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Best New Indie Music Discovery: “Fastracks” 18

SOUND KHARMA® | August 18, 2021

Preview 5 new music tracks in less than 5 minutes f. Sarko Montaug, Ryan Fischer, TRAITRS, CS Hellmann & Pink Turns Blue.

You can submit a track for consideration (below).

ARTIST INFO & VIDEOS

Get more info about this episode’s featured artists & watch full videos below:

While the indie pop duo Sarko Montaug may be new to the music realm, their name is not. Paying tribute to twin pillars of the 80s NYC art/nightlife scene – DJ Anita Sarko and Doorman Haoui Montaug – the group’s focus is on creativity.

Haoui and Anita were instrumental in providing space for artists like Beastie Boys and Madonna to perform when they were unknowns. They had incredible taste and understood the energetic release that can only be experienced in a night club full of the right amount of friends, strangers and icons.

The group currently resides in Chicago, but as constant nomads, could be moving on again by the time you read this. “No matter where we live we’ll always be displaced Philadelphians,” say the members (married partners Cristian and Jess Mora).

While most connected to new wave and other 80s genres, the group is following their creativity towards whichever musical style calls to it. “We’ll always sound indie, even when we are trying to be pop and we’ll always be trying to modernize the past.”

“Possessive,” their first single, was produced/mixed by Jorge Elbrecht (Japanese Breakfast, Wild Nothing) and addresses the theme of imbalance. Out on 8/13, it aims to be the “dance while setting a reminder to bring up that toxic ex-relationship at your next therapy session” hit of the summer. Musically, the song feels like if Charli XCX was starring in a remake of Desperately Seeking Susan.

Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Ryan Fischer went into Little Red Sounds Recording Studio this past winter with a bunch of bare bones acoustic arrangements of his folk songs, and came out with the 10 track genre-sweeping album “Commercials For Heaven”.

Ryan initially approached producer Felix Fung and asked if he’d listen to demos of his “weird acoustic songs” to see if he might be interested in collaborating on fleshing out the tracks. Felix replied “man weird is my jam”.

The following week Fischer went into Little Red to meet Fung and his partner Max Sample, and they formed a live off-the-floor trio.

Speaking about his first foray in the studio: “I had so much fun. And learnt a ton”, says Fischer. “I was really blown away by Felix and Max’s creative talent, their musicianship, and the way they put their hearts and souls into my songs. It was a wonderful collaboration. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

“Commercials for Heaven” is one of the first songs Ryan Fischer wrote. It reflects a period of difficult struggles he had trying to make a living in the TV industry while failing miserably at personal relationships.

“Each line represents a gospel of disastrous missteps I took away from my soul,” says Fischer. “Singing about it gave me this sense of detached calm amidst the feelings of isolation and impending destitution that bore down on me. The song was a kind of relief valve that allowed me to laugh about it all, especially at myself.”

“Commercials For Heaven” is a song about looking up from the depths of hell for signs of the divine and getting a little wink back from somewhere way beyond the clouds.

With melodic hooks that remind you of a sound you may have heard but can’t quite place, Fischer will be the first to admit it has an inkling of “The Cure” influence in it, “Wish” being one of his all-time favourite albums.
Ryan Fischer will be releasing singles from “Commercials For Heaven” all summer and into the fall when the whole album finally drops.

Based in Toronto, TRAITRS was formed in 2015 by Sean-Patrick Nolan and Shawn Tucker. With a cinematic blend of post-punk, goth, alternative and post-rock, their emotive melodies, propulsive rhythms, angular guitars and dark cinematic electronics quickly led to the duo becoming one of the dark music scene’s fastest rising independent artists.

“I approached ‘Oh, Ballerina’ the way I imagined Placebo challenged songs like ‘Brick Shithouse’ or ‘The Bitter End’. Keeping it simple, minimal, but punchy and effective.

That’s really what motivated the passion and drive here. Lyrically the track focuses on obsession with someone else to the point of murder, based on a true story I had come across online. I felt the tone of the story perfectly mirrored what’s happening in the track instrumentally, dynamically and vocally. Keep running away now because you’re scared,” says Shawn Tucker.

“I became obsessed with minimalist composer Phillip Glass. His music completely changed the way I thought about melodies and composition, so ‘Oh, Ballerina’ began as this minimal and abstract piano piece with some atmospheric textures and very little else. I listened to the demo late and mid-way through the improvised recording, it was like the song suddenly revealed itself to me. I suddenly heard the drums and bass in my head. I grabbed my laptop, quickly programmed some drums and we finished scripting it all the next day,” says Sean-Patrick Nolan.

The accompanying video, self-produced with direction and editing by Shawn Tucker, is a moody art-house horror film in the woods meets 80’s new wave music video.

“We filmed the video for “Oh, Ballerina” with a small crew in an abandoned ghost town in Ontario called Cooper’s Falls. With the help of Google satellite images and a bit of good fortune, we found the abandoned and decrepit house in the middle of a forest.

We wanted a non-linear plot where by the end, it’s unclear what the fog represents, why we entered the house, if and when we left or whether or not we were there the whole time? Are these doppelgängers watching themselves entering and leaving the barn?“

Early demos, also recorded with Josh Korody, led to the duo releasing their debut cassette ‘Rites And Ritual’ with Pleasence Records in 2016.

Having gained traction in Europe and North America, TRAITRS released their critically acclaimed ‘Butcher’s Coin’ LP via Pleasence Records / Manic Depression Records / Alchera Visions in 2018.

Bolstered by lead single ‘Thin Flesh’, the duo embarked on several lengthy tours overseas, performing in over a dozen countries, including showcases at Wave Gothik Treffen, Castle Party, Extramuralhas, Nocturnal Culture Night, Wavefest, Canadian Music Week and Pop! Montreal.

Their relentless touring schedule and work ethic caught the attention of Thomas Thyssen and Eric Burton of Schubert Music Publishing and, in October 2020, they announced TRAITRS as the first signing to their brand-new record label Freakwave Records.

“The lyrics to ‘Countryside’ were inspired by a former girlfriend of mine that moved away from Nashville back home to the low country in South Carolina,” Hellmann says. “It is a glimpse into her world and what ultimately led her to leaving me and Nashville.”

“At the end of 2019 I moved from tragically hip East Nashville to a small rural community outside of Nashville called Scottsboro. At the time, I was coping with losing my mother who was battling Parkinson’s and Dementia and it gave me a place of refuge and serenity away from the overcrowdedness and expense of living in the city, as well as the pretentiousness and fakeness of the people around me.”

“I spent the majority of my time in Scottsboro rehashing old tunes and writing a few new ones under a steady influence of bluegrass, country, as well as 90’s and 2000’s rock music. This is what inspired me to use the three finger acoustic guitar picking style on the track ‘Countryside’ and the anthemic heavy soaring guitars on the choruses.”

Iconic post-punk band Pink Turns Blue has unveiled the video for ‘You Still Mean Too Much To Me’, a beautiful film to their new single. Portraying figures who are utterly alone, introspective, and seeking an elusive connection, this video echoes themes of isolation felt during the process or working through grief over the loss of a loved-one.

The band’s new album ‘Tainted’, previewed by two superb singles – ‘There Must Be So Much More’ and ‘So Why Not Save The World’ – will be released in autumn via Orden Records and will be available on limited edition vinyl, CD and digitally.

Pink Turns Blue is Mic Jogwer (vocals, guitar), Reubi Walter (bass, keyboards) and Paul Richter (drums). Inspired by Joy Division, The Sound and The Chameleons, Pink Turns Blue plays alternative rock heavily influenced by 80s post-punk and new wave.

This album is the result of time well spent this past lockdown year writing, recording, mixing and mastering the new album in their Berlin recording studio. On ‘Tainted’, the band added an electronic element to their classical vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The album title itself relates to the state of our world: climate change, its effects, the reaction to it, the split within society, isolation, health risks and financial uncertainty.

“How to overcome the grief / pain of lost love, torn between hate, very bad feelings and, at the same time, not being able to let go at all. As there is no understanding why you fall in love with someone in the first place, there is also no reason / understanding why love does end or your love of life starts to feel attracted to someone else. It all dissolves into nothingness,” says Mic Jogwer.

“Some melodies and moods just call for certain sad themes and touch old wounds that never seem to heal. Normally love stories don’t seem to have a connection to me and my life. But then, when I find a sad melody with some sad chords it all gets stirred up and comes to life. Maybe love really never ends.”

Among the first generation of gothic rock in Germany, Pink Turns Blue formed in 1985, originally as a duo consisting of Mic Jogwer and Thomas Elbern, plus a drum machine. Naming themselves after a Hüsker Dü song, their sound was initially inspired by The Chameleons, Clan of Xymox, and The Cure.

Written by SOUND KHARMA®




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