“Choir Boy” was what the kids called singer/songwriter Adam Klopp in his early teens when he fronted punk cover bands in Cleveland, Ohio. An intended insult, the label seemed fair and fitting in a way, given Klopp’s religious upbringing and angelic voice. After high school, Adam left Ohio for college in Utah. While his career as a student would prove short-lived, he integrated into Provo and SLC’s underground music and art scene, left religion behind, and called his new band “Choir Boy”.
“It seemed funny to me as sort of a comical reclamation of the mocking title I received from “punk” peers as a teen. While serving as a weird reflection of my childhood and musical heritage.”
Since Choir Boy’s gorgeous debut LP on Team Love records in 2016, the dream-pop outfit has gained a cult following online and in underground circles. Adam’s stunning vocal range, layered compositions, and heartbreaking melodies are backed by musical partner Chaz Costello on bass (Fossil Arms, Sculpture Club, Human Leather) – and along with a rotating cast of players, create the perfect blend of nostalgia-laced romantic pop music we’ve been waiting years to hear
Riki is the Los Angeles based dark synth-pop outfit commandeered by the mysterious Niff Nawor, a visual artist and musician active in the deathrock / anarcho-punk scenes of the California bay area (formerly a member of Crimson Scarlet), before founding her solo endeavor as Riki in 2017.
Riki returns with her 2nd simulacrum of pitch-perfect synth-pop, aptly titled for the precious substance it is: Gold. Inspired by notions of symbolic power, letting go, and transmutable realms of the heart, the album further refines her rare gift for making swooning melancholia as anthemic as it atmospheric. Working with Telefon Tel Aviv co-founder Josh Eustis at his Pasadena studio, the sessions unfolded fluidly and fruitfully, focusing on “quieter moments” and refining the record’s palette and voice. Occasional interruption from a nearby flock of wild parrots infused a mood of California dreaming, purple sunsets dissolving into deepening neon night.
Like all the most elusive pop, Riki’s songcraft is simultaneously direct and oblique, dynamic and detached, shifting from sparkling chorus to elliptical outro according to its own poetic logic. She characterizes her lyrical muse as “very much what’s going on in my life, things I wanted to say but didn’t have the platform.” This subcurrent of dream fulfillment animates the melodies with a specificity and immediacy that transcends her pantheon of 80’s influences: from Saâda Bonaire and Strawberry Switchblade to Bryan Ferry, Bananarama, and beyond. Gold skews less dance floor than her instant classic 2020 debut but taken as a collection it’s equally stirring, stylish, and exquisitely produced. Evocatively layered arrangements of drum machinery, sequencer, fretless bass, grey sky guitar, saxophone, and FX, anchored by Riki’s singular voice, alternately widescreen and wounded, yearning beyond time for ecstasies both fleeting and forever: “Thought I knew you, but you’ve gone far away / it’s not in your nature to stay / but the thought that I need you, grows stronger every day / the colors begin / to change.”
‘Gold’ comes out on November 26, 2021 on Dais Records. Pre-order here.