Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Deadbeat Beat slowly took shape as the natural extension of a friendship begun in high school by drummer/vocalist Maria Nuccilli and guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Alex Glendening. Always at shows, hanging out, killing time and absorbing music, the two moved through early projects and various members coming and going before solidifying Deadbeat Beat with the inclusion of bassist Zak Frieling. By that point the band began finding their legs at shows in Detroit and through a series of sporadically self-released demos, EPs and singles.

In a scene of restless loners, everyone’s in at least a couple bands. While Deadbeat Beat actively percolated, Maria’s lockstep drumming kept time for long time candy-psych heroes Outrageous Cherry and Alex played with trashpunk stalwarts Tyvek and filled in on bass and guitar for Saddle Creek’s Stef Chura and Richard Davies’ recently reformed iteration of The Moles. Even immersed in a wildly creative community Deadbeat Beat stayed on a different path, set apart by complex song writing that drew from more internal perspectives.

While taking notes on the blacked-out guitar scuzz of their friends and neighbours, there was equal time spent dissecting key records by Kevin Ayers, La Düsseldorf, Joni Mitchell, Julian Cope, The Clean, and a whole litany of rainy pop music. Musically varied and lyrically congruous, “How Far” finds the band at the strongest voicing of this strange nexus, one spawned from rough nights at shitty dive bars as the emotional foundations for soaring pop songs that nervously bump into one another. Largely a reflection on asserting and maintaining a queer identity in an almost completely straight crowd, Glendening’s songs hit at the gut level — either doused in syrup like the harmony-heavy “You Lift Me Up” or stretched into an anxious infinity like “Tree, Grass & Stone,” the album’s extended freak out jam that still feels like a confessional indie pop song.

Released August 2nd, 2019

A sting in the summer blossom, “Ultimate Success Today” is Protomartyr’s fifth full-length album. Following the release of Relatives In Descent, the band’s critically acclaimed headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017, Ultimate Success Today continues to further expand the possibilities of what a Protomartyr album can sound like. The album was recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios, a late 19th century church, in upstate New York and co-produced by the band and David Tolomei (Dirty Projectors, Beach House) with mixing by Tolomei. Featured guest musicians on the album include Nandi Rose (vocals), jazz legend Jemeel Moondoc (alto sax), Izaak Mills (bass clarinet, sax, flute), and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello).

Ultimate Success Today is Protomartyr’s fifth album. Following the release of Relatives In Descent, the band’s critically acclaimed headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017, Ultimate Success Today continues to further expand the possibilities of what a Protomartyr album can sound like. Another perfect Protomartyr album that somehow manages to explode past its predecessor.

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So excited for this! Best rock lyricist out there today, Ultimate Success Today – three words that barely would have crossed one’s mind when thinking about Protomartyr. In those three simple words though, they once more managed to outline a certain state of being and feeling, many of us are constantly confronted with: The societal imperative of winning. Where modesty, failure and perspective are met with suspicion, contempt or at least ridicule. Protomartyr are at a point at which they masterfully match and simultaneously break with expectations. Post punk is definitely still one way to describe it. Musically though, they transcended that description long ago and this record is just as much rooted in a drone and free jazz framing. A frame in which Joe Casey’s lyrics nest like a nervous, meandering flicker; a moth circling the light.

Released July 17th, 2020

2020, Domino Recording Co Ltd

Tomorrow we are releasing a digital single on Bandcamp, featuring two older songs: “Born To Be Wine” and “French Poet.”

We will be splitting 100% of the money received on Bandcamp between the Freedom Fund and Detroit Justice Center. Both organizations are posting bail for protestors while fighting to transform the justice system.

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If you prefer to stream the songs and contribute money directly to these invaluable organizations, we encourage you to do so through the links below:

LGBTQ Freedom Fund: https://www.lgbtqfund.org/donate-1
Detroit Justice Center: https://www.detroitjustice.org/donate

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One of the greatest casualties of no-tour 2020 is that Dogleg was just in the process of launching their career as a chaotic live act outside of their native Michigan, their debut album Melee serving as their treatise for world domination in the same way PUP snatched up an enormous following seven years ago by relentlessly introducing their self-titled LP to audiences on an almost-nightly basis for years to come. Fortunately for Dogleg, Melee has plenty of traction regardless of their abandoned tour alongside Microwave—and much like PUP, the record nearly provides the live experience despite listeners’ pandemic-inflicted confinement to their homes.

With “Fox” as an intro—and “Kawasaki Backflip” as confirmation that Dogleg would, in fact, be very much a thing—it was such a joy watching the Detroit punks unveil their record over the course of a few turbulent months. They rapidly became every music publication’s Artist to Watch, legitimizing them as a fully-fledged AOTY contender by mid-year—and, more importantly, legitimizing the anxieties pumped into each of Melee’s ten tracks as near-universal pressure points brought to the surface in the weeks that followed the record’s release.

Dogleg “Fox” from the full length Melee
Band Members
Alex Stoitsiadis – guitar, vocals
Chase Macinski – bass, vocals
Parker Grissom – guitar
Jacob Hanlon – drums

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Iggy Pop turned 73years of age on Tuesday and he celebrated by unearthing a cover of the Sly and the Family Stone classic “Family Affair” that he recorded with funk icon Bootsy Collins back in 1985. “I’ve always loved this song; it came out when I was kinda on the ropes in 1971,” Iggy told the BBC. “There’s a lot of truth in it, especially in the second verse, about all sorts of questions that are coming around again now.”

The song has sat in his archive for the past 35 years. “Then one day recently things had quietened down in daily life for everybody and for me, too, and I listened to it by accident,” he said. “It just made me feel good and it was good company and I hoped that I could put it out and it would be company for somebody else, too.”

Pop’s most recent record, 2019’s Free, is a mellow, jazzy collection of songs he created in collaboration with trumpeter Leron Thomas and guitarist Sarah “Noveller” Lipstate. “The only difference from this Iggy and the one who founded the Stooges is the album’s jazzy horns, synthy backdrops, and greater emphasis on Sinatra-style crooning,”

To all Poptimists! “[this track] made me feel good and it was good company and I hoped I could put it out and it would be good company for someone else too” Featuring: Bootsy Collins on bass

Recorded and engineered by Olivier Ferrand, Studio Los Angeles Produced & Mixed by Bill Laswell

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Written by Sylvester Stewart

Stooges

The original punk album, The Stooges is a Molotov cocktail delivered straight to the faces of the hippies of 1969, an album made by Michigan goons who were sick of everything, and wanted to be your dog. The album marked the arrival of Iggy Pop, one of the last true rock ‘n’ roll iconoclasts, and though the album was considered an historic bomb upon its release–it never cracked the top 100–it influenced basically every glam, punk and post-punk album released in its considerable wake.

The album’s original mix by producer John Cale was infamously rejected by Elektra Records–they thought it sounded too abrasive–and it has never appeared on vinyl. Until now. A new way to hear a classic album, this version is presented in the way that John Cale originally intended,

First, there’s the story of the album, which is that when the Stooges recorded this, 51 years ago, it was produced by John Cale, fresh off quitting the Velvet Underground. And he immediately realized that the Stooges should not sound like the Doors, or the Byrds, or whoever else. They were raw power, a barely contained riot, a train bearing down on you as you’re tied to the tracks. So he gets them to record their eight songs, one of my favorite side stories is that the Stooges showed up only having five songs, thinking that was more than enough for an album, and then lied and said they had eight when questioned and had to write three more basically overnight and he mixes the album like it’s this murder in real time, just all fuzz, and violence and ooze. The suits at the label hear this mix, and say what ,in retrospect everyone would say about the version that came out: That it sounded like shit, that it sounded dumb, that it was too uncontrolled to see release. So they fire John Cale, and ditch his mixes, and Iggy and Jac Holzman from Elektra re-mix and resequence the record, which is the version that comes out now.

John Cale’s original vision was the album as sort of a redemptive arc; his version ends with “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which he saw as Iggy deciding to fall in line with society. The label saw it as one of the singles, so it’s on side one on the original version. So anyway, the original Stooges comes out, and it’s a bomb. But it secretly influences basically every hard rock band that has come since; it’s not an over-exaggeration to say that there’s basically no hard rock if the Stooges don’t lay the groundwork for punk on this album. It’s rightly lauded as one of the most important albums of all time.

Yeah, so meanwhile, there’s this version of the album that basically just lived in Stooges lore, that John Cale’s mix existed but was scrapped. And then in the early ’00s, these tapes walk into Rhino, and somehow, someone has a copy of the John Cale mixes. The speculation is that someone cut an unauthorized walking version of the album basically, one to take home and they confirmed with John Cale that what was on the tapes were his mixes. So they put the album out in digital form in 2010, however, they realize later that they actually released the album at too slow a tempo; the version on the tapes they found was likely recorded not from a deck, but from an echo machine, so for almost 10 years, the version known as the “John Cale Mix” was actually way slower than it should have been.

They corrected the tapes for the 50th Anniversary edition that came out last fall digitally. And this is the final part of the story: WEA/Rhino came to us to ask if we wanted to do the first original vinyl pressing of this album, and once we realized what they were asking, this was a no-brainer. We all listened to it, and I, for one, couldn’t believe that songs I’ve loved since I was a teen could sound even more like they were coming from the end of the scariest alley in town. We’re getting to present one of the most important albums in rock history, and doing so in the way it was originally meant to be heard. It’s a tremendous honor for all of us on the music team.

It’s one thing for us to tell you that the John Cale mix of The Stooges sounds gnarlier than the original; it’s another to let you hear it. Here’s a mini-doc telling the story of the album, and comparing the two records.

You have to remember what it was like before. For a full quarter of 1969, the No. 1 album in the country was the soundtrack to Hair, Blood, Sweat and Tears had a No. 1 album for seven weeks and, no offense to Al Kooper, but nothing on that group’s self-titled told life like it really was in 1969. The music that made its way to the charts back then, how life was on the ground for a Michigan resident raised by a working class family whose only prospects were the already-dying assembly lines or the frontlines of Vietnam.

And then, 10 days before the opening of Woodstock, it also is the ground zero for every angry album of noise that came since; without it, you don’t get glam, you don’t get British or American punk, you don’t get pop-punk, Green Day, and you maybe don’t the evolutions that happened to bring us every type of metal music. You don’t get any of it. Instead, Thank God, and Michigan, then, for The Stooges.

The Stooges were never a safe bet; not only in the “are they going to be coherent enough for shows?” way, but especially in the “These guys are gonna be stars!” way record labels are usually looking for. Fronted by James Newell Osterberg Jr., who came from a trailer park in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and who played the drums as a kid after his parents gave up their bedroom for him to have the space to play. Eventually ol’ James was banging the skins in a band called the Iguanas when he got his nickname, Iggy Pop. Sometime in 1967, at 20, and dropped out of the University of Michigan, Iggy saw the Doors, who were then known as a travelling disaster, as frontman Jim Morrison turned each gig into something like performance art crossed with a riot. Iggy decided he didn’t want to be behind the kit, and wanted to be out front doing that. He linked up with the Asheton Brothers Scott and Ron two guys who liked to party as much as he did, and could play the shit out of their drums and guitar — and Dave Alexander, a guy they all liked who had just recently started teaching himself to play the bass. They played their first show as the Psychedelic Stooges on Halloween, 1967. They’d ditch the hippie shit soon enough. Iggy and the Stooges quickly got a reputation around Michigan, particularly in Detroit, where another band of street toughs called the MC5 had set up shop. The bands became kindred spirits, and often shared bills; the MC5, though, always sounded like they wanted to be hard rock Motown, where the Stooges felt like they were a raw nerve set to make music. Anger and self-loathing and depression set to primitive funeral marches and barely contained war parades. Eventually, an enterprising A&R man from Elektra named Danny Fields signed both bands, in a bid to make Elektra the home of new Detroit rock. Both the Stooges and MC5 would be unmitigated disasters from a corporate level, the MC5 lasting a single album (1969’s live proto-punk volley Kick Out The Jams) before their careers flamed out in booze, drug busts, and legal troubles.
If Elektra was worried their two-pronged Detroit rock machine was in danger following the MC5’s debut getting savaged by Lester Bangs in the pages of Rolling Stone he eventually came around on it, as critics were allowed to do in those days — they had still had no fear in April 1969, when they sent the Stooges to Hit Factory in New York City to record their self-titled debut. They hired a recent underground rock hero named John Cale to produce the album, fresh off his time in the Velvet Underground, where his artiste sensibilities meshed with Lou Reed’s misanthropy to make the first two Velvet Underground albums, case studies in taking a label’s money, doing something no one had done before, and paying the cost for it with low sales while gaining a reputation for being ahead of your time (which the Stooges would soon follow). The Stooges came to the studio with only five songs (“No Fun,” “1969,” “Ann,” “We Will Fall,” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog”), thinking that’s all they needed to make an LP, and when they were told they needed more, lied and said they had them, and went off and wrote three more (“Not Right,” “Little Doll,” and “Real Cool Time”), playing them for the first time as a whole group in front of Cale in the studio. Those eight songs served as the foundation for too many rock movements to line up in paragraph form here, but more than 50 years later, the thing that has to be remembered is how shocking something like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” had to be to people who were used to “Incense and Peppermints.” That opening noise is like an electric chair being fired up, and the death march riff sounds more evil than any Swedish Black Metal band has mustered with 50 years advancement in guitar technology. Iggy didn’t want to hold your hand, he didn’t want to be your baby; he knew he was a dirty dog, and felt he deserved to be treated as such. Iggy studied at the altar of the Chicago blues for a time in the ’60s, and from there he took the willingness to be self-effacing and pitiful; no one sounded more put through a meat-grinder before or since.                    
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Svz3va6iekThe Stooges took rock and stripped it down to its barest studs and refused to build it back up on The Stooges. Something like “No Fun” might have read to people like Robert Christgau as “stupid” in 1969, but it’s without any artifice; it’s all attitude, all raw power. “1969” was the first song about teenage malaise and boredom to actually sound like it was made by people who were sick and tired of being sick and tired; entire bands’ discographies would be pilfered from its two verses:

“Well it’s 1969 okay All across the USA It’s another year For me and you Another year With nothing to do, Last year I was 21 I didn’t have a lot of fun And now I’m gonna be 22 I say oh my and a boo hoo And now I’m gonna be 22 I say oh my and a boo hoo”

When the band finished recording in April, 1969, Cale delivered his mix to Elektra, and things hit the fan. Mixed in a raw, naked form that emphasized the sinister, wild side of the band over sonic clarity, the original Cale mix of the album was rejected by Elektra, in a portent of things to come. Cale’s mixes were thought lost before resurfacing in the early ’00s, and after being originally released at the wrong speed, they’re out on the right speed on vinyl for the first time.

But in 1969, Cale’s mixes weren’t appreciated; Elektra president Jac Holzman and Iggy himself remixed the album, bringing the vocals higher into the mix, and lowering some of the abrasiveness. At this point, it was clear both men thought the Stooges had some commercial potential if they just cleaned it up, which, even without hindsight, is enough to make you spray water out of your nose. Albums this hard didn’t move units in 1969, and they don’t move them now. The people at the front of the herd hacking their way through the wilderness don’t get to enjoy the fruits of the civilization they made possible, and The Stooges hit the marketplace like a brick to the philtrum. It made next to no impact on the charts (it eventually rose to 106 on Billboard’s album charts, but died quickly), was savaged in reviews, and was left to be consistently rediscovered by every generation of fucked up kids who came since; it eventually got its place in the pantheon, but by as much force as is present on the album.

To Elektra’s credit, they kept the Stooges on roster for another LP; 1970’s Fun House added jazz skronk to its mix via saxophonist Don Mackay, but when it too went over like a lead balloon, the band broke up, amid Iggy’s worsening heroin problems, and a lack of much juice in their career. Thanks to David Bowie staking his new stardom on his adoration for Iggy, the band reformed in 1973 on Columbia with Raw Power, and around guitarist James Williamson, whose leads were more punk fury than Asheton’s blues-based piledrivers, and that band broke up almost immediately when Iggy went further into heroin and began palling around with Bowie as a solo artist. Iggy would become something of a solo star and a cultural icon over the years, but until the early ’00s, he and the Stooges remained mostly broken up. However, they reformed with the Ashetons (Dave Alexander died in 1975 of alcoholism-related illness) back on guitar on drums, where they’d both remain until their deaths in 2009 (guitarist Ron) and 2014 (drummer Scott).

Iggy has talked recently of packing it in for good, his legacy cemented under nuclear-blast level concrete at this point. And he should; the man has lived enough lives for a whole litter of kittens. His debut album remains one of the most direct statements of purposes for a recorded body of work that has maybe ever existed; Iggy and the Stooges came to cave in heads, and it’s taken them more than 50 years to even think about stopping.

“Melee” is an album that doesn’t strive to fend off anxiety. No, Dogleg are one step ahead of it. Instead of exhausting themselves of doing their best to downplay its exhaustion, the Michigan punk band let all its ugly emotions into their system, do its worst, then sweat it out, and for it, their music is a catharsis for anyone who has walked through a dark day.

It doesn’t hurt that Dogleg are fully capable of burdening themselves with the worry and distress. A bro might recommend working hard and playing harder, but only guitarist and lead vocalist Alex Stoitsiadi, bassist Chase Macinski, rhythm guitarist Parker Grissom, and drummer Jacob Hanlon properly put that into action in their punk-post-hardcore-emo-crossing sound that has been tingling goosebumps among their live revelers these last few years throughout midwest VFW halls and DIY punk fests.

The early spirits of Title Fight, PUP and Joyce Manor’s bottled up emotions come to mind throughout Melee, but so does the Get Up Kids’ “Ann Arbor” bleed right through Dogleg’s hearts in this instance, as the 10 songs that pack in a gut-punch throughout “Melee” come barreling in with reckless choruses big enough to go toe to toe with any depressive episode.

They’re channeled through the elements of polar intensities with “Kawasaki Backflip”, riffs going off the rails as a drunken house party goes on without on “Bueno”, spiraling out in “Headfirst” and “Hotlines” in nihilistic, self-pitying whoas with clocks moving in hyperspeed, or breaking bones and connections on “Wrist.”

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Never once do Dogleg let eve a millisecond pass them by on Melee where they aren’t rapidly cycling the air around them either. While the words may paint a bleaker picture, the rising Michigan four-piece are fully plugged into the game of life and all its stages, slugging it out whole-heartedly. If it all bodies them, at least they went down punching every button hard.. and fast.

Dogleg’s Melee will be released March 13th on Triple Crown Records.

Dogleg Melee

Michigan emo-punks Dogleg stirred up a lot of buzz last year with their first single “Fox” and its video, which gives you an idea of how wild this band’s live shows can get. Now, they’ve officially announced their debut album, “Melee”, due March 13th via Triple Crown Records.  Along with the announcement comes second single “Kawasaki Backflip” and a video that finds the band rocking out in their garage and smashing a bunch of household items (and, eventually, their instruments). If you’re new to Dogleg but a fan of PUP, Title Fight, Joyce Manor, etc

Dogleg’s latest single “Kawasaki Backflip” immediately propels the listener through two options of how anxiety and depression will be dealt with––by burning it all down with fire, or letting yourself be blown away completely by the wind. The accompanying video shows the band at its most violent, destroying everything in its path in an effort to make sense of the internal turmoil of these important feelings.

Dogleg “Kawasaki Backflip” from the album Melee out March 13th!

If you are searching endlessly for new music and bands. So, let us save you from the hours of endless scrolling.  We have your new favorite indie band right here. Pretoria is a four piece alternative/indie rock band out of Grand Rapids Michigan. Josh Bilisko (Guitar) met Rob Gullett (Vocals/Bass) and Ben DeWitt (Drums) in high school and they all decided to start playing music in and around the area. Soon after releasing their first EP they added Evelyn Timmis (Synth/Guitar/Vocals) to round out their new indie sound.

The band formed when guitarist Josh Bilisko and bassist Rob Gullet met in high school. After that, Ben Dewitt came in to play drums. The group bonded over their mutual music interests (Nirvana) and they immediately clicked. Pretoria already has an EP and a couple of singles under their belt. Now, they can add their latest “Cape Town” to their discography.

EP opener “You Can’t Explain” is the peak of the album (which implies that there are pits, but there really, really aren’t). Kicking off with high energy, good vibes, and just a taste of what else is to come is a great way to start off this EP. “Cody Maverick” has the funky, beach feel that the band seems keen on embracing. It’s meant to be loud, listened to with the windows down. “Laundry” takes on a more med-tempo beat, but instead of feeling slow, it feels sultry. “Don’t Forget Me” is the melancholy EP closer. It still keeps up the summer vibes, but it’s more toned down. It’s the kind of summer day where it hits you that life isn’t always like a movie, and sometimes you have to be introspective. Lead singer, Bilisko, begs “Don’t forget me” more desperately as the song starts to draw to a close, bringing the EP to a desperate end.

They just sound good. It’s a fun album, that offers something relatable when you need it, but something fun-loving when you don’t. “Cape Town” feels airy, summer-y, and shows something great in this tiny indie band.

Pretoria just released their EP, “Cape Town,” in June. The four track long EP is an indie music lover’s wet dream.

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released June 12th, 2019

Josh Bilisko, Matt Burdick, Ben DeWitt, Rob Gullett

When Anna Burch introduced herself on her 2018 debut Quit the Curse, it was with a concentrated wash of energetic, serotonin-boosting pop. Jangly guitars, blithe vocal harmonies and an occasional undercurrent of grungy fuzz all converged in seemingly straightforward songs that hid their complexities under sunny hooks. The impact of the songs was immediate and exciting, presenting narratives of confusion and upheaval with melodies so bright it was hard to do anything but smile. Two years later, Burch’s follow up “If You’re Dreaming” takes us down a different path than its predecessor, shedding some nervous energy in favor of a deeper exploration of an internal world.

After months on the road in support of Quit the Curse, Burch disappeared for a while. The long stretches of touring had been broken up by only a few weeks off here and there, and a month spent writing in Berlin between European dates. The time she did get to spend at home in Detroit was disrupted by several unexpected housing changes, adding to the transient feelings brought on by constant touring. When things finally stabilized, Burch encamped into a slow, thoughtful and intentional writing process for what would become the second album. Days were spent playing guitar, exploring unconventional chord changes, ruminating on song structures and allowing her subconscious to wander until lyrics materialized. Though about half of the songs were already written, this time was dedicated to taking a closer look at the loose ends of three years of ideas and seeing if there were common threads that held them together.

If You’re Dreaming was tracked with producer Sam Evian in his home studio in the Catskill mountains of upstate New York. Where the first album had been a rush of inspired songwriting followed by a drawn-out process of arrangement and mixing, Burch and Evian worked with self-imposed time limitations to establish a sharper focus and get to the core of the new songs. The work was swift but somehow more relaxed, locking into a groove of tracking the basic elements and then expanding on the arrangements with overdubs and auxiliary instrumentation. The end goal was to present not just an assortment of new songs, but craft an album that moved dynamically through an interconnected emotional arc.

With recurring themes of isolation, weariness and longing, these songs deliver that emotional arc with a delicate but uncompromising execution. Burch’s intrinsically catchy songwriting dials down the urgency of her debut a notch, taking a turn towards airy, jazz-voiced chords, floating reverb and an expansion of the sonic palate with unexpected instrumentation. The soft-rock bass grooves and understated saxophone lines of “Not So Bad” push an impressive pop structure into exciting new territory, and the sweetly melancholic “Tell Me What’s True” centers around muted electric piano, its languid but metered vibe recalling the gentler side of Carole King.

The nuance of arrangements that could sometimes get buried on Quit the Curse rises to the surface on patient, opulent tunes like “Every Feeling” and in the twelve-string guitar hooks of “Party’s Over.” The album drifts dreamily as much as it hones in with a sharper clarity on some of Burch’s most personal songs.

Even at its most introverted, If You’re Dreaming is always warm and present. It’s a deliberately drawn chapter of Burch’s work, trading in the wild-eyed and sometimes neurotic party hopping of Quit the Curse for a more solitary walk after midnight. Daring and clear-headed, these songs cut deeper in their subtleties. If You’re Dreaming moves with intention, taking its time revealing new layers of sophistication and growth in Burch’s always charming songcraft.

Releases April 3rd, 2020