Posts Tagged ‘Captured Tracks Records’

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Growing up with ardent Catholicism as an integral part of my identity meant repressing my bisexuality any way that I could. How does it feel to admit that you are the contradiction of what you were taught to believe? It’s a question Becca Mancari asks on “First Time,” her coming out story. Mancari comes from a fundamentalist Christian household, her father a pastor. It’s a heavy hit from the get-go, Mancari singing, “I remember the first time my dad didn’t hug me back.” Unraveling the bandages from her emotional wounds to write the track wasn’t easy, but she notes, “as soon as the first line of the song came out of me, I knew there was no going back.” The wistful song is one that I wish I’d had at fifteen when I struggled to lend myself an ounce of kindness, unable to live my truth. “Hey, did you find your way out?” Mancari asks over a homespun country folk-style plucking that harkens back to her Nashville roots. For me, the song reads like a love letter to my younger self from someone who found happiness on the other side.

On the track, Mancari says, “My hope is that when you hear this song you feel less alone, and that you do indeed find your way out.” “First Time” is the second single from The Greatest Part, her sophomore record coming June 26th via Captured Tracks. We’re hopeful Mancari will be able to tour with her Bermuda Triangle bandmate Brittany Howard this fall.

Spotlight: DIIV

“Deceiver”, their third LP, is a tidal wave of slow-core ruminations and shoegaze distortion that finds singer/ guitarist Zachary Cole Smith surveying the planet’s demise and his own recovery after a well-publicized battle with drug addiction. But those cathartic songs helped the frontman chart a clear path forward.

“I’ve gained a lot of clarity in the distance I’ve had from active addiction—the shitty times I’ve had in my life and the shitty times we’ve had as a band,” he says, brushing off the suggestion that these songs, played onstage, might serve as reminders of a more painful period. “Mostly it’s trying to communicate lessons from that time, rather than living in it or revisiting it for the sake of itself.”

It’s impossible to tiptoe around the substance abuse narrative that’s dominated the press cycles throughout the band’s career. Smith, a Brooklyn indie-rock journeyman, formed the first iteration of DIIV—then called Dive—in 2011, and his shimmering, guitar-driven dream-pop captured an instant audience with their debut LP, 2012’s Oshin. But a dark cloud soon hovered over the band: The following year, Smith and his then-girlfriend, singer Sky Ferreira, were arrested after heroin and ecstasy were reportedly found in his van; original drummer Colby Hewitt quit in 2015; and bassist Devin Ruben Perez, who left the lineup in 2017, was discovered to have made offensive comments on the website 4chan.

The band’s long-awaited second record gestated during that stretch, emerging in 2016 as Is the Is Are—a more hi-fi and somewhat optimistic song cycle that drew on Smith’s recovery. But in real life, the dark cycle continued: After canceling a stretch of tour dates due to what band reps called an “urgent health issue,” Smith checked himself into a long-term inpatient program in 2017—leading to stints in rehab and a sober living house.

With all that drama in the band’s collective past, it’s only natural that Deceiver hits harder than their previous work—full of sculpted fuzz, mammoth dynamic shifts and woozy tremolo bar dives that recall the majesty of My Bloody Valentine. The thematic heaviness seemed to breed sonic heaviness: “I think it definitely did,” Smith confirms. “To match a lot of the lyrical themes, I think the music had to meet it halfway, so they work together. I’m sure there’s a relation there.”

Much credit goes to coproducer/engineer Sonny Diperri, who helped the quartet—Smith, guitarist Andrew Bailey, bassist Colin Caulfield, drummer Ben Newman—zero in on maximizing the “sound of a four-piece rock band.”

We’ve been called a ‘shoegaze band’ ever since the beginning, and I don’t ever feel like it fit us,” Smith says. “The more we worked on the songs, the more we got feelings and textures from certain shoegaze bands that we loved. And we wanted to bring those [ideas] in for emphasis on parts. In the middle of working on the record, Sonny got the call to go out to Ireland and work with My Bloody Valentine. So he had a pretty intimate knowledge of how the album they were working on was made and how their previous records were made. He taught us a couple things that MBV does for some of their textures. It’s a small part of the record— we didn’t lean on it too hard. We just tried to use it where it made sense.”

Smith also chalks up that dark descent to a 2018 tour with post-metal act Deafheaven, during which they experimented with new material before entering the studio. “Deafheaven were big influences on the way we approached stuff,” he says. “We were trying out slower tempos live. A lot of our references were slowcore bands that we all love, including ‘90s stuff like Bedhead and Red House Painters and Duster. Though some of those slower tempos are difficult to adjust to, they gave us more freedom to write the songs we wanted to write.”

The word “freedom” is key. Deceiver is the first DIIV album credited to the full band, rather than Smith alone—and they relied on that collaborative spirit during the writing sessions. Everyone swapped influences and reference points, focusing and pruning back the arrangements, even chiming in with occasional edits or suggestions to Smith’s words in a Google document.

The lyrics, which arrived during the final writing stage, focus on deception and “personal responsibility”— raging against climate change deniers (the apocalyptic postpunk surge of “Blankenship”) and reflecting on “youthful sins” (the feedback-laced crawl of “Lorelei”). For Smith, it could have been a bit weird to give up that creative control. But, in a clear sign that he’s newly focus after a time in rehab, the DIIV frontman quickly embraced the opportunity to reapproach the project. “We’d already developed a very productive dynamic for how to speak to each other,” he says. “It was awkward the first time, like, ‘Welp, here’s the lyrics I’m thinking. Read my fucking diary.’ But everybody’s input was helpful.”

For DIIV, the collaborative process was about more than music—it’s the fresh start for a band that likely would have fallen apart without one. “I feel like it was just one facet of a bunch of shit we did as far as maturing into a real, functioning band that was long overdue,” says Bailey.

We got into a good rhythm,” Smith adds. “I’d love to see it go even further.”

There’s comfort, even hope, in DIIV’s darkness.

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At the core of Widowspeak’s allure is the creative chemistry between singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas. In the decade since the group first formed in Brooklyn they have released four critically-acclaimed full-length albums and toured extensively. Sonically, the band remains perennially anchored by Hamilton’s honeyed vocals and Thomas’s warm, expansive arrangements—references to 90’s dream pop, 60’s psychedelia, and a certain unshakeable Pacific-Northwestness. It’s comfortable, lived-in: humble in structure, heavy on mood.

Widowspeak have returned, just when we needed them most. Their brand new song “Breadwinner” is a captivating reflection on shared burdens in life and love.

During their recent tenure in the Hudson Valley and Catskills region of New York State, the duo took to writing new songs unhurriedly amidst the reality of day jobs, with an intentional hiatus from touring as the grounding force. “Breadwinner” is the first of these newer songs and points towards an absorption with pragmatic observations, small and personal realities of a rapidly changing world.

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The inspiration for “Breadwinner” came from the cover of a zine by Ian Vens, which had sat on display in their home for years. It read, “OH PLEASE BABY JUST QUIT OK IF ANYTHING COMES ALONG PLEASE PROMISE ME YOULL QUIT THAT JOB.” Hamilton felt there was a lot of truth in it, in her own experiences with dead-end work that felt unfulfilling, the economic instability that goes hand-in-hand with choosing to “follow one’s dreams,” and the pain of watching those close to you suffer just to pay for the realities of their existence. The lyrics were also inspired by a growing fascination with bread as allegory; the idea of proving oneself, and reaping the reward of labor. “Breadwinner” is a song about shared burdens in life and love, and hoping that there’s something transcendent, honest in whatever it is to work.

Released May 27th, 2020

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Believe it or not, it’s tough to make it as a musician these days. You can hear this struggle clearly in “Personalia,” the first single from Athens, GA–based songwriter Locate S,1’s forthcoming album of the same name, as she opens the track with the line, “Almost killed myself so I went home / I just cannot take these local shows.” Yet the simmering new wave instrumentation isn’t the only sign of hope on the single, and the album to follow. “Personalia” takes its name from a Mary Ruefle poem, marking a shift in the poet’s creative life from an old woman’s spirit trapped in a young woman’s body to the inverse—that is to say, Locate S,1 represents a hopeful reinvention for Christina Schneider, who’s cycled through a number of musical projects before touring with Frankie Cosmos and signing to Captured Tracks under the new moniker.

Official video for “Personalia”, from Locate S,1’s new album, Personalia.

Moving a satisfying line between shimmering jangle pop and robust shoegaze, DIIV are to release their third full-length album “Deceiver”. The band crafts the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite… the same could be said of the journey these four musicians underwent to get to their third full-length. out of lies, fractured friendships, and broken promises, clarity would be found. fans of Ride, Real estate and Ultimate Painting will love it!

Rebirth takes place when everything falls apart. DIIV—Zachary Cole Smith [lead vocals, guitar], Andrew Bailey [guitar], Colin Caulfield [vocals, bass], and Ben Newman [drums]—craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite…

The same could be said of the journey these four musicians underwent to get to their third full-length album, Deceiver. Out of lies, fractured friendships, and broken promises, clarity would be found.

“I’ve known everyone in the band for ten years plus separately and together as DIIV for at least the past five years,” says Cole. “On Deceiver, I’m talking about working for the relationships in my life, repairing them, and accepting responsibility for the places I’ve failed them. I had to re-approach the band. It wasn’t restarting from a clean slate, but it was a new beginning. It took time—as it did with everybody else in my life—but we all grew together and learned how to communicate and collaborate.”

A whirlwind brought DIIV there.

Amidst turmoil, the group delivered the critical and fan favorite Is the Is Are in 2016 following 2012’s Oshin. Praise came from The Guardian, Spin, and more. NME ranked it in the Top 10 among the “Albums of the Year.”  Pitchfork’s audience voted Is the Is Are one of the “Top 50 Albums of 2016” as the outlet dubbed it, “gorgeous.

In the aftermath of Cole’s personal struggles, he “finally accepted what it means to go through treatment and committed,” emerging with a renewed focus and perspective. Getting back together with the band in Los Angeles would result in a series of firsts. This would be the first time DIIV conceived a record as a band with Colin bringing in demos, writing alongside Cole, and the entire band arranging every tune.

Cole and I approached writing vocal melodies the same way the band approached the instrumentals,” says Colin. “We threw ideas at the wall for months on end, slowly making sense of everything. It was a constant conversation about the parts we liked best versus which of them served the album best.”

Another first, DIIV lived with the songs on the road. During a 2018 tour with Deafheaven, they performed eight untitled brand-new compositions as the bulk of the set. The tunes also progressed as the players did.

“We went from playing these songs in the rehearsal space to performing them live at shows, figuring them out in real-time in front of hundreds of people, and approaching them from a broader range of reference points,” he goes on. “We’d never done that before. We got to internalize how everything worked on stage. We did all of the trimming before we went to the studio. It was an exercise in simplifying what makes a song. We really learned how to listen, write, and work as a band.”

The vibe got heavier under influences ranging from Unwound and Elliot Smith to True Widow and Neurosis. They also enlisted producer Sonny Diperri [My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Protomartyr]. his presence dramatically expanded the sonic palette, making it richer and fuller than ever before. It marks a major step forward for DIIV.

“He brought a lot of common sense and discipline to our process,” adds Cole. “We’d been touring these songs and playing them for a while, so he was able to encourage us to make decisions and own them.”

The first single “Skin Game” charges forward with frenetic drums, layered vocals and clean, driven guitars that ricochet off each other.

“I’d say it’s an imaginary dialogue between two characters, which could either be myself or people I know,” he says. “I spent six months in several different rehab facilities at the beginning of 2017. I was living with other addicts. Being a recovering addict myself, there are a lot of questions like, ‘Who are we? What is this disease?’  Our last record was about recovery in general, but I truthfully didn’t buy in. I decided to live in my disease instead. ‘Skin Game’ looks at where the pain comes from. I’m looking at the personal, physical, emotional, and broader political experiences feeding into the cycle of addiction for millions of us.”

A trudging groove and wailing guitar punctuate a lulling apology on the magnetically melancholic “Taker.” According to Cole, it’s “about taking responsibility for your lies, their consequences, and the entire experience.” Meanwhile, the ominous bass line and crawling beat of “Blankenship” devolve into schizophrenic string bends as the vitriolic lyrics. Offering a dynamic denouement, the seven-minute “Acheron” flows through a hulking beat guided under gusts of lyrical fretwork and a distorted heavy apotheosis.

Even after the final strains of distortion ring out on Deceiver, these four musicians will continue to evolve. “We’re still going,” Cole leaves off. “Hopefully we’ll be doing this for a long time.”

Ultimately, DIIV’s rebirth is a hard-earned and well-deserved new beginning.

Official video for “Blankenship,” the third single from DIIV’s new album Deceiver, out October 4th,

Special Edition LP is pressed on tricolor vinyl in an edition of 2000 copies. It includes an inverse Obi Strip as well as a 12″ x 24″ double-sided poster. It will ship on or slightly before the album’s October 4th release date.

Rebirth takes place when everything falls apart. On DIIV’s forthcoming third full-length album, “Deceiver” – out October 4th – they craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis, upheld by robust guitars and vocal tension that almost snaps, but never quite… Today, the band — Zachary Cole Smith [lead vocals, guitar], Andrew Bailey [guitar], Colin Caulfield [vocals, bass], and Ben Newman [drums] — releases lead single “Skin Game,” which gallops forth on a clean guitar riff before unfolding into a hypnotic hook offset by an off-kilter rhythm and hummable solo.

“It’s an imaginary dialogue between two characters, which could either be myself or people I know,” says Cole of “Skin Game. “I spent six months in several different rehab facilities at the beginning of 2017. I was living with other addicts. Being a recovering addict myself, there are a lot of questions like, ‘Who are we? What is this disease?’ Our last record was about recovery in general, but I truthfully didn’t buy in. I decided to live in my disease instead. ‘Skin Game’ looks at where the pain comes from. I’m looking at the personal, physical, emotional, and broader political experiences feeding into the cycle of addiction for millions of us.”
Deceiver was recorded in March, 2019 in Los Angeles. For the first time, the band enlisted an outside producer in the form of Sonny Diperri (Nine Inch Nails, Protomartyr) whose presence dramatically expanded the sonic palette, making it richer and fuller than ever before. The new album is preceded by 2012’s Oshin and 2016’s critical and fan favorite Is the Is Are. Ranked it in the Top 10 among the “Albums of the Year” and Pitchfork’s audience voted Is the Is Are one of the “Top 50 Albums of 2016” as the outlet dubbed it, “gorgeous.”

DIIV – Zachary Cole Smith (lead vocals/guitar), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Colin Caulfield (vocals/bass), and Ben Newman (drums) – craft the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of

It’s tough to follow up an album as captivating as Molly Burch’s debut, Please Be Mine. However, Burch followed it up with yet another masterpiece in First Flower. From her clever lyricism, to the gorgeous instrumentals that can be found throughout the record, Burch created a record that is among the year’s finest. And a statement at that.

“Candy” sets Burch’s deceptive tone, an anxious track that sounds summery and groovy. On “Wild”, Burch wishes to channel her wild side. “Good Behavior” is an amazing, introspective track that is one of Burch’s strongest vocal performances on the record. She charms with the Laurel Canyon vibes of “Dangerous Place”, but her words are personally piercing. As she sings, “I hope I learn from my mistakes. I hope I forgive myself one day”. At the same time, she seeks to make her mark, as revealed on the provocative and clever “To The Boys”.

As she proves on First Flower, one does not need to make a statement by being louder than the rest. Instead, with a sharp pen, a witty and dichotomous approach, and a voice to remember, one can still provoke, tease, and speak loudly. One can still deliver another modern-day classic gem, which Burch has done once again.

First Flower is out on Captured Tracks,

Texas songwriter Molly Burch only released her stunning debut full-length, “Please Be Mine”, last year, but its follow-up is already slated for arrival.  First Flowerpicks up right where its predecessor left off, its eleven tracks packed with whip-smart lyrical observations set to jazz-inflected, country-infused guitar pop; for a primer, digest the album’s lead single, the lilting “Wild.”

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“To The Boys,” is the latest offering, is quintessential Burch, the contours of her smoky contralto dovetailing in conversation with a contemplative, wandering guitar line, a gently syncopated rhythm section in tow.  brimming with a cool confidence, Burch subverts the generally accepted stereotypical portrayals of power, quipping “i don’t need to scream to get my point across / i don’t need to yell to know that i’m the boss,” her unabashed assuredness reverberating throughout the track.

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The second single from Molly Burch’s sophomore album First Flower is due october 5th via Captured tracks.

Mourn

Before the critically acclaimed Catalonia band MOURNCarla Peréz Vas, Jazz Rodríguez Bueno, Leia Rodríguez, and Antonio Postius—were signed to Captured Tracks, they were mired in a legal dispute with their Spanish label. Frustrated by their inability to tour behind their sophomore LP, Ha, Ha, He!, the band channeled that rage to create Sorpresa Familia, a snarling LP full of post-punk fervor. Sorpresa Familia spans the rock expanse, touching on emo, math rock, and straight-ahead punk, channeling these different iterations into something fiery and wholly unique. It’s an enthralling listen, and reflects the passion and excitement the group brought to this conversation of music discovery.

When talking about these teenage Barcelona punks, PJ Harvey’s name is always going to be the first one that comes up. That owes to frontwoman Jazz Rodriguez Bueno’s strident, gut-ripping howl, one of the few voices on the indie rock landscape that could merit such a comparison. But while Mourn may challenge Ms. Harvey’s elemental ferocity, they also play with a sloppily simple basement-hardcore urgency that’s just overwhelmingly endearing. That voice, combined with the band’s juvenile bash-it-out force, makes for a potent combination.

Much of Widowspeak’s forthcoming album, “Expect The Best”, was written after singer Molly Hamilton returned to the town of her youth, Tacoma, Washington. It’s perhaps fitting then that it a record that seems to deal heavily in self-examination and exploring the feeling of being adrift in a rudderless world.

On their newest album for Brooklyn record label Captured Tracks, Widowspeak use familiar aesthetics as a narrative device, a purposeful nostalgic backdrop for songs.  Sonically, they exist somewhere in the overlap between somber indie rock, dream pop, slow-core and their own invented genre, “cowboy grunge.” At the heart of the band, there is a palpable duality, a push and pull between the delicate and the deliberate: the contrast of lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton with her strikingly beautiful  voice and poignant melodies with the terrestrial reality of being a four-piece rock band. These songs sound like the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. “Expect the Best”  sees Widowspeak finding their greatest balance between opposing forces: darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm.

Expect The Best, is the band’s first album recorded as a four piece, due out next week, and ahead of that release, Widowspeak have shared the stunning new single, The Dream. Many of the hallmarks of earlier recordings, the dusty twanging lead guitar lines and Molly Hamilton’s world-weary vocals, remain, but Widowspeak sound fuller and more ambitious than ever. Cinematic strings soar into The Dream, creating a perfect backdrop to the beautiful vocal delivery, as Molly seems to question her life choices, repeating the line, “isn’t that the dream?”, as if trying to convince herself as much as anyone else. The album title might tell us to expect the best, and listening to a track as good as The Dream, how could you expect anything else?

Expect The Best is out August 25th on Captured Tracks Records.