Posts Tagged ‘Fat Possum Records’

Occasionally when a hip new band starts to get considerable buzz there’s usually one single in particular tied to the hype. For Austin-based indie rock group Why Bonnie, that song just might be the blistering “Athlete,” a recently released single from their “Voice Box” EP. It’s truly an attention-grabber, full of fortified feedback fuzz, screeching guitars and the unmistakable power of frontwoman Blair Howerton’s soft yet deep voice. It begins with scratchy violin strings straight out of a horror flick before the band pokes at the idea of athletic prowess “‘Athlete’ is the most ‘rock and roll’ track on the EP so we wanted to make a video that embodied that, but also felt like casual, day-in-the-life footage,” the band said in a statement.

“Kind of like watching a home movie that you found in a box in your parents’ attic, but instead of you as a three-year old on the soccer field, you’re a grown adult with about the same skill level.” “Athlete” isn’t the only star single, though: The Voice Box title track is just as attractive, but a bit closer to the dream-pop side of things. Any band who can squeeze this much beautiful noise into such a small amount of output is one to keep your eyes on.

The Austin group add:  “The video was directed by Alex  inker and is essentially just a true field day filmed on VHS. ‘Athlete’ is the most ‘rock and roll’ track on the EP so we wanted to make a video that embodied that, but also felt like casual, day-in-the-life footage.”

“Kind of like watching a home movie that you found in a box in your parents’ attic, but instead of you as a three-year old on the soccer field, you’re a grown adult with about the same skill level.”

Loosely focused on Austin, Texas, the project match skittering indie pop to some early 90s alt-rock influences. Pitting the dream-like sheen of Mazzy Star or The Cranberries against grainy, DIY production, their song writing matches a sense of classicism to a supremely personal approach.

“Voice Box” by Why Bonnie off of ‘Voice Box’, It came out April 10th, 2020 on Fat Possum Records.

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We first got to know Courtney Marie Andrews back in 2018 when she recounted for us her journey from emo to country on the occasion of releasing her breakthrough Americana solo record May Your Kindness Remain. Just two years later and it sounds like she’s been churning out these folksy sounds her entire career with her heartbroken new LP Old Flowers.

Perhaps that was the missing ingredient in her solo career, which now spans over a decade—the themes of love and heartbreak haunt the new record in a way that never felt this present on previous releases. The shaky minimalism of songs like “If I Told” are shockingly vulnerable, while full-band numbers like “It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault” match this openness in Andrews’ lyrics.

In the spirit of this theme of love and heartbreak, CMA has assembled eleven tracks that she sees as spiritual predecessors to Old Flowers’ lovelorn charm.

I wanna tell you about the small group of musicians on this record. At the beginning of 2019, I wanted to try out a few producers to test out who would best fit these songs. After only one session with Andrew Sarlo, I knew he had the keen empathy and magic to produce this very personal record. He was very in tune with the vision. We both agreed the record needed to be soft and intimate, so we decided to only take two musicians on board as the band. One of those players is one of my favourite musicians in the whole world, Matthew Davidson (Twain) He is a big part of this record, and recording with him is inspiring because every take is a journey. Then, Sarlo suggested we bring James Krivchenia on board to play drums, but James ended up adding so much more. Playing with these two in a room was pure inspiration and magic. Every take was its own, a journey into possibility. Nothing felt regimented or sterile. It felt like throwing paint on canvas, no sound off-limits.

I am proud to release the final single from my new upcoming record,
‘Old Flowers’. (Coming out July 24th!) ‘How You Get Hurt’ is a heartbreak saga. Learning to love again, but afraid and unsure? This song is for you. Recording this offered so many magical moments in the studio and this one sits close to my heart

Old Flowers is out this Friday, July 24, via Fat Possum Records

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Rock ‘n’ roll lifers Sabrina Rush, Joseph Plunket and Brian Kotzur have played with State Champion, Gentleman Jesse and Silver Jews to name a few great bands. Now like Voltron, they have taken their skills to make a big giant rock ‘n’ roll robot and I am here for it.

Big guitars and a ripping rhythm section is like a belt-high fastball on a 3-0 count. From beginning to end, this album delivers the goods. I’ve tried to put a label on them but I always just wind up going with straight up rocking, sort of like a great Reigning Sound album. Plunkett’s vocals are raspy with hints of twang; again belt-high fastball for my tastes.

If you don’t like this album, you don’t like rock ‘n’ roll. This album literally pulled me out of funk and I’m grateful for its existence. It’s Not Easy, Gentle Soul and Two Characters are among my favourites.

Don’t go into Country Westerns’ self-titled debut expecting twangy back-porch music. Calling the group Country Westerns is a misnomer. The three-piece band from Nashville delivers riotous rock ‘n’ roll leaning more towards the Replacements than Dwight Yoakam. Drummer Brian Kotzur (Trash Humpers, Silver Jews) and singer-songwriter-guitarist Joey Plunkett (The Weight, Gentleman Jesse) began collaborating in 2016. Writing and performing music was meant to be an outlet for the two musicians, a method to release pressure, write songs, and hit-up Nashville’s DIY party scene. Shortly thereafter, Sabrina Rush (State Champion) joined as a bassist, although she was inexperienced with the instrument. Despite the blasé beginnings, Country Westerns delivers a musically rousting album that is at once catchy and gritty.

If not listening closely, the fierce musicality can obscure the sensitive and affecting lyrics. “Gentle Soul” is wistful, especially when Plunkett laments, “I don’t want to fight with you anymore.” Whereas the vulnerability is short-lived, the righteous indignation is palpable throughout the track. “Gentle Soul” is as angry as it is sad, an accurate portrayal of heartache. Country Westerns are decidedly self-aware. The band know they are blurring vulnerability and rage as exhibited in “Times to Tunnels”. The lyrics, “It ain’t a boast in the least / It’s just a plea for grace / Full of honesty, this rage and me”, provokes authentic self-consciousness.

On top of the engrossing lyrics, Country Westerns uses the album to showcase their musical alacrity. Kotzur’s drums on “Guest Checks” is rough and shrewd, the ideal counterpoint to Rush’s melodic bass. Plunkett’s guitar accentuates their stability with a rawness that melds into while deflecting Kotzur and Rush. Their musical charisma is extenuated on “It’s on Me” and “Anytime”. Whereas the former is comparatively understated in its rock ‘n’ roll energy, the latter roars.

“I’m Not Ready” off upcoming Country Westerns “S/T” album, out June 26, 2020, on Fat Possum Records.

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Ellis (aka Hamilton, Ontario dream pop artist Linnea Siggelkow) is released her debut album, Born Again, via Fat Possum. On Wednesday she shared another song from it, “Saturn Return,” via a Michael Pugacewicz-video for the track. The full-length debut from Ellis, “Born Again” takes place in spaces both intimate and vast, ordinary and near-mythic: warm beds and lonely church pews, restless cities and desolate forests and the furthest reaches of the cosmos. Produced by Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange, Grizzly Bear) and recorded partly at Aron’s Brooklyn studio, Born Again arrives as the follow- up to Ellis’s debut EP The Fuzz—a self-released, self-produced effort that promptly led to a deal with Fat Possum Records. In a departure from the viscerally charged dream-pop of The Fuzz, Born Again unfolds with a mesmerizing subtlety, gracefully spotlighting Ellis’s unhurried melodies, starkly confessional lyrics, and the luminous vocal work she’s shown in opening for artists like Soccer Mommy and Alvvays.

Siggelkow had this to say about “Saturn Return” in a press release: “‘Saturn Return’ is an astrological term for the time in your life where Saturn literally returns to the same place in it’s orbit that it was the moment you were born. The first one happens in your late twenties, and it’s a time of radical transformation. I am in mine now and have been feeling it big time! I wrote this record while reflecting on all the ways my life is changing, reconciling things from the past and making space to move forward.”

Previously Ellis shared Born Again’s first single, “Fall Apart,” via a video for the track. Then she shared another song from it, “Embarrassing,” via a video for the short track. Then she shared another new Born Again song, “March 13,”

Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange, Grizzly Bear) produced the album, which was partly recorded at his Brooklyn studio. Born Again follows Ellis’s debut EP The Fuzz, which she self-produced and self-released in 2018.

As Born Again’s title suggests, the album partly deals with questions of faith. Siggelkow is the daughter of a traveling book salesman and a piano teacher. “I grew up Christian and was quite devoted to faith up through my late teens, but I started challenging that once I got to university,” said Siggelkow in a previous press release announcing the album. “Since then I’ve been trying to redefine who I am and where I stand and what I think about these things on my own, and that journey very much played into the songwriting on this record.”

“Saturn Return” from Ellis’s debut album ‘Born Again’

Delta 88 Nightmare,” newly recorded music from the iconic punk rock band, X, along with the video directed by Henry Mortensen, The 7” vinyl will be released on November 29th,

Earlier this year, the original foursome – Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake went into the studio together to record fresh material for the first time since 1985’s “Ain’t Love Grand.”  Five songs were recorded over the course of two days with producer Rob Schnapf.The first of these new songs is the recorded version of an older X song, “Delta 88 Nightmare,” which previously was only included as a bonus track on the 2001 reissue of “Los Angeles” in demo form – never as a fully recorded and mixed track. The song is available today as a 7″ with the flip side being the newly recorded “Cyrano de Berger’s Back,” one of the earliest songs John wrote for the band that became X.

The iconic punk rock band, X, recently announced their annual Holiday tour plans. Hitting theWest Coast for X-Mas ‘19, finishing up on December 19th & 20th with hometown Los Angeles finale shows. The Blasters will join X on all shows .

Formed in 1977, X quickly established themselves as one of the best bands in the first wave of LA’s flourishing punk scene; becoming legendary leaders of a punk generation. Featuring vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist/bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer DJ Bonebrake, their debut 45 was released on the seminal Dangerhouse label in 1978, followed by seven studio albums released from 1980-1993. X’s first two studio albums, Los Angeles and Wild Gift are ranked by Rolling Stone among the top 500 greatest albums of all time.

Over the years, the band has released several critically acclaimed albums, topped the musical charts with regularity and performed their iconic hits on top television shows such as Letterman and American Bandstand. In 2017, the band celebrated their 40th anniversary in music with a Grammy Museum exhibit opening, a Proclamation from the City of Los Angeles .The band continues to tour with the original line-up.

Fat Possum Records

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These three friends from central Indiana, each one a distinctive singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, had reached a point where years of hard work and creativity were just starting to pay off. They were hailed as one of the most inventive young bands around, with comparisons to Guided by Voices, My Bloody Valentine, and the Radio Dept., and that’s exactly when they broke up the band.

Following a short but necessary break, during which the Indiana band had the opportunity to explore their own creative endeavors, Hoops have reunited and announce their incredible sophomore album “Halo” today. Recorded at Bloomington’s Russian Studio and produced by the band’s friend Ben Lumsdaine, “Halo” is an album defined by musical exuberance, full of gratitude and generosity, and, simply, sounds like a lively conversation amongst close friends. Halo will be out on October 2nd via Fat Possum.

To celebrate their album announcement, Hoops share Halo’s lead single and first song the band has ever written together, “Fall Back.” Auscherman had started “Fall Back” about a long-distance relationship, but he fleshed it out with Krauter and Beresford, who added jangly guitars, a buoyant rhythm section, and a swooning chorus: “Fall back in my arms again, just the way it should have always been.” Like many songs on Halo, it wasn’t written specifically about his bandmates but nevertheless addresses similar emotions about their musical partnership.

Hoops released their critically-acclaimed debut album Routines in 2017, and, soon after, announced an indefinite hiatus. The trio – friends, singers, and multi-instrumentalists Drew Auscherman, Kevin Krauter and Keagan Beresford – had been making music together for almost half of their lives, but the band had begun to feel more like a burden than an outlet, so they decided to call it quits. “I think we had lost a lot of steam,” explains Krauter. “Hoops wasn’t moving forward organically. It was being dragged along.”

“They Say”, out now on Fat Possum Records. Reaching this point nearly destroyed the band, but Auscherman, Beresford, and Krauter emerged stronger and closer for their time apart. “This record is a more honest representation of our influences and interests as musicians,” says Auscherman. “We’ve grown a lot in four years, as people and as listeners. We’re starting to sound more like ourselves.”

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Los Angeles was a much different place when released its debut album, Los Angeles, named for the city that the band had adopted. Forty years ago, Los Angeles still had a reliably seedy link to its noir roots, which was catnip to people like John Doe, who fled the East Coast for L.A.’s sunny days and debauched nights. Doe found kindred spirits in Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom and D.J. Bonebrake, and with X they helped establish the West Coast’s punk scene. With 1980’s Los Angeles, they became a nationally recognized leading voice on the scene.

They were a motley bunch. Doe and Cervenka were writers and poets. Zoom was a session guitarist who had trained as an electronics repairman and played a dozen instruments, fluent in both big band jazz and Gene Vincent. Bonebrake had studied classical music and played a mean jazz vibraphone as well as he drummed. All except Bonebrake were from somewhere else.

But in the sordid backwash of Hollywood and the near-nuclear fallout of the Ramones and Sex Pistols, they transformed into X. As we celebrate the 40th birthday of the band’s debut album, Los Angeles has lost none of its power, fury or artfulness, and remains a showcase for how the spirit of punk can be filtered through the familiar lens of rock and roll that had come before.

The heart of “Los Angeles” is clearly punk; Zoom’s lethally precise power chords and Bonebrake’s metronome-on-steroids drums propel the songs at a breakneck pace while Cervenka’s unhinged vocals speak to one of punk’s central tenets: Anyone can do it. But there’s a higher level of musicianship at work here. Zoom is an encyclopedia of roots-rock guitar and he tosses in echoes of Chuck Berry and Scotty Moore. Doe is the Paul McCartney of punk bassists, always finding inventive ways to melodically underpin the songs without losing intensity, and his smoked honey of a voice in harmony with Cervenka’s squall is one of the band’s signature sounds.

Doe and Cervenka filled Los Angeles with lyrics straight out of a poetry workshop — elliptical, evocative, blunt, beautiful and violent, like if Dashiell Hammett did slam poetry — and the combination of bohemia, musicianship and aggression made Los Angeles soar. And if Ray Manzarek seems an unlikely producer, consider that The Doors were legends in L.A. and he had considerable street cred.

X begins with a triple shot of “Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not,” “Johny Hit and Run Paulene” and a cover of the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen.” Of the three, “Johny Hit and Run Paulene” is quintessential X, a seamy narrative about drugs, rape and possibly (probably?) murder.

“Sex and Dying in High Society” reads like a film noir treatment about a woman who has sold herself for the security of a connected marriage. Not an incredibly original premise, but the details are what make it work, especially the bit where the woman makes her maid use a curling iron to burn her back just to feel something. Manzarek spices the song with a perfectly placed flourish of synthesizer. “The Unheard Music” is an efficient summation of punk culture, ominously set to a dirge-like metal riff. “Friends warehouse pain/Attack their own kind/A thousand kids bury their parents” conjures the desperate physical release of a mosh pit, teenagers cutting themselves loose from families they don’t want to be with the family that they choose.

“The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss,” besides being a rare example of the proper use of a semi-colon, is also a love song that doesn’t back down from how terror and wonderment walk hand in hand when two people try to make a life together. It comes off as an update of 1950s teeny-bopper love songs with Zoom busting out his best Berry licks behind Cervenka and Doe’s anti-harmonies.

The album’s best-known song is the muscular title track, which is intoxicating in its ferocity and concision. As political correctness has grown into a casual hobby, there have been efforts to paint the song as racist, which is at best a ridiculous argument. It’s clearly about a racist, not to mention a homophobe, and the song’s impact and meaning would be neutered by euphemisms that dance around the truth. That truth is what makes the song so powerful, as well as the sledgehammer authority with which Zoom, Bonebrake and Doe attack every second of the brief 2:25 it lasts.

The album’s overall effect and impact is visceral, literary and uncompromising. X went on to make six more studio albums, embracing more of the band’s folk, country and rockabilly roots as the years passed. The first four albums are considered classics, but “Los Angeles” remains the gold standard.

Clean original Slash pressings of Los Angeles have been climbing in price but the record has been remastered and reissued several times by Rhino, Porterhouse, Music On Vinyl and most recently Fat Possum; other than the acclaimed Porterhouse pressings, the consensus seems to be that they’re all roughly equivalent to an original.

Whichever one you track down, you need to own it — assuming you have a thing for punk, or just good music — as it’s a touchstone of the genre and a keeper for any well-curated collection.

The band recognized the significance of Los Angeles with the surprise release of a new album, Alphabetland, nearly 40 years to the day after their debut. It’s the band’s first studio album since 1985 to feature the original quartet, which was fractured when Zoom left following Ain’t Love Grand. His return brings X full circle as Alphabetland is classic Los Angeles-era X: hard, fast, uncompromising.

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Debut EP from new Fat Possum signing, Ellis and a Rough Trade Shops tip for 2019. Canadian bedroom dream pop, The six-track release presents an uncommonly fully-realized aesthetic to match the strength of Siggelkow’s songwriting. Built from simple instrumentation, but deftly arranged to lend a grandeur and devastating scale to Siggelkow’s skillfully rendered laments, the release is a resounding statement from a young artist who is poised for a reception that equals the scope of her remarkable gifts. Ellis, who, after generating buzz in her local scene on the back of opening stints with the likes of Soccer Mommy, Gabby’s World, Chastity, Palehound, and Free Cake For Every Creature, garnered international acclaim with the release of a series of singles, earning comparisons to Mazzy Star, Alvvays and Slowdive from outlets like Pitchfork, Noisey and Stereogum, who marked her out as one of “a new generation of exciting songwriters.”

official video for ‘the drain’ by Ellis, from the ‘the fuzz’ EP

Alphabetland by X album artwork cover art

Punk legends X have surprise released a brand new album called “Alphabetland”. Better yet, it’s the band’s first full-length featuring all of its original members in 35 years. Formed in 1977, X quickly established themselves as one of the best bands in the first wave of LA’s flourishing punk scene; becoming legendary leaders of a punk generation,

X’s Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake recorded five songs for the record back in November 2018 — one of which was a redo of “Delta 88 Nightmare” — with producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck). In January of this year, they reunited with Schnapf to record seven more songs. And thus, an album was born. According to The Los Angeles Times, the album was originally due out in August, but the band chose to move up its release due to the COVID-19 crisis. “When your heart is broken, you think every song is about that,” John Doe said in a statement. “These songs were written in the last 18 months and it blows my mind how timely they are. We all want our family, friends and fans to hear our records as soon as it’s finished. This time we could do that. Thanks to Fat Possum and our audience.”

Alphabetland comes with some warped, colorful album artwork, which you can find below alongside the tracklist. As it turns out, that drawing is by none other than Wayne White, the set designer for the legendary Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

“When your heart is broken you think every song is about that. These songs were written in the last 18 months & it blows my mind how timely they are,” explained John Doe. “We all want our family, friends & fans to hear our records as soon as it’s finished. This time we could do that. Thanks to Fat Possum & our audience.” The bands record label, Fat Possum, listened and agreed. Plans were quickly set in motion to release the new music via Bandcamp and have said they’re working to get the record available elsewhere as quickly as possible.

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Released April 22nd, 2020

The Band:
Billy Zoom; guitar, saxaphone, piano
DJ Bonebrake; drums, percussion
Exene Cervenka; vocals
John Doe; bass, vocals

Additional guitar on All The Time In The World: Robby Krieger
Rob Schnapf, additional guitar

Pre-orders for Alphabetland are currently ongoing. In addition to a digital download on Bandcamp, the album is available on CD, black vinyl, and special vinyl variants like green (limited to 500), red (limited to 300), and yellow (limited to 200). The latter two colours have already sold out, so act fast if you’re trying to own a special vinyl version.

The release of Alphabetland coincides with the 40th anniversary of X’s debut album, Los Angeles, this weekend.

X Alphabetland band new album music song, photo via Facebook

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Singer-songwriter Coutney Marie Andrews shares the latest single from her forthcoming album Old Flowers, the beautifully melancholy “Burlap String.” The single is accompanied by a music video, featuring Andrews hiking a nature trail, picking flowers and laying in fields as the sun eventually sets.
You can’t water old flowers. Yes, you fall in love, you make mistakes, and so do they. You run through blackberry fields in the summer of your youth, dream in passenger seats gazing past towns and fields, imagining a future life where everything works out. I fell head over heels in love at nineteen. The kind of love where you call up your best friend and say, “I think I’ve found my soulmate.” The pull towards that first true love is strong. It consumes you, makes you question your own dreams.

We taught each other, grew up together, we were family. We fit just right, for a time. Then one day, after a long and rocky nine year road, life changed and became a complicated mess too hard to untangle. We couldn’t get our love back, no matter how many dreams that shadowed this hard truth. We grew resentful, selfish, harboring past mistakes and holding them up like armor from every blow. We grew up and our paths diverted.

‘Old Flowers’ is about heartbreak. There are a million records and songs about that, but I did not lie when writing these songs. This album is about loving and caring for the person you know you can’t be with. It’s about being afraid to be vulnerable after you’ve been hurt. It’s about a woman who is alone, but okay with that, if it means truth.
This was my truth this year – my nine year relationship ended, and I’m a woman alone in the world, but happy to know herself.

These songs came to me alone, late nights in Bisbee, Lisbon, Nashville, and London. Sometimes I’d just cry and sing, and a song would come out. I drank too much wine while writing this record, lit too many candles. You could say this was my attempt to summon the muse, but that’s bullshit, because she was just standing there naked looking me in the eyes. So I told her the truth.