Posts Tagged ‘ATO Records’

The Future and the Past

Virginia’s Natalie Prass aimed to make an indie record that sounded like a lush, big budget pop blockbuster, a goal best realised on mini masterpiece single ‘Short Court Style’, its handclaps and taut production an indication of the musician’s technical wizardry and full-hearted songwriting.

In a new video for “The Fire,” directed by Alex Germanotta, Natalie Prass, dressed in pink hues, dances through the crumbling ruins, a colorful contrast to the presidential faces once held in esteem. Tight shots reveal the wear and tear of the faces of men revered, now weathered by the elements.

“This video is a statement on power and power dynamics between people in relationships and in society,” Prass says. “In the end, I gain power, but then I take it away from myself.”

After scrapping the follow-up to her 2015 self-titled debut, Prass wrestled with the results of the 2016 presidential election. The outcome, The Future and The Past, is a reflective — but not heavy-handed — meditation on what happened. “The Fire” captures a feeling of uncertainty, drawing strength in its soaring chorus.

“We felt like we were in a post apocalyptic world,” Prass says of the video’s setting. “I really enjoyed being so pink and so feminine around these massive, masculine busts. It was difficult sometimes, I didn’t really like being on Jackson’s shoulder, but it was empowering being up there and feeling bigger than him for the moment.”

The Future and The Past is out now via ATO Records.

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Primus bassist Les Claypool and multi-instrumentalist Sean Lennon have united for their second collaborative album as the Claypool Lennon Delirium. The self-produced South of Reality due to be released February 22nd, 2019 via ATO Records and available for pre-orders now it follows their 2016 debut, Monolith of Phobos, and the proggy 2017 covers EP, Lime and Limpid Green.

The experimental psych-rock duo previewed the LP with the six-and-a-half-minute “Blood and Rockets,” a sprawling epic that finds Lennon and Claypool crooning and snarling, respectively, over spacey synths and chiming guitars. “How high does your rocket fly?” Lennon sings on the chorus, his voice elevated to a blissful falsetto. “Better be careful ’cause you just might set the world on fire.”

Lennon saysthe song’s dark lyrics document “the lascivious exploits of famed JPL rocket scientist Jack Parsons, the man who not only helped America get to the moon with liquid fuel technology, but was also a Magister Templi in Aleister Crowley’s cult, the Ordo Templi Orientis.” He added that Parsons “sadly passed away in a violent explosion during a secretive alchemical experiment at his house in Pasadena.”

The Lennon Claypool Delirium will promote the record on a headlining U.S. tour. Lennon and Claypool co-produced South of Reality themselves, with the Primus frontman engineering and mixing at his own Rancho Relaxo studio in Sonoma County, California. They wrote and recorded the album over roughly two months, prompted by what Claypool describes as “the desire to sit in a room and make space sounds again.”

“Basically it was the same setup in the same place,” the bassist says of their process. “I am a creature of habit and have all my old vintage gear dialed in the way I like it, so I like to helm from the same spot.” The South of Reality announcement arrives just barely a year after Primus issued their ninth LP, The Desaturating Seven, but Claypool emphasizes that he started with a clean slate on the latest Delirium set, with zero “cross-pollination between the two projects.”

Lennon, who was admittedly a bit intimidated years ago before his first jam session with Claypool, felt more at ease during their most recent sessions. However, he still describes Claypool as a disciplined “ship captain” who expects his musicians to be prepared on day one of any rehearsal.

“We are great friends indeed, and I guess I’m not nervous in quite the same way as I was in the beginning, but I still make sure to do as much preparation as possible,” he says. “Ideas always come quick for us, and I think that’s why we like working together. But playing with Les is like knowing you’re gonna be playing tennis with Rafael Nadal – it makes you wanna brush up on a few things before you get on the court.”

The pair wrote in every possible permutation: jamming, bringing in seeds of musical ideas, fleshing out tracks from scratch. Their resulting material feels like an organic extension of Monolith of Phobos, blending the wildly surreal and psychedelic with satirical social commentary.

The paranoid, Eastern-tinged “Cricket Chronicles Revisited” – a continuation of “The Cricket and the Genie” from their first LP – is a critique on what Lennon calls “our modern tendency to over-medicate both children and adults alike.” He elaborates: “Most people just need to eat better and exercise, but we’re told to believe the only answer is some drug that sounds like it comes from another galaxy. The [song’s] spoken word outro is just an extension of that Big Pharma advertisement language; the side effects are so unbelievably insane it’s hard to imagine taking any drug that can give you octopus tentacles, or make you spontaneously combust. Honestly the real ones are worse than that I just can’t mention them here.”

Claypool developed the bouncy, heady “Easily Charmed By Fools” from a line in a Charles Bukowski story that he swiped and let linger for years in his note book. “When it came time to flesh it out, there were no lack of examples to support that notion,” he says. “Who is the bigger fool; the fool or those that follow the fool? It may be the guy that tries to write a song about such things in an environment where rational thought is being vilified on a daily basis.”

South Of Reality, The Claypool Lennon Delirium’s epic sophomore album might be just the antidote this sick world needs. Music so potent it could repel an asteroid impact from space, these seasoned warriors of psychedelia have crafted timeless songs that may as well be chiseled in stone. The monolithic dream team’s new record was produced by Les Claypool and Sean Lennon themselves, and engineered and mixed by Les Claypool at his own Rancho Relaxo studio in Sonoma County, California. Available worldwide on Feb 22nd, 2019.

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Ben KwellerBen KwellerThe first ever US vinyl pressing of Ben Kweller’s classic 2002 record Sha Sha, a monumental album for both Kweller and ATO Records. At the time of it’s release, Rolling Stone said classic pop, power pop, alt-pop, indie-pop and anti-folk are all at home on the album… capturing both the loneliness and freedom of early adulthood. Remastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound from the original 1/2 tapes, packaged in a gatefold jacket and pressed on 180 Gram white vinyl. Underscoring the songwriting skill he’s been working at since age eight and over the course of 11 songs, he plays acoustic, folk-rock, alternative, power pop, and straight-ahead rock; his lyrics are consistently heart-sung.

Sha Sha was the debut album by American indie rock singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and former Radish member Ben Kweller. The album was originally composed of outtakes from sessions for Radish’s unreleased album Discount Fireworks. It was self-released by Kweller, via CD-R, in 2000. In 2002, ATO Records released a second version of the album with a radically different track listing featuring many new recordings and songs. What 20-year-old Kweller lacks in crafting his own sound, he makes up for in crafting virulently infectious hooks.,

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‘Sorry is Gone’ is available everywhere . The whole record is about me taking my life back, without really realizing it. I realized I’m the only person that is going to look out for me. I have to be my main person. No one else. I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy. That’s what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word.

Jessica Lea Mayfield might make some people uncomfortable with the level of honesty she projects on her forthcoming LP, “Sorry Is Gone”, but she’s not going to apologize – for that, or for anything else on her complex, confessional fourth album. Recorded with producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent and Dinosaur Jr.), Sorry Is Gone is a raw document of a woman in progress; one weathering cruel storms but finally able to blame the rain itself for the flood. Written as the truth of her own poisonous marriage unfolded before her eyes, Sorry Is Gone is a record of permission. Permission to create freely, to escape what is no longer safe and to stop bearing responsibility for things done to her, not by her. As Mayfield sings on the title track, “the sorry is gone.” Indeed, it is; kicked to the curb with every strum of her guitar.

Written in the years since her last solo LP, Make My Head Sing, in 2014, and her 2015 collaboration with Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, Sorry Is Gone became the soundtrack to a highly personal and traumatic story. The Ohio-born Mayfield was quietly enduring years of domestic abuse, smiling and touring while she hid a brewing tempest – and the bruises, too. But lyrics don’t lie even as bruises fade, and they started to tell the tale of her marriage before she was even able to; songs often dark and dangerous and ready to confront and claim her life. Written primarily on an acoustic baritone guitar – out of necessity at first, in her thin-walled apartment – Mayfield started to process the years of hurt and uncertainly through words and melodies that helped her see the light in the darkness.

Though much of Make My Head Sing was written music-first, Sorry Is Gone began with those lyrics, and, so often, a path forward unfolded itself as the songs formed. “The cold hard truth is you love me too much,” she sings on “Meadow” a moody, echoey moment about finally realizing someone’s true colors. “The cold hard truth is you couldn’t love me enough.” It’s a brutal line from someone who refuses to be victimized. Evoking the pathos of nineties grunge, the folk confessions of her idol, Smith, and the cool blasé of bands like Luscious Jackson, the tracks that comprise Sorry Is Gone aren’t devised to make anyone comfortable but herself – but they are there to help share an emotional journal and a certain kind of healing that can only come through music.

“I have to sing about things and write about things that have happened to me as therapy,” says Mayfield, who shaped so many of these songs in the isolation of the small apartment she shared with her husband while their marriage fell apart in her hands – in many ways, those songs pointed to the way out before she could get there herself. “That’s what connects me to other music I listen to. I want music to make me feel things. This is my inner dialogue, and my chance to get the last word.”

Recorded with Agnello at Water Music and Electric Lady Studios, Mayfield recruited a stellar group of musicians for Sorry Is Gone, including Avett on backing vocals and keys, drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Sun Kil Moon), bassist Emil Amos (Grails, Holy Sons), guitarist Cameron Deyell (Sia, Streets of Laredo) and Patrick Damphier (The Mynabirds, Field Days, who produced and played on “Offa My Hands”). Together, they worked to create an ominous take on love, where hope can exist among heartbreak and the end is only as finite as we make it to be. On songs like the title track and “Bum Me Out,” Mayfield bends the angelic notes of her voice over off-kilter orchestration, building an environment of warrior-style triumph; on “Safe 2 Connect 2” she takes stock of the digital world to a haunting, acoustic backdrop that gives a subtle ode to her bluegrass roots.

“Been though hell, there’s no telling what might happen in my future,” she sings. “All I can do is be thankful for each moment that’s my own.”

Mayfield has paved an unconventional lifestyle – playing in her family’s bluegrass band since the age of eight, she didn’t have any traditional schooling and released her first album at the age of fifteen, when she was discovered by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Influenced by everything from that mountain sound to the modern garage, Mayfield has been able to come at songwriting from a pure perspective, lead more by her heart than any textbook. It’s what makes the tracks of Sorry Is Gone so striking and visceral – there is no filter on the emotions, no rulebook and certainly no excuses for anything she’s been through or the candor she fires.

“I’m not going to bite my lip on anything,” she says. “If there is one thing I am going to do, it’s talk and sing about what I want to. No one is going to manipulate me.”

The sorry is gone, once and for all – and Sorry Is Gone is a permission slip for anyone who wants to stop apologizing for others, and start living for themselves. ●

Natalie Prass has announced her sophomore album, The Future and the Past. It’s out June 1st via ATO. Prass also shared the lead single recently and its music video, directed and produced by Prass and Erica Prince.  In a press statement, Prass says she rewrote the new record following the 2016 election. She writes, “I needed to make an album that was going to get me out of my funk, one that would hopefully lift other people out of theirs, too, because that’s what music is all about.” The Future and the Past follows Prass’ 2015 self-titled debut; she also released her Side by Side EP the same year.

Watch Natalie Prass get the PledgeHouse SXSW crowd dancing with new songs from her forthcoming album.

Natalie Prass, whose 2015 self-titled debut earned swoons from tastemakers around the world. Its rich soundcraft fueled intense anticipation for her forthcoming follow-up ‘The Future and the Past.’ Be among the first to hear her new sounds at our SXSW stage.

Songs performed 0:33 Oh My 3:47 Hot for the Mountain 13:18 Bird of Prey 17:57 Short Court Style

New album ‘The Future and the Past’ available June

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In the process of writing and recording her new album, Richmond, Va.-based singer-songwriter Natalie Prass ran into what has become a familiar artistic roadblock nowadays: the 2016 U.S presedential election.

Prass had her album written, her band assembled, her studio booked … and had to change course completely after you-know-who somehow came out on top. The result was The Future and The Past, due out on June 1st via ATO Records, the follow-up to Prass’ breakthrough, self-titled debut and her covers EP Side by Side, both released in 2015. the press release for the new album “finds Prass tapping into deep, dancey grooves that glisten with ‘80s pop and ‘90s R&B, nestled alongside quivering, lushly orchestrated ballads.” The first of those is “Short Court Style,” the video for which debuts here.

Directed by Prass herself and Erica Price, with Jethro Waters (Angel Olsen) as Director of Photography, the “Short Court Style” visual features a colorfully dressed Prass bringing jubilation to an otherwise-dreary park in her home state. She spins on a merry-go-round, performs with ribbon dancers and generally delights. “Short Court Style” itself is equally joyous: Prass offers figurative revolutions to match the video’s literal ones, singing, “Oh you spin me round / Round and round / Had ups and downs / No but I can’t be without / My love that I have found.” The song’s irresistible groove makes for a slick and spirited showcase of Prass’ exquisite vocals, emphasizing her R&B leanings in irresistible fashion.

Prass recalls the rocky road that led to her uplifting new album:

The record was ready to go, and then the election happened. I was devastated. It made me question what it means to be a woman in America, whether any of the things I thought were getting better were actually improving, who I am and what I believe in. I knew I would be so upset with myself if I didn’t take the opportunity to say some of the things that meant so much to me, so I decided to rewrite the record. I needed to make an album that was going to get me out of my funk, one that would hopefully lift other people out of theirs, too, because that’s what music is all about.

Prass recorded The Future and The Past in Richmond with long-time collaborator Matthew E. White at his Spacebomb Studios, teaming up with artists including Blue (Solange’s A Seat At The Table, Blood Orange, Carly Rae Jepsen) and Michael Brauer (Elle King and James Bay).

The new album from Natalie Prass, The Future and the Past, out June 1st

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“In The Rainbow Rain” will be out 27th April via the fine folks at ATO. Okkervil’s last album, Away, was my favorite Okkervil River album release for awhile. Based on this track, Sheff seems to have maintained the momentum.

Here’s some info on the album.

Will Sheff and the band started work on the new album shortly after the end of that tour – and the presidential election. “If December 2016 was good for anything, it was good for writing songs,” he says. Galvanized by the seismic events of that Fall and the following year, Sheff, sometimes co-writing with his new band, channeled his outrage and sadness into music intended to be hopeful, healing and uplifting. Inspired by the Quaker meetings he had been attending, Sheff injected the album with undercurrents of spirituality and gratitude. The result is something akin to a modern secular gospel record, and among the best music of his career.

Okkervil River “In The Rainbow Rain” out April 27th!

Okkervil River is the folk rock band led by Will Sheff. The cult band is a favourite amongst their peers as much as their own fans. The band from Austin, Texas, take their name from a short story by contemporary Russian author Tatyana Tolstaya. The band formed in 1998 and quickly released the EP Bedroom followed by the seven track EP Stars Too Small To Use the next year.

The band have released a total of seven studio albums including Don’t Fall In Love With Everyone You See (2002), Down The River Of Golden Dreams (2003), Black Sheep Boy (2005), The Stage Names (2007), The Stands Ins (2008), I Am Very Far  their latest album The Silver Gymnasium (2013).

Arguably the most overtly political act on the folk-rock scene right now, we suspected this new album from Alynda Lee Segarra and co would be a bit of a call to arms. Indeed, it is, and it delivers. “The Navigator” is the sixth full-length studio album by Hurray for the Riff Raff, released by ATO Records last March 2017. The album was produced by Paul Butler, a member of the band The Bees. This powerful album has musical diversity, consistent quality and gripping songwriting all while feeling effortless,

“The question of identity is touched upon throughout the songs here (national, political, gender), but in terms of musical identity, Hurray for the Riff Raff know exactly who they are.

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ATO Records presents a new limited edition double-A side single from the Drive-By Truckers featuring “What It Means” recorded live at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. The cut is imbued with an urgent energy, taking it’s place among the history of the festival and protest music past. Love this track it has echoes of the Band,

It’s paired with a new track: “The Perilous Night” written by Patterson Hood in the wake of the Charlottesville protests, and recorded with David Barbe in Athens, GA. Two dollars from each sale will benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Available as a double A-side 7″: “What It Means” (Live at Newport Folk Festival) b/w “The Perilous Night”.

Band Members
Patterson Hood
Mike Cooley
Brad Morgan
Jay Gonzalez
Matt Patton

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The Portland-trio consisting of sisters, Natalie Schepman, Allison Closner and Meegan Closner. Joseph recently released their new EP, “Stay Awake”, and have this week shared a new track from it, their cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World, originally by Briish band Tears For Fears.

Discussing their decision to take on this classic track, Natalie recollects the band listening to the track, and how, “it hit us how pertinent it is today even though it was written in the 80’s. Today, maybe more than ever”. Joseph’s take is a sparse and beautiful interpretation; rhythmic stabs of guitar are accompanied by rich piano chords and gorgeous rushes of lead guitar. The production of the vocals is never short of stunning, the band’s naturally beautiful tones, slip in and out of perfectly judged two and three-part harmonies. The voices build to a stunning vocal crescendo as the band sing in unison, “make the most of freedom and pleasure, all I know is take care of each other, an open door, a seat at the table, there’s enough to go around”. It’s haunting how that message still resonates, and in Joseph’s perfectly judged hands the track has never sounded better.

Stay Awake is out now via ATO Records.

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” is Joseph’s interpretation of the Tears for Fears original, from Joseph’s new “Stay Awake” EP.