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Saturday Night Sounds: Cool American - "Playing Along"

 It's not technically night time yet since summer loves its long days, but what better to help bring you into the July 4th holiday than a track from new band Cool American?

"Playing Along" premiered a few days ago on Stereogum, who accurately defined the single as a mixture between Motion City Soundtrack and Pavement. We couldn't agree with that statement more.

Who wouldn't appreciate a band who takes their name as a play off of that sparkly blue flavor of Doritos? For this July 4th weekend, be a cool American with Cool American and enjoy "Playing Along" on this Saturday night.

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Daniel Rafn on his new track and upcoming album

Whether you know how to pronouce it or not, it's highly likely you've heard the name 'Rafn' thrown around town. The Rafn brothers have worked both together and with others on various projects among the years, but their individual efforts prove fruitfully engaging.

Such is especially the case for Daniel Rafn, who has been working his way through artistically distressed and doubtful feelings to produce his newest track "Shalom," along with his fourth album The Hanged Man, due out later this year.

The first track to be released from the new album, "Shalom" offers the best representation of what can be expected on the album, according to Rafn. "I think it stands alone pretty well as just a song, while most everything else on the album seems to make more sense in the context of the album. "Shalom" was a good way to represent the whole, while the others are all extreme in some way," he says.

Its subtle play on phonetics is more personal than they appear at first, holding a double meaning. "I was born and raised in Salem, OR. Salem is an anglicized version of the Hebrew word 'Shalom,' which means peace. I'm saying in reality I'm from Salem, but in a spiritual emotional sense I like to think we come from a place of peace, like a peaceful pre-existence or something," Rafn says.

Yet the peaceful seeds behind the song oppose the effort put into both the song and album's production. Anyone that's delved into the creative arts knows the trials of continual inspiration, motivation and confidence in fabrication and Rafn himself admits how maturity in music comes with an emotional price tag.

"I contrast the peaceful origin with the angst of adulthood and finding your way...and finding out how to do what you wanna do in life," Rafn says. "The more serious I've gotten about making music or, the more committed you could say, the more "angsty" I've noticed I've become."

"It's the frustration of having this great desire to make art and have it go out and effect people for the better versus the very real struggle of actually getting that art heard and accepted. Not to mention the personal struggle of just having to come to terms that you need to work a fuck-ton to even get better so that your art can be accepted in the first place!"

Most of us aren't strangers to this frustration, especially when it comes to forcing yourself to push through a particular hurdle in the project. For Rafn that hurdle happened to be the next single he's releasing from the album in August, "The I and The All," which he says he had the most trouble in writing.

"That one was just more of an arrangement problem. I had the whole thing done for months and when I came back to it, it just seemed too empty. I wanted to add a little more harmonic complexity to it so just took some going over," Rafn says.

No matter the struggles, every element of Daniel Rafn's newest track is emotionally captivating and elevating. He's having a release show for "Shalom" tomorrow at the Liquor Store with Old Grape God. Give "Shalom" and listen below and be on the lookout for The Hanged Man, dropping in October. 

 


Mood Music: Altadore - "Capable Wolf"

Summer's only officially been here for a few days but don't you already wish it was raining again? We do, and the perfect song to fit our rain ridden mood of longing happens to be the newest track from Altadore, titled "Capable Wolf."

Coming off his upcoming August release Opal, Luna, and Hymn on Randm Records, "Capable Wolf" tells of the heartache of an ending relationship. You can hear the sincerity of pain in David Katz's voice as he sings "I'm a wolf, I'm wolf/I don't know what I'm capable of/Just howling away most days." Featuring Patti King from Rad City on violin, her sister Kyleen King on viola and Jeff Bond on drums, Katz's vocal tones set over this Portland pro-played orchestral indie pop illcits shivers.

We'll just be wolves, howling away these hot ass days until we can brood without sweating. To put yourself in the mood, give "Capable Wolf" a listen below.


Get your morning beach vibes with Mermaid in China

Mermaid in China are dropping premium vibes for summer time with their video for "A Stroll Through Callow Bay." Reminiscent of an early 90's travel video montage, "A Stroll Through Callow Bay" plays a mellow vocality and stolid instrumental delivery of a dream-like psych pop that when put all together, just makes you want to head out to the coast and plop down in the early morning sand.

Mermaid in China just started a mini stint in Washington yesterday, rolling through Seattle, Port Townsend and Olympia next. 

Check out "A Stroll Through Callow Bay" below and let Mermaid in China's cool sounds easy you into summertime.

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Gold Casio bring Monday dance vibes to Doug Fir

Kicking off a summer series of shows along the West Coast, electronic loves Gold Casio will be sweatin' up the Doug Fir tonight in celebration of their soon-to-drop music video and upcoming debut full length. As part of the transformation of their current release, the Fever Dreams EP will see an additional five songs, propelling it from a sampler pack of their indelible dance pop to a straight serving size of active tunes. 

A video for Fever Dreams' closing track, "Last Song," will be shared some time next month.

Joining Gold Casio tonight will be synth pop duo Calm Candy and Australia's Cub Sport, rounding out the bill with a guarantee of solid gyration.

The show starts at 8:30 tonight and only costs $5, so let's groove tonight.


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