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Ziemba invites listeners to to utopia with concept album Ardis, 04.04/ 06.06

Most bands chose to include a visual element with a new release, but while it's normal to expect album artwork or a music video, few would also expect to receive a scented candle as a part of the package. Rene Zladzyk of Ziemba delivers all three items with her project Ardis, an all encompassing "brain-pop" electronic project that imagines a futuristic utopia, complete with fragrance to match. Drawing on her own interest in feminist geography (and the sound of classic Brian Eno albums from the mid '70s), Zladzyk beckons listeners into the fully realized world of Ardis, but the songs themselves reveal that not all is as it seems, in paradise. Instead, the tracks reflect back on our world, illuminating the faults of Earth in contrast to what could be. The Ardis project is a triage - part one was released on February 12th, with parts two and three to follow on April 4th and June 6th. Check out the first installment, and the world of Ardis, below. - Sunny Betz





Lina Tullgren plays the Pedals & Synth Expo's unofficial SXSW showcase on 03.15

Hailing from Queens, Lina Tullgren plays music that almost denies this geography and origin. Whether it’s her collaborations or solo material, the music from this DIY artist rarely conforms to the ideas of the moment or regional trends, without using the kitchen sink approach to experimentation. Thrashing drums and guitars that are simultaneously gritty and pristine can sneak up on you, whereas Tullgren’s vocals dip into emo territory at times and are the gravitational center for every song; these compositions are so powerful because of their disparate elements and how they resemble genres we know, but are blended in unexpected ways in her music. The even more surprising part is how these uncomfortably surreal songs harmonize together, reaching a point where these funeral marches are equal halves of hypnotic and skin-crawling. It’s music that beckons us to go deeper into the void, and you'll be able to see it live on March 15 at the upcoming unofficial SXSW show linked to our Austin Synth and Pedal Expo - more info soon! - Tucker Pennington





CLAVVS plays SXSW + celebrates EP release at the Knit on 03.29

The Brooklyn dream-pop duo known as CLAVVS has always had their feet squarely planted in the realm of electronic soul-pop. Swaying soundscapes and luscious vocals were synthesized into a potent formula. Yet with this recent run of new singles to promote their upcoming EP No Saviors, the pair have cracked open new patterns to make their distinct ideas sound infinitely more versatile. Lay Back adds a baroque flourish (reminiscent of some Tricky's best ideas) that crashes down like a waterfall of strings, while the title track (streaming below) bursts with polyrhythms and self-assured brashness. Retaining their hazy aura and breaking out of the dream pop bubble with exuberance is a balancing act that CLAVVS pulls off with the utmost ease. - Tucker Pennington





Get so "High" with Boston duo FBGM, now on West Coast tour

Matt Jatkola and D. Orxata make up the Boston-based eclectic indie-pop duo FBGM. Their newest single "High" (streaming below) is a bouncy ode to highs and lows. The buoyant melody is kept afloat by a breezy delivery of deadpan lyrics like "How do you get me so high in the morning? ... Why is it easy to cry in the morning?" The lyrics operate in paradoxes, and the production effortlessly adds a shimmery texture. Written, produced, recorded, and mixed by Jatkola himself, the track is steeped in a heavy dose of experience and sentimentality. It's undoubtedly the work of people who care about what they are creating, while also playing around with infectious pop sensibilities. FBGM is currently on a west coast tour and will return to New England on March 10 to play Hutghi’s at the Nook in Westfield, MA. - Lilly Milman

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Raia Was's "Reprise" is a powerful exercise in restraint, plays Berlin 3.6

The atmospheric, often ethereal soundscapes of Brooklyn’s Raia Was are perfectly executed exercises in restraint, where a powerful vocal performance sharply navigates the dimly lit labyrinth of downtempo art pop. Her most recent release “Reprise” is a focused, minimalist effort - a song that reads as a lonely internal monologue on a cold, winter night. Was’s vox never explodes or relies on any melodramatic twists and turns, but rather plays counterpoint to the track’s synthy elements, finding strength in its hushed, sometimes breathy qualities; it serves as a preview of more carefully crafted tunes on Raia’s forthcoming debut record, Angel I’m Frightened (Side A/ Side B), which drops this spring.

Raia Was will perform tracks from her upcoming LP at Berlin on March 6th, supported by fellow Brooklynite Harb. Stream “Reprise” below. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt), Photo by Lissy Laricchia

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