Posts Tagged ‘Long Beach’

Two years ago, SoCal studio cultist Chris Schlarb, a.k.a. Psychic Temple, announced a new project in which he would collaborate with four completely different artists for each side of a double album. He called it “Houses of the Holy”  which made sense, coming after albums titled I, II, III, and IV — and introduced it with a fun EP of desert-singed garage-pop tunes made with Los Angeles’ Cherry Glazerr. The full 2-LP adventure, rolled out this last September, features those songs plus some jazzier moods with cornetist Rob Mazurek’s Chicago Underground trio; along with paisley-hued psychedelic rock with the Dream Syndicate; and big-band backpack rap with local MC Xololanxinxo.

All those sounds hang together with the logic of a long, weird dream, thanks to Schlarb’s instinct for unlikely musical connections. As a generous celebration of what can happen when you put a bunch of talented people together in one room — in this case, Schlarb’s Long Beach, California, studio, Big Ego  “Houses of the Holy” was all the more welcome this lonely year.

The concept is pretty cool. Basically, I take over an existing band on each side and we write and record together.
Cherry Glazerr (Side A)
Chicago Underground Trio (Side B)
Dream Syndicate (SideC)
Xololanxinxo (Side D)
 
Psychic Temple - Houses of the Holy
 
The first single, “Why Should I Wait?” with The Dream Syndicate is out now and you can pre-order the album over at Bandcamp today. I’m really proud of this record. If you take a listen, please let me know what you think. The vinyl is especially fun since each side is its own thing, but together its like the album is a mini box set. “Lightning” I particularly keep playing. It makes me feel like it could have been a song in an old old dream I had trouble remembering until I hear it and I can almost recall it again. Give the album a good listen and I think you’ll find something to enjoy.

Psychic Temple off the album ‘Houses of the Holy’ out on Joyful Noise Recordings.

While drumming for Ottawa, Canada pop punk trio White Wires in the early 2010s, Allie Hanlon began a side project for her songs. Taking the name of the band from a Redd Kross track, Peach Kelli Pop’s tunes were short, sticky pop songs about made-up dances, summertime, and having fun in the cutest way possible. Hanlon played all the instruments herself, recording them in time-honored lo-fi fashion. She made a series of records for Burger, moved to Los Angeles when White Wires ended, and with a live band bringing her songs to life, became a fixture on stages around the world. With each album, Hanlon expanded the band’s sound a little, even bringing in other musicians to help out, and by the time of her 2018 record Gentle Leader, Peach Kelli Pop had moved to Mint Records (once the home of the band’s spiritual forebears Cub) and established themselves as a first-rate punk pop band.

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Releases October 9th, 2020

The band:
Allie Hanlon – Vocals / Guitars
Barry Johnson – Guitars
Allison Young – Bass
Daniel Pope – Drums

Released in mid-August, Oso Oso’s third full-length could not have arrived at a more opportune moment, brilliantly evoking the lazy afternoons and blazing dusks of a coastal summer’s waning days. Occupying either the lo-fi end of the emo spectrum or one of pop-punk’s scuzzier bandwidths, Jade Lilitri’s songs meander through gorgeously tossed-off chord progressions before settling in as inescapable earworms. The luminescent album intro gradually builds into “The View”’s glorious melody, submitting “Basking In The Glow’s” coming-of-age touchstones. Lilitri’s lyrics capture a young man trying to figure things out at his own pace, and his writing nestles earnest portraits within a relatable universality.

In the title track’s hooky punk there are shades of Ocean Avenue, if Yellowcard were from the tri-state area and less self-pitying; “Dig” conjures early Death Cab, if Death Cab were less self-impressed. The record’s unobtrusive engineering sands down Lilitri’s nasally voice, lending the effect of a vocalist slightly more grizzled than his twenty-six years. “A Morning Song” is perhaps the track which best captures the greater album’s wide-eyed yearning, but in Oso Oso’s case, the journey appears to be the destination.

Oso Oso’s ‘basking in the glow’ is out everywhere.

The previous Oso Oso long-player, 2015’s ‘Real Stories…’, was released with the caveat that it was a record which “sets pop against punk, lets them tear into each other until the result is as ragged as it is anthemic.” While such sentiments certainly ring true, perhaps what new record “The Yunahon Mixtape” represents is the heartfelt aftermath of such a fight. There’s little raggedness here, just simmering sentiments and an abundance of memorable hooks that seem to frame the record as one considered and whole piece; the same face, perhaps, but somewhat weathered and cracked by the passing of time.

From the opening track, “The Yunahon Mixtape” rips. Opening track “The Cool” does as all the best opening tracks do and immediately sets the tone for what follows; staggered riffs opening up in to something far more widescreen as Lilitri’s homely vocal beings its journey as chief protagonist, dictating the mood and tone through every twist and turn the album has to offer. Seemingly shaped by reflections on a relationship, both good and bad, a number of the songs have a lyrical bite to them that lends a greater depth to the endearing immediacy of the hooks; for which there is an almost endless array.

“I know I’m different now, my ocean’s swelling up inside whenever you’re away;  oh no, big wave,” Jade sings on initial stand-out “Reindeer Games”, exemplifying the unshackled nature of his somewhat conversational tone which leaps off the page at various junctures across the whole record. “I love how when you say my name it hurts, in the worst way. I’m poking fun at the coffee stains on your tie dye shirt, and I’m always just a beat or two behind,” he proffers on “Shoes (The Sneaker Song)” while “The Secret Spot” is just as lyrically engaging: “It’s funny how the things we one day could praise, tomorrow be the force that pushes away.”

As with all classic emo records, it’s the way these endearing turns of phrase tie themselves in to the surrounding instrumentation that truly defines it – and that’s where The Yunahon Mixtape truly comes alive. Finding that perfect balance between words, wisdom, and musical endeavour, every track here has a grin inducing moment, be it the landing of a huge chorus, a suddenly pummelling of voice or tool, or each and every element suddenly colliding in beautiful confusion. And, in its most chest-thumping moments – the emphatic strut of “The Walk”, the slow-burning closing track “Out Of The Blue”The Yunahon Mixtape offers something so resoundingly nourishing, that chances are you’ll be feeding of it for many a week, month, year to come.

Released January 13th, 2017, “the yunahon mixtape” was recorded in the November-December 2016 in Port Jefferson, NY

oso oso “reindeer games” from the yunahon mixtape

“Laying in the grass, we were dragging on loud/Got my hand in your hand and my head in the clouds.”

This is the scene, set with acoustic atmospherics and frontman Jade Lilitri’s familiar, layered, honey-sweet-but-burnt-around-the-edges vocals, that flickers to life at the start of Oso Oso’s new full-length, “Basking in the Glow”. The track, simply called “intro,” is just that: an intimate, humble, and hopeful prologue that prefaces a record radically committed to letting the light in—because Lilitri knows the darkness like the back of his hand.

The spacious opening proposition of “intro” gives way to “the view,” an electric, invigorating indie rock banger that showcases Lilitri’s slick, effortless melodic excellence and lyrical precision (“I’ll grow, we’ll see/There’s something good in me”). The title track follows, driving home the record’s thesis on a chorus like a roman candle cracking a mid-July night sky: “These days, it feels like all I know is this phase/I hope I’m basking in the glow of something bigger I don’t know.”

Oso Oso mastermind Jade Lilitri sings of digging for clarity but can’t see the light for the dirt beneath his fingernails. Basking In The Glow is an album with all the right answers — an album about how great it feels to have those answers — but with the understanding that knowledge doesn’t necessarily translate into action. As Lilitri sings it, there’s always another angle to question, whether a step forward is a step in the right direction at all. In the grand tradition of forebears like Taking Back Sunday, the Used, and Jimmy Eat World, he quells his doubts by affixing them to airlocked guitars and rocketship choruses, and then launching them into the sun.

Released August 16th, 2019

Jade Lilitiri – vocals, guitars & bass
Aaron Masih – drums