Posts Tagged ‘Domino Record Co.’

To some, Real Estate’s jangly, easy going sound is anachronistic in the current tightly wound world of popular music. To others though, their brand of indie-influenced surf rock is the perfect solution to the stress of everyday life. Their latest EP—the jammy and perpetually entertaining “Half a Human” distills their essence in an approachable bite-sized package. Quite simply, it’s fun, profound, and undoubtedly delightful.

Though it begins with the rather abstract and twinkly “Desire Path,” Half a Human quickly finds its feet, jumping headfirst into the title track, which is a well-paced journey filled to the brim with dreamy melodies and cascading patterns.

Whether it be the slippy, ride-driven verses of “Soon” or the beachy waves of “In the Garden,” the arrangements are all perfectly constructed and exceptionally atmospheric. “Ribbon,” the concluding act, is equally calm and controlled with simplistic yet catchy lyrics to boot (“This vessel sustains me/But it cannot contain me”). In particular, Julian Lynch’s dextrous lead lines soar alongside the band’s steady rhythm section, with Martin Courtney’s vocals slotting in excellently atop the finely layered mix. In an incredibly satisfying manner, nothing is more complex than it needs to be.

Some of the tracks may get a tad repetitive, but they are established solidly enough that it does not seem tedious or boring. Instead, the 24 minutes one spends listening to “Half a Human’s” six tracksjust fly by.

Once again, the lads from Ridgewood, New Jersey have nailed it, creating a concise, dreamy effort that beautifully captures the feeling of transitioning from winter to spring. Half a Human isn’t just well put together, it’s downright dazzling. (

Real Estate – “Half a Human” from ‘Half a Human EP,’ out now on Domino Record Co.

The entire sequence of EPs is available as a single cohesive twenty-song anthology. Titled “5EPs”, the collection spans the existential folk of Windows Open sung by Friedman, Douglass’s future soul on Flight Tower, Longstreth’s endless melody on Super João, and the recomposed orchestral glitch that backs Slipp across Earth Crisis. As everyone trades verses on Ring Road, these closing four songs serve as conversations among a group where “every member is talented enough to be the lead” (Time). With three- and four-part harmonies, dual guitar lines, ecstatic hooks and the propulsive drumming of Mike Johnson, the emotional and sonic threads of the previous entries are filtered through classic signatures of full-band Dirty Projectors. As Entertainment Weekly says, “[5EPs] captures a more intangible motif: the celebration of creativity and the fortuitous bonds that form.”

It’s a strange coincidence that Dirty Projectors’ founder and sole core member David Longstreth would switch up his approach in 2020. As a musician and songwriter whose defining modus operandi for the last eighteen years has been that of multi-personnel collaboration (save for 2017’s self-titled, which is the project’s only solo album to date), he found himself increasingly drawn toward changing the band’s sound to one that emphasizes its individual members, rather than the sum of its parts, following the release of 2018’s Lamp Lit Prose

This question of whether “[everyone] could be the lead singer of this band” eventually fermented into the project’s latest release5EPs,wherein Longstreth sat for individual sessions with each of the group’s singing members, working both musically and lyrically to create four-track extended plays that highlight each performer’s abilities. The end result is a varied final effort, one that represents the project’s most diverse offering to date. From the stripped-down acoustics of Maia Friedman’s Windows Open, to the cool electro of Felicia Douglass’ Flight Tower, to the glitching orchestral fanfare of Kristin Slipp’s Earth Crisisthe landscape of 5EPs feels like a decidedly focused experiment in honing the outfit’s scattered, genre-averse sound into concise suites.

Moreover, 5EPs represents, in Longstreth’s view, a novel approach toward song writing, one that involves “trusting where the words fall” and enabling lyrical improvisation that’s porous and non-meticulous—a decisive break from his methods on the last two records.

Documenting a series of slow-motion smiles, spinning heads and splashes of water to the face, “My Possession” marks the sixth official music video Dirty Projectors have shared since the start of this new chapter. They’ve also released a breathtaking short film for Earth Crisis, remixes from Chromeo and Felicia’s father Jimmy “The Senator” Douglass, a timely and tasteful cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation,” and a multitude of live performances ranging from pre-pandemic acoustic jams in Dave’s living room to remotely-recorded productions for Full Frontal with Samantha BeeNPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts and more.

5EPs was produced, mixed and recorded by Dave Longstreth, and lyrics were written in collaboration with the respective band member featured on each installment. While the limited edition, foiled and numbered box set has now sold out, 5EPs is available as a standard black double LP,

Band Members: Mike Johnson (drums), Felicia Douglass (percussion/vocals), Maia Friedman (guitar/vocals) and Kristin Slipp (keyboards, vocals), and David Longstreth (bandleader, guitarist, and lead vocalist).

Dirty Projectors – My Possession (Official Video) Out now on Domino Record Co.

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Porches, the one-man-band project of New York-based musician Aaron Maine, is back with new single “I Miss That”. On top of a galloping pop tune carried along by bright, taut snare hits and warbling synths, Maine laments in his signature honey-coated raspy vocals, “I couldn’t believe what I had / So I threw it away I was bad / Just thinking I like that, I like that, I like that / I miss that, I miss that, now I miss that.”

“I Miss That” follows the release of Porches’ fourth album, “Ricky Music”. It arrived in March of 2020, featuring contributions from Zsela and Dev Hynes, with production by Jacob Portrait. Bonus track “Rangerover” recently underwent the remix treatment, courtesy of Frank Ocean collaborator Vegyn,

A veritable buzz kid just a few years ago, Aaron Maine’s last two releases as Porches — including this year’s Ricky Music haven’t quite resonated as much with indie rock’s always fickle critics. I have no idea why; the noirish synth hooks and glassy guitars he’s always brandished are here in full, enthralling effect, including the trembly, Guided By Voices-inspired “PFB” (a 33-second ditty that repeats the mantra, “It’s looking pretty fucking dad,”) and the woozy “Hair,” which contains the priceless snippet, “I’m kinda pretty/kinda busted too.” The real capper on this album is “Rangerover,” an insanely catchy and immediate burst of vocally-altered energy.

Critical Praise for Ricky Music:
“his strongest collection yet.” – VICE
“jagged sonic shards that come together with the indeterminate logic of a dream…ephemeral and enigmatic” – Interview Magazine
“perfect imperfections and occasionally jaw-dropping moments of emotional clarity” – The FADER
“his most varied and far-reaching batch of songs so far” – Paste
“his shortest album, but it also feels like his most urgent and expressive…the most compelling portrait of the artist yet” – Office Magazine
“the most ‘Porches’ record to date — an amalgamation of all of his previous releases that plays to his strengths” – i-D
“the sound of strong emotions mediated by stronger technology, a very pure reflection of the world in which we live.” – AV Club

Porches “I Miss That”, out now on Domino Record Co.

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The first song from the last EP of the year, “Searching Spirit” is about going to the mountain. we all share vocals. the “Ring Road” EP is out 20th November.

March’s Windows Open and June’s Flight Tower were the first two installments in a sequence of five Dirty Projectors EPs to come in 2020. Each EP will feature a different band member on lead vocals — Maia, Felicia, Kristin & Dave — with everyone trading verses on the fifth and final installment.

All their 2020 EPs will be released as a 20-song anthology titled 5EPs, out on November. 20th via Domino Records. “Searching Spirit” brings all the intriguing parts of Dirty Projectors back together. The song builds momentum from the subtle harmonies before its abrupt ending. Dirty Projectors – Searching Spirit Out now on Domino Record Co.

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Real Estate named their fifth LP after a Roxy Music song from 1982—a dark, seductive groove that defines the band’s mastery of hi-fi mood. It’s an odd reference on paper; after all, it’s not like frontman/chief songwriter Martin Courtney has started channeling the glammy art-rock stylings of Bryan Ferry. But the inspiration holds up in a roundabout way: After years of defining “dreamy guitar rock” for the modern indie era, the band was eager to experiment with a more expansive sound.

“With this record, we were looking to not repeat ourselves— that was kind of the main thesis,” says bassist and cofounder Alex Bleeker. “We were at this place of, ‘What is the point of making a fifth Real Estate album in 2020 when it feels like our lives have changed; the musical climate has changed; the cultural climate has changed?’ [2017’s] In Mind was critically well received as ‘good ol’ Real Estate,’ and we were like, ‘We just don’t feel like there’s a point to doing that again. So how do we make sure we don’t do the same thing?’”

They found the answer at Marcata, a massive barn-cum-studio outside New Paltz, N.Y., where they hunkered down with engineer Kevin McMahon. A longtime friend and mentor who co-produced their 2011 album, Days, McMahon helped the band whittle away at their massive pile of songs for more than a year, urging them to question their entire creative ethos along the way. As Courtney would ponder throughout the finished LP, he and his bandmates had started to question the driving force behind this “main thing,” this music career to which they’d devoted their lives.

“It’s funny that we went back to someone we worked with before in order to achieve that,” notes Bleeker. “I kept making the joke that it was like Rocky going back to Mickey’s gym. We needed to get back to the emotional center of the band—we needed to remember who we were before we were on Domino and had much of an audience. We needed to get back to the musical heart of things.”

The process began as it always does, with Courtney building up a stack of rough drafts at the band’s gear hub/demo space. Ironically, given the album’s lengthy gestation period, he started quickly—around six months after the release of In Mind, with the aim of breaking their streak of three-year gaps between records. Even more ironically, he spent less time than usual labouring over the minutiae of the arrangements: With three young children at home, including one in kindergarten and another in preschool, Courtney opted for a series of more structured writing sessions this time—an efficient process that churned out a number of tracks in bare-bones, guitar-and-vocals form. But that shift brought its own unique challenge, too: letting go.

“I left some of these songs a little more open for the rest of the band to interpret,” he says. “I wanted to keep writing and didn’t want to linger too long. I almost want to say it’s harder to get excited when a song feels half-done. A lot of times, I record the drums, bass, lead guitar and keyboards parts when I’m writing. And it’s a lot more exciting to listen to those demos because they’re fully finished songs. Sometimes, I can’t stop listening to them. With these demos, it was like, ‘OK, this is promising. This is a good seed of a song, and I’m psyched about this vocal melody. I’m gonna leave it at this and move on to the next one.’”

Since the band’s formation in 2008, the other members of Real Estate have always helped shape their own parts. But Courtney completely relinquished the reins for The Main Thing, opening up his songs to new grooves, arrangements, even instrumentation. That sense of freedom became a throughline for the entire process, allowing Bleeker, drummer Jackson Pollis, keyboardist Matt Kallman and guitarist Julian Lynch to help bring Real Estate into an entirely new era.

“It can be frustrating, going through the process of fleshing out a song with the band,” he says. “Even if I haven’t finished the demo, I sometimes have an idea of how the song should sound, and if it starts going in another direction, sometimes I get really frustrated. But the process of making this record was me trying to let go of that feeling and just let it be more of a collaboration. This band has been together for a long time, and that’s where I was: Just allow these songs to evolve. I can always go back and make a solo record, and do everything myself and scratch that itch. Sometimes it’s exciting to see the songs go in a different direction and take on a different life than what you expected them to.”

For Bleeker, that process was liberating—an excuse to incorporate influences that may have previously been deemed incompatible with the Real Estate brand. “Certain songs that Martin wrote, like ‘Friday’ or ‘Paper Cup,’ didn’t really have [our usual] rhythmic groove underneath them in the demos,” he says. “That came with other people putting their spin on them: Jackson playing a soul beat, me playing a funky bassline and Martin having the grace to be like, ‘OK, let’s try that. That’s not the song that was in my head but, you’re right—maybe we should push it into some new territory.’ It can be difficult. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve found ourselves in this position where, in places that we thought we’d have more stability, we’ve actually realized there’s no shortcut. You almost have to work twice as hard because you’ve already invented this one sound and—in order to expand on it successfully or change in a way that’s not disingenuous—you’ve got to put in at least twice as much work.”

However, The Main Thing isn’t a major departure from the band’s sweet spot: The hazy electric jangle of “Friday” and “November” could slot in seamlessly on their previous albums, from their partly home-recorded debut, 2009’s Real Estate, to the polished In Mind. But it’s their most confident tweak to their signature sound: Early single “Paper Cup” finds Courtney singing over a vintage soul wash outfitted with strings, auxiliary percussion (courtesy of The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick and Brazilian Girls’ Aaron Johnston), buzzing synthesizers and the call-and-response vocal of Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath; and the ambient interlude “Sting” layers reverb-heavy piano over a pitter-patter beat; the gently cascading “Also a But,” Lynch’s first composition for the group, veers more into full-fledged psychedelia.

Lynch’s fingerprints are all over the album, including the liquid-y guitar solo on “Also a But” and a particularly glorious melodic part on “You,” a song Courtney wrote for his then-unborn child. The guitarist—who grew up with Courtney and Bleeker and officially joined Real Estate in 2016 after the well-publicized exit of cofounder Matt Mondanile—became fully ingrained in the group’s creative process on The Main Thing.

“With In Mind, I’d just joined the band and there was some degree of hesitance on my part. I didn’t want people to think: ‘Who is this stupid guy who’s in the band now? Why’s he playing guitar in my favourite band and not me?’ There was some suspicion toward me initially, and I didn’t want to be blamed for some new element introduced—some guitar sound that wasn’t characteristic of the band. I didn’t want people to say, ‘This guy just ruined my favourite band.’ So I didn’t take too many chances on In Mind, but my guitar approach was much more deliberate on this album. I had more time to think out my solos. I was in an environment I felt really comfortable with.”

That environment, friendly yet philosophical, was fostered by McMahon, who has known many of the members of Real Estate since their teenage years. But McMahon was still an unlikely choice for a band hesitant to repeat themselves. Their record label, for one, was afraid everyone would be too comfortable. But the opposite happened. When Courtney reconnected with McMahon to record some songs for a friend’s movie, he realized they’d both wound up in a headspace of creative self-doubt—leading to lengthy conversations about career goals and their place in an erratic industry. It was the perfect time to reconvene with Real Estate—the familiarity of working with an old friend, away from the stress and clinical atmosphere of a top-dollar studio, gave them the confidence to branch out of their comfort zone.

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“One thing I remember him doing is asking us why we were doing things,” says Bleeker. “Not in a negative way but just like, ‘Why are you playing the bass like that?’ He was like, ‘If you have an answer for me, that is satisfactory. I’m not making a judgment call on whether that’s good or bad.’ I realize now that five albums deep, you tend to be like, ‘This is what we do.’”

“Obviously our lineup has changed a few times, but we became a 10-year-old band two years ago, and this is our fifth record, so we don’t want to start going through the motions,” adds Courtney. “The idea was to question every decision we were making as we were doing it, which was also something really encouraged by Kevin. The record was as important to him as it was to us, and he was really invested in it both in terms of his career and since we are friends. It’s been a collaboration with every producer we’ve worked with, but this was deeper in some way.”

McMahon was crucial in urging the band to embrace their new sounds and sound-makers—one of many factors that led to the album’s long arc.

“We made a conscious decision to work with outside musicians for the first time,” Courtney says. “That was something Kevin encouraged us to do—maybe to make it feel fresh. In the past, we’ve been really [hesitant] to do that. I’ve always looked at this band as four or five people and whoever we’re working with as a producer at any given point, and that’s it. Whatever sounds were on the record were made by us, and I’ve become very protective of that. I was [scared of what would happen] if someone else came in and we didn’t like it. You don’t trust anyone to tamper with your sound. But I’m really glad we did. We were pushing ourselves to try new things, trying to be more thoughtful about the parts we’re playing.”

“We got to some places that were uncomfortable and scary,” adds Bleeker. “Julian’s song is one of my favorites and a standout because it’s by a songwriter who’s never written for Real Estate before and has a different sensibility. I remember being psyched on the song when we were recording it, but I also thought, ‘How are our fans gonna take this? It doesn’t sound like Real Estate.’ You have these weird little neuroses that build up and you have to push through.”

The sessions were revelatory. They recorded enough material for a double album, though they decided to table some of the recordings—including the recent, jam-heavy live favourite “Half a Human,” which they hope to revisit down the line. (“I’m the resident jamband lover of the band,” Bleeker says, breaking down the track.) Despite the productivity, the length of their process eventually started to wear on Courtney, as deadline after deadline slipped between their fingers.

“I did get frustrated a few times because I wanted it to be done,” he says. “I kept setting these arbitrary [timelines] for myself, ‘We’ll get this record done by June and get it out by October.’ Then, when we realized that wasn’t going to happen, we said, ‘We’ll get it done by October and get it out early next year.’ But, these deadlines meant nothing. Maybe I was just excited to have the record come out. Then it was like, ‘This record has to be done within the calendar year of 2018.’ And then, January comes around and we’re still recording strings and stuff. I kept having to be told to just relax. Alex and Kevin kept being like, ‘Why do you need to have this record done? Really ask yourself that question—there’s no reason to have this record come out at any given point.’

“Making a record becomes stressful because the band is pretty off the radar,” he adds. “We were touring a little bit, but we didn’t have anything new coming out, so people stopped talking about us. You feel like, every day that goes by, fewer people are going to care when the record actually does come out. I’ve felt that way with every record after our first one, and I’ve always been surprised that [fans] end up caring, no matter how long it takes.”

More crucially, Real Estate still care about Real Estate. Recording The Main Thing reinforced their reasons for making music in the first place.

“[That’s] part of the reason we ended up working so hard and for so long,” Courtney says. “It felt a little more important this time around. We really felt like it was a milestone record for us. If we’re gonna do it, we should try to make it the best thing we’ve ever made.”

Real Estate – from ‘The Main Thing’, out now on Domino Record Co.

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Beach Music was the first occasion on which (Sandy) Alex G (Alex Giannascoli) did not write all of the album’s songs in one sharp burst. Instead, he wrote the songs around his touring schedule, the result of which is an eclectic album that oscillates wildly in style, depending on what he was listening to at the time of writing, from Americana-tinged country to deafening noise-rock.

(Sandy) Alex G “Kicker” from ‘Beach Music’, Originally released 2015 on Domino Record Co.

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Domino Recording Co is proud to introduce a new signing, Colombia-born/raised and Brooklyn-based Ela Minus, and present her new single/video, “they told us it was hard, but they were wrong.” Ela melds machines with her living body, creating complex electronic music that exudes a vibrant warmth, and a stark, celebratory affirmation that our breaths aren’t infinite. Self-made and punk in spirit, Ela uses only hardware synthesizers to perform, write, and record.

Its accompanying video, directed by Will Dohrn, begins with fog and mountains, a direct homage to the Andes of Colombia. Ela pierces through its disorienting, desaturated and strange world, and brings light and color to it. Using choreography and aesthetic transformations, the “they told us it was hard, but they were wrong” video tells a story that lifts from heaviness to joy. It’s a powerful visual statement of contrasts: between the organic and the technical and industrial, light and darkness.

Before forging her path as a solo electronic artist, Ela was a drummer in a teenage hardcore band. She joined the band when she was just 12, performing with them for almost a decade. Ela then moved to the United States to attend Berklee College of Music, where she double-majored in jazz drumming and synthesizer design. This roving background instilled in her a belief that we all have the power to change things, and as she delved deeper into her work with synthesizers, she saw a clear connection between the freedom of the DIY scene she grew up in and club culture.

The title of this debut single for Domino, “they told us it was hard, but they were wrong,” could easily be a line shouted by Fugazi, a band Ela cites as an inspiration. Over an invigorating beat and staccato synthesizer, Ela’s controlled, breathy vocals are motivating: “if you have to go to the bottom of a hole to find what’s wrong just let it go // everyone told us it’s hard, but they were wrong // when you love, you love it all and nothing seems impossible.”

On “they told us it was hard, but they were wrong”, Ela says,“When everything is taken from us, the ability to choose our attitude and create our own path forward is the only certainty we have.”

Ela Minus“they told us it was hard, but they were wrong.”, out now on Domino Record Co


'I feel like lockdown is forcing us to solve problems where we would have just skipped on beforehand'

Alison Mosshart has seemingly worked with everyone over the years—outside of her day job fronting the blues-rock band The Kills, she’s collaborated with Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Foo Fighters, Gang of Four, and more, in addition to co-founding the supergroup The Dead Weather with Jack White.

But today we’re finally seeing Mosshart stepping out on her own, revealing her first solo material under her given name. “Rise” exhibits the fierce energy and soul of anything she’s been a part of thus far, filling the track’s four-minute runtime with powerful vocals. The track made its debut in the first episode of the Facebook Watch drama Sacred Lies: The Singing Bones, where it was performed by Jordan Alexander, and appeared again today in the show’s final episode.

Alison Mosshart – “Rise”, out now on Domino Record Co.

Dirty Projectors have been in a transitory period for some time now. With the announcement of Dirty Projectors’ new EP Windows Open, we can firmly say they’re back with a solid sense of identity. The EP features four tracks, all of which feature BOBBY member Maia Friedman on lead vocals. The EP not only embraces Friedman as the band’s new centerpiece but also welcomes in the touring members from Lamp Lit Prose as mainstays.

Our Windows Open EP is out today! It includes ‘Overlord’ and ‘Search For Life’ and two brand new ones. Dirty Projectors – Search For Life (Official Lyric Video) Out now on Domino Record Co.

Our Windows Open EP is out today! It includes ‘Overlord’ and ‘Search For Life’ and two brand new ones. Dirty Projectors – Search For Life (Official Lyric Video) Out now on Domino Record Co.

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Since the last time we heard from Aaron Maine of Porches, he’s spent some time holed up in his New York apartment, immersing himself in his emotions and creating more low-key electronic ballads. In the space of a decade, this project has consistently delivered raw and understated synth-pop. The sounds reflects his ‘look’; it’s glossy and glamorous. Luckily it’s also incredibly compelling.

2018’s ‘The House’, his third album, delivered colourful, vibrant pop while showcasing an intimate internal dialogue about seeking clarity of your own emotions. Maine recently said of his creative process: “My aim is to swim to the bottom of myself and find the most beautiful and strange things I can offer.” He’s essentially put the magnifying glass on this concept with latest record ‘Ricky Music’, and although the production is rich and textured, it also feels less polished here, as though he’s thrown his thoughts and feeling straight into the laptop.

Maine’s mournful vocal leads the way on opener ‘Patience’, evoking a sense of struggle and dogged self-belief. “Cause I’m rooting for you / And I’m rooting for me / And I’m rooting for that baby”, he sings, alluding to a complicated relationship over poignant and dramatic synths. The accompanying video depicts Aaron being pelted with basketballs, through which he battles to the other side of a gym; it’s a smart reference to his resolve to deal with everything life throws his way.

None of these synth-pop songs are longer than they need to be. This album is like a well-kept diary, neat entries playing part of a much bigger picture. Things continue in this vein with ‘Do U Wanna’ and ‘Lipstick Song’, which further explore the minimal and spacious electro sound.

You get the sense that Maine has as many sultry synth-pop bangers inside him as he pleases but, while he’s capable of dominating a more mainstream territory, he refuses to indulge in such temptations. Instead he’s taken the road less travelled, carefully placing his honey-sweet lines and choosing the moments to excite the senses musically. The occasional hard-hitting synth brings to mind something between the sounds of Stranger Things and Twin Peaks.

Still, Porches knows when to cut loose. There’s a shiny glamour to the Italo-disco synths throughout, which peak on the ’80s-influenced ‘I Wanna Ride’. “Each day the night falls,” he sings, “I stare at the moon ’til my eyes get so messed up / I can almost see you”. This is swiftly followed by the minimal acid-rave sounds of ‘Madonna’. It feels like the album has been building to this pivotal moment of release.

Whether he continues to be a minimal outlier like friend and collaborator (Sandy) Alex G, or makes a bolder move towards the limelight with his next step, you get the feeling that Aaron Maine isn’t a man who’ll make concessions to the mainstream. This effort is a bold step that shows no compromise on the horizon

Porches – “Patience”, from ‘Ricky Music’, out now on Domino Record Co.