Carpark Records Racecar USB + American Giant Sweet 16 Sweatpants
Jan 1st, 1970
Jan 1st, 1970
Prince Rama’s Xtreme Now is the inaugural entry into what they have coined as the “Extreme Sports Genre.” Inspired to musically match the metaphysical intensity of extreme sports’ death-defying feats, Prince Rama looked to their own personal flirtations with death and time-dilation. In a womb shaped by countless hours of obsessively watching extreme sports videos and consuming dangerous quantities of Monster Energy drinks, Xtreme Now was violently born.
Not much can faze the Larson sisters – Taraka and Nimai grew up in ashrams; lived on black metal communes; worked for utopian architects; written manifestos; delivered lectures from pools of fake blood; conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts; and are now tackling the world of extreme sports in a surreal, psychedelic, and nihilistic fashion.
The band’s often unpredictable live shows have been described by fans as “hypnotic and mesmerizing– the feeling of a stadium concert on acid,” incorporating elements of performance art, dance-club initiation rite, and vintage VH-1 hair-metal-bravado. Since signing to Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, Prince Rama has continually delivered powerful, raw performances of dark pop, as well as coining and embodying the utopian spirit of “The Now Age Movement,” a cult of post-Internet transcendentalism. After being discovered in a Texas dive bar by Avey Tare in 2010, Animal Collective helped them record and release Shadow Temple and Trust Now shortly thereafter, which peaked at #3 and #6 on the Billboard New Age Charts, respectively. To commemorate the Mayan apocalypse, they released Top Ten Hits of the End of the World in 2012, a pseudo-compilation album comprised of ten singles “channeled” from fictional deceased pop bands and partially recorded with members of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.
After touring behind Top Ten Hits, the Larson sisters took time off from music to develop their visual art practice, exhibiting internationally at the Whitney Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and the MoMA PS 1 VW Dome, to name a few. Taraka has also published several manifestos on the “NOW AGE” that puts forth Prince Rama’s aesthetic and metaphysical philosophies, earning both hatred and praise from art and music worlds alike. The sisters’ seemingly effortless way of weaving conceptual art practice with music is inspired by an ancestral legacy of New York renaissance visionaries such as Kim Gordon, Laurie Anderson, and Patti Smith – but with more glitter and hairspray. Prince Rama’s new album reflects a mature, complex, multi-layered approach to culture-making. Xtreme Now exists not only as an adventurous record of dance party hits, but the concept will take on various incarnations including a visual art exhibition, a new manifesto, an energy drink, and a couture fashion line of active-wear inspired by extreme sports and the Byzantine age. According to lead singer Taraka, “We not only want to write new songs, we want to create a new emotional language.”
Since moving to Baltimore in 2007, Benny Boeldt has made three full-length albums under the name Adventure. His self-titled 2008 debut LP earned notice with its naive yet catchy song structures and a minimal sound palette inspired by sources such as video game themes, movie soundtracks, techno, and IDM music. In support of the record, Boeldt toured with a slew of fellow Baltimore acts such as OCDJ, Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader, and Future Islands, as well as performing as a part of the Baltimore Round Robin tour in 2009. Also during this period, Boeldt toured as a member of the Dan Deacon Ensemble, traveling the U.S. and Europe where he was given the opportunity to perform a number of opening dates as Adventure.
In 2011, Boeldt followed up with a second LP, Lesser Known, in which he made his first—and so far only public—attempt at writing a pop record. In order to perform the new songs in a live setting, Boeldt hired Baltimore musician Dave Fell to play additional keyboards and sing back-up vocals. Also on board to perform live visuals was friend and collaborator, DJ and video artist Mark Brown. This formation lasted for only one U.S. tour with Carpark labelmate Toro Y Moi in the spring of 2011.
Adventure performed a minimal number of shows over the next few years, either performing solo or with Karl Ekdahl on synthesizers. Adventure’s third album, Weird Work, released in April 2013, was a return to Boeldt’s instrumental songwriting. The songs were influenced by various forms of electronic music, most notably IDM. In the time since the release of Weird Work, Boeldt has focused on learning more about sound production and computer composition. Most exciting for Adventure fans, he has been busy creating a new collection of songs known as 8 of Cups, Boeldt’s first record released under his own name.
“We should meet in another life, we should meet in air,
Me and you.”
― Sylvia Plath
When Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher first met, it felt as if they’d known each other in another life. They began collaborating immediately, and in 2013 released Medusa, a collection of songs with a remarkably crystalline vision. Lindsay’s haunting and deeply emotive vocals provide the backbone for Clifford’s dark and dreamy production, balancing gauzy atmospherics with emotional heft.
GEMS’ music is very much about the transformative power of song. It embraces pop’s form and structure, as well as its proclivity for distilling emotions to a point, but it reaches for something deeper, searching for those authentic and raw human truths that reside in the shadowland of the soul.
Their debut full length, Kill the One You Love, is a further indulgence in GEMS’ evocative, existential longing. The songs play out like a series of confessions. They are the secrets written in diaries, the unspoken lament to a lover. The title, a reference to Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, shrouds the project in a funerary cloud, alluding to the death of a relationship, the death of love, the loss of self. And yet there is a sense of hope that pervades the album, hope that some ray of light may find its way through the darkness.
Kill the One You Love is set for release on October 30, 2015, via Carpark Records.
Introverted Dancefloor is Bevan Smith, a New Zealander who has released music under names like Signer and Aspen, and who has played in the Ruby Suns and Skallander throughout the last decade. His prior output has been spread over many international labels and has touched on sundry genres (like techno, IDM, folk, ambient) while featuring restraint and sophistication as compositional hallmarks. As Introverted Dancefloor, Smith has kept those features as guiding principles while allowing a more propulsive low end to dominate the construction of this music, winding up with understated but energetic dance tracks. Here Smith has marked gestation as a prominent attribute as well, working with hundreds of audio layers to break down and rebuild songs, a process which often occurs over years at a time. This new direction is an exercise in constraint and assimilation, pouring specific dance-oriented influences through two synthesizers, one mic, one filter, and a single effects processor to create music that is, as its title suggests, equally contemplative and motional.
Skylar Spence is the continuation of Ryan DeRobertis’ Saint Pepsi project, which he started in late 2012. In the years since, he’s released a number of sample-y long-players full of slo-mo funk and boogie, and he rose to prominence as one of the more distinct voices associated with vaporwave corners of the Internet.
Growing up listening to the likes of Duran Duran and Chic, 22-year-old DeRobertis had plenty of inspiration when he started Saint Pepsi as an Ableton exercise. And though he began writing music at age 13, he hadn’t tried writing his own song in the style of his favorite music until “Fall Harder,” which appears on Skylar Spence’s full-length debut, Prom King. After strengthening his skills as a producer with the Hit Vibes album, he began incorporating his own instruments and production flourishes into his work, first with the Gin City EP. Prom King distills DeRobertis’ sampling style into an idiosyncratic melody machine, introduced his own vocals to the mix, and adopted tighter disco and new wave song structures. It’s “pop music for freaks,” as DeRobertis has it—outlandish aesthetics filtered through his deft intuition.