Posts Tagged ‘California’

“First Songs” is the sound of someone discovering their talent in real time—a peak into the collage of a wonderful mind that is absorbing their new surroundings and using new tools to put them into the room. Listening to this collection you can feel the sun coming in through the window—St. Louis on the foot of the bed with a guitar on her knee, finding her voice.

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Despite her last name, Anna St. Louis was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up a painter and singing in punk bands, eventually leaving her hometown to attend art school in Philadelphia. After graduating she made the move to Los Angeles where she began teaching herself guitar, writing songs and recording them on her own in her bedroom. “First Songs” is the sound of someone discovering their talent in real time – a peak into the collage of a wonderful mind that is absorbing their new surroundings and using new tools to put them into the room. Listening to this collection you can feel the sun coming in through the window – Anna on the foot of the bed with a guitar on her knee, finding her voice. St. Louis wears her influences well – think Patsy Cline singing over John Fahey – but has a style all her own. And while you can take the artist out of the midwest, you can’t take the midwest out of the artist – so let this be known; this is Midwestern music ran through a California filter. I believe Anna will have many more releases in her lifetime, but let it all begin here – First Songs.
released November 3rd, 2017
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Conceived and recorded as a form of therapy to help cope with adjusting to life post-college, an ensuing break-up and geographic isolation, Mikal Cronin steps away from the rhythm section of Orange County surf-punk bashers The Moonhearts with his eponymous debut solo LP. Fans can take heart, this isn’t a “vanity project” or half-baked endeavor – Mikal’s 2011 solo debut is fully realized, cohesive and beautiful, with themes that are as personal as they are universal; questioning your future, accepting your past and living in the moment.
Taking influences such as late sixties Del Shannon and The Everly Brothers and filtering them through his own mutant California fuzz, Mikal deftly explores his singer/songwriter side that at moments feels like a punk Harry Nilsson or Curt Boettcher that balances sweet melodies & chords with chunky, psychedelic guitar freak-outs. Don’t let the opening Beach Boys-ian harmonies of “Is It Alright?” fool you into thinking this record can be easily pinned down… with long-time friend & collaborator Ty Segall producing, Eric Bauer running the tape machine and guests like John Dwyer of The Oh-Sees, you can be positive you’re in for something special. Once those guitars kick in, and you hit that first transcendent chorus, you’ll be hooked and anxiously awaiting what comes next.
with special guests:
Ty Segall: drums on 2, 3, 7, 10
Charles Moothart: drums on 4, solo on 3
John Dwyer: flute on 1

“… an album of wistful, psychedelic pop that pits lush and layered arrangements against needle-pinning power chords.” ~Pitchfork

released October 18th, 2019

“Carnage Bargain” would earn its stripes for being a million times better than a garage record has any right to be in 2019, but hooray for The Paranoyds for putting brains in front of bubblegum. The L.A. band are here to please with their house show-ready mix of glossy new wave and DIY garage punk, all delivered with the cheeky raised eyebrow of pre-Lilith fair alternative girl rock, every beautifully produced track going down like cold diet soda. But the band also consistently delight with how much thought they’ve put into their songs, and the chops they bring to their playing.

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The Paranoyds offer up both glittery sunny California vibes and serious anti-consumerist messaging without putting their finger on the scale either way, and they do it without resorting to internet-speak or instantly dated cultural reference points. We’re all trying to be good citizens but sometimes you want to hide (“Bear”) and sometimes you’re just trying to do laundry in 103 degree heat, man (“Laundry.”) “Girlfriend Degree” lightly wheedles women who rely entirely on men—some people probably won’t think it’s funny or cool, but whatever—however the band nails it on “Courtney,” a rainbow-hued art pop ode to female economic freedom that sparkles as brightly as its protagonist.

Released September 13th, 2019

Based on your current station in our technological age, Death Valley Girls’ fusion of feral proto-punk, ‘70s scuzz dirges, and third eye mysticism is either completely at odds with your worldview or utterly revelatory. Words like “retro” or “old school” convey a starry eyed nostalgia that do a disservice to the band’s harnessing of primal instrumentation and communal reverberations—if something in Death Valley Girls’ sound harkens to the past, it’s only in an attempt to dislodge us from the static of the present. That dedication to lifting the veil of modern illusions continues with their current single “Dream Cleaver”—a rousing anthem in praise of psychonaut and ethnobotonist Terrence McKenna, his research on “the spirit molecule” DMT, and the possibility of trans-dimensional travel. Lest one thinks that this is some blissed out cosmic ride on new age synth pads, be aware that “Dream Cleaver” is an unapologetic stone-cold rocker—an unabashed orgy of Farfisa organ hooks, Larry Schemels’ hypnotic and propulsive guitar chords, hallucinatory sax lines, and Bonnie Bloomgarden’s call-to-arms vocals. If you need to get elevated, take a three-minute dose of “Dream Cleaver”.
released August 9, 2019

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The eleven tracks on Never Not Never Not Never Not go deeper than just twee sincerity, though. “Lauren” is a funny and heartfelt ode to a former roommate who used to hear Tucker’s songs through the wall and sing them back. But it’s presented as a fleshed-out, rip-roaring rock song that’s such a far cry from the acoustic, bedroom origins the lyrics reference. It’s a subtle, and perhaps unintentional writing technique. But it creates a real sense of time and place that nudges the listener to wonder if Lauren ever did write those songs that “queer kids with cute haircuts wanna tell their moms about.”

If I were Wolfy I’d know how to deliver a disarmingly funny & deceptively heartfelt thank you in ten words or less. Given that I’m stuck being myself, bear with … thank you to Wolfy for being objectively good at art, to Jessica Reed for being one take wonderful, to Anna Arboles for being the Tegan to my Sara and the Brandi to my Carlile. Greg Katz, thank you for insisting that these songs are worth the work.  It’s all too good. Rosie Tucker is a clever, optimistic, rock-and-roll storyteller and each track has something to totally love

Rosie Tucker seems like someone who’d be really good at writing letters. The L.A. artist writes vivid, emotionally rich songs about the things they couldn’t say in person, but still feel the unquenchable desire to etch permanently into music. Sometimes, it’s the stinging regret of not flirting with their laundromat crush (“Spinster Cycle”), or feeling too silly to acknowledge the celestial beauty of their dance partner (“Gay Bar”). Other times, it’s the dull pain of wanting to apologize long after an interpersonal fallout, but holding back because of the perceived futility in trying to amend something that’s permanently broken. That latter song is called “Habit,” and the titular routine is in fact that tongue-holding instinct of theirs.

This album wouldn’t exist without Lauren Bruer, Sapphire Jewell, Talicat, Cecilia, Traci, Katherine and Chris’s Red Hook kitchen table, Oil Can Harry’s, Keith Armstrong, August, Daniel Oldham, Tyler, or the support of my wonderful family. This album wouldn’t have reason to exist without listeners like you. -Ro

Written and performed by Rosie Tucker
Produced by Wolfy
Guitars by Anna Arboles
Drums by Jessica Reed

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Mixing on “Spinster Cycle” and “Fault Lines” by Daniel Oldham
Additional production on “Fault Lines” by Deanna Romo

Recorded at PieTown Sounds in Burbank, CA with additional recording at Defend Music, Inc in Los Angeles, CA. “Never Not” was produced and recorded by Tyler McCarthy & Rosie Tucker in Sylmar, CA.

Cherry Glazerr’s most recent full-length, Stuffed & Ready, has continually impressed us since its release,  It’s rocking, confident, and intoxicating to say the least. The band made its late-night TV debut on The Late Late Show With James Corden, and today they’re back with “Call Me,” a new collaboration with Portugal. The Man.

The track was produced by Cherry Glazerr’s Clementine Creevy, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Tabor Allen. “Call Me” feels like a breath of fresh air, sauntering along with a funky groove guided by congas and art-grunge guitar. Bizarrely enough, there’s an air of James Bond or Austin Powers here as a spatial synth melody lurches along in this asymmetrical, yet dramatic way. The lyrics take the shape of a call and response between Creevy and Portugal. The Man vocalist John Gourley.

Also of note, today the two bands are launching a “Call Me” fashion pop-up installation at the flagship Fred Segal store on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. The installation will feature garments and accessories inspired by the new song,

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“Call Me” is out now on Secretly Canadian.

Pendant is the new project of Oakland based Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). ‘Through A Coil’ is the debut full-length album from Pendant. The album was recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
‘Through A Coil’ will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019. formerly of the noisy rock band Never Young. In a couple months, he’ll release his debut album, Through A Coil, which was recorded with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.

He’s sharing its title track, a fuzzy blowout that rips and roars and takes over your entire head as Adams’ voice peeks through the layers with spiritualistic mantras: “Oh, the lives we never live/ And the ones we have to come/ Sing and weep concurrently/ In rotation through a coil.” – Stereogum

“Recorded by Melina Duterte of Jay Som fame, Pendant melds tender songwriting with an atmosphere that plunges the listener right in to the heart of the compositions…a muted display of guitar-pop, laced with a poignancy that becomes more prevalent with each passing, somewhat faded hook.” – Gold Flake Paint

Pendant is the project of Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). Through A Coil is the debut full-length album from Pendant. Recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
The album will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019.

Wished Bone is the DIY-folk project of Ohio-based songwriter, Ashley Rhodus. Constructing music in her basements with, “borrowed instruments and broken tape machines”, Ashley’s songwriting creates a deeply human world of warm-afternoon sunshine and having nowhere to rush to, the sound of the small moments that make a life well led. Wished Bone’s second album, “Sap Season” is due out in November, and this week they’ve shared the first single from it, “Hold Me” the lovely lead single and opening track from her forthcoming new self-released record Sap Season, coming this fall. The swayingHold Meonce again displays what makes Rhodus such an intriguing and unique songwriter; she has a gift for making the ordinary feel poignant and profound, through her sort of effortlessly wry turns of phrase and low-key poetic non sequiturs, delivered warmly but matter-of-factly over a verdant bed of lilting folk-pop.

On first listen you could mistake Hold Me for something quite stripped back, there’s a gentleness and intimacy to it normally associated with  acoustic-troubadour’s, yet scratch the surface and it’s a lot more interesting than that. The track is largely propelled by the glacial-paced bass-line, around which guitars, keys and gorgeous wood-wind flitter, like hummingbirds buzzing around a sloth. There’s nods to the likes of Cate Le Bon or Hand Habits, yet somehow Ashley’s musical vision shines beyond her influences, as the best songwriting always does. This instantly feels like an introduction into Wished Bone’s universe, a hand reaching out and guiding you to somewhere, don’t worry though, there’s no rush, music this good seems to have all the time in the world.

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Vocals, guitar – Wished Bone
Guitar, drums, keys – Brian Kupillas
Bass, guitar, clarinet – Phil Hartunian
Saxophone – Spencer Radcliffe
Drums on track 7 – Teddy Briggs

Sap Season” is out November 1st.

“All We Want Anymore” has everything you’d want in a classic pop song—the dizzy, the dreamy and the grand. Stone brings bright vocal harmonies and everything but the kitchen sink—lush string arrangements, waves of rippled guitars, both happy-go-lucky and melancholy keyboards, distinctly vintage drums and horns that shout “hurrah” during the grand finale. It’s a must-hear for fans of the California pop songs of yesteryear and crushingly beautiful songs that play when the end credits roll.

Stone Irr is the product of a special kind of Midwestern religious folk. Just start with the name: what seems like anobvious pun was, in fact, an honest mistake, and as soon as Stone’s parents found out, they offered to take him to the Lafayette, Indiana courthouse and change it. He was already in middle school. True story. 

Stone’s growth as an artist, songwriter, and arranger since his 2017 debut album ‘Sinner’ is obvious on the standout track “All We Want Anymore.” The song features a bright, Beatles-like melodic structure and a cascading finale of strings and horns that pushes Stone’s voice deep into the mix.

That voice, often multi-tracked with layers of harmonies, is Stone Irr’s defining quality. It floats through the record, at times whispered and ethereal and at others gritty and broken. Album art by William Schaff (Okkervil River, Songs: Ohia).

releases September 20, 2019,
All songs written and performed by Stone Irr

Itasca announces her sublime new album “Spring”, written in a century-old adobe house in New Mexico. Feat. Chris Cohen, James Elkington, & members of Bitchin’ Bajas & Sun Araw, it contains her most quietly dazzling songs to date. Hear “Bess’s Dance” below, Itasca, is the mesmeric project of California songwriter Kayla Cohen, she has announced her new album Spring, due out November 1st. “Bess’s Dance,” describing it as “a beguiling rumination. Kayla Cohen’s got a voice that glows like the sun at dusk, and plays acoustic guitar with a nimble yet intricate touch.”

Cohen wrote the anticipated follow-up to her acclaimed 2016 album Open to Chance in a century-old adobe house in rural New Mexico. Inspired by the landscape and history of the region, the sublime Spring—its title summoning both season and scarce local water sources—dowses a devotional path to high desert headwaters.  James Elkington adds cinematic string arrangement graces “Bess’s Dance”, and members of Gun Outfit and Sun Araw.

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“Spring” contains Cohen’s most quietly dazzling and self-assured set of songs to date.

Featuring contributions from Chris Cohen, Cooper Crain (Bitchin’ Bajas), James Elkington, and members of Gun Outfit and Sun Araw.