Posts Tagged ‘CA’

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There’s a no-wave anxiety pulsing through French Vanilla’s sound — through the punchy saxophone and bass, and singer Sally Spritz’s vocal delivery — but also California sunshine.

Their second album playfully asks cutting questions about identity, society and power dynamics on songs like “Lost Power” and “Bromosapien”, taking a sense of humor to the struggle. The songs have a punk sense of rebelliousness but also come off like the start of an eternal dance party.

Music video by French Vanilla performing Suddenly.  Danger Collective from the album How Am I Not Myself?

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The debut EP from Los Angeles-based rockers finds the perfect balance between a blissful retreat and a fury-filled indictment of society’s ills. While “Lullaby No. 13” and “Headstones” opt for the former, “Generation Sick” and “Decoration/Currency” carry the pitchfork and torch for the latter. “Generation Sick” is a seething punk-pop tirade about men who abuse their power (“I had a dream where I screamed / I don’t wanna see another man in my life / What do you think that means”), and “Decoration/Currency” denounces the superficiality of the entertainment industry.

On the softer side, “Headstones” opens with candy-coated indie-pop, but that sugar is quickly melted by their dogged, collective punk chant. Its crisp melodies and agile motor offer just as much therapeutic refuge as their beatific lyrics of escapism

Band Members
Vera Ellen: Lead Guitar & Vocal
Libby Hsieh: Bass & Vocal
Sierra Scott: Guitar & Vocal
Virginia Pettis: Drums & Vocal

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We discovered the Frankie and The Witch Fingers at the Psych Fest in 2018 and they blew our brains out. They recently toured and left a good feeling with the presentation of their latest album ” ZAM “, a one-hour cucumber that combines many influences ranging from King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard to Psychedelic Porn Crumpets , but with that Californian drop of a first-timer Ty Segall or the always effective Thee Oh Sees .

The quartet formed by Dylan Sizemore (voice and guitar), Shaughnessy Starr (drums), Josh Menashe (guitar) and Alex Bulli (bass) combine all this and more, wrapping your skull with songs that drag you to an ambiguous feeling of psychodelia and intergalactic dance in equal parts. Their band recently released their fifth album..

The main attraction of Frankie and the Witch Fingers is their explosive performance. With their rowdy and visceral approach to live shows, each member brings their own devilry to induce an experience of bacchanal proportions.

Using absurd lyrical imagery—soaked in hallucination, paranoia, and lust—the band’s M.O. strikes into dark yet playful territory. This sense of radical duality is astir at every turn, in every time signature change. Airy vocal harmonies over heavily serrated riffs. Low-key shamanic roots under vivid high-strangeness. Rambling stretches and punctuated licks. Cutting heads and kissing lips. All this revealing a stereophonic schizophrenia that has flowed throughout their body of work: an ebb & flow of flowery-poppy horror. The band’s latest incarnation is primed to break new sonic ground, edging into the funky and preternatural. Just when you think the trip couldn’t get any weirder, Frankie and the Witch Fingers cranks up the dial, shatters the mundane, and
summons new visions.

Band Members:
Dylan Sizemore – Vox/Guitar
Shaughnessy Starr – Drums
Josh Menashe – Guitar/FX
Alex Bulli – Bass

“ZAM” is out now via NYC’s Greenway Records

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“This album is representative of my life over the past couple years, so it’s a statement of who I am as a songwriter,” says Molly Tuttle. “I love songwriting and I love listening to songwriters and I love singing, so I think this album puts those two — singing and songwriting — in the forefront more than what I’ve done in the past.”

For someone with her serenely disciplined, inquisitive intellect, it probably worked to Tuttle’s advantage that she was schooled from a young age, as many bluegrass prodigies are, in family-band, fiddle-camp and communal-jam environments, receiving one-on-one instruction from her Bay Area music-teacher father. Tuttle was encouraged to pore over the sophisticated techniques of flatpicking legends Clarence White, Doc Watson and Tony Rice, and also grew fascinated with the riveting, spindly lead lines that David Rawlings has played in his old-timey singer-songwriter duo with Gillian Welch. A few years at Berklee College of Music further expanded Tuttle’s horizons with extensive studies of theory and contemporary songwriting, as well as encounters with other virtuosic, broad-minded young musicians. In Nashville, she wound her way through bluegrass, progressive acoustic, singer-songwriter, Americana and folk-pop circles, picking up collaborators and recognition in each.

Tuttle wrote or co-wrote every song on “When You’re Ready”, including “Million Miles,” an unfinished song started by Steve Poltz and Jewel in the 1990s that Poltz mentioned in a songwriting session with Tuttle. Her most personal songs, Tuttle says, usually flow out when she’s alone. But she’s also learned a lot about the writing process by working with others, she says. And there’s nothing like a set time and place, and someone else’s presence, to get things moving.

“I think usually when I get writer’s block it’s because I’m just vetoing my own ideas,” she explains, “so that’s when co-writing really helps me break out of my headspace that I’m in and start writing and become less precious with the writing.”

A number of other accomplished female writer-instrumentalists with expansive sensibilities emerged just a few years ahead of her — among them Abigail Washburn, Sierra Hull, Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins, the last three collectively known as I’m With Her. But Tuttle has had to flesh out for herself what it looks like to do the thing that she alone does: shaping tuneful introspection around her flatpicking abilities on the guitar, a lead instrument that’s still strongly male-identified. (She was the first woman to even be nominated as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitarist of the Year, and has won the category two years in a row.)

Most of the coverage rightfully focuses on her precise and skillful playing, not her gender. But out in the world, the ghosts of “pretty good for a girl” still linger. Tuttle’s had a few “uncomfortable moments,” she says, like being skipped over in jams when she was younger or encountering teachers who “just didn’t know what to do with having a female guitar student.”

“I think what I mostly get sometimes from people is surprise or, ‘Oh, I feel extra attention on me because I’m a woman playing guitar,’” she says. “People definitely still focus on the fact that I’m a woman, which, in a perfect world I’d like to just be seen as a guitar player, not a woman guitar player.”

On When You’re Ready, Tuttle applies remarkable precision to her pursuit of clarity. That’s even a central theme of her lyrics: consciously reckoning with indecision or intuition, honestly acknowledging incompatibility, cultivating intimacy based on people seeing each other for who they are. With handsomely crafted melodies that gently insinuate themselves into the memory, she wrote some of the 11 songs alone and others in collaboration with kindred spirits like Sarah Siskind, Maya de Vitry and Kai Welch. (Tuttle’s choice of producer, Ryan Hewitt, has worked on rootsy pop projects by The Lumineers and The Avett Brothers, and her cast of guest pickers and vocalists includes Hull, Jason Isbell, Billy Strings, Nat Smith and Butterfly Boucher, all of whom speak to the flexibility she’s cultivating.)

There are moments when Tuttle bends ancient-sounding modal, Appalachian scales to her ideas, like during the slow-burning folk-rocker “Sit Back and Watch It Roll” and “Take the Journey,” a tune percussively propelled by her innovative use of frailing banjo techniques on guitar. She’s made her playing just as much a point of interest as her breathy singing. During the wistful “Make My Mind Up,” she takes liberties with both her vocal and guitar phrasing, singing dreamy curlicues that give way to cascading, bluesy six-string runs. In “Sleepwalking,” which features a cursive, atmospheric string arrangement, she exhales long, lilting lines over her crisp, rolling, arpeggiated guitar pattern.

Tuttle’s quivering, staccato delivery of the winsome hook in “Don’t Let Go” showcases her affinities for folk-pop. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call “Light Came In (Power Went Out)” the album’s power-pop track, thanks to her sly, sticky vocal syncopation over the simple, driving groove. Though she cedes the foreground to an electric guitarist for most of it, her precise acoustic notes burst through during an instrumental vamp, hurtling forward in a startlingly different rhythmic cadence. As with all of Tuttle’s licks, every imaginative note rings clear.

new album ‘When You’re Ready’ out April 5, 2019 on Compass Records

SAINT MESA – ” Throne “

Posted: March 22, 2019 in MUSIC
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There is an overwhelming darkness just beneath the surface of “Throne”, the new single by Saint Mesa. 21 year old singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Mission Viejo, CA. Described effectively as “Chilean American Dark Folk”, the act is largely brought together by the enigmatic frontman who plays all the instruments on the track. With every listen, we felt more and more compelled to write about it. It has a stark originality that reminds us of artists like Damien Jurado and Foals.

The band are set to release their sophomore EP later this year, and we look forward to hearing more of the creative and dark tinged folk rock gems.


Nocturne EP is out now! I’ve been working on this EP for the past like two years, I’m so incredibly excited to release it. It’s been one of the most challenging pieces of music to put together.

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Angelo De Augustine writes and records music in Thousand Oaks, California — a suburb north of Los Angeles, where he grew up. His self-released debut album, “Spirals of Silence”, and 3-song EP follow-up, “How Past Begins”, earned praise from The FADER, Stereogum, Vogue, My Old Kentucky Blog, and more. His next project “Swim Inside The Moon” Written in the aftermath of a devastating breakup, Angelo De Augustine’s hushed journal of the stream-of-consciousness thoughts that fill the silence when a gaping hole opens up, revealing that there never really was anything else. De Augustine whispers intimately.


“Swim Inside the Moon” out now

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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.


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

Release date:8th January 2019


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Valley Queen“My Man” It’s a band of distinguishable characters, and that is no exception when it comes to their main vocalist, Natalie Meadors. She seems to be the glue that holds the manic energy together, even though she is jumping on speakers and dancing around too. Her sultry vocals weave in and out of the pounding guitar lines, with an onstage confidence that is incredibly enrapturing. You can’t help but watch as the frantic chaos on the verge of total collapse manages to hold on, and you feel the catharsis of just letting go and getting swept away..Valley Queen invites you into their overwhelmingly sensory environment, where to dance and move will cure any temporal blues

Veteran and established artists dominated the music scene this year. Look at all the “Best Of” or “Favorites” lists, and newcomers barely occupy them. One band, however, was able to crack through this nearly impenetrable wall. It sure helps that Valley Queen‘s debut album, Supergiant, is a contemporary indie-rock classic.

The record is highlighted by a holy trinity that would rival any one-two-three combination in history. “Supergiant”is indie-rock perfection. It is anthemic yet gritty, rocking yet euphoric with front woman Natalie Carol’s siren-like vocals cutting through the blazing melody. Like Big Thief’s and Angel Olsen’s grandest anthems, “Chasing the Muse” commences delicately before slowly growing into a face-melting, titanic rocker. The emotional roller coaster “Ride” completes the trio, filling every space with searing guitar riffs and Carol’s bone-chilling delivery.


Beyond these three are other stellar tracks. Autumn-like touches a la Fleetwood Mac filter through “Bedroom”while a calm, summertime atmosphere percolates on “Carolina”. Jubilation erupts on the short but blazing “Boiling Water”. On the other side of the spectrum, the tender and stripped-back “Gems and Rubies” is stunning at its floor and incredibly engrossing at its ceiling. This is also another way to describe Supergiant, which is flawless. It is a transcendent piece of emotional indie rock that reminds us music can be anthemic, beautiful, moving, and powerful.

Supergiant is out on Roll Call Records,

Band Members
Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Mike DeLuccia – Drums

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In writing Crush Crusher, Ian Sweet’s Jilian Medford committed herself to exploring her own issues with self-image, self-respect/worth, and the responsibility she has felt to others. Recorded at Rare Book Room studios with producer/engineer Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, The War on Drugs, Soccer Mommy), Crush Crusher is full of dissonant open chords and abnormal progressions, finding beauty in a level of conflict not seen on the trio’s 2016 Shapeshifter. By the end of the recording process, Ian Sweet wound up with an unconventional assortment of songs featuring disparate elements of psych-rock, trip-hop, and shoegaze that together forged a sound uniquely Medford’s own. “Spit” is the second single from Ian Sweet’s 2018 album Crush Crusher.

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine performing “Time”

Angelo De Augustin burst onto the scene at the back end of last year with his excellent second album, Swim Inside The Moon, a charmingly lo-fi record that was quite literally recorded in a bathtub. This week Angelo has announced details of his upcoming third album, Tomb, released again on Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty Records, as well as sharing the first single from it, Time.

Tomb is the first time Angelo has worked in a proper studio, collaborating with renowned producer, Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman, and listening to Time, it seems to suit him. Time loses none of the gorgeous simplicity and minimalism of Angelo’s previous work, but in Thomas Bartlett’s hands this sounds lusher and more ambitious than ever before. Described by Angelo as, “a lovelorn examination of heartbreak and moving on”, the addition of muted piano, gentle electronics, and even whistling (!) all just work to highlight his enviable songwriting instinct.

Equally good as the recorded version is live version, where Sufjan Stevens joins Angelo on Grand Piano. An album about heartbreak that ends up as a prayer for love, Angelo might sound broken, but he’s still dreaming, still open, still ready for love. the live version of his new track “Time” with Sufjan Stevens on piano. Watch their performance live from Manhattan’s Reservoir Studios

Out January 18th via Asthmatic Kitty.  From the album “Tomb,”