of its sounds. While relying on the spacey bed of synths and ambient vocals characteristic of psychedelic music, Moodoïd invites other genres into its sphere, including pop, punk, grunge, and experimental, through nostalgic vocals, groovy percussion, heavy instrumentation, and irregular song patterns. "Je suis la montagne" ("I Am The Mountain"), Moodoïd's stunning opener, encapsulates many of the EP's strengths: crisp, echoey percussion that punctuates a fun, repetitious psychedelic loop, along with the driving force of grunge-y electric guitar licks. And though the EP's experimental influences make for rich patches of nightmarish or wild descent, they are in no way overpowering or alienating.
Making of Moodoïd's "Je Suis la Montagne" Music Video, w/ Interviews in French & English

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of indie pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you on your dancing toes. Glasser graces us with her audio-visual explorations, Shy Girls croon their way into new hearts, CFCF gets slightly less theoretical, and more from Tezeo, Weird Owl, Club 8, Bam Spacey, and Hollow & Akimbo.
+++ FULL POST + ALL TOP POPS! COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

Glasser - "Shape"

There are some artists I've seen live and, as a result, began to trust with utmost faith. Cameron Mesirow is one of those artists -- and this trust lies firstly in her live demeanor, secondly in her artistic style and collaborative pieces, and thirdly in her music on its own. There's a sense of neo-spiritual strength in Mesirow's live energy and the way she holds her head up high that is truly respectable, and a new Glasser album has been something I've been excitedly awaiting since the release of 2010's Ring. Interiors will be out this October on True Panther Sounds and will incorporate a number of exciting audio-visual projects, which we will get into more in-depth next month with our interview with Glasser. For now, the album's first single, "Shape", combines the same sense of mature groove and wind-blown seaside whimsy that Ring incorporated; and the lyrics are entrancing throughout, but it is with the lines, "In the light of the truth all I can do is bow," that the force that is Glasser shines through. Music video visuals by Jonathan Turner. While we're at it, let's also talk about the operatic vocals of "Design", which slip and slide over a rotating landscapes of minimal synthlines and drum exchanges. There is so much to love in this track -- and somehow the slithering sexuality of this music video, also directed by Jonathan Turner, makes perfect sense to me. Says Glasser about the piece: "I'm chasing after the next feeling. 'Design' is probably my favorite piece that I have ever written. It's a moment of joy that exists in the anticipation of ecstasy. Which is the better feeling? Both are delicious phantoms that we'll only ever glimpse again upon reflection of a new experience. This is my best attempt so far of trying on the phantom, wearing it as my clothes, possessing it as my own object." GLASSER - INTERIORS TRACKLISTING 1. Shape 2. Design 3. Landscape 4. Forge 5. Window I 6. Keam Theme 7. Exposure 8. Dissect 9. Window iii 10. Window ii 11. New Year 12. Divide
"I like music where you're not thinking about what a specific instrument is... an instrument-less quality. It doesn't come from a band, but from a whisper in the wind." - Cameron Mesirow of Glasser, of her upcoming record, Interiors

Tripping over sonic palates with spacey, soaring melodies that embrace the essence of pop in all its purposely dated glory, British electropop artist Little Boots returned earlier this year with her sophomore effort Nocturnes. Since then, the record has run through a number of hands for raucous remix treatment, beginning with a wonderfully hypnotic and dubby remix of "Broken Record" by the record's producer and DFA's co-founder Tim Goldsworthy. "Satellite" followed, with an entire accompanying package featuring remixes by Escort, Lindstrom, and John Dahlback, thus beginning the exploration of all possible club-ready territories Nocturnes could possibly offer.
Fast-forward to today -- and in the name of helping out the family, DFA's Larry Gus has offered up his own take on Little Boots' latest single, "Crescendo". Highlighting the track's already unique sound, Gus transforms "Crescendo"'s original percussion and chord-driven foundation into a melty bed of synths, vocals, and tribal drumming, topped with cascading electronic sounds and -- of course -- re-tooled samplings of Little Boots' clear, sing-song-y vocals. The resulting track retains the song's original light-heartedness, while combining it with the vague, exciting feeling of a skipped record and an eclectic collection of regional sounds and styles. See more Little Boots media after the jump, or enter below to win tickets to see her live in Seattle and Portland this week!

Little Boots - "Crescendo" (Larry Gus Remix)

WIN TICKETS TO SEE LITTLE BOOTS LIVE IN SEATTLE & PORTLAND THIS WEEK! LITTLE BOOTS TOUR DATES 9/22: Costa Mesa, CA @ Constellation Room 9/23: Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour 9/24: San Francisco, CA @ The Independent 9/26: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ MDNR 9/27: Seattle, WA @ Decibel Fest w/ Light Asylum, Young Galaxy, MNDR 9/28: Vancouver, BC @ Fivesixty 11/8: Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest

Try as I might, it was hard not to see every artistic choice that surrounded the first Portland appearance by Body/Head as a reaction to the divorce of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. There was the steadily unrolling video - directed by longtime Sonic Youth collaborator Richard Kern - that accompanied the hour-long performance. The slow motion clips cut between a man (actor James Ransone, best known for his work as Ziggy in season two of The Wire) and a woman who draw closer and closer in the space of an art studio. At one point, Ransone is on top of the young woman, straddling her as he takes her photograph. But by the end, the woman is alone, making art of her own creation, spreading black paint on a canvas by way of a nylon stocking.