Posts Tagged ‘California’

Six new songs from Los Angeles-based Flat Worms, which features Tim Hellman, Justin Sullivan, and Will Ivy. The “Into The Iris” EP follows an LP on Castle Face Records (s/t, 2017). Filled with anxiety and angst, Flat Worm’s summon perseverance in an apocalyptic era, passing through decrepit strip malls and surreal headlines. These songs were recorded by Ty Segall in his home, and is now being offered on God? Records.
Released February 8th, 2019 ,Drag City Inc.
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Oakland native, longtime Brooklyn resident, and now Los Angeles newcomer Jennah Bell, has been passionately described as the sum of music’s best parts; drawing influences from genres such as Folk, Soul, R&B, Rock, and Pop .Jennah Bell is not just a folk singer. She’s a master picker, yes, but her songs are heartier and brighter than your run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter ditty. That’s probably due to her soulful voice—she sounds ready to belt out a pop song or try out for a singing competition show, in a good way. She’s a natural talent, and her debut full-length, Anchors & Elephants (out February. 22nd) is sure to stun. The Berklee College of Music grad made the record with help from master mixer Russell Elevado (The Roots, Erykah Badu) as well as producers Michael Haziza and James Poyser, also a member of The Roots.  Jennah Bell could be one showcase set away from exploding.

“3hrs, 59min. (New York)” Written, Composed and Performed by Jennah Bell

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Los Angeles trio Supermercat shared thee new track “Johnny Rack,” their second song ever released, following debut single “Egg.” The band describe themselves as “friendly punk with a dash of Sheryl Crow,” a description that sounds just about perfect. “Johnny Rack” has the pulsing energy of a road song with the sharp edges of a glammed-out punk song, like if someone took a flamethrower to Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” and covered the charred remains in spikes and glitter. Singer Alexa Carrasco’s jumpy vocal delivery is just about the best thing about the song. “Back to Johnny Rack / a stack of papers on his back / he gets an NDA from / everyone he ever met,” she sings, jumping octaves and beats like a muscle car shifting gears while the guitars pump interminably ahead beneath her.

Vocals: Alexa Carrasco 
Guitar & Bass: Matty McNamara 
Drums: Cory Bernard 

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Julia Holter has described Aviary as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world”, and it’s easy to feel that mania in its erratic structures and fleeting absurdity. But very often those segments bloom into long and sustained areas of beauty. The thing is, neither the harmony nor the ugliness is given more prominence – they are both valid states and one will always lead to the other.

Aviary is an epic journey through what Julia Holter describes as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” Out on October 26th via Domino Recordings, it’s the Los Angeles composer’s most breathtakingly expansive album yet, full of startling turns and dazzling instrumental arrangements.

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record, Have You in My Wilderness, it takes as its starting point a line from a 2009 short story by writer Etel Adnan: “I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds.” It’s a scenario that sounds straight out of a horror movie, but it’s also a pretty good metaphor for life in 2018, with its endless onslaught of political scandals, freakish natural disasters, and voices shouting their desires and resentments into the void

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Aviary, executive produced by Cole MGN and produced by Holter and Kenny Gilmore, combines Holter’s slyly theatrical vocals and Blade Runner-inspired synth work with an enveloping palette of strings and percussion that reveals itself, and the boundless scope of her vision, over the course of fifteen songs. Holter was joined by Corey Fogel (percussion), Devin Hoff (bass), Dina Maccabee (violin, viola, vocals), Sarah Belle Reid (trumpet), Andrew Tholl (violin), and Tashi Wada (synth, bagpipes).

Released October 26th, 2018

As its title suggests, Kiss Yr Frenemies is an album about forgiveness. Sarah Tudzin’s debut full-length as Illuminati Hotties sees each stage of the grieving and coping that leads to radical acceptance — digging into the grey areas of flings and relationships, growing up and feeling the same. Her disposition shifts from lighthearted smirking to choking on her words. Mood swings are well-met with Tudzin’s diverse palette of influences and genres. She grits her teeth to synth and static booms, bobs her head to jangly guitars, whispers to echoey acoustics, and makes fart noises to a relentless riff. Moving forward is rarely a straight shot. It’s messy. There are distractions, setbacks, and diversions. Tudzin takes the winding road and brings us along for the ride.

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Rarely is there an album that I can listen to and enjoy every song, but this album has certainly been able to get me to listen to it on repeat. Love this album already and looking forward to what else Illuminati Hotties has to offer.

Released May 11th, 2018

 

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The first single on singer/songwriter Anna St. Louis’s debut LP If Only There Was a River was the song “Understand,” and it’s about what you’d expect: wanting to understand, wanting to be understood and the aha moment when you finally do/are, as well as the frustration in not understanding. “Untangled, finally,” St. Louis sings. “Put it all out on the table/ Understand me, do you understand?” If Only There Was a River, released in October on Woodsist/Mare Records, carries on in that same tone throughout its 11 tracks, one of comfort, low-lighted by the kind of delicate, spare acoustics that inspire deep and thoughtful respites. St. Louis, who’s making her full-length debut with the record, often retreats to a similarly soothing zone for her songwriting, which she’s only been doing for about five years now. Although, after spending time with If Only There Was a River’s carefully contrived ebbs and flows and smartly observed lyrics, you’d never know she was a spring chicken.

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If Only There Was a River would certainly please any folk fan, and it bubbles over with natural, woodsy energy. St. Louis couldn’t have picked a better time for its release: It seems to usher in all the crispness and change we’re so desperate for in October after a long, steamy September. Nature creeps beyond the album’s treeline in pockets of sunlight and smoke. From the looseness of the album opener “Water” to St. Louis’ ample finger-picking on the mostly instrumental “Daisy” to its winding title track and kicker, If Only There Was a River is laden with quiet, warm music for a loud, cold world

No Age fully deliver on the promises of their earlier albums.

Rock and roll for the black hole – reimagined rippers, for the misfits that 2017 couldn’t kill to blast under the shadow of the big boot and beyond the glow of the chemical horizon. This is driving music,  Very psychedelic punk. Perfect highway music and you’re the designated shotgun rider – get in!
No Age is Randy Randall and Dean Spunt.
Released January 26th, 2018

Moaning is a band defined by its duality. The abrasive post-punk trio comprised of LA DIY veterans, Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, began nearly a decade after the three started playing music together. Their impassioned debut album comes born out of the member’s experiences with love and distress, creating a sound uniquely dark and sincere. Although the band is just breaking out of their infancy, Moaning’s sleek and cavernous tone emphasizes the turmoil of the era they were born into. One where the endless possibility for art and creation is met with the fear and doubt of an uncertain future.

Solomon, Stevenson, and MacKelvie initially met as teenagers while growing up in the San Fernando Valley, and immediately developed a kinship through Los Angeles’s local music scene. The three began regularly frequenting DIY institutions like The Smell and Pehrspace, eventually selling out dozens of their own shows at both venues with their first few bands. Moaning’s conception came when Solomon sent Stevenson and MacKelvie the first demo for “Don’t Go,” setting the tone for the impulsive songwriting that would follow. The three fleshed out Solomon’s primitive recordings, adding in MacKelvie’s heavy syncopated drumming, and Stevenson’s melodic driving bass and synth parts, capturing each member’s personality in their sparse and fuzzed out tracks. Like many of their previous collaborative projects, Moaning forces pain up against pleasure, using the complexity of personal heart break to inform the band’s conflicted sound.

The band chose the moniker Moaning, admiring the ambiguity the name held, and hoping to reference both an intimate wail and an anguished scream. The band’s homemade video for an early, home-recorded version of “The Same” caught the attention of Alex Newport, a seasoned engineer and producer who had previously worked with At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, and the Melvins. With Newport, Moaning began working on the tracks that would make up their self-titled release, employing a lush, open ended production quality that had never been at the band’s disposal. Tracks like “Artificial” stand out among the recordings, where Moaning used the studio’s recourses to take their frantic live arrangement and give it the intensity merited by Solomon’s lyrics. 

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As a whole, Moaning drifts from sentimental to catastrophic, hiding meek and introspective lyrics within powerful droning dance songs, giving sonic nods to some of the band’s musical heroes like, New Order, Broadcast, and Slowdive. The band’s youthful attitude is met with the weight of topics like loss, routine, and mental health, reflecting the anxiety towards the status quo that much of their generation faces today. Where many young bands take years to find their footing as writers and performers, Moaning has built up a confidence in sound and vision from the ten years of playing basements, bars, and ballrooms together in their previous projects. Yet, even with their polished exterior, Moaning continues to make the sacrifice of deeply personal anecdotes and emotions to their audience for the benefit of their craft.

Released March 2nd, 2018

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Girlpool have shared “Hire,” their first single off their newly announced forthcoming album What Chaos Is Imaginary, due out February. 1st, 2019, on ANTI- Records.

“Hire” follows the pair of songs Girlpool released earlier this year, “Lucy’s” and “Where You Sink.” While “Hire” is a more rollicking ride, it shares a tenderness with those previous releases. The central revelation of all of these songs is co-vocalist Cleo Tucker’s voice—Tucker transitioned after the band’s last album, and their voice is now a hearty, wounded baritone. The band’s signature harmonies feel weightier, Tucker’s vocals landing with heft while Harmony Tividad’s ethereal coos swirl overhead.

“Hire” finds Tucker maxing out their dynamic range, slowly raising the stakes from hop-along valleys of groove to scorching peaks of winding screams. The possibilities raised by the band’s new vocal dynamics are far-reaching, and “Hire” is a bracing proof of concept.

Listen to “Hire” The band will be touring with Hatchie in 2019

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“Hire” by Girlpool from the album ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary,’ available February 1st

Mazy Fly

Mazy Fly, is the second full-length by the Bay Area artist Spelling, explores the tension between the thrill of exploring the unknown and the terror of imminent destruction. Chrystia Cabral spent the summer of 2018 in her Berkeley studio reflecting on the thresholds of human progress and longing for a new and better tomorrow. She was struck by the way the same technologies that have given humans the ability to achieve utopian dreams of discovery have also brought the world to the precipice of dystopic global devastation. Despite the darkness of this reality, Mazy Flyis defiantly optimistic. It is a celestial voyage into the unknown, piloted by Cabral.

Each song on Mazy Fly enshrines distinct sentiments within this imagined voyage, from the deeply personal (“Hard to Please Reprise”) to the cosmic (aliens travel to Earth to hear music on “Real Fun”). “Haunted Water” is an intensely heavy song about the memories of colonial violence that haunt the historical slave ship routes of the Middle Passage. “Under the Sun” is a cosmic prayer for good fortune that sees the potential for radical newness in our own lives in the births of stars.

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