Posts Tagged ‘Keeled Scales Records’

The five members of Sun June spent their early years spread out across the United States, from the boonies of the Hudson Valley to the sprawling outskirts of LA. Having spent their college years within the gloomy, cold winters of the North East, Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury found themselves in the vibrant melting-pot of inspiration that is Austin, Texas. Meeting each other while working on Terrence Malick’s ‘Song to Song’, the pair were immediately taken by the city’s bustling small clubs and honky-tonk scene, and the fact that there was always an instrument within reach, always someone to play alongside.

Coming alive in this newly discovered landscape, Colwell and Salisbury formed Sun June alongside Michael Bain on lead guitar, Sarah Schultz on drums, and Justin Harris on bass and recorded their debut album live to tape, releasing it via the city’s esteemed Keeled Scales label in 2018. The band coined the term ‘regret pop’ to describe the music they made on the ‘Years’ LP. Though somewhat tongue in cheek, it made perfect sense ~ the gentle sway of their country leaning pop songs seeped in melancholy, as if each subtle turn of phrase was always grasping for something just out of reach.

Sun June returns with Somewhere, a brand new album, out February 2021. It’s a record that feels distinctly more present than its predecessor. In the time since, Colwell and Salisbury have become a couple, and it’s had a profound effect on their work; if Years was about how loss evolves, Somewhere is about how love evolves. “We explore a lot of the same themes across it,” Colwell says, “but I think there’s a lot more love here.”

Somewhere is Sun June at their most decadent, a richly diverse album which sees them exploring bright new corners with full hearts and wide eyes. Embracing a more pop-oriented sound the album consists of eleven beautiful new songs and is deliberately more collaborative and fully arranged: Laura played guitar for the first time; band members swapped instruments, and producer Danny Reisch helped flesh out layers of synth and percussion that provides a sweeping undercurrent to the whole thing.

Throughout Somewhere you can hear Sun June blossom into a living-and-breathing five-piece, the album formed from an exploratory track building process which results in a more formidable version of the band we once knew. ’Real Thing’ is most indicative of this, a fully collaborative effort which encompasses all of the nuances that come to define the album. “Are you the real thing?” Laura Colwell questions in the song’s repeated refrain. “Honey I’m the real thing,” she answers back.
They’ve called this one their ‘prom’ record; a sincere, alive-in-the-moment snapshot of the heady rush of love. “The prom idea started as a mood for us to arrange and shape the music to, which we hadn’t done before,” the band explains. “ Prom isn’t all rosy and perfect. The songs show you the crying in the bathroom,, the fear of dancing, the joy of a kiss – all the highs and all the lows.”

It’s in both those highs and lows where Somewhere comes alive. Laura Colwell’s voice is mesmerising throughout, and while the record is a document of falling in love, there’s still room for her to wilt and linger, the vibrancy of the production creating  beautiful contrasts for her voice to pull us through. Opening track ‘Bad With Time’ sets this tone from the outset, both dark and mysterious, sad and sultry as it fascinatingly unrolls. “I didn’t mean what I said,” Colwell sings. “But I wanted you to think I did.”

“Everywhere” by Sun June from the album ‘Somewhere’ out now via Keeled Scales and Run For Cover Records

One of today’s best songwriters & voices. Laura of Sun June plays a couple solo acoustic tunes off the brand new album “Somewhere” !

Somewhere showcases a gentle but eminently pronounced maturation of Sun June’s sound, a second record full of quiet revelation, eleven songs that bristle with love and longing. It finds a band at the height of their collective potency, a marked stride forward from the band that created that debut record, but also one that once again is able to transport the listener into a fascinating new landscape, one that lies somewhere between the town and the city, between the head and the heart; neither here nor there, but certainly somewhere. 
Released February 5th, 2021

Laura Colwell: vocals, keys, guitar
Michael Bain: lead guitar
Stephen Salisbury: guitar
Justin Harris: bass
Sarah Schultz: drums

All songs written by Sun June
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The inevitable messiness of life is what makes it so painful, interesting and enjoyable, but learning to be okay with it all is much easier said than done. Nashville-via-Texas singer/songwriter Katy Kirby is well on her way in that journey. On her debut album “Cool Dry Place”, Kirby tries to decide what’s worth holding on to and what’s worth seeking, but also allows herself the freedom to pause and just revel in precious moments, like a drunken walk home (“Peppermint”) or the fantasy of protecting someone you love (“Eyelids”).

Whether slipping into playful metaphors or arriving at an important realization, Kirby sounds, at once, comfortable and uncomfortable with the fluidity of interactions and situations, which is what makes this record more than just an incredibly pleasing collection of songs. Wants and needs are blurred, relationships shapeshift, but more than anything, a human desire for intimacy and understanding underpins it all. After dropping in and out of school, religion and recording music, Kirby is searching for a sustainable source of warmth—whether a person, a plant, Target lingerie or “a secret chord that David played.

Katy Kirby is a songwriter and indie rock practitioner with a writerly focus on unspoken rules, misunderstandings of all kinds, and boredom. Kirby was born, raised, and home schooled by two ex-cheerleaders in small-town Texas, where she started singing in church amidst the soaring, pasteurized-pop choruses of evangelical worship services. After high school, Kirby moved to Nashville, where she managed to graduate college with a rapidly expanding circle of artistic allies, an amorphous collection of leftist beliefs, and a few handfuls of songs. After a series of painful failures to complete a record that reflected the temperament of those songs, Kirby finally turned to dear friends and co-conspirators to form a band capable of constructing a satisfying full length. 

Released via Keeled Scales

A debut to look forward to!

Ahead of her upcoming album, emerging Nashville indie rocker Katy Kirby has dropped the track “Juniper,” Working on her own debut album a few years ago was also a process of figuring things out. There were setbacks and fall-throughs that she described as “a series of painful failures” to see the songs through, true to their form. 

“Over the years I had met a couple of people this has happened twice now  who I’ve been excited about working with,” she said. “We’ve gotten started on songs, and they’ve stalled and then been left to decay in some sort of purgatory. I was young, and didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and didn’t know how to make that not happen. When I started trying to make this record I just had zero idea what I was doing. I would try to demo things myself, or do ‘producer-y’ work of visualizing and arranging a song in my head, imagining those textures sort of over the words and structure. And I had no idea how to do that.”

To overcome it, she turned to those close to her. “My partner at the time was incredible at helping me find ways to do that ways to teach myself how to do that, which I’m very grateful for. They actually co-produced the record,” she said.

While none of those involved had ever tackled a project of this scale, “Cool Dry Place”, set for release February 19th on Keeled Scales, was created by going through the motions: a labour of doing, and re-doing. “With people with you, or behind you, who you really trust and enjoy, it’s very fun the working out and scrapping process, rather than demoralizing,” she said. “So the series of painful failures were of the physical kind. Of those songs literally disappearing on me. But also genuinely just me, and us, sort of learning how to make a record.”

Perspective is prevalent and changing throughout Kirby’s tracks, in a subtle way. The earnest gut-wrenching exists symbiotically with an ironic callousness on tracks like “Traffic!”; its quirkily upbeat production brushes off and pokes fun at the aching beneath it. But outside of their sonic context, her words come as blows. “And I see you in the future / You look just the same but older / And I wave to you but I don’t slow my pace,” she sings on “Tap Twice.”

Now based in Nashville, the indie-rocker returned home to Texas mid-pandemic, like many whose work had run dry and were struggling with rent. She spent early lockdown making friends with unfamiliar records and genres, old and new.

“Something I’m often guilty of feeling is that I have homework to catch up on in terms of consuming art that I want to consume, in a good way. It allowed me to go down a few rabbit holes that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” she said. She cited M for Empathy by Lomelda as one of them, along with lap steel guitar instrumentals 

“Cool Dry Place” is the debut full-length from Texas-bred, Nashville-based indie rocker, Katy Kirby

Katy Kirby Cool Dry Place

“The less I process something or the less I’ve sat with something, the more likely I am to write from a place of, or to make a song that sounds like “Traffic!” I think my initial impulse isn’t to take my sadness very seriously. I tend to get a little flippant with it. I’m not sure why that’s my go-to, but it is,” she offered. “Songs like ‘Portals’ and ‘Eyelids’ are technically the healthier version of me thinking about things that are upsetting or difficult.”

The presence of friends adds a genuine quality to the album tracks, making it feel like a record made together, if born alone. Earlier this year, Kirby solo-recorded five songs from the track list for Audiotree, most of which are full-band on the record.

“I really love some of those recordings because the majority were tracked live with all of us in a room,” she said, a happy accident that came about as they tried to track drums and rehearse at the same time. “There’s a couple of moments where it felt like A Band, rather than a solo project, which I loved.”

Katy Kirby is a buoyant post-folk songwriter whose elastic, pristine vocal delivery wraps around and within experimental song constructions. The Keeled Scales signee continues to hone her craft with each release; perfecting a divine blend of stylish song writing. Check out the performance by Katy Kirby “Live at Audiotree”

. Tracklist 1. 00:00 Juniper 2. 03:02Portals 3. 06:02Traffic! 4. 09:36Tap Twice 5. 12:17Cool Dry Place

Recorded on October 26th, 2020 in Chicago, IL.

With both an upcoming album cycle and a vaccine roll-out looming, how does Kirby feel about the next phases of life, and the potential for a return to the old ones? “I love trying to charm the pants off of people at shows. I love people… but I think a lot of the wonderful things that have happened with this record, in producing it and releasing it networking doesn’t exist entirely right now. Except for talking at people on Twitter, there’s not really a way to network. And things have been fine! I’ll still be psyched to go to things, whenever things are a thing again. But I think the main shift that will remain in me is that I’ll leave things much sooner than I would otherwise, or whenever I want to leave. That’s the main pain point that I have defeated, personally,” she concludes.

For now, she’s spending the rest of the day in Alabama with Gizmo and her friends, smoking cigarettes and chasing down the nearby ocean

“Cool Dry Place” is the debut full-length from Texas-bred, Nashville-based indie rocker, Katy Kirby

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When Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek asked the band’s go-to producer Andrew Sarlo to oversee his second solo album Sarlo agreed, but there were some non-negotiable conditions. Everything would be recorded live using just eight dynamic mics, there could be no overdubs and headphones were banned.

It’s a familiar rootsy, organic approach to that which enabled Big Thief to release four beguiling indie-folk albums in their first four years, and it works a charm on Two Saviors, recorded on a humble Tascam 38 eight-track at the humid height of a steamy New Orleans summer. Set up in a Victorian house one block from the Mississippi, Meek taught his band these gentle, unpolished country arrangements on the fly, recording everything inside a week. The songs had been written while Meek was on downtime following Big Thief’s pair of 2019 releases, Two HandsandU.F.O.F., following the end of his marriage to the band’s lead singer Adrianne Lenker a year earlier. The mood is pastoral and reflective, Meek looking back with fond perspective on a past chapter of his life.

Buck Meek’s new album, “Two Saviors”, one of the first records released this year, and I wouldn’t bet against it being one of the best. Recorded by Buck, alongside producer and engineer Andrew Sarlo, who also worked with Buck on a number of Big Thief records, “Two Saviors” marks a change of tone for Buck’s solo material. While his self-titled debut was a character driven snapshot of the American Dream, here Buck seems to tap into something more personal, with these almost cathartic confessions spilling out of him.

Ahead of the record’s release, Buck this week shared the latest track from the album, “Candle”, co-written with Big Thief bandmate Adrianne Lenker. Lyrically, the track is a somewhat troubling affair, a song that seems to always be attempting to run, yet keeps getting drawn back; the sweetness of, “the same love I always knew” contrasted with the sighing inevitability of, “I guess you’re still the first place I go”. The lyrical juxtaposition is set against a musical backing that seems to murmur along with the words, the slide-guitar that seems to exist like an exhale of sadness atop the warmth of the Rhodes-piano, as Buck’s vocal is at times joined by bandmate Mat Davidson, before he leaves again to let Buck travel on alone. This really feels like a master-craftsman at work, a songwriter who knows exactly how to ring every drop of magic out of a track: this is something truly special.

Guitar performed by Buck Meek and Adam Brisbin Drums performed by Austin Vaughn Pedal Steel and Bass performed by Mat Davidson Produced and Engineered by Andrew Sarlo

Two Saviors is out today via Keeled Scales.

Although one of the few artists signed to the brilliant Keeled Scales who have not officially announced they’re releasing a record this year, Renée Reed might just be the most intriguing of the lot. Renée is a musician very much in the family tradition, her Grandfather was an Accordion-playing bandleader, her Uncle a renowned folklorist, her family home and her parents businesses, epicentres for Creole and Cajun-music. In many ways Renée continues the family tradition, and yet in others she’s entirely re-inventing it; very much a product of the modern world, Renée’s music takes the deep-set roots of her forebears and crashes them into contemporary sounds from Cate Le Bon to Françoise Hardy.

Although Renée has been drip feeding her music into the world since back in 2016, last year was something of a step-up, with the release of a pair of intriguing singles. The first offering, Out Loud combines a disarmingly rapid flutter of choppy guitars and percussive vocal inflections, while “Until Tomorrow” is a meandering Southern-folk song, Renée’s tremulous vocal accompanied by a slither of guitar, reminiscent of Vera Sola or labelmate Tenci. With the tantalising promise of, “plenty more to come”, Renée Reed is well placed to be one of 2021’s break-out stars.

Renée Reed grew up on the accordion-bending knee of her band-leading grandfather Harry Trahan; in the middle of countless jam sessions at the one-stop Cajun shop owned by her parents Lisa Trahan and Mitch Reed; soaked in the storytelling of her great uncle, folklorist Revon Reed and his infamous brothers from Mamou; and surrounded by a litany of Cajun and Creole music legends, both backstage at the many festivals of Southwest Louisiana and on the porch of her family home. 

Renée Reed

And while Renée’s music is certainly informed by these deep roots, her dark dreamlike folk has more in common with contemporaries like Cate Le Bon and Jessica Pratt. It’s also not unlike the intangible magic contained in Mazzy Star’s songs. Renee Reedis her stunning debut record. 

released July 3rd, 2020
Written and performed by Renée Reed.

Thank you, Keeled Scales. and fortherabbits

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Texas-based indie rocker Katy Kirby has shared the title track from her forthcoming debut album, “Cool Dry Place”, out on February 19th, 2021 via Keeled Scales Records. It’s the follow-up to her previous single “Traffic!,” “Cool Dry Place” is about finding the balance between emotional boundaries and the primal need for deep connection with others. With love being such a high-risk, high-reward venture, it poses taxing moral dilemmas, and Kirby finds herself finally committing, yet still looking back: “And once the dust has settled, then you’ll know / that you’re gonna get more of me than you bargained for / All the ways we can go wrong / Will we ever get that far?” The song’s dainty beginnings gradually morph into an untamed indie rock firestorm, as if to signify this jump into the great unknown.

Kirby says of the song: I had a very fun habit of getting involved with someone and then getting cagey once they needed or just wanted me more than I was comfortable with. I thought this was very intelligent of me, being smart enough to know when to get out, before I got close enough to lose objectivity. I suppose it isn’t a terrible rule of thumb, considering that people are statistically dangerous. But this song was me beginning to see my own needs, in an embarrassingly transparent way. I too, am nothing more than a meatbag of vulnerabilities.

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Early 2021, just before Katy Kirby took over the world with her one of a kind debut album, we met up at a place called the cathedral of junk in an Austin suburb. but it turned out that we couldn’t shoot there due to covid stuff. so we walked around until we found a nice tree to shoot under. here is Katy Kirby playing “Fireman” !.

Releases February 19th, 2021

All songs written (and sung) by Katy Kirby.
Secret Language” incorporates elements of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

Texas-based Katy Kirby roams indie rock’s outer perimeter, graceful in pace and nimble in lyrical footing, finding space for crushing guitar solos as well as moments of ambling playfulness. Inviting comparison to artists akin to Phoebe Bridgers and Angel Olsen, Kirby inhabits a singular style in her own right – lending the experience of her upbringing to a wistful pastoral sound. Indie-rock songwriter Katy Kirby grew up in a small-town Texas, where her primary exposure to songcraft came via “the pasteurized-pop choruses of evangelical worship.” On her forthcoming debut album “Cool Dry Place”, out February 19th, 2021, on Keeled Scales, the still-Lone Star State-based Kirby wrestles with the indefatigably cheery spirit of the church songs she was raised on, twisting her jangle-pop sound into subtly adventurous shapes suggestive of a roving soul. “Ten segments in an orange / Only so many ways that you can pull apart someone,” she sings on the title track, effortlessly tossing off the kind of line that makes your heart ache instantaneously. Kirby thrives in the place between easy appeal and more complicated explorations, and she’s already made believers out of us. 

Katy Kirby on “Audiotree Live (Full Session)”

Katy Kirby is a buoyant post-folk song writer whose elastic, pristine vocal delivery wraps around and within experimental song constructions. The Keeled Scales signee continues to hone her craft with each release; perfecting a divine blend of stylish song writing.

Live at Audiotree.

Tracklist;1. 00:00 – Juniper 2. 03:02 – Portals 3. 06:02 – Traffic! 4. 09:36 – Tap Twice 5. 12:17 – Cool Dry Place

Recorded on October 26th, 2020 in Chicago, IL.

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Big Thief’s Buck Meek releases his new solo album, “Two Saviors”, on Keeled Scales. While his last album, 2018’s Buck Meek, is a yarn of blue-collar fairy tales and character driven narratives, Two Saviors emerges as a cathartic, naked confession of heartbreak, resiliency, and enchantment. The first word on Two Saviors is “pareidolia.” It is a word about recognising shapes where none were intended to exist – like searching for images in the clouds. It’s an uncommon word, with a beautiful sound, and serves as an apt guide through these new songs of Buck’s, which are themselves uncommon and beautiful, and which invite a deep, cloud-gaze state of attention.

Two Saviors was recorded by producer and engineer Andrew Sarlo (who produced the first four Big Thief LPs), under his specific conditions: they make the album in New Orleans, during the hottest part of the year, spend no more than 7 days tracking, all live, on an 8-track tape machine with only dynamic microphones, and no headphones, not allowing the players to hear back any takes until the final day. The band, featuring Adam Brisbin (guitar), Mat Davidson (bass, pedal steel, fiddle), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Buck’s brother Dylan Meek (piano, organ), set up in a Victorian house one block from the Mississippi River and worked within these limitations, encouraging every recording to be imbued with the living, intuitive, and human energy of a first take.

I wrote a handful of songs during the covid-19 lockdown, and asked Andrew Sarlo to produce a recording of one. “Roll Back Your Clocks” felt most appropriate. Andrew prompted me to record the song at home with an acoustic guitar, and send that solo version to each of my four band members separately. Then we overdubbed instrumental parts and vocals on top of my solo recording, without hearing any of the other band member’s contributions – with no outside direction or insight, and sent their stems to Sarlo, who took the parts and alchemized them into a mix, revealing a serendipitous union. This era has presented every human on earth with the challenge to relinquish all expectations and bend with the fragility of life and society. “Halo Light” is a gently rumbling rumination on “the afterglow of loss, humanity’s ephemera, and the eternal nature of love.”

All we are left with is ourselves, and our own capacity to find peace within. This was an attempt to embrace the quarantine – to try to make something beautiful and honest and new without denying the limitations, but to move within them. It was a reminder to trust our telepathic instincts, and to value the connection with our loved ones as something that we always have access to, even in solitude,

Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek returns with Two Saviors, his second solo record. Backed by a band featuring pedal steel, fiddle, and his brother Dylan on piano and organ, Meek takes a look at heartbreak and expands on the loose, easy going twang of his 2018 self-titled debut. The songs on this album shine with this wisdom and are not ostentatious about it. This is true to Buck’s nature. He is recording life, consciously and unconsciously on a broad spectrum of planes. A new album from him is a gift, a chance to wonder about ways we could be seeing, recording.

A new Sun June song is a nice thing to wake up to. aptly-titled for the moment, too. (there was little else released this week,  It was recorded + produced by Curtis Roush of The Bright Light Social Hour “Song Confessional” is an Austin-based podcast for which musicians and songwriters transform everyday stories into songs, and hometown band Sun June have contributed “Terrified”, a languid, calming gem. The latest edition of the podcast was released today, and you can listen to it at the NPR website now.

Band Members
Laura, Michael, Justin, Sarah, Stephen

Meanwhile the band are currently at work on their next LP, one due for release later this year.

Sun June

Sun June are about to hit the road supporting Fruit Bats, Lucy Dacus and Liza Anne in the US. No new Europe dates are known right now, but let’s hope we’ll be able to get to see and hear one day. Now that would be a treat.
Though I’ve tried a few times, there’s an intangible magic to the work of Sun June that makes it incredibly difficult to capture in words. Like a drifting sense of longing found buried in the heat of summer, Laura Colwell’s voice has the ability to not only glow but linger, a fleeting memory half-remembered, a dream you can’t pinpoint, always slightly out-of-step with the world.

Sun June is Laura Colwell, Stephen Salisbury, Michael Bain, Justin Harris, and Sarah Schultz.

Just simply listen to everything that came out on the Austin-based record label Keeled Scales. You would like everything I mean Buck Meek, Twain, Katy Kirby; what’s not to like? And Sun June is another one of their gems: their fresh and captivating sound could be your next favourite band.