-->
Music

Jonah Parzen-Johnson - "If You Can't Sleep, Just Shut Your Eyes (Adam Schatz Remix)" (Premiere)

Adam Schatz (of Landlady and Father Figures fame) takes on a tune by experimental saxophonist Jonah Parzen-Johnson in this mind-warping remix.

In the press materials for Jonah Parzen-Johnson's forthcoming full-length, Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow, the baritone saxophonist's music is described as "lo-fi experimental folk music for solo baritone saxophone and analog synthesizer." If that description makes anything clear, it's that Parzen-Johnson doesn't care much for musical labels, preferring instead to carve out unique sonic spaces that can only be described in oddball terms like the aforementioned genre word salad. Case in point: a new remix of his tune "If You Can't Sleep, Just Shut Your Eyes", made by Landlady and Father Figures band member Adam Schatz. Like Parzen-Johnson, Schatz has an acute ear for how to warp sounds; on this remix, he completely defamiliarizes the sound of the instruments, to the point that it's difficult to say which sounds are coming from where when it's all said and done. Such sonic experimentation is what makes composers like these two gentlemen exciting as musicians. There's good reason to keep your ears ready for the June release of Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow.

Schatz explains the remix to PopMatters, "I divided segments of the recording to a micro-cassette recorder and ran it through my rig of pedals and dreams, and put some chunks into a Roland SP 555 sampler. All the pieces of this were improvised on top of each other and I feel quite nicely about how it sounds as a complete cake."

Parzen-Johnson follows up, "Solo music can be a very creatively isolating endeavor. Although I really enjoy that part of it, there are a ton of musicians and artists who I care a lot about, and its important to me to find ways to collaborate and include their voices. Remixes are a great way to make that happen. Adam is one of my favorite musicians. Not just because of the songs he writes or the music he plays, but because of the way he makes his musical life about building a community, and connecting with people. I'm excited to share our collaboration."




Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow is out on 2 June via Primary Records.

Upcoming Jonah Parzen-Johnson tour dates:

4/20 -- Brooklyn NY -- Silent Barn -- Singles: Solo Series

5/18 -- Brooklyn NY -- Silent Barn -- Singles: Solo Series

5/27 -- Brooklyn NY -- Manhattan Inn

5/28 -- Hudson NY -- The Spotty Dog

5/29 -- Pittsburgh PA -- Mr Roboto Project

5/31 -- Toledo OH -- Robinwood Concert House

6/1 -- Cleveland OH -- The Bop Stop

6/2 -- Detroit MI -- Cliff Bells

6/4 -- Portland OR -- The Improvisation Summit of Portland 2015

6/5 -- Seattle WA -- Cafe Racer

6/6 -- San Francisco CA -- Center For New Music

6/8 -- Sacramento CA -- Luna's Cafe

6/9 -- Los Angeles -- Moryork Gallery

6/11 -- Chicago IL -- Elastic Arts

6/12 -- Milwaukee WI -- Frank's Power Plant

6/13 -- Madison WI -- Bright Red Studios

6/15 -- Minneapolis MI -- Ice House

6/16 -- St Louis MO -- Foam

6/17 -- Louisville KY -- Dreamland

6/19 -- Greensboro NC -- New York Pizza

6/20 -- Durham NC -- The Shed

6/21 -- Asheville NC -- The Mothlight

6/24 -- Charlottesville VA -- The Garage

6/25 -- Washington DC -- 453 Florida Ave NW

6/27 -- Philadelphia PA -- TBA

6/30 -- Boston MA -- The Lilypad

7/1 -- Montreal QC -- TBA

7/2 -- Providence RI -- 186 Carpenter

Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image