I’ve gotten in the habit of planning my release schedule around the IMF Community playlist. Today I realized that the reason has a lot to do with who hears my tracks. IMF is my community: of collaborators, of feedback-givers, and (last, but not least) of listeners. My most valued audience is my peers in IMF. And that’s because it’s easy for me to have a dialog – or a conversation – with them. The loop is closed. And that’s a thing that’s hard for me to find, in my particular internet creativity project.

I used to perform as a musician. I spent literal years to learn to play reasonably well. I practiced to keep up my chops, and to develop, learn, and refine material. I owned instruments, and made space for them in my life. They needed square footage, sound protection for neighbors, and the time it took for me to stay good. I also worked with bands, which took more time and effort – the rented practice studios, schedule coordination, booking and playing gigs.

All that effort and money and emotional energy got me to the place where I could perform in front of people, and see/hear/feel their reaction to the music I was making. That was the best part of the whole experience, and the rarest.

Now I’m old, and I don’t really have enough time to devote to all that nonsense. I likely won’t be on stage playing music much (or at all), and I’m not sad. But I do miss those moments, the ones that were about the finished product (the performance), and an audience who let me know whether it moved them.

I was chatting today with some folks on the Discord, and they all said some things about this playlist series: that it’s always eclectic, that it doesn’t represent any one particular mood or genre or style, and that it’s always worth the time to listen to everything on it…often worth more than one listen.

And they said this other thing: that this playlist motivates them to get their tracks done and released on time to get them on the playlist. And I realized that the same is true for me, and that my IMF audience is why.

BTW – in case you missed it, I’ve been doing a series of interviews for this very blog. The latest is with Daphe Cerez (right). They’re all about trying to get beyond the ‘how’ of making/producing/promoting music, and get at the much more interesting ‘why’. Why does each of us create? What do we get out of the process, and what do we get from the result? Hopes and dreams abound. Stay tuned for more conversations in the series, and absolutely let me know if you want to be part of the conversation. I might come knocking first.

Thanks again to Bug, who pitched in writing blurbs for this month’s submissions. Bug also recently launched a new project called Indie for a Cause, which is a monthly compilation series raising funds for a nonprofit chosen by the submitting artists. This month’s edition supports Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Go check out the compilation, and support a deserving cause.

Enjoy our April playlist. It’s packed with certified bangers, and you’re only hurting yourself if you skip it!

popijininsky



NBT (feat. Camoragi) (Simulated Youth, camoragi)

FROM THE ARTIST:
“NBT” stands for “Nice Bass Track.” The lyrics are about the song itself being in love with the artist, yet to the artist the song is just his nice bass track. This is meant to mirror the typical obsession that artists have with their works.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A fantastic collaboration between two musical powerhouses, “NBT” takes the best elements of Simulated Youth’s deep electronic production and Camoragi’s nuanced vocal performances to craft a groovy, layered bass-centric dance track that anyone and everyone can bounce along to – the perfect introductory track to this month’s playlist.

-Bug

Disconnection (Felknia)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a little track I made for an IMF game. I hope you will enjoy the chill vibe.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
One of the signature elements of Felknia’s music, aside from a consistently beautiful selection of tones and timbres, is the sense of movement in each composition. Though this piece doesn’t have the same twists and turns of the tracks on their Cosmic Salad album, it certainly moves, and in turn moves the listener. It is peaceful and airy, soothing the listener with soft lulls of orchestral bliss.

-Bug

Chrysalis (Minor Inconvenience)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Debut single from Minor Inconvenience, a hard rock track with elements of stoner rock and heavy blues.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Truly a track with teeth – the first single released by David’s band, Minor Inconvenience, and the opening track of their debut EP, “Chrysalis” sinks its teeth into the listener and refuses to loosen its grip. The ferocious rhythm section, punctuated by a thick, fuzz bass tone, is accompanied by snarling vocals and extra crunchy guitars – with particularly satisfying bends, harmonic sweeps, and a roaring solo. A great introduction into the UK’s next great hard rock band.

-Bug

Dreams in B Minor (Eliphosys)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Inspired by the scenarios, sights, and sounds experienced during sleep in January.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Another beautiful track from Eliphosys, and twice the length of the first! We’re treated to another lush soundscape of blissed-out synths, ethereal vocal chops, and percussion that somehow manages to knock, but softly – a heartbeat in the brain. This track demands repeated listens for the warm audio bath it provides.

-Bug

Sonna (Giants) (Care Again)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is the last track off my latest album Don Quixote, its about feeling power and unity in standing up for what you believe in. The sample at the end is from the Portland BLM Protests of last summer!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Care Again’s “Sonna (Giants)” is rich and layered, anthemic in its build-up, and yet still reflects a heart-on-the-sleeve ballad, baring it all, because sometimes, that’s what you must do. There is a lot of depth and emotion in this track, and as it reaches its triumphant conclusion, you’ll find yourself cheering, chanting, alongside the crowd sampled in the audio.

-Bug

South Sure (PR)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Some beep bop, boop boop music

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
PR has a formula that works – punchy rhythms and deep bass guide spacious (perhaps extraterrestrial) synth leads, as soft pads swirl around the listener, providing the “driving ambiance” sound I’ve come to associate with PR’s finest tracks. A lovely piece for those late nights.

-Bug

TEARS (17 Letters)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The opening piano chords are wistful, perhaps nostalgic, a feeling that’s reflected in the heavily edited, mangled – yet emotional – vocals. Once the track picks up, it hardly looks back, breezing by over the course of its short two minute runtime in a flurry of dancefloor drums and upbeat synths, adding a lovely contrast to the torn, teary-eyed vocals. Why am I crying in the club right now?

-Bug

Breakdown (SYFM) (Popijininsky, Aidanstotes)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Aidanstotes goes ham over some gritty ass drums and audionoisery.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Perhaps the most accurate artist blurb on this whole playlist – “going ham over audionoisery” is truly apt. Everything about the track is ferocious, drenched in a relentless manic energy that continually drives forward. Just listen to aidanstotes’ cackling laughter around the 2-minute mark; this is audio unhinged, a breakdown captured in the truest sense, and it’s phenomenal.

-Bug

Big Mistake (Somewhat Incognito)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A funk and funky groove that I made in February of 2021.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
First thing’s first, it’s second to none – there’s an immaculate placement of cowbell in this track. You can always count on Mark to pack funky bass grooves into a compelling pop package, and he certainly didn’t disappoint with “Big Mistake.” And those synths? This is an infectious earworm that will stick with you for hours after you hear it. Enjoy responsibly.

-Bug

Thumped (James Marton)

FROM THE ARTIST:
In between thumpings should be top of your mind. All the time.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The bass positively grooves here – rarely are track titles as honest as “Thumped”, as each note feels it thumps deeper into my mind. Meanwhile, the guitars travel on a loosely psychedelic journey, as Marton delivers playful lyrics, clearly having a great time while doing so. As with much of Marton’s music, this is a fun, groovy track that seems a perfect fit for a live setting – more drinks, more dancing!

-Bug

Okay, Sure (Jodaki)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Noisy poppy rock song about wanting to make music even though you’re not good enough to have much success

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Success is a state of mind. “Tell them all to go to hell” – perfectly distilled nihilism in a super upbeat little rock song.

-popijininsky

Ray Cat Solution (Semaphora)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a song about the Ray Cat Solution.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The intro instantly transports me to rainbow colored long hair musicals of the early 1970s. And I hardly get to relax into it before it’s over…so sad.

-popijininsky

Waves of Gold (Super Fast Remix) (Max Oakland)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Synth pop energy with great harmonies and innovative production

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Max Oakland earns the distinction of being the only IMF member I know of to consistently remix their own tracks, and with different approaches for each! A fun reimagining of their track “Waves of Gold”, this remix moves along at a considerably faster pace than the original, providing a catchy and infectious – and entirely deserving of a packed dancefloor – new rendition that stands on its own merits.

-Bug

Mercy (Neon M, Pultixima)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The first ever collaboration between Neon M and Pultixima. This nostalgia inducing track will remind you why the 90’s kicked ass with massive guitars, soaring melodies, and epic screams.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Not only is this track a glorious testament to ’90s hard rock, it is the first result of a long-awaited collaboration between Neon M and Pultixima. Their vocals complement each other effortlessly, as they alternate wrapping their trademark croons around a rocking ballad that is equal parts atmospheric and headbanging. Expertly crafted, flawlessly delivered, this track is a time capsule to an era where grunge riffs ruled the airwaves and flannel was still fashionable.

-Bug

2021 Zeitgeist (Dragan Kalinovic)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Anti Lockdown Song, a protest song

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Judas Priest with an eastern european accent. This is straight ahead hard rock, stacked with licks, and full of relentless energy…a backyard pickup truck too fast on a steep downhill.

-popijininsky

Brunch (Matt Dubrow & the Captives)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Step aside breakfast, Brunch is coming in as the new most important meal of the day. This is a song about what is without debate the best meal of anyone’s day. It’s the best meal to ask someone out to, it allows you to sleep in, and you can eat a combination of breakfast and lunch foods. How can you not fall in love with the person sitting across from you with a spread of Nachos, pancakes, and chili cheese fries spread about the divide? Brunch = Love.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
If Fleetwood Mac played the brunch bar at the hotel, this is the song they’d play. Tongue in cheek, but serious underneath – another crafty selection from the Matt & the Captives catalog.

-popijininsky

Sunflower (Sanchez Goodjoin)

FROM THE ARTIST:
First track of my 6 song EP, a dream pop bedroom rock song my friends love watching me perform!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Thick and dreamy, comforting….but it’s really all about Sanchez’s vocals. When he says he promises it will all be OK, I believe him,

-popijininsky

Normal Things (DHXP)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Why is it alright to show everyone that you’re happy but you shouldn’t tell people when you’re sad?

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A soft, sweeping emotional track from DHXP which addresses an important – but oft-neglected – topic. Top-notch production is to be expected of DHXP, and the synth arpeggios that lead this track are lush and enveloping, eventually building into a hypnotic, dream-like state. The warbling melodic chimes are just the icing on top, pure ear candy for when you’re feeling melancholic. Lovely stuff.

-Bug

(Aim Radio)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
It’s hard for me to describe this one – I keep getting lost in it, and I mean that in the best possible way. The weightless, breathy refrain of “I am better now” can actively be *felt* as you listen, and it’s surrounded by so many other interesting layers, taking turns swapping stories. The instruments themselves are conversing. It’s the overwhelming feeling of actually feeling better, when things are coming back to you. It doesn’t all come at once in a single easily understood package, but instead as waves of bliss bursting forth.

-Bug

Tempo (Shinyen)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Part of the mystique of love is the uncertainty of it all. Does the other feel the same? Are you two dancing on beat, or off tempo? Will this last, or is it temporary? A smooth-RnB, coffee shop bop, Tempo explores the highs, lows, and anxieties of dating in your 20s. Shinyen recounts a weekend-long date sprinkled with unease yet filled with chemistry and passion. Backed with an infectious groove led by organs and synths, Shinyen mixes the old with the new in his best work yet.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Straight disco/r&b vibes. Feels good man.

-popijininsky

The Way Things Work Around Here (Sore Thumb)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is an older song that I feel could use a bit more love. We’re recording a new EP soon, and have a song in this line that I very much looking forward to.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Thrash it! Bang that piano! Wait – there’s piano?… It’s OK though, there’s some crunchy guitar, and some vocal ‘ooos’ in the bridge. It’s fun!

-popijininsky

A Critique of the Human Condition (Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs!)

FROM THE ARTIST:
These lyrics come from the POV of the dinosaurs that have remained on the planet, critical of humans and what they’ve done to slowly destroy it. Unfortunately, these lyrics are pretty timeless…

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Stupid humans…ruining the planet for all the other things we share it with. At least there is beer and loud amplification to keep us jumping as the world turns to dust around us.

-popijininsky

Dirt (Lohm Remix) (Lohm, David Petty)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A dark and brooding remix to a killer track by David Petty

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Dirt is right. The name says it all – this is some nasty dirty dark hallway goth sh*t, and I am here for it. LOHM killing it on the remixes, no surprise. Get this on the soundtrack for some sort of stalker killer series on the streaming platform of your choice.

-popijininsky

Something In My Mind Keep On Buzzing Around My Head (C.T. Lee)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The opening track on my upcoming album “For The Duration Of The Trip.” I hope you enjoy it!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Headphones recommended for this little trip. It’s all wide and deep, and hypnotic-like.

-popijininsky

Dreams (Frances Gein)

FROM THE ARTIST:
I wrote this after a nightmare I had. It’s about the scars bad memories can leave.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Oh, Frances…I missed your songs. How is that that you can verbally eviscerate someone and make it sound so sweet? Frances brings the actual feels.

-popijininsky

Groove Gods (Machlin)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Funk Rock genre? Inspired by Donkey Kong, Crash Bandicoot, and Stevie Wonder

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Straight off the soundtrack for Super Smash Bros, the musical.

-popijininsky

Reverie (Dispirited Spirits)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A psychedelic composition of sparkling atmospheric synthesizers, emotional indie rock melodies and longing existential lyrics.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Dispirited Spirits makes these soaring pop anthems sound effortless. This track starts off like some sunny soft rock, but gets all hazy and gazey and flangey and pretty, and just goes places…good places.

-popijininsky

Shadow Days (Spegelns Vำ“gar)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A modern shoegaze take on the early-60s light rock ballad. Black leather and slicked back hair and warm incandescent reverb.

-popijininsky

Harold (Fried Monk, Mistress 9)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This was a track written by a dear friend who I’ve worked with before, but this became one of my favorite songs I’ve been apart of. She had the little noodly guitar part and a few lyrics and the song morphed into something much bigger. The dark lyrics pushed a lot of sinister sounds that still had a beautiful undertone to them creating a nice juxtaposition

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I can’t figure out which track on this month’s playlist is my favorite, but this is definitely one of the candidates. Boomy, warped, pulsing and dark, with a haunting vocal. It’s a certain kind of bent mood that I am here for.

-popiijininsky

Waste Away (Empty Elles)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Self-examination is useful! Sometimes your own pride is your own biggest roadblock, and that’s kind of a waste…

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Pop punk, with lots of choppy unison bass and guitar and big earnest vocals. Pour one out for compassion and humility, and get back to stage diving.

-popijininsky

You’ll Be Alright (The F-Use)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The F-use is a one man band ๐Ÿ™‚

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Man, this track is alright. I feel alright when I listen to it. And it’s about it being alright, alright? It’s a good ass rock song.

-popiijininsky

Sorry (Atlantic Canyons)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Pure electronica. Sneaker Pimps instrumentation with Peter Gabriel bass line and those silky ADL vocals. Easy to listen to over and over again.

-popijininsky

amma (Avdrav)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a song written in honor of my grandmother.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I dreamed that AVDRAV’s amma is still with us, and likes to booty flex to some lowkey electro lounge, and that this track made her day when she heard it. It’s subtle, and sweet, and melancholy.

-popijininsky

Gulliver (OK Feather)

FROM THE ARTIST:
OK Feather presents Gulliver, a chill poppy ballad about impossible love that is impossible to let go. Inspired from Gulliver, the sailor.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I got distracted, and listened to about two thirds of this track before I realized that Flora Lin was singing…and then (mind blown) that this is an OK Feather track. Wow it’s beautiful. Who knew a love affair with the lowly pigeon could produce gems like this?

-popijininsky

More of the Same (CalicoLoco)

FROM THE ARTIST:
despite the lyric “so call the police” i do not actually endorse calling the police

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
CalicoLoco has a penchant for consistently churning out pop hits, and “More of the Same” is, well, more of the same – in a good way! The guitars jangle with a sparkling chime that would make Johnny Marr himself swoon, but unlike The Smiths, the vocals are delivered by someone who isn’t a prick, so that’s a plus. A perfect blend of emotional delivery and pop sensibilities, this is yet another bonafide hit from CalicoLoco.

-Bug

Dust, Pt. 2 (Girls With Depression)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The long-awaited collaboration between IMF titans, Popijininsky, and Girls With Depression explodes out of your speakers like a hallucination on steroids, ready to kick some smack even tho it is a boney old ghost of a song, full of green dust. Girls With Depression sang it and Popijininsky mixed it but other than that, both collaborators did a little bit of the whole project, building something up as tho from nothing.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A fantastic collaboration that pulls new and exciting musical elements from both parties involved, “Dust, Pt. 2” is soothing to listen to, but deceptively layered, rewarding repeated listens by unveiling nuances of songwriting and production that might be missed upon first play. In addition, Ayavaron provides some of their strongest vocals to date, emotional and dynamic as ever, but shedding the heavy autotune of tracks past to deliver a more pure and poignant performance.

-Bug

take my heart (CHARM BRACELET)

FROM THE ARTIST:
How can you love someone so much that you would willingly self-induce pain for their pleasure? ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต forces you to face this complex question, introducing the broader themes of the EP: heartbreak, grief, existential reckoning, growth, and nostalgia. ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ข ๐˜ฅ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ realizes our coming-of-age as we surmount personal trauma and tap into our collaborative magic.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Self-destructive love with a beat you can dance to…what’s not to love. But seriously, though – maybe it’s because the days are a bit longer right now, and I’m just in a good mood, but this song is just washing over me in a way that I really appreciate. CHARM BRACELET is really growing on me.

-popijininsky

Empathic Telepathy (Star Smash)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Rainy day music to trickle upon ya brain…

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Clear twilight turns into a dreary rain. A minimal thing, with bass to spare, and a changeup that no one saw coming.

-popijininsky

thylacine (Sertulariae)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This spooky hard-techno track made me imagine a thylacine, better known as the extinct ‘tasmanian tiger’.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Is there a tiger coming? I don’t know, but this track is the soundtrack to me running like hell away from it. Tense and throbbing.

-popijininsky

Spuds and Blooms (Bear Ley)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song compares misunderstood relationships to misidentified mushrooms.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Bear Ley’s “Spuds and Blooms” is their latest showcase of earnest singing and songwriting, as tender as it is raw, as complete as it is threadbare. With a voice that seamlessly flutters between a heartfelt lower register and delicate, gentle falsettos, all the track needed was a rustic and pure acoustic guitar – but perhaps a campfire and a starry night wouldn’t hurt.

-Bug

Nullabye (Vindicating Twilight)

FROM THE ARTIST:
IDM Witch House

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I didn’t know what witch house was until just now. If this track is anything like other witch house, I am filled with regret that I have not been seeking it out before now. It’s weird, and wonderful, and glitched and twisted and dissonant and echoey. Yum.

-popijininsky

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