Today, Nobuyuki Sakuma (former member of Jesse Ruins) released his second full-length album as CVN. Though it feels like a logical departure from the darting techno doom-scape in Sakuma’s preceding album, Matters, the huge breadth of emotions channeled in i.c. makes for an unpredictable listening experience. Track by track, Sakuma calls for us to rely on our sense of imagination rather than direction, and follow him, unhurried, through the “mutating” cityscapes of Tokyo.
Kicking off i.c. with a pop track, “成分” consists of lullaby-ish melodies and kind, female vocals by NTsKi. It is followed by “Excuse” feat. Cemetery, which builds a sense of tension and curiosity through its steady beat, ambient diffusion of vocal samples, droning strings, nature sounds, and colorful synth blips. The track eventually wriggles free from its forward marching drums, as if to give us a chance to look around at the diverse soundscape that Sakuma has built before moving onwards.
With an ominous chorus and an abundance of industrial whirring, “You Argued for Justice” delivers a dark catharsis to the prior track’s buildup. Though the begin of “Snippets of Heaven” might lead you to believe we’ve reached a glitchy techno destination, it resolves to another moment of sonic reverence. Next, “Local Pain” feat. Le Makeup uses bright guitars to take an unexpectedly upbeat turn, and so it goes. Sakuma purportedly allows his mood to dominate the direction of each track. As a result, i.c. moves between heaviness and zen, while often finding a way to balance the two elements within the same track.
i.c. resembles its predecessor, Matters, through intricate and inventive synthesized sounds, and an untethered, winding, sense of motion. Both albums are experimental in their own right, but i.c. find chaos in moments of stillness, and each track’s organic undercurrent to shine through. Each beat finds a flow that is interesting and rhythmically unique, but not so heady that it requires technical appreciation in order to be enjoyed.
Like walking through Tokyo, there is always something new waiting to be discovered in i.c. Every layer that is peeled back gives us another clue about the place from which Sakuma is sending us his message.
When he’s not making music, Sakuma works as an editor at the online music magazine, AVYSS, and curates a mix series called Gray Matter Archives. So while the more avant-garde aspects of this album are likely inspired by Japan’s experimental electronic scene, tracks like “Excuse” and “下丘 Kakyu” utilize traditional Japanese instruments and reflect the juxtaposition of hypermodernity and history that exists within Tokyo.
CVN will be performing in Philly on June 19th at Berks Warehouse, along with label-mate Koeosaeme
Adé Hakim, (AKA Sixpress) is a Bronx creative, who has been creating his own sound alongside sLUms the NYC hip-hop collective for some time now. He was credited with the production on Earl Sweatshirt’s recently released single “Nowhere2go” and is at the forefront of a new generation of artists in NYC. He stopped by the WKDU station on April 20th for a short on-air playlist of beats themed “Black History Month Lives On”, and a conversation to discuss what he’s been up to, the modern renaissance, and his latest project: On to Better Things, along with much more. After our interview, Adé went on to play a prodigious set with fellow New York producer Sporting Life at Big Mama’s warehouse to an audience of fans he was quick to unify.
It wasn’t too long ago Beach Goons (made up of Pablo Cervantez, David Orcozo, and Chris Moran) was playing house shows in the “surf punk scene” of San Diego, California and using equipment from the public library. These past few months was only their second tour, despite the large and incredibly engaged crowd. The band has been gaining more and more popularity with the release of their new album hoodratscumbags. Singer and guitarist, Pablo Cervantez, explained from behind his tiny merch table at Theatre of Living Arts, that this album is his “little baby,” and has been working on it for 2 years. He went through the process of writing in his room, in the studio, and wiping out 8 songs before he was ready to release it.
With influences from Balance and Composure, Chalino Sanchez, The Cure, and Marvin Gaye it is obvious how Cervantez’s vast music taste contributes to the perfect creation of a surf punk album.
Cervantez went into depth about how important it was that he includes his Mexican heritage in this album specifically. The listener can quite literally hear this in the several verses he belts out in Spanish (such as in the song A.M.) , an inclusion that is greater on hoodratscumbags than any other album Beach Goons has released before. He explained that growing up in San Diego as a first gen was difficult because of ridicule from greater society. He referred to the area as “the ghetto,” something that he made known he is not ashamed of. Cervantez even recalls being pushed to speak english in public by his parents, fearing that he will be looked down upon for his heritage.
With his background influencing his recent album, Cervantez explained how he is no longer ashamed of his heritage. He is simply proud and he wants his parents to be proud.
After hoodratscumbags was released, Beach Goons had the opportunity to have an Audiotree Livesession in Chicago, something Cervantez grew up watching and listening to. The coordinators were very welcoming and the overall experience was amazing. Check out their session on Spotify or Youtube to hear the extremely authentic and vocally dynamic recording.
Cervantez closed in on the interview with some insightful advice for kids growing up in less fortunate areas who are told they cannot accomplish anything:
“It’s all Bull Shit!”
Cervantez recommended a documentary about the area he grew up in called Chicano Park:
SWMRS, Destroy Boys, and Beach Goons took over The Theatre of Living Arts on Tuesday, April 9th. The crowd was close to filling the whole venue just as the opening act, Destroy Boys, stepped on stage, so it was obvious Philadelphia was ready for a night of sick music.
Destroy Boys, comprised of Alexia Roditis, Violet Mayugba, Falyn Walsh and Narsai Malik, came first with a hardcore, upbeat sound. Roditis’s strong, powerful vocals filled the venue. They took time to encourage an all-girl mosh pit, something that was very empowering to the female hardcore fans in the audience. Already proving to be an all- inclusive band, Roditis went on to perform a song for the LGBTQ audience, yelling out “That’s me, bitch!” The crowd then swooned when Mayugba planted a kiss on Roditis’s forehead. The band then covered Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings,” with spot-on, screaming accuracy.
Next to perform was Beach Goons, bassist David Orozco swigging a Yuengling as he walked on stage to plug in. The bands’ sound is like no other, the guitar having a perfect balance of surf mixed with pure, gritty punk. Upbeat drums along with catchy bass rifts ensure to grasp the attention of anyone listening. Cervantez’s voice is an extremely unique mixture of clean melodies that break into raspy, articulate screams.
They opened with “Tar,” and the crowd immediately started screaming the lyrics. A crowd this large and supportive could have been for a main act easily. Then, came the bodies. I have been to many, many punk shows, but I have never seen as many converse soles above my head before in my whole life. The bouncers were spastically trying to catch kids coming up to the front from every direction, as the rest moshed recklessly to their favorite punk band: Beach Goons. The pit was especially hyped when lead singer Pablo Cervantez repeated the lyrics
“Everybody is dead
All my friends are dead
And I’m tryin’ my best
My best to reach things”
The words were screamed over and over as more bodies were knocking into each other and flying overhead. Cervantez banged on his tan telecaster, a smile on his face the whole time. After asking to be smoked up after the show, Beach Goons closed with a surf-punk cover of “La Bamba,” something that sparked an even more intense energy throughout the crowd.
The fans for SWMRS were waving and singing along to their songs before the band even stepped out onto the stage. SWMRS opened with “Trashbag Baby,” a song that drew immense energy from the audience. The band, made up of Cole Becker, Max Becker, Joey ArmstrongJakob Armstrong (both sons of the frontman of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong), and Seb Mueller had a bit of a 90s punk boy band style mixed with some modern pop-punk influences.
There was clapping and dancing from the barricades all the way up to the line of parents in the back of the venue, the audience knowing every song from the first note of the bassline. After requesting a circle pit be formed, singer Cole Becker referred to the “wall of death” mosh pit as a “wall of love,” encouraging the fact that “once you walk through those doors, you’re joining a community.”
The band was extremely interactive with the crowd, often stopping the show to talk with individual audience members from the stage. Becker then explained how important it is to recognize any form of sexual harassment that may go on during the show, asking for the band to be told if this happens so they can stop the show and “kick that mother f***** out!!!!!” The announcement was followed by “Berkeley’s on Fire,” a song about such issues and moving forward as a community.
The SWMRS tour definitely had a killer line up, proven by the large and engaged audience which was excited to see all of the bands. This may be the tour that brings Beach Goons to the next level of popularity, with such a large crowd going off the walls for their new album. This only being their second tour, it will be exciting to see how much they, along with Destroy Boys and SWMRS, grow as they make their way from city to city.
I recently was introduced to Freddy Guwap, an upcoming local West Philadelphia rap artist who has received some big-name cosigns in the music industry. We got a chance to catch up and discuss where he’s coming from.
What’s up man – how are you, and what are you up to right now?
Wassup fam I’m doing good, maintaining my work.
How old are you, and what part of Philadelphia are you from?
I’m an 18yr old artist born in Brooklyn, raised in West Philly 61st and Jefferson.
What kind of role does your music play in your life right now?
Music plays a big role in my life, keeps me out of trouble and it’s always been a dream to inspire others with my craft.
What kind of music/rap did you listen to growing up?
Growing up I listened to artists such as Soulja Boy and Chief Keef. It’s many other artists I listened to, but I don’t have a specific genre, it’s whatever that gets my attention.
What made you want to be a rapper?
What made me want to rap truthfully was my childhood friend Joshua who passed away a few years ago. Every day at lunch from 2nd grade to the beginning of high school they put me on the spot to rap, as he made beats on the lunchroom tables. It helped me get better and it’s a big part of how I make my music and why I choose beats with a lot of hard bass. I also had a friend named Tamir who passed away during middle school that was already into making music in the studio. Honestly, he inspired me to go to the studio because if it wasn’t for him being the only 7th grader in the studio, I probably wouldn’t have taken action to go and record. But after he passed, I took music more seriously.
How would you describe your style?
My style is indescribable it’s just Wapstar shit, ain’t no telling what I’m gonna record.
Young M.A. recently cosigned you, how did that come about, and how does it feel having the support of one of the biggest female rap artists out there?
The Young M.A co-sign came through my team, my manager and most importantly my music and work ethic. It feels good to have an inspiration like the Queen showing love. I’ve had many people show me love in the industry such as Slim Jimmi from Rae Sremmurd, YBN Nahmir, PnB Rock and Loso Loaded, that’s why I know it was destined for me to make it in music. But M.A. was actually genuine, it’s a few more who are too but not everybody is going to like you for your music, it’s about if you have a fan base behind you.
She was into your new track Da Skeechie, it’s been gaining some traction.
Da Skeechie is the hottest song out, video shot by ShuggC the hardest videographer, you’re gonna hear a lot more about him too.
What can we expect in terms of the future? What kind of goals do you have for 2019?
I don’t know what the future holds but expect success. My goal for 2k19 is just to have an even better work ethic than I do right now, the more I work the more I’m going to see progress.
I wanna shout out my family, my supporters and everyone on my team.
Thanks Freddy, appreciate your time, looking forward to what you got coming.
I’m looking forward to what I have coming too, we don’t know what else is in store. Thanks for your time.
Head to the back counter at Human Head Records in Brooklyn, where the shop’s excellent electronic music section resides, and Stephen Silvestri will likely greet you, pile of records & seltzer in tow. On an E-ZPass tip, I checked out the store for the first time, saw they were carrying some of my favorite labels (shoutout Is / Was & Vanity Press), got to chatting with Stephen, and had him do this mix 🙂
I collect a lot of house/techno records from the NYC area from the late 80s to the early 90s so there’s a good smattering of that. A couple of UK records, some Detroit. I opened the mix with a track from Don Carlos the famous Italian house music producer. But the era is most definitely around 1989-1996. Always all vinyl! I’m not sure why I chose to focus this mix on this era but I guess it’s what I’m feeling currently.
What’s something you’ve learned (that you didn’t expect to) from working at record shops?
A deeper appreciation for visual art and typography. I am inundated with visual imagery working with records and you start to get really good at being able to determine eras of design preference. Some record art is totally pop art, some conceptual, some campy, some commercial, some political, etc. The spectrum of artistic design reflects the breadth of music which is obviously wide. But sometimes the visual is better than the music, or vice versa, or sometimes it doesn’t seem to quite match with the music or the content of the record. I could go on about layers of human behavior that I have learned about but that’s a whole other topic.
Hot Flash Heat Wave continued their very first tour as headliners at Everybody Hits! last Tuesday, March 5th. After being led to the upstairs “green room,” I got the chance to speak with them about touring, good food, garage rock, and their new EP, Mood Ring.
Before their own tour and growing popularity, Hot Flash Heat Wave started as many other bands do: in a garage. The band is made up of Adam Abildgaard, Ted Davis, Nick Duffy, and newest addition (who plays his guitar upside down), Jared Johnson. Adam, Ted and Nick all met in high school and played with the garage scene in the Davis California area, a town just west of Sacramento. Abildgaard explained “It’s all you’ve got when you’re 16. It was great,” and incredibly true and challenging fact.
The DIY scene, as the bandmates explained, allowed them to create their own platform for themselves and their friends in a time when they were too young to play real venues. Not fitting into the normal scene at their high school led to an interest in going to garage shows to meet other people who didn’t feel as though they fit in either. The scene was an odd, yet close-knit group of people who felt ironically close with other outcasts.
From bunkers on the beach of the Secret Show Society to various house venues, Hot Flash Heat Wave found their popularity was growing. They said they miss playing DIY shows, treasuring that part of their lives they had, calling it “magical.” The band said they felt as though in that time, people truly appreciated the music they were seeing because of the closeness of the audience and the band.
Because it was their first time ever headlining, Hot Flash Heat Wave said the experience of touring was very different… both stressful and cool. Earlier this year, they opened for The Frights and toured alongside the surf-punk band. They explained that there is much more inspiration to perform for people who are actually showing up to see your own band. This is different from being an opener or supporting band, they said, because they felt as though they were trying to “win over” the audience with the first impression of performing as an opener.
Touring on the East Coast seemed like a different country to the bandmates, who appreciated “all the bricks,” in Philadelphia. Through touring, Hot Flash Heat Wave has discovered that every area of America is cool in its own way and have found that there is an incredible amount of like-minded people. This was proven especially in Florida when the band was expecting a low-energy scene but were surprised to perform for kids that were going absolutely crazy for their music.
With exposure to so many different places comes exposure to endless restaurants and food stops. Some of their favorites included Voodoo Donuts, and an extremely hospitable, on-the-house korean joint in Austin TX. The Keyboardist and guitarist, Jarred Johnson, went on about this restaurant in specific, which is located next door to the well-known venue Barracuda’s. He said after the workers refused payment and tip, he felt as though someone had “Punched (him) in the heart.” As for Philadelphia, singer and guitarist/ singer, Ted Davis, was disappointed when he received a philly cheese steak that was missing the cheese…. He forgot to say “with,” I am assuming, a critical use of philly slang.
As of right now, Hot Flash Heat Wave is re-inventing their sound, which can be heard in their newest EP, Mood Ring, which is “lyrically more personal.” Their new music, as explained by Adam, is a more psychedelic take on their west-coast surf style. He went on to list a few other influences which included 80s synth, R&B, 70s, and soul. This is different from their last album, Soaked, which they explained as having a more 60s/ Beatles-esque sound.
If you have listened to their music, one would notice how unique each album is from the others, but the Hot Flash Heat Wave sound still exists. They explained how it is fun to reinvent their sound and how there shouldn’t be any rules when making new music. “It gets stale if we do it over and over again,” Adam said.
The band was also able to do an AudioTree session. They explained they were very nervous about the session, as they did not know the seriousness of the opportunity prior to accepting the offer. It was explained as extremely comprehensive but was still a really cool experience.
The music videos Hot Flash Heat Wave releases are endlessly artistic and visually stimulating. When asked about the process of such videos, drummer Nick Duffy explained that they partnered up with Boredom, a company that helped them make the trippy, cartoon video for Raindrop as well as the retro, chaotic Gutter Girl video. He went on to describe how Raindrop, specifically, was a large production that included over 30 artists and custom costumes. Ironically, one of their more successful videos, Glo Ride, was filmed all by the band on an old camera and the vision for this video was simply wanting to be “emo cowboys.” The singer and guitarist, Adam, was especially excited about the Glo Ride video because he was able to ride a horse for the first time, exclaiming “It’s about damn time. Get me on a Horse!”
With the success of their latest EP and tour, Duffy said to “keep your eyes peeled,” for a new record that will hopefully be on the way this year, following Mood Ring.
After the interview with the three extremely friendly, passionate bandmates, the show began with Field Trip and Early Eyes, two incredibly energetic and charismatic bands. The venue, Everybody Hits! Was lit up with christmas lights for a makeshift stage, as there was no actual stage, allowing the bands and audience to be right up close and personal with each other. Hot Flash Heat Wave particularly took advantage of this and took the mic into the crowd to dance with the kids who came to see them.
An intimate show came to an end when the band did two encores and they jokingly refused to do “the whole walking off and coming back on again thing.” Hot Flash Heat Wave proved their spot as headliners with an absolutely kick-ass show, following the interview which showed me the incredible process of getting out of the garage and headlining your own tour.