Alt Pop

Jordan Suaste ascends past heartbreak in new single "Patience"

Jordan Suaste is both the creator and spectator of the brilliant sonic rivers of romance that flow in his latest single, “Patience.” Where some would fear allowing their emotions to flow, Suaste does not as he flexes his vocal prowess to posh instrumentation comprised of cute piano leads and sway-inducing beats sprinkled with the sweetness of R&B. Suaste debuts in “Patience” a glossy heartbreak track that serves both as a winter warmer and a shinny treat you can’t help show your friends. As Suaste ascends vocally in the song’s bridge, you cannot help think he is a young man that knows where he is headed, and it is up there; take a moment to stream the new music video for “Patience” below. - René Cobar

   

Paper Jackets take another look at 2020 in new single "I’m Depressed"

Paper Jackets are honest about the state of things this year but do splash some pastels and creams on their sonic portrait aptly titled “I’m Depressed.” The new track, accompanied by a vivid visualizer, is charged up with sticky indie-pop hooks, tambourine jingles, dirty electric guitar sustains, and a thunderous beat that all help it reach anthemic territories. Limited human interactions may be the influence for “I’m Depressed,” but the sound of it is one of community, a loud and colorful one at that. The band is looking ahead to 2021 as it will release Souvnenirs Volume Two, the follow-up to the first volume released this past summer. Stream “I’m Depressed” below for another take on 2020, one honest with all its emotions. - René Cobar

   

Sleep Still highlights the details in new single "The Panoramic"

Dream-pop music is often judged by the vivid sonic worlds it can create, crystallized sounds that take shape as you listen, by that standard Sleep Still’s new song “The Panoramic” flows with elegance and swells into a wonderful soundscape. Using sharp synth sustains and liquid-like electric guitars buzzing, Sleep Still paints the track as it rides a mighty beat and follows the refined vocals of lead singer Mariam McCarthy towards the song’s whirlwind instrumental finale. The music video for the song is simple and powerful in its imagery: sonic patterns made human, vulnerable, and empowered at once. Rest and reflection exist in this new entry by Sleep Still; stream the new video below for a closer look at the movements that make us whole. - René Cobar

   

Sun Kin debuts refreshing house single "Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)"

Los Angeles-based artist Sun Kin keeps his brand of house music refreshingly alternative: with his new single “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)” featuring syrupy electric guitar leads, Caribbean rhythms, and a sugary pop aesthetic, he is very much in vogue. In the breaks in rhythm, Sun Kin uses his sharp vocals to keep the dreamy, watery texture of the music going, rippling as the beat returns. “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)” is the lead single from Sun Kin’s upcoming record After the House, out on February 12th. For the type of house music that chills the mind while firing up the body’s movement, stream “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)” below. - René Cobar

   

A Very Special Episode go for a "Night Drive"

The “very special episode” is a venerable tradition of the televisual arts wherein our society faces down its most vexing problems with the help of inane plot contrivances, buffoonish acting, and howling laugh tracks. All often oddly endearing nonetheless. The ‘80s and ‘90s were perhaps the golden age of this particular art form with VSE’s used to warn the wider populace against such menaces as marauding punk rockers, pedophile bicycle shop owners, and drunken suicidal birthday clowns. Aficionados today savor the delectable discomfort produced by the best of/worst of (same difference) these “episodes” with their bizarre tonal mashups akin to a saccharin diet soda garnished with a dash of strychnine.

The Queens-based band A Very Special Episode likewise merge the sweet and the serrated and in the process make you a more upstanding and aware citizen. Take their latest single--a bedroom production by obvious circumstance--which is a lo-fi, high-sheen number called “Night Drive.” It starts innocently enough with some rollicking drums, four-on-the-floor bass and sing-songy keyboard over which bassist and lead singer Kasey Heisler lays out the scene: “You see it all stretched before you / purple sky painted over blue.” Sounds lovely! But any hopes for a laid-back evening excursion are soon dashed when suddenly “the night is speeding faster / fade to black” and on cue we change channels to a shimmering-distorted blur of guitar and keyboard with Heisler dropping all social niceties: “Hey, you know what / you got it all but I can’t get you off.” From there we circle back to the opening disco-punk groove now overlaid with a layer of buzzsaw guitar (or maybe a neighbor was testing out their new power-sander next door?) that weaves in and out of the song until its crashing climax.

This all can’t help but remind one of the very special episode of Saved By The Bell where Zach gets Jessie addicted to caffeine pills because I'm thinking those guitars must be the sound she heard in her head by the end of the episode. I mean sure it all starts off innocently enough at the ‘50s diner with our girl Jess sharing her dreams of applying to Stanford and debuting her neat little pop-singing combo with Lisa and Kelly. But by the final act Zach is pumping our future Showgirl full of uppers to help her study for midterms and going all Lou Pearlman on her ass with his girl-group svengali schemes. It’s no wonder Jessie aka “Nomi” would soon find herself working the pole and all thanks to that jerkface Zach! (please rest assured, dear reader, The Deli is sex-worker positive!)

OK so I got a little distracted there. Whatever its lo-fi origins, “Night Drive” is the best encapsulation I’ve heard so far of AVSE’s live sound with its mixture of melodic hooks and knuckle-dragging noise. To end things here with the requisite musical-calculus equation I’m gonna go with equal parts Garbage, The Walkmen, and My Bloody Valentine. Or if you prefer metaphors of the TV/movie variety I’ll give you “Saved By The Bell meets David Lynch” (especially Lost Highway on this particular song, not to mention the band’s logo is a VHS videocassette hmmmmm). If it all sounds up your alley check out “Gravity” below for a slightly more polished version of the AVSE sound. (Jason Lee)