It’s Friday, so give our First Look picks a listen. Whether you’re into Hannah Jadagu’s indie-pop, the futuristic sound of Luca Yupanqui, Rules’ acid-fuelled hardcore, the retro vibes of Silver Synthetic, or Silver Talon’s heavy RPG metal, we got it covered!


Hannah Jadagu

Hannah Jadagu 
Hometown: Mesquite, Texas/New York City 
Album: What Is Going On? EP, out now via Sub Pop 
RIYL: First Impressions. Questioning Your Place in the World. Indie Pop. 

How do you make a good first impression? What sorts of anxiety and excitement goes into your first encounter with a whole new group of people? I moved around a lot as a kid, so I had the chance to appreciate the good (chance to start over, reinvent yourself) and the less good (losing friends, starting over again) of first impressions. I don’t know that I’m better at them than I was in adolescence, but I can say I still am nowhere near as good at them as new Sub Pop singer Hannah Jadagu is. Her debut EP is a wonderful collection of indie pop that somehow feels timeless. Each of these five songs is anchored by her airy-yet-impassioned voice and some nice guitar melody. There’s a great density to explore throughout, but it’s that initial “holy shit” that will stick with you. What Is Going On? feels like the work of an accomplished artist, not a debut, so here’s hoping Jadagu can continue to grow and cultivate her craft in future releases.  

So, what did she want to talk about with this first batch of songs?  
“For this record, I wanted to talk about who I am and my experiences that have shaped me so far. I also wanted to highlight common issues for people who look like me or are going through what I am. This record was a diary of sorts that I’m sharing with the world and reflects a lot of me, but I also feel like can resonate with many people.” 


Luca Yupanqui

Luca Yupanqui 
Hometown: New York City 
Album: Sounds of the Unborn, out April 2 via Sacred Bones 
RIYL: Patience. Experiments. Hope. 

I always admire the creativity of artists generally—it’s literally all I do for New Noise. However, I’m not sure I’ve seen an idea quite like this one. Luca Yupanqui has technically performed on a record in negative months, aka prior to birth. Let me explain. Married couple Iván Diaz Mathé and Elizabeth Hart wanted to see what would happen if they used biosonic MIDI technology to translate Luca’s in utero movements into sound, and the resulting album—Sounds of the Unborn—is musical experience in all senses of the word. The words that immediately come to mind are ‘fluid’ and ‘alien.’ There’s a distinct sci-fi element to the record’s sounds, almost visualizing a maritime journey to the depths of the ocean. 

That sense of adventure played out in interesting ways, as Mathé notes: 
“If you pay close attention to the beats, you will find that there is no repetition at all, that’s what I find beautiful, there is an ever progressing shape to things, they may seem looped at moments, but there was no intervention of that kind. The album was recorded during Elizabeth’s seventh and eighth months of pregnancy, and although every session was distinctively different from the others, I wouldn’t be able to connect that to the stages, I think it had to do more with the vibes and context of every individual session.” 


Rules

Rules
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario
Album: The Bummer Circus Comes to Truth City, out now via Stomp Records
RIYL: LSD. Friends. Being Spontaneous. 

Everything about the hilariously-titled The Bummer Circus Comes to Truth City rules. The Ontario punk/hardcore scene is notoriously incestuous, with musicians sliding in and out of bands like a horny, lonely college kid and a fleshlight. Hell, even the way this album was created feels like a dumb college idea—let’s get high as hell on LSD and record something. The fact that the resulting record is such a wonderfully tight batch of psychedelic hardcore—and something that doesn’t sound like a drug-fueled snoozefest—is a miracle unto itself. Rules sound like The Bronx on acid, cocaine, and a dash of prog (all drugs parents should warn their children about). However, The Bummer Circus… is something wholly unique and special, a record that somehow gets better and weirder during its runtime.

Bassist Chuck Coles speaks to why Rules hold a special place in his heart: 
“This project means a lot to me. I spend a lot of my time touring, writing and performing music, and this project has always had to take the back seat due to my touring schedule. We are all very close friends and the chemistry we share comes across on the recording. The only way we could get that across is if we recorded it live. I wrote two of the songs on the train on my way to the studio and showed everyone that day, and we recorded it at night. We caught magic. I live for those moments. I like not really knowing what’s going on and see where it takes you. Fortunately, this didn’t turn into unlistenable noise. Hats off to the producer for trying his best to work with four musicians high on acid for a few days.”  


Silver Synthetic

Silver Synthetic 
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana 
Album: Self-titled, out April 9 via Third Man Records 
RIYL: Retro. Diamonds in the Rough. Vinyl. 

A consistent theme over the past couple years seems to be artists finding a home for previously unreleased and unexpected songs. I’m not just talking about side projects, but I think all this time spent at home and isolated has helped a ton of musicians fall back in love with styles of music unrelated to their main work. You can add in Bottomfeeders’ vocalist Chris Lyons to that list, with his throwback rock project, Silver Synthetic. Everything about this debut self-titled feels like a long-lost vinyl from your parents’ basement: the harmonized vocals, the mid-tempo jams, even the warmth in the sound—it’s all gleefully old-school. It doesn’t hurt that Lyons knows how to write an excellent song. There’s no frills, nothing breaking ground, but god damnit, I can’t think of a record that plucks at my heartstrings and speaks to my soul in recent memory quite like Silver Synthetic does.

So, how did this band come about for Lyons? 
“I had a bunch of songs laying around and needed to find an outlet for them. I started playing them with a few friends around New Orleans, and finally the right people came together, and it really stuck. It was definitely refreshing to sort of let go and just play whatever I felt like playing. Bottomfeeders became a very specific sound, which is great, but Silver Synthetic became this more liberating song writing process where I could just throw anything at the wall.” 


Silver Talon

Silver Talon 
Hometown: Portland, Oregon 
Album: Decadence and Decay, out May 21 via M-Theory 
RIYL: D&D. Gnosticism. Metal. 

Silver Talon’s whole ethos is glorious, and it seems to be this simple: what if we took tabletop RPGs and made them as metal as humanly possible? From the cover art by famous fantasy artist Gerald Brom (Magic: The GatheringWorld of Warcraft), to the fantastical subject matter, and even the delightfully over-the-top speed metal that makes it all work, Silver Talon is very extra. It’s a huge credit to the band that the actual record feels distinctly human yet powerful. The musicianship on display is astounding, but the songwriting is impressive and incredibly catchy. There’s also a retro feel to the album that is distinct from more typical power metal groups—though fans of bands like Unleash The Archers and Primal Fear will be in heaven—and some of the songwriting even skews into prog territory.  

However, it’s the album’s artwork and theme that add that special layer to things, as guitarist Bryce VanHoosen elaborates: 
“There’s a massive sense of rebellion and defiance in that image, with the witch having severed the head of a demon, something that typically is the object of the witch’s reverence. That whole spirit of a sort of gnostic rebellion definitely influenced the mood of the album. There’s a lot of talk of false gods, illegitimate rulers, battling against fate itself, that sort of thing. When that’s your subject matter, the themes can get somewhat political. Using fantasy and sci-fi elements is a way to both lean into that, but also to diffuse it of any left-right, red team-blue team prejudices. We can talk about the struggle of humans against insurmountable odds, crushed under the wheels of the empire at a fundamentally human level, rather than at a level that just shuts down conversation.” 

Author

Pop-culture journo: currently blabbing-on at Horror Geek Life & New Noise Magazine. Punk rock fangrrrl, horror nerd, lipstick lover & pizza aficionado. Be Excellent to Each Other.

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