Posts Tagged ‘Anti Records’

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“My new song is an ode to melody, saxophones, King Curtis and Sam Cooke, unqualified joy, positivity, singing a simple song and being a fool,” says Steve Marion aka Delicate Steve. “It’s about an optimism and about our place within the human pageant.” There’s a little bit of a Ratatat vibe with this one.

This is Steve, Delicate Steve’s first new record in 4 years, and first for the ANTI– imprint, is an articulation of this spirit. Joy. Love. Positivity. Perseverance. Meditation. A general communion with the people and world around him. Easy to call such things hackneyed in this cynical time, but in Steve’s case, it’s very hard to separate the person from the art. It’s real. It’s pure. This, is Steve.

Melody begins with the needle drop on This is Steve, and it’s this hallmark as a songwriter on display in tune after tune that has defined all of Delicate Steve’s work. It’s his incredible capacity to write wordless songs that are impossible not to sing along to. He works in no genre, there are no words, but there is never a question as to what he is saying. Tunes like “Animals,” “Help,” and “Nightlife,” establish their hooks immediately, and drop you with Steve as he runs alongside leopards, scales a Western peak, nurses a boozy Kingston come-down, before clocking out at under three minutes and depositing you somewhere else on a technicolor continuum. Throughout the set, Steve’s guitar melodies rise and crest, unguarded expressions of wonderment and positivity.

Steve produced and played all the instruments on this record. He created it as an introduction from himself to you, and named it appropriately. If there is a question as to who This is Steve’s creator is, you’ll find it imbued in these ten songs. As he has done from the start, Steve lets the music speak for itself. Without a word.

“Some Hope” by Delicate Steve ANTI-Records 

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Glen Hansard released a new album, This Wild Willing, last year via ANTI-Rcords. Now he has shared a video for the album’s “Good Life of Song.” The video was shared in honor of Danny Sheehy—a writer and poet Hansard met during his “life-changing” experience in 2016 working on a boat that travelled across the north coast of Spain. Sheehy died three years ago today in a boating accident. The video is made up of footage from the 2018 documentary The Camino Voyage, which chonicled the boat journey. 

“I wrote this song in Paris while in residence at the Irish Cultural Centre,” Hansard says in a press release. “It’s a tribute to the life of bards and troubadours on their lifelong march through the towns and villages of the world, singing and drinking, expressing the sorrows and the joys of the age as they court darkness and light with equal knowing. A song of gratitude for the gift of singing. I raise it here to the memory of our boat captain Danny Sheehy.”

Hansard also recently shared the new song about life in lockdown, “Cold Comfort,” Hansard calls “Cold Comfort” “a hand made video for a homemade song written for the time that’s in it” in a press release. The song and video were created in quarantine. 

A handmade video for a homemade song written this week for the time that’s in it.

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Half Waif is singer-songwriter Nandi Rose. Her new album The Caretaker, her first for ANTI-Records, is named for a fictional character, “someone who has been entrusted with taking care of this estate, taking care of the land, and she’s not doing a very good job,” Rose said. “The weeds are growing everywhere, and she’s not taking care of herself.” Check out Half Waif’s “Halogen 2” video. The last album was so much about protecting myself – facing the night, bearing teeth and howling, shutting down an apocalypse, all so I could contain my world and build a fragrant shelter. I asked to be buried in the mother’s arms. But then I read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, and I felt it change my life. My shelter was here all along, in the embrace of the weeping pine and the scalloped leaves who wave to me in the wind. I have never felt so at home. And now it is time to be a mother and a caretaker, to nourish myself by opening my heart to others, to all people – human, plant, animal, everything endowed with the spark of life and the will to survive.

Growing up means better understanding what you need. For me, right now, that’s a sweet summer of being a nobody, humble before the fierce kindness of these trees.

With a new album that was scheduled out on March 27th, I had lined up a New York release show and a subsequent North American headline tour—shows that had been in the works since last fall. This is my first record since signing with a new label, ANTI-Records, and I’d been banking on these headline shows (my first in over a year and biggest to date) to help build momentum around the release. Instead I spent an afternoon last week deleting all the events from my Google calendar one by one, feeling something crumble with every click. Disappointment made visual: this won’t happen, and this, and this. Entire blocks of colors disappeared, leaving behind a blank gray grid. What was worse was breaking the news to my band members and touring crew, knowing they were counting on these shows for income. Of course it wasn’t anything I could control, but it’s still devastating to know that the domino effect of this dismantling machine means we all fall down.

“Clouds Rest” by Half Waif from the album ‘The Caretaker,’ available now

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Deradoorian (full name Angel Deradoorian) is releasing a new album, “Find the Sun”, on September 18th via ANTI-Records. She shared another song from it, “It Was Me,” via an animated video for the track. Rebecca Hac directed and animated the video.

Find the Sun was originally due out May 22nd, but in April it was pushed back to September 18th due to COVID-19 Virus.

Previously Deradoorian shared Find the Sun’s first single, the seven-minute long Krautrock-inspired “Saturnine Night.” She also shared a video for “Saturine Night.” Then she shared another song from the album, “Monk’s Robes,” via a video for the track.

Deradoorian was formerly the bassist/vocalist for Dirty Projectors. Find the Sun is the follow-up to her debut solo album, 2015’s The Expanding Flower Planet, and 2017’s Eternal Recurrence EP. Find the Sun was recorded with Deradoorian’s friend and percussionist Samer Ghadry, along with Ghadry’s frequent collaborator Dave Harrington.

“Overall, a lot of these songs are about trying to reach yourself – how to be your most
brilliant self,” Deradoorian said in a previous press release about the album. “Because we come from a culture that doesn’t actually support this. We are so deeply programmed to obey societal boundaries that we don’t even know the power we contain within.”

The previous press release further describes the song of the album: “Inspired by the freedom of Can and the singing style of Damo Suzuki as well as the influence of Indian spirituality on free jazz masters like Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra, Deradoorian gravitates to transportive, shamanic sounds on this record, wielding bells, flutes, and gongs in service of a rock record guided by the spirits.”

Summing up the album, Deradoorian said: Find the Sun is a record to sit and listen to, and ask yourself about your Self.”

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Earlier this year, American-born and British-based singer/songwriter Erin Moran released her first album as “A Girl Called Eddy” in 15 years. Her critically-acclaimed self-titled debut arrived in 2004, which was produced by Richard Hawley and released on ANTI- Records. Per a press release, in the years since then, “she disappeared, procrastinated, did a world of other things then found herself writing again at home in New York’s West Village.” Been Around was released via Elefant Records and co-produced by Daniel Tashian, who also helmed Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-winning Golden Hour. The album is a rich blend of classic rock, soul and baroque pop, and its warm grace never ceases thanks to Moran’s stunning, nurturing vocals, which will leave you misty-eyed without fail. Carole King is one of those sacred cow comparisons that should only be used sparingly, but this one is absolutely justified. This is one of the most moving releases of 2020 so far and the perfect elegant evening listen.

Both the public’s and the critics’ reactions to “Been Around” make it clear that the return of  A Girl Called Eddy to the current music scene has become one of the musical events worth taking note.  The elegance, the arrangements, and the charisma of Erin Moran’s voice have been unquestionable secret weapons, and they are put into play again on this latest Digital Single, “Big Mouth”. It is a song full of silences, that opens marvelously with one of those choruses that link Erin Moran to Carole King or Joni Mitchell. Because her stuff smells like a classic, like music that will be untouched by the passing of time.

Song taken from A Girl Called Eddy “Been Around” LP

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On his ANTI- Records debut “Beginners”, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Christian Lee Hutson embeds every lyric with his most intimate self-dialogue, sharing painful confessions and private jokes, imagined conversations and elaborate daydreams. The album—produced by his friend and collaborator Phoebe Bridgers—spotlights a nuanced songcraft and understated candor that all but erases the distance between feeling and expression. Throughout this collection of songs, Hutson ultimately speaks an illuminating truth about regret and forgiveness and the endless confusion in growing up.

“I went with Beginners as the title because that’s where I feel like I am in my life—like I’m still just learning and trying to figure out how to navigate the world,” Hutson notes.

Hutson and Bridgers recorded Beginners at L.A.’s legendary Sound City Studios, but purposely preserved the homespun quality of his cell-phone-recorded demos. “With almost all the songs, we started with my voice memos and then figured out what to add—if anything—as opposed to going in with some grand idea of what it should sound like,” Hutson recalls. “Phoebe and I have the same musical shorthand, which made it really easy to share and add to each other’s ideas.” Beginners mines its subtle textures from Hutson’s warm vocals and graceful guitar work, and also unfolds flashes of sonic brilliance achieved with the help of its guest musicians—including Bridgers herself, as well as Nathaniel Walcott of Bright Eyes (who created all the string arrangements for the album, in addition to playing trumpet).

On Beginners’ softly heartbreaking lead single “Lose This Number,” Hutson reveals one of his greatest strengths as a songwriter: a rare ability to infuse his lyrics with myriad idiosyncratic detail, yet leave the narrative slippery enough for the listener to fill in their own meaning. Throughout the song—inspired by a loved one’s ordeal in what Hutson refers to as “knowing you really fucked up and there’s no way to go back”—his storytelling is threaded with incisive turns of phrase (e.g., “It’s like I was born on the back of a bullet/With your name written on it”).

An album steeped in impossibly vivid memory, Beginners moves between tender nostalgia and self-effacing humor on “Northsiders”—a song about “all the posturing you do in high school because you don’t know who you are yet,” according to Hutson (sample lyric: “Morrissey apologists/Amateur psychologists/Serial monogamists/We went to different colleges”). His often-bemused reflection on growing up in L.A. turns to “this very common experience of kids I knew getting sent to rehab at a really young age” on “Seven Lakes.” And on “Get The Old Band Back Together,” Beginners slips into a strangely joyful mood as the track slowly warps into an epic sing-along sending up Hutson’s own teenage hubris.

The Santa Monica-native took up guitar at age 12 and soon started self-recording on a four-track in his bedroom, largely inspired by the DIY sensibilities of artists like Elliott Smith. Hutson’s universe has expanded considerably since then, having co-written a song on the 2018 debut EP from boygenius and two on the 2019 debut LP from Better Oblivion Community Center (with whom Hutson also toured as both a guitarist and support act). Last year, he toured supporting artists including Julia Jacklin and Okkervil River as well.

With the release of Beginners, Hutson hopes his audience might find solace in his deliberate emotional transparency. “I want people to feel like it’s okay: we’re all here fucking up all the time; we’re all just learning and living, and it’s going to be all right,” Hutson says. “I don’t even know if I fully believe that, but it’s the voice I always wished I had in my life.”

Christian Lee Hutson is the musician the Reply All guys hired to record that insanely catchy song they were trying to discover on this month’s viral episode. His own new song, “Talk,” owes less influence to U2 and Barenaked Ladies but is a delicate, Phoebe Bridgers-produced reflection on a man’s life with a family in both the past and future.

“Talk” by Christian Lee Hutson from the album ‘Beginners,’ available May 29th

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Nandi Rose has shared this synthy mood piece from her upcoming Half Waif album The Caretaker which is out March 27 via ANTI-Records . “‘Halogen 2′ is a song about isolation and the search for strength,” says Nandi. “The halogens are some of the most reactive elements on the periodic table, and in this song, winter and a life alone in the country are like halogen: an unrelenting force that produces change. I wrote this song at home in Upstate New York last March at a time when my sense of isolation was at its height. And yet I’ve always been someone who loves my alone time, so there was a sense of shame that I couldn’t handle it this time. I needed to tell myself and anyone witnessing my restlessness: ‘Don’t misunderstand, I do what I must.’ Nearly a year after writing the song, we shot most of the music video in the same location: my house and yard. The two opposing feelings presented by the verses and choruses are represented visually in the Blue World of cold, stagnant country life and the Orange World of the unfettered, fiery strength that lies beneath.

“Halogen 2” by Half Waif from the album ‘The Caretaker,’ available March 27th

Steve Wynn says “The Regulator” is a microcosm of The Dream Syndicate’s new album “The Universe Inside”. “It was just a formless, trippy mass as we all started playing together,’ says Wynn. “There was an early 70’s drum machine—a Maestro Rhythm King, the same model used on Sly Stone’s “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”—with Dennis locking in and setting the pace. Stephen grabbed an electric sitar because it was the first thing he saw. Jason and I were kicking pedals on like lab monkeys in a laboratory and Mark was a lightning rod, uniting all of those elements into one tough groove. I collected a list of random, unconnected lyric ideas that I kept on my phone. I tried them all out in random order in my home studio just to see how they would feel and that one-take test run is the vocal you hear! There’s just so much lightning-in-a-jar, first take excitement on this record.”

The Dream Syndicate is:
Steve Wynn – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
Jason Victor – guitar
Chris Cacavas – keyboards
Mark Walton – bass guitar
Dennis Duck – drums

Special guests: Stephen McCarthy (electric sitar, guitar, six-string bass, pedal steel, backing vocals)

“The Regulator” by The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘The Universe Inside,’ available April 10th

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There’s a palpable joy and freedom to these recordings that make it the most appealing Son Little album to date. The songs themselves benefit from a lack of spit and polish, as Aaron Livingston has always been a bluesman at heart. His compositions here are raw, unvarnished extrapolations of old country-blues and early rock and roll tropes, and they’re all the better for sounding a bhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpcl0_4cPnsit shaggy. And if Livingston has an old soul, he’s by no means stuck in the past, something evident from the SoundCloud-style naming conventions in some of these songs (“bbbaby,” “about her. again”).

“Letting go can be a scary prospect,” says Son Little. “But there’s beauty in it, too. Everything you leave behind opens up space for something new in your life.”

That was certainly the case with Little’s remarkable new album, ‘aloha.’ Written in only eight days and recorded at Paris’s iconic Studio Ferber, the entire project was an exercise in letting go, in ceding control, in surrendering to fate. While Little still plays nearly every instrument on the album himself, he put his songs in the hands of an outside producer for the first time here, collaborating with French studio wizard Renaud Letang (Feist, Manu Chao) to create his boldest, most self-assured statement yet.

“I’d always produced myself in the past,” explains Little, “but it’s easy to get caught up in an endless quest for perfection when you do that. Working with Renaud let me see my work from an outsider’s perspective, and that helped me get out of my own way.”

Son Little from the album ‘aloha’, available now

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Few artists are storytellers as deft and disarmingly observational as Andy Shauf. The Toronto-based, Saskatchewan-raised musician’s songs unfold like short fiction: they’re densely layered with colorful characters and a rich emotional depth. On his new album The Neon Skyline(out January 24th via ANTI-Records), he sets a familiar scene of inviting a friend for beers on the opening title track: “I said, ‘Come to the Skyline, I’ll be washing my sins away.’ He just laughed, said ‘I’ll be late, you know how I can be.'” The LP’s 11 interconnected tracks follow a simple plot: the narrator goes to his neighborhood dive, finds out his ex is back in town, and she eventually shows up. While its overarching narrative is riveting, the real thrill of the album comes from how Shauf finds the humanity and humor in a typical night out and the ashes of a past relationship.

His last full-length 2016’s The Party was an impressive collection of ornate and affecting songs that followed different attendees of a house party. Shauf’s attention-to-detail in his writing evoked Randy Newman and his unorthodox, flowing lyrical phrasing recalled Joni Mitchell. Though that album was his breakthrough, his undeniable songwriting talent has been long evident. Raised in Bienfait, Saskatchewan, he cut his teeth in the nearby Regina music community. His 2012 LP The Bearer of Bad News documented his already-formed musical ambition and showcased Shauf’s burgeoning voice as a narrative songwriter with songs like “Hometown Hero,” “Wendell Walker,” and “My Dear Helen” feeling like standalone, self-contained worlds. In 2018, his band Foxwarren, formed over 10 years ago with childhood friends, released a self-titled album where Pitchfork recognized how “Shauf has diligently refined his storytelling during the last decade.”

The Party earned a spot on the Polaris Music Prize 2016 shortlist and launched Shauf to an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden as well as glowing accolades from NPR, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and more. “That LP was a concept record and it really made me want to do a better album. I wanted to have a more cohesive story,” says Shauf. Where the concept of The Party revealed itself midway through the writing process, he knew the story he wanted to tell on The Neon Skyline from the start. “I kept coming back to the same situation of one guy going to a bar, which was basically exactly what I was doing at the time. These songs are fictional but it’s not too far off from where my life was,” Shauf explains.

For The Neon Skyline, Shauf chose to start each composition on guitar instead of his usual piano. He says, “I wanted to be able to sit down and play each song with just a guitar without having to rely on some sort of a clever arrangement to make it whole.” The resulting album finds its immediacy in simplicity. While the arrangements on folksy “The Moon” are unfussy and song-centered like the best Gordon Lightfoot offerings, his drive to experiment is still obvious. This is especially so on the unmoored relationship autopsy “Thirteen Hours,” which boasts an arrangement that’s both jazzy and adventurous.

Like he’s done throughout his career, Shauf wrote, performed, arranged, and produced every song on The Neon Skyline, this time at his new studio space in the west end of Toronto. Happy accidents like Shauf testing out a new spring reverb pedal led to album cuts like the woozy closer “Changer” and experimenting with tape machines forced him to simplify how he’d arrange the tracks. Over the course of a year-and-a-half, Shauf ended up with almost 50 songs all about the same night at the bar. Though paring down his massive body of work to a single album’s worth of material was a challenge for Shauf, the final tracklist is seamless and fully-formed.

As much as The Neon Skyline is about a normal night at a bar with friends and a bartender who knows exactly what you’ll order before you sit down, the album is also about the painful processing of a lost love. Lead single “Things I Do” examines the dissolution of the narrator’s past relationship. Over tense and jazz-minded instrumentation, Shauf sings, “Seems like I should have known better than to turn my head like it didn’t matter. Why do I do the things I do when I know I am losing you?” He explains, “a lot of this record is a breakup record. I haven’t had a breakup in a long time, but a lot of relationships have had one of those nights where one person shows up somewhere when they weren’t supposed to and then picks a fight with their partner.” Elsewhere, songs like “Clove Cigarette” explore the better times, honing in on a memory that “takes me back to your summer dress.”

With any album about a lost love, the key ingredient is a generosity and kindness that can only come from a writer as empathic as Shauf. On the standout personality-filled single “Try Again,” the narrator, his friends, and his ex find themselves at a new bar. The former lovers’ reunion is awkwardly funny and even sweet, as he sings, “Somewhere between drunkenness and charity, she puts her hand on the sleeve of my coat. She says ‘I’ve missed this.’ I say “I know, I’ve missed you too.” She says, ‘I was actually talking about your coat.'” It’s a charming moment on a record filled with them. Shauf’s characters are all sympathetic here, people who share countless inside jokes, shots, and life-or-death musings on things like reincarnation when the night gets hazy.

On top of heartbreak, friendship, and the mundane moments of humanity that define his songwriting, Shauf makes music that explores how easy it is to find yourself in familiar patterns and repeat the same mistakes of your past. His characters wonder, “Did this relationship end too soon? Would going to another bar cheer my friend up?” Or in the case of the foreboding “Living Room,” where a character asks herself, “How hard is it to give a shit?” the songs on The Neon Skyline ultimately take solace in accepting that life goes on and things will be okay. Shauf says, “there’s moments on the album where the characters are thinking ‘this is the end of the world.’ But there are also moments with some clarity and perspective: Nothing is the end of the world.”