Jupe Jupe - Kelsey Kerrigan - Wild Ones - Robots With Rayguns - Loyal Lobos

Jupe Jupe - Faith In What You Hear.

Background - Jupe Jupe creates dark and danceable pop music layered with crooning vocals, atmospheric synths, shivering guitars, and driving beats. 

The Seattle quartet offers a collection of melancholy, hook-laden textures in its latest release, Lonely Creatures—10 hauntingly striking songs about isolation, fate, internal struggle, and technology gone awry. Each tune draws inspiration from electropop, post-punk, and ghostly Americana.

The band spent over two years crafting each song on Lonely Creatures before joining producer Matt Bayles at Red Room Recording in Seattle, Washington. A former member of Minus the Bear, Bayles has produced and mixed a number of seminal albums by Botch, Mastodon, Murder City Devils, Minus the Bear, Russian Circles, These Arms are Snakes, The Blood Brothers, and many more.

Since forming in 2010, Jupe Jupe has released three original full-length albums: Invaders, Reduction in Drag, and Crooked Kisses. The group also teamed up with a variety of renowned artists/producers for the remix album, Cut Up Kisses (featuring Lusine, Mike Simonetti, Rick G. Nelson, Erik Blood, Head Like a Kite, and more).Website here, Facebook here.

The first of ten tracks on the 'Lonely Creatures album is 'Faith In What You Hear'. It typifies the bands core sound, however there is some more stripped back material alongside a couple of more intense and darker sounding pieces. Overall though, this is a pleasing and hook filled collection of songs, delivered with some very fine musicianship.


Kelsey Kerrigan - Driving Around.

Background - At a very young age, singer-songwriter and producer Kerrigan would escape to a creative dimension to dissect recordings, and, later, write songs. Few outside her private sphere knew her promise as a songwriter, singer, and producer. It would take chance meetings with music icons Glyn Johns (The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Clash) and Ryan Adams for Kerrigan and her family to understand the depth of her gifts and vision. Now, Kerrigan emerges with a masterful debut of romantic post-punk. 

Kerrigan’s path revealed itself after high school. When it came time for college, the debate at home came down to Kerrigan wanting to attend a two-year production program at Los Angeles Recording School, but her father preferring she be more cautious and enroll in a traditional college. The stalemate ended with a visit from legendary producers David Anderle (Frank Zappa, The Doors, Love) and Glyn Johns. Upon hearing Kerrigan’s music, they were flabbergasted and Glyn Johns gushed, “Don’t let anyone touch your music!” Kerrigan earned her right to attend to LARS. 

Her fate would shift even more when Johns invited her to the famed Sunset Sound Recorders. There she met Ryan Adams, who on the spot, asked Kerrigan to perform some of her music. She fumbled a bit, but he sensed her raw talent and would informally mentor her for the next two years. “He really believed in me,” Kerrigan says. “I would send him really rough recordings, and he took it seriously and told me to keep going. It inspired me to dive fully into songwriting.”

The opportunity to possibly record her album would come at an inopportune time. “One day, Ryan texted me while I was in class. He said: ‘My friend Johnny is here in the studio only for a few hours. You have to come now,’” she recalls. “I just got up and left class. When I got there, Ryan said: ‘If there is anybody who should produce you, it’s this guy,’ and then he got up and left.” 

Ryan was spot on. Johnny T. Yerington and Gus Oberg assembled a cadre of perfectly cast musicians, and all studio personnel studied Kerrigan’s playlists of new wave, post-punk, goth and punk.  The resulting album is a stunner. Thematically, the album has a dark humor and emotionality. “When I am inspired to write, it’s often about being interested in someone I can’t be with, fated love. There is torment there because I can’t be honest either because I don’t want to hurt somebody or I don’t want to get hurt,” she confides. “The songs are where I can always put my honesty.” 

The album is a lean, no-filler release brimming with an invigorating pop sensibility thoughtfully complemented by quick-wittedness and sincerity. The elementally elegant, “Good Times” recalls almost a Morrissey-esque quandary where the good times are heartbreaking, but still the good times never felt and sounded so good. The winsome beauty of “So What” grapples with a friend’s suicide. The piano ballad “A Good Reason” with simple stateliness frames Kerrigan’s singing, allowing the expressive dynamics of her voice to gloriously course through the song unencumbered. The shivery beauty of “Haunted House” vibes symphonic goth with layers of spidery counter melodies. Website here.

'Driving Around' is a fabulous song where the band are stunning and Kelsey Kerrigan's  melodic vocals beautifully matched. On the strength of this one very catchy track, the album is a must hear.


Wild Ones - Paresthesia.

Background - Portland, OR band Wild Ones has announced their new album, Mirror Touch, out October 6th, 2017 via Topshelf Records. Vocalist Danielle Sullivan says of the first single, "Paresthesia refers to a time in my life when anxiety was ruling my mind. I was withdrawing from friends, wasn't leaving my house, and had stopped engaging with the world outside. The song explores strained love in the context of manifested fear."

Wild Ones delve into the bliss and burden that musicians are tasked with today: create work that captures your spirit, but do it without selling your soul. Self-produced and recorded, they walk the line of DIY oddity and polished pop sheen. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the band combines the talents of lead vocalist Danielle Sullivan, keyboardist Thomas Himes, drummer Seve Sheldon, guitarist Nick Vicario and bassist Max Stein. Growing up on Cocteau Twins and En Vogue, their sound is a mash of R&B synths, muted guitar, and somber vocal melodies. After 7 years together, they've hit their stride in creating work that poses questions about art and authenticity.

Mirror Touch, the band’s latest record releasing in October 2017 via Topshelf Records, explores spaces of isolation, loneliness and how it feels when the line between self and other becomes blurred. The record title refers to the condition "Mirror Touch Synesthesia" and the physiological experience of empathy. How can you know yourself, when in public you become everyone else? The songs explore the quest to maintain artistic self-integrity in an industry that seeks to homogenize. Solitary in their process of collaboration, Himes and Vicario produce the music, while Sullivan crafts lyrics and melodies, their attempt at self-preservation against the ever-changing expectations of what music should or should not be. Combining their style of upbeat melodies with a backdrop of darker lyrical themes, an inquiry into their artistic process ultimately reflects a balance between earnest head nods to their favorite sounds with a fierce loyalty to their own sense of self. Website here, Facebook here.

Opening with a textured synth sound 'Paresthesia' quickly develops into a sprightly upbeat track. The vocals add the melody as they seemingly dance above the soundtrack, on this very engaging song.


Robots With Rayguns - Memories (feat Carl Gershon).

Background - Phoenix, AZ-based Synthwave impresario Lucas Patrick Smith, aka Robots with Rayguns, crafts the kind of sunbaked retro pop that perfectly suites West Coast 80’s iconography. Blending modern dance elements like EDM, breakbeat and house with tastefully chopped and pitched vocals, RWR has established a unique tongue-in-cheek electropop aesthetic that’s connected with both new music junkies and the retro revivalists who frequent arcade bars and yearn for classic 80’s vibes, cars and movies.

RWR was one of the first artists to leverage his music by crafting un-official remixes for marquee artists. His debut release, Electro Isn’t Dead, hit in 2010 and its infectious single “Sugarbaby” became popular in the hypem blogosphere with mentions from MTV and Indie Shuffle. The songs fate was sealed via an endorsement tweet from none other than Taylor Swift who also solicited one of RWR hot pink tees. Lucas followed up his debut with official remixes for other synthpop acts like Frankmusik and Color Theory, collaborations with upstarts such as TT The Artist (Diplo, Bauer) and unconventional distribution bundles with BitTorrent and Groupees.

As the time came to record a new album, Lucas felt a slight change in pace was in order… literally. His fifth full length LP, Slow Jams (due out September 2017), is entirely composed of slow to mid-tempo, blistering ballad tracks. A collection of sparkling, synth imbued, mellow vibes that manages to come across as both sexy and bittersweet. Slow Jams with be released digitally and on cassette – a format that Smith asserts “lends to the experience of popping it in and listening to it in its entirety.” Website here, Facebook here.

We are soon into a rich array of sweeping synth's on 'Memories' providing a perfect backdrop for some notable and compelling vocals. The song smoothly flows along, dropping a considerable number of hooks as it builds into a more powerful piece.


Loyal Lobos - The Fall.

Background - Heartbreak breeds many things, few of which could be filed under the “good stuff” column- tears, Oreo addictions, questionable hookups, impulsive bangs. And yet, sometimes a heartbreak, and the relationship that preceeded it, can signify a shift, a pivot, some change in the fundamental direction of a life. Perhaps hearts don’t break after all; perhaps they just change directions.  

Such was the case with Loyal Lobos, the nom de musique of Bogotá native Andrea Silva. An entanglement with a Nashville man frayed, then snapped. Silva was left heartbroken, but in the midst of her sadness, inspiration struck. She set aside her previous musical projects and dove headfirst into guitar-driven folk music. In the ruins of a relationship, Loyal Lobos was born.

The seeds of Loyal Lobos were planted in Silva’s childhood in Colombia. Years spent steeped in her parents jazz records imparted a flair for melody. Growing up in a culture that prized machismo and conventional female beauty fostered a desire to empower women. A series of childhood performances gave her the confidence to perform. And finally, a the decision to attend music school in the US cemented it all.

Loyal Lobos’ music lives in the liminal space between folk, rock and country. Abandoning the synth-pop leanings of her earlier music for something more , Silva’s output as Loyal Lobos finds her stripping everything away. Armed with a guitar and a sinuous voice (and some occasional backup), Loyal Lobos presents delicately transcribed missives from Silva’s most internal worlds. She deliberately orients her songs, she tells me, in a place of sadness, of yearning, of emotional semi-darkness. “There’s such beauty in sadness,” she tells me. “People forget that. There has to be darkness for there to also be light.” Taking the confessional lyricism of singer-songwriters like Elliot Smith, and infusing it with her penchant for haunting melodies, Loyal Lobos sets out to create a synthesis of music and lyrics, and ultimately chart the unexplored recess of human feeling.

In September, Silva will release The Fall, a warm, intricate collection of melancholic folk songs, and her debut EP. The Fall focuses, naturally, on heartbreak, an experience Silva points out is both universal and deeply specific. The title track and debut single showcases both the vibrancy of Silva's voice and her capability for nuance. It's a song that makes loss seem like an appropriate object of nostalgia, that makes that heartbroken hair decision seem less awful and more like something to treasured. After all, as The Fall and Loyal Lobos remind us, heartbreaks aren't all bad. Sometimes they're pivot points- moments in which we change the course of what we're doing in search of something great, in which our destinies become malleable enough to change them. Facebook here.

'The Fall' is already proving popular, which is well deserved. This is a powerful and beautiful song where the rapid tempo works so well with Andrea Silva's appealing and dreamy vocals.