Talking Nightmares with La Luz’s Shana Cleveland

No band attacks vocal harmonies with as much commanding intensity as Los Angeles-based La Luz. Their eerie brand of surf-rock has always had something cinematic about it, thanks in no small part to their deadly four-part crooning. Their latest outing, Floating Features, finds the band dragging those screen dreams into the open. It’s simultaneously their most immediately rewarding record and their slowest burning, holding you captive with vibrant production and razor-sharp songwriting. Make no mi

BLUE ROOM + INTERVIEW: Gracie and Rachel - Upside Down

We entertained some, of course. It is definitely a dance with duality that we’re looking to share with our music: Rachel’s classical background in violin, and my more contemporary background in songwriting and piano. We try to convey that visually as well—myself in all white, Rachel in all black. It was just really important to have our different personas both included, and dropping our last names just felt like the most honest way to do that.

REVIEW: Jean Grae & Quelle Chris - Everything's Fine

In keeping with the loud social messaging of the record, Everything’s Fine calls in a surprising team of comic heavyweights to land the record’s least subtle punches in a series of entrancing skits. The opening is purely the duo, with a cameo by future cyborg “L-Tron 8000,” in a day-time TV game show setting where “there’s only one answer to everything,” but John Hodgman and Nick Offerman weave their way into mix over time.

PREMIERE: The Channels - See No Reason

Deeply apocalyptic and hauntingly personal, the no-wave clatter of The Channels will give you the creeps for days on end in the best of ways. Led by guitarist-vocalist Wes Kaplan—whose solo project, The Craters, also released a phenomenal record last year—the band creates roaring rhythmic conversations, locking into hellish, nerve-wracking grooves that call to mind noise pioneers Arab on Radar and DNA and grinding them to pieces with caustic precision.

REVIEW: Palm - Rock Island

Question how those guitars are dancing impossible steps around the drums, how the dimensions of the songs shrink and expand so freely, or why steel drums of all things are just about everywhere, and you’ll scratch your head all day long. Sink into it, let it sweep you away, take in the hazy tropical scenery. The more you surrender, the more vibrant and addicting it becomes. Spend a day on Rock Island and you might end up pleasantly marooned.

REVIEW: Dream Wife - Dream Wife

But Dream Wife don’t have time for pop pessimism, yours or mine. They’ve been too busy cramming wave after wave of stadium-sized, fist-pumping melodic goodness into every square inch of their long-awaited debut. In a sense, the London-based trio evolved in reverse. Starting as an art school project to create a fake girl band, the three women discovered an unexpected chemistry and ditched highbrow artifice in favor of near-religious dedication to hook-fueled rock and roll.

REVIEW: milo - sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face

But there are no grandiose James Baldwin speeches to start the proceedings this time around, no cosmic synthesizer swirls vaporizing into oblivion. Here, milo keeps the introductions short and less-than-sweet, digging into album opener “a terror way beyond falling” with a mournful piano sample that slams into being with a jarring lack of subtlety, mangled beyond repair and clipping with a menacing crackle that fills your headphones to the brim. milo comes at the mic primed for escape.

REVIEW: Chiquita Magic - Aventuras

Right off the bat, Aventuras plays like a blueprint for what could be the future of Chiquita Magic. The title track is a summation of the album’s experimental nature. Burbling synthesizers roll with the same fluorescent funk energy of Post-era Björk, tamed by the icy stutter of hip hop-inflected drums and cartoonish flutes that recall classic video game soundtracks. Indeed, although the album traverses a range of atmospheres, there’s a lighthearted whimsical energy feeding the whole process.
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