Some groups, like certain friendships, come together as if by fate. Jake Truax (guitar) and Brandon Tong (keys) first met in gym class in the seventh grade of their Denver, Colorado junior high school, and immediately became friends. To pass the hours outside of school, the two spent their time skating and listening to music, their days soundtracked by groups like Frou Frou, The Sounds, and Shiny Toy Guns. As they grew up, they began to experiment making music, though never collaborating together. The two stayed close despite going to different colleges, and when Jake moved to Paris for his undergraduate, Brandon came to visit with the idea of recording some songs as a group. Inspired by many of the acts they had grown up listening to as middle schoolers, the result was a unique amalgam of Synth-Pop, 90's dance music, and Indie Rock.
Jake first heard Jayanna Roberts (Vocals) playing a ukulele and singing in the courtyard of his Paris college, months after Brandon had returned to Denver. The two quickly became friends and collaborators, writing songs together for french class. Jayanna returned to New York the following semester, around the time Brandon moved to Brooklyn permanently. When Jake visited the city to record with him, he suggested they call Jayannna. The trio booked a rehearsal space at a now-demolished warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and got to work. Jayanna’s energy and unique vocal tone meshed perfectly with their songs, and they left the second day with a recorded demo of the first official Couch Prints song, “Tell U.”
An immersive Synth-Pop exploration, “Tell U” is the sound of a new group somehow already fully-formed. The song is a remarkable combination of the transient wistfulness of being young, the longing for the past and also a desire for new things to come. After finishing the demo, the group worked with Billy Pavone at his studio in Brooklyn on additional production and mixing, and with Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound to finish the master. (LaPorta would go on to master the rest of the group’s debut EP as well.)
The response to “Tell U” was far beyond anything the group expected. The song caught the ear of Chris Cantalini from Gorilla Vs. Bear, and found its way onto the Spotify playlists Fresh Finds and Bedroom Pop. Seeing the potential in this new group, Jake moved to New York permanently, and Couch Prints became a reality.
The next single released was “Of Drawing.” Recorded in the group’s new rehearsal space (a shipping container in Bushwick), the group wanted to maintain the high level of quality set by their first single while pushing the sound even further. The result is a song blending a traditional Pop structure with contrasting lyrics and maximalist production. “Of Drawing” expresses an intense desire and longing for a person and a time that will never come back.
“We went through hundreds of revisions for ‘Of Drawing,’” says the group. “It began as a demo sung by Brandon, and we just kept editing it and adding effects and moving things around. We really labor over the small details.” The song was re-recorded with Billy Pavone, also providing additional production, and mixing for the song.
The group describes their process as utterly democratic. “We talk about everything in an open and free environment,” says the group. “It was very important to us from the beginning that everyone felt like they had the power to voice their opinions and make decisions.”
The next song to be recorded was “Faces.” The concept for the song came from an experience Brandon had going back to a harmful relationship, capturing the contradiction of hating to love someone and surrendering to a relationship you know to be destructive. The resulting track is mournful but triumphant,
Jayanna’s vocals conveying a sense of regret and hope at the same time. Mixed by Jake Aron (who also mixed “Lost Me” and “Moto X”), it’s one of the strongest and most affecting songs on the EP.
“Faces was an old song Brandon originally wrote,” says Jake. “He hated it, but I saw something there. I gave it to my roommate Nate Rennick, who then took it and remixed it, completely changing the direction of the song. It was a breakthrough. We were like, ‘Now we’re done with everything that has come before.’”
Written and recorded in various cities, states, and countries over a period of two years, Couch Prints’ debut EP stands as a journalistic testament to the early life of the group, both as people and as musicians. The songs span cities and countries, relationships falling apart and new ones coming together, the way the present and past are permanently entangled. It’s a chronicle of a group finding its own identity and pushing the limits of what pop can be, moving easily from quiet ambience to sing-along bliss. The group describes the EP as an attempt to express those feelings that can’t easily be described, for music to function where words alone fail. More than anything, the EP is a celebration of the beauty inherent in even the most mundane aspects of life, Couch Prints’ sonic tribute to the strangeness of being.
Bio by Jimmy Cajoleas
Kyd Barrett writes, performs and records all of his music himself in his home studio. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA his music takes on that raw and emotive grit of the city. After releasing his self-titled debut EP in 2019 he's back with a new single and a second EP releasing in December. Taking influence from the likes of James Blake and Gorillaz with genre influence from Rock and Hip-Hop to Indie and Electronic. His captivating vocals, nostalgic melodies, soaring guitars and hypnotic synths and beats have made him impossible to ignore. He’s performed in iconic LA spots such as Cheetahs Hollywood and Harvard & Stone.
Kyd Barrett’s second EP, "Ritual", will be released this year on December 18, 2020.
IG + Twitter: @kydbarrett
Belted Sweater is the solo project of Los Angeles based drummer Christopher Patrick Gregory. His debut LP, "I’m fucking delightful", sounds like if Henry Rollins was in the Pet Shop Boys but with live drums and even gayer lyrics, chronicling terribly humiliating Grindr hookups and free clinic visits; basically Blood on the Tracks in the age of anonymous Craigslist encounters. He tracked all the instruments himself, like a moderately chubby amalgam of late period, leather daddy Trent Reznor and Dirty Mind-era Prince, using acoustic drums, synths and hoarse shouting.
Jiselle Kamppila is an interdisciplinary visual artist and experimental writer and poet. She studies the power of language and word experiments. She is a performance artist who performs frequently in L.A. as “Hollow of The Hand”. She has a new EP out entitled “Gluttonously for God”, which is as ghostly as her words. This EP is influenced by artists such as This Mortal Coil, Swans, and Xmal Deutschland.
IG: @pitch_a_fever + @thefitofsleep
Chloe is a twenty-something singer/songwriter from Orange County, California, who has been crafting mellow, heartstring-pulling sounds from her bedroom since 2017. Chloe’s music can be characterized by the soft, airy vocals floating over shimmering guitars and dreamy Indie-Pop soundscapes, drawing influence from artists such as Men I Trust, Julia Jacklin, and Phoebe Bridgers. While her songs are supported by bright, blissful instrumentation, her lyrics take on a decidedly melancholy tone, as she writes about universal struggles with tumultuous relationships and the growing pains of young adulthood.
For Tamar Aphek, the reigning queen of Israel’s Rock scene, the memory of playing her first electric guitar remains unmistakable: “It was the feeling of holding a weapon.”
To hear Aphek play is to hear that weapon unleashed. From her previous bands Carusella and Shoshana, to her current eponymous project, Tamar Aphek has risen to prominence in her home of Israel, toured across the United States and Europe, and sits poised to explode globally with her new record, "All Bets Are Off".
Anchorage, Alaska based project Medium Build cannot be easily pinned down. Sometimes a solo endeavor, sometimes a full band, at its core, Medium Build is a creative outlet. It’s the effort of Nick Carpenter and anyone else who has fallen into his orbit over the last five years that let him put the microphones where he wants. It’s an ever-evolving collaboration built around a mutual love of 80's Country, grapefruit soda water, and 90's RnB. Carpenter creates richly layered tracks by weaving raw, emotionally honest lyrics with driving instrumentation. He effortlessly blends the electronic with the analog and draws the audience into sad songs you can dance to. And don’t forget, the vision is “Let’s keep it shitty.”
"The eighth step of Alcoholics Anonymous involves making a list of shit you did in your addiction. Step 9 involves making amends with people who were harmed by your addiction. I was prompted by my sponsor to write to someone who I needed to apologize to. So, I wrote this song while hashing out my thoughts on the apology I had yet to give."
GILT is a four-piece Post Hardcore band drowning in a sea of self-examination. Baring its namesake from the artistic use of gold, their music reflects the metal's unfeely nihilism and sense of wonder. During the band's growth from 2017 to now, change, be it personal or through current events, made it impossible to remain silent. GILT uses this notion as a catalyst for navigating topics of gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia and mental health. They synthesize the past via reflection of what's lost or could've been, the present through action and validation and the future through lived experience.
IG & Twitter: @giltfl
Images by Christian Denmark
"Music has always been my escape from reality. I would steal my parents old cassettes and CD's. Dissecting the music of Devo and the GO-GOS until they were ingrained in my brain.When I turned seven I inherited my Great Grandmas old out of tune piano on which I would pound on til my mother and father would lose their minds. A few years later, I fell in love with synthesizers and New Wave Experimental /Music. Artists such as Laurie Anderson and Wendy Carlos proved to me that I didn't need more people to get the sound I wanted. What I strive to do as Plasmic is create audible art for people who share my struggles. I can only hope the songs are as therapeutic for you as they are for me. From derailing the patriarchy to finding ways to stab depression. I will sing until my lungs bleed at every show.
My latest single is an example of how I deal with depression using satire. A good laugh can keep me going another day. It feels as though we are living in an apocalypse while being forced to act like everything is ok. I hope this song validates those struggling during this pandemic. You are not alone."
Images by @ogscottfree
Sydney Gorgeous is an alternative pop singer and songwriter from Upstate New York. She started writing and playing guitar at the age of twelve. Along with music, she has a love for makeup and fashion. Her influences include pop and rock music icons like Madonna, Prince, David Bowie, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. She also takes inspiration from rock bands like Nirvana, Hole, The Distillers, No Doubt and Joy Division. Sydney’s music covers topics of love, loss, anxiety, depression, sex, friendship, heartbreak, race, and chasing your dreams. Sydney mixes her love for music with EDM, alternative, R&B, and pop to create a fresh new sound to pop music. Her first full length album entitled "Just In Case I Die", featuring her single “Cigarettes” released on August 21, 2020.
Abi began writing full songs during her time at Penn State and found a passion, quickly moving from performing at State College open mic nights to opening house shows to playing venues around the Philly music scene. With melodic inspirations rooted largely in the classical Southern Indian pieces she would sing with her grandmother, Abi blends her natural sense of tonality with Western harmony-driven inspirations like Mitski, Lorde, and Snail Mail. Abi continues to explore a variety of stylistic influences punctuated by a lyricism grounded in identity, relationships, and empowerment.
Abi's latest release, her 4 song EP, "No Contact" explores the whirlwind of emotions that define the experiences of loss and love, expressed through dynamic vocals uniquely reinforced by Indian roots.
The EP moves organically through the stages of loss: first with an upbeat Synth-Pop track reliving of the doe-eyed optimism and fulfillment of a couple meant-to-be--(1) “WRU” is the hypnotizing honeymoon phase of the story with poppy chords underlying a gripping and dynamic pacing. “WRU”'s bright emotion crescendos into the stark contrast of tension in (2) “Substance,” paralleling the maddeningly sudden confusion and frustration through dark and ambient synths driven by trap percussion. (3) By “SoftBoi,” memories become an obsession. Guilt, anger, yearning, and nostalgia are invoked through blending Lo-fi, melancholic melodies with a Trap style, the most overtly Indian influence appearing in the breakdown’s Hindustani vocals and veenai performance. (4) The conclusion, “Wlvs”, reclaims a sense of self and respect from the ashes with exciting harmonies and a subtle callback to the plucky synth sounds from the first track, tempered by experience.
MARS RODRIGUEZ is a Nicaraguan singer, songwriter, producer and a one person band: vocals, electric guitar, keyboard and digital drums/drum machines. In 2018, she started her solo project and released two singles, "No Estas" and "Pulsar" both songs were recorded in Estudios La Gotera, in Nicaragua. Months later, she started from zero and ended up moving to the U.S, due to Nicaragua’s political crisis and dictatorship. As a result, of all the major changes, she started making home recordings and learned to engineer, mix and produce herself. Her music incorporates elements of varied styles from Post-Punk, Blues, Indie-Rock, Latin Rock and Electronic music. Rodriguez’s DIY project transcends cultural and language barriers, her lyrics are written in Spanish, English and French. Her Debut EP, “Don't Wait For Nothing” features 6 tracks. The EP was born from the necessity for self-expression, healing and to explore sounds, textures and colors in music. “Don't Wait For Nothing” is careless, full of Lo-Fi, powerful, experimental and eclectic vibes.
“Dying in the Living Room” is an era of Wolf Culture that has been a long time coming. We hope to deliver memorable tracks that showcase just how far we have come since our formative EP. Max has incorporated his raw emotional experiences, both positive and negative so we can connect with our audience on a relatable level and bring the listeners’ emotions straight to the surface. The lyrical content has matured as we have as people so it is almost as if our listeners are growing with us. As with our previous work, we endeavored to grant each track its own space to flourish with the EP touching on a variety of subjects that as individuals we wouldn’t necessarily have a voice to convey your opinions but as a group we can talk about things like anxiety, depression and coping mechanism son a level that people will understand.We still believe our sound is inherently Wolf Culture, however we really shook off our genre-specific restraints this time around. The confidence to satisfy our vast musical palette was definitely aided by working with producer Neil Kennedy from the Ranch. He really helped capture the vibe we were striving for in a more generally Alternative space." - Wolf Culture
“I don’t think we fully understood how much our songs would mean to people when we released "Devil’s Plans" so we set about being as honest as we possibly could through our music in an effort to share both our pain and happiness collectively.
Some of the topics of these songs have broken me to write about lyrically but it’s easy to forget as time goes on how much certain pivotal moments in your life meant to you at the time. I think it’s important to hold on to those feelings and immortalize them in melody. Even if only out of respect.” - Max Dervan
IG + Twitter: @wolfcultureuk
Real Clothes is the solo project of Haitian-American performer Nico Fox. From the rustic Folk Rock beginnings in rural Virginia, it has shifted into an Avant-Garde Dark Pop sound with glittering synths and haunting vocals. Using guitars, keys, and various DAWs, her albums are self-produced and world-inspired with themes ranging from loss to love, war, death, and absolution. Currently, she has created four distinct sounding albums over the span of 5 years: Object-Oriented (2015), Modulation (2016), Apotheosis (2019), and the most recent Precaution (2020).
Au Revoir Heart was created in 2018 with the release of 7 singles on SoundCloud throughout the span of 2018, by singer/guitarist Dane Mora. In January of 2019, Mora followed up with a self-produced 9 track demo tape titled “The Mellow Stogie Demos”, featuring songs and skits written, recorded, and produced by Mora off of a cell phone in his hometown of Rancho Cucamonga, California. Now joined by bassist Nick Marshall, and guitarist Dean Graham, Au Revoir Heart recently released their second self-produced project, “Cheeky’s Cerebrum” in May of 2020. “Cheeky’s Cerebrum” takes a step away from the bands “love” themed music to dive deeper into Mora’s feelings of self-doubt, anger, and friendship, while living in a quickly changing society.
Twitter + IG: @aurevoirheart
Reborn in a Los Angeles skyline, Dream Crease brings ethereal, beachy energy to vibrant soundscapes within the city. Layering vocal tracks with a crappy 2001 Yamaha keyboard, the track “Naissance” manifested through a need to express sonically. Being constantly exposed to inspiring sounds through work at a radio station, Dream Crease felt the strong desire to rejoin the same community but as an artist, despite certain setbacks and fear for lack of knowledge or experience or worthiness. Following, dear friends and talented Los Angeles musicians (Draag, Vinyl Williams, Maral, and Sleep Diet) lent their ears to transform the single into four very different iterations and remixes.
”Naissance” Music Video ~
by Helene Francoise Phillipe