moon walker zombifies the end of the world in disgruntled punk release “give the people what they want”

moon walker zombifies the end of the world in disgruntled punk release “give the people what they want”

Between global pandemics, burnout culture, and the rise of AI, the future seems more bleak than ever. The alt-rock artist Moon Walker expresses his frustrations with the present-day in the track “Give The People What They Want”, tackling the defects of American society via an arresting punk rock song. The music video from Tiltshift Visual sets the song in a nondescript American office—aka, the source of many societal frustrations—and features a zombification of its workers.

Opening with an arresting dialogue between the guitar and bass lines, the music primes the video for its imminent belligerent energy. Amid the beats of drums and panning synths, zombies type away at keyboards and make trips to the fax machine, ambling their way through dimly-lit, whitewashed corridors. Anyone who’s ever worked a corporate job can easily relate to this shuffling, fatigued movement. All the while, Moon Walker’s electrifying voice echoes the sentiments of discontented people across the globe: “We want children we can’t care for, houses we can’t pay for, jobs we can’t stay awake for”. 

The two zombies in the video are ghostly pale and dingy, covered in wounds as raw as Walker’s lyrics. Moon Walker’s guitar shredding accompanies the human coworkers running away from their zombie counterparts, terrified of the decomposed future they will inevitably embody. There is nothing subtle about Walker’s message: we’ve all become slaves and zombies to our jobs and the political climate surrounding us. The end of the video features a ticking clock, reminding us that time does not stop for anyone, and our zombification could be imminent if nothing changes.

In a world where solutions are few and far between, belting rock songs with catchy melodic hooks is a good form of escapism. “Give The People What They Want” previews the alt-rock artist’s third LP, the aptly named Apocalypticism, due out on October 20th. Walker will expose the most troubling aspects of society with this release, challenging the status quo and pushing for change. Additionally, get tickets now for Moon Walker’s debut U.S. tour in October 2023.

kat saul, “monsters”

kat saul, “monsters”

Alt-pop singer-songwriter Kat Saul released her new single, “Monsters”. She makes music that feels like growing up, inspired by her childhood. Her new project, ‘made in the 90s’, follows this journey. After graduating from Belmont University, Saul moved from Nashville to Los Angeles right before everything shut down as the result of the pandemic. “Monsters” was written following this move and has themes of what could come from starting over in a new place. 

“When you’re a little kid, you’re afraid of things like the Boogie Man, Dracula, and Zombies. Now instead of Vampires and aliens, it’s fear of failure, mental health issues, broken relationships, childhood trauma, and all the other shit that goes in a messed-up-baggage-cocktail. All that to say, it turns out real life is way more terrifying than the dark,” Saul says on the inspiration behind the track.

The 22-year-old is back with a fresh alt-pop anthem that is bound to get stuck in your head. It deals with the weight of the world crashing down and wreaking havoc on life, but wishing it was as simple as being scared of monsters. The production of the track fits in perfectly with Sauls’ vocals, marking a great beginning to the whole project.

sincere gifts, “ghost of america”

sincere gifts, “ghost of america”

Los Angeles-based indie band Sincere Gifts have just released their new single, “Ghost of America”. The upbeat alt-rockers couple bright sounds and light-hearted production against dark lyricism for a fun listen that gets their serious (and important) message across.

Two lost musicians, Benben and Nick, found each other in the midst of America’s collapse. They emerged from the darkness as Sincere Gifts, conjuring love and earnest companionship. Because what is more needed in the era of rapacious capitalist greed than a sincere gift?

“Ghost of America” puts a strong focus on the current landscape in the United States in 2020. “The US is super fucked,” says vocalist Nick Byron Campbell.” In ‘Ghost of America’ the listener is taken on a short musical tour through the decline.”

At first listen, the track appears to be all sunshine and rainbows on the surface, but take a closer look (or more appropriately, listen) and hear the very real issues that the band is tackling. Sincere Gifts tackles everything from zombies to guns to riots before stripping back and ending the song with a stripped back and mesmerizing take on a section of the National Anthem. The band impressively tackles mountainous issues while making their important message fun and easy to take heed of. Keep doing what you’re doing, boys, America needs you.

yes gabriel talks organic sounds, musical influence, and his brand new ep

yes gabriel talks organic sounds, musical influence, and his brand new ep

Songwriter and composer Gaby Alter released his latest EP under the moniker Yes Gabriel on Friday, April 19th. His career thus far has included creating music for a variety of placement opportunities, namely Off Broadway musicals, independent films, PBS, NPR, and even Disney. With this new work comes some pretty incredible lyricism, and stunning influence peeks through as well. Read on for more in our interview with Alter.

You have a lot of musical experience, what part of your musical past brings you the fondest memories?

In my late teens and twenties, my friends and I put on a string of rock musicals in a small theatre space under a pizza parlour in Berkeley, California. We would write shows about aliens and zombies and superheroes and perform them while people upstairs ordered pizza and played video games. I got to hear songs I wrote sung by some really talented people, and the audiences–a lot of whom were our parents and friends from high school and their friends–loved the shows. That’s really when I started to write songs more seriously.

Your latest EP was recorded in a friends front rooms, why did you never go into the studio?

Actually it was recorded mostly in my own living room–and full disclosure, I did go to a studio one day to track a string quartet. But to answer the gist of your question, I started out thinking I was making demos that I would later re-record in a studio. At some point, I realized there was an intimacy to the songs which I was capturing with my home recordings, so I felt I didn’t need that extra step. A lot of that came down to what needed to be recorded: most of the songs are built around acoustic guitar and piano parts, which home recording captures pretty well. Drums would have required a studio because they are too complicated to record on your own, but luckily, there were no real drum parts on the album, just loops. Also, recording at home allowed me to avoid making choices under the pressure of time and money.

You had no pre-determined path for the album, it just formed. What does this approach bring to the album in your mind?

Stephen King says not to outline a story ahead of time, but instead to excavate it like a fossil. That way you get something that’s the most truthful and interesting, because you discover the story as you write it. So hopefully my putting one foot in front of the other, rather than having a road mapped out first, helps the listener feel like these songs have an organic cohesion with each other and within themselves.

What elements of musicals lay within your debut EP?

When writing lyrics for a musical, I often use specific details. They make the character singing the lyrics seem like a specific person instead of a generic one. I use those kinds of details in my songs on this album. On “Fall Asleep”, for instance: “Do you still have my shirt/the one with faded letters that didn’t quite fit?/You used to wear it when we went to bed and I’d watch you fall asleep in it.” The listener can picture those specific, visual, intimate details of a relationship, and then hopefully it becomes more real for them.

There are other kinds of story telling I use in the lyrics which I use in musical writing. Like in “Dear To Me”, where the song starts with the beginning of a relationship and ends with what happens afterwards, describing moments and details throughout. It’s a story with a clear beginning, middle and end. Musicals songs often have journeys within them, where a character goes from one place to another emotionally, physically or both. Similarly, these songs trace a journey from falling in love to losing love, often within each song.

That said, these songs don’t sound like my theatre songs musically. The arrangements and mood are quieter, more internal. They’re meant to be listened to on headphones or in your car rather than in a theatre.

There are a lot of details in your lyrics, why put so much details into your lyrics when so many artists keep lyrics simple?

I think I answered that in my last response, so I won’t repeat myself. 🙂

To you why do the elements of folk, electronica and chamber pop work well for you?

The organic sounds of folk and the artificial sounds of electronica sounds go well together because they offer a strong and satisfying contrast. Electronica adds surprise to folk, and can limit the sentimentality or conventionality of a purely acoustic folk sound. I’m drawn to those types of sounds and to artists that combine them–Sufjan Stevens, for instance, is a big influence. And chamber pop – adding orchestral instruments to a pop-style song – is obviously nothing new. The Beach Boys and Beatles did it back in the 60s. I love how much richness orchestral instruments bring to an arrangement. They’re real and alive and have a lot of emotional power. 

In your mind what would be the perfect place and time to listen to your new EP?

Driving in the evening when the sky is orange, or late at night. I think the subway, or an airplane would work equally well.

Of all the songs on your debut EP as Yes Gabriel, which song is the most you and why?

I love all my children equally. 🙂 But seriously, this is a hard one to answer. I think they are all very much aspects of me, or who I was when I was wrestling with the things I sing about on the album: longing for someone, trying to understand what love meant when a relationship is over.

What do you feel has been the definitive milestones in your career as Yes Gabriel?

I sent the EP to a friend of mine before it was released, and he literally woke me up at 3 am calling from the west coast to tell me how much he thought it worked. I can’t imagine a better response to the album than that. It let me know that it was really landing emotionally.

What makes Friday a good day to release your EP? Why was April 19th a good time?

I waited too long for certain windows, like late or early in the year, and then I heard March is a bad month to release unless you’re playing SXSW. Also, it’s a dark-hued, internal album, more appropriate to colder weather, so any later in the year and it would seem a little out of place.

Thank you so much for giving Imperfect Fifth this interview, is there anything you would like to add?

Just a small plug for Bandcamp, where you can find my album. They are very fair to artists and support the discovery of new music.

Thanks very much for interviewing me!

Keep up with Yes Gabriel here.

the split seconds, “the dirty depth of classic punk”

the split seconds, “the dirty depth of classic punk”

Punk is a genre that has always been known for its simplicity and raw, primitive sound. Many music fans write off the genre entirely because they believe that music must be complex and polished to be great. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In the 70’s a bunch of kids who grew up on a steady diet of classic rockabilly, pop, soul, British invasion, Motown, and ska took a look at the vapid and self-important hippies burning out on the radio and said fuck this. They cut their hair, put on the jeans and leather jackets of their early-rock-and-roll heroes, went into their garages, turned up the tempos, pushed their amps into overdrive, and invented the potent form of fundamentalist rock and roll we now know as punk rock. The following songs showcase just how much depth can be captured in a few minutes with a few chords and with some cheap equipment.

The Buzzcocks: I Don’t Mind
The unusual chord progression and surreal message makes this song the “Strawberry Fields Forever” of punk rock. Beginning with the beautiful phrase, “Reality’s a Dream” the verse starts out square but quickly gets mired in a swirling series of out-of-key chords and a disjointed melody that and builds and blossoms into short, simple, and joyful chorus about not caring. It perfectly captures the message of escaping the emotional torment of uncertainty and chaos by just not giving a fuck. During the bridge the song shifts to a minor tonality as Pete Shelley reflects on past insecurity and rejection, emerging at the end in a higher key to once-and-for-all assert his triumphant nihilism.

Stiff Little Fingers: Alternative Ulster
This song about kids caught up in ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland begins with a plaintive guitar melody drenched in reverb raw and almost in-tune. The lonely major-key drone expresses a combination of sadness and optimism that Stiff Little Fingers does so well. The song explodes into short punchy phrases in the verse over a restless 4 chord vamp in which Jake Burns lays out the frustration of scraping by under a repressive regime with throaty angst. Then it stretches out into the prechorus in which he explains that nothing’s going to change because nobody in power has any reason to change it. An usual extra measure builds anticipation before the assertive chorus chords in which he gives the solution to the problem: Do it yourself. Create an alternative of your own. “Ignore the bores, their laws…grab it change it’s yours.” After a powerful bridge rapidly dispensing with the naysayers, the original guitar melody returns over a shuffle drum beat. The meandering line returning with purpose and power before delivering the listener to a satisfying final chorus.

The Clash: Death or Glory
One of the many gems on London Calling, “Death or Glory” explores how high-minded ideals and righteous conquests are corrupted by time and routine. The song starts with a round and melodic bass line and syncopated high hat accents building into a grade-A punk rock groove underneath Mick Jones channeling Mick Ronson’s brand of channeling Chuck Berry via the English Channel. Paul Simon’s baseline walks under guitar stabs as Strummer howls his verse with great lines such as “love and hate tattooed across the knuckles of his hands, hands that slap his kids around ‘cuz they don’t understand” finally breaking into one of the catchiest choruses ever penned. During the bridge Topper Headon lays down a restless funky beat that is complemented by Jones’ rhythmic octaves and Simonon’s sequenced bass line. Creating the perfect musical backdrop for Strummer to quietly but insistently express the the will to fight and raise hell. After a final chorus the band ends the song on a slightly out-of-time, and out-of-tune final hit. Just in case you thought they were getting too refined.

Dead Boys: Sonic Reducer
Whereas the Buzzcocks found release in not caring, Stiff Little Fingers found salvation in not caring, and The Clash believed we were sadly destined to not care, The Dead Boys just didn’t care. Two bold chords at the outset fade into a swirl of flanged cymbals and feedback overtop a foreboding minor-key guitar line which finally explodes into power chords and Cheetah Chrome’s brash guitar solo. The verse pummels forward as Stiv Bators lists all the things he doesn’t need including family, beauty, and the human race. It builds towards a chorus that tells you why he doesn’t need any of that stuff. Because he’s a god damn rock and roller and one day he’ll be a ten foot tall Pharaoh and you won’t be shit. The song barrels forward all the way to the end with Ohio’s trademark street-walking-cheetah-with-a-heart-full-of-napalm raw power and swagger.

The Jam: The Eton Rifles
This fantastic tune begins with an intro of crashing minor chords, splashy drums, and a catchy repeated bass figure. Then breaks in to a double verse based on a two chord vamp of clanging guitar stabs and punctuated by a two chord turnaround contained in an unusual extra measure as bassist Bruce Foxton proves that drums, guitar, and a Rickenbacker bass is all you need to fill up the sonic palette. Buried in the mix, Paul Weller cleverly tells the story of a street fight between working class protest marchers and students from the prestigious UK prep school Eton in his unpretentiously accented baritone. During the chorus his vocal line climbs and the chord changes accelerate climaxing with a repeated “Eton Rifles” hook based on a melodic figure made memorable by its widely spaced intervals. The tonality darkens to minor for the unbalanced-feeling 9 measure bridge, perfectly framing the lyrics in which Weller describes his feelings of shame and disappointment with his comrades who were more interested in posturing than repelling the attacks of the future ruling elite. An instrumental section sandwiched between repetitions of the bridge that includes organ and reggae-influenced guitar delay showcases the band’s versatility. A vitriolic final verse and extended final chorus decays into cacophony before it is tied together by several restatements of the main theme mirrored by palm muted guitar before a definitive final hit. As strong a song as was ever written.

Generation X: Kiss Me Deadly
Pre-White-Wedding Billy Idol and company turned out this masterpiece of a song which is built on a verse, prechorus, and chorus that flow into each other so naturally and evolve so organically through the song that they create a nearly inseparable musical unit. This brilliant structure provides the backdrop over which Idol paints a picture of rebellious youth in the UK in the late 70’s characterized by love, sex, fights, flights, drugs, and old-school rock and roll. It begins with delicate guitar arpeggios venturing through a chord progression that is more reminiscent of The Zombies than The Ramones. Bold drums enter during the second verse foreshadowing the huge guitar onslaught that picks up and carries the song through to its end. After a melodic guitar solo, the chorus is extended during the final musical unit repeating the memorable title, “Kiss Me Deadly.” Exploited may have gotten right to the point with “Sex and Violence” but Generation X was able to translate the eros/thanatos theme into a brilliant work of punk rock art.

Keep up with The Split Seconds here.

childish gambino, awaken, my love!

childish gambino, awaken, my love!

Childish Gambino (given name: Donald Glover) has my heart for so many reasons. And I don’t mean romantically.

He has been operating on his own terms professionally for as far back as I can remember. A perfect example of this? When, in his early twenties, he left the writing staff of the wildly successful “30 Rock” to pursue other projects – much to his parents’ chagrin. This pattern – if you can call it that – has continued. From 30 Rock, to Community, to rapping as Childish Gambino, to Magic Mike XXL, to Atlanta (his brainchild, which he also happens to write, direct, and star in). Each venture is more unpredictable than the last.

And now, his most recent – and much anticipated – Gambino album, Awaken, My Love! is out for us to devour (released Dec. 2). But, guess what? Though he isn’t shedding the persona, he has moved into a completely different genre of music – but, we shouldn’t be that surprised…right?

I was certainly surprised. In fact, I was thrilled when I heard just a couple of weeks before that he would be releasing new music! Donald Glover has kept audiences on their toes since day 1. Heck, he even told media that he may never rap as Childish Gambino again. And, maybe he won’t. But this experimental, genre-bending album he dropped last Friday…it’s all I ever needed that I never event knew I wanted!!

Midday last Friday, I hit DOWNLOAD on Google Play, drew a bath, and lit some candles. The minute I hit PLAY, my ears delighted in smooth vocals, soulful instrumentals, and a relaxing – yet, somehow funky – listening experience. This was a total departure from past Gambino, but maybe not from the REAL Donald Glover.

Pop/funk, bass-full, with a 70s feel…much of it reminiscent of THE Prince! I was a little off-put by the very experimental vocals and repetitiveness of the track, “California,” but the rest of the album totally made up for that. Especially “Zombies,” and my absolute favorite, “Redbone.”

Awaken, My Love! is perfect for dancing the night away at a disco, as background music for creative work, the soundtrack to a hot tub session, or maybe even a retro-style swinger’s party (if that’s how you choose to roll). This may be different from anything else he has ever done. But believe you me: It has the same soul and lyrical prowess you would expect from The Gambino. If you loved him before, you will continue to love him.

And if you didn’t? Well, it’s time you hopped on this bandwagon with the rest of us.

**Originally published to Impose.


Keep up with Donald Glover here.