Brooklyn experimental pop rock quartet Conveyor are known for many things: intricate, interlocking rhythms, a delightfully quirky stage presence, a healthy reverence for the early rock n’ roll style like Buddy Holly & Crickets; but one thing Conveyor aren’t known for is being soft. And yet that’s exactly what the foursome bring to the table with their latest 4 song ANI MAG EP. Since the release of their debut full length self-titled album back in 2012, Conveyor have essentially embarked on a musical journey rather unlike what you’d expect from an up and coming band. Releasing, late last year, a 7″ which explored their musical id in fuzzy, garage-inspired wall of sound as well as a soundtrack of sorts of for George Lucas’ THX 1138.
The ANI MAG EP essentially functions as an acoustic detour for the band. While not entirely giving up their rhythmic complexity or vibrant melodies, strips back those layers and offers a candid look at the band’s creative process. “Wry Thing” is a shuffling amble that gives a glimpse into Conveyor’s rarely displayed emotionally resonant core. TJ Masters’ voice is incredibly well-suited for this down tempo turn; careful and caressing even as his lyrics hint at a potentially darker turn. Conveyor have always been one of those bands in which each and every part of a song’s composition aids not only in conveying the full idea of a song but in how exactly the listener consumes it and stripped free of all accoutrements, that fact has never been more obvious.
There’s a layer of subtext beneath both the lyrics themselves and Masters’ genteel delivery that you almost hope to be flushed out. And yet, “Wry Thing”, in its in ANI MAG configuration, never quite offers that. Instead of expanding upon its mysteries, it merely floats them out into the universe at a safe distant for consumption/pondering. Even in its sort of less-is-more experiments, Conveyor manages a deft emotional layering that’s as impressive as it is frustrating and so absolutely characteristically Conveyor.
Conveyor’s ANI MAG EP is out now and available exclusively as a digital download here.
After releasing what is without a doubt their strongest record last year in sophomore effort Animals in the Median, Portland synth pop quintet Radiation City went right back to it (with a little help from their fans via Kickstarter) to work on a third album. While they’re more or less putting the finishing touches on the John Vanderslice produced album, they’ve decided to sate the curious/ravenous with a bit of a taster of their efforts: first with a nearly three minute snippet megamix and now with b-side “Stutter”.
With “Stutter”, Radiation City are very much in their element; still casually incorporating their various influences and inspirations in a way that’s reflective of pop but not quite so easily defined. “Stutter” essentially exists in two parts divided pretty much by the handing off of lead vocals – from Cameron Spies’ sparsely accompanied parlando to Lizzy Ellison’s Little Dragon-esque melisma. They fivesome manage to cover quite a bit of ground in the track’s four and a half minute duration; manipulating the track’s momentum a number of times to keep things interesting and relying on an understated EDM feel. It’s the rare Radiation City track where you’re not entirely sure what each member is up to in the track’s context but there’s no doubt a hell of a lot going on that the band manages to downplay surprisingly well.
While it’s not entirely indicative of just what Radiation City will be pursuing on the new album, it is a good indicator that the spirit of exploration is still alive and well with the band as they offer up a track that references familiar tones but otherwise experiments with new sounds.
With “Good Laugh” and “It’s Time They Know” released earlier this year, Wilmington’s Dyev unleashed a distinctive brand of exuberant, kaleidoscopic experimental pop that managed to capture bedroom-pop intimacy and hit-seeking production. Despite its manifold construction and evolution, Dyev’s tracks were surprisingly easy to follow. “Graphiti”, his latest track, more or less continues his ability for balancing frenetically charged melodies with a casual pacing. But where the energy levels in previous tracks seems buoyant and fun, “Graphiti” surges forward with a sense of foreboding and malaise. And despite the pervasive sense of doom, “Graphiti” still contains some absolutely ear-catching moments of pop songcraft soaring over the big beat percussion and intricately needling layers.
I’m a straight sucker for piano punching songstresses–like Fiona Apple, Nicole Miglis (of Hundred Waters), requisite Regina Spektor, occasional Joanna Newsom–so this gorgeously sparse cut from New Orleans tinkerer Julie Odell sets my soul aflutter:
The piano is lovely, Odell’s vocal layers tend to brush gorgeously against each other, like a polished Joanna Newsom against her earlier work, but it’s the lyrics that really grab me. I even transcribed them because I couldn’t find them anywhere.
Odell’s narrator reaches out to an unknown friend or mentor who’s looking sapped of joy and bereft of hope: “Your eyes are sunken like old buried treasure / Lost deep in the ocean, no sweet hidden pleasure.” Empath that she is, perhaps fellow sufferer of his anomie, she begs for his tales to be told, his stories shared, praising the sometimes-comfort found in the darkest depths of human connection:
‘Cause all that we have to build up our spirits
Are mysteries and stories; please tell us, we’ll listen!
There will be no judgments no shameful discretions,
Just self-soothing phrases and tongues that touch heaven
I won’t ruin the rest with commentary, but we’ve all been there, and Odell captures both sides perfectly.
Check out the full lyrics after the jump if you’re interested »
Knock the last of the fuzzy Mondays from your overworked, underpaid, wayunderslept mind with this idyllic little psych-jam from across the pond. YOOFS is a pair of space cadets from Bournemouth who use some kind of dark magic and wormhole spirits to channel psych-pop straight out of John Lennon acid-trickled vocal chords. They’ve usually got some proggy elements and maybe those will feature at a later date… but today is a fucking Monday, and today calls for a pulling-the-sun-kist-blanket-over-your-face-for-a-few-more-uninterrupted-moments-of-baby-good-sleep sort of bliss: