Posts Tagged ‘Mexican Summer Records’

Jess Williamson Photograph

The Texas-born, L.A.-based singer and songwriter Jess Williamson makes deeply felt songs that orbit around her powerful voice, a voice that’s strong and vulnerable, big room flawless, quietly ecstatic, and next-to-you intimate. In her most recent work, “Sorceress”, that voice is surrounded by a deep-hued kaleidoscope of dusty ‘70s cinema, ‘90s country music, and breezy West Coast psychedelia.

While attending the University of Texas, Williamson began to find her footing as an artist in the DIY and student-run art and music spaces of Austin. A photojournalism major, she interviewed and photographed bands for the school newspaper and hosted a radio show on KVRX, the student-run radio station. But quietly, she had an insistent pull to pursue music herself. In her last year of school, following an impulse after seeing Austin’s Ralph White play the banjo at a house show in her friends’ basement, Williamson took up banjo lessons at South Austin Music, and soon after was writing songs and making home recordings. After graduating, she moved to NYC to attend an MFA Photography program at Parsons. But after a couple semesters, she realized the call to pursue a career in music was too big to ignore, and she dropped out. She started a band in NYC called Rattlesnake with another friend from Texas: Williamson played banjo, her friend played electric guitar, and they both sang. They played their first show at the now defunct venue, Death by Audio, in March of 2010. A few months later, drawn to her larger hometown community, she moved back to Austin to focus on her solo project.

Her fourth album, “Sorceress”, also with Mexican Summer, arrives 2020. It was written in Los Angeles, recorded at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn, and finished at Dandy Sounds in Dripping Springs, where she recorded Cosmic Wink.  While she’s stayed true to her deep country roots, the music has grown in its ambitions. It’s her biggest, most assured collection to date, and a true document of the hard work paying off. About two-thirds of the way through the title track on her new album, Jess Williamson sings, “Yes, there’s a little magic in my hat / But I’m no sorceress.” Agree to disagree. Williamson is, at the very least, bewitching on Sorceress, her fourth album. It’s a blend of folk and country, with a dash of psychedelic rock, that brings together the strongest elements of her previous work—all the hints and glimpses of something deeper musically, and vocally, that never felt completely explored—into a fully realized collection of 11 songs that are at once polished, precise and visceral.

Jess Williamson – from the album ‘Sorceress’ out May 15th on Mexican Summer.

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Picture of Ariel Pink

Ariel Rosenberg—a.k.a. the trailblazing lo-fi pop eccentric, Ariel Pink—has released more albums over the past twenty years than many bands do in their entire careers. Some of his most beloved releases, recorded under his Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti moniker, came from the artist’s days on Animal Collective’s now-defunct Paw Tracks label. However, these versions weren’t mixed properly, resulting in a subpar, mono audio transfer.

Now, Pink and the folks at Mexican Summer are making things right with the Ariel Archive Series, an ambitious project of remasters and reissues of the artist’s vast back catalog. The amount of time covered is staggering—starting from Pink’s scrappy debut, 1999’s Underground tape, all the way to a fresh odds-and-ends collection, Oddities Sodomies Vol. 2, which even has new songs from the Dedicated to Bobby Jameson sessions.

This week, the next wave of remasters is here, with some fan-favorite deep cuts—2000’s The Doldrums, 2002’s House Arrest, and 2003’s Worn Copy. There’s even a new experimental film on the way as a part of the series, entitled Dedicated to Boris Karloff, directed by Argentinian artist Salvador Cresta.

With Pink, hunkered down in his Los Angeles home, He talks about the archive series. He reflected on his legacy, praised his collaborators, and scoffed at the notion of giving his younger self advice.

When I originally recorded these things, I built up several generations’ worth of mistakes. There was so much slippage and waste. Remastering the albums was a matter of finding the original mixes I made on those master cassette tapes and using those to remaster to the proper stereo mix. We managed to find a bunch of them. Some of them were lost, but in the case of House Arrest, The Doldrums, and Loverboy, we managed to salvage true stereo mixes. In certain cases we weren’t able to find the originals. In those instances we had to make a mix that was comparable to the original from just straight off the eight-track.

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House Arrest

Our favourite omnivorous media junkie from LA still has a few tricks left up his sleeve like the left-of-center House Arrest. Sure The Doldrums and Worn Copy had some hits and humdingers on them, but House Arrest never lets up.

It’s hit after hit after hit. Sorta like if you listened to your friend’s boom box mix tape from top 40 radio around 1985.

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The Doldrums

After years of recording in relative seclusion in the hills of Los Angeles, Ariel Pink (the first non-Animal Collective member on the Paw Tracks roster) made his official Paw Tracks debut with The Doldrums. Originally a handmade CD-R release a couple years back,

The Doldrums by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti was discovered by the Animal Collective during one of their west coast tours and became an immediate favourite.

Recording at home with only a guitar, keyboard, and 8-track (the drum sounds are all unbelievably created with his vocals), Ariel Pink blends Lite FM and warped lo-fi pop into something beautiful and confusing, yet highly addictive.

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Loverboy

More than just fetish material for Pink completists, the reissues are most notable because Pink’s equally demonized, glorified, and debated lo-fidelity has been officially tampered with. The original master tapes were made available to credible engineers with good intentions. Unlike the flawed Paw Tracks reissues, the squashed mono mixes of both Loverboy and Underground have been cracked open into a wide stereo field. While a thin layer of tape hiss still hangs above each record like freeway smog, the depths unlocked by the remaster clear space for us to participate in Pink’s original fantasy more than ever. The tumbling AM-radio confections “My Molly” and “Doggone (Shegone)” can be imagined, faintly at least, as actual AM-radio hits, lost soft-rock artifacts recovered on a Saturday morning drive pouring out from a busted rear speaker.

Loverboy is a futurist pop cycle. From the spectral, pulsing organs on “Ghosts” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” to the shuffling mouth drums on “She’s My Girl,” Pink’s bedroom feels palatial, some hyper-baroque synth chamber hovering between this dimension and the next. It’s all very “time out of joint” as the French philosopher Jacques Derrida described his original concept of “hauntology.”

Loverboy and Underground’s newfound fidelity muddies the bigger picture of Pink’s legacy. Specifically, the idea that his work as Haunted Graffiti was a mere prelude to studio budgets, the dismal sonics of these albums an arbitrary choice, a condition of some broke musician recording in a squat. Instead, the precision remastering bolsters the minority opinion of what Fisher described as “anamorphic sonic objects.” The anamorphic being the idea of sounds working on the periphery of comprehension, combining into something radically different.

Ariel Archives revisits Ariel Pink’s historic run of albums as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti with a series of definitive reissues and new collections. The first installment begins with Underground, the inaugural album in the series, Odditties Sodomies Vol. 2, a long-awaited second volume of outtakes and non-album tracks, and finally Loverboy, an exemplary disc recorded between October 2001 and July 2002, at which time Ariel also recorded House Arrest.

 

It was fun to do because I had [recording engineer] Paul Millar with me. He’s an amazing, thorough audiophile. He just really knows the technical stuff and fixates on things I didn’t even pay attention to. He’s very, very well-versed in the material. He came with his own notes and questions and curiosities. His energy really kind of carried the process, to tell you the truth. It was a pleasure to have him in my house.

I don’t know if it’s the right time. It’s the easiest time for me because all the rights reverted back to me after the licensing with Paw Tracks. Those were five- seven-year relationships that came and went. Paw Tracks folded, so those records were unavailable for a long time, unless I went on tour and they allowed me the albums for the tour merchandise.

But really, this is almost a perfect twenty-year anniversary. I’m forty-one now and I was twenty years old when I made a lot of these, roughly. It’s half of my life ago. It’s a nice twenty year retrospective. I probably won’t have to do it again for another twenty years, hopefully.

Be it on her more minimalist, acoustic-leaning 2009 debut album Me Oh My or critically acclaimed, liquid-riffed 2013 LP Mug Museum as well as 2016’s Crab Day, Cate Le Bon’s solo work – and indeed also her production work, such as that carried out on recent Deerhunter album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? (2019) – has always resisted pigeonholing, walking the tightrope between krautrock aloofness and heartbreaking tenderness; deadpan served with a twinkle in the eye, a flick of the fringe and a lick of the Telecaster. The multifaceted nature of Le Bon’s art – its ability to take on multiple meanings and hold motivations which are not immediately obvious – is evident right down to the album’s very name, Reward. “Cate Le Bon writes songs in the absurdist tradition, as both as an escape and a mirror to the world. Her music is elliptical and sparse, using familiar sounds—chiming electric guitar, saxophone—to create her own alien landscape. ‘Daylight Matters’, the swooning first single from her new album Reward, isn’t so much a reinvention as it is a grand unveiling.”

The Welsh singer/songwriter/guitarist Cate Le Bon released a new album, Reward, this year via Mexican Summer. It was among our essential new releases . Now that the album is out, one of its best album tracks that wasn’t already released as a pre-release single, album opener “Miami.” Le Bon’s music is hard to define, she’s truly her own artist, and “Miami” is fantastic introduction to Reward.

Previously Le Bon shared Reward’s first single, “Daylight Matters,” as well as a video for “Daylight Matters.” Then she shared another new song from the album, “Home to You,” via a video for the track. Le Bon doesn’t feature in the video directed by Phil Collins (no, not that Phil Collins). It was filmed in Lunik IX neighborhood of Košice (Eastern Slovakia), which houses a Roma community who, as a press release states, “due to successive governmental and municipal policies, often live in slums and on isolated, dilapidated estates. Then she shared another song from the album, “The Light” .

In terms of her solo work, Reward is the follow-up to 2016’s Crab Day, although last year she also released Hippo Lite, her second album with DRINKS, a collaboration with Tim Presley of White Fence. 

Le Bon has spent a year living in isolation in the Lake District in the UK, by day making wood furniture and by night playing piano and writing songs. “There’s a strange romanticism to going a little bit crazy and playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night,” Le Bon said in a previous press release.

Of the album title, Le Bon said: “People hear the word ‘reward’ and they think that it’s a positive word, and to me it’s quite a sinister word in that it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I feel like it’s really indicative of the times we’re living in where words are used as slogans, and everything is slowly losing its meaning.”

The album features Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, H. Hawkline, and Samur Khouja. The latter co-produced Reward with Le Bon.

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Los Angeles four-piece Allah Las are releasing a new album, LAHS, on October 11th via Mexican Summer. This week they shared another song from the album, “Prazer Em Te Conhecer,” via a video for the track. Drummer Matt Correia sings the song in Portuguese and the title translates to “Nice to Meet You.” A press release says the song “evokes George Harrison while also sounding like a rare 45 from a Brazilian flea market.” Correia also directed the video, which seems to have been filmed on Super-8 and perhaps shot in various cities on tour.

Previously Allah Las shared the album’s first single, “In the Air,” via a Weekend at Bernie’s-inspired video for the track that featured a cameo from Kirin J Callinan. Then they shared another song from the album, “Polar Onion,” via an animated video for the track.

The band features drummer Matt Correia, bassist Spencer Dunham, and guitarists Miles Michaud and Pedrum Siadatian. They started the album in their own studio in Los Angeles before producer/engineer Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) was “brought in to help polish it off.” The album’s title is “a reference to a common misspelling of the band’s name.” The band’s last album was 2016’s Calico Review.

This release on Mexican Summer finds the band turning in their most cohesive and ambitious work yet – a record inspired less by time, but by place.

The Allah Las seem to be transmitting from a place not found on any map. Those familiar with the band’s work will recognize their skillful melding of melodies and moods, but through that lens we see them venturing into new, exciting territories. Indeed, their growth not just as songwriters, but as performers, arrangers, and producers – is clearly audible. With LAHS we not only discover what souvenirs they’ve brought back for us; they’re inviting us aboard and taking us along for the ride.

Correia had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “We’ve been traveling a lot the past couple years and I think that played a role in influencing the broader variety of songs on this record…. LAHS to me feels like a soundtrack to the past five years or so. A sort of audio postcard to anyone who wants to listen.”

Allah Las –  from the new album LAHS, out October 11th on Mexican Summer.

Bradford Cox Cate Le Bon

Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox and Cate Le Bon were artists in residence at 2018’s Marfa Myths festival, and the collaboration led to Cate co-producing the new Deerhunter album, “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?.” That album came out earlier this year, followed a few months later by the new Cate Le Bon album Reward, and now Cate and Bradford Cox are releasing a collaborative EP for the Marfa Myths record series, Myths 004, on November 1st via Mexican Summer Records.

The songs for the EP were created and recorded from scratch over the course of a week at Marfa Myths. “Writing and recording in a week is a tall order – especially when such chemistry exists between all the musicians involved, and the possibilities are boundless,” Le Bon says. “We committed ourselves to embracing the chaos, surrendering to all moments and moods that travelled through. It’s a crude holiday scrapbook shared by all involved, an amalgamation of the changes in mood and light that shaped the days.”

The first single is the melancholic “Secretary” which details a humdrum life behind a desk and doesn’t seem miles away from the music Cate made on this year’s Reward, and includes some spoken word from Bradford. It’s cool stuff, as you can hear for yourself below.

The EP features contributions from Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, Stephen Black of Sweet Baboo, Tim Presley of White Fence, and Samur Khouja. There’s also a new mini-documentary by Eli Welbourne, Have a Seat, which “[chronicles] Le Bon’s furniture building residency during Marfa Myths 2019″ and also features Bradford,

As sure as if it had been mapped in the stars, or written in a prophecy buried deep beneath the sands of the marfa desert, a collaboration between Cate le Bon and Bradford Cox was always something of an inevitability.

Fourth in Mexican Summer’s Myths ep series (and following previous tie-ups between Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin, Ariel Pink and Weyes Blood, and Dungen and Woods), Myths 004 sees Cate le Bon and Bradford Cox–each a much-revered musical innovator in their own right–finally united. for both artists, Myths 004 signals a change of tack: meticulousness thrown to the wind as spontaneous, jammy tales of firemen and 5p plastic bags, unbrushed hair and shoelessness and makeup-daubed landscapes–all miraculously written and recorded in just one week– roll effortlessly off their cuffs. though this ep materialises after two individual 2019 album campaign.

Le Bon’s mercury nominated fifth album reward, and Cox’s eighth with his band Deerhunter, “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” (which Le Bon co-produced)–the chronologies are tangled: Myths 004 is in fact a snapshot of the pair’s very first meeting. after years of admiring each other’s work from afar, Cox and Le Bon finally converged on Marfa, Texas in 2018, at Mexican Summer’s annual Marfa myths music, visual art, and film festival.

“Marfa is an extraordinary town,” says Le Bon. “it feels like nothing else exists when you’re in it which is both comforting and unnerving.” in this otherworldly enclave, and with a band of frequent Cate le Bon co-conspirators on hand to putty the gaps with drums, saxophone, percussion, keys, and additional guitar (Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, Stephen Black of Sweet Baboo, and Samur Khouja), the ep was assembled whiplash-quick. “writing and recording in a week is a tall order – especially when such chemistry exists between all the musicians involved, and the possibilities are boundless,” Le Bon explains. “we committed ourselves to embracing the chaos, surrendering to all moments and moods that travelled through. it’s a crude holiday scrapbook shared by all involved, an amalgamation of the changes in mood and light that shaped the days.” indeed, myths 004 is wondrous in its variety. on the opening song “Canto!”, Cox dons the illfitting leathers of an ageing biker and urges us to come ride with him, baby. he and Le Bon gaze into one another’s eyes with semi-serious sweetness as tough, wiry guitars stab through the romance. everything shrinks and softens on the ep’s sole single, the gently melancholic “Secretary,” as Le Bon and Cox spout verse over a mysterious percussive rhythm; perhaps made by miniature cymbals from a mantric parade.,

Cate and Deerhunter will also be on tour together in the UK in November ahead of their appearances at Le Guess Who? in the Netherlands,

Mexican Summer Records have announced a new Ariel Pink set of reissues series, “Ariel Archives”, along with a video for the previously unreleased song “Stray Here With You,” plus as well as a video for a reworked version of “So Glad,” from the Loverboy reissue, and part of Dedicated to Boris Karloff, a longer film that was directed by Salvador Cresta.

Ariel Pink – “Stray Here With you” from the album ‘Odditties Sodomies Vol. 2’. is part of Mexican Summer’s Ariel Archives project. Ariel Archives is a comprehensive series of reissues and retrospective collections concentrating on the treasure trove of material recorded and released by Ariel Pink as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.

Ariel Pink – “So Glad” from the album ‘Loverboy’. is part of Mexican Summer’s Ariel Archives project. Ariel Archives is a comprehensive series of reissues and retrospective collections concentrating on the treasure trove of material recorded and released by Ariel Pink as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.

The first installment of Ariel Archives is due out October 25th via Mexican Summer Records and includes reissues of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti albums “Underground” and “Loverboy”, as well as the rarities compilation Odditties Soddities Vol. 2. Check out the three videos below, as well as the cover art for each release.

Underground was originally self-released on cassette in 1999 when Ariel was 21. Loverboy came out in 2002. Odditties Vol. 2 includes “non-album tracks, outtakes and rarities spanning 1999 – 2018,” including collaborations with John Maus and Mac DeMarco, also including a Smiths cover, and four songs recorded recently, in 2017-2018.

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Welsh singer/songwriter/guitarist Cate Le Bon is releasing a new album, “Reward”, on May 24th via Mexican Summer. This week she shared another song from the album, “The Light.”

Previously Le Bon shared Reward’s first single, “Daylight Matters,” as well as a video for “Daylight Matters.” Then she shared another new song from the album, “Home to You,” via a video for the track. Le Bon doesn’t feature in the video directed by Phil Collins (no, not that Phil Collins). It was filmed in Lunik IX neighborhood of Košice (Eastern Slovakia), which houses a Roma community who, as a press release states, “due to successive governmental and municipal policies, often live in slums and on isolated, dilapidated estates.

In terms of her solo work, “Reward” is the follow-up to 2016’s Crab Day, although last year she released Hippo Lite, as her second album with DRINKS, a collaboration with Tim Presley of White Fence. Le Bon also produced Deerhunter’s recent album.

Le Bon spent a year living in isolation in the Lake District in the UK, by day making wood furniture and by night playing piano and writing songs. “There’s a strange romanticism to going a little bit crazy and playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night,” Le Bon said in a previous press release.

Of the album title, Le Bon said: “People hear the word ‘reward’ and they think that it’s a positive word, and to me it’s quite a sinister word in that it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I feel like it’s really indicative of the times we’re living in where words are used as slogans, and everything is slowly losing its meaning.”

The album features Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, H. Hawkline, and Samur Khouja. The latter co-produced Reward with Le Bon.

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and nature

It was only a few weeks back we were falling head-over-heels in love with “Daylight Matters”, the first single from Cate Le Bon’s upcoming album “Reward”, and this week Cate might just have gone and released an even better track! Reward’s second single, “Home To You”, is a stunning exploration of the idea of home, and how subjective a concept that can be.

Clocking in at nearly seven dreamy minutes, Home To You, is something of a low-key epic; the drums shuffle, the guitars pluck out easy runs and burbling, as the year’s finest bass-line adds much of the propulsion. Only the marimba like keys seem to step out of the dreamy gorgeousness, adding a gently tropical feel, like a cocktail umbrella adorned drink in a working men’s club. In its own subtle way, Home To You, is a reflection on the modern world, questioning how we are so quick to judge whether someone belongs, and where they should call home; “home to you, is atrocity in the town”.In that unique way she possesses, Cate seems to fuse her abstract lyricism into something moving and relatable. Without seeing the scene, you still feel the painting her words her create, instinctively you relate, instinctively you know this is the kind of song that can change your life.

“Reward” is out May 24th via Mexican Summer Records

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Cate Le Bon’s upcoming album, “Rewards”. was written in near solitude, Rewards was concocted by, “playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night”, resulting in a record that has been suggested might just be Cate’s most personal  to date.

The first evidence was presented this week in the shape of the frankly wonderful new single, Daylight Matters. The aforementioned piano is present throughout, yet almost slips into the background beneath pulses of synth and meandering guitar lines. The whole thing feels wonderfully close, almost to the point of claustrophobia, the lyrics laced with a question longing, where the repeated, “I love you”, is just a small part of a bigger story. There’s a particularly wonderful moment shortly before three minutes, where a multitude of Cate’s sing, “c’mon”, not in tight harmonies but in arresting, jarring contrast to one another, like you’re surrounded by multiple versions of her, each with their own interpretation of a moment. At once this feels like a bold next step, and a reminder of why Cate Le Bon’s music was already so special, now is the time to mark Rewards down as this year’s most anticipated new record.

Rewards is out May 24th via Mexican Summer.

Jessica Pratt has announced her third studio album, Quiet Signs, due out on February. 8th, 2019, via Mexican Summer. “On some level I considered an audience while making the last record,” said Pratt in a statement. “But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.” The album was produced by both Pratt and Al Carson, who, along with Matt McDermott, also performs on the record.

Jessica Pratt is not a loud performer. She does not have to be. In a club of a few hundred, even the bar staff are known to go quiet while she’s on stage. Her third album, Quiet Signs, feels like a distillation of this power. The album leads off with “Opening Night,” a nod to Gena Rowlands’ harrowing, brilliant performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career.

“On some level I considered an audience while making the last record (2015’s On Your Own Love Again),” she writes, “But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.”

After a collection of demos and early studio recordings (Jessica Pratt, Birth Records, 2012) earned her a small, dedicated audience, Pratt moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and recorded her first intentional album in her bedroom in a matter of months. That album, On Your Own Love Again (Drag City, 2015), would bring her around the world many times, leading many to fall under the spell of Jessica Pratt the performer, the songwriter, the singer with the heavy-lidded voice that feels alien and familiar at the same time.

Her first album fully recorded in a professional studio setting, Quiet Signs finds Pratt’s songwriting and accompanying guitar work refined — more distinct and direct. Songs like “Fare Thee Well” and “Poly Blue” retain glimmers of OYOLA‘s hazy day afternoon spells, yet delicate flute, strings sustained by organ arrangements, and rehearsal room piano now gesture towards the lush chamber pop and longing of The Left Banke. On the album’s first single, “This Time Around,” Pratt hits on a profound, late-night clarity over just a couple of deep chords, evoking Caetano Veloso‘s casual seaside brilliance. And before the curtain drops on Quiet Signs, Pratt provides a show-stopping closer, “Aeroplane.”

In the world of Quiet Signs, the black of night usually represents fear, despair, resignation; finally at home descending towards the illuminated city, she sings over black leather drone and tambourine shuffle with a newfound resolve. Quiet Signs is the journey of an artist emerging from the darkened wings, growing comfortable as a solitary figure on a sprawling stage.

The album was written in Los Angeles and recorded at Gary’s Electric in Brooklyn, NY over 2017 and 2018. It was co-produced by Al Carlson. He plays flute, organ and piano on some songs. Matt McDermott also played piano and string synthesizer.

It will be released on Mexican Summer on February 8th, 2019.