video premiere: "Development" - all boy/all girl

all boy/all girl's video for "Development" is as colorful and striking as their music. Written, filmed, edited and directed by Donald Borenstein and Matt Honor, the video sees things get a little messy, all the while the band's beautiful track plays out. We're excited to premiere the video, which comes from this year's Slagroom, out now through Grind Select. Before you dig into the goodness, here's a little background on the video from the band:

"Development" is a portrait of a neighborhood going through the construction phase of gentrification. The video tells a parallel story of greed and exploitation but through the perspective of a "huckster" who takes advantage of a young woodworker who freakishly survived a gruesome headwound. After getting what he can from her as a side show act, he moves on, leaving the poor woodworker battered and broken. The video was shot in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where we found inspiration for the song.”

mp3: "Elementary School Dropout" - Yucky Duster

Yucky Duster always seems to be having a blast. Following up their self-titled release, the band returns with "Elementary School Dropout," the sweetest ode to being the bad kid ever. It's the first track from Duster's Lament, out 1/13/17 as part of Infinity Cat's cassette series. The single is buoyant and playful, tracking the feelings of helplessness that comes with crushing and being unable to shake the rep of being difficult and tardy for the one you like. It ends with an experimental blast of instrumental fun and even some giggles. The single is so sweet it's likely to leave you itching to share your Lunchables with the foursome. 

Photo: Minh Bui

Photo: Minh Bui

EP: Where's Darren - Chloe Danger and the Chaperones

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words: Simon Osler

Chloe Danger and the Chaperones' 5-track EP mixes riot grrrl with surf pop, inspired by the coast of their Santa Barbara home, and it makes for a soundtrack that's irresistible to bop to. Opening track, "Suzie Homemaker," sets the tone for the rest of the EP with its spunky, touch of angst. Danger's lyrics showcase an attitude of carelessness and independence, particularly on track "im rubber ur glu," as she declares "Anything you say will bounce right off me, but it will always stick to you." With the EP's continued quick, snappy lyrics and direct, in-your-face instrumentals, It's impossible not to get sucked into Danger's world for its 17 minute runtime. 

mp3: "Trails" - Cayetana & "Keep Growing" - Camp Cope

As far as dream parings go, Cayetana and Camp Cope rank very high up there. The two bands have come together for a split due out in January. "Trails" is Cayetana's contribution, and the first peek at the band's next full length. It's moving and emotive, promises to forgive and forget ringing out over a painted backdrop of reminders that one left behind. It's powerfully quiet and tugs at all the heartstrings, as Cayetana so often does. Camp Cope's "Keep Growing" comes after a recent full length release, drawling vocals making plans to grow out hair, but the growth actually signifies so much more. 

The Grey Estates Podcast: Jena Pyle (Sundae Crush & Layer Cake)

Photo: Alley Rutzel 

Photo: Alley Rutzel 

Sailor Scouts, you might already know Jena Pyle as the creative brain behind our logo, but this week we talk to her all about the tunes! As a former member of Layer Cake, Jena went on to start Sundae Crush, a band we've truly loved talking about here at TGE. This week we welcome her on the podcast to talk drawing, the ballet studio behind her digs and what she's working on next! 

mp3: "Natural Blue" - Julie Byrne

Photo Credit: Jonathan Bouknight

Photo Credit: Jonathan Bouknight

Winter seems to suck the color from our world, replacing vibrancy with white, staleness, cold. Julie Byrne's "Natural Blue" is a much needed reminder of how striking the scenes around us can be. It's an intensely spiritual and simple four minutes, Byrne leading us through the places, towns and memories she's seen before. As the path winds on there's one constant among it all - the natural blue sky. It's a permanent background in memories and moments, a stillness that matches Byrne's remarkably delicate vocals. The single comes from Not Even Happiness out 1/27.

Toon Tunes: Jake the Dog (Adventure Time)

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words: Harrison Thurman

The first thing I wanted to do when I realized Donald Trump was going to win the Presidential Election was throw up. The second thing I wanted to do was hug my friends and family. The third thing I wanted to do was watch cartoons.

I turned 29 a few days ago, and, like a lot of people my age, I have a very intense and peculiar relationship to cartoons. I was weaned on the Saturday morning stuff like all good Americans, and would watch Toonami with my brothers every day after school. Cartoon Network started a golden age of kids’ cartoons by debuting The Powerpuff Girls, the network’s first original TV show, in 1998. The time of my adolescence also saw the success of Pixar, Adult Swim, South Park, and Studio Ghibli-- all of which appealed to the the coveted 18-35 target market, kicking off a change in corporate culture that resulted in, like, nine god-damn Family Guy spinoffs.

Now animated movies and TV shows feel like a comfort blanket to me, and despite the nagging suspicion it contributes to my underdeveloped sense of maturity (as well as the totally false claim that millenials are out of touch with reality), I often find cartoons to be more engaging than live action programming, be it in the form of hyper-dramatic prime-time soap operas or obnoxious overwritten sitcoms.

Some of the best animated TV right now is, as usual, coming from Cartoon Network, particularly the uber-gay Steven Universe (which is essentially about a super-powered adolescent boy being raised by his three alien moms) and its sister show Adventure Time. Set in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by science, swords, and magic, Adventure Time is full of whimsy and absurdist humor which belies the show’s attention to detail, bleak imagery, and the depth of its characters.

When I was asked to make a playlist for this blog inspired by an Adventure Time character, I had a hard time choosing! There’s Princess Bubblegum, ruler of the Candy Kingdom who, along with Agent Scully, ranks among the greatest scientists in all of fiction; The Ice King, an obnoxious and creepy old man driven mad by a crown that gives him the power to fly and shoot ice out of his hands; BMO, the childlike and intensely lovable little robot with an overactive imagination; Marceline the Vampire Queen, a 20-something half-demon with a velvet voice who doubles as a bass-playing punk-rocker; The Lich, a truly terrifying (and totally metal) skeletal embodiment of death, entropy, and loneliness; and on and on and on. But, like the character this playlist is inspired by, I had to go with my gut on this one.

Jake the Dog is one of the two main characters of the show, and, true to his canine nature, he is the best friend and adopted brother of the primary protagonist Finn the Human. Jake is bright yellow, walks on two legs, talks, has a powerful and gleeful belly laugh, and can magically shapeshift, including growing to incredible sizes or shrinking down to fit inside a pocket. He can beat up pretty much anyone in the known universe, and seems nearly impervious to pain and poison. He thinks it’s funny to fart in public. He’s got some mean dance moves, loves video games and board games, is an excellent cook, and plays the viola, guitar, ukulele, and bongos. The character is voiced by John Dimaggio, who also plays Bender from Futurama, and the voice actor imbues the 30+ year-old dog with a goofy warmth and familiarity. Jake is your friend who gives great advice but never seems to show up on time. Jake is the person who blithely calls everyone “dude” regardless of their gender. Jake is the sibling you love but sometimes want to punch because they’re so obnoxious. Jake is your cool stoner uncle. Jake is every aging “punk dad.” Jake is me.

There’s a lot I admire about Jake, including his unending trust (“A stranger’s just a friend you haven’t taken candy from yet!”); his passion for food (“Sometimes I think there’s a monster who lives in my stomach and that’s why I’m hungry all the time.”); his devotion to his friends (“Homies help homies!”); his ability to focus on things immediately in front of him (“You see this cup? This is literally my favorite cup. But now it’s gone forever, so it’s not real, and I don’t care about it any more.”); his love of fighting evil (“Your constant harassment of the female gender makes me sick!”); and his ever-present optimism (“Dude, sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.”). Jake is a reformed criminal but claims it’s okay because he didn’t know it was wrong. In the later seasons, Jake is occasionally used as a mouthpiece for the show writers’ weirdest lefty political leanings, at one point explaining to Finn how the police and the legal system are used to keep wealthy men in positions of power.

When I was making this playlist, I tried to think of songs that Jake would listen to while chilling in the giant treehouse he calls his home. Jake has varied musical tastes, as demonstrated by the songs he performs on the show-- there’s doo-wop, jazz, punk, funk, autotuned pop, rap, a little bit of Beethoven, chiptunes, and much more. As Adventure Time progresses as a show, Jake falls in love with Lady Rainicorn, a giant rainbow/unicorn hybrid who only speaks Korean, and they eventually have kids together, which means I had to include K-Pop and dad-rock. I’ve added songs that capture Jake’s friendship with Finn and his freewheeling attitude. There is a part of me that thinks Jake enjoys smoking a joint while listening to Animal Collective and post-rock, so there’s some of that too. I think Jake would be very happy with the playlist, and would put it on while building the perfect sandwich or making bacon pancakes.

The playlist is also meant to be a comfort for the rest of us here in the real world, for our road trips and low moments. I think a lot of people on the left feel lost after Donald Trump’s election. We’re underemployed, underpaid, and at the whims of political forces beyond our control. We see the rich getting richer and committing crimes yet we’re the ones existing in a police state. We’re afraid for our safety and the safety of our loved ones. We live in anxious apocalyptic times, surrounded by visions of global warming, nuclear war, terrifying technology, religious rapture, and even zombie outbreaks.

Adventure Time gives us a taste of what life might be like after the end of the world. And maybe, after the coming political revolutions and realignments, after all the work it will take to bend the arc of the moral universe back in the direction it belongs, after everything we know and own is lost and reconstructed, in the new world, we’ll be more like Finn and Jake-- joyful, playful, and ready for adventure. Come on, grab your friends! I’ll see you there.

mp3: "Dimension" - Dinosoul

For nearly six months, Pittsburgh's Dinosoul has entranced us with their indie pop. Playing small DIY venues throughout the city, the band recently headed into the studio to record Dimension - a 3-track EP that's ideal for days when you need to escape into daydreams away from the cold of winter. The EP's title track sets the tone and mood for the release, sweeping you into cinematic instrumentals and swirling, hazy vocals. It's a perfectly beautiful moment, describing an ideal dimension where love, compassion and peace reign. It's exactly the kind of message we need for this moment and you can step into their world for awhile below.

EP: Come Over - Slumbers

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What if we were honest and didn't hide behind statuses of accomplishments and Internet presences that made it seem like we had it all together? What if we embraced our anxieties, flaws, the moments of fear where comfort is only found in a warm bed and cartoon binging? Maybe in the quest to be the truest version of ourselves, our answers would be as beautiful as Slumbers.

On their EP Come Over, the trio uses sincerity and honesty, wearing their hearts on dainty woven sleeves of acoustic and playful pop. There's a strength in admitting the fears and woes that drag you under - and Slumbers' strength comes in subtlety. Throughout the EP their vocals barely rise above a whisper but each moment lands with a blow to your heart. Whether constructing the gloom of social anxiety with syrupy speed and quiet strings ("Stay Hidden"), avoiding the world in a playful paradise of Adventure Time ("Doboom Soom") or figuring out life amidst a backing of twinkling instrumentals ("Milkshakes"), Come Over feels like a endless secret being whispered directly into your ear. 

As the band sings on the billowing "Battle," we may never have the answers or feel complete satisfaction, but we're all just trying to "stay happy/whatever happy is." For the briefest of moments, Come Over provides that happiness, a temporary reassurance that you're not alone.