Posts Tagged ‘Hardly Art Records’

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Burning deep in Girl Friday’s music is an unquenchable will to survive. The LA-based band don’t blunt the impact of the themes they work through in their ferocious, knotty rock songs, but they don’t let the more harrowing aspects of being alive and young in the 21st century daunt them, either. Taking full advantage of the dystopian shades of post-punk and noise rock palettes on their arresting debut LP, “Androgynous Mary”, Girl Friday nevertheless suffuse their music with abundant optimism. The world is a hellscape, but the four of them are in it together.

The seeds of the band were first planted when guitarist Vera Ellen walked into a friend’s house at UCLA and saw Libby Hsieh playing bass on the couch. Drawn by her unique playing style, Ellen introduced herself, and the two musicians immediately bonded. After a year of playing together, they decided to grow their collaboration into a full band. Drummer Virginia Pettis and guitarist Sierra Scott caught wind of the project from friends of friends, and quickly jumped on board. The fledgling group’s chemistry was undeniable; writing and playing together felt generative and thrilling.

With bold, dramatic guitar lines and tightly wound vocal harmonies, Girl Friday negotiate the stress and alienation that comes with being side-lined from normative society on Androgynous Mary.  “Does the average man feel like he’s on the outside?” goes the beginning of “Public Bodies,” a wistful jangle-pop gem that shudders open into a snarling punk coda. Taking cues from longtime boundary-pushers Sonic Youth, Girl Friday depart from traditional song structures, favouring the rush of jarring turns over the safety of well-defined pop taxonomy. Looking to queer provocateurs like Placebo, they cherish the frisson of incongruous musical elements soldered together: “really dark, heavy things mashed up with quite beautiful things, whether that be a distorted guitar line and a sentimental vocal or vice versa,” as Ellen puts it.

That duality dovetails with the thematic friction running through the album, the alternating despair and hope that intertwine in the fight to stay alive as any kind of unfairly disenfranchised person in the US. Written during a year of personal struggle for all four band members, Androgynous Mary reflects the solace they took in each other – as a band, but also as a microcommunity and a chosen family. “It feels so rejuvenating to be there for each other and protect each other,” says Hsieh. Ellen adds, “We’ve definitely been through a lot together, but we’ve come through it by sticking together and loving each other regardless.”

On the record’s final song, “I Hope Jason Is Happy,” Girl Friday sing in unison against a resolute drumbeat: “My head is on your chest / In the end I’ll be happy if you do your best / You’ve got to fight to keep your breath in this world.” It’s a testament to the power of their bond, and a gesture of solidarity with all those listening. Alone, we suffer under the weight of everything designed to keep us down. Together, we stand a fighting chance. Girl Friday place their hope squarely on that chance – on what we can do when we show up for each other, where we can go when we’ve got each other’s backs.

As far as I can tell, this is not what “This Is Not the Indie Rock I Signed Up For” is about, though the title—combined with its lilting, upbeat verses—dreams up a shift in our culture to permit a new indie rock, one inclusive of all genders for the sake of being inclusive of all genders. I’m so happy Girl Friday are here.

“This Is Not the Indie Rock I Signed Up For” from Girl Friday’s album Androgynous Mary (Release Date: 8/21/2020)

Hardly Art’s Lala Lala and Basement’s Baths have released “€ € € €^^%%!!!!!heaven!!!!!!”, a new single they co-wrote and produced.

In a joint statement, Lala Lala’s Lillie West and Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld say, “This song was born of a mutual fandom between both artists. Ideas and responsibilities were evenly split as the production came together.”

“Lillie’s music is great and working together was an instant yes! The process was the most fun I’ve ever had collaborating even though we worked remotely,” added Wiesenfeld. “Lillie’s music is great and working together was an instant yes!. Lillie writes, “I am obsessed with Will both professionally and personally. Collaborating was an extreme pleasure.”

100% of artists’ and labels’ share over the first month of sales will be donated between two organizations; Black Aids Institute, “the only premier uniquely and unapologetic-ally Black think and do tank in America powered by two decades of work to end the Black HIV epidemic and led by people who represent the issues we serve,” and Restore Justice Illinois,which “advocates for fairness, humanity, and compassion throughout the Illinois criminal justice system, with a primary focus on those affected by extreme sentences imposed on our youth.”

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Released July 24th, 2020

Acclaimed Seattle band Chastity Belt have returned with their first new music . This heartfelt new record, simply titled Chastity Belt, from Hardly Art records and Milk! records (Australia and New Zealand). Chastity Belt was co-produced by the band and Melina Duterte aka Jay Som.

The music video for “It Takes Time” from directors Claire Buss and Nick Shively. In the spirit of earlier music videos like “Different Now” and “Cool Slut,” this new clip finds the band flexing their comedic chops, with members Gretchen Grimm, Lydia Lund, Julia Shapiro, and Annie Truscott inhabiting multiple roles, including a nightclub lounge act. As Grimm explains, “We had the idea for a video set in a jazz lounge for a little while and we’re very grateful to Weird Dog for helping us bring it to life. We’re all huge fans of jazz and pasta. We have a special pasta dish that we cook when we’re together called La Vasta. It’s our famous dish, we’ve been making it since college and have shared many fond memories slurping it down together. Before we dig in we join hands in the prayer: When you’re here, you’re family.”

Seattle’s Chastity Belt have just shared a new song from their self-titled album, released September 20th. “Elena” is placid and dreamy, with layers of tranquil guitars and complementary vocal parts. “Over the past year, we all read and loved Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels,” says bassist Annie Truscott. “We individually related to the ways in which the main character’s sense of self is inextricably linked to her desire for love and validation both from lovers and friends. The overlapping voices on top of the whimsical wave-like instrumentals captures the universal feeling of having a conversation with yourself about yourself.”

Chastity Belt will be touring extensively this fall in Europe and North America in support of the record, and just announced a new run of North American tour dates

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Fresh off a sold-out performance at the Tomorrow Never Knows festival in her native Chicago, Lala Lala aka Lillie West has shared a new digital single, “Legs, Run,” available to stream or download worldwide today. The song was written and performed by West, with production by Yoni Wolf of WHY?. Additionally, Lala Lala has debuted an accompanying music video from production house Weird Life that homages a familiar late ’90s favorite.

What happens at the end?? New song for you. Legs, Run. Preview of what’s to come, or something like that. Video homage to The Truman Show. See you in the multiverse

Like many important bands, Seattle quartet Versing got their start in college radio—Tacoma’s KUPS. The group’s main songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Daniel Salas served as alternative music director there, where he met guitarist Graham Baker, drummer Max Keyes, and bassist Kirby Lochner. Now Versing are poised to spread their coolly combustible brand of rock on those said airwaves…and beyond if the world knows what’s good for it.

Baker, Keyes, Lochner, and Salas have risen through Seattle’s competitive rock ecosphere with nonchalant élan. They cheekily titled a previous album Nirvana, but never mind the bleach: Versing isn’t emulating Sub Pop’s most famous artist. Rather, these four twenty-something aesthetes are forging an exciting sound that finds a golden mean between lustrous noise and ebullient melody.

“Tethered” is the lead-off single from Versing’s full-length album “10000”, out May 3rd 2019 on Hardly Art records.

With Versing, songwriting is obviously crucial, but much of the pleasure in 10000 comes from its guitar textures. They’re swarming, yet also spiky and agile. Gently chiding the Seattle music scene’s self-seriousness while acknowledging Versing’s playfulness and irony, Salas says, “There’s a ‘let’s just fuck around and see what comes out,’ aspect of what we do, which I think is uncommon for Seattle bands.”

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Versing’s freewheeling attitude has paradoxically resulted in 10000, an engrossing album that’s impossible to feel ambivalent about.

Released May 3rd, 2019

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The spectre of violence pushed Lillie West towards something life-affirming. Threats loom around every corner on The Lamb, her sophomore record as Lala Lala: burglars, car crashes, one too many drinks. Inspired by the aftermath of a home invasion West experienced as well as her newfound sobriety, The Lamb is a dark, impressionistic vignette of someone trying to find control in a life marred by chaos that traces a bracing emotional arc from fear through to hope. Simultaneously battered and dreamy, The Lamb has one of the more distinct sonic palettes to be found in 2019 indie rock, recalling the cathartic heat of Car Seat Headrest and Molly Nilsson’s romantic, twinkling reveries in equal measure.

The Lamb’s tearstained, post-midnight sheen also recalls Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time — another album about reclaiming your life in the wake of alienation. But unlike that album’s discomfiting open end, The Lamb closes with West reciting a mantra to live by: “Turn the lights off, keep the bills low / Keep my friends safe, keep my friends close.”

“Copycat” from Lala Lala’s 2018 album The Lamb

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The debut EP from Los Angeles-based rockers finds the perfect balance between a blissful retreat and a fury-filled indictment of society’s ills. While “Lullaby No. 13” and “Headstones” opt for the former, “Generation Sick” and “Decoration/Currency” carry the pitchfork and torch for the latter. “Generation Sick” is a seething punk-pop tirade about men who abuse their power (“I had a dream where I screamed / I don’t wanna see another man in my life / What do you think that means”), and “Decoration/Currency” denounces the superficiality of the entertainment industry.

On the softer side, “Headstones” opens with candy-coated indie-pop, but that sugar is quickly melted by their dogged, collective punk chant. Its crisp melodies and agile motor offer just as much therapeutic refuge as their beatific lyrics of escapism

Band Members
Vera Ellen: Lead Guitar & Vocal
Libby Hsieh: Bass & Vocal
Sierra Scott: Guitar & Vocal
Virginia Pettis: Drums & Vocal

Acclaimed Seattle band Chastity Belt have returned with their first new music since 2017. This heartfelt new record, simply titled “Chastity Belt”, is out today on LP, CD, digital, and cassette from Hardly Art Records and Milk! Records (Australia and New Zealand). Chastity Belt was co-produced by the band and Melina Duterte aka Jay Som.

Today, the band has shared a music video for “It Takes Time” from directors Claire Buss and Nick Shively. In the spirit of earlier music videos like “Different Now” and “Cool Slut,” this new clip finds the band flexing their comedic chops, with members Gretchen Grimm, Lydia Lund, Julia Shapiro, and Annie Truscott inhabiting multiple roles, including a nightclub lounge act. As Grimm explains, “We had the idea for a video set in a jazz lounge for a little while and we’re very grateful to Weird Dog for helping us bring it to life. We’re all huge fans of jazz and pasta. We have a special pasta dish that we cook when we’re together called La Vasta. It’s our famous dish, we’ve been making it since college and have shared many fond memories slurping it down together. Before we dig in we join hands in the prayer: When you’re here, you’re family.”

Chastity Belt will be touring extensively this fall in Europe and North America in support of the record, and just announced a new run of  tour dates for February 2020.

Sun, Oct 13 – Thekla Social, Bristol United Kingdom
Tue, Oct 15 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds United Kingdom
Wed, Oct 16 – YES, Manchester United Kingdom
Thu, Oct 17 – Stereo, Glasgow United Kingdom
Fri, Oct 18 – SWN Festival, Cardiff United Kingdom
Sat, Oct 19 – Ritual Union, Oxford United Kingdom
Wed, Oct 23 – The Joiners, Southampton United Kingdom
Thu, Oct 24 – Islington Assembly Hall, London United Kingdom

Seattle trio Dude York have returned with the new full-length Falling, their tribute to adolescent romance and the pop-punk that clogged up FM radio wavelengths of yesteryear. To celebrate the announcement, the band has shared a new animated music video for the album’s impossibly catchy title track. Falling will be out Friday, July 26th on LP, CD, Digital, and Cassette . First-run LP copies come on frosting-colored vinyl.

“There are two ways things can fall” says Dude York’s Claire England. “They can fall and be ruined, or they can fall gently like a feather and be fine”. On Falling, their second full-length for Hardly Art, the Seattle trio explores that sentiment

“Falling” is from Dude York’s 2019 album of the same name.

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Seattle based band Chastity Belt have announced a new self-titled album and shared its first single, “Ann’s Jam,” via a video for the track. Chastity Belt is due out September 20th via Hardly Art.

The album is the follow-up to 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. The band consists of Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar, drums), Lydia Lund (vocals, guitar), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals, guitar), and Annie Truscott (bass). Chastity Belt is their fourth album and it was co-produced by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. The band took a several months hiatus in 2018 and then reconvened to work on the album.

“So much of the break was reminding ourselves to stay present, and giving ourselves permission to stop without saying when were gonna meet up again,” says guitarist Lydia Lund in a press release. “It was so important to have that-not saying, ‘we’re gonna get back together at this point,’ but really just open it up so we could get back to our present connection.”

“Ann’s Jam” is the lead single from Chastity Belt’s 2019 self-titled album.