In Notes From Left of the Dial this week, Nooga.com spends time with new music from Jupiter Deluxe Tube, Luna Green, Ora Cogan and Moral Panic. What have you been listening to lately?
Jupiter Deluxe Tube, “Home”
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Darwinn Sato (AKA Jupiter Deluxe Tube) doesn’t much care for concrete associations or the relevance of tangible experiences. Her work is far more interested in investigating individual sounds that possess a much more fluid and ephemeral appearance. Her upcoming record, “Product of Insomnia” (due out in June), finds her wandering through her experiences of sleep deprivation and finding that there is some wonderful connection between music and our own fractured dreams. She explores these sounds regardless of their intention and offers them up to us as personal expressions, bits of tactile unconsciousness that form a loose-limbed musicality that ricochets around in our brains.
On her recent track, “Home,” Sato taps into those lucid moments after the stars have begun to wane but before the sun takes its place on the morning skyline. Wobbly beats streak across the sky followed closely by her ethereal voice and whispers drawn from some hushed dream state. There’s a clarity to the eclectic melodies, though, that perfectly captures her interstellar ingenuity, a heavenly and muted pop insight that washes over you with the force of a supernova. It’s dream pop that exists above this mortal plane, full of insinuating rhythms and gauzy revelations that peer into that starry void above and reflect the vast pop landscapes that unfold within her restless imagination.
Luna Green, “Lotus Interception”
Swedish musician Luna Green first shared her unique perspective on music in 2013 when she released a handful of albums in a whirlwind cycle of inspiration and musical insight. But in the intervening years, her distinct voice faded away, leaving fans quietly anxious about future material from the artist. However, she’s back with new music that travels down some darker roads and feels far more personal than her previous work. So while we’ve still had no word on any official follow-up album, Green has been working through some new sounds in the studio and is ready to share these heady bits of fractured pop wonder with fans who never forgot the impact of her earlier work.
Borrowing from artists like Portishead and Bjork, her new single, “Lotus Interception,” is a dark and meditative exploration of noise and the echoing resonance it has on our subconscious. Green has said that she is “even more interested in sounds than music,” and you can hear the application of that unique approach all over this track. Clacking beats arrange themselves around swelling synth currents and melodies that carry her ghostly voice into darker realms of creation. It subtly evolves (or devolves) into a hiss of overwhelming percussive strikes, vocal apparitions and cascading sounds that lash out from the darkness before retreating to their recessed rhythmic stasis.
Ora Cogan, “The Light”
Versatility and defiance are in Vancouver musician Ora Cogan’s haunting voice-it’s a living thing that exhales and searches for its own desires. Mixing a curious amalgam of alt rock mechanics with fingerpicked Americana and swirling psych landscapes, she concocts subtle variations on her often-disparate influences and expresses these aural sentiments to anyone who will listen. Since she was 19, Cogan has been immersed in the Vancouver music scene, releasing records to great acclaim and fascination. She’s currently set to release a new album, “Crickets,” later this year, and it will be followed up with touring dates featuring artists such as Meg Baird, Anni Rossi and Little Wings.
With “The Light,” Cogan embraces what it means for a woman to express herself in a darkly oppressive society that frowns upon such a freely given sentiment. Rumbling synths careen in the background while her distinctive voice wails and persuades in its own cyclical tones. A martial beat opens the track and provides the drive that suspends the music a few feet above our heads. The foggy guitar rhythms pour down like rain and infiltrate the dark recesses of our minds, the places where memory and self twist around one another to substantial effect. The track acts as a way of looking deeper into ourselves, and, as a result, we peer longer into both the nuance and theatricality of the world around us.
Moral Panic, “Ripped Jeans”
Rising from the ashes of New York City grunge punk band Livids, Moral Panic sees Livids guitarist Daniel Kelley and drummer Gregory Collins (and newcomer Mark Brei on bass) reaffirming their relevance within the hiss and grit of old-school DIY punk rock. Their self-proclaimed mission to “melt as many faces as possible” seems practically anachronistic when so many other artists seem intent on adding as much in the studio as they possibly can. But Moral Panic holds to a minimalist musical perspective, allowing only the lean and necessary things to invade their brief bursts of anarchic punk fury. You can experience the full brunt of their serrated rock roar on their recently released self-titled album.
From the opening guitar salvo of recent single “Ripped Jeans,” the band makes it perfectly clear that we should take notes. The band submerges themselves in this punk-fueled vitriol and makes it part of their bones and skin. Guitar riffs streak and zigzag like lightning across our field of vision, illuminating the world for just a few seconds before leaving their ghostly images on our eyes. And while brevity is a natural balance to this kind of hyper-realized aggression, the track doesn’t skimp on the details, even when it’s racing past your face doing 100 in a 55. Bits of the late ’70s New York punk scene appear (naturally) and collapse just as quickly, revealing the band’s adoration and reclamation of this venom-filled sound.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.