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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

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New Track: "Chain Reaction" - Control Top

A new single from Control Top’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Covert Contracts (scheduled for release on April 5 via Get Better Records) has arrived. A fire-starting buzz instantly glows in the grimy, ripping “Chain Reaction.” Addressing the momentous avalanche of negativity and how it has rippling, personal affects, the track increases the hostility, and in a way, temporarily diffuses it. You can find the power trio on tour opening for Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers and Mercy Union, with a stop in Philly on Friday, April 19 at Underground Arts. (Photo by Farrah Skeiky)

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Cay Is Okay's Welcoming Sound

There are a lot of details and nuances in Cay is Okay's music, but one thing that stands out is how comfortable the music makes you feel. This is especially true in their latest release, Lo-Fi. Listening to each song feels like slipping on your favorite old sweater. The album has a quiet, worn-in quality, which makes it all the more tender. Even the more upbeat, rascally songs such as “Call Out” feel friendly and inviting. Part of this is due to the softer D.I.Y nature of the music; the album is named Lo-Fi for a reason. It feels as if you’re hanging out with the band in their garage while they’re practicing. The other aspect is how clean the album is, the result of the member's talent and chemistry. Listening is smooth and easy because the music flows as effortlessly as water.

Cay Is Okay is playing a show this Thursday at The Fixin To with Havania Whaal and Stanford Prism Experiment.

 -By Avril Carrillo

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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

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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

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