Released / March 22, 2019
Recorded in / an underground rave
Sounds like / Boys Noize, Gesaffelstein, Amelie Len
Inspiration/ Alesia, Madame
Key tracks / “Walk Back,” “Mayday,” “I Fink You Freeky”
Where to get it / Mixcloud
Upcoming Shows / The Arcade Bar – TBA
W hen he was five years old, Hae-Yang Chang — aka ZEROSUM — discovered a CD in his dad’s bootleg library of electronica. He popped it into the family’s boombox, kickstarting a lifelong fascination with the genre. Any time he had access to a computer, Chang would listen to hours of mixtapes and sets on YouTube, drawn to sounds that were frenetic yet washed out and ethereal, like the beat of dripping water or the woosh of a door closing — but made by a computer.
“I love electronic music so much. It’s essentially limitless because it’s digital,” Chang said. “It lets you create sounds that are not possible in nature … sounds that are not real. Sounds that people have never heard before.”
Chang grew up studying classical piano, but he first dipped into the world of music production after downloading a free trial of Ableton Live, a music sequencer. The 22-year-old self-proclaimed DJ and producer’s current musical endeavor is industrial music, a subgenre of electronica that can be recognized by beats that sound a bit like metal bars crunching and clanging in a factory.
At his live performances — which you can catch at various venues across downtown Gainesville like Arcade Bar and the Atlantic, as well as secret, invite-only warehouse raves — Chang’s rapid-fire, fluttery and warping techno beats are typically paired with colorful, futuristic visuals that can transport even the most sober clubgoer to the fourth dimension. While his soundscapes are designed to evoke ambiguous emotions lyric-based music sometimes can’t, Chang’s main goal is simple: to make you dance.
“It just really feels like a big old party for everyone,” he said.
These days, Chang mainly plays a digital keyboard, DJ controller and laptop, but he still applies the core tenants of music theory — rhythm, timing and composition — to electronic music.
“When creating music that doesn’t have vocals or lyrics, you have to rely on the chord progressions and melodies that really stick with us,” said ZEROSUM.
“You have to rely on good melodies and rely on making infectious beats.” •
By Ashley Lazarski.
Released / March 19, 2019
Recorded in / DIY STUDIO
Sounds like / The Front Bottoms, AJJ, Modern Baseball
Inspiration / The Gainesville Indie Scene, Bon Iver, Terry Gross
Key Tracks / “Bird Bucket,” “Talk Radio,” “Smokes, Let’s Go”
Where to Get it/ Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, Discogs, Killer Robot Music
Upcoming Shows/ N/A
D AD OF THE YEAR is ostensibly a 19-minute celebration of fatherhood, but Poblano’s latest release is actually a sardonic commentary on the unreliability of family. And in a Freudian twist, it’s not even about a dad. It’s about a brother.
Until a few years ago, frontman Levi Bradford and his brother were in lockstep and key with each other, quite literally: The pair grew up making music together, but an especially bad falling-out shattered that fraternal intimacy. Bradford channelled his pain into “Dad of the Year” to cope.
“A ‘dad’ is the archetype for the person you look up to your whole life and they let you down pretty severely,” he said.
Poblano isn’t afraid to put their own spin on the tried-and-true traditions of indie and punk music, like the alternating soft and loud song structure reminiscent of mid-era emo bands like Mineral. But where Mineral juxtaposes muddled vocals with crisp imagery, Bradford intelligibly delivers heart-wrenching lyrics whose ambiguity threatens to consume the album entirely.
“Your sentences were clear. Your lessons lived in plain sight. But did such a simple life drive you insane?” Bradford sings on “Yeats,” the opening track, over guitar strumming.
Throughout the album, drummer Daniel Skelly, the audio engineer, layered Bradford’s vocals over an identical vocal track that’s an octave lower in order to create texture and evoke the tumult of lost family and the struggle of moving on.
“The voice below is my older brother’s presence in my life — always very critical of me,” Bradford said.
Like the down-octave vocal track, the traumatic omnipresence of estranged family haunts nearly every song on “Dad of the Year.” But in “Hanging Over,” the voice that represents Bradford’s older brother drops out completely, leaving him alone with the harmony.
“The songs we wrote together are now just mine,” Bradford said. •
By Fred Pohls.
Released / January 10, 2019
Recorded in / Golden Tone Studios
Inspiration / Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard
Key Tracks / “8AM Coffee,” “Still Sad”
Where to get it / Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp
Upcoming Shows / TBA
Y ou’re fighting with your partner. One of you crosses that unspoken boundary, cracking a verbal slap in the face. Reverberating in the silence between you could be the sustained electric guitar at the start of the first track on “People That Love You,” Articles’ 2019 release that’s all about learning how to get by on your own in a world of worry, anxiety and existential crisis.
“Read the room if you’re dumb enough to catch it,” lead singer Richie Schnellbacher sneers mid-way through “Write Like Pollard,” the opening track. “You could always learn a second language / so you’ll never be alone.”
Most of the lyrics in “Write Like Pollard” are references to the titles songs from Guided By Voices. On the track, upbeat guitar noodling is layered over a quick, steady drum pattern and offset by fuzzy amplifiers. This sets the tone for the rest of the EP. For Schnellbacher and his bandmates, Jen Massimin and Justin Plemmons, punk is the best tonic for anxiety. It can be a vehicle through which one can learn from the woes of social anxiety rather than be crippled by them.
“I’ve always been kind of fascinated with people who may have difficulties with social interaction,” Schnellbacher said.
Articles came together a little over a year ago after Schnellbacher’s 30th birthday party. At the party, the lead singer ran into Massimin, whom he had played with in bands in South Florida about a decade ago. Impressed by the music Schnellbacher was working on, Massimin, who worked with Plemmons at a pathology lab, got the three of them together, and they hit it off instantly. “We’re all really thoughtful people,” Plemmons said. “We all deal with regular stuff like everybody, but we internalize it a bit.”
Initially, the three planned to play together for one night only. But several invites and four releases later, the band has amassed a dedicated following. This year, Articles will play FEST for the first time.
“When we’re playing, it feels like we’re putting in a really good community effort and blowing off a lot of steam,” Plummons said. •
By Olivia Trejo.