Posts Tagged ‘City Slang Records’

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“A Common Turn”, the spellbindingly profound and deliciously honest debut album from the London-based artist, Anna B Savage. Produced with fellow Dinker William Doyle, this really feels like quite a special release, there is such power in her, even when she whispers. In a week of epic releases and massive noises, it was those whispers that really blew our minds, 

The debut album of London based singer-songwriter Anna B Savage! Her 2015 EP was deeply intriguing and quickly drew the attention of Father John Misty and later Jenny Hval, both of whom brought Savage out on European tours. Anna B Savage’s first full-length record A Common Turn is question mark music. Her songs are heavy with unanswered queries, with dilemmas and insecurities, or often just with wondering.

Savage’s voice is endlessly warm, but producer William Doyle (East India Youth) consistently finds the iron in it. Even the darkest moments in this music don’t stick in their devastation, though – Savage’s fire burns too brightly. Her voice can drop to a whisper, but then it will open all the way up in a flash flood of cavernous guitar, echoes, and swelling strings that expand and then vanish just as suddenly as they arrived. “Baby Grand’ is part of Anna B Savage’s debut Album “A Common Turn”, out the 29th January 2021 on City Slang Records.

Savage’s music is deeply vulnerable, without being submissive. She lays claim to her own fragility, and the stories she tells are of taking up space, finding connections, and owning the power in not knowing all the answers. Hers are songs for anyone who thinks hard, feels deeply, and asks big questions.

Produced by William Doyle (East India Youth), “A Common Turn” presents us a nest of fully-formed and room-filling artistry.

Anna B Savage  - A Common Turn

The latest apple of our eye, Anna B Savage, is putting out her debut via City Slang Records in a couple of weeks, and I can personally say that there hasn’t been a debut I’ve been this excited about in quite some time. The stunning video for the London singer’s unbelievably vulnerable first single off of “A Common Turn”, “Chelsea Hotel #3,” has been on a near loop at my house since it came out nearly a year ago, and its follow-ups have been just as arresting. In addition to having the privilege of pressing A Common Turn to vinyl,

The London based singer-songwriter Anna B Savage makes question-mark-music, captivating and powerful, navigating various recurring themes including female sexuality, self-doubt … and birds. Often questioning the validity of her own thoughts and feelings, her songs are heavy with unanswered queries. Is this even real? Do we have what I think we have? How did I get to this point? Is anyone listening? Or the record’s opening and most potent question: “Do I understand this?”.

Yet these questions are buoyed by her ability to conjure melodies and lyrics so devastatingly candid, vulnerable and honest, that somehow still manage to be bewitchingly charming, utterly modern and often funny. ‘A Common Turn.’ “For me, ‘a common turn’ is those moments of decision where you think ‘I’m not taking this anymore, whether it’s the way someone else is treating you or the what you’re treating yourself” Savage explains.

From a young age, Savage has also always been surrounded by music. The daughter of two classical singers, Savage spent her childhood birthdays in the green room at the Royal Albert Hall, as her birthday falls on the day Bach died and her parents were booked to play the Bach Proms each year. Her 2015 EP was deeply intriguing as a project, it contained four songs, all of which paired Savage’s deep, rich voice with lyrics rife with insecurity and unfinished business and was released with very little accompanying information about the artist.

The success of the EP caught Savage off guard, triggering a form of imposter syndrome, stifling her writing and ultimately affecting her mental health. At her lowest point Savage wasn’t sure if she could continue making music. At one stage her well-meaning parents started to cut out arts administration jobs for her and put them on the bed for when she arrived home.

In the five years between her first release and this forthcoming one, Savage ended the bad relationship mentioned previously (“I was so small by the end of it”), took up odd jobs, moved across the world twice, got herself a lot of therapy and eventually built herself from the ground up again. “I sat in the sun and read, and I ran my book club, and I went swimming in the Ladies Pond, and I went on trips, and I got drunk, started smoking again and going to parties, and I started dancing again and seeing my friends and, most miraculous of all, I started to like myself.”

For the last three years, focused and reenergised, Savage wrote music for her debut album, stitching together influences and references “One month I printed out all the lyrics, blu-tacked them to my wall, and drew lines between each corresponding idea. Making sure I’d lyrically covered all the themes I wanted to, linking ideas, deleting repeats, and making me look like a literary serial killer”. The album is littered with personal and cultural references (Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Spice Girls, female pleasure, mental health, and a ceramic owl mug by Scottish alt-rock legend Edwyn Collins, among others), all of which are now sewn into her music like talismans.

Savage got in touch with William Doyle, (FKA East India Youth – 2014 Mercury Prize nominee)’ having seen his social media post asking artists to contact him if they wanted to experiment together. From their first meeting, William provided ambitious yet elegant production to the demos Anna brought him, and ultimately gave a definitive shape to the record she had at one point deemed officially impossible to finish. Theirs is a blending of earth and industry, of human feeling and mechanized deconstruction of expectations and barriers. As a pair, they were able to make a record that is, in Savage’s words, “about learning, adapting, growing, being earnest and trying really f***ing hard.”

Savage’s music is deeply vulnerable, without being submissive. The subject matter could weigh these songs down, but instead they soar as she lays claim to her own fragility. There’s an intoxicating catharsis woven through the album and the stories she tells are of taking up space, finding connections, and owning the power in not knowing all the answers. Hers are songs for anyone who thinks hard, feels deeply, and asks big questions.

During the years since the release of her debut EP, Savage has also been making a film with two collaborators. The film can be read as in conversation with this album. More details of that will be released at a later date.

“As mentioned in Chelsea Hotel #3, I’m done with being ashamed in any way of taking ownership of my own pleasure. This whole album is about questioning, exploration and trying really fucking hard. Hopefully a vibrator is a good companion for most of these things. To sum it up in two words: wank more.” –Anna B Savage

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Anna B Savage is a London singer-songwriter and musician. Her songs are stark, skeletal paintings of moods and reflection, using a palette of mainly voice and guitar. They are candid if not entirely confessional, feeling like a window into an eloquent yet unflinchingly written diary – snapshots of experience suffused with a raw, unresolved nerve. Most prominent is her voice – strong and sonorous, yet with a vulnerability that feels as if it is in the same room with you.

Corncrakes is part of Anna B Savage’s debut Album “A Common Turn”, out the 29th January 2021 on City Slang Records .

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We’re excited to announce our new album ’Distractions’ out February 19th on City Slang Records,

A new album on its way, it’s called ‘Distractions’ and we are pretty excited by it. More details to follow but in the meantime here is the first song – A cover version of The Television Personalities‘ ‘You’ll have to scream louder’ from their classic album ‘The Painted Word’ “Late May, early June 2020 was a twitchy and angry time for many of us. There was a growing agitation inside of me.

I woke on a Saturday morning with no plans but just this Television Personalities song going round in my head, it pushed me into the studio.4 or 5 hours later I had made the basis of this recording, though I had to wait for windows of opportunity within our confinement to work with the band to bring it to a conclusion. I have loved the TVPs since buying the Bill Grundy e.p. with its photocopied sleeve on one of my regular after school bus trips to the Virgin record shop in a basement on King Street, Nottingham. Some years later, in 1984, I was living around the corner on the 17th floor of Victoria Centre flats, they swayed in the wind. I was working a few days at a local record shop and The Painted Word was released. It became at the soundtrack to that semi-slum, those times. I was 19. To be young in the early 1980’s there was much to be angry about, battles to be fought – Thatcher, racial and gender injustice – and (one of the motivations for this song) nuclear disarmament. Although we may not have thought those battles were ever won, we believed we had helped push things in a different direction, that changes were made. In the spring of 2020 we were shown painfully that these battles are ongoing.” ‘Hope you enjoy

“Man Alone” was always a journey but I wasn’t expecting it to be such a long one. We made a 6 minute version but it felt like it pulled off and stopped half way to its destination. This was the beginning of a long journey in itself, to find the route needed to complete itself – Probably the biggest challenge a song or piece of music has given us. It was delicate and slippery right up to the final mix – which lasted a week! The song has a strange connection for me to the drum machine, bass guitar and voice combination of ‘Indignant Desert Birds’ – mine and Neils first band when I was 17.

In the back of a London cab driving through the city at night is a very special space for me. It has a particular kind of aloneness. This fascination grew over hundreds of nights leaving the the studio exhausted at 1 am – Ladbroke Grove or St Johns wood, through the city and over the river to South East London in an almost dream state. Retracing that journey, this film became a way of touching the city and the feeling of being both a part of and apart from it.  S.A.Staples

Sometimes a band arrives out of nowhere, with a fully formed sound ready to fill a stadium. King Hannah are one of those bands. The Liverpool band led by the creative force of Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle have arrived with ‘Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine’, an EP that is both soothing in its moods and intoxicating in its rushing soundscapes, containing a sound that is both brand new and completely mature. Their neon guitar lines and intimate torchlight vocals put the everyday on a pedestal, lifted by melodic licks that swell into dense and swirling atmospheric textures.

‘Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine’ sounds like late nights and early mornings, from the beauty and closeness of acoustic guitar in opener “And Then Out Of Nowhere, It Rained”, to the final immersive thicket of distorted guitars in “Reprise (Moving Day)”. In between, “Meal Deal” is smoky backroom Americana transposed onto the precarity of finding somewhere to live; “Bill Tench” feels like melancholic euphoria of travelling in fast cars at night – drums flash past like lines on the asphalt with angular guitars. “Crème Brûlée” is a moody fugged-out ballad for the everyday, and “The Sea Has Stretch Marks” conjures a whirling post-rock exploration of cinematic memories. King Hannah lean in to immersive moments in their music. “We want people to get lost in the music,” says Craig.

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Craig formed King Hannah before Hannah knew anything about it. He had seen her performing years before, but they didn’t meet until she was assigned to show him the ropes at the bar job they’d both taken on to get by while still making music. He immediately pestered her to play some music with him, and they started a routine, spending the hours before work at Craig’s house, where for a long time Hannah could not pluck up the courage to play him her own music. That went on for a year,” said Hannah, while Craig just waited patiently for her to play. When they finally got to writing their own songs together, everything clicked into place.

Both had played in bands before, but until they started King Hannah, neither had found what they were looking for. Hannah grew up in Tan Lan, the world’s smallest village in North Wales, and can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a singer. Craig started playing guitar age 13, and was taught Jackson Browne songs by his older brother. Within a year he was playing in bands. All this changed as soon as they formed King Hannah. “It’s just about finding the right people. When I go to Craig with some chords and lyrics, he just gets it,” says Hannah. “If we hadn’t found each other, I don’t know where we would be,” says Craig.

Led by Hannah and Craig, the density of their sound comes from the combination of their guitar and vocals with support from Ted White, Jake Lipiec and Olly Gorman. Inspired by the vocals of Mazzy Star and guitars of Kurt Vile, Hannah writes lyrics first thing in the morning and lets her mind spill onto the page, and they contain all the raw vulnerability and mundane reflections of that mental space. This vulnerability is something Hannah feels acutely on stage, but is also what makes their music so magnetic. “There’s nothing pretend about us,” she says – the grit in their sound and her voice speaks volumes. “We don’t want to sound clean or polished,” says Craig, “we want to sound real, and dynamic and authentic.”

Who are King Hannah? the Liverpool duo of Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle whose shimmering, atmospheric alt-pop is the perfect soundtrack to midnight journeys through neon-lit skylines. The Breathtaking debut single “Creme Brûlée” is a captivating melange of The XX, Mazzy Star and Pink Floyd, as Merrick understated vocals remain dazzlingly powerful. The Follow-up single, the lo-fi acoustic Meal Deal, sees them channel their Kurt Vile influences for a vulnerable cut of modern Americana.

Merrick and Whittle met at a bar they were working at, with the latter urging her to make music together. This went on for a whole year before Merrick plucked up the courage to agree to write together. The rest is history. Thank god!

Their EP “Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Mine” is out now via City Slang Records Releases November 20th, 2020

Written by Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle

Video of the day: Son Lux - Change Is Everything

Even for a band dedicated to surprise, Son Lux‘s new single “Prophecy“ represents a notable departure from their usual fare. Yet the song’s bright energy and lilting feel bloom like an outgrowth of their ever-expanding practice, providing the clearest evidence to date of the band’s indebtedness to the J Dilla–D’Angelo nexus. The track is from ‘Tomorrows II,’ out December 4th via City Slang, the second album in a far-reaching three-volume body of work culminating in physical editions of all three volumes to be released together in 2021.

Featured on the track is vocalist Nina Moffitt, whose upbringing in church and gospel music instilled a fascination with the timbral range of layered voices. Inspired by electronic manipulation, she employs rounded whistle tones, fraying choral hums, and more to conjure a world of sound largely unexplored by the band until now.

On ‘Tomorrows’, Ryan LottRafiq Bhatia, and Ian Chang train their sights on volatile principles: imbalance, disruption, collision, redefinition. But for all of its instability, ‘Tomorrows’ exploration of breaking points and sustained frictional places is ultimately in service of something rewarding and necessary: the act of questioning, challenging, tearing down and actively rebuilding one’s own identity. 

Arriving at a time of considerable uncertainty in the world, Tomorrows’is ambitious in scope and intent. Born of an active, intentional approach to shaping sound, the music reminds us of the necessity of questioning assumptions, and of sitting with the tension. 

From the start, Son Lux has operated as something akin to a sonic test kitchen. The band strives to question deeply held assumptions about how music is made and re-construct it from a molecular level. What began as a solo project for founder Ryan Lott expanded in 2014, thanks to a kinship with Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia too strong to ignore. The trio strengthened their chemistry and honed their collective intuition while creating, releasing, and touring five recordings. A carefully cultivated musical language rooted in curiosity and balancing opposites largely eschews genre and structural conventions. And yet, the band remains audibly indebted to iconoclastic artists in soul, hip-hop, and experimental improvisation who themselves carved new paths forward. Distilling these varied influences, Son Lux searches for equilibrium of raw emotional intimacy and meticulous electronic constructions.

Taken from Son Lux – “Tomorrows II” – Available to stream and download December 4th via City Slang Records

Casper Clausen, You may also know me from bands like Efterklang and frontman of Efterklang and adjacent project Liima, has announced details of his first ever solo record. ‘Better Way’ will be released on January 9th via City Slang Records and today he shares a first taste with the juddering, krautrock-tinged, 9-minute opening jam “Used To Think”.

“Used to Think” was one of the first songs I wrote for “Better Way” a couple of years ago” Clausen comments. “I had a run of some small shows around Portugal testing the new songs I was working on at the time, and this one became one of my favourites, I really like the energy of it. It was also the song that made me reach out to the producer Sonic Boom. He ended up mixing / co-producing the entire album. There is some inspiration from his band Spacemen 3 luring around in there and he lives in Sintra, very close to Lisbon where I’ve been the past couple of years, so it all made sense.”

“To me “Used to Think” is like a Kaleidoscope with interchangeable lenses, each section of the song, a different pallet of colours and shapes. Before I stopped thinking I thought, open up, share more and think less.” We get a taste of the juddering, krautrock-tinged, 9-minute opening jam “Used To Think”!⁠“To me “Used to Think” is like a Kaleidoscope with interchangeable lenses, each section of the song, a different pallet of colours and shapes. Before I stopped thinking I thought, open up, share more and think less.

The video for Casper Clausen – Efterklang’s ‘Used to Think’ is out today and you can watch in full below!⁠. Words from Casper on the video – “It was filmed on a magical island in the middle of the ocean, and we developed and edited the whole thing over the past month on sketchy wifi connections across mother earth.”⁠⁠The video is a homage to this planet. There is a link at the end of the video to donate to Amazon Frontlines.

I’ve spent a long time putting it together, mixed it with Sonic Boom and I’m very excited to get to share these songs with you. I am also using this time to premiere the video for the first single “Used To Think.” I made it with my friends Melanie Matthieu & Andrew de Freitas + more on a magical island.

Casper Clausen – “Used to Think” from the album “Better Way” out January 9th 2021 via City Slang Records.

Lambchop - Trip

Recorded December 2nd–7th, 2019, at Battletapes in Nashville, TN, and produced, engineered, and mixed by Jeremy Ferguson (with the exception of ‘Reservations’ which was ;mixed by Ferguson and Matthew McCaughan, “Trip” sounds like a culmination of the band’s older catalogue fused with recent work. There’s a looseness and freedom that recalls their older sound mixed with a group sophistication and innovation derived through the process of playing together for so long.

The title Trip refers to the circumstances surrounding its creation and the endeavour of “touring” itself. “It also seems to describe a life in music and the situations we created in our life as a band over the years,” Wagner adds. “It’s been a trip…”

For Lambchop’s special Trip LP (out November 13 via City Slang Records), each member of the band assembled over the last two albums was tasked with choosing one song for the band to cover and leading the recording session. Lambchop head honcho Kurt Wagner says, “My idea was to see what might happen if I removed myself from the process as much as possible. In doing so, what surfaced would be elements that have always been there but maybe got overshadowed by my song writing and approach.”

Lambchop’s drummer and saxophonist Andy Stack (also of Wye Oak and Joyero) looked to the Stevie Wonder catalogue and brought ‘Golden Lady’ off 1973’s Innervisionsto the table. The result is delightfully woozy, coating the composition in skittering hi-hats and electronic flourishes, and extending it to nearly seven minutes. The track follows the previously shared cover of Wilco’s ‘Reservations’. Trip, the new record,⁠ will be released November 13th, 2020

Taken from Trip, out November 13th, 2020 on Merge and 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,