On Lo & Behold, Emil & Friends have assembled a pop album the way a mash-up DJ might piece together a mix. By incorporating a wide-reaching mélange of elements, the band has created a playful universe of sound where just about anything they can dream up goes.

 

See all Emil & Friends-related posts From track to track and within each track itself, the possibilities are... unpredictable. "Rain Check," with its groovy basslines and horns, could soundtrack a New York street party in the middle of a summer; "Mask Like Face" begins as a traditional indie pop track but explodes into digitized voice manipulations that cavort with strings and electronic blips. "C.U.P.I.D." rolls with modern hip-hop swagger yet bears proggy guitar breakdowns; "Flashback" starts off peacefully nostalgic but builds into a cheesy '80s guitar solo that disappears just as quickly as it appears. Listen to "Crystal Ball" - DOWNLOAD MP3

 

Although, the sophomore album from Ganglians opens with the perplexing dedication, "This is a sad sad song for all you sad sad people," it quickly becomes evident that the objective of the album is actually to brighten up lives with the right touch of reverb...

Peer through crystal balls and tunnel through holes full of religious iconography, facepaint, starry lights, and animation. This video for "Spacetime" is reminiscent of some kind of cross between shamanistic rituals, voodoo magick, and goofball schtick, just like these metaphysical-minded chumbawumbas. Simultaneously playful and deep,...

In the back of your mind, there exists a type of music that you've always wanted to hear but never seem able to peg down. You want it to be X and Y while still remaining Z. Every person has this formula, whether he admits...

A lot of barbs were thrown at James Blake on the run-up to his debut LP. Music critic Simon Reynolds playfully referred to Blake and his fellow soulboy bass-heads (i.e. Mount Kimbie, Jamie Woon) as 'blubstep.' A poster on a music forum quipped, "There's...

One of the more profound conclusions I've arrived at over the last several years involves acknowledging the hyper-potency emanating forth from works of art heavily influenced by various, yet seemingly disparate, spiritual disciplines. Rather than relying on a single monotheistic dogma, I've found that taking in the writings of say, Grant Morrison, or the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky -- which draw their inspiration from a tireless study of both ancient and new age concepts -- actually transforms my psychic reality in a surprisingly coherent manner that I once thought unimaginable. It's as if by triangulating data about exotic states of consciousness and reconfiguring them as entertainment, the artist is tapping into common and objective truths about the cerebral multiverse which possess the ability to impregnate my psyche with the ability to boldly transcend consensus reality.

Which brings me to Midday Veil's brilliant and much-anticipated studio full-length LP (well, as a full band anyway), Eyes All Around, which has a title and album art that pays tribute to The Thousand-Eyed God Within experience, which is one of the most commonly reported of psychedelic hallucinations. Since so many people, including myself, have experienced such eerily similar ecstatic visions over the last several thousand years, at what point do we, as a culture, have to acknowledge that they fall far beyond the veil of subjective hallucination? These are all pertinent questions, as our species rockets toward what Terrence Mckenna referred to as, "the great singularity," with an increasingly ferocious rapidity.

Listen to "Asymptote II" - DOWNLOAD MP3

Emil & Friends' new EP, Downed Economy, is perhaps best exemplified by its opening track and title track. Although the most upbeat track on the EP, "Downed Economy" shares similarities with the other songs by featuring an abundance of electronic sound clips, trickling into the...

At a little over five feet tall and barely over legal drinking age, the woman behind Zola Jesus, Nika Roza Danilova, wields surprising power. The release of her latest EP, Stridulum, has placed her in a strange position; she now finds herself opening for indie rock powerhouses like The xx, Wolf Parade, and Fever Ray, on tour dates throughout the world. The growth has been rapid, and Danilova has accumulated a diverse array of fans along the way. Those who are drawn to her beauty-meets-darkness, pop-meets-brutality style acknowledge readily that she has a presence. Even on a virtual front, she seems like an intimidating, powerful figure; her public-facing self is meticulously honed to a degree that makes her seem difficult to approach, but this image is very much an extension of the complexity of her as a person. Such complexity is what makes the music and aesthetic of Zola Jesus so fascinating.
Ostensibly, for instance, Zola Jesus may seem largely defined by gothic and industrial music and fashion. The music videos for "Night" and "Clay Bodies" feature, respectively, whopping doses of black nail polish and buildings with vaulted Gothic ceilings. But it is not simply a blind adherence to that aesthetic style that shapes the musical project; just as important -- if not more so -- are factors such as Danilova's schooling. She is double-majoring in French and Philosophy, and philosophical ideas lie very much at the core of Zola Jesus.

"Philosophy and any scholarly pursuits have a sort of osmotic influence on my music," she explains. "When I'm songwriting, I'm not pulling from anything specific other than my own person, impacted by all these forces collectively."

Listen to "Night" - DOWNLOAD MP3