Posts Tagged ‘Fat Possum Records’

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Life out on the lonely road It’s a tale that many musicians sing about, longing for a day they can actually come home from touring around the world, meeting faceless fans and playing show after show. It can get lonesome on tour, and yet, somehow, they can’t shed their vagabond ways.

But that’s not the case for Courtney Marie Andrews, who had toured in other people’s bands for a decade before taking a break to bartend in a small Washington town these past few years. Pushing pause on non-stop touring allowed her to sit back and re-evaluate, sparking the thesis for the album “Honest Life” via Fat Possum Records, with a pressing of the deluxe edition. At 16, Andrews left her Arizona home to become transient, playing and busking in bars and cafes around the country. She continued on as a session singer and touring musician for nearly 40 artists, from Jimmy Eat World to Damien Jurado.

Her work took her all around the world, but at some point, she realized she’d lost touch with reality.“You can start to just stop calling people or stop keeping up with the people that you know and love,” Andrews said, calling from an unseasonably warm Seattle. “All of a sudden it’s been three years and you haven’t seen them.”In Washington, Andrews made connections again, getting to know people at the bar and laying down tracks for Honest Life with a trusted group of musicians. Together, the band sounds like home. Drums chug away at moderate paces, piano glitters organically over top and the guitars are cozy. In the final track, she even added a somber arrangement of strings, gifted by her friend Andrew Joslyn.
Over the majority of the album, a pedal steel guitar drifts lazily under the melody, tangling with Andrews’ voice. With her Emmylou Harris-like pipes and the pedal steel, the album is what some people have called “country.”“When I went in to make Honest Life, I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m making a country record,’” Andrews said. “It’s more about creating a timeless sound. Something that can be released now or in the ’60s or whenever… I take pleasure in being a songwriter and creating a record that’s hard to place where it’s from.”

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Honest Life is technically her sixth album, although she’s kept the first three for herself. It’s her first LP on a label. The album has made several best-of-lists, The accolades couldn’t have come at a better time, she said, when she was wiser about the industry and had gotten some time to grow.

Some people get lucky and their first record is just like a masterpiece fully formed, but that was definitely not me,” Andrews said. “I feel like I’ve really come into my own as a songwriter in the past few years. … I’m glad [the recognition] happened now when I’m a good songwriter, rather than when I was young.”To improve her craft, Andrews studied up on the greats—Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc.—and in turn, she gained notice from other impressive songwriters, like Ryan Adams and Jurado. With practice and careful observation of legends and her contemporaries, she perfected the “tasteful way of revealing things” in her music.“When I was younger, I would write a song and I would reveal things in every single line, and that was the problem,” Andrews said. “We don’t need to know all that. The listener is overwhelmed. It’s like when you’re at a bar and somebody’s telling you their life story and you’re like, ‘Whoa, calm down.’”

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Andrews’ songwriting is more subtle now, but not cryptic. The first track, “Rookie Dreaming,” reflects on her troubadour life and the missteps of what Andrews calls “blind youth.”

“I was moving too fast to see / All the paintings in Paris or sunrise in Barcelona / I was too broke too shallow to dive deep / Too busy carrying the weight of everything,” Andrews sings, her voice rife with mild vibrato, swooping with a twang that’s not Southern, but something unique altogether. She punches syllables that condemn her apathetic lifestyle—“TOO broke, TOO shallow”— while letting other verses flow freely, warm with harmony.

While she criticizes herself in “Rookie Dreaming,” she turns her perspective to address a meek friend in “Irene.” She sings directly to the title character, a pseudonym for the real-life subject, delivering the type of constructive criticism you might not have the guts to give to a friend’s face.

“Gain some confidence, Irene / If you speak let your voice ring out / But keep your grace, Irene / Don’t go falling in love with yourself,” she sings. An organ warbles as Andrews delivers her sermon.

“‘Irene’ was originally written for a friend, but I feel like probably every growing, youthful woman has felt like Irene at one point or the other,” Andrews said. “Every woman who’s amazing but doesn’t really know it yet. We feel like all these magazines and articles that are saying, ‘No, we’re not good enough’ … It’s sort of realizing that that’s total bullshit and you are awesome and you just have to know it.”

Not only did Andrews take care of all the songwriting on Honest Life, but she was the sole producer on the album—essential for keeping control in the studio.

“With this record, I knew so clearly what I wanted that I didn’t want distractions or arguments,” Andrews said. “One person sees it one way, one person sees it another way. Sometimes it makes a great record, but for Honest Life, I just wanted the sort of clear, easy, raw and realness. And that’s what we did.”

As for settling down and slinging drinks, Andrews knew that wouldn’t last forever. She said she’s always going to travel in the name of music. But this time, she’s not going to be singing anyone else’s songs. She’s at center stage now, and she’s ready to brave the lonely road once more.

“A lot of Honest Life was realizing that I didn’t want to tour as a backup singer anymore,” Andrews said. “If was going to be on the road, it was going to be for me, for my songs, for the dreams that I’ve always had as a teenager and as a young adult. Bartending is not my career path. Music is everything.”

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At just 16 years old, Courtney Marie Andrews left home in Arizona for her first tour. She traveled up and down the West Coast, busking and playing any bars or cafés that would have her. Soon after, she took a Greyhound bus four nights straight from Phoenix to New York to do the same on the East Coast. For a decade or so since, Courtney’s been a session and backup singer and guitarist for nearly 40 artists, from Jimmy Eat World to Damien Jurado. She never stopped writing her own material, though. Picking up admirers like Jurado and Ryan Adams along the way, she has quietly earned a reputation as a songwriter’s songwriter.

With plans to settle down for a bit and focus on her own songs, Courtney moved to the Northwest in 2011 to record her last full-length record On My Page. However, the record had hardly been released before she was on the road again performing other artists’ songs, eventually leading her overseas to play guitar and sing with Belgian star Milow. At the tour’s end, though, the other session players joined her to record her 2014 EP Leuven Letters in one take.

It was during this time that Courtney also wrote many of the songs on Honest Life. She found herself realizing the impact of growing up on the road and this constant reconciling between her and other’s art and identity. Courtney will take it from there:

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While in Belgium for four months, I was going through a major heartbreak. I started growing homesick for America and the comfort of family and friends, and life in the states. That’s where I wrote the first songs for Honest Life. It was a giant hurdle in my life. My first true growing pains as a woman. That’s why in a sense, I feel this record is a coming of age album. A common thread that runs through the songs, is a great desire to fit somewhere, when nowhere fits. And wanting to get back home to the people I know and love. Once I got back to the states, I started to bartend at a small town tavern. I was home for awhile, and needed to post up while rehearsing with the band for the record. At the tavern, I felt I could truly empathize with the stories and lives of the people there. I wrote the other half of the songs about coming home and feeling a sense of belonging again. A lot of the stories at that tavern definitely ran parallel with my own, even though our lives were so different. I was the “musician girl.”  They were farmers, construction workers, plumbers, waitresses, and cashiers. But, no matter how different, I felt we were all trying to live our most honest life.

Courtney produced the entire record herself at Litho Studios in Seattle with recording engineer Floyd Reitsma. Honest Life is available now on LP, CD from Mama Bird Recording Co. / Fat Possum Records (USA/World) and Loose Music (Europe).

Look for ‘Honest Life’ in independent record stores on September 15th An exclusive colour LP with a bonus 7″ that includes “Near You”.

‘Irene’ from the album Honest Life. Available now from Mama Bird Recording Co. / Fat Possum Records:

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The Districts a four-piece indie rock band from the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania. The group formed in 2009 while members Rob Grote, Mark Larson, Connor Jacobus, and Braden Lawrence were still in high school. The prolific young band released their first EP, “Kitchen Songs” in 2011, followed by the track “Telephone” , The band released their debut full-length, the following year. The Districts then released a second EP, the more acoustic-leaning While You Were in Honesdale, was released in late 2012 and the band continued to perform regionally. Their mix of jangly indie Americana and blues-inspired rock caught the attention of Mississippi’s Fat Possum Records, who issued the band’s self-titled third EP, which contained three remastered songs from the “Telephone” album along with two newly recorded tracks.

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Two demos recorded over the past bit of time. All proceeds will go to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council to support their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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One to Another engineered & mixed by Keith Abrams
Alice recorded in our practice space.
Written and performed by The Districts

The Districts are an American indie rock band originally from Lititz in Pennsylvania,. The group formed in 2009 while members Rob Grote, Mark Larson, Connor Jacobus, and Braden Lawrence were all still in high school.

The group self-released two EPs and a full-length album over the course of 2011 and 2012. Late in 2013, after a stint in viral success from a live studio session, The Districts signed with Fat Possum Records releasing an EP early the following year consisting of three remastered tracks from their previous releases and two new songs. By 2014 the group had relocated from Lititz to Philadelphia . In February 2015, the group’s second full-length, A Flourish and a Spoil brought the band attention to the general media. The band mix of jangly indie Americana and blues-inspired rock.  

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All sales will be donated to the Standing Rock Medic and Health council.

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The Districts met in their hometown of Lititz, Pa., and began making a name for themselves in Philadelphia’s music scene. Coming from a small town, the band members have known one another for most of their lives. “I went to preschool with [frontman] Rob [Grote],” says drummer Braden Lawrence, “but I didn’t talk to him because he stole my blocks or something and I hated him for 10 years.”

Eventually the Districts relocated to Philadelphia and became part of that city’s music scene. Their most recent album, A Flourish and a Spoil, was recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn. “It was awesome,” Grote says of the experience. “We put on some Nirvana and went swimming.”

Now on tour supporting the new album, the Districts visited The Current’s studio for a session with Mary Lucia. Here are some key quotes from the interview:

On the title of their song, “4th and Roebling”:
“It’s right off the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. We parked there the first time we played in New York a long time ago, and we needed a title for the song.”

http://www.thecurrent.org/listen/feature/2015/02/23/the-districts-perform-in-the-current-studio

On how their van and gear disappeared while on a previous tour:
“We went to the City Museum in East Saint Louis (Ill.), which is an awesome museum but not in an awesome area. We were in a gated lot, but we came out of the City Museum and our van was gone.”

On the Philadelphia music scene:
“I feel like it’s one big music scene with a lot of different little ones in it. But even if you don’t necessarily fit into a certain one, no one really hates on each other too much. Even if you don’t like the music, it’s cool that there’s a lot of bands; everyone’s pretty supportive of it and into it, so that’s cool.”

Songs Performed
“4th and Roebling”
“Peaches”
“Chlorine”
All songs off The Districts’ album, “A Flourish and a Spoil”, out now on Fat Possum Records.

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Philadelphian quartet The Districts are preparing to return to the U.K along with their upcoming album, “Popular Manipulations”on August 11th through Fat Possum Records. So far, they’ve teased us with the full-length trio of new songs “Ordinary Day” , “If Before I Wake” and “Violet”. Today, the rock outfit has unveiled yet another new track, “Salt”.

Taking cues from “If Before I Wake”, the reverberating “Salt” has a glossy sound buoyed by sparkling synths, but with scaled back guitars this time around. Frontman Rob Grote’s soaring vocals rise above the fray with contemplative lyrics like, “Thought you were hopeful/ The last of the glow/ Until you burn out/ Until we burn out.”

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It’s been less than two years since Sophie Allison started making songs as Soccer Mommy, but in that short period of time everything she’s put out has been consistently rewarding and uniformly excellent. It’s hard to write the kind of music that she does with such skill — her songs are unassuming and simple on the surface, but deceptively complex. Allison’s voice is muted and empathetic, living within the songs rather than overpowering them, and her guitar work is subtle but intoxicating. Everything she writes has the same gauzy sheen, and they could scan as boring if they weren’t held down by Allison’s arresting personal narratives and enough intricate sonic framework to support many repeated listens.

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She arrived pretty fully-realized, with a series of EPs with charmingly plain-spoken titles like “Songs From The Recently Sad” and “Songs From My Bedroom”. They felt intimate and universal, like she was expressing a communal grief over adolescent lost loves, told from the perspective of someone who only has nostalgia for the recent past. Allison was 18 when she recorded those songs ,putting them online as she made the transition from growing up in Nashville to moving to New York City for school but they felt like they were written by someone far more worn-out by life, or rather they encapsulated the youthful sort of jadedness

Earlier this year, she put out vinyl 7″with two excellent tracks, “Last Girl” and “Be Seeing You.” It was her first release that featured the full band she had put together to play her shows, and it became clear that Soccer Mommy songs could be much more muscular and peppy than they initially appeared.

Her new video for “Inside Out,” a song that originally appeared on For Young Hearts, shows Allison at the crossroads between her full band (presented here in monster masks) and the project’s solo beginnings.

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Taken from the upcoming album ‘Collection’, Out August 4th on Fat Possum Records.

Comprising of reworked versions of some of her best Bandcamp releases, as well as a few new songs written, mixed and produced by Sophie herself, “Collection” is the perfect introduction to Soccer Mommy’s sound: quietly catchy, surprisingly confrontational, the kind of music that sneaks up on you and makes a permanent first impression. There are two brand-new tracks included on Soccer Mommy’s upcoming “Collection”, whose main intention is to re-record some of Sophie Allison’s older cuts with a full band behind her. The first of those new songs, “Out Worn” demonstrated how powerful that can be, but the second, “Allison,” is a plea for self-possession and vulnerability: “Allison, put down your sword,” she addresses herself. “Give up what you’re fighting for ’cause he’s been waiting at the shore/ His feet are in the water, he’s waiting for an answer of your boat in the water/ But you’re not on the sea.” It’s a reminder to not keep your emotions bottled up when you have a fantasy, share it; when you want to tell someone you love them, do it. “Allison” takes that waiting period between when you have a thought and when you finally verbalize it and makes it sound as beautifully sad and wanting and unsure as it actually feels

Soccer Mommy – “Allison”
Taken from the upcoming mini-album, Collection, out August 4th on Fat Possum Records

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all songs by Sophie Allison
guitar and vocals by Sophie Allison
recorded and engineered by Jacob Corenflos
drums and backing vocals by Thomas Borrelli
lead guitar by Kelton Young
bass by Jacob Corenflos
synth on “Out Worn” by Casey Weissbuch

Photos by Stasia de Tilly

Soccer Mommy has built a reputation as an incredibly exciting DIY artist, recording her own songs and releasing them for free on Bandcamp over the last few years. It’s a reputation that caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who will be releasing a mini-album Collection on the 4th August.

Comprised of reworked versions of some of her best Bandcamp releases, as well as a few new songs written, mixed and produced by aka Sophie Allison herself, Collection is the perfect introduction to Soccer Mommy’s sound: quietly catchy, surprisingly confrontational, the kind of music that sneaks up on you and makes a permanent first impression. Lead track ‘Out Worn’ is a fine showcase of how Allison spins indie tropes upside down. Open, jangly chords simmer in the foreground, while she astutely relates the tale of a relationship hitting breaking point: “My make up stains over your white tees, bite my nails til’ my fingers bleed,” she sings. There’s a deadly edge to her wordplay, a skill in every line she pens. It might sound simple on the surface, but there’s the sign of a seriously skilled songwriter in there
“You can’t say indie rock is dead,” says Sophie. “It’s just being taken over by women.” That’s the claim of Sophie Allison, whose understated, finitely-arranged guitar pop as Soccer Mommy certainly backs up her case.

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The songs on Collection portray an artist fully-formed, mature far beyond her age. Sophie sings of toxic relationships, infatuations, and all the experiences of being a teenage girl. There’s a freedom and a joy to this music, and Collection stands as an excellent introduction to a powerful new voice.