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Alt Pop

Patriarchy takes on the patriarchy with a Reverse Circumcision

The musical project Patriarchy excels at much of what the patriarchy itself hates and fears most—like when a woman chooses to express herself in a sexually uninhibited manner or insists upon her own agency or mocks the self-serving rules and taboos of the patriarchy through sharp satirical humor or creates music that signifies and demands the power and the privilege inherent in not giving a fuck.

Quoting directly from their song “Hell Was Full,” it’s this writer’s theory that lead singer/songwriter/stylist/director and actress Actually Huizenga—one half of the self-described snuff-pop duo—has taken on the proverbial role of “the apple in the pig’s mouth [that’s] trying hard as fuck to swallow,” bringing about the downfall of the patriarchal pig whom she compels to “choke, choke, choke, choke” on his own lust and greed and “on the words that you never knew the meaning of” where one of those words could be “patriarchy” itself since Patriarchy clearly has a thing or two to teach about domination and authority. But whatever the validity of this interpretation you can and probably should click HERE for Huizenga’s own compellingly clear-eyed view of the patriarchy and of Patriarchy.

Patriarchy is the nom de bande of Huizenga alongside co-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Means (3Teeth) and their overall vibe and sound is perfectly summed up in the promotional copy that accompanied their late-2019 debut Asking For It so I’ll just quote from it here (paraphrasing slightly) with the album described as “a work exploring themes of sex, power, subversion & death with what appears to be an intense interest in Ancient Greek Mythology & 80's slasher films, a heavy dose of Mulholland Drive, and a sound that is equal parts ABBA and NIN but leaning more toward the darker, heavier side of synth-punk/new-wave & industrial music.”

Skipping ahead to the present, earlier this year Patriarchy released Reverse Circumcision which true to its title adds new layers of transplanted “sonic skin” to songs first heard on Asking For It with individual tracks remixed and reimagined by a cavalcade of all-stars from EBM to industrial, darkwave to dream pop, ranging from key members of legends like Nitzer Ebb and Front Line Assembly and This Mortal Coil to fellow Angelinos like Drab Majesty (who adds a death disco sheen to “Burn the Witch”) and Geneva Jacuzzi (who turns “I Don’t Want To Die” into a pulsating electro-funk workout) and plenty of others who all combined will make you wanna “take your dick out and put it on the speaker” as commanded by Ms. Huizenga in the opening lines of “He Took It Out.” And don’t fret if you don’t have that particular appendage because everyone knows the phallus is nothing but a cultural construct so put your cultural construct on the speaker instead should you so choose.

One other neat thing about Reverse Circumcision is getting to hear different interpretations of the same track as we do for two Patriarchy originals. But the single takes are equally compelling, like the version of “Grind Your Bones” by Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Delerium) wherein he takes one of Patriarchy’s heavier riff-based numbers (“as the vultures tear / at your underwear / I’ll be there”) and surgically removes the riff and cuts up the song’s lyrics, transmutating the whole into a glitchy miasma of sound that’s either incredibly sensuous or cataclysmic or both, depending on your own ears, culminating with doomy ethereal synth chords and a distorted feral howl.

And if this gets your goat you can see and hear Rhys Fulber, along with Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb, in conversation with Ms. Huizenga on Patriarchy’s recently live-streamed Bottom of the Pops (nice title) that first aired as a Christmas special (!!) featuring performances not available elsewhere plus some seasonally appropriate HSN style shopping segments. Just be forewarned this Xmas special is a long way from Burl Ives and not for the delicate of constitution which in our book makes it the best possible kind of Christmas special. 

And speaking of special, the follow up to Bottom of the Pops is on its way, slated to stream on March 20 at 6pm PST/9pm EST so check out Patriarchy’s Youtube channel and mark your calendars and while you’re waiting feast your eyes on some of Patriarchy’s existing music videos (plus Actually’s pre-Patriarchy body of work) because these self-directed clips tend to be visually lavish and gleefully transgressive and slyly amusing and overall something to behold. 

Which at last brings us (or maybe just me) full circle since I first learned about Actually Huizenga through the music visual dramatical arts—namely, her inspired performance in the likewise inspired Cody Critcheloe (aka SSION) directed clip for Lower Dens’ “To Die in L.A.” in which Huizenga commands the screen as an aspiring Hollywood screen siren who’s prone to waking dreams relating to bloody tooth trauma and buff pool boys and award acceptance speeches. (Jason Lee) 


Jake Hays is scary good in new single "Overcomplicated"

Jake Hays jumps into his new single “Overcomplicated” with sufficient swag: his vibrant vocals, glazed with reverb, strut to a sexy drum rhythm, and a pulsing bassline that adds a sweet caramel groove to that. Hays discusses in the song the complexities of bad first dates, their brevity, and vast potential for comedic/horrific stories - based on the Goosebumps tribute music video, perhaps it is the latter? With its bouncy choruses and continuous sonic edge, “Overcomplicated” keeps its appeal simple and its theme the perfect conversation-starter piece. Stream “Overcomplicated” below for a thriller-fun video and a song that is scary good. - René Cobar

Alt Pop

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Mevius gets "Washed Out"

Released exactly one minute before midnight on December 31, 2020, the opening moments of the opening track “Washed Out” on Meviu§’s latest EP, Washed Out, is the perfect soundtrack for the way I remember feeling at that precise time--sitting at home by myself with “hands tied behind my back / and face down on the floor.” Well, figuratively *ahem*. It’s been a strange couple of months or couple of years. Wait, what day is it? Oh yeah it’s Bandcamp Friday Day™ which means that it’ll not only cost you a mere pittance to buy the Meviu§ EP, but also that the entire pittance will go straight into the hot pockets of Meviu§ which'll help him be able to buy an actual Hot Pocket™ and avoid starvation for another day. As of the time of writing you've got about five-and-a-half hours left so go buy it now!

OK back to those opening moments of “Washed Out” and the slowly-unfurling echoey guitar arpeggio whose notes fold back in on themselves and suck you, the listener, into a swirling sonic vortex that serves as the perfect launching pad for the rest of the song with its somehow both driving and turgid guitar work & rhythm section in the instrumental parts and stripped down verses and catchy melodic choruses. It’s a Cure-worthy opening, and song overall, especially if you’re into Disintegration and Wish era Cure back when the mascara-smudged Camus-quoting Friday-loving gothsters managed to have a couple bonafide pop-chart hits here in the US which is pretty crazy when you think about it now. And on this note it bears pointing out how Meviu§ has a similar grasp of combining catchy tunes with serious “in your feels” feels.

But, hey you, I wonder why Robert Smith & Friends loved Friday so much? I thought these boys were supposed to be sad. Well duh because it's Bandcamp Friday™ in case you already forgot! I mean sure Bandcamp wasn’t even close to existing yet in 1992 but obviously The Cure had a premonition, which is pretty impressive considering how just about every GeoCities-induced psychedelic headtrip of a web site during those years looked as if the entire cast of Saved By The Bell had just projectile vomited on your monitor screen (RIP Dustin Diamond) creating a big mess of neon backdrops and spinning icons and animated-and-sometimes-flaming text. and how in this world could you ever order something so pragmatic as vinyl records, or these new things called em-pee-threes, on these strange primitive machines but I digress.

Anyway I didn’t mean to imply that the entire Meviu§ EP sounds like the Cure because it doesn’t. In fact it’s got a pretty wide stylistic range for just four songs. Track number two “Find You” features Edith Pop on co-vocals and it’s a nice downbeat acoustic ballad that’ll have you weeping in your kombucha with its aching harmonies and doleful sentiments. Up next is “Ghost of Memory (Ghost Stories Remix)” which at times reminds me of Moon Safari era Air but just when you think Kelly Better Keep Watching Those Stars there’s suddenly an Aphex Twin-y breakdown so hey you never know. And then on track number four the EP wraps up with “Maybe Next Year (featuring Searmanas)” but specifically in the form of the “Jeremy Bastard Remix” although I hear that really he’s just misunderstood. This closer features an immersive darkwave groove and some more female-to-male harmonizing from the aforementioned Searmanas and it's truly an apropos song title and musical vibe to go out on. But maybe just maybe if we’re all lucky next year will come before next year. (Jason Lee)

Beau appearing on Baby TV (NOT) tonight but on 2/26

LIVESTREAM RESCHEDULED BUT STILL HAPPENING! Spawned from the bohemian artist environs of Greenwich Village and the gypsys that remain, Heather Goldin and Emma Jenney’s first mutual encounter was a self-described opposites attract moment at their nonhierarchical arts-intensive public grade school in third grade which eventually led to them becoming complimentary songwriting partners and eventually an active musical concern known as Beau. Now, some years later, the latest single by this fully grown up duo called "Dance With Me" continues the dualistic dynamic with its high-gloss-yet-gritty-in-the-city sound.

It’s a dynamic that feels pretty right for two Joni Mitchell lovin' wild childs who ended up playing Paris Fashion Week (Paris the city, not Paris Hilton) when barely into their 20s and then signing to a French-Japanese fashion-label-cum-record-label. And it also feels pretty right that the song vibrates with the urgency and abandon and sense of pure joy you’d expect of two highly creative artists coming off from a five year recording hiatus (but not a songwriting hiatus) to work independently with a team of local collaborators. 

“Dance With Me” started with a piano line written in a dank NYC basement and came to fruition across multiple recording studios while preserving many elements of the original demo. It's a multilayered musical cake and let’s not forget the lyrics that portray dance as both carefree ecstatic communion and urgently needed escape from inner and outer demons, and the music video that opens on an image of the ladies smokin’ up on a treadmill. Now that's a health regimen we can get behind.

And here’s the kicker, you can watch a live show by Beau here in a few weeks on FRIDAY 2/26 in the comfort of your own homes while jogging on your NordicTrack and working your way through a pack of Marlboros or rolling up a big fattie or doing whatever you want we're not here to judge. Jump on over to Baby TV, a subsidiary of Baby’s All Right, to get your tix before the scalpers snap 'em all up and to read more about what Beau has in store for the future. O, sweet anticipation! (Jason Lee)


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