Posts Tagged ‘Captured Tracks Records’

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Barcelona’s Mourn. They’ve just dropped ‘This Feeling Is Disgusting’ and it’s a perfect indie rock banger – two-chord punk guitars, sweet/rageful vocals, jumpabout beat. “Self Worth”, out now via Captured Tracks, is the Barcelona trio’s fourth album, and it follows 2018’s Sopresa Familia, which was characterized by the seething anger Mourn felt after being manipulated by their previous record label. Self Worth is imbued with a similarly intoxicating vigour and celebration of each other, but it also has a cool confidence, and both melodic ease and intrigue. With an approach to rock and post-punk that’s both straightforward and unusual, Mourn remain one of the most underrated bands going.

Adversity does not incite the best feelings: frustration, anger, fear, anxiety – nothing unusual for today’s world. The members of Mourn know quite a bit about these setbacks, but a latent belief persists within: the negative will eventually become positive. It’s the belief of facing and overcoming a problem. To come out reinforced: the wonder of resilience. It’s the belief of what they are worth, whatever people say. It’s the name they chose for their new album: Self Worth.

And it’s precisely self-worth that took Mourn this far. Their journey was premature, with their self-titled debut album – released in 2014 when all the members were still minors – earning them widespread critical acclaim and devoted fans. They followed with two more: Ha, Ha, He (2016) and Sorpresa Familia (2018), and became intercontinental with tours in North America, Europe, and Japan. An indie dream come true for Jazz Rodríguez and Carla Pérez Vas, both born in 1996 in El Maresme, Catalonia, where the two became inseparable in high school. That bond remains today, and when their voices and guitars combine it is pure fire.

Of course, there were obstacles along the way: a local label with mismanaged finances and careless managers, and more recently, a line-up change with Antonio Postius no longer on the drums. The band isn’t the same as when they formed. The world isn’t either. Mourn grew up, and that’s evident in the songs that make up Self Worth. Their melodies – energetic and captivating – venture into less level grounds, and their lyrics show their newfound readiness to tackle issues of a different weight and size.

Self Worth began to take shape in the spring of last year. Back then, things weren’t going so well. “We were in a very bad moment; the group dynamics were no longer working with Antonio. We didn’t feel like we could write a record with him. It didn’t work. So in the end he left,” Jazz recalls. “I think his departure was something that had to happen. We no longer understood each other. And it got to the point where it wasn’t comfortable, either on tour or in rehearsals. So it was a very positive change. It gave us the peace of mind we needed,” Carla adds. In May, once freed from the “bad vibes”, Jazz and Carla took refuge for almost a week in a small house in the mountains, near the Pyrenees in France, to start projecting their next album. No phones, no internet. Just what they needed to write and record demos. New melodies, lyrics and guitar parts appeared, and with these first songs, they returned to Catalonia, where Leia Rodríguez – bassist and sister of Jazz – and Víctor Pelusa – the new drummer – were waiting. “We finished it with the four of us together, at the end of that summer,” Carla says. Jazz: “We’ve been able to enjoy the process of writing an album throughout the summer. In the past that could only happen under pressure.”

The track is from forthcoming album, “Self Worth”, out October 30th via Captured Tracks.

“The song is really about fear of the future, being anxious about what’s going to happen, not knowing if you’re going to be able to earn a living or not. It’s a really happy song, but one that represents being stressed out. The idea of “I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford an apartment any time soon, but hey, let’s dance and have fun!” That’s the concept behind it, and that’s what I was thinking about while writing the lyrics. I also thought about my parents, and everyone’s parents. They often have high expectations for you, or they want a certain lifestyle for you, and you don’t always agree with that. So you try so hard to do life your own way, but you’re super stressed out and you’re scared, and every now and then you think “Is it worth it?” In the end, I think it’s worth it.”

Official video for “This Feeling Is Disgusting”, from Mourn’s new album “Self Worth”

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“Clash the Truth” is the second studio album by American indie rock band Beach Fossils. It was produced by Ben Greenberg (formerly of The Men) and songwriter Dustin Payseur. It was released on February 18th, 2013, through Captured Tracks, After recording the first Beach Fossils album in decidedly lo-fi fashion and mostly by himself, Dustin Payseur decided to make a change for the group’s second album, 2013’s Clash the Truth. First, he teaming up with producer Ben Greenberg (of the Men) and headed to a real studio (then another after the first one flooded during Hurricane Sandy). He also replaced the drum machine he’d been using with a real drummer, Tommy Gardner, and recorded the bass and drums live together. For many bands that start out as intimate bedroom recording projects, this kind of shift signals the beginning of the end as the very things that made them interesting (intimacy, weirdness, and immediacy) are discarded in favour of fidelity and some degree of professionalism. In Beach Fossils‘ case, moving to a studio with better sound has served to strengthen the impact of the music. Payseur and Greenberg don’t change the basic reverb-heavy sound or the surf-riding guitars or the general feel of the music; instead they make it a little clearer and more punchy, which helps the songs hit harder. I originally preffered their first two EP’s, but fell in love with Clash the Truth because of the substance and depth it has in comparison to their early stuff.

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The live bass and drums, too, give the songs a raw energy that their previous recordings didn’t have. Gardner turns out to be an ideal addition to the sound, never just playing the beat robotically but colouring it in with crisp fills and strong cymbal work. Payseur sings a little louder and with more force too, delivering some aggression on the up-tempo tracks and giving the slower, more introspective ones some extra depth. There’s a nice bit of variety, as well, with quite a few songs that stretch the Fossils‘ range. While most of them fall right into the sweet spot of hard-charging, underwater indie pop — with a couple (“Careless,” “Shallow”) sounding like modern reverb-pop classics — there are diversions into acoustic balladry (on the absolutely beautiful “Sleep Apnea,”) jittery post-punk (“Caustic Cross”), and best of all, a wonderfully atmospheric shoegaze dreamer that features Payseur sharing wistful vocals with Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino. All in all, Clash the Truth is exactly the record Beach Fossils should have made at this point, reinforcing all the things that made them good while adding some excellent new wrinkles and boosting the production values.

Originally released February 19th, 2013

Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987 is the first volume of Captured Tracks‘ new venture into compilations – Excavations.

Inspired by Pebbles, Killed By Death, Soul Jazz and Numero Group compilations, Excavations is a series dedicated to compiling forgotten music from the 1970s – 1990s that has a connection to Captured Tracks’ sound and aesthetic. Much like the Cleaners from Venus, the Wake, and Saäda Bonaire reissues we’ve put out, Excavations releases will bridge the past to our current roster and showcase the kinds of sounds that inspire us.

Record label Captured Tracks has announced a new compilation called Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983 – 1987. An orange vinyl edition of the new 28-track collection arrives on Record Store Day’s “Day Drop” on October 24th; standard black vinyl, as well as digital and CD editions will be out November 13th.

Strum & Thrum is the inaugural volume of Captured Tracks’ new Excavations compilation series. It chronicles the roots of melodic indie rock in the early-to-mid 1980s. Listen to the Reverbs“Trusted Woods” from the compilation below, and scroll down to watch a trailer for the release.

Strum & Thrum includes music from the Strand, Salem 66, Vandykes, the Ferrets, and others. The release also features a booklet with an oral history of the ’80s indie scene, an introduction by Captured Tracks label head Mike Sniper, archival images, and more. Strum & Thrum will be available on vinyl, CD, and digitally

“Strum & Thrum seems like the right fit for the first reissue compilation for Captured Tracks,” Mike Sniper said in a press release. He continued:
I’m happy that the first compilation I’ve ever produced features overlooked records that are still affordable—anyone who enjoys this comp can dive deeper into this scene without having to take out a loan. People nowadays sometimes say that guitar music is dead. Strum & Thrum is certainly against that notion. Listening to it and reading the oral history sheds a light on a largely forgotten scene full of great bands with some really great songs. I’m glad to be able to help share this story and get the bands some of the recognition they’ve deserved all along.

Record Store Day founder Michael Kurtz added:

It’s ironic that Strum & Thrum is coming out on Record Store Day’s October Drop Date, as the reason Sheila and I started Three Hits is directly related to discovering R.E.M.’s Hib-Tone single “Radio Free Europe” in a Boone, NC record store in 1981. The look was handmade, the sound was raw and honest, and the 7″ record was limited and special—you could only find it in a record store.
Owning a copy of that single allowed us fans to have a connection to the band, and that personal experience directly influenced the creation of Record Store Day itself. At the time, hearing “Radio Free Europe” and it’s “Sitting Still” B-side changed a lot of people’s lives. Dozens of other southeastern US bands, including One Plus Two, set out to write and perform songs because of it. It was an incredibly exciting time and it’s fantastic to hear bands from around the US who all had similar epiphanies and made a lot of noise together on this compilation.

Formed in the aftermath of punk’s descent on Kansas in the late 70s, Start’s jangly melodies felt distinct from the local scene, with contemporaries only to be found across the Atlantic. Despite this sense of isolation, they went on to play alongside seminal midwest groups including Get Smart and the Embarrassment, recorded the protest song “Little Fish Big Fish” with Allen Ginsberg, and released a full-length album that included “Where I Want To Be”.

Spread across two LPs, Strum & Thrum includes an 80+ page booklet with an extensive oral history of the ‘80s indie scene, an introduction by Captured Tracks label head Mike Sniper, and tons of archival images and ephemera. Long live the jangle underground!
Releases November 13th, 2020

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Widowspeak shared the title track from their upcoming album, Plum, due August 28th via Captured Tracks. “Plum,” the third single featured on the album, was shared with an accompanying video. It follows singles “Money,” and “Breadwinner,”

The duo features singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas. Plum was recorded last winter by Sam Evian at his Flying Cloud studio in the Catskills, New York, and mixed by Ali Chant.

Hamilton had this to say about “Plum” in a press release: “I wrote ‘Plum’ about wanting to be more comfortable and casual with thoughts I tend to avoid. Especially when I’m feeling very out-of-step with the world, there’s no use in being nostalgic for “the end of an era” or being afraid of what could happen. But, avoiding the present is kind of my default. I’m trying to be more aware that everyone is on its own trajectory, in its own time, slowly becoming something or becoming nothing.”

Official video for Widowspeak’s new single “Plum”.

Plum by Widowspeak

“Plum” is the fifth album, and first  in three years, by Brooklyn indie types Widowspeak. Their music incorporates ‘60s psych rock and ‘90s dream pop – melodic with a widescreen warmth. The band decided to earn their corn by taking full-time jobs instead of touring, therefore the album was recorded during weekends when everyone was available. With song titles such as ‘Breadwinner’ and ‘Money’, how artists make a living is a central theme.
With the announcement comes the release of new single “Money.” The track soars over the back of a super slick and infectious guitar lick, that allows singer Molly Hamilton plenty of space to lay down her dreamy vocals. The track discusses the way that money plays a role in everything we do and the effect that has on our society.

Hamilton goes on to explain further below:

I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we tell ourselves in order to “forget” the toll of our collective actions: whatever makes it easier to forgive what we’re complicit in. Some of that is related to the environment and how people have trained themselves to tune out “environmentalist propaganda”. We made part of the video at a park in Kingston and the archival footage is mostly pulled from films aimed at employees or shareholders of various industries. The narration for many of them (forestry, agriculture, mining, energy) was surprisingly concerned with the dangers of an environment out of balance… Shows you that we haven’t learned much in the last 70 years. On the other hand, the lyrics are also about capitalism and how it trains us to see everything in terms of value, even our experiences, and we get so caught up in seeking some sort of return on investment that we ignore the damage we inflict (on people, on ourselves, on the planet).”

Find the official video for “Money”

Following “Breadwinner” Widowspeak have their new album Plum, which will come out on August 23rd via 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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Divine, dreamy indie-pop with from New York-born, Nashville-based artist Becca Mancari. She’s got that ultra-honest approach to her lyrics. She doesn’t shroud her tales in metaphor, preferring to flat-out tells us about how it felt to come out, how her super religious family reacted and how it’s affected her. Honest and beautiful songwriting. Becca Mancari is a traveler. She’s lived everywhere — Staten Island, Florida, Zimbabwe, Virginia, India, Pennsylvania — and she’s collected plenty of tales along the way, spinning the sounds and stories of the modern world into songs. Expanding beyond the homespun rootsiness of her critically acclaimed debut to incorporate a grittier, more experimental palette, Becca Mancari’s captivating new collection, ‘The Greatest Part,’ lives in a liminal space between grief and joy, pain and forgiveness, sorrow and liberation. The record, produced by Paramore drummer Zac Farro, marks a significant sonic and emotional evolution, balancing unflinching self-examination with intoxicating grooves and infectious instrumental hooks fueled by explosive percussion and fuzzed out guitars.

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A lot of people were introduced to Becca Mancari as a member of Bermuda Triangle alongside Brittany Howard, but Becca had also released her debut solo album Good Woman right around the same time Bermuda Triangle put out their first single, and Good Woman proved Becca was a worthwhile artist in her own right. It’s one of the past few years’ true gems; an alt-country record with an indie rock edge and truly timeless songwriting.

For its follow-up The Greatest Part, Becca signed to Captured Tracks — an indie pop label who at this point are probably best known for signing Mac DeMarco — and she produced it with Paramore drummer Zac Farro, who also makes Tame Impala-esque psych-pop as Halfnoise. (Plus, there’s backing vocals on “First Time” and “I’m Sorry” by Julien Baker.) The Greatest Part is probably the first album to ever make “Captured Tracks,” “country,” and “Paramore” one degree of separation from each other, and you can hear the center point of that unique venn diagram in the sound of these songs as much as you can see it on paper. Zac’s influence is felt in the psych-pop guitar work that pops up from time to time, and much more so than Good Woman, this album has an indie/dream pop side that sounds right at home on Captured Tracks. Becca hasn’t abandoned her folk/country roots, though, and the fusion of all of these sounds makes for an album that breaks down even more musical boundaries than Good Woman did. The sounds that Becca experiments with on this album are new, but what hasn’t changed is how impactful her song writing and delivery is. She still has a knack for wrapping powerful storytelling in warm melodies, and delivering each word in a way that captures your attention and doesn’t let it go.

Her new album The Greatest Part will be out at the end of June.

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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.