Indie / Emo

Indie / Emo

Originally from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, Tones And I journeyed to Byron Bay in early 2018 to take a chance at busking. On the first day she had crowds spilling onto the street. Tones quit her retail job and decided to make Byron her new home where she lived out of her van for the year. Tones is having a massive breakout year that started with her debut single ‘Johnny Run Away’ releasing on March 1. With support from triple j unearthed and unprecedented buzz from triple j’s top presenters, the track fast became the number one most played on the national broadcaster for two weeks straight. Shortly after it was picked up by radio stations around the world, raced to ARIA certified platinum status and climbed to #12 on the ARIA singles chart. The second release 'Dance Monkey' was a huge follow up receiving high rotation on triple, getting added to radio stations globally, racing into the top #1 on the ARIA singles chart, #1 on the Shazam chart, #1 on Apple Music and has hit ARIA certified Platinum status. Collectively ‘Johnny Run Away’ and ‘Dance Monkey’ have racked up hundreds of millions of streams and are growing by over 2 million + streams a day. Recently Tones broke records for the biggest crowd of an opening act ever at Splendour In The Grass with 20,000 punters coming to watch her midday set. Tones’ triple j presented National EP Tour sold out in days and she is taking her live performance global this November with a sold out UK/EU tour, US tour and finishing 2019 at Bay Dreams festival New Zealand. Tones And I just dropped her third single for the year, ‘Never Seen The Rain’, with a world premiere on triple j gaining raved reviews. The song highlights her hugely impressive vocal ability and unique talent for songwriting. The single came with the announcement of her forthcoming EP ‘The Kids Are Coming’, due out on August 30 and available for pre-order now.
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 A/J Jackson (vocals), Aaron Sharp (guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), Greg Erwin (drums) The year before making their breakthrough with a mainstage performance at Coachella and the chart topping single “My Type,” Saint Motel had planned to host an event of their own called “saintmotelevision”—a multimedia spectacular of music, dance, comedy, art, and more that was shut down by authorities before it even took place. “That crazy mixture of worlds and ideas is something we’ve always gravitated toward,” says front man A/J Jackson in reflecting on the original saintmotelevision. “We’ve always been fans of strange combinations, and that glorious yet doomed event became a symbol of all that.” So when it came time to create their forthcoming full-length debut for Elektra, the band reclaimed the name saintmotelevision and, in the end, dreamed up an album as magnificently kaleidoscopic as that mythic party itself. Featuring production from the likes of Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids) and Tim Pagnotta (Walk The Moon)—as well as from Jackson, in and around the band’s own studio in downtown L.A.—saintmotelevision builds off 2014’s My Type EP with a sound even more expansive and artfully genre-blurring. And with its effervescent melodies and shapeshifting grooves, the album emerges as a beautifully alchemized piece of alt-pop, every bit the “channel-surfing odyssey” its namesake was meant to be. Lead single “Move” serves as saintmotelevision’s opening track, a psych-rock-tinged dancefloor anthem with a chorus so catchy that—during Saint Motel’s raucous sets at summer festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo—audience members instantly shouted along despite never having heard the song before. In the lyric video for “Move,” Saint Motel have also unveiled their latest undertaking as a decidedly visually-oriented group: the so-called “virtualizer,” which combines 360° animation and virtual reality technology that allows each viewer a chance to experience the music in a fully immersive manner. Throughout saintmotelevision, the band transforms their infinite inspirations into songs that radiate an electric, unabashed joy. On “Getaway,” for instance, Saint Motel shape their fascination with Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love” into a shimmering, intensely charged pop number powered by massive piano riffs. With “Destroyer” (as in “I don’t break hearts, I destroy them”), the band echoes the seductive danger in the song’s lyrics by bringing in some fantastically trashed-up horns a la Exile on Main St.–era Rolling Stones. Meanwhile, on “Sweet Talk,” Saint Motel channel Iggy Pop-inspired swagger into a stomp-and-clap-driven heavy-hitter destined for sing-along status. Just as inventive in its lyrical element, saintmotelevision brilliantly twists together melancholy and levity in songs like “Local Long Distance Relationship (LA2NY)” (a brightly wistful meditation on love in a social-media-crazed era and on being with “someone who’s physically there with you but mentally far away,” according to Jackson). One of saintmotelevision’s starkest moments, “Born Again” calls on an L.A.-based gospel choir to help convey the track’s enigmatic message. ‘Born Again’ rides the line between two worlds, so you can’t really tell which way to take it.” And on “For Elise,” Saint Motel play on the mystery of Beethoven’s immortal beloved by paying rhapsodic tribute to the legendary muses behind songs like the Kinks’ “Lola” and Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” Passion for eclecticism has always been at the heart of Saint Motel, a band founded by Jackson and guitarist Aaron Sharp: film-school classmates whose longtime friendship had its roots in a shared appreciation of obscurist cinema and mutually adventurous musical tastes that include everything from Imperial Teen to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement. After bringing bass player Dak Lerdamornpong and drummer Greg Erwin into the fold, the band released their debut EP ForPlay in 2009 and began hosting a series of “experiential concerts” with such themes as Zombie Prom and Judgment Day. “We played in half-pipes, semi-trucks, circuses—pretty much anywhere we could,” says Jackson. “We just wanted to do what we could to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, and give people some kind of big, crazy experience whenever they came to see us.” Thanks in part to those one-of-a-kind live shows—and to their critically acclaimed, independently released 2012 full-length debut Voyeur—Saint Motel steadily built up a devoted underground following throughout their early years. Releasing the My Type EP in summer 2014, the band saw their fan base grow exponentially as the title track became a top 10 alternative radio smash, with both the song and its companion video (directed by Jackson himself) each collecting streaming figures in the tens of millions, and counting. Now set for a fall headlining tour—with their past tours including support slots for Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Band of Skulls, and Weezer —Saint Motel have discovered a new outlet for their boundary-breaking brand of artistry. With plans of creating virtual-reality-enhanced videos for more tracks from saintmotelevision, the band hopes to offer an even more immersive way to experience what Nylon recently referred to as “a bright, dreamy sound that transports listeners to another time and place.” “There’s essentially a new art form there,” says Jackson of the virtualizer. “But it’s also like when you were younger and bought a new record and went home and put it on, and you’d sit back and close your eyes and kind of enter the album. This is a whole new way to do that, where we’re letting people walk into the album and then just live inside it for a while.” 
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 A/J Jackson (vocals), Aaron Sharp (guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), Greg Erwin (drums) The year before making their breakthrough with a mainstage performance at Coachella and the chart topping single “My Type,” Saint Motel had planned to host an event of their own called “saintmotelevision”—a multimedia spectacular of music, dance, comedy, art, and more that was shut down by authorities before it even took place. “That crazy mixture of worlds and ideas is something we’ve always gravitated toward,” says front man A/J Jackson in reflecting on the original saintmotelevision. “We’ve always been fans of strange combinations, and that glorious yet doomed event became a symbol of all that.” So when it came time to create their forthcoming full-length debut for Elektra, the band reclaimed the name saintmotelevision and, in the end, dreamed up an album as magnificently kaleidoscopic as that mythic party itself. Featuring production from the likes of Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids) and Tim Pagnotta (Walk The Moon)—as well as from Jackson, in and around the band’s own studio in downtown L.A.—saintmotelevision builds off 2014’s My Type EP with a sound even more expansive and artfully genre-blurring. And with its effervescent melodies and shapeshifting grooves, the album emerges as a beautifully alchemized piece of alt-pop, every bit the “channel-surfing odyssey” its namesake was meant to be. Lead single “Move” serves as saintmotelevision’s opening track, a psych-rock-tinged dancefloor anthem with a chorus so catchy that—during Saint Motel’s raucous sets at summer festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo—audience members instantly shouted along despite never having heard the song before. In the lyric video for “Move,” Saint Motel have also unveiled their latest undertaking as a decidedly visually-oriented group: the so-called “virtualizer,” which combines 360° animation and virtual reality technology that allows each viewer a chance to experience the music in a fully immersive manner. Throughout saintmotelevision, the band transforms their infinite inspirations into songs that radiate an electric, unabashed joy. On “Getaway,” for instance, Saint Motel shape their fascination with Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love” into a shimmering, intensely charged pop number powered by massive piano riffs. With “Destroyer” (as in “I don’t break hearts, I destroy them”), the band echoes the seductive danger in the song’s lyrics by bringing in some fantastically trashed-up horns a la Exile on Main St.–era Rolling Stones. Meanwhile, on “Sweet Talk,” Saint Motel channel Iggy Pop-inspired swagger into a stomp-and-clap-driven heavy-hitter destined for sing-along status. Just as inventive in its lyrical element, saintmotelevision brilliantly twists together melancholy and levity in songs like “Local Long Distance Relationship (LA2NY)” (a brightly wistful meditation on love in a social-media-crazed era and on being with “someone who’s physically there with you but mentally far away,” according to Jackson). One of saintmotelevision’s starkest moments, “Born Again” calls on an L.A.-based gospel choir to help convey the track’s enigmatic message. ‘Born Again’ rides the line between two worlds, so you can’t really tell which way to take it.” And on “For Elise,” Saint Motel play on the mystery of Beethoven’s immortal beloved by paying rhapsodic tribute to the legendary muses behind songs like the Kinks’ “Lola” and Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” Passion for eclecticism has always been at the heart of Saint Motel, a band founded by Jackson and guitarist Aaron Sharp: film-school classmates whose longtime friendship had its roots in a shared appreciation of obscurist cinema and mutually adventurous musical tastes that include everything from Imperial Teen to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement. After bringing bass player Dak Lerdamornpong and drummer Greg Erwin into the fold, the band released their debut EP ForPlay in 2009 and began hosting a series of “experiential concerts” with such themes as Zombie Prom and Judgment Day. “We played in half-pipes, semi-trucks, circuses—pretty much anywhere we could,” says Jackson. “We just wanted to do what we could to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, and give people some kind of big, crazy experience whenever they came to see us.” Thanks in part to those one-of-a-kind live shows—and to their critically acclaimed, independently released 2012 full-length debut Voyeur—Saint Motel steadily built up a devoted underground following throughout their early years. Releasing the My Type EP in summer 2014, the band saw their fan base grow exponentially as the title track became a top 10 alternative radio smash, with both the song and its companion video (directed by Jackson himself) each collecting streaming figures in the tens of millions, and counting. Now set for a fall headlining tour—with their past tours including support slots for Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Band of Skulls, and Weezer —Saint Motel have discovered a new outlet for their boundary-breaking brand of artistry. With plans of creating virtual-reality-enhanced videos for more tracks from saintmotelevision, the band hopes to offer an even more immersive way to experience what Nylon recently referred to as “a bright, dreamy sound that transports listeners to another time and place.” “There’s essentially a new art form there,” says Jackson of the virtualizer. “But it’s also like when you were younger and bought a new record and went home and put it on, and you’d sit back and close your eyes and kind of enter the album. This is a whole new way to do that, where we’re letting people walk into the album and then just live inside it for a while.” 
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Ribbon Music is pleased to announce the return of Baltimore’s Lower Dens with their third album, Escape from Evil. On Escape From Evil, Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter emerges: cerebral and hot-blooded, rash and incorruptible, and, crucially, possessing of a loud, clear voice. The album sees Hunter stepping up and taking center stage, and emboldening every aspect of the band. Escape From Evil is a cinematic, tonally rich work. The sounds are clean and warm. The pulse of the album is strong. Melodies are potent and songs are physical. Lyrics are direct, frank confrontations with life’s common crises. The album title is brazen, and along with the grimly funny title of lead single, “To Die in L.A.”, almost theatrical. Lower Dens’ 2010 debut, Twin-Hand Movement, was a stunning evolution of guitar brilliance and murky emotiveness, while its 2012 follow-up, Nootropics, was a stark, textured paean to experimental bands of the krautrock era. Escape From Evil marks a bold, monumental step forward for the band and the welcome manifestation of a singer we’ve never quite seen until now.
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“I feel like I’m in a totally new band right now,” says Dr. Dog guitarist/singer Scott McMicken. It’s a bold declaration considering he’s been co-fronting the beloved indie outfit for a decade-and-a-half, but it cuts straight to the heart of the intense and transformative experience behind the group’s brilliant new album, ‘Critical Equation.’ The most infectious and adventurous collection Dr. Dog has laid to tape yet, the record was born from a journey of doubt and discovery, a heavy, sometimes painful reckoning that ultimately brought the band closer together with more strength and clarity than ever before. Call it an existential awakening, call it a dark night of the soul, whatever it was, it fueled one of the most fertile creative periods in the group’s history and forced them to confront that timeless question: what do we really want?  “We’d been touring and making records for our entire adult lives, and I think we just needed to take a step back,” reflects bassist/singer Toby Leaman, who splits fronting and songwriting duties with McMicken. “It was important for all of us to figure out if we were actually doing what we wanted to be doing, or if we were just letting momentum carry us down this path we’d always been on.” The path to ‘Critical Equation’ was an unusual one for the Philadelphia five-piece (McMicken, Leaman, guitarist Frank McElroy, keyboardist Zach Miller, and drummer Eric Slick), and it stretches all the way back to 2014, when the band completed work on an album titled ‘Abandoned Mansion.’ Instead of releasing the record the following year as planned, they temporarily shelved it in favor of an opportunity to partner with the celebrated Pig Iron Theatre Company on a reimagining of ‘The Psychedelic Swamp,’ a long lost McMicken-Leaman collaboration that actually predated Dr. Dog’s debut album. The resulting theatrical/concert performance premiered at the Philly Fringe Festival, and the accompanying LP earned rave reviews, with NPR hailing it as “a concept album that wanders and sprawls to absorbing effect” and Under The Radar swooning for its “unmistakably sublime harmonies.” Despite representing something of a Rosetta Stone for Dr. Dog, the album also marked a major departure, with elaborate production and experimental arrangements that broke from the simpler, more emotionally direct studio sound they’d been gravitating towards over the years. Rather than the start of a new chapter, ‘The Psychedelic Swamp’ seemed to symbolize the closing of a circle, which made it an ideal catalyst for some serious soul searching. “We were all really satisfied to close 14 years of history by finally revisiting ‘The Psychedelic Swamp’ and giving it our full attention,” says McMicken, “but I think stepping out of our natural evolution definitely taxed us. We decided we should put ‘Abandoned Mansion’ out and just go our separate ways for six or seven months.” They released the album with little fanfare, posting it to Bandcamp as a benefit for the Southern Poverty Law Center and walking away without any touring or press for a much–needed break. That time apart proved to be invaluable, as it offered each bandmember the opportunity to reflect and reevaluate, to challenge and confront their conceptions of the group and its possibilities, to ask the hard questions of themselves and each other. They’d achieved remarkable success—multiple Top 50 albums; television performances on Letterman, Fallon, Conan, and more; critical acclaim everywhere from the NY Times to Rolling Stone; massive festival appearances around the world; major tours with the likes of My Morning Jacket, M Ward, and The Lumineers; countless sold-out headline shows—but none of it mattered if they couldn’t answer that nagging question: what do we really want? Some bandmembers used the break to grow their families, others to explore different artistic avenues. McMicken and Leaman each penned a mountain of songs on their own, inspired by the liberty of writing without expectation or responsibility. When the band finally reunited to begin work on ‘Critical Equation,’ they did so with fresh perspective. The distance had ironically brought them closer together, helping them learn to communicate in more honest and open ways. As they worked through the challenges and growing pains inherent in rewiring the foundation of any relationship, they found themselves more excited and inspired than ever before.  “We had to tear it apart in order to rebuild it,” explains McMicken. “At first, we’d just tiptoe into things and gently peel back a layer, but once we’d peeled back that layer, we’d find that we’d accessed an even deeper layer, and again and again. Eventually we got to the deepest, most honest part of ourselves.” Typically, Dr. Dog would record themselves in their own studio, but one of the revelations from their break was that that brand of insularity had begun to feel more limiting than empowering. With that in mind, they packed their bags and headed to LA to record ‘Critical Equation’ with producer/engineer Gus Seyffert (Beck, Michael Kiwanuka), who served as something of a group therapist, whether he knew it or not. “One of the big conclusions we came to was that we’ve got to blow this whole scene open,” explains Leaman. “We needed somebody to be the boss, somebody to be in charge of us in the studio. It’s not the way we’ve ever worked before, but we really trusted Gus.” One listen to ‘Critical Equation’ and it’s clear that the decision paid off in spades. Recorded to 16-track analog tape, the album opens with the equally lilting and ominous “Listening In,” a track which pairs Dr. Dog’s signature blend of quirky 60’s pop and fuzzy 70’s rock with Seyffert’s willingness to tear their songs wide open. On “Go Out Fighting,” a vintage Hammond organ gives way to blistering electric guitar as McMicken sings a mantra of perseverance, while the dreamy “Buzzing In The Light” finds Leaman contemplating the mysteries of universe with gorgeously layered harmonies, and the slow-burning title track strips away everything but the vitality of the band’s live show in its rawest form. “The take on the record was our first take in the studio,” says McMicken. “When we finished playing the song, everybody could feel that something special just happened.”  Despite the weighty self-reflection that led to its creation, ‘Critical Equation’ is perhaps the most playful entry in the Dr. Dog catalog. Even tracks that grapple with heartbreak—like the utterly contagious “True Love” and insanely catchy “Heart Killer”—are full of joy and humor, while the shuffling “Under The Wheels” finds a freedom and a lightness in surrendering to forces outside of your control. The record closes on a note of pure optimism with “Coming Out Of The Darkness,” a song McMicken wrote at the end of the band’s break, just as they were first beginning to discuss the future. “It’s singular among all the songs I’ve ever written because it’s completely functional,” he explains. “It exists to take you from wherever you are and leave you somewhere better, and that felt poetically perfect for this phase of the band.” In the end, it turns out that what the group really wanted was fairly simple:  to make music that they loved with their friends, and to have fun doing it. Sometimes the simplest things can become more complicated than we ever imagined, but the band’s journey here proves that they’re always worth fighting for. It’s a rare thing to be able to say in this life, but with ‘Critical Equation,’ Dr. Dog got exactly what they wanted and a whole lot more.
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Originally from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, Tones And I journeyed to Byron Bay in early 2018 to take a chance at busking. On the first day she had crowds spilling onto the street. Tones quit her retail job and decided to make Byron her new home where she lived out of her van for the year. Tones is having a massive breakout year that started with her debut single ‘Johnny Run Away’ releasing on March 1. With support from triple j unearthed and unprecedented buzz from triple j’s top presenters, the track fast became the number one most played on the national broadcaster for two weeks straight. Shortly after it was picked up by radio stations around the world, raced to ARIA certified platinum status and climbed to #12 on the ARIA singles chart. The second release 'Dance Monkey' was a huge follow up receiving high rotation on triple, getting added to radio stations globally, racing into the top #1 on the ARIA singles chart, #1 on the Shazam chart, #1 on Apple Music and has hit ARIA certified Platinum status. Collectively ‘Johnny Run Away’ and ‘Dance Monkey’ have racked up hundreds of millions of streams and are growing by over 2 million + streams a day. Recently Tones broke records for the biggest crowd of an opening act ever at Splendour In The Grass with 20,000 punters coming to watch her midday set. Tones’ triple j presented National EP Tour sold out in days and she is taking her live performance global this November with a sold out UK/EU tour, US tour and finishing 2019 at Bay Dreams festival New Zealand. Tones And I just dropped her third single for the year, ‘Never Seen The Rain’, with a world premiere on triple j gaining raved reviews. The song highlights her hugely impressive vocal ability and unique talent for songwriting. The single came with the announcement of her forthcoming EP ‘The Kids Are Coming’, due out on August 30 and available for pre-order now.
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Hey, did you ever notice how Metronomy, the Joe Mount-fronted electronic indie pop group releasing their sixth album Metronomy Forever this September, sounds a bit like time keeping tool ‘metronome’? You did? Boy oh boy. The metronome reference was but a musical in-joke before: now it contains more meaning. The steady tick-tocking of the pendulum represents continuation, stability, endlessness, and consistent familiarity. It understands that while we all ultimately return to the goo from whence we came, time marches on furiously, like a bull aiming for a matador. Your last breath will be another click on the machine. Metronomy Forever in name represents a similar ethos: something looking backwards and forwards simultaneously, like Janus, something fated and eternal. You were made from dust and to dust you will return, that sort of thing. “What happens is when you’re making music and you enter a world where you have achieved some sort of celebrity no matter how large or small you start to think about yourself in terms of legacy and what you’re going to leave behind,” says Mount. “And then you realise that’s limited to the interest people have in you. In the end I feel completely comfortable with it. The less importance you place in any art the more interesting it can become in a way… I’m making music, I’m going to do some concerts, I need to feed my children.” Metronomy Forever is the follow-up to 2016’s Summer 08, and contains 17 tracks. Its length is born from a desire for breathing room, from not wanting to stuff the hits together like a bouquet of petrol station roses. In between the sauna-sweat-soaked funk of songs like It’s Automatic, and the beach funeral of Walking In The Dark, lie pretty, glistening ambient tracks. It evokes the feeling of being sat in a nursing home, Swiss-cheese-brained, recalling joyous flashes of a past life while the fugue states of comforting confusion wash over you. It also comes from a desire to replicate the feeling of listening to the radio, with sumptuous songs of different types and styles helping lighten your mood, and stifle retches as you inhale scrambled egg steam from the saucepan you’re scrubbing. “The radio never stops,” as Joe puts it. “It doesn’t really matter how emotionally deep the music that comes on is, it’s entirely your situation that gives the music it’s emotional leaning.” “For so long I was concentrating on trying to make these snappy songs, and when they were all sat together it didn’t make for some impressive thing. It wasn’t until I started thinking about the past several years, realising that in that time there’ve been periods of drifting, and looking around for ideas. When I started including these bits of instrumental music and bits of sound, to which I genuinely felt some kind of connection, I put them in amongst these little flowers.” Flowers are apt metaphor. Mount has moved away from the bustle of his former Parisian home to take up residence atop a hill in the garden of England. It was a necessary change, he says, and one that has soldered a bond with him and nature. “I think it has everything to do with me at the moment, being in this environment – and I literally mean the environment. I feel properly more connected with nature. And I’m embracing myself getting into it, because I think it’s a really important part of being a person – and I haven’t even read that Sapiens book.”  And a good thing he hasn’t, as it seems Sapiens has been widely discredited by academics the world over. Metronomy Forever is a record that exudes a green tranquillity. Mount was concerned that the relative happiness of his existence might stifle his creativity, having no great tragedy to draw from, but discovered the opposite was true. “To be jealous of having that stuff going on is a bit dangerous,” he says. “I look at successful musicians who, as they get older, struggle to remain relevant. I’m at this point where I feel like, my attitude towards what I do is healthy. With this record I wanted to make a very pure expression of what I’m about right now, and I think for me that makes for better music.” And while the music itself promotes a sense of calm joy, it’s in the lyrics that we remember that even idyllic circumstances require their own maintenance, an oiling of the cogs to keep them crunching along. Mount reminds us of this on Lately, desperately singing “That is love and it's hard to do, it's a job for two. What do I do if I don't get nothing from you?” It’s not just the physical space and distance from stress and life on the Rue De Dogshit in the French capital that has had its effect on the creative process.  Mount spent much of the last four years working with Robyn on her acclaimed and deeply personal record Honey. 48 months of vicarious agony was exhausting, but ultimately extremely fulfilling.  “In the space of time since the last Metronomy record I’ve had a very large part in writing an album based on a traumatic experience for her. I knew the whole experience was going to be this massive cathartic thing. When it got to the point of finishing, I remember telling her how good it was and how people are really going to respond to it in the way you want them to. Working with someone and being able to tell someone that is quite an enjoyable thing, being able to know that everything’s cool. It’s a nice feeling to have.” Those glimmers of emotional, intense, carnal mania seem to have rubbed off on Mount in their own way, too. On Sex Emoji, the subconscious throbbing purple of the erotic digitised aubergine comes to life, a refrain of ‘love, honey, sex, money’ sang in a coital squeal. Salted Caramel Ice Cream brings this to the fore too, but more in the vein of Lipps Inc’s Funkytown, and evokes the sapid pleasure and delights of love, but also the panics and anxieties (‘Oh god, she’s coming, don’t look up’). But when the shagging is over you’re left only with the despair of your sweaty reflection. The moments of pain and sadness on Metronomy Forever are just as real, but also surmountable, much like most of the torture of existence ultimately is. It’s the scope of experience of someone who has decided that agony, while perhaps a good palette from which to scrape your paints, is just not really that much fun. We’re here for a good time, not a long time, and, as Homer Simpson once said, “You could wake up dead tomorrow.” Get on your hands and knees, plunge your fingers in the soil and scream thanks at the moon for making the waves crash warm foam at the feet of our children.    Joe Bish.
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The hiatus is over. And while celebrating its 25th year of existence, Phantom Planet’s Alex Greenwald, Sam Farrar, Darren Robinson and Jeff Conrad are in the midst of making new music with Raise The Dead producer Tony Berg at the fabled Sound City Studio.   “We feel like we’re returning home,” says Greenwald, singer, rhythm guitarist and chief songwriter. “The boys in Phantom Planet are my brothers, and we figured it was time for a full fledged family reunion”     For the record, the Los Angeles band responsible for four albums of energetic and diversified alt rock; and are known for writing anthemic hits like “California,” – the infectious theme of the popular four-season TV series The O.C; the vibrant fan favorite, “Do The Panic” and the gritty, punk-propelled “Big Brat”.   A band known for their wildly exciting shows with deep fan engagement – many found Greenwald literally hanging from the rafters of the venue to entertain the masses on more than one occasion. Having toured with No Doubt, Incubus and many others, Phantom Planet quickly earned the fans’ staunch loyalty through a combination of stellar musicianship and their compelling material.   Forming in 1994, they released the prophetically titled Phantom Planet Is Missing. Four years later, followed 2002’s The Guest – which featured the evergreen “California,” their biggest hit.  The self-titled Phantom Planet and 2008’s Raise The Dead followed before the first breather ensued. But they never officially broke up.     At this point, each Phantom Planet member pursued satellite interests before they briefly reunited in 2012: Bassist Sam Farrar, who had been collaborating with Maroon 5 since 2001, became more immersed in the band, touring and recording with them before being asked to be a full-fledged member in 2016. He also signed a solo publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music, moving on to write & produce with artists as diverse as Sara Bareilles, Fitz & The Tantrums and Santigold.   Alex Greenwald began working on his solo album Yo!, (eventually released in 2014)  and put on his production cap for projects by The Like and The Young Veins, followed by a high profile turn as musical director for Mark Ronson and The Business Intl.  He also formed another band, JJAMZ , in 2009, released an album called Suicide Pact  and later rechristened them as Phases, which released a self-titled album on Warner Music in 2016.   Guitarist Darren Robinson divided his time between a number of projects – touring with Miniature Tigers, The Californian and creating Twin Terrors and Dead Honcho.   And drummer Jeff Conrad, who replaced founding member Jason Schwartzman (who left the band to pursue acting in 2004), built a stellar reputation as a go-to video editor and documentary music composer, working with such clients as Google and ESPN. He also anchored popular Ska band Siren Six, who held a recent 20th anniversary gig of their own to commemorate the occasion.   Phantom Planet briefly reunited for a few gigs in 2012 and flirted with the idea of a more permanent reconsolidation, but the timing wasn’t right.    “If I saw Sam at a party, we’d ask if each other was free, but we both had other obligations,” Greenwald recalls. “We had been talking about it for two years. Since Sam also plays in Maroon 5 and they tour a lot, it’s been an interesting scheduling dilemma. Suddenly a lot of things just clicked into place last year.”   Now, it’s time to pick up the reins and see how all of these collective experiences are going to forge a new Phantom Planet sound. The band has already tested its live chops during a secret show at No Name (in Los Angeles) on January 19, and the musical chemistry was potent as ever.   “We’ve all gone on these various treks and I guess we’ve decided the time is right,” notes Greenwald. “It certainly feels right. We’ve always been friends – it’s not like we got tired of each other or that anyone was mad at each other.  And now that we’ve come together, it’s as if no time has elapsed. It’s been a lot of fun!”   As Phantom Planet experiments with new songs and sonics, Greenwald insists Tony Berg was the only outsider considered to produce the sessions as their sounding board.   “I’ve known him since I was 18 and he was A&R of Geffen Records in the ‘90s,” Greenwald explains. “He’s always been a big proponent of my song-writing and he’s probably one of the only people whose opinion I trust.”    As Phantom Planet prepares to unleash its latest adventurous refrains in the very near future, Greenwald suggests that “it’s not off the table that we will go on tour at least within the next year.”   Now that Phantom Planet is fully reinstated and ready to go, Alex Greenwald says he can’t wait to reconnect with the fans and showcase the band’s new music this summer.    He promises it’s worth the wait. . “We’ve become better musicians and better listeners. Every Phantom Planet record has been an experiment. I’m sure this one will be no different.”
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