Posts Tagged ‘Loma Vista Recordings’

“There are no problems in the studio—there are only a million solutions,” says Local Natives’ Taylor Rice. The singer-songwriter is recounting crucial words of wisdom from producer/ engineer Shawn Everett, the acclaimed sonic guru who shepherded the indie-rock band through the left-field experiments that spawned their fourth LP, Violet Street.

The album, with its lush arrangements and signature three-part vocal harmonies, isn’t exactly a departure: The seductive, Fleetwood Mac-like grooves of “Café Amarillo” and heart-crushing, string-heavy balladry of “Vogue” could have fit snugly on 2013’s Hummingbird. But intimate listens reveal sparks of madness: the bizarre radio sample and ghostly vocal loops that haunt “Tap Dancer” the creaky percussion tracks and abrupt burst of noise in “Shy” and how the drums on “Megaton Mile” gradually decelerate to form the main groove of the atmospheric “Someday Now”.

“As musicians, sometimes you get into this logic puzzle, and you feel like you need to put everything together in this beautiful and wonderful way,” Rice says. “But our energy throughout [Violet Street] was staying connected to the idea that music is this magical thing that emerges more or less spontaneously. There are really no rules at all—and there’s a million ways a song can come together and finish.”

Local Natives planted the first seeds of Violet Street, shortly after their tour supporting Sunlit Youth. Exhausted from the road and ready to unwind at home, the quintet—Rice, fellow singer-songwriters Kelcey Ayer and Ryan Hahn, bassist Nik Ewing and drummer Matt Frazier received an offer to play a wedding in Mexico.

“It was a really intriguing offer, but it was like, ‘No, we have to focus. We’re really excited to be home and writing,’” Rice says. “Then they were like, ‘What if we give you a free month at our compound for a writing session?’ It was such a crazy offer, and we were like, ‘OK, that would make it make sense.’ We played the wedding and came back later and were there for a month. We were in this hut on the beach on the West Coast of Mexico. We were set up in the jungle on the edge of the ocean.”

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They formulated most of their new songs in that month-long retreat, accumulating a collective pile of iPhone recordings. “That’s where we started the writing and got the vibe going for the record,” Rice says. “The biggest difference from before is that we didn’t do any generic pre-production. We can be methodical going into the studio [The National’s] Aaron Dessner was the first to help us crack out of it a bit [when he produced] Hummingbird. Yet, we took it to its most extreme for this album.

That’s also where the madness began. Everett briefly worked with Local Natives as an engineer on Sunlit Youth, leading the band to experiment by recording outside and on the studio roof. And in December, during a test run to lay down some initial ideas at his LA warehouse-studio, he proved just how weird he was willing to get in search of an original idea.

“We had these voice memos from Mexico, and we went in and were like, ‘Here’s ‘Megaton Mile,’ which is this song about the apocalypse, but it has this upbeat vibe like Talking Heads meets The Clash,” Rice says. Picking up on that thread, Everett decided to channel the Talking Heads’ approach on their 1980 track “Once in a Lifetime,” recording eight-bar loops that the band would then “perform” by pushing up the faders in real-time. Rice admits they were a bit skeptical.  But the warped ideas kept producing quality results.

High on the thrill of the tape-loop madness, the band decided to trick out “Megaton Mile” even further by recording the percussive clank of glass Coke bottles, each filled up to achieve the appropriate pitch. “Then Shawn was like, ‘We should just use these drums for the next song [the much slower ‘Someday Now’],’” Ayer says. “And we were like, ‘What are you talking about?’” The producer then calculated how the percussion should be pitched to account for the difference in BPM and key between the two songs, splitting the difference between a music theory test and science project.

At this point, after being blown away by the results of their tinkering, Local Natives knew they’d found the perfect studio shaman to join them down Violet Street. “We all huddled together as a band and went, ‘OK, we have to lock him in as an engineer/ mixer/producer,’” Rice says. “He was game and wanted to do the whole record.”

From there, every day in the studio was built on that sense of childlike exploration. Everett’s bag of tricks included using the randomness of Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” (cards labeled with cryptic suggestions aimed to guide musicians in a new direction), messing around with tape machines and samplers, and performing songs in dozens of styles to see which fit best. (The twitchy, anthemic “Gulf Shores” also existed in a more meditative, piano-heavy version, along with what Ayer calls a “jungle-y, insane, Animal Collective-y version.”)

In this special presentation of The Ringer Room, beloved L.A. band Local Natives perform three tracks from their latest record, ‘Violet Street’ and an old fan favorite from their debut album, ‘Gorilla Manor.’ In this stripped-down setup, these songs take on a new feel, highlighting the band’s signature vocal harmonies and heartfelt songwriting.

Set List: “When Am I Gonna Lose You” 0:07 “Café Amarillo” 4:02 “Megaton Mile” 7:45 “Wide Eyes” 11:17

Rice likes to playfully brag that he was the first band member onboard for that wild ride, with Ayer straggling behind. “I was the first in the band to jump on the Shawn rollercoaster,” he says. “I like razzing Kelcey about it now because he was the one dragging his feet, like, ‘I don’t know—we should just record it in a normal way.

“He’s right,” Ayer admits, fake-threatening his bandmate with a fight. “Shawn is so brilliant, but he has all these tangential ideas, . There were a bunch of times early on where I was like, ‘This is awesome,’ but he wanted to go further. I’d be like, ‘I don’t want to fuck with this thing we just did that’s so rad.’ I’d just want to work on a song in a normal way, and he never wanted to do that.  Earlier on, we were pitching the songs, and he’s like, ‘We should record everyone’s instruments into the sampler, and everyone will play different samplers into the tape machine.’ I’m like, ‘Ugh, let us just play it!’ But whenever I’d get frustrated, everyone would be like, ‘No, no, let’s just try it.’ It ended up taking me a little longer but, after like four or five instances of doing that—and the end product being undeniably amazing.

Everett’s exploratory approach befitted a band desperate to record as a unit, to veer away from the fractured process that birthed Sunlit Youth.

“There’s an interesting cause and effect constantly happening,” Ayer says. “After Hummingbird, everyone was ready to feel really happy and fun again, so we wanted to lean poppier and a bit brighter. There were a lot of people in different rooms, producing songs and bringing them to the band. But we did that, and we were ready to be more of a band again. There was some sort of pendulum swing back [with Violet Street]. First and foremost, we just wanted to play together again.”

“There was a pendulum swing,” Rice confirms. “And we did have all these conversations before, even when starting to write the record, of, ‘Guys, let’s return to something that’s all five of us in a room performing off of each other, all the musicians in one space.’ That’s a big opposite of Sunlit Youth, where we wanted to be completely free of that. The other part of it was just pure luck that we were working with an absolute mastermind, genius producer.”

Both Rice and Ayer estimate that over 90 percent of their far-out experiments wound up on the album, but one notable exception is “Munich I,” a sprawling, eight-minute instrumental jam that was too unwieldy to crack the LP’s compact tracklist. In order to facilitate new ideas for the song, Everett pulled up the Radiooooo app, which generates random music after users select a country, decade and mood.

“We set up live in the room, playing off each other,” Rice says.  We’d listen to the song for like 30 seconds to get the vibe then play for five minutes. We had the sweetest jam ever we couldn’t even believe it was us. It’s this incredibly ambitious project we were so in love with, but we just couldn’t make it work. It’s still alive somewhere in the back of our minds.”

“He’s a workaholic doing 14-hour days every day,” Rice says. “We forced him to go on vacation during the record. I booked his flight and accommodations in Greece. A lot of producers are like, ‘Here’s my huge bag of tricks,’ but Shawn always wants to try something he’s never done—possibly something nobody’s ever done.” Crucially, Local Natives weren’t just screwing around without a plan. They were armed with the hookiest, most poignant songs in their catalouge including “When Am I Gonna Lose You,” a number Rice wrote for his future wife in the early stages of their relationship.

“It’s probably the one I was most lost in the deep, epic journey of,” Rice says. “I think I drove the other bandmates a little nuts, but Shawn went with me. We explored 40 versions of the song before we hit the final one. Originally it was a slow, sad, very weepy acoustic song. A dark LA Fleetwood Mac vibe was one of the guideposts we had aesthetically. I thought it would be this slow ballad, and it turned into a driving groover on day one.

“Lyrically, it [came from the idea of ] having this incredible thing in your life that feels too good to be true,” he adds. “It’s a pretty sad name and idea for a love song, but it’s the idea that fate is going to intervene or I’m gonna mess it up. The whole thing takes place in Big Sur, and I heard the final mix of it driving up the 1 on [the Pacific Coast Highway] to Big Sur with my wife, whom I married in August of 2018. We heard it together for the first time, and that’s where the story in the song had begun. That was a really surreal, insane moment.”

Violet Streetis the polar opposite of Sunlit Youth’s gleaming, stadium-friendly tunes it’s grimier, darker and, like the recording process itself, full of fascinating detours. As Ayer reflects, it’s closer to the type of music they’ve always envisioned making.

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Soccer Mommy, a.k.a. Sophie Allison, unveiled a sinister new song “Lucy” accompanied by a Matrix-like visual. The track will be released as a 7-inch single via Loma Vista Recordings.

Short for “Lucifer,” “Lucy” is a slow-burner with a fuzzy guitar riff and intense, sensuous lyrics like “You cannot resist him/When you look in his shiny eyes/The face of an angel/With the heart of something less nice.”

“Lucy’ is a really fun song for me because it has a dark, evil vibe,” Allison said in a statement. “It’s a song about struggling with inner demons and your own morality, but I masked it with this scenario of being seduced by the devil. I’m really excited to share this with everyone because I think it shows a different side of my writing.”

Allison recently released a demo of “Blossom.” The track originally appeared on her 2018 critically-acclaimed LP Clean, which she dropped out of NYU to record. “It would be so awful to have missed out on everything I’ve done,” she said last year. “I can’t imagine being in school right now.”

the new song “lucy” from Soccer Mommy: Loma Vista Recordings.

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Last year, beloved Atlanta alt-rockers Manchester Orchestra explored their softer side on an excellent sixth studio album, A Black Mile To The Surface. For Black Friday Record Store Day, they’re releasing a vinyl with six demo versions of songs from that record. The Black Miles Demos will be shoppable in the form of a 12” LP and will feature the following songs: “I Know How To Speak,” “It’s Amazing,” “The Gold,” “No Ears,” “Each Part” and “Amplified In The Silence.” Move fast if you want one: There are only 2000 limited edition in existence!

6 track Opaque Flume Coloured Vinyl featuring the demos for Black Mile. These are the initial, rough-around-the edges recordings, done with one microphone in some distant and often strange locations before they were continued to be worked on in Asheville, NC at Echo Mountain studio

“We’re a band that loves to use heavy, crunchy guitars,” says frontman Andy Hull. “We wondered how we could limit the use of that, so that when the guitars come in they can be creative and impactful. For Swiss Army Man [a Sundance hit the boys worked on] we had to make seventy minutes of music with our hands tied behind our backs. When you’re creating all the sounds you need just from the human voice, it allows you to rethink what is possible, and determine what is really needed. We wanted to make an album in a ‘ non-Manchester’ way if there is such a thing.”

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After leaving Crystal Castles in 2014, and subsequently revealing the reasons – “a decade of abuse, manipulation and psychological control” – by CC partner Ethan Kath (who sought to sue for defamation), Glass has used the theme in her work, such as “Cease and Desist’, which she called “a call to arms for all survivors.”

Her latest track, ‘Mine’, comes with a gothic styled video directed by Lucas David, and featuring Violet Chachki, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7.

‘Mine’ is about someone who hurts themselves in an attempt to regain control of of their own life and experiences,” says Glass. “It’s a form of self-sacrifice and also an act of personal freedom for someone who feels completely out of control. I do not condone self-harm, but like a lot of my music ‘Mine’ is about my struggle with coming out of an intensely abusive relationship. In the ritual of hurting myself or taking something from myself I am at the very least in control of that act, when in so many other aspects of my life I felt hopeless.”

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They may hail from Atlanta, Georgia, but Manchester Orchestra’s British indie rock influences — certainly not limited to their band name — spill out all over their fifth full-length album. Their sound doesn’t derive from the airtight punk influences of decades past; rather, there’s an anthemic, widescreen feel to nearly every song on A Black Mile to the Surface.

Over a decade on from their debut, Manchester Orchestra still easily strike the fear of God into their listeners. The Andy Hull-led project has never been about quiet devastation – it’s about the extremities of the emotional spectrum and the internal conflicts that come with going there. “The Gold” immediately asserted itself as a career-best track for the band in the lead-up to the release of A Black Mile to the Surface. Indeed, as excellent as that record was, it never quite scaled the same heights elsewhere on its tracklisting. Heavenly harmonies, heart-on-sleeve lyrics and strikingly-beautiful arrangements: “The Gold,”

“The Gold” tumbles along with an intricate, syncopated beat, occasionally stopping dead in its tracks as Hull emotes the hook: “I believed you were crazy / You believe that you loved me.” Elsewhere a dark, almost apocalyptic feel invades songs like “The Moth”, where the intertwining guitar and drums loom over the vocals, creating an urgent texture. “There’s a way out / There’s a way in,” Hull repeats insistently.

Manchester Orchestra — singer/songwriter/guitarist Andy Hull, lead guitarist Robert McDowell, bassist Andy Prince, and drummer Tim Very — bring a great deal of skill and vitality to their rock formula.

The band occasionally dials down the dramatics in favor of more low-key arrangements, such as on “The Alien”, where the heavy surrealism of the lyrics is paired up with indie folk tropes like muted drums and a heavy acoustic vibe. The song wraps up with a dream-like coda that somehow evokes the hypnotic harmonies of Elliott Smith. Clearly, Manchester Orchestra have their influences cut out for them. “The Part”, one of the album’s eloquent highlights, is all heavily reverberated vocals accompanied by stark acoustic guitar. The song’s chorus (“I still want to know each part of you”) is simple and unadorned but underscores the deep level of emotion the band is working with.

A Black Mile to the Surface may get knocked for being a downer, an almost self-conscious one. But for all the melodrama, there’s plenty of smart arrangements and well-crafted musical ideas released on July 29th, 2017 through Loma Vista Recordings

Acclaimed US electro pop duo Sylvan Esso bought out their warmly received second LP “What Now” out this year .  For quite some time this blog-hyped, neon-synth deploying duo from North Carolina have been in the peripheral vision of the cool kidz’s vision.

The North Carolina folk-meets-electro duo return with a bigger, bolder take on their sound with What Now? While the instrumentals are as euphoric as ever, the album also reflects the troubled and anxious environment in which it was created.

“I think we definitely write music about exactly how we’re feeling at any given moment. When I listen to it, I hear how anxious we were and I also hear how joyous we were. I hear the claustrophobia in the production of what we were working with, and even lyrically, I think I hear us looking around for meaning…” – Nick Sanborn says on the origins of the album’s title, selected in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

They write bedroom-pop (or is it on-the-go commuter headphone pop?)

Comprising of vocalist Amelia Meath from acclaimed indie folk outfit Mountain Man and producer Nick Sanborn, the pair issued debut LP Sylvan Esso to sizeable praise in May 2014, scoring widespread acclaim and a place on the US Top 40 Album Chart. 
Signed to Loma Vista Recordings “What Now” received similar praise,The LPs lead single Die Young has scored almost a million YouTube views and a recent BBC 6 Music session for Lauren Laverne has spread word of group’s beguiling electro-pop .

Hearing a new song from Sylvan Esso always makes for a better day. Today I woke up to an email offering a new track “Kick Jump Twist,” and it’s 4:22 of bubbly joy. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn have been performing this song in their live shows and now it’s the b-side for a new bit of vinyl, a 12″ titled Radio, which includes two more variations of this effervescent ode to dance. The song was premiered during a DJ set yesterday on WKNC in Raleigh, N.C.

The a-side to this vinyl is “Radio,” which came out in late August.

“Radio / Kick Jump Twist” 12″ single available now via Loma Vista Recordings.