Deal Casino is a band from Ashbury Park featuring John Rodney on bass, Chris Donofrio on drums, and two guitar players named Joe— Joe P. and Joe C. — who also sing and play keys, respectively. Their new single, “Dirty T-Shirt,” is an indie pop ode to falling out of love, marked by weaving guitars and sparse percussion. The video for the track, which we’re debuting here, pairs its downtempo simplicity with footage of floating jellyfish.
First, the band found a video of jellyfish recorded by [director] Tony Yebra, which they decided to watch while they listened to “Dirty T-Shirt.” Later, Yebra couldn’t find the footage, so the band decided to drive to the Baltimore Aquarium and re-shoot it.
Sourcing footage for the video was surprisingly easy for the band. “On the day of the shoot, I had to break into Tony's house and wake him up before we finally got on the road,” says frontman Joe P. “We started bugging out as we carried a tripod, camera bags, and gear past security, but there weren't any issues. With the jellyfish footage finished, we set up a black backdrop in DC HQ [back in Asbury Park] and started filming the B-roll band shots, which were so relaxed —probably the most relaxed shoot we've done.”
On their new album Pale Lemon, Sacremento’s So Stressed are taking on a new genre. With a background in heavier, noisy rock n’ roll, the band decided to make a pop album. Morgan Fox, who does vocals and plays synthesizer in the band, tells us that they decided to go the pop route because it more closely reflects what they listened to. On Pale Lemon, So Stressed tackle themes such as love and happiness through downtempo, melodic indie pop. Before the release of their new album via Ghost Ramp, we were able to talk with Morgan Fox about his crafting lyrics, changing genres, and finding inspiration in Young Thug.
What makes you most happy? How do you translate that into your music?
Nothing makes me happier than spending time with the person I love. She is amazing, and being with her is amazing. I have never experienced anything so good, enjoyable, and fun. It doesn't matter if we're traveling somewhere or trying something new or cooking dinner or even just reading in the same room together. Nothing compares. It's the best.
I try my best to take the grand and important feelings I have for her, write them down, and sing them. It's not the easiest thing in the world for me, because my feelings can be so big and I'm not the best wordsmith. But I do what I can to translate how I feel and what I think. It's nice when the music matches the tone of the words, but that's not at all essential to me. I'll sing about being in love in a thrash-y, noise song just as much as I will in a quiet piano ballad.
Brooklyn-based Shybaby made their debut last year with the hilariously titled PBR Tallbetch. The four-song EP married lyrics about skipping school and botched Tinder dates with the band’s carefree, pop-punk sound. Today, we're excited to debut Shybaby's pop-punk inspired cover of Mandy Moore’s 1999 pop hit, “Candy.” We also talked with singer and guitarist Grace Eire about the music scene in Brooklyn, the group's upcoming debut album, and finding inspiration in Maggie Nelson and Third Eye Blind. You can catch them live at Baby’s All Right on May 9.
AdHoc: Your lyrics take a lot of inspiration from your experiences as a young person in your early twenties. Is it difficult to write from a personal lens?
Grace Eire: Well, I’m leaning more towards 30 than 20, but I appreciate the mix-up. It’s never been difficult for me to write from a personal lens, because what can I possibly know better than my own self? I’ve also always been pretty introspective/introverted, so I spend a lot of time tossing over events and interactions with people. In fact, in school, my thesis was a 70-page first-person body narrative. What’s interesting to me about the switch to songwriting is that I’m more used to going on and on with long, painstakingly over-thought sentences. These songs, on the other hand, come to me quickly, and I tend to go with my first instinct rather than editing them incessantly. I like to think that keeps them honest and fun.
When you’re in your early twenties, it feels like everyone is putting up a front. “Kindness Is Hot,” Ben Katzman’s Degreaser new single off of their forthcoming EP, deals with the difficulties of contemporary early adulthood like relating with one another in an age of obsessive self image, inflated egos, online dating.
The song is a fast paced, theatrical ode to courtesy. Over a glam rock guitar riff, frontman Ben Katzman sings, “be cool / be nice / be chill / that’s tight!” The theatrical Kiss-inspired track contains a spoken word break, appropriately followed by a wailing guitar solo. In advance of the single’s release, we talked with Ben Katzman about astrology, authenticity, and working with Colleen Green.
AdHoc: When did you start making music?
Ben Katzman: I’ve always been playing. The truth is I’ve always been playing music. My mom, who’s an astrologer, did my zodiac charts and saw that I lacked communications in my Ninth House. And, after that, she started sending me to piano lessons. Ever since I started playing music, I stopped having rage outbursts. I was like, 8 or 9.
From rehearsing in the back of a restaurant to recording in an outdoor shed, Sun Voyager finally released their first LP, Seismic Vibes, earlier this month. The Orange County, New York-based band consists of Carlos Francisco on guitar and vocals, Stefan Mersch on bass and vocals, and Kyle Beach on drums. Together, they make psychedelic, earthy rock with a stoner metal twist. To celebrate their 4/20 album release show at Baby’s All Right, we talked with Sun Voyager about the scene in the Hudson River Valley, blogging, and recording their debut LP in an outdoor shed. You can grab a copy via King Pizza Records
It says in your bio that you began rehearsing in the back of a restaurant. What was that like?
Carlos: We started playing in the back of the restaurant when I was working in my parents’ place full-time [Cafe Fiesta in Highland Mills], and we had nowhere else to practice. [We would practice] after we closed shop. We would play in a shed or garage [most of the year]. When it was cold, we would practice [at the restaurant].
Featuring Ashley Kossakowski on bass, Johanna Kenney on guitar, and Roger Cabrera on drums, Groupie make contemporary garage rock with nods to 1990s riot grrrl sound and a political edge. On “5 Year Plan,” a song from their forthcoming sophomore EP, Validated, the Brooklyn band ruminates on what it means to be successful and the unachievable expectations that we often put upon ourselves. Over pulsating bass, precise drum patterns, haunting harmonies, and yelps, Kenney’s vocals convey feelings of confusion and vulnerability, which the song ultimately reinterprets as a source of empowerment.
“‘Five Year Plan’ encompasses the contradictions of our modern lives and the push and pull of doubt vs hope,” guitarist Johanna Kenney told AdHoc via email. “[The new EP takes the] first EP into a deeper, moodier exploration of vulnerability and resistance. We strive to challenge what it means to be a rock band in an industry that is still largely white male dominated,” echoes bassist Ashley Kossakowski.
In her early twenties, Allie Hanlon relocated from her hometown of Ottawa, Canada to Los Angeles. She describes the move as “being thrown into a big, busy place”; getting to know a new city was exciting, but she was still apprehensive about leaving everything she knew behind. Growing up in Ottawa, she’d been surrounded by people she knew; in Los Angeles, she felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
Through that time of transition, one constant was Peach Kelli Pop, a pop project she’d begun in her bedroom in Ottawa. Over time and across borders, the project has evolved from a solo endeavor into a full-fledged rock band. The band’s new EP, Which Witch, is a departure from the upbeat, bright punk sound of previous releases, as it takes a more melancholy turn.
AdHoc: You started Peach Kelli Pop band in 2009 as more of a bedroom pop project. How has the project evolved?
Allie Hanlon: Peach Kelli Pop has changed in a lot of different ways. It’s been nine years now since I started the project. In that time, I had to learn how to essentially play with a full band. On top of writing songs, and then learning different instruments, I had to teach these songs to whoever I was playing with. That really changed everything—it definitely became a bigger, more complicated venture.
Also, in the time since I started the band, I immigrated to the US from Canada. That really changed things, because I was in a new place where I didn’t know that many people. I had to get out there and make new friends and collaborate with people. I’m not really an extrovert, so it was out of my comfort zone. I think when you have a solo project and you don’t play shows, it’s really easy. But when you start to perform, and you have to train people, it becomes almost like a full-time job. It’s definitely taught me a lot of skills: social skills, and also teaching skills, which I didn’t realize was something I’d be learning. It’s been really cool, and I’ve learned a lot from it.
I read that the song “Los Angeles” is about your move from Canada to Los Angeles. What was that like for you?
I was born and raised in Ottawa. It’s a really amazing city. I was with my family, who are awesome, and the people I grew up with, who were my best friends and who knew me really well. And that’s something that I definitely took for granted, because I had never experienced anything else.
When I was in my early 20s, I was really eager to move, to try new things, to see the world and to be on my own. And I got to do that. When I moved, I was thrown into this big, busy place. It was really exhilarating, [but] after a few years, I realized that having a support system is really helpful. And I didn’t really have that [in LA]. While I do have close friends, it’s not really the same as your family or friends that have known you since you were a little kid, you know? Even though I’ve been here for five years now, I still feel kind of new. When you’re in a place like LA, you can feel isolated to the point of being unable to tap into the abundance of opportunities that a place like LA has to offer.
In Ottawa, there aren’t the same kind of opportunities. In LA, you can make a living off of music and art, which is really cool. But it’s not as easy when you don’t have a support system. But, you know, I think lots of people in LA aren’t from here. So I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like that.
In an age when the news cycle seems endless and dreary, it’s almost impossible to relax. Queens-via-Buenos Aires musician Tall Juan’s track “Kaya,” off of 2017’s Olden Goldies, is a hazy ode to toking up. It's also a cover of Argentine post-punk band Sumo. Over echoing guitar, frontman Juan Zaballa sings about experiencing feelings of anger and regret — until he “smoked a little Kaya,” that is. With reverb-heavy vocals and instrumentation, the song gives off a dreamlike quality. In the new video for the track, Zaballa nervously watches the news. In an effort to cheer himself up, he smokes a joint and is subsequently enveloped in a thick cloud of smoke as a mysterious blonde woman appears with a tray of donuts. The surreal video ends when the woman takes a hit, and begins to stuff donuts into Zaballa’s mouth.
Zaballa tells AdHoc that while arranging his cover of Sumo's “Kaya," he “took one line and repeated it twice.” He says that there are many ways to interpret the lyrics, and that there’s not a single, specific meaning he wants listeners to take away. Watch the video below, and catch Tall Juan with Mysterly Lights and Future Punx at Market Hotel (appropriately) on April 20.
Amor Amezcua and Estrella Sanchez grew up across the border from San Diego, in a small beach community in Tijuana. When they met in high school, they immediately bonded over a shared fondness for British and American indie rock music, although they didn’t have easy access to it.
When Amezcua began work on a solo project, she asked Sanchez to contribute keyboards to a track. Shortly after, the two decided to form Mint Field, creating an echoing shoegaze-inspired sound with reverb-heavy guitar and airy vocals. In the roughly three years since, they’ve released Mint Field’s 2015 debut EP, Primeras Salidas, and released their first album, Pasar De Las Luces, via Innovative Leisure on February 23. Before the start of their US and UK tour, we talked with the band about their influences, growing sonically, and the departure from their self-taught, DIY background into their first professional recordings and a lengthy US tour.
AdHoc: How did you all meet?
Amor Amezcua: We met about three years ago, when we were in high school. We lived in a really small town by the beach, where pretty much everybody knows each other. We realized that we had very similar music tastes, and we started talking a lot after that. I was working on a project, and I asked Estrella, “Maybe you should do keyboards in this song.” It didn’t really work out, but she wanted to make a band, with more instruments and stuff. I had a drum set in my house and she was playing guitar. Ever since then, we’ve [played music together]. Now, almost every day, we rehearse and write songs.
What kind of music did you initially bond over?
Amor: At that time, we listened to garage rock, indie, and alternative music. And where we live, there’s not [a lot of] people that listen to that type of music. It was special to us. It’s hard to think of specific bands, but we bonded over music.
Jackson MacIntosh’s musical trajectory has been a seemingly haphazard one. The Montreal-based musician, who also works as the bassist in TOPS, picked up that instrument “opportunistically” so that he could go on tour with a friend. In addition to playing bass, MacIntosh worked as a producer with Homeshake, producing records on a DIY, trial and error basis. While recording with Homeshake, he admits that he would desperately Google manuals for instruments and recording processes.
Despite the musician’s professed lack of organizational skills and focus, his first record, My Dark Side, is polished nonetheless. It’s whimsical and bittersweet, with reverb-heavy guitar, chilling harmonies, and winding bass lines. MacIntosh adopts classic rock motifs as a conduit for themes of listlessness and falling out of love. My Dark Side is out now via Sinderlyn Records. You can catch Jackson MacIntosh at Union Pool on March 23.
How did the idea to produce your own solo album come about?
I suppose the first time I really thought about it was when I was out… I think I was out drinking with Dave [Carriere] and Jane [Penny] from TOPS. We were talking about album titles. You know, sometimes you’ll talk about the fictional title of your future autobiography or something? It was that kind of thing; we were just joking around. And for some reason, I thought it was really funny, the idea of having the title of my solo album be My Dark Side.
And I’ve always written songs and made demos and stuff on my own. And I have another band called Sheer Agony, and there were just some songs that didn’t really work for that project. I had demos, and I was like, “Why don’t I just do it? I can play all these instruments. Why not actually just try and put them out?”
I had this vague idea for a record called My Dark Side. And over the course of two years, [I] just chipped away at it. It was something I didn’t really expect to come to fruition. I finished a set of songs for a new Sheer Agony record that hasn’t come out yet, and realized I had a whole other record’s worth of songs. So I sent them off to the people at Captured Tracks, and they said, “Great, let’s do it!” So it’s been this nice, semi-accidental, serendipitous thing up to this point.
What inspired My Dark Side?
I was pretty influenced by this Momus record, Timelord. I don’t know if [the album] is sonically influenced by it that much, but it’s this very...it’s so clever to the point where it’s almost annoying. As much as I like a lot of [Nick Currie’s] stuff, he’s also a real strange individual. [But] that record is this kind of sad, break up record. In a way, he’s being less clever on that one. Because you really just sit down, you hit a note on the piano, and it kind of wanders along in its own way. That influenced the record in a funny, indirect way.