Posts Tagged ‘Anti Records’

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Andy Shauf’s excellent 2016 album The Party – a wallflower indie pop concept album about the depressing aspects of drinking and socializing – brought his approach and sound to the mainstream, making fans eager for his next offering. For Toronto-via-Saskatchewan’s multi-instrumentalist baroque pop prince, it comes in the form of a self-titled debut from his hometown band, Foxwarren. Actually, this is technically Foxwarren’s sophomore album, but Shauf has been rather secretive about the group’s past work.

From a musical standpoint, Foxwarren – featuring Shauf’s ethereal, honey-toned, voice and his acoustic guitar, his childhood friends D.A. and Avery Kissick and Dallas Bryson – is quite similar to the sound of The Party. Still, Foxwarren doesn’t feel like Andy Shauf and his backing band; it feels like a creative, cohesive group.

Opening track To Be sets up the themes of the album without hesitation. Much like Shauf’s solo work, motifs of isolation, depression and other sombre notes live within the songs.

The instrumentation is eccentrically diverse and well thought out. Foxwarren seems to be a band that, at times, throws traditional song convention out the window. Everything Apart begins with a lone, steady snare drum and morphs into an almost psychedelic organ prog rock epic, then blissfully comes to a close with a standard indie guitar line. It takes tremendous production skill to make those jumps seem effortless.

The album does, however, have its fault with the song I’ll Be Alright, featuring Shauf and his acoustic. It sounds like a B-side of his solo work and falls slightly flat when compared to a song like Fall Into A Dream, a jumpy groove that makes perfect use of its indie funk guitar riff and angelic harmonies. The song brings to mind the early days of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, highlighting a droney, psychotropic jam between the Kissick brothers, Bryson and Shauf.

I truly hope Foxwarren remains one of the main projects for Shauf. While he certainly didn’t take a back seat during Foxwarren’s process, it’s refreshing hearing him in a new, collaborative light.

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Mavis Staples has never shied away from making a statement, going all the way back to the raw vocal power and unshakeable commitment of The Staple Singers’ 1965 civil rights anthem “Freedom Highway.” The records she’s been making on ANTI for the last 15 years — the overt examples being We’ll Never Turn Back and If All I Was Was Black— have been increasingly oriented toward raising consciousness and, considering Americas’s current state, we need Staples’ fiery forward momentum more than ever.

The message is clear from the get-go on We Get By, as the dirty, grinding blues riffs of Staples’ bandleader/guitarist Rick Holmstrom power opening cut “Change.” “What good is freedom if we haven’t learned to be free?” asks Staples, and the band’s gritty rumble underlines her outrage.

Jeff Tweedy produced and wrote her last album, and wasn’t above gently pushing the envelope, but Ben Harper fills the writer/producer role by just letting Mavis be Mavis on We Get By. Harper takes her down a vintage Staple Singers path with the funky “Brothers and Sisters,” and when she sings, “trouble in the land, we can’t trust that man” her intentions aren’t exactly elliptical. The classic vibe is carried forward with Holmstrom’s doomy Pops Staples-style guitar licks on “Heavy on My Mind.”

Staples’ gospel repertoire comes to the fore on the sanctified stomper “Sometime,” when she utilizes simple, gospel-style lyrics to passionately reiterate the need for change. It’s not all current affairs though — for all the biblical allusions, when Mavis sings “Nothing in the world is stronger than my love for you” in blues-rocker “Stronger,” she seems to blur the line between earthly and spiritual. And she allows a peek at her intimate side on when she dips into her sensual side for the slow-burning, love-hungry, “Chance on Me.”

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Nearly 80 upon the album’s release, Mavis is the last surviving member of the Staple Singers’ ’70s lineup. But closing out the album by calling for “One More Change,” she makes it plain that her struggle is our struggle, and it goes on.

Ryan Pollie Announces New Self-Titled Album

Inspired by the warm, inviting sounds of ’70s singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne, Carole King, and Graham Nash, Ryan Pollie is the most personal music of the seasoned songwriter’s career to date. Leading the showcase is the video for “Aim Slow,” a touching clip featuring childhood home videos and footage taken during Ryan’s recent chemotherapy. The song is the lyrical centerpiece to the album and addresses the paradoxical nature of life and death, good and evil, yin and yang. Weaved throughout the song is a story of a struggling romance, the beauty and pain of what goes into love, and “Aim Slow” proves to be successful to Pollie personally – it tells his story which is one of love and searching.

Ryan Pollie had released two albums as Los Angeles Police Department, and working on his soon-to-be-released, self-titled studio album, he prepared himself to shed the protective barrier of his old band name — to make music, simply, as himself.

And then he got cancer. Nearing the end of his twenties, Pollie had already been mulling over the big questions: spirituality, purpose, the fleeting nature of existence. “I just wrote a record about mortality and whether or not I believe in anything, and then I’m faced with the biggest challenge of my life,” he says. Open, searching, and vulnerable, Ryan Pollie takes full advantage of the language of 20th century California pop to bolster its queries on the perplexing nature of being human. Piano, guitar, and bass intertwine with banjo, pedal steel, and saxophone to support Pollie’s sugar-sweet hooks.

Bolder and crisper than the albums he’s made as Los Angeles Police Department, the new album emerges from a deeply collaborative place. As Pollie went through chemotherapy in the summer of 2018, he relied on the support of his friends to finish the album. “Mixing is where it all came together for me,” he says. “Because I was sick, it was this new challenge — ‘I have to finish this record. I have to get out of bed. I don’t feel too well, but I’m going to go down the street to the studio and I’m going to give my notes and overdub some piano.’ I finished the record while I was sick, and that was a big thing for me, being sick and being able to finish something. It made me feel strong.”

One song, “Only Child,” addresses that period directly. Ironically, it’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the record, tackling the fear and uncertainty of illness with Pollie’s characteristic levity and humor. “My hair is falling out/My parents are calling now,” he sings amid a buoyant bassline and trills of flute. Other songs work through periods of loss, confusion, and ultimately triumph. The delicate, synth-driven “Raincoat” traces the end of a relationship with careful empathy. Against a briskly strummed guitar, “Leaving California” fleshes out his relationship with his parents and his childhood home in New England, while “Getting Clean” makes use of a glowing West Coast pop palette to articulate the frustration of trying to break out of a deep rut.

Living through illness becomes just one chapter in a record that celebrates living in general, and all the difficulties and surprises that come with it. More than anything, Ryan Pollie is a testament to the power of vulnerability — to the magic that happens when you open yourself up and invite the world inside, no matter how frightening or uncertain it may be.

The Dream Syndicate Release Mind-Bending New Album 'These Times'

Los Angeles’s the Dream Syndicate is thrilled to release these times today, their second album of new music since their 2012 reunion nearly thirty years after they first influenced California’s paisely underground scene. if 2017’s how did I find myself here was a 10 pm record, all swagger and cathartic explosion, then these times is the 2 am sibling, moodier and more mercurial with the band acting as djs of their own overnight radio station as the listener drifts off into dreams and wonders the next morning if any of it was real.“when i was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with donuts by J-Dilla,” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a dj, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. i was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though i was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same’. you might not automatically put the Dream Syndicate and j-dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.”.

The Dream Syndicate recorded these times once again at Montrose studios in richmond, virginia. co-produced by John Agnello (Phosphorescent, Waxahatchee, Hold Steady, Dinosaur jr.), Wynn wrote all of the song’s lyrics in the studio after the band finished tracking, so that the words would be dictated by the sound rather than the other way around. this process contributed to the urgency of the album’s title.“not content to deliver ‘the days of wine and roses 2019’ [the Dream Syndicate] have emerged with a vibrant collection of songs that ranks among the best the veteran group has recorded,” popmatters said of these times. “this is not a band competing with its past but instead carving out a bold new future.”

The Dream Syndicate has a long and storied history. but where are they right now? they’re here. right here. in these times.

The Dream Syndicate from the album ‘These Times,’ available now

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The follow-up to 2017’s “Abysmal Thoughts,” which marked the band’s first release as a solo project from front man Jonny Pierce, “Brutalism” is quite possibly the best collection of songs in the band’s ten-year career.

Listen to the latest album single “Loner”. Pierce describes the track below:

Being a bit of a loner is sort of like being gay for me. When I was a kid, I would pray to be anything but gay – and now as an adult, I treasure the fact that I’m gay. I celebrate it daily. Being gay forced me to think differently, develop my creative side, and to carry a punk attitude. It also helped me define my values and find empathy for those who are marginalized. Being a loner is very similar to that. I don’t like hanging out in groups because I feel real connection is often sacrificed in those settings. Since most people seem to disagree and love a group hangout, that means I spend a lot of time along and listen to my heart. It helps me navigate my life, but it still offers sadness that is always there. You can’t be sensitive without carrying some sadness, and that’s okay.

Like Jonny Pierce, who co-produced the album, Brutalism is a bicoastal record – written and recorded between Upstate New York and a studio in Stinson Beach. Following a painful divorce and an incredibly difficult stint living solely in Los Angeles, Pierce decided it was time to face his demons, and the making of this record is a part of that process. “I was exhausted, depleted and sabotaging myself, partying so much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral.” Pierce knew it was time to go to therapy, and begin to reckon with his depression. “It was do or die,” he says. While he focused on his mental health, the making of Brutalism became an extension of self-care for Pierce, and makes for some of his most honest and relatable music to date.

On Brutalism, a lot is different. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but it doesn’t provide all the answers. It’s rooted in an emotional rawness, but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt.  Pierce was more open than ever, keeping his control freakery at bay while working with others to produce and record the album. He brought in Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands, Amen Dunes) to mix it.  If there was a guitar part he wanted to write but couldn’t play, he brought in a guitarist. It’s also the first Drums record with a live drummer. Delegating freed up Pierce’s time to produce a more specific vision.

The past year has been transformative for Pierce, who may a permanent rain cloud above his head but is working towards a better, healthier headspace“I don’t think I’ll ever really find myself,” he says. “I don’t think people do. I don’t think there’s a day that you wake up and you go, Now I know who I am. The best way for me to be an artist is by taking a goddamn minute, being still and listening to what it is that I want and need.” It was a real year of growth for him, but growth towards what? “I don’t really know, and that’s OK.”

Foxwarren’s backstory reads like a page torn from the manual of rock & roll authenticity, as this group of siblings and childhood friends originally formed more than a decade ago. Growing up in scattered small towns across the Canadian prairies, Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals), Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals), and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums & percussion) eventually found themselves in Regina, Saskatchewan. The initial sessions for their self-titled debut began in the Kissicks’ parents’ farmhouse while they were away on vacation. Upon their return, Foxwarren were forced to relocate and recording resumed back in Regina in a rented house where the members lived as roommates. The band’s name comes from the Kissick brothers’ family home in Foxwarren, Manitoba.

Foxwarren initially bonded over Pedro the Lion and drew influence from The Band and Paul Simon. Now a decade in to the project, Shauf reflects on their debut release: “So much time and effort went into making this album; it’s something I think we’re all really proud of. My touring and recording schedule got pretty wild over the past three or four years, so it put the Foxwarren album on the backburner. Making the album was such an enjoyable time – the collaboration and frustration of it all. All of us trying to make something better than we previously had. I’m excited to get it out into the world and have other people listen to it. We’ve been a band for 10 years or so and never properly released an album, so this is special for the four of us.” The self-titled album will be released on November 30th, 2018 via ANTI- Records.

The infectious first single “Everything Apart” is built around a robotic bass line and came together very quickly. “We wrote it late one night,” remembers Darryl, “Andy was home between tours, and the skeleton of the song came together really quickly. This one felt like a real experiment and was almost left off the album; it seemed like an outlier.”

In contrast, the second single “To Be” was one of the first songs written for the project. “We tinkered with it for ages and ended up drastically reworking it the weekend it was recorded. We knew early on that it was going to be the opening song on the record,” states Darryl.

“It was a guitar riff that I’d been playing for a few years at least, trying to figure out what to do with it,”adds Shauf. “It went through quite a few versions if I remember correctly. Foxwarren have a bad habit of never finishing vocal melodies and lyrics before we finish the music, so it made it a bit tricky and ended up being overhauled at the last minute.”

Subtle and thoughtful, it draws parallels to frontman Andy Shauf’s solo work while leaning on collaboration and looseness rather than Shauf’s meticulous arrangements. Where Shauf leaves space for orchestration, Foxwarren take time to ruminate on passages and themes. Propped up by warm driving rhythms and a familiar voice, and coloured with soft electronics and coarse guitars, it’s a record that ultimately hinges on sincerity. It captures the feeling of friends pushing each other, of a band looking inward for inspiration instead of outward for influence.

The Band : Andy Shauf / D.A. Kissick / Avery Koissick / Dallas Bryson

“Sunset Canyon” by Foxwarren from the self-titled album, available now on Anti- and Arts & Crafts

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Attempting to guess where Richard Reed Parry might go with a solo album is a nigh on impossible task. He can play just about anything, as his work with Arcade Fire demonstrates, and he’s worked with many artists over his career. The multi-instrumentalist released a new solo album, “Quiet River of Dust Vol. 1”, last September via ANTI-Records , his first for the label.

Seven tracks long, only two of which last less than six minutes, it’s music crying out for careful attention. Songs ebb and flow, and then ebb some more, teasing beauty from Parry’s quietly rich, complex compositions. Birds chirps, doors close in the background, guitars are handled delicately, and vocals drift out. Lying underneath, Parry adds gently glitching synths, neon city meets sunrise in the cornfield.

It makes for ravishing music. “Gentle Pulsing Dust” builds and builds into a sound dizzy with intimacy. “On the Ground” echoes vocals back hauntingly. Each track pulls off similar tricks, each comes packed with flourishes and swerves, begging for repeat listens.

Now he has announced its follow-up album, “Quiet River of Dust Vol. 2″, and shared its first single, “Long Way Back,” via a video for the song. Quiet River of Dust Vol. 2 is due out June 21st. Quiet River of Dust Vol. 1 was released during the autumn equinox and Quiet River of Dust Vol. 2 is being released during the summer solstice.

In a press release Parry says “Long Way Back” is “a song about remembering everything you’ve ever lived. Your childhood home, the happy or heavy or beautiful or miserable feelings you ever lived with, the fleeting and pristine random moments of perfection, the infinitely complex tapestry of emotions you feel towards your parents; anything that resides anywhere in those floating worlds that exist inside your mind and your heart, holding all these things up to the light of memory, embracing it all and then letting it go.”

Nothing is as good as “Song of Wood.” After a deliberately stuttering start, a soft trilling combines with lush vocals, growing into a final minute that is utterly gorgeous, as beautiful as anything released this year.

The most spectacular thing here is that “Song of Wood” isn’t an outlier. It’s merely the shiniest treasure on an album full of them. Vol. 2 has a lot to live up to.

Parry says the album is about “memory and the unconscious mind.”

“What separates us from dissolving into the experience around us?” he further explains in the press release. “It’s a feeling I’ve definitely had many times, where the boundaries of self and world are permeable to the point of disorientation. So much of this record is about being this young person in an older people’s world of music and song, this folk music community where the torch is passed, and losing my father at a young age, and being completely disoriented by that. This record, the songs are also referencing that nebulous psychic territory when you lose your most familiar world, when the village of your childhood disappears and you try to relocate yourself in a different one.”

“Long Way Back” by Richard Reed Parry from the album ‘Quiet River of Dust Vol. 2: That Side of the River,’ available June 21st

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Foxwarren

Foxwarren comprises Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf (please check out his solo albums) along with his childhood friends Dallas Bryson and brothers Darryl Kissick and Avery Kissick. Last year, they released a self-titled debut album, and today are announcing their first-ever tour, which kicks off in their hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan at the end of May. To celebrate, the band have a brand new video for the dreamy “Sunset Canyon.” Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the video is shot through a warmly lit vintage filter, capturing a glamorous cruise along the winding California hillside.

The video features actress turned talk show host and honest-to-God amazing person –– Busy Philipps. “Working with Laura-Lynn on the video was so amazing,” says Philipps in a press release. “She is such a talent and I loved the easy going vibe of the day, wandering through the canyon with her in my mom’s dress from the sixties.”This track from Foxwarren just fits the aesthetic faultlessly.

“Sunset Canyon” by Foxwarren from the self-titled album, available now on Anti- and Arts & Crafts

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The music Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad release as Girlpool occupies a transient space. Their constant evolution makes it perfectly impossible to articulate exactly where their project falls within the contemporary musical canon; this is one of the many reasons Girlpool’s music is so captivating.
Never before has a group’s maturation been so transparently attached to the maturation of its members. This is due in large part to the fact that Girlpool came into existence exactly when Girlpool was supposed to come into existence: at the most prolific stage of the digital revolution. Both online and in the flesh, Tividad and Tucker practice radical openness to the point where it may even engender discomfort; this is exactly the point where it becomes clear why theirs’ is such a special project: they accept the possibility of discomfort—Chaos—and show you how to figure out why you might feel it. This is achieved through their ability to empathize as best friends and partners in creation, with the intention of making music that provokes.

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Our new album ‘What Chaos is Imaginary’ will be released 2.1.2019 on Anti Records

Release date:8th January 2019

 

we’re celebrating Pillar Of Na by releasing this one-take live version of the title track. It was recorded by our friend and longtime videographer Jon Washington at Musicol Studios in Columbus. Musicol is Ohio’s oldest studio and also a vinyl pressing plant.

Pillar of Na is Saintseneca’s most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements he’d rarely heard in folk. “I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before,” Little explains. “To reach way back, echoing ancient folk melodies, tie that into punk rock, and then push it into the future. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. I’m looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention.”

Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus folk-punk band’s fourth album, Pillar of Na, arriving in August 31st via ANTI- Records. Following 2015’s critically lauded Such Things, the new album’s name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lot’s wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. “Na,” meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. “Nah” is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is “as it is.”

“Pillar of Na” (Live) by Saintseneca from the album ‘Pillar of Na,’

Band Members
Zac Little, Caeleigh Featherstone, Steve Ciolek, Jon Meador, Matthew O’Conke

The other big news is that our European tour starts next week in Oxford, England. It’ll be our first time over in 3 years and also our first time in places like Paris, so we’re majorly jazzed to be playing these songs for the first time in Europe.

Tour dates:
Nov 21: The Jericho Tavern – Oxford (UK)
Nov 22: Rabbit – Norwich (UK)
Nov 23: Hyde Park Book Club – Leeds (UK)
Nov 24: Broadcast – Glasgow (UK)
Nov 25: YES – Manchester (UK)
Nov 27: Sebright Arms – London (UK)