An Interview with Little Comets

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I’m thrilled to give you all this post! Little Comets, an English indie-rock band that formed in 2008, have been one of my favorite bands since high school. I’m ecstatic to have interviewed lead singer, Rob Coles, for my blog.

Little Comets, made up of brothers Rob and Michael Coles, plus friends Matthew Hall, Matt Saxon, and Nathan Greene, released their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets in 2011. The next year, the band released their second album, Life is Elsewhere, (my favorite!) under Dirty Hit records. If you’re unfamiliar with Dirty Hit, they’re an award-winning, British, independent label (and happen to be my favorite record label), whose artists include The 1975, Pale Waves, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and more. Little Comets were signed with Dirty Hit until 2017. They independently released their third album, Worhead, that same year.

Matty Healy of The 1975 mentioned his friendship with the guys in an 2013 interview.  Little Comets even helped produce some of The 1975’s early tracks.

“Little Comets took us out on the road when we were in our very embryonic stages of our old band and just let us open up for them. We started getting fans off the back of that…Then they helped us produce ‘Sex’ the song, and ‘You,'” -Matty Healy

I discovered Little Comets in 2013 when they performed a show at a small, intimate venue in Portland. I got tickets to the show out of curiosity, and after just a few minutes, I fell in love with the band’s unique sound. Echoey, driving drums, beachy guitar riffs and vivid lyrics that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…that’s Little Comets.

Little Comets started out by playing small college gigs, cafes, and other unusual venues in the UK. Since then, the guys have come a long way. Just this last year, the band teamed up with Catfish and the Bottlemen (another fave band of mine) for a sold-out arena tour. After that, the band spent the winter writing and working on new music in none other than singer Frank Sinatra’s former summer home in California! These days, album number five is in the works, and the guys are planning out their next tour–it will be the first time they’ve hit the road in two years.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how Little Comets got started. Have you all been involved in music-related projects since you were young?

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Little Comets (Rob Coles): Mickey are I brothers, so we’ve been writing songs in the house since we were very little. Once we’d finished Uni, we decided to see if we could make a living out of being creative, musically, so we set about finding other musicians to form a band. That was the start of Little Comets with Mark (our original drummer), and Matt, our bassist.

APP: One of my favorite songs of yours is “Bridge Burn.” It’s a super special song for me and a few friends. Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?

RC: Ah thanks, that’s nice to hear! That’s a song I wrote in my bedroom while Mickey was mixing songs for our second album. I kind of wrote/recorded it roughly and had lots of lyrics almost immediately for it. The coast is pretty great for providing lyrical metaphors. Theme-wise, it’s just about two people who realize that their time is up. When Mickey heard the song, he really molded the landscape. Initially, it was just a B-side, but in hindsight, we probably should have put a little more faith in it, as it seems to be a pretty popular song.

APP: Your sound/genre has been described as “kitchen sink indie.” Do you agree with that?

RC: Haha, I don’t really mind–as long as people are polite and constructive, they can describe our sound how they like. I suppose that it could mean, in terms of subject matter, that we write about kitchen sink-related things, which was certainly true of album one. In a sonic sense, though, we do use a lot of percussive instruments which are also kitchenalia, so if the cap fits…

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APP: If you could invite one artist/band to be in the crowd at one of your shows, who would it be and why?

RC: We got really excited once at a gig in Oxford because somebody asked that Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) be put on the guest list. It spoilt the gig, though, because we spent the whole evening looking for Jonny Greenwood despite him not actually being there, and probably never having any intention of being there. So I would choose Jonny Greenwood because I haven’t said “Jonny Greenwood” enough in this answer.

APP: Your latest music video, “American Tuna,” is super creative and visually complex in how it was filmed. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience filming? How did you come up with the idea as it relates to the song?

RC: It was fun, but stressful. We had received an email telling us, despite our very polite request, that we explicitly couldn’t use the building. So the whole process was based around being very secretive. This definitely hampered the final product, as we couldn’t redo shots or control timing or lighting. Mickey was in a Paternoster lift in an 18-floor building with the camera. As the lift travels up, each floor is a different scene which tells the story of a relationship. Mickey was in that lift for about 6 solid hours while we chased him ’round the building, doing scenes in non-chronological order to avoid security cameras. We were happy with the final video, but I just wish that people could see the levels of effort and time that just three people were involved in executing. It looks pretty pro, and the DIYness doesn’t come through. I think that given the constraints, it’s amazing. But I’m biased.

APP: That’s mind-blowing. Writing music is super different from filming a visual interpretation of a song through a music video. Has that ever been a challenge for you as a band?

RC:  I think we’ve learned to separate the processes quite naturally. We also like learning new skills, so the challenge of making a video or a piece of artwork is an opportunity to do that. The only problem is time. We are three people, yet we have to record, write, and release the music on our own label, then promote it whilst making the videos and artwork. Because we are novices in many of these areas, it takes us longer to produce these assets. That often puts us behind, as artists at a commensurate level have teams of people and pools of financial resources that we don’t. It does make the task psychologically difficult at times as well, compounded by the fact that we are in a industry that gives credence to having a machine in tow. We often get overlooked and dismissed because we don’t have a manager, record label, publisher, art director, plugging team etc. I think this is where the real challenge lies for us.

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APP: You haven’t toured for two years, but you’re making plans to head back onto the road soon! Do you have a favorite/funny memory from being on tour in the past?

RC: Probably when Matt broke his foot in Texas. We spent the next five days telling him he was fine, but then talking privately about how he was really hamming it up. By the time we got to Missouri, he got an X-ray and found out he had a hairline fracture. We felt TERRIBLE! He completed the rest of the tour perched on a bar stool during the gigs, and he became my hero.

APP: Are there any songs you feel you’ve outgrown that now seem to stray from your current sound?

RC: Ah no, they are all our babies. They popped out for a reason and we can’t really turn them away even when they become slightly haggard/annoying. That would be bad song parenting!

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Rob!

Listen to Little Comets here:

 

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Soundtrack to my Summer 2017

My summers at home are made up of memorable sunsets, vibrant colors, favorite foods, lovely smells, special people, the books I get lost in, and notable music. I remember each of my summers differently through these things, and looking back on them brings back the feelings I had during that time.

Every summer, I like to give you a little sample of what I’ve been listening to. I’ve got an extra good feeling about Summer 2017. ❤

alt-J: Relaxer (album)

alt-j-relaxer-album-artworkListen to this album while drinking lemonade in a hammock, or laying out on the grass in the evening. Each song on this album is expertly formulated–with slow, dramatic melodies and soft guitar slides paired seamlessly with their trademark maraca and echoey guitar riffs, this album incorporates these aspects in addition to celctic-esque harmonies in order to create the sound that makes alt-J so unique. According to MTV, the band also apparently tackles themes of climate change in this record. Also, the name of this album is extremely fitting–it’s a great record to simply chill out and relax to, and I’ve even fallen asleep to it a few times.

george-ezra-dont-matter-now-1George Ezra: “Don’t Matter Now” (single)

This is the perfect song to sing along to in the car with friends on a warm summer night. It’s been a while since George released any new music since his debut album, Wanted On A Voyage in 2015. This single, which he launched with a fun music video, is about remembering the fun things in life, taking time to yourself, traveling and being carefree. This song is a great way to remind yourself that the past year is in the past–let it go, it don’t matter now!

32c0dc1effb1c4cbc5068a10bb591eac.1000x1000x1ARIZONA: Gallery (album)

Woah woah woah. This album, lemme tell ya, sounds incredible live. I had the pleasure of seeing ARIZONA open for the band Coin a few days ago in Portland, and they did not disappoint. Their sound is R&B mixed with electronic and dreamy pop, and a few of my favorites off of this album (which is their very first) are “Annie,” “Electric Touch,” and “Oceans Away.” Their opening set was rad, and I absolutely loved the backing guitar in every single song.

jap houseThe Japanese House: “Saw You In A Dream” (single)

I first heard this song when Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975, tweeted about it. The Japanese House has a very memorable, distinct style–reverberating vocals and dreamlike electric guitar and piano. Definitely one of my picks this summer as a refreshing, new band that are rising onto the music scene.

 

COIN: How Will You Know If You Never Try (album)

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I saw these guys live with my friend and sister a few nights ago, and they rocked! Lead singer Chase Lawrence had crazy amount of energy that kept the crowd engaged the entire show. The band’s stage set was amazing, too–complete with a neon hand hanging from the ceiling, reaching towards a large cardboard cut out of a gravestone with the words: “How Will You Know If You Never Try?” written on it. Coin have a sound similar to the band Bad Suns–alternative rock with a hint of Saint Motel vibes. I love pretty much the whole of their new record, but a few of my favorites are “Boyfriend,” “Are We Alone?” and “Don’t Cry, 2020.” Their fans loved these songs too–they screamed the lyrics back at Chase, seeming to overwhelm him with surprise and love.

16227a22a29ffaf90eaa55a24d26bdd3.1000x1000x1Liam Gallagher: “Wall Of Glass” (single)

If you think you don’t know who Liam Gallagher is, you do. He was 1/2 of the band Oasis, the iconic 90’s band who released the hit single everyone and their mothers know, “Wonderwall.” Liam debuted this new single during Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester benefit concert a few weeks ago in anticipation of his first ever solo record, As You Were, set to release later this year. Although Liam (and his brother, Noel) are known to be pretty bratty, I gotta admit, their music is stellar. If this new single is anything like the rest of Liam’s upcoming album, it’s sure to be a hit.

An Interview with Higuera

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Higuera

Higuera is a five-piece alternative band from California who formed in 2013. They’ve played numerous shows along the West Coast in venues ranging from The Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle to a California house show in the middle of nowhere. Vocalist and main songwriter Valley Taylor says Higuera is committed to creating genuine, quality records: “no hype, no bullshit and writing and playing music for the sake of music,” he says. Taylor, who has always been passionate about music, went from working as a pastor in North Carolina to becoming the lead songwriter and creator of Higuera. I chatted with him about this experience, inspiration behind his songs, and more.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how the band got started.

Higuera: Well, the band actually formed back in 2013 after I got divorced. I moved from San Luis Obispo, CA to Los Angeles and started a band called “thrdvsn” with some people I had met on twitter. After a few years of altering the line-up, style, and manager of the band, we finally settled on our current sound and name “Higeura.”

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APP: How would you describe your sound?

We’re currently working on our first full length album, and our producer Sam Pura (he’s worked with bands such as The Story So Far, Basement, and State Champs) said that a majority of the songs have a “Cowboy Bebop” vibe to them. Since I write all the songs and then present them to the band, they all start in a very folk singer-songwriter-like style and then evolve a bit as the rest of the band contributes.

APP: Who in the music industry inspires you?

H: I’ve spent most of my time deeply embedded in religion in the past, so I didn’t listen to anything but contemporary Christian music and instrumental bands until I left home for  Bible College, ironically enough. Because of my musical upbringing, I don’t really have a lot of friendly sentiment towards most of the music industry and generally don’t feel inspired by any artists in particular. That being said, I really enjoyed the new Bon Iver album and Frank Ocean’s new music. I admire the work itself in making an album more than anything.

16472890_563336280526398_6381675691072392291_nAPP: Where do you see the band in 5 years time?

Hopefully similar to where we are now, but with more of a platform. I hope to be touring with bands I enjoy and have my tracks featured in more TV shows and movies.

APP: Thoughts on this year’s Grammys? Best performance this year, in your opinion?

I totally didn’t even watch the Grammy’s this year or last year. I think 2013 was the only year I’ve ever watched them. I did, however, watch Lady Gaga KILL the halftime show at the super bowl if that counts.

APP: I love your song “Thermopylae.” Tell me a little bit about it–what was the inspiration?

twoH: I wrote that song while I was working as a pastor out in North Carolina. It was a really good time for me. I had just gotten off a 6 month long road trip, and I was loving the idea that freedom is nothing more than a ball and chain that costs so much. The song is about how you really just have to let go of everything in order to truly be free.

APP: What do you hope fans will get out of your music?

H: I’m hoping fans will be inspired by my music to go out and accomplish all the crazy dreams they can think of. I’d also like for people to reevaluate the situations that life throws at us as they listen. Often times, I write from unique perspectives that I’ve spent years observing various lifestyles to gain insight into.

APP: You mentioned you’re working on a new record. Do you have a release date set for that?

H: We’ve been living and working at The Panda Studios in Fremont, Ca working on our first full length since Halloween of 2016. We’re hoping to have the album finished by April, but we are really taking our time on this.

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All photos are from the band’s Instagram.

Check out Higuera here:

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Concert Preview: Beat Connection

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Beat Connection, a four-piece group originally formed by college friends Reed Juenger and Jordan Koplowitz, began in their garage. Garageband to be exact. After compiling songs and testing out various DJing styles, Reed and Jordan self-released their debut EP Surf Noir in 2010.

The band has evolved over the years in more ways than one–and not just in their musical style. Originally an indie-electronic duo (composed of solely Jordan and Reed) based in Seattle, Jordan eventually left the band and was replaced by drummer Jarred Katz, singer Tom Eddy, and bass player Mark Hunter.

picSince the success of their debut EP, they’ve released two more records: The Palace Garden in 2012, and Product 3 in August 2015. In addition, they’ve opened for bands such as Rhye and Years & Years all over the U.S. With a retro-electric sound similar to bands such as Glass Animals, Alt J and Tame Impala, Beat Connection are a guaranteed to be a concert crowd pleaser on their ongoing Northwest Fall 2016 Tour.

polaroidAn impressive amount of synthesizers and keyboards cover the stage during their live shows, and lead singer Tom Eddy’s gruff, engaging vocals have no problem captivating the crowd. Beat Connection does just what their band name suggests–connects and engages the crowd with a variety of unique beats and harmonies. A few personal favorites of mine are “Hesitation,” “For the Record,” and “So Good.” If you’re into bands like Flume, Grouplove, or any of the bands mentioned above, you’ll fall in love with Beat Connection.

(Photos by Megumi Arai, Conner Lyons, and Beat Connection’s Instagram.)

Follow the band’s tour here!

Wanna see them in Portland? Get tickets to their show at the Doug Fir Lounge here. ($12, 21+ show)

Listen to the band’s latest record on Spotify here.

Follow Beat Connection on Twitter here.

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An Interview with ROMES

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ROMES

Jacob Bitove (lead vocals), Nick Bitove (drums), Andrew Keyes (bass), and James Tebbits (guitar) make up this four-piece soul-pop band, who all met while attending school in Wicklow, Ireland. After moving to Toronto last year, ROMES was born. They’ve worked with some incredible names in the industry, including Grammy-nominated music producer Tony Hoffer, who has produced albums for legends such as The Kooks and Beck. Additionally, The Guardian has compared ROMES to iconic bands such as The 1975, Years & Years and Duran Duran. The guys find their inspiration through a variety artists like Stevie Wonder and Drake, and are even pals with Irish singer-songwriter Hozier. (Who is one of my absolute favorite artists!) After seeing Hozier’s recent tweet about Romes, I reached out to them for a little interview. Read on to hear what the guys have to say about their debut EP, their dream venue to perform in, and more!

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about yourselves, and how the band got started.

Romes: We had been playing music together in various arrangements for over 10 years. Then, last year, we realized there was a special chemistry between just the four of us…so we started ROMES and got cracking on writing our EP. We’ve been friends for so long now, it’s almost like a family.

APP: How would you describe your sound?

R: We’re 2 cups of raw energy with 1 cup Pop; a pinch of electronics, infused with 2oz of soul; garnished with some RnB.

Hozier tweetAPP: What’s your relationship with singer-songwriter Hozier? I saw that he posted about you on social media praising your debut EP. (See left!) How did that feel?!

R: We’ve been friends since we were wee lads. It was very good of him to tweet about the EP. He’s as sound as he is gorgeous!

APP: What’s your favorite song off Believe, your debut EP?

R (Jacob): The song “Believe.” It has a strong place in my heart. It was written from past experiences I’ve had when people doubted my life choices, my dreams, my goals, and my passion. I got fed up, and wanted to finally stand up for myself. The only way to do that for me was to write….and “Believe” was the result. Have patience and positivity and you’ll always shine through.

APP: I really love the track “When The Night Comes” on your EP. Is there a story behind that song?

EPR: We were fascinated with the idea of having very minimal and sparse verses with mainly drums and three-part harmonies, and contrasting that with a huge explosive chorus. “When The Night Comes” was the result of that. Sexy and tasteful was the mission for this one.

APP: Who are a few artists in the industry today that inspire you?

R: Most of them have passed away, sadly. But those still alive – Drake, Andre 3000, Lauryn hill, Stevie Wonder…. There are too many to list them all.

APP: Are you planning to tour anytime soon? Dream venue?

We’ll be touring later this year, but nothing that’s been announced at this time. Stay tuned. We would love to get back to Ireland and play the Olympia in Dublin.

APP: If you could bring back one artist from the dead, who would it be, and why?

R: The late Prince and David Bowie. Two terrible losses to the the world of pop music this year. Oddly enough, their deaths brought us closer to their music and made us want to see them each play one last gig. May they Rest in Peace.

APP: What was the last text you sent?

R: What happens on Whatsapp stays on Whatsapp… 

APP: Anything else you want to say to readers of A Perfect Playlist?

R: Shout out to A Perfect Playlist for reaching out to us and showing an interest in our music. It’s been a pleasure answering your questions!

Thanks, guys!

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Find ROMES below!

Website

YouTube

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Track-By-Track Review: The 1975’s New Album

IMG_8442Photo by Sophie Cettina

The 1975’s much-anticipated new record, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It,” came out on February 26. I grabbed a copy as soon as possible, and thanks to my amazing boss at the record store I work in back home, I even got a signed booklet from the band! (See at the bottom of the post.)

CGW08WCWoAEqvDiLast summer, The 1975 tweeted a few mysterious, cryptic comic book strips that stirred up controversy. The band seemed to be hinting at an ending of some sort, perhaps even the band’s end. After a few weeks, though, Matty (lead singer) revealed that the band was not breaking up, but instead, redefining their musical style & visual aesthetic. (Concert photos taken by me.)

Before this new record, the band avoided pop-like songs, overlystylized music videos and cheerful themes in their music. Additionally, the band members wore black clothing on stage and tended to post all their photos on social media with an added black and white filter. On the new album, though, each song features a hint of pop, even blues, and numerous other musical styles.

In addition to their new musical style, the band’s stage setup has changed. From dark, gloomy lighting to vibrant pinks, blues, and greens, complete with multi-colored neon rectangles to represent the band’s original trademark, their overall style has completely changed to imitate an 80s-90s aesthetic.

IMG_8410Photo by Sophie Cettina

To be honest, I was skeptical about the news regarding the band’s dramatic change. One of the reasons I love The 1975 is because they are unlike any other band in the music industry today–their lyrics are brilliant, and they certainly don’t look like any other bands to which I listen. Luckily, though, Matty and the boys didn’t disappoint with their new record–their new style is refreshing and still just as good (if not better) than their previous album. Here is my individual review of each track.

CckRhUVW4AAlM0J1. The 1975: The track begins with an slow increase in volume through a flurry of synthesizer and space-like sounds. The song comes to a sudden stop, and then Matty enters, accompanied by a choir. This first song is also the first track on their debut album, and I love the idea of using this song as the opening to their sophomore album, as well. My favorite lines are: “Soft sound. Midnight. Car lights. Playing with the air. Breathing in your hair.” Through headphones, it sounds as if the song itself is drawing closer and closer in its beginning, about to burst your eardrums, until the soft pause in anticipation of Matty and the choir. It’s a perfect introduction to the overall record as it ushers into the wild guitar riffs of “Love Me.”

CckwP8AWAAAZEKn2. Love Me: With stunning guitar solos and fiery synthesizers, this song really strays from the band’s previous style. The guys released this track as a single a few months ago, and eventually paired it with a ground-breaking, style-defining video in which Matty is seen wearing heavy makeup (including lipstick and eye shadow) on an 80s themed, purple-and blue-light-bathed set. Throughout the video, Matty drinks sloppily out of a wine bottle (nothing new here) and proceeds to make out and dance with various celebrity cut-outs. I love the song. At first, I was unsure about it…especially considering the atypical intro. But the song eventually grew on me. By far, my favorite line in the song is: “You look famous, let’s be friends and portray we possess something important…and do the things we like, meaning we’ve just come to represent a decline in the standards are what we accept! Yeah, yeah, Yeah…no.” Matty never ceases to impress me with his witty songwriting as he subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) critiques social issues.

CckzrAnXEAAMQSS3. UGH! I’m obsessed with the intro to this song. The bass and guitar, mixed with Matty’s voice is absolutely perfect. It has an 80s-90s feel to it, which is such a fresh sound right now. The song title is also pretty quirky. Matty doesn’t say “ugh” at any point in the song, but it makes so much sense as the title. The song seems to be about a relationship that has ended, yet Matty can’t help falling in love with the girl a second time–hence the lyric: “and you’re the only thing that’s going on in my mind…taking over my life a second time. I don’t have the capacity for fucking…You’re meant to be helping me.” The word “ugh” pretty much sums up this situation–the phrase could really have either a positive or negative connotation, and it’s up to the listener to define which. “UGH!” is short and sweet, gracing your headphones for a duration of only three minutes.

Cck0eUdW0AIiK-i4. A Change of Heart: This echoey ballad  always makes me visualize the color purple, for some odd reason. A deep, rich purple. Through out the song, there are many references to The 1975’s previous record, and they even seem to continue the story of “Robbers,” my favorite track off their first album. The song surveys the story of a man who loves woman so much that he can barely function without her, even if the relationship is seemingly toxic. As a “A Change Of Heart” progresses, however, Matty does just that…he realizes that doesn’t love the girl anymore…and for no particular reason, really. “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone.” (In contrast to the lyrics of “Robbers:” “She had a face straight outta magazine. God only knows but you’ll never leave her.”) This song really depicts a modern relationship–there is no sugar-coating, and it’s all very realistic.

she's american5. She’s American: This track starts off calm and dreamy, and then immediately leads in with intense drums, guitars, and synthesizers. Out of all the tracks on the new record, this one sounds the most like the band’s previous, classic style. The guitar in this song is truly the best addition, fading in and out with the song to emphasize each lyric. My favorite lines in the song are: “She’s inducing sleep to avoid pain,”and “Don’t fall in love with the moment, and think you’re in love with the girl.” The song seems to follow the band’s relationship with their fans, especially since American girls adore Matty, a man from Manchester. The lyrics, “If she likes it ’cause we just don’t eat, and we’re so intelligent, she’s American. If she says I’ve got to fix my teeth, then she’s so American. And if she likes it ’cause we just don’t eat, and we’re socially relevant, she’s American,” seems to point out the stereotypes often associated with British and American people–Americans tend to eat larger amounts, and English people are sometimes viewed to be seemingly more “intelligent” due to their accents. Additionally, Matty emphasizes that the British are “socially relevant” right now, with so many girls falling in love British boy bands. (Very relatable to me!)

if i believe you6. If I Believe You: This track is the most notable on the album. The 1975 have completely outdone themselves with this song–with an amazing backup choir that belts out tight, sharp choruses to emphasize particular lines, the track is heavily influenced by gospel music. Lyrically, the song is fascinating as well. It seems to represent Matty’s inner monologue surrounding his opinions and beliefs on religion. Matty sings: “And if I believe you…will that make it stop? If I told you I need you…is that what you want? And I’m broken and bleeding. And begging for help. And I’m asking you Jesus, show yourself.” In the song, he expresses his struggle to find God (or some sort of higher power) in order to stop the pain going through his mind. He wonders if admitting to God that he needs Him is the key to receiving His help. The song really marks a new style for the band…it features a trumpet, which is the last thing you’d expect to hear on a 1975 record.

Cck30mBWwAA21XF7. Please Be Naked: This is another one of The 1975’s dreamy, lengthy songs in which they  manage to convey emotion and ideas mostly through noise and various instruments. It is entirely instrumental, and seems to rise in sound and intensity as the song progresses as if depicting the image of passion and love. The piano on this track is beautiful–the intro to the song which features a swirl of soft keys is breathtaking. Eventually, the keys lead into a sort of spacey, bell-like chorus.

Cck47Q-XEAAHZTR8. Lostmyhead: Matty writes quite a few songs about the inner workings of his brain, as well as instances where he’s felt he’s “lost his head.” This is a common theme in The 1975’s music–Matty always seems to be trying to find himself, his purpose, or his “brain” through music. “Lostmyhead” is probably my least favorite song on the record, though. It’s a bit of sensory overload. There is a lot of static and loud blares on the track, which is probably meant to predict and portray the sounds of the inner ramblings of someone’s (perhaps Matty’s) brain.

Cck6KEOXIAAG8v_9. The Ballad Of Me and My Brain: This track is truly a lovely mix of the old and new 1975. The song begins with the oohs and ahhs of the choir, and leads into Matty screaming at the top of his lungs about going mad. This track follows the continued theme of Matty losing his brain, but in this song, his brain is personified: “And what a shame you’ve lost a brain that you never had. Oh mum check the car, it can’t have gone far. I must have left it on a train or lost in a bar. It’s likely in a Sainsbury’s, flirting with the girls and waiting for me. I jumped on a bus, declared my name, and asked if anybody’s seen my brain.” The song seems to suggest Matty’s loss of control over his brain and his actions as his band continues to grow in popularity. This song is really well written, and Matty’s emotion, frustration, and sense of deliriousness really comes through.

Cck66FKW8AAAUNi10. Somebody Else: This is one of those songs that really tugs at your heartstrings. It’s about painful feelings and thoughts after going through a breakup: you don’t want the person anymore, but it kills you to see them with someone else once they’ve moved on. This is an extremely emotional ballad, which features great electric keyboard, guitar, and synthesizer. The majority of the track is somber, slow and melancholy, but eventually ends in Matty singing angrily: “Get someone you love? Get someone you need? Fuck that, get money. I can’t give you my soul cause we’re never alone!” The repetitive line that is interwoven through out the entire track, “I don’t want your body…but I hate to think about you with somebody else,” is so simple yet so powerful.

Cck7x7EXIAAG3l-11. Loving Someone: This is one track on the album that disappointed me a bit–it’s too electric-pop for my taste. Although I may not love the song, the spoken word which is featured in the middle of the track is brilliantly written, and truly thought-provoking: “She blazed about how cultural language is an operation system. A simple interface rendered feeble and listless. When tested with a divinity or a true understanding of the human condition I never did understand – the duality of art and reality – living life and treating it as such but with a certain disconnect.” It’s definitely worth your time to stop and listen to this one for it’s spoken word addition.

Cck8scsW4AAtjS-12. I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It:  In a recent interview, Matty explained that this phrase was something he whispered to an ex-girlfriend one morning. He thought it was an interesting concept, so he wrote it down, then used it as a song title. He explained that the phrase makes him feel a little uneasy, which he believes is a good thing, explains why he decided to make it the name of the overall record. You can’t always be 100% sure about everything when it comes to writing music. This song is another completely instrumental track on the record, and definitely imitates sleep, dreaming, and love with its ambient noises and instruments. The ending of this song is heartbreakingly beautiful. Matty sings: “Before you go, (please don’t go) turn the big light off.”

the sound13. The Sound: Initially released as a single before the band’s album release, this song is a declaration of the band’s separation from their previous style. In a recent BBC 1 interview, Matty said: “It wears its pop on its sleeve and it’s kind of unabashed. There hasn’t been a vehicle yet for us to do that. This album is perfect [for the song] because it’s juxtaposed with everything the album is.”  This song includes a killer guitar solo from lead guitarist Adam Hann, and and intro that builds up into a burst of piano, quick guitar, drums, and Matty’s brilliant voice. My favorite line is: “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me: a sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe. There’s so much skin to see…a simple Epicurean philosophy. And you say I’m such a cliché. I can’t see the difference in it either way.”

Cck_ZYgW8AARxR014. This Must Be My Dream: I love the guitar in this track, as well as the strong chorus that brings the choir back in. The song seems to illustrate a relationship that is too good to be true–it must be a dream. As the song progresses, it becomes clear that it is, in fact, too good to be true. Matty sings: “Pipe down, you’re no lover. It’s failing cos’ you want it to. Well, I thought it was love but I guess I must be dreaming ’bout feeling something instead of you.” I was so excited to find that this song features The 1975’s brilliantly talented saxophone player, John Waugh, whom I met in April 2014.

CclAXBCWAAAXUae15. Paris: It took Matty about a year to write this song, which is fascinating to me, since it’s not a song about complex breakup or relationship, but rather about a city with which he’s fallen in love. And no, it was not written during the time of the attacks on Paris. Matty wrote this song because of his adoration for Paris, and in a recent interview he said: “I’m writing about a city I love, and that’s what I’m going to remember, I won’t let Paris be defined by that (the attacks).”

The song is a dreamy ballad with echoing choruses, and repetitive guitar riffs that flow through the entire song. The track seems to follow the story of a girl who is abusing drugs: “you’re a walking overdose in a great coat…” The song truly tells a story, and there are a few incredible lines that made me actually stop to Google a few of the words used. For example, Matty sings: “There was a party that you had to miss because your friend kept cutting her wrists. Hyper-politicized sexual trysts. ‘Oh, I think my boyfriend’s a nihilist.’ I said ‘Hey kids we’re all just the same…what a shame.'” Thanks to the Internet, I discovered that “nihilists” believe that all values are baseless, and nothing in the world can truly be known. Nihilism is often associated with extreme pessimism. It is fascinating to me that Matty embedded this word in the story of the song…perhaps he is struggling with a bit of nihilism himself–pessimistic views commonly come through his music. Next to “If I Believe You,” this is one of my absolute favorites off the record.

be0b1a6e0b9b1b58ef035e966c352277.1000x666x116. Nana: This is the most heart-wrenching track on the record. Matty was extremely close to his Nana, (Annie) and still struggles in coping with her death, which is why he wrote this song. The track is simple, but conveys so much emotion. Matty doesn’t dance around the concept of death in his music–he flat out acknowledges it, as painful as it may be. After all, death is unapologetic in itself. In “Nana,” he sings: “Oh sleepless nights, a grown up man dressed in white, who I thought might just save your life…but he couldn’t, so you died.” In the very last few lines of the song in which Matty sings: “But I’m bereft you see. I think you can tell…I haven’t been doing too well,” the singer’s voice cracks with emotion, as if on the brink of tears. This song is so moving, touching, and in the end, simply gut-wrenching.

CclCm4bW4AAro5Q17. She Lays Down: This track is entirely acoustic, complete with chatterings from the band before/after the song finishes. The song is intriguing; it seems to highlight the story of a young woman who so desperately wants to love a man…but just can’t bring herself to. He’s everything she wants, but she simply doesn’t love him in the same way he loves her. Just like most typical 1975 songs, the track touches on the negative effects of drugs and the part they play in relationships. This track is completely stripped, exclusively featuring acoustic guitar and Matty’s raw singing voice. (Update 1/13/17: Matty has disclosed that this song is about his mother and her struggle to raise him.)

Thanks for reading this far. Hope you enjoyed my review! Please feel free to tweet me your thoughts and opinions on the record as well. 🙂

stuff

An Interview With Jimkata

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Jimkata

Jimkata is a three-piece band from Ithaca, NY. After a short hiatus, the band self-released their latest record, In Motion, which is a flurry of synthesizers, echoing vocals and light, snappy guitar riffs. Fans of bands such as Bleachers, Walk The Moon or Bad Suns will appreciate Jimkata’s upbeat, infectious bass and tracks that incorporate a number of styles—funk-electronic, a bit of alternative, and a touch of 80’s influenced style synth-pop. Songs on the album such as “Jumping Out of Airplanes,” or “Wild Ride” are fast-paced with a heavy dance beat, while the smooth melodies of songs like “Synapses” are slower but still feature a funky, driving rhythm. I was so excited to interview this band–I’ve had their latest record on repeat the last few weeks!

A Perfect Playlist: How would you describe your sound?

Evan Friedell, lead singer of Jimkata: We call ourselves electro-rock.  Basically, it’s synths, guitars, and electronic production all smashed together, but with its roots in classic songwriting.

 APP: What’s the story behind your band name?

evan2J: Packy, Aaron, and I have been playing together since we were kids. At some point when we first started writing our own original music in high school, we needed a name for a gig in the local park. We were spending a lot of time recording with a friend of ours and one day he introduced us to this ridiculous movie called Gymkata. It’s  a really cheesy American made Kung-fu movie starring 1984 Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Kurt Thomas. In the movie, he must use his unique art of gymkata to defeat the fictional Eastern European country of Parmistan…hilarity ensues…  SO, when it came time to toss names around, “gymkata” made us laugh at first…but then we thought, “hey that actually has a ring to it,” and it’s stuck ever since.

APP: Who are a few artists in the music industry today that inspire you?

J: One of my favorite artists is My Morning Jacket. We like the idea that you can be great songwriters and producers, create well respected albums, but also have a raucous live show and an organic following of loyal fans.  There are a lot of artists that I admire, but the ones I admire most tend to cross genres and demographics to bring people together.

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   APP: I heard that you recently went on a hiatus from performing. Can you tell me a little bit about that? How did the break help you further develop/define your sound & style?

J: We went through some line up changes over the last year, and ended up having to take the fall off from touring while we figured out how to continue playing as a three-piece.  It was our first time not touring in quite a few years, and I think it ended up being a blessing in disguise. It gave us a chance to refocus, plan the album release more effectively, and set our intentions as a group going forward.  Then, as soon as we decided to go forward as a three piece, we just started rehearsing like madmen. After playing our first few shows this way, I think we’re really hitting our stride stylistically as musicians. I had a lot of time to practice singing and playing, and we had time as a group to perfect all of the sounds we use in our live shows.

APP: What’s your favorite song off your latest record, In Motion? I’ve had “Jumping Out of Airplanes” on repeat all this week. Love it.

signing2J: Awesome!  Ya know, I think that might be one of my favorites as well.  I often feel self-conscious about songs in that I never know if they’re really done. Especially with lyrics, it can sometimes feel like I could edit, over think, and basically doubt myself forever.  This record came together really quickly and I didn’t even have much of a chance for any of that. Sometimes, when you trust the first feeling or thought that comes to mind it’s just meant to be and you shouldn’t mess with it too much.

APP: Who were some of your musical inspirations as a kid, and who are they now?

J: I was a huge Michael Jackson fan as a kid.  Still am. I looked back on that recently and realized he really was the king of the 80’s and 90’s.  I don’t know if there will ever be a pop star of that magnitude again. I loved Paul Simon’s Graceland and I had a couple early hip-hop tapes that I wore out.  I’m all over the map now in terms of musical inspiration.  Sometimes it’s just one song by an artist that grabs me, other times it’s their whole way of being and going about their career. I also love Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar. I admire the fact that, given the top of the charts celebrity status he had, Kendrick chose to create such a socially, politically and musically meaningful album. He could have just made some record label created crap that was calculated to sell but he chose the more challenging route.  To me, there aren’t enough artists like that right now.

reflection2APP: Who had the best performance on the Grammy’s this year, in your opinion?

J: Didn’t watch all of it, but I did catch Kendrick Lamar’s performance and, again, amazing. He’s just pushing boundaries, making statements, and remains seemingly humble despite the immensity of his fame.

APP: What would each of you being doing if you were not pursuing a career in music?

J: I really don’t know. When I was a kid, my first goal was to be in the NBA.  Then I got older and my next goal was to be a musician. I definitely didn’t make the NBA…so now I’m a musician.

APP: I am currently a volunteer for the on-campus radio station at my school, and I recently did a review of your new album that just came out this month. (I loved it, obviously.) We are planning to play it on KWVA pretty soon. Have you ever heard one of your songs on the radio? If so, what was your reaction?

1454263538-jimkataJ: I have. It’s a little trippy.  At first it’s exciting, but then I gotta turn on my analytical, self-critical brain and think about if it sounds good enough to be played for a wide audience.  Then I try to turn that off and be like, “chill out and just enjoy it! Your song is on the radio!!”

APP: Anything else you want to say to readers of A Perfect Playlist?

J: Thanks for listening!!!

Jimkata will be performing with X Ambassadors and Robert Delong on May 16th at State Theatre of Ithaca!

Check out my fave track by the band, “Jumping Out of Airplanes” here:

Find the band below:

YouTube

Website

Instagram

My interview is also featured on the homepage of KWVARadio.org. Check it out here.