Silent Shout: Void Pop, Clique Bait & Crystal Castles To Get You Through The End Times

Carl Williott | July 21, 2016 9:30 am

Silent Shout is our recurring dispatch from pop’s fringes. It may not be music for the masses, but — to paraphrase *NSYNC — this might be pop.

The world is in a never-ending death spiral and Trump is pulling out his Trump and Trumping all over the 2016 election and it’s easier to get a machine gun than a food stamp in America and cops keep executing people in public and nobody will shut the fuck up about Taylor Swift and the subway is at peak shit-smelling awfulness right now and everything is a horrifying nightmare every time anyone steps outside so why would you even wanna leave your house when you can just stay inside listening to music that will never be played on radio or recommended by some Spotify algorithm to help drown out, or amplify, the outside madness?

More:: Pop is great right now so why am I so bored by it?

That’s how I cope with The World Today. Won’t you join me? Not literally, because no, but by letting these five songs that are clawing at the edge of pop into this hellscape.


Evan Ønly — “Clique Bait Queen”

The Family Portrait frontman steps out with a demented take on cyber life, demon-whispering “delete and save” and “print” over a hollowed-out digital beat. Throw in the unsettling CGI visual, and this fits right alongside the sinister synthetic works of Arca and Oneohtrix Point Never. It’s off Evan Ønly’s digital-only /\/\ARBLE EP which, like SOPHIE‘s Product, comes bundled with a bunch of non-music stuff as a commentary on music as commodity.

Crystal Castles — “Char” We won’t know fully how the departure of Alice Glass affected Crystal Castles’ sound until the release of Amnesty (I) on August 19 — one camp thinks the new stuff is interchangeable, the other thinks it’s a clear downgrade. But during Glass’ reign the duo always found room for a couple moody synth ballads on each album, and that looks to continue based on this latest offering from the Edith Frances era.

Motion Graphics — “Lense”

Electronic artist Joe Williams’ solo project is “inspired in part by the ambient sound effects of digital menu systems that decorate today’s auditory landscape.” And so the first single flutters along with pristine clicks and swoops and taps, giving it a tactile quality similar to Holly Herndon‘s recent material. Williams makes this stuff using “custom randomized software instruments,” so he’s part of the waveform wave — but if “Lenses” is any indication, he has a more inviting, soothing approach to the stuff. Motion Graphics’ self-titled debut drops August 26 on Domino.

field trip — “2 NY” Dropping days after the death of Alan Vega, field music’s latest “void pop” cut slides easily into the relevant-again narrative about Suicide‘s lasting influence, with its looped beat, fuzz drone and echoing howls. But then the pop light seeps into the void as the song rides out with psychedelic guitars and chiming keys. “2 NY” is the first cut off the NYC band’s debut LP Horror Vacui, out November 11.

Inner Oceans — “Wild” I caved and let some warmth infiltrate this sour pit of despair, with what is maybe the most pleasant song I’ve ever included in this feature. It just feels so earnest, like if Sufjan Stevens went back in time and crafted a mid-90s New Age-pop hit. The trio’s debut, I Don’t Mind, is set for a September 16 release.