Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

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yawpers cvr censored 0 The Yawpers give a track by track breakdown of their new concept album, Boy in a Well: Stream

Back in 2015, Denver outfit The Yawpers brought their blues rock sounds to Bloodshot Records with their label debut American Man. The trio are now back with their follow-up, Boy in a Well, set for release this Friday, August 18th.  Produced by The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson (who also plays on the album) and Alex Hall (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge), “Boy in a Well” is a concept record about just what its title suggests. Set in WWI-era France, the story follows a mother who abandons her child down a well, where he grows up alone and afraid. The complex and ambitious tale is told both through 12 muscular, unpredictable rockabilly tracks as well as an accompanying comic book by the Legendary Shack Shakers J.D Wilkes.

“I wanted to write a melodramatic tragedy, but one so tragic that it has kind of a necessary levity,” says frontman Nate Cook, who wrote the record in the wake of his failed marriage. “Musically, the intention was to make a biting, frenetic, punk fueled record that sounded like it was recorded in the ’50s. Nodding to the past, present, and future. Emphasis during recording was placed almost solely on the spirit of the take and or song, often sacrificing polish for authenticity.” the band has provided an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of the entire thing. Cook takes us through the record’s theme and creation, while drummer Noah Shomberg digs into the songs’ structure and dynamics.

“Armistice Day”: Nate Cook (vocals, guitar): As the first song of a record that’s both historical and narrative, the writing on this one proved maybe the most difficult. Sonically, we all tried to maintain a very muted, fogging opening, and then midway tear through to something more immediate. On the narrative side, this is the song where the eponymous character is conceived by a young French girl and a soldier returning from the front lines. Instead of hope, I tried to set up a life that is entirely perverted by and beholden to the past.

Noah Shomberg (drums, vocals): One of the main musical themes Jesse [Parmet, guitars/vocals] and I attempted to address with Boy In A Well was to create intensity without using large dynamic shifts as a tool. However, sometimes you just have to smash. The song starts out nebulous in groove and slowly builds intensity via rhythmic shifts. The purpose of the drums and guitar here is solely to create a bed for the vocals to rest on. The song builds progressively throughout the third verse but not necessarily in volume until the last vocal melody refrain.

“A Decision is Made”: NC: Obviously a more rockabilly tune, and necessarily. We needed to forward the narrative substantially here, so there’s quite a bit of exposition and explanation. Rockabilly lends itself to wordier songs, and so I was able to cram a pregnancy, parental abuse, a birth, and a messianic complex into three minutes.

NS: Straight up rocker. I tried to re-imagine the “rockabilly” shuffle on the drum kit and explore different ways of phrasing it. Where can I place accents to help build tension and build intensity through the verses?

“A Visitor is Welcomed”: NC: The girl who threw our titular character down a well has dealt with the trauma through delusion. She believes her child is the second coming of Christ, and brings offerings of food, gifts, etc to the monster that is growing underneath.

NS: The groove on this song was inspired by a few late nights watching Ken Burns’ documentary on Jazz. We wanted to use a groove that sounded like the “Big Four” as a nod to our musical heritage. It’s a groove that originated from drummers in second line bands in the late 1800s.

“Room With a View”: NC: The first song told entirely from the perspective of the Boy in the Well. I attempted to not use personal pronouns, and make sure his description were limited to comparisons, as he has had no interaction with the outside world, and has no real sense of “I”.

NS: Stay out of the way. The function of the drums here is to support and add color. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Mon Dieu”: In a shameless ripoff of Steinbeck, this song finds a rabbit falling in the well, and the boy’s desire for love killing it. This becomes the impetus for him climbing out.

Looking back, this song felt like it came together the easiest. It was one of the first songs we jammed on and completed. The drum arrangement is all over the place. It’s maniacal and suits the performance of the song just right. We recorded this song with only one microphone which forced me to hit the cymbals a little bit differently. Instead of crashing with the middle of the stick, I played everything with the tip of the stick. I think it adds a cool sonic texture to the drums in this song.

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“The Awe and the Anguish”: NC: We recorded the first two thirds of this song entirely on a field recorder that was the same [Alan] Lomax used. We used one mic, and self controlled dynamics, which was new for us. This serves two functions, one being demarcating the boy’s transition from the well to the outside world, and also to demonstrate the alien nature it presents to him.

NS: This was another attempt to stay out of the way of the vocals (and story). The melody and guitar part are so vibey, all it needed was some maraca and a few downbeats on a marching bass drum … until the end.

“Mon Nom”: NC: This is a song entirely about the boy’s search for identity, and finds him using personal pronouns as he grasps a greater sense of who or what he is. Given his upbringing, most of his conclusions are pretty menacing. The last repeated line means “I am the second coming of Christ” in French.

NS: In my opinion, this song achieved everything we were trying to do with the performances on the record. We use rhythm to build the intensity of the whole song. The drums start out stripped down, eventually adding each part of the drum set and then variations of the basic groove to build tension. Nate’s vocal delivery is incredibly dynamic, starting in a low Johnny Cash rumble and ending in a Nick Oliveri style scream. The vocal delivery complements the lyrics most effectively on this song. Additionally, Jesse’s guitar playing is straight forward and outside of the box all at once.

“Face to Face to Face”: NC: In the course of her routine visits to the well, mother encounters son. They recognize each other. In a bizarre sacrifice form, and out of some novel primal instinct in him, they have an “Oedipal” encounter.

NS: Rhythmically and harmonically, this song is outside of the wheelhouse. One of the more interesting instrumental arrangements on the record for me. We tested what we could get away with on this one, but still kept the style somewhat familiar.

“No Going Back”: NC: The encounter is predictably violent, and some innate ethical boundary has been crossed. The mother lies still, presumably dead, and the boy, having destroyed (again) something he loves, is wracked with agony.

NS: I don’t recall what inspired us to write a rockabilly song in 5/4, but we got a kick out of how unusual it sounded. It took us several hours of playing various grooves and parts in 5/4 to wrap our heads around it. Nate and I keep the groove straight forward and Jesse does a great job at smoothing out the angular feel. The transition to 4/4 in the chorus gives the song some serious momentum. Some of the playing towards the end of the song is a personal nod to a drum hero of mine, Jon Theodore [of Queens of the Stone Age and The Mars Volta]. Lastly, I think this is another instrumental arrangement that compliments the lyrics/story.

“God’s Mercy”: NC: This is basically a suicidal lament, as the boy throws himself back down the well. Finishing the job this time.

NS: This is a lullaby, so I did what seemed natural: Stay out of the fucking way. We used a ribbon mic placed about three feet above the tom, cranked the gain, and I played the floor tom with my hands. We achieved a pretty cool sound.

“Linen for the Orphan”: NC: Months have passed. As it turns out, the girl was only rendered unconscious during the encounter with her son, and has come to term with their child. Unfortunately, she dies in child birth. Her parents, not wanting the child, decide to get rid of him. After a doctor smothers the child with a sheet, they need to find a place to dispose of the body.

NS: This guitar/drum vibe was inspired equally by the Cramps and the Dead Kennedys. I loved the feel of the song “Police Truck”, so Jesse and used that for some of the inspiration for the verse grooves. My favorite parts are the builds in the song. I tried to use the bells of the cymbals to build intensity rather than just crashing. I also tried to get as quiet as I could but without ever getting too loud. Tension, release, tension, release.

“Reunion”: The body is taken to the well, and thrown onto the bones of its father.

The main riff was taken from a jam session that Jesse and I had from the previous summer. We brought that to a rehearsal and Nate pushed the song into a surf pop direction to juxtapose the lyrical content. Irony, a classic Cook move. We had our pal, Tommy Stinson, lay down some 12 string on this track which added a pretty and twangy sonic layer to the song. All in all, what better way to end the record?

Photo: Paul Beaty

Lazy Day tie together singles with Ribbons EP

Lazy Day started life back in 2014 as the solo bedroom project of Tilly Scantlebury. Now expanded to a four piece, the band are set to head out on their first ever headline tour in support of an upcoming EP, Ribbons, out on the excellent Lost Map Records the label are delighted to welcome the return of this London based lo-fi dreamy-grunge quartet Lazy Day with their shimmering and soaring new track ‘Hiccup’ 

Prior to Ribbons’ release the band have shared their excellent new single, Hiccup, a shimmering fusion of sweet, melodic dream-pop and scuzzy grungy guitar wailing. Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Tilly has suggested it is about not knowing where you stand, contrasting the emotional bumps in the road every relationship experiences, with the involuntary physical reaction of a hiccup. The band have also attempted to mirror that physical reaction in the jerky rhythms and tempo shifts present throughout the track. Ambitious and intriguing, Hiccup seems like the start of a promising new chapter for Lazy Day.

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Due for release on 10” vinyl and digital formats on September 15th, 2017. The single precedes Lazy Day’s first UK headline tour, which begins Monday, September 18th and takes in 12 dates around the country.

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Much of Widowspeak’s forthcoming album, “Expect The Best”, was written after singer Molly Hamilton returned to the town of her youth, Tacoma, Washington. It’s perhaps fitting then that it a record that seems to deal heavily in self-examination and exploring the feeling of being adrift in a rudderless world.

On their newest album for Brooklyn record label Captured Tracks, Widowspeak use familiar aesthetics as a narrative device, a purposeful nostalgic backdrop for songs.  Sonically, they exist somewhere in the overlap between somber indie rock, dream pop, slow-core and their own invented genre, “cowboy grunge.” At the heart of the band, there is a palpable duality, a push and pull between the delicate and the deliberate: the contrast of lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton with her strikingly beautiful  voice and poignant melodies with the terrestrial reality of being a four-piece rock band. These songs sound like the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. “Expect the Best”  sees Widowspeak finding their greatest balance between opposing forces: darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm.

Expect The Best, is the band’s first album recorded as a four piece, due out next week, and ahead of that release, Widowspeak have shared the stunning new single, The Dream. Many of the hallmarks of earlier recordings, the dusty twanging lead guitar lines and Molly Hamilton’s world-weary vocals, remain, but Widowspeak sound fuller and more ambitious than ever. Cinematic strings soar into The Dream, creating a perfect backdrop to the beautiful vocal delivery, as Molly seems to question her life choices, repeating the line, “isn’t that the dream?”, as if trying to convince herself as much as anyone else. The album title might tell us to expect the best, and listening to a track as good as The Dream, how could you expect anything else?

Expect The Best is out August 25th on Captured Tracks Records.

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When “Girls” was released in the spring of 2015, we woke up and took notice. We’d loved Widowspeak’s Jarvis Taveniere-produced debut in 2011, but found the follow-up, 2013’s Almanac, a trifle problematic, as Molly Hamilton’s ethereal voice, lathered on too thick, can be like a cake that’s all icing and air. Yet “Girls” was a nutritious harmonic pastry, still sweet but plenty nourishing, and a few months later when “All Yours” was released, we prayed that the full album would be as good as those two songs. Happily, Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas’s move from Brooklyn to Upstate New York has filled their music with fresh Hudson Valley air, and any cloying sensibilities have been washed away. The sugar high is gone, we happily declared with All Yours came out in September 2015, and it was a wonderful backdrop to autumn.

<em>Strange Days</em> (1967)

On the 21st August in 1967: The Doors began recording their second album, ‘Strange Days’, at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, California; its commercial success was middling, along with a series of under performing singles the album contains some of the group’s most psychedelic songs – “Strange Days,” “People Are Strange,” “Love Me Two Times” and “When the Music’s Over” are now all considered classics within The Doors‘ canon; the chorus from single “People Are Strange” inspired the name of the 2010 Doors documentary, ‘When You’re Strange’…

The Doors started their career with an overabundance of riches. Strange Days followed their self-titled debut later in 1967, and was made up of a bunch of stuff that hadn’t made it onto its predecessor. While “Love Me Two Times” and “People Are Strange” are two of the lesser tracks you’d find on any Doors compilation.

Strange Days is packed with album cuts that are stunning. This is where they committed to a more psychedelic sound in a more thorough and sustained way than at any other point. Tracks like “Strange Days,” “Unhappy Girl,” and “Moonlight Drive” are lush, but that lushness — like the synthesizers in the title track or Krieger’s slide work on “Moonlight Drive” is ever so off-kilter, a little sea-sick. It sounds like some kind of underwater nightclub. But even as Strange Days is loaded with great textures, it’s also a punchy and efficient album; aside from the titan closer “When The Music’s Over,” no song on the album reached the three and a half minute mark. Overall, it’s also their least bluesy album (though it may be equal with Waiting For The Sun in that regard).

The Doors perfect their brand of psychedelic pop, a brand that has their trademark muscularity but trades in relentless hooks rather than the blues sprawl of some of their later work. That’s the case for “Moonlight Drive,” but also for a hidden gem like “My Eyes Have Seen You,” where Morrison delivers the infectious chorus in that awesomely ragged yell he could just leap right into. The Doors came out swinging with the self-titled and Strange Days back to back, and while this wound up being a semi-outlier in their catalogue, it deserves its reputation as one of the finest documents of ’60s rock.

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Through the release of three LPs and endless touring, the Austin, Texas band Quiet Company has been making a name for themselves nationally with their energetic live shows and their anthemic, dynamic, indie rock which critics have called a mix of The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire and Weezer. They’ve gained a huge fanbase while gathering praise .
Quiet Company won Rock Band of the Year during SXSW 2014, adding to their
previous 10 Austin Music Awards including Band of the Year, Album of the Year, Rock Band of the Year, Indie Band of the Year and Song of the Year, all won on the strength of their 2011 release We Are All Where We Belong.

After an amazing year on the road, Quiet Company kicked off 2014 in the studio to write and record their highly anticipated 4th full length Transgressor, their most explosive and exposed collection of songs to date. Recorded in 14 intense days of live tracking at Orb Recording Studios in Austin, the band captured a guitar-driven larger-than-life sound with Matt Noveskey (Blue October) producing and the legendary Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam, The Cure) mixing. Frontman Taylor Muse’s characteristically introspective writing style is in full force as he tells tales of love, despair, pain, and redemption, reflecting on his marriage, from burgeoning young love to a relationship tested through time. With its soaring guitars and throbbing bass lines.

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Band Members
TAYLOR MUSE – singing / guitars / piano / organs / synthesizers / harmonica / trumpet / saxophone / tambourine
THOMAS BLANK – guitars / electric piano / organs / synthesizers / melodica / singing / glockenspiel
BILL GRYTA – keys / synth
DREW D’ENTREMONT – drums

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The Districts a four-piece indie rock band from the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania. The group formed in 2009 while members Rob Grote, Mark Larson, Connor Jacobus, and Braden Lawrence were still in high school. The prolific young band released their first EP, “Kitchen Songs” in 2011, followed by the track “Telephone” , The band released their debut full-length, the following year. The Districts then released a second EP, the more acoustic-leaning While You Were in Honesdale, was released in late 2012 and the band continued to perform regionally. Their mix of jangly indie Americana and blues-inspired rock caught the attention of Mississippi’s Fat Possum Records, who issued the band’s self-titled third EP, which contained three remastered songs from the “Telephone” album along with two newly recorded tracks.

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Two demos recorded over the past bit of time. All proceeds will go to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council to support their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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One to Another engineered & mixed by Keith Abrams
Alice recorded in our practice space.
Written and performed by The Districts

In the summer of 1970, after a shambolic set at the Goose Lake Rock Festival in their native Michigan, The Stooges put together a new lineup as they prepared to hit the road in support of their second album, “Funhouse” Zeke Zettner, previously part of The Stooges road crew, became their new bassist, and second guitarist Bill Cheatham was brought aboard to reinforce the primal guitar work of Ron Asheton. With vocalist Iggy Pop, drummer Scott Asheton , and sax player Steve MacKay joining the new recruits, the band headed to New York City for a three-night stand at Ungano’s, a rock club in Manhattan. Danny Fields the legendary behind-the-scenes figure who signed the band to Elektra Records, brought a portable tape recorder to the show on August 17th, 1970, and “Have Some Fun, Live At Ungano’s is a suitably raw document of The Stooges in full flight. Sounding taut and feral, the band rips through six songs from the “Funhouse” album before bringing the set to an explosive conclusion with the spontaneous “Have Some Fun”/”My Dream Is Dead.” is one of the few live recordings documenting The Stooges during the period when Ron Asheton was lead guitarist. While the fidelity leaves something to be desired, the force and intensity of the performance make this a must for anyone wanting to hear The Stooges when they were the most dangerous band in rock.

Exclusive release from 2015.
Black/white splatter vinyl with poster insert.
7500 pressed.
Recorded live on 18th August, 1970

Tracklist

A1 Going To Ungano’s
A2 Loose
A3 Down On The Street
A4 T.V. Eye
A5 Dirt
B1 1970
B2 Fun House
B3 Have Some Fun / My Dream Is Dead