Posts Tagged ‘ATO Records’

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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.

There is nothing like the sound of siblings singing together. With the release of I’m Alone, No You’re Not, the mesmerizing, hypnotic sound of the trio known as Joseph—made up of sisters Allison, Meegan, and Natalie Closner—joins this elite company.

“It’s just second nature, like a fifth limb that’s already on you,” says first-born Natalie. “There’s an ability to anticipate what’s going to happen and blend with it. When Meegan and Allison sing, they know exactly what I’m going to do and when.”

But the Closners didn’t actually start singing together when they were growing up in Oregon, the children of artistic parents (their dad was a jazz singer and drummer, their mom a theater teacher). Natalie was the performer—“the older sister who stood on the edge of the fireplace and told everyone, ‘Watch me!,’“ she says. Twins Meegan and Allison stayed out of her lane, joining in for their mother’s musical theater productions but otherwise avoiding the spotlight.

When Natalie was in college, she began pursuing music more seriously. The summer before her senior year, she went to Nashville to check out the scene and work on her guitar playing and songwriting. She had recorded an EP and done a few rounds of touring when a friend sat her down one day.

“It was kind of dramatic,” she says, “He took me aside and said, ‘I don’t think you really believe in this.’ It stopped me in my tracks.” She thought deeply about the music she was making and had a curious epiphany; she decided to ask her sisters if they would consider singing with her.

Initially, they didn’t really get it. “We thought she was asking us to be background singers, so we didn’t take it that seriously,” says Allison. “It was more commitment than I was expecting—I even tried to leave at one point, but after a while, I was convinced.”

A transformation occurred when the Closners were in the process of recording their first album, Native Dreamer Kin. At the time, they were calling themselves Dearborn, but their producer felt that the name didn’t fit the strength of the music. They went to visit their grandfather Jo, in the eastern Oregon town of Joseph. Allison made a playlist for the trip and called it “Joseph,” which is what influenced the band’s name.

With this new sense of themselves, Meegan and Allison began taking a more active role in the group’s songwriting. Meegan notes that while the process was a “totally new journey” for her, it felt similar to the candor and vulnerability of her long-time journaling—just “pulling out the gold and arranging that into neater lines.”

She and Natalie both point to the song “Honest” as a keystone for the development of I’m Alone, No You’re Not. “We were trying really hard to write a song, but nothing was coming,” recalls Natalie. “One night, Meegan was working on some lyrics and getting frustrated, so she wrote in the margin of the page, ‘I can’t say a true thing. It’s hard to be that honest.’ Immediately after that, her most honest sentence spilled out—‘There’s always two thoughts, one after the other: I’m alone. No, you’re not.’ And she thought, ‘Oh, there’s the song.’ “

Meanwhile, the group was cultivating a devoted fan base in the most traditional ways possible: touring the Western states playing living room shows, backyard parties, and secret house party gigs; reaching an audience directly through such platforms as Noisetrade; selling their self-released CD and building a loyal following step by step. By the time they were approached by ATO Records, Joseph had already built a strong community of fans on its own.

As they moved toward making their second record, the project took an additional turn when the Closners decided to work with some other songwriters in Los Angeles. “We were afraid of it at first because the songs were more pop than we were used to writing,” says Meegan, “but as we internalized them, they started becoming super-important to us.”

They point to “More Alive Than Dead,” co-written with Ethan Gruska, as an example of these contributions. “That song describes an experience with a partner where you have hard things in your combined past,” says Natalie. “You’re haunted by them until you realize that those things are dead, and as long as you dwell on them, you’re missing the real live person in front of you.”

She adds, though, that Gruska was critical in clarifying and sharpening the nuanced emotion of the lyric. “When Ethan sent us back the demo, I lost it, He was able to see the heart of the song and bring it out, cut to the core of what I was trying to say.”

Finally, the women of Joseph recorded the album with acclaimed producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, First Aid Kit) at his studio in Omaha. He was able to open up their expansive, evocative vocal sound with powerful and striking arrangements, adding depth while highlighting their haunting intensity.

“This was our first time doing a recording like this,” says Natalie, “and we learned so much about creativity. Mike is a genius, and he’s just a total maniac as a musician, so he took these bare bones songs and brought them to life with lush, gorgeous textures and sounds.”

The initial reaction to the music on I’m Alone, No You’re Not has been remarkable. Joseph was selected as a #SpotifySpotlight artist, and booked for festivals including Bonnaroo, Pickathon, and Sasquatch even prior to the release of the single “White Flag,” a song inspired by an article predicting a massive earthquake for the Pacific Northwest.

“Reading that created a heaviness that was making us jumpy, scared, and miserable,” says Natalie. “It became clear we had two options: be scared and cowering, backing away from the world into paralysis, or keep moving and live. Defy fear. Wear peace. Find better ways to love the people in our lives instead of huddling together like frightened sheep thinking about earthquakes.”

Most rewarding for the Closner sisters has been feeling the audience response to the new songs, as they tour supporting such artists as James Bay and Amos Lee. “This is really when you learn what’s special about a song, or if it’s special,” says Natalie. “It’s this crazy firecracker thing that happens—‘Am I feeling something? Is anyone? What is this song, what does it do, which parts make the most sense?’

“It really is about connection with people, and we’re so grateful we’ve gotten the chance to do that. This has been a totally wild journey, and we’re constantly blown away with possibility of what could be.”

Band Members
Natalie, Allison, and Meegan

 

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Margaret Glaspy strips back DJ Snake’s ‘Let Me Love You’ for triple j’s Like A Version, Like A Version is a segment on Australian radio station triple j. Every Friday morning a musician or band comes into the studio to play one of their own songs and a cover of a song they love. Margaret Glaspy is a New York-based songwriter who originally hails from Red Bluff, California, and this morning she sang ‘Let Me Love You’, which usually hails from Justin Bieber’s mouth.

“Emotions and Math” is not simply the name of Margaret Glaspy’s new debut album. That expression drills right to the heart of the New York singer-songwriter’s proper introduction, a mission statement both artistic and personal.
On its surface, the title track talks about being a touring musician and figuring out how to see your partner, looking at the calendar and calculating how you’re going to spend time together. But “Emotions and Math,” which ATO Records will released earlier in summer 2016, also sums up an epiphany she had while making the record.

The DJ Snake track got the Glaspy treatment and we were blown away with ~the vocals~:

US singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy performs her original tune ‘You And I’ live in triple j’s Like A Version studio. Glaspy, who’s 27 and grew up in Red Bluff, California, self-produced the album, which frames her revealing ruminations in shards of jagged guitar rock. Building on its early buzz — Rolling Stone hailed first single “You and I” for its “hot barbs of electric guitar,” and declared it a “stomping rocker