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Junaco Lets the Light Shine Through On Dreamy New Single “Dazed”

“Dazed by the simple things,” sings Shahana Jaffer towards the end of “Dazed,” the buoyant and shimmery new single by Los Angeles indie duo Junaco. We’re inclined to agree.

Junaco (consisting of both Jaffer and Joey LaRosa) embody the philosophy of “less is more” on the new track. It’s hard not to indulge in the atmospheric bed of chorused guitar strums; the warm, punchy percussion; the buttery, muted fuzz guitar lines that flit in and out of the mix like June bugs and, lilting above it all, Jaffer’s breathy and confident vocals, offering a measured dose of melancholy to softly patina the otherwise glittering sounds on display. Gabe Hernandez

BONUS: Enjoy a live performance of "Dazed" below (via the Junaco YouTube page)





Kiss Hello Delivers Mid-Fi Summer Vibes On Their Latest Self-Titled Album

Kiss Hello wants to share a moment. The project is the pseudonym of DTLA-based experimental/alt pop auteur Linus Landucci, whose most recent self-titled album is an effervescent blend of nimble yet blissed-out electronic instrumentals and endearingly melodic, guitar-forward indie pop songs.

Standout tracks include "Juicy Time,” with its acrobatic, Jaco Pastorius-style bass, spun-glass synth pads, softly bit-crushed drum sounds, and ambient vocal samples, which evoke a nostalgia for a past that may never have actually arrived.

Meanwhile, “Don’t Fret” and “Goodbye (Smiling My Way Home) are summery blasts of beachy jangle pop with a distinctly California vibe, perfect for blasting over the speakers on a long drive up PCH.

Overall, Kiss Hello’s engaging mid-fi aesthetic and wistful lyrics demonstrate an advance from their earlier, more lo-fi and ambient work, and bring them into 2021 poised to be the new soundtrack to your socially-distanced summer outings. Gabe Hernandez


 





Cohesive and Creative Collaboration on Display in “Sunrise”

The local talent Primo the Alien cultivates a mysterious, dreamlike universe on her latest single “Sunrise,” along with some help from LA-based musician Shadowrunner, who produced the track and was behind its instrumentation. Her noted influences, such as Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and David Bowie, are all on display here, showcasing her powerful vocals establishing a theatrical, Bowie-esque presence. In addition to channeling some of these iconic artists, Primo and Shadowrunner incorporate modern synthwave sounds to create a nostalgic, dreamy and upbeat atmosphere that is fresh and unique.  

Despite being mainly influenced by older artists, Primo is also inspired by contemporary electronic-oriented artists like The Midnight -- leading to a very natural collaboration process between her and Shadowrunner.  If Primo’s thunderous and distinct vocals were to be isolated, one might not expect it to be paired with Shadowrunner’s electro, synthwave production. Yet they both make it work seamlessly.  “I tend to tailor the delivery, tone and stylistic choices to the song. For this, I was looking for something  sweet, innocent, and pure,” she says. “I think that that matched the production that Shadowrunner  brought.”

The lyrical content is rooted in loneliness and isolation. “I was thinking of the yearning that is when you can’t be with someone. Looking at our current situation with covid and just being apart and away from each other a lot of times is kind of what I was drawing on,” she says.

It’s a song about waiting to be with someone and the pain that comes with that, but there is undoubtedly a hopeful message -- that, even though you may have to wait to be with someone, you’re going to wait for that person no matter the barriers and limitations.

- Quinn Donoghue

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Air Devi writes songs about moving and mosquitos

Air Devi is both a band and a person which is like a PJ Harvey kind of deal. And also like PJ Harvey, she's got some serious musical and songwriting chops. Air Devi, the person, is alternatiely know as Devi Majeske and she's a violinist, sitarist, guitarist, bass guitarist, keyboardist, and a fairly recent U. Penn grad who writes cool songs that come across pretty laid back at first but then get under your skin and into your heart and head. Like on the recent single “Mosquitos in the Backyard,” a song that floats by like a big marshmallow cloud and with images of “wash lines swaying” and “lush perfume hanging” to match. Except when you dig a little deeper it's not all strawberries and cream because the song appears to either be about contracting malaria and/or it's a pretty brutal take down of a pest and narcissist with lines like “you’ll feed on anything that breathes / you never loved anything." Another clever touch is how the choruses sound a little bit like a buzzing mosquito with the chopped-up guitar chords and circling bass line on the high strings so there's much to comtemplate here.

Air Devi draws from diverse musical roots ranging from first-wave punk to Bollywood soundtracks to bedroom singer-songwriter pop to folkie psychedelia but there’s one recurring motif to my ears in how she/they often combine a blissed out vibe in the music and vocals with lyrics that are a series of sharply observed slices-of-life and streams-of-consciousness--pulling from disperate stands of thought and stands of identity and even from different languages with code-switching into French and Gujarati on a handful of songs. 

The latter Indo-language is heard on “Move Without Place," a song that rotates gracefully between styles—the Gujarati comes at the end of a sequence that moves first from ambient indie pop to a syncopated baggy beat with a Bollywood-like vocal melody and then Air Devi wondering aloud “Am I colonizable? Capitalizable?” when everything suddenly stops for a split-second and a bell chimes and then it goes into what sounds like traditional Hindustani music complete with dholak drumming, which is simlilar to a tabla but double-headed, and electric guitar and entrancing ornamented singing but then it all unwinds down to a single repeated guitar note and then back to the syncopated beat with the amibient indie pop backing and back around again. The restless musical arrangement perfectly captures the theme of the song to "move without place [and] make my own space" even if one's skin and the whole world itself is "splintered" and "sensitive."

It's all equally visceral and heady stuff--a dialectic that can be applied to much of Air Devi's music in my humble opinion. But you can make up your own mind by listening to the two aforementioned singles and then 2020’s Swanning About EP above ("No Clearances" is a particuarly lovely statement of purpose). And if you need more you can check out earlier singles like "Standoffish" and "Alchemist" and the stripped-down DIY of 2018's Chicken Nuggies & Rosé EP with some of its contents later rearranged in full-band form on Swanning such as "My Landlord Is An Asshole!" and who can really argue with a sentiment like that. And then, if that's not enough, you can dig into Air Devi's Soundcloud page and find even earlier works like the anti-Putin diss track "Kremlin Bop" that doubles as a Ramones-like sing-a-long with the title perhaps even being an homage to said band. 


But hey let’s not fixate on the past because cheap nostalgia is so 2020. And plus it'll be even more interesting to see and hear what Air Devi does next. (Jason Lee)

 





Starchild's recent live set from outer space

The first Earthly arrival of Starchild was mid-wifed from within George Clinton’s Afrofuturist musical universe (which I'll gladly take over the Marvel Universe any day, just take a look at the “P-Funk Mythology” page on Wikipedia) arriving in this world via the 1975 Parliament single “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” where our titular hero announced to Earthlings that “we have returned to reclaim the Pyramids” before introducing the “Swing down, sweet chariot” hook later sampled on Dr. Dre’s 1993 hit “Let Me Ride” which introduced P-Funk via G-Funk to Generation X.

Well the second coming has come. And Brooklyn is the lucky host to the reincarnated Starchild in the form of Bryndon Cook. Having travelled the universe and beyond before landing permanently in these parts, this Starchild keeps some pretty rarified company having logged time as touring guitarist for Solange and Chairlift and Blood Orange, while also collaborating with the latter as VeilHymn, before venturing out as front-alien for Starchild & The New Romantic—a project that melds Cook’s R&B and hip hop and indie rock ‘n pop leanings into one musical package and very effectively so on the album released last year called Forever.

And more recently Starchild was shot back out into outer space ET-style to perform a couple live-streamed sets on Elsewhere Sound Space, a monthly series broadcast on the über-äwesome nightclub’s Twitch channel, all originating from an undisclosed location aboard a spaceship marooned in a galaxy far, far away. And lucky for us the Starchild episode is still available to stream and you won’t regret the alien encounter because Bryndon Cook’s heartfelt musical vignettes set in the midst of some pretty trippy sci-fi visuals is likely to make your soul leave your body especially on his final number “Silent Disco,” a transcendent ditty during which Starchild’s soul does in fact visibly leave his Earthbound bodysuit behind and enter another dimension.

Based on the first couple of episodes of Elsewhere Sound Space with their eerie eye candy tableaux and occasional space lizard appearances combined with cosmic musical numbers interspersed with broad comedy segments (double entendre not intended) the overall effect is like a surrealist mashup of the movie version of Dune and the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special, except that the campiness found on this mothership is clearly neither unintentional nor apolitical (take that Susan Sontag!) and instead of Bea Arthur serenading the Cantina Bar you get Princess Nokia and Starchild and in the next installment this Tuesday Brooklyn rapper and NYC mayoral candidate Paperboy Prince serenading all of us pod people out here wandering aimlessly in cyberspace.

And isn't it about time someone presented a compellingly queer vision of outer space and damn if the team at Elsewhere Sound Space--fronted by the program's emcee Peter Smith who as "a music deity marooned in space" radiates warmth into the coldest reaches of universe, check out the profile published in the NY Times titled “Five Nonbinary Comics on This Moment”—haven’t done it. Because c’mon even your neighborhood quantum physicist knows that outer space is all about relativity and multi-dimensionality and the bending of timespace which all sounds pretty queer to me. (Jason Lee)

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