Posts Tagged ‘City Slang Records’

 

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The title of “Opening Night,” the introductory song on Quiet Signs, Jessica Pratt’s third album, is a reference to Gena Rowlands‘ harrowing, haunted performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career. “On some level I considered an audience while making the last record,” she writes, “but my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.”

After a collection of demos and early studio recordings earned her a small, dedicated audience, Pratt moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and recorded her first intentional album in her bedroom in a matter of months. That album, On Your Own Love Again (Drag City, 2015), would bring her around the world many times, leading many to fall under the spell of Jessica Pratt the performer, the songwriter, the singer with the heavy-lidded voice that feels alien and familiar at the same time.

Her first album fully recorded in a professional studio setting, Pratt’s songwriting and accompanying guitar work are refined on Quiet Signs, more distinct and direct. Songs like “Fare Thee Well” and “Poly Blue” retain glimmers of OYOLA‘s hazy day afternoon spells, yet delicate flute, strings sustained by organ arrangements, and rehearsal room piano now gesture towards the lush chamber pop and longing of The Left Banke. On the album’s first single, “This Time Around,” Pratt hits on a profound, late-night clarity over just a couple of deep chords, evoking Caetano Veloso‘s casual seaside brilliance. And before the curtain drops Quiet Signs, Pratt provides a show-stopping closer, “Aeroplane.”

In the world of Quiet Signs, the black of night usually represents fear, despair, resignation; finally at home descending towards the illuminated city, she sings over black leather drone and tambourine shuffle with a newfound resolve. Quiet Signs is the journey of an artist emerging from the darkened wings, growing comfortable as a solitary figure on a sprawling stage.

The album was written in Los Angeles and recorded at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn, NY over 2017 and 2018. It was co-produced by Al Carlson. He plays flute, organ and piano on some songs. Matt McDermott also played piano and string synthesizer. It will be released on Mexican Summer in the US and City Slang in Europe .

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White Denim are prolific at the best of times. Put the band – which is driven by frontman James Petralli – in isolation and you’re bound to get results. ‘I Don’t Understand Rock And Roll’ is more of that driving, guitar-heavy, psych rock with delightful pop hooks that the band do so well.  Written and recorded in 30 days under quarantine from March 18th – April 17th, 2020.

World As A Waiting Room’ vinyl update! Thank you for your patience as our manufacturer works through some unavoidable delays with their printing vendor. The current timeline is for records to be assembled the last week of May.

Their isolation album, which they wrote and recorded in just 30 days, is called World As A Waiting Room and it’s available now.

Band Members:
James Petralli,
Steve Terebecki,
Michael Hunter,
Greg Clifford,

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Wives debut LP, “So Removed”, opens with the timely and befitting lyrics: “Happy ever after / this place is a disaster.” According to Jay Beach, the vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter of the four-piece Wives, this is the track that best embodies their sound. It’s Drone-y, crammed with clever observations, and still catchy enough to make you forget the world is ending despite being told straight to your face. “Waving Past Nirvana” embraces my favorite sentence in the band’s bio, which describes the sentiment of their debut as “tethered to daily anxiety without resorting to cynicism.”

Wives’ creation story plays out much like their sound: a confident teetering and self-assured stumbling that somehow leads you to the exact right place. Beach, guitarist Andrew Bailey, drummer Adam Sachs, and bassist Alex Crawford were all embedded in New York’s DIY music scene working on their own music projects when the unraveling of a previous project and an uncanceled studio session lured them into the studio. Beach puts it succinctly, sharing, “It was a lot of fun and when we heard the tapes we were like, ‘Wow, that’s really good.’ So, we just became Wives.” The album was created over a two-year span of time with the friends taking advantage of stolen moments in the studio, never taking it too seriously and just following what felt and sounded right.

“When the four of us came together, it was definitely a unique sound none of us had hit on before in our other musical lives. I think everyone brings something quite unique to the table. I write songs that are, I guess, more traditional. Our bass player is a huge My Bloody Valentine fan, and his vibe is really shoegaze-ey, our guitar player is more modern. Our drummer Andrew is super into death metal and hip-hop. I know the sound of WIives makes a lot of sense because I know where everyone is coming from, but everyone is coming from separate places,” Beach explains.

The band got their start in Queens, New York City’s largest borough, and the nation’s most diverse large county. Much like Wives, it’s full of people coming from different places, but it plays out harmoniously.

“We have mad Queens love, and I think Queens is the best borough in New York by far,” Beach shares when asked about the backdrop of their start. “People are a little more chill in Queens; it’s a little more of a family vibe, and there are still many ethnic communities that are intact. There’s [a] flourishing Polish community and Eastern European community, little Bangladesh, little Nepal,” Beach says. “It’s like a good social experiment. Like let’s take the most diverse amount of people you can and, like, throw them into a place, and it mostly works out, you know?”

That organic coming together can be heard in tracks like “Even The Dead.” It’s anything but over-practiced or contrived; it’s exactly what you would hear live. “There are no overdubs, no nothing,” Beach shares when asked about the track. “We just started playing this one riff and went for it for those five minutes and recorded it on tape. That’s it. That’s the final track. Obviously that kind of lightning in a bottle doesn’t happen all the time. That’s rare. But when we have a piece, like, we really believe in, we just keep it. We don’t fuck with it. It might not be perfect. It might not be a No. 1 single but it has something, a spontaneity, that’s really hard to find.”

One of the albums poppier moments comes by way of “The 20 Teens.” Beach shares that while listening to A Flock of Seagulls playing at a Bushwick restaurant, he had the thought that all the lyrics might as well have been “This is the ’80s, this is the ’80s,” since the track seemed to embody the decade so well. He decided to square up to that track, and create his own version for the 2010s, full of references to people reading paper magazines and donning dungarees. The track starts with a sharp and inquisitive “some records are so twisted that they actually happened,” a line Beach found in an old journal he’d been writing in while listening to old 45s.

“You could say it’s positively ironic; I think in our songs there’s a strain of sweetness and nostalgia,” Beach says, and laughs, when I share that the songs seem like perfect listening for both pre-party and post-breakup. “Even though there’s also this stance of New York cynicism, it’s in there too,” he adds.

There’s something in the way Beach sings that makes your ears perk up. Like Lou Reed from a pulpit, it feels biblical. You can’t help but attempt to decipher messages hidden in the lyrics, something that could save us from our present-day chaos, or at least make us more comfortable with it. The album has moments of respite, but it magnetizes you back toward careful chaos. See, you can dance through a track like “Hideaway” and move to forget, but then the closing track, “The Future is A Drag” reminds you of the state of things again. Much like the bustling Queens borough, there’s a calm, but not without a commotion.

“When I’m listening to music, it’s more about just being here and now in this time and place and listening to these sounds. Sometimes it’s an old blues record, sometimes it’s a T-Rex record, sometimes it’s Vince Staples — whatever it is. There’s something that just gets captured sometimes that I call ‘the slow within the fast.’ To me, it’s the most amazing thing I can think of experiencing. It’s this marriage between rhythm and, I guess, melody and, not to sound lame, but there’s a shifting thing that happens on really good records like My Bloody Valentine or something like that, where there’s something shifting underneath your feet. The ground is shifting. It could be a fast song — hip-hop does it really well — or it can be a really shoegaze-y thing that’s slower. But, that’s kind of what we’re going for. We want to move people in the way we know is possible to be moved because we’re just lovers of music.”

Debut album ‘So Removed’ – Out now on City Slang

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The debut album of Wives! The Queens, NY four-piece is the latest fit into a long lineage of New York’s gritty, melodic-meets-punk.

Wives as a band came together by happenstance — a random realization amidst friends busy with other musical projects. Jay met Adam Sachs, Wives’ drummer, while interning at a New York recording studio where Adam worked as an assistant. The two became fast friends, their constant hanging out growing to include guitarist Andrew Bailey (DIIV) and bassist Gabe Wax, who’d eventually be replaced by another friend, Alex Crawford. All were embedded in New York’s DIY music scene through their respective projects, with years of playing house shows and booking their own tours under their belts. It wasn’t until a random day of extra studio time booked for another project that the four of them actually played together.

So Removed is grungy dark-wave, tethered to daily anxiety without resorting to cynicism. The noisy dissonance of Sonic Youth, the edgy hooks of early Pixies, and the clever, cerebral sneering of The Fall simmer as touchstones within the album, sharp and prodding at the details, pulsing with urgency. So Removed plunges into the void of unknown, a tangle of contemporary dread and optimism, mapping the gray areas of alienation.

Our new track ‘Hit Me Up’ is out now! check out our videos and newly announced tour dates!

‘Hit Me Up’ was written form the point of view of a New Yorker who can’t let go. His everyday reality does not jibe with what is going on in his head, and he’s holding onto a past that never existed in the first place.

Some are in search of modernity and clear virgin territories, others are content to follow the pack; others still decide to take the history of rock where the Pixies have left, a little as if you returned to the scene of your first gallon thirty after and nothing had moved. The kids of Wives, a quartet made in New York City poised to become the new darling of Queens, are part of this glorious category. Just one month after unveiling their first single, Waving Past Nirvana , their debut album is due out anytime soon.

With “The 20 Teens,” Queens, NY-based quartet Wives take a stab at writing a timely ode to the present. In an interview with frontman Jay Beach admits, “I heard a song by A Flock of Seagulls. My friend turned to me and said “why don’t they just call this song ‘the 19 eighties’, cuz when I listen to it that’s all I can think of.” I laughed and said I would write a song called ‘The 20 Teens’.”

“The 20 Teens” marks the band’s third single this year, a taste of their debut full-length So Removed which will be October 4th via City Slang Records.

Wives may have been the grittiest group encountered at NON-COMM this year, but “Workin'” shows off a different side to this Queens-based, grunge four-piece. With their rumbling guitars and singer-guitarist Jay Beach’s languid vocals, Wives weaves together a thick, bassy carpet of sound in this cut. A good old guitar chugging in a strident back and forth, a rhythmic part backwards I’m Waiting for My Man , schizophrenic words chanted in a nonchalant morgue, Workin is a little hymn that should make you stamp impatience until you know more (we’ll tell you soon) about the bright future of this bunch of dirty kids too good to be true.

They tell us: “‘Workin” was a poem written while having a nervous breakdown in a 3rd floor walk up in Brooklyn, NY. My inward turmoil became the outward predicament of all of us workin’ stiffs. The ground actually did turn over and the floorboards were shifted. It must have been a manifestation of something going on inside my brain, and all the visions were coming at me in stop motion waves. The band played this track in one take and it was so good that we had to keep it and adjust the vocals slightly to fit the contours, which is how the chorus came about. The chorus being more or less the macro view of what was going in inside of my micro consciousness. From the personal out into the universal, but only because of that great guitar line!”

The track is the sound of four men in a room, doing exactly what the song title suggests: ‘Workin”. The track grinds and grooves along in waves of squalling guitar and unwearying percussion, dragging your tired mind through the rest of your work day and out into the sunshine of freedom. Even when surrounded by chaos and stress, as described in the above quote, they haul themselves through it, finding musical and emotional strength in one another and reproducing it as the alt-rock juggernaut that is ‘Workin”.

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Debut album ‘So Removed’ – 4th October 2019 on City Slang

Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

Calexico and Iron & Wine first made an artistic connection with In the Reins, the 2005 EP that brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino together. The acclaimed collaboration introduced both acts to wider audiences and broadened Beam’s artistic horizons, but it was the shared experience of touring together in the tradition of Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” that cemented their bond. Their metaphorical roads diverged in the years that followed, but they kept in touch and cross-pollinated where they could. But although they often talked about rekindling their collaboration in the studio and on the stage, it wasn’t until last year that their schedules aligned.

Years to Burn can’t help but be different from In the Reins. Back then, Calexico entered the studio with a long list of previous collaborations (first in Giant Sand, then backing the likes of Victoria Williams and Richard Buckner) and the knowledge that they loved Sam’s voice and his songs, but wondering if his material was so complete and self-contained that it lacked a way in, so hushed and delicate that it might be overwhelmed. For his part, Beam had been intimidated by their virtuosic playing and their deep comfort in an encyclopedic array of styles. “In my mind, I was a guy who knew three chords and recorded in a closet,” Sam says. “They were playing big stages and were superb musicians.”

Those fears were dispelled quickly. Calexico was bowled over by Beam’s many talents: “The arranging, the writing, his sense of rhythm, the quality of his vocals—and then there’s the experimental side of Sam,” Joey says. “They were the perfect band at the perfect time for me,” Sam adds. “I loved all their different sounds. They’re musical anthropologists, not regurgitating but absorbing what they discover.” Nearly 15 years on, “coming back to the project has to do with acknowledging how much impact the first record had for me in my life.”

Calexico and Iron & Wine

Released via Sub Pop (World) and City Slang (Europe)

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Hello love, I’m a television star. I late-night-debuted on the boob tube. Of course, life is funny. You don’t get to be on Jimmy Kimmel Live! when you’re healthy. You get to play on Jimmy Kimmel Live! when you’re midway through a nine day spell of near-nonstop hiccups, when you’ve got a brutal cough/cold and nearly no voice at all. I did a lot of my go-to “lay on the floor and get mindful AF” thing that day.

In the end, things went pretty great and I can’t believe how lucky we were that we got to go down to Hollywood and do that. Everyone who works at Jimmy Kimmel Live! was just incredible to work with – kind, professional and easy. The culture of any organization flows from the top down, so it’s a credit to Jimmy himself for running such a quality ship. This is my fifth album. I worked with some incredible people who have made many of my favorite albums. It was an important lesson in minimalism, and while their consolidated stamp on the album is vast, it’s a credit to their creative generosity that the result feels more like ‘me’ than ever.

Thrilled to announce more shows in Europe this autumn! Including a show at the absolutely stunning Union Chapel in London – one of the most magical concert venues in the world. And what’s more is that Murray A Lightburn will be supporting some of the shows. His work in The Dears was powerful and informative to me as a young songwriter,

Last week I released the fourth song in a series of cover songs I’ve recorded – it’s John Hiatt’sHave A Little Faith In Me”. When I was a kid, I’d hear this song waiting at the dentist’s office. Or waiting to get a hair cut. I imagined that there was an entire genre of music from the past that was just there to help people wait for appointments. A few years ago, I was asked to pitch a version of it for a TV show and, in the process of learning it and listening a few times, I was struck at how sweet it is. It’s the kind of earnest I might have scoffed at in my youth, but in the present, the sentiment is working for me.

I also recently released a cover of Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor. As I wrote on Instagram at the time of release: “One of the best choruses since George Harrison’s ‘Something’. Lauryn Hill is an unfathomable talent, and as such, I tried to find my own angle into the song as there’s no hope in imitating her power.”

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We are super excited to announce a brand new band to the world and the City Slang roster! They’re called WIVES, they’re from Queens, NYC and they’re undoubtedly going to be your new favourite band. ⁣ ⁣ First single ‘Waving Past Nirvana’ is available on 7″ vinyl will drop on May 24th.

The quartet are the latest fit in a long lineage of New York’s gritty, melodic-tinged punk-hook-driven, grungy dark-wave that’s tethered to daily anxiety without resorting to cynicism. Both the noisy dissonance of Sonic Youth and the clever, cerebral sneering of The Fall simmer as touchstones within the band’s music.⁣ ⁣

New single ‘Waving Past Nirvana’ is OUT NOW

Quiet Signs, Jessica Pratt’s third album, follows 2015’s On Your Own Love Again. “On some level I considered an audience while making the last record,” Pratt said in a statement. “But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.” The video for “This Time Around” features hazy clips of Pratt walking along various outdoor backdrops and lounging about an ornate mansion, somewhat cryptically gazing at her own reflection.

I’ve poured a lot of myself out making this record, worked carefully to capture the right thing and I’m delighted for you to hear some of it, finally. The single itself principally features Pratt’s melancholic, lonesome vocals as they dance around one single guitar’s simply strummed chords. It’s uncomplicated in construction and just mysterious enough to be perfectly served by the accompanying visual.

The album was produced by both Pratt and Al Carson, who, along with Matt McDermott, also performs on the record. Jessica Pratt“This Time Around” from the new album ‘Quiet Signs’ Released by Mexican Summer and City Slang.

One of the most prolific American psychedelic rock and roll bands are back at it on their 7th LP, the City Slang-released Performance. White Denim are an Austin staple and have come to represent the sound of the city over the years through James Petralli’s sleek guitars, Steve Terebecki’s bass groove and Petralli’s seemingly impossible vocal range. The album’s early singles harken back to the band’s finest material, especially “It Might Get Dark,” a bluesy jam with a flawless melody that is just a flat-out fun endeavor for the ears.

The Austin quartet have long pulled hard at the parameters of rock & roll, admitting garage punk, soul, psychedelia, prog, jazz and blues while holding onto its vital goodtime core. Their up-tempo drive has produced a body of work defined as much by stellar musicianship as off-the-chain exhilaration. Energy and adventurism have always been paramount.

Here are nine songs with clarity and renewed purpose as well as a truckload of attitude. A new studio, new collaborators, and new techniques for writing and recording influenced the elastic possibility and liberation felt throughout.
Theirs is music that aims for the whole body, while equally satisfying the mind. While it has morphed, expanded, and even burst apart, White Denim’s sincere, human drive and ability to spark true exhilaration have been unerring constants of the band’s existence. Ever progressing, never content to camp out on a plateau of their creative accomplishments, there is no other band quite like White Denim – unique in talent and legendarily potent as a live band, they are quite simply a very special band.

It’s safe to say when City Slang releases a record everyone listens, with White Denim now the newest Texan contingent filling the ranks of the German label. Following a longplayer this year from Calexico outta Tucson, White Denim bring the sound of Austin to the label by delivering their ninth long player in ten years. Like the artwork of performance, the music is a colourful montage that brings together saxxy jazz, mellow tropicana and distorted garage to psych rock and pop, with melancholic vocals only adding to its unique cross section of colours. A highlight for us is the ’70s Biker rock of “It Might Get Dark” and finger snappin’, vibrato heavy “Moves On”.

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Austin rockers White Denim have announced they will release their seventh full-length album, Performance, on August 24th via their new label City Slang Records, with whom the band recently signed.

The group has also shared the album’s first single, the thumping, strutting “Magazin,” which can be heard in the  below, along with also announcing a batch of fall USA tour dates, more sandwiched between two European runs.

See White Denim’s tour schedule below.

August 28 – London, UK – Rough Trade East
August 29 – London, UK – Moth Club
August 31 – Vlieland, NL – Into the Great Wide Open
September 2 – Larmer Tree Gardens, UK – End of the Road Festival

Taken from the new album PERFORMANCE