Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – March 8, 2019

Here at Blisspop, we aim to show our audience who’s making their mark upon electronic music culture today. We sort through the good and the bad, bringing you the latest sounds. We’re back at it again with the latest edition of our series, Feedback Friday. This edition features our contributors: Patrick Blinkhorn, Justin Barini-Rivers, Alex Rubenstein, Kristina Westernik, and Aeron Premo. This week’s music includes tracks by Weezer, R/Tistique, Harvey Sutherland, Awser Derf, and LEISURE.



Weezer – “I’m Just Being Honest”


Patrick Blinkhorn – Wow, Weezer isn’t a name I’ve heard in a while, so when this came across my radar, I got super excited. Having not heard Weezer in such a long time, I didn’t know what to expect. “I’m Just Being Honest” did not disappoint, at least in the melody, harmony, and songwriting department. The vocals aren’t bad either – they’re classic “suburban rock.” That said, the lyrics are not a strongpoint of this track, so in that sense, I’m grateful for the instrumental intro. The lead singer tells some inane story, mentioning something about a napkin and few other unremarkable points. I don’t usually listen to lyrics when listening to music (at least not on the first listen), so overall, this track is good! (7.5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – I can’t remember the last time I listened to Weezer, but this is a good song. This feels a bit more polished than the old Weezer I remember – it gives me more of a Coldplay vibe in the intro than what I would expect from Weezer. There are some old hints to their sound – there is a bit of amp/guitar feedback in the quieter sections snuck under. This is a decent song, but I don’t know what to make of it. Weezer has been around for a bit, maybe it’s time for a change. (6.5/10)


Aeron Premo – Wait, is this a track about Feedback Friday? Okay, jokes aside, it’s time to “be honest” – I’ve heard much better from Rivers and Co. While the chorus melody is somewhat catchy, the music throughout sounds like some substandard Killers-meets-Interpol fusion. The lyrics are lame, and while Rivers may think he’s trying to be clever, it’s just kind of laughable in the end. While Weezer has written some great tunes that will forever be in the hearts of many, including myself, this is not one of them. Sorry. (3/10)


Kristina Dandridge – A recent notorious SNL skit making fun of Weezer fans characterizes them in two camps: fans that like Weezer’s new music and then the rest of us.  I am the latter. I’m just being honest, this new Weezer music sounds like 2006 pop rock radio friendly fun. Thanks, I’ll pass. (5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – It’s rare that a band’s own lyrics write my review for me, but Weezer has managed to accomplish that with this auditory disaster. “I listened to it / But halfway through it / I had to quit / your band sounds like shit.” Nailed it, boys. (0/10)



R/Tistique – “Synergy”


Patrick Blinkhorn – The kick in this track sounds a bit too clicky for me. I’m not into the synth lines either – they contain some hints of melody which, in this context, doesn’t appeal to me. The buildup lasts too long for my taste as well. (4/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This track is powerful, dance floor ready and so full across the spectrum. Top to bottom, the sounds in the track are just in my face. I’m astonished as to how clean each element is, as well as the overall design. At almost eight minutes, this track is a journey but easier to digest than most techno. It has more of a bouncy feel than most of the techno I listen to; that’s my favorite part about it – it still has a bit of something else that keeps it out of the same old techno pile. Looking forward to more releases. (8/10)


Aeron Premo – This track didn’t do too much for me. The only part I remotely enjoyed was the synth melody. For me to really enjoy a techno track, there has to be something special about it, such as a compelling drum pattern or an (insert genre here)-inspired synth line. This track just wasn’t it. (1/10)


Kristina Dandridge – R/Tistique is a techno DJ and Producer from Amsterdam. His latest track, “Synergy,” has a melodic, progressive techno vibe complete with four on the floor beats and arpeggiation. Although I can appreciate the track, I’m not in love with this style – hence the score. (6.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Hey R/Tistique, if you are reading this, it would be really great if you could help pay for the inevitable speeding tickets I will be getting as a direct result of this track. I really like the echo effect used throughout the progression of this song and the continuing sense of momentum it provides. The kick sounds nice and powerful, and the melody works within the confines of the techno structure where it otherwise may not. This may not be all-black, Berghain techno, but it’s a nicely crafted taste of what a talented producer can create. (7.5/10)



Harvey Sutherland – “Something In The Water” (feat. Jace XL)


Patrick Blinkhorn – Gosh, Harvey Sutherland’s instrumentals are so funky. I almost picked this track for this week’s Feedback Friday, but there’s a reason I passed on it: the “Something In The Water” vocal sample is repeated a few too many times for my taste in the intro. And on closer listen, the drums sound a bit too busy, I think. (6/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – Harvey Sutherland has laid a smooth track down on us. I am tasting a lot of different spices in this one but disco and funk seem to be on the front, especially with those claps coming in perfectly in the pocket, yet not perfectly on time. The bass rolls up and down the scale in such a way that makes me want to play bass guitar. The electronic arps are lovely as well. The instrumentation is top notch. Everyone is hitting their marks so well and this track is so good. This song is going to be hard to beat. (7/10)


Aeron Premo – There is definitely something incredible in the water when it comes to Melbourne’s music scene. (Full disclosure: I admit my bias because it is one of my favorite places on earth.) Harvey Sutherland has recently been venturing into vocal features on his tracks, and for this one, he showcases former Hiatus Kaiyote backing vocalist Jace XL. I love the sunny, bossa nova indebted arrangement and that, underneath its sunny exterior, there is a serious environmental message (this is very sophisticated songwriting and arrangement technique). The synth work is also top notch and there is a great range of sounds, from squelching highs to funky lows. Jace XL’s voice is amazing and he is certainly a star on the rise. Wonderful effort all around! (8/10)


Kristina Dandridge – This R&B, electronica track smolders! I swoon when the vocals kick in and when that funky baseline opens up at about three minutes. (9.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – And here we have a brand new genre entering the arena of Feedback Friday – Political Gospel Samba. Personally, I prefer politics left out of my music. Let me just get turnt up! The instrumentals are intricate and well performed, but overall, this just does not vibe with me. The vocal stylings feel a bit like a knockoff Anderson .Paak as well. This is certainly not a failure, it just is not doing anything for me. (5/10)


Awser Derf – “Sensacion”

Patrick Blinkhorn – There are really cool sounds and sound design in this track. That said, the track is a bit too abstract and the arrangement doesn’t make sense to me. (5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This was an interesting song that I wanted to throw into the mix this week. I found the chord progression, as well as the industrial noises, to be compelling. There is a complexity that starts to reveal itself in the textures and timing. I enjoy the sound design on the glitches, probably my highlight behind the textures of the synth. There’s a lot of cinematic potential in a track like this; I imagine anything would seem quite epic with this behind it. The arrangement is a bit bare for my taste, but I still picked it for its overall sound. (6/10)


Aeron Premo – A track starting with what I assume to be a lion growling – now there’s a first! The intro builds up into a nice cinematic arrangement with a dramatic, yet atmospheric, feel. However, what is missing is a drum pattern jumping in about two thirds of the way through. I believe it would add to the building intensity already present. This track certainly lives up to its name, though. It aims to create a feeling that you are about to become the lion’s victim while being exposed to the majesty of its surroundings at the same time. (5.5/10)


Kristina Dandridge – This experimental track has bizarre feels. I feel like this track is growling at me! The arrangement meanders – I don’t glean a clear sense of structure to the track. (3/10)


Alex Rubenstein – I’m all about experimental music and probably love the sound of robotic insect symphonies as much as the next guy, but this track makes about as much as sense as the producer’s handle. You know when you are just looking at the clock constantly waiting for something to end? This was a long five minutes. Maybe I missed the point, but there was literally nothing to latch on to here. (1/10)


LEISURE – “Feeling Free”


Patrick Blinkhorn – This track has a strong drum beat and compelling instrumental sounds. Damn, those vocals are good once they come in – they were worth the wait! I’d definitely hit play on this track again. The music video is relevant to the song, which I appreciate. (8/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – The song opens up slowly, but once it gets rolling, the drums held my attention for the entire track. They’re supremely divine and the room they create is totally perfect – it’s tight and feels like your at a small show. The stripped mp3 like quality snuck in there is a nice touch. The vocals really do work so well with this arrangement. There is so much tension released once the vocals open up to the last section. LEISURE is my new favorite artist this week without a doubt. (8.5/10)


Aeron Premo – I was about ready to find the nearest dance floor 40 seconds in; I felt like cutting loose, just like the lyrics stated. The track has a nice Parcels-meets-Aquilo-meets-Escort feel with an easy, rolling groove, understated vocals and a nice horn sample. I am loving the funky bassline and the sample during the drop does a wonderful job of providing the last several seconds of chill before the intensity level builds up. This is a quality, upbeat tune that successfully combines chill and funk, which is a combination I can never get enough of. (8/10)


Kristina Dandridge – I’ve had this track on repeat for over a month! I’m glad they sort of censored the voyeuristic vibe on the music video; the cinematography is complementing the message in the music of “Feeling Free.” If I had describe the music video for “Feeling Free”: surf rock guitar meets disco beats and saggy ass cheeks! (10/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Funky bass line, ecstatic horns, exalted vocals, nudity (yes nudity) – this has all the trappings of a certified jam. LEISURE make you want to get up and dance like no one is watching. This is the best of the bunch this week. (8/10)



The Results:

LEISURE – “Feeling Free” – 8.5/10

Harvey Sunderland – “Something In The Water” (feat. Jace XL) – 7.1/10

R/Tistique – “Synergy” – 5.4/10

Weezer – “I’m Just Being Honest” – 4.4/10

Awser Derf – “Sensacion” – 4.1/10