Posts Tagged ‘New York’

On Friday, September 18th, 2020, Sub Pop will release L7’s “Smell the Magic:” 30th Anniversary Edition, the fiery, American grunge pioneers’ second album. L7 were formed by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner in 1985 Of their meeting and on hearing Gardner play a tape of her songs in progress, Sparks described it as “one of the happiest days of my life” with a clear synchronicity in the music they were each interested in creating. At the time, Gardner was also active as a poet. The punk rock duo brought Jennifer Finch on board as bass guitarist and Anne Anderson on drums.

This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humour and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.

But making a mark on the LA underground rock scene was more challenging than it seemed.
Originating out of art punk circles in 1985, L7 played countless poetry readings, drag shows, art happenings and punk rock dive bars. They were nothing short of perseverant.

Having already released one album, eponymously titled, L7, the band was touring up the West Coast when they began to meet like minded artists affiliated with Sub Pop Records. The band managed to score a phone number for the imprint, and convinced label founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman to come see them live.

That show would take place a couple of weeks later in 1989 at an arts center in Seattle. The stage was finagled out of folding tables, and friends recruited to work a smoke machine (members of the group Cat Butt) decided to drop acid before attending to their duties. This led to a thick fog filling the entire venue and the band’s performance could hardly even be seen. L7 were convinced they blew it. Instead, they got signed: Sub Pop may not have been able to see them, yet, but they could hear them and asked if L7 would do a recording for their monthly Singles Club.

Later in the year, the band went into the label’s go-to studio in Seattle, Reciprocal Recording and in one day recorded “Shove,” “Packin’ a Rod,” and “Fast and Frightening.”

Released in January, the single’s A-side “Shove” would kick off the 1990’s with a bang and L7 would have an underground hit on their hands.

The band was then given the go ahead to record a full EP. The buzz from their Sub Pop’s Singles Club release was almost immediately palpable.

A few months after “Shove,” L7 continued with recording the EP—later expanded into a full-length album with three cover songs (“Packin’ a Rod,” “Just Like Me,” and “American Society”). They recorded again with Reciprocal’s producer, Jack Endino, and later Michael James and Ramones-producer Daniel Rey in Los Angeles.

This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell the Magic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.


This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell The Magic (which originally came out as a six-track 12″/nine-track CD) includes all nine songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time. A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humor and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell The Magic is a landmark of ’90s feminist rock.

“Smell the Magic: 30th Anniversary Edition” is now available from Sub PopLP preorders through and select retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear with high melt orange, blue, and grey vinyl.

Releases September 18th, 2020 Sub Pop Records

Told Slant is Felix Walworth’s dark and evil band, Told Slant, the solo project of Brooklyn songwriter Felix Walworth, has announced a new album “Point the Flashlight and Walk”, out on November 13th via Double Double Whammy. It’s the follow-up to 2016’s Going By. Told Slant also unveiled two singles from the new album— “Family Still” and “No Backpack”—which come with lyric videos shot by Emily Sprague (Florist).

“Family Still” is a poetic exploration of interpersonal dynamics. “Power isn’t taking / It’s making you give in freely / And I hope you don’t come home / and think it’s enough to be near me,” Walworth sings in a gentle tone. This layered acoustic track excels in its dissection of the complicated shades of intimacy: “What can be said of desire / when every longing instilled in my heart was instilled in such a violent world?”

“No Backpack” also delves into closeness, mixing in both cynicism and romanticism. There’s cherished imagery of angled zippers on a leather jacket and a life packed inside a Honda, which plays into the song’s core conflict—its competing views of love: cautious and self-protective or idealized and reckless. “I don’t want to run with you / when there’s someone you’re devoted to / You’re always living with a trapdoor under you,” Walworth sings.

Walworth said of the new songs:

“Family Still” and “No Backpack” are meant to be listened to in succession. They explore the concepts of devotion and togetherness as both liberatory and self-negating, and mount these explorations from a place of sober reflection and indulgent fantasy.


Releases November 13th, 2020

instruments and words by Felix Walworth
arranged, performed, and recorded by Felix Walworth

Based out of Brooklyn, Caitlin Pasko is a songwriter, pianist and, “weaver of dreamy, elegiac meditations”. Caitlin first emerged back in 2017 with the beautiful Glass Period, “a small chapel to personal grief”. After three years, this week Caitlin has released the much anticipated follow-up, “Greenhouse”, named in tribute to the, “structures that protect plant life from unfavorable external conditions, and from environments in which flora adapt in order to survive and sustain other life forms”.

Caitlin Pasko’s songs are rooms where silence and language are granted equal weight. Her singing is precise, but soft and reserved, and her piano-playing drifts and floats. Caitlin talks openly of how the album emerged from an emotionally abusive partnership, and the record chronicles the wider themes of relationships failing, be they romantic, familial or otherwise. Working with producer Henry Terepka, Caitlin sets these ideas into a stunning musical landscape; a world of spacious, elegant piano lines, intricate, deliberate vocals and swirling electronics. It’s a sound entirely Caitlin’s own, equally nodding to classical composers as it does to Caitlin’s contemporaries from Cross Record to Tenci. Particularly jarring and wonderful is the album’s centrepiece Horrible Person, a fusion of gorgeous vocal melodies with unnerving electronics and a lyric that seeks to flip the tables on an abuser who has always dragged you down; “you know you are a horrible person, and I could never really be fully at ease around you, like a cat on a hot tin roof wondering when it should move”. While this is undeniably a record that walks the darker streets, at its close it does offer a certain resolution, in the shape of final track, Intimate Distance. The track finds Caitlin at her piano, picking out bold piano chords and singing to herself of fresh growth and progress, “it took a fallen snow to feel that growth and letting go are so complexly intertwined”. Few albums live up to their title like Greenhouse does, it is a record that exists like a bubble, a place where emotions are laid raw and protected from the toxicity and harshness of the world at large, a place where against the odds, new shoots of life, love and hope will find a way.


Piano, Vocals, & Synths (Dave Smith Tetra, Moog Minitaur)
by Caitlin Pasko
Guitar, Percussion, & Synths (Dave Smith Tetra, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha TX7)
& Additional Piano on “Horrible Person” & “Mother” by Henry Terepka

Released August 28th, 2020

All songs written by Caitlin Pasko

“Interzone” is the third full-length album by New York’s electro post-punk duo The Vacant Lots, to be released on Fuzz Club, Friday, June 26th, 2020. A genre-blending synthesis of dance and psych, Interzone is made for secluded listeners and all night partygoers, meant for headphones and the club.

Uninhibited by the limitations of two people and continuing their mission of “minimal means maximum effect,” The Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud and Brian MacFadyen create an industrial amalgam of icy electronics and cold beats with detached vocals and hard hitting guitars. Interzone’s trance-like opener ‘Endless Rain’ and the kinetic krautrock stomper ‘Into The Depths’ are followed by scintillating dark disco anthems ‘Rescue’ and ‘Exit’. Side 2 kicks off with 80’s synth-pop track ‘Fracture’ and haunting after-hours minimal wave ‘Payoff,’ while ‘Station’ and album closer ‘Party’s Over’ deal with disillusionment and conquering one’s indifference to make real change.

The album creates order from chaos and delves into escapism, isolation, relationship conflicts, and decay. With nods to William S. Burroughs and Joy Division’s song of the same name, “Interzone is like existing between two zones,” Jared says. “Interzone doesn’t mean one thing. It can mean different things to different people depending on their interpretation. Working on this album was a constant struggle reconciling internal conflicts with all that’s going on externally in the world. Interzone in one word is duality.”

Jared and I bounced ideas back and forth while working in seclusion on opposite coasts. We would just send files to each other until the songs were arranged. Then we met up at the studio in Brooklyn where we were fortunate enough to borrow Alan Vega’s Arp synth and finished recording with engineer Ted Young. We then worked with Maurizio Baggio to mix it,” recalls Brian. After the band finished producing Interzone, long term visual collaborator Ivan Liechti designed the album artwork.

The Vacant Lots have released singles with Mexican Summer and Reverberation Appreciation Society, collaborated on their debut album Departure with Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom, their second album Endless Night with Alan Vega, and most recently on their two EPs, Berlin and Exit, with Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at his studio in Berlin. The group has toured with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Suicide, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Growlers, Dean Wareham, The Dandy Warhols, and Spectrum.


Reflecting on the new album, Jared says, “We don’t want to waste people’s time and we want people to play it over and over. Our mantra is ‘is it bulletproof? 8 songs. 30 minutes. It’s about intention and vision.”

Released June 26th, 2020

All Songs & Music Produced by
the Vacant Lots,  Are Jared Artaud & Brian Macfayden


Empathy, often confused with sympathy, requires a little more push, surrendering yourself and embodying other people. On the follow up to Slight Of’s 2017 album Life Like, songwriter Jim Hill brought new depth to his music by looking outward, learning more about himself in the process and creating his most ambitious work to date. The appropriately titled sophomore album “Other People” is an exploration of different perspectives, an anthology of friends and strangers who helped him make sense of an ever-changing world.

Hailing from Rochester, New York, Hill sought to explore the sounds of his past with vintage keyboards, organs, and shimmering guitar licks. “I was listening to a lot of classic rock throughout the process of making this record,” Hill recalls, “stuff that was on the radio when I was forming my first memories.” The songs on Other People paint sonic landscapes of post-industrial cities, townie bars, and the working class. Tracks like “Sage”, “Americana” and “Sweet Caroline” utilize hypnotic harmonies that invoke comfort and familiarity while exploring the difficult space between patriotism and the dark realities of suburbia.

Other People kicks off with energetic synth-driven track “The Sims” — an ode to suburbia reminiscent of 80s pop and The Cars (“When we would shut ourselves in / All night just playing the Sims / The time we’ve wasted on a world / That doesn’t even exist”) From there, the title track follows to display the band’s knack for making the old sound new and epitomizes the graceful fusion of pop and classic rock elements that define the album.

In 2014 Hill left upstate New York to settle in Brooklyn. From there, Hill immersed himself in the DIY community, playing shows and spending time at now-defunct venues Silent Barn and Shea Stadium. The classic influences of his youth began to naturally intertwine with the sounds of his contemporaries. Hill spent years touring the US with Slight Of and other notable bands he joined (Trace Mountains, Painted Zeros, Bethlehem Steel). “On tour, you inevitably find yourself in some pretty strange situations with people you would never meet otherwise.” Hill remembers. “My bandmates started to recognize this pattern where I would attract all of these people who wanted to tell me their life story. There was a guy who cornered me at a house show in Illinois who had just gotten out of prison, a man at a bar in Omaha who told me he was possessed by a ghost, and an ex-Marine who threatened to kill me. We eventually had to come up with a code word so I could signal them to get me out of uncomfortable situations. I started to imagine larger stories for these people as a way to make sense of the pain they were trying to express to me.”


Moments like these incited a transition for Hill as an artist, shifting his focus outward for inspiration, and eventually leaving room for collaboration on his songs. After writing and recording 2017 album Life Like in isolation, Slight Of developed into a more familial and collaborative project. “It was really important to me that my bandmates be more involved with the arrangement and vocal textures of this album.” Hill says. Recorded in friend’s homes, practice spaces and studios in New York, Hill imagines Other People as “a study of American rock styles.” What’s a study without its subjects? It’s the friends, artists, strangers, places, and other people that give it all meaning.

Releases August 28th, 2020

All songs by Jim Hill with arrangements by the players.

Jim Hill: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths, Piano
Alex Northrup: Organs, Electric Piano, Guitars
Jacob Rosse: Vocals, Synths
Bernard Casserly: Guitars
Izzy Rosse: Vocals, Bass
Alberto Casadevall: Vocals, Drums
Leah Beck: Vocals, Organ (track 8)
Erick Perrine: Guitar (track 6)

Other People is out on August 28th.

Brooklyn’s Jeanines specialize in ultra-short bursts of energetic but melancholy minor-key pop. With influences that run deep into the most crucial tributaries of DIY pop — Messthethics, the Television Personalities, Marine Girls, early Pastels, Dolly Mixture — they’ve crafted a style that is as individual as it is just plain pleasurable. Alicia Jeanine’s pure, unaffected voice muses wistfully on the illusions of time, while My Teenage Stride/Mick Trouble mastermind Jed Smith’s frantic Motown-esque drumming and inventive bass playing provide a thrilling rhythmic foundation.

“Winter In The Dark” and a lovely, jaunty cover of The Siddeleys’ “Falling Off Of My Feet Again” provide great insight into what Jeanines are about. 60s-meet-80s melodies combine with timeless guitar jangle in a way that recalls everything from The Aislers Set and Saturday Looks Good To Me to more recent DIY pop groups like Parsnip and Chook Race. Album opener “Either Way,” “Hits The Bone” and “Where We Go” hearken back to some of the most intriguing bands of the C86/C88 era, when bands like Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes crafted perfect pop gems enlivened by the inspiration of punk.

Gorgeous songs like “Where I Stand,” “Too Late” and “In This House” are windows into Alicia’s lyrical style and inspiration. She expands: “I’m kind of obsessed with mortality and how weird the passage of time is so I think my lyrics reflect that. I definitely lean into that kind of melancholy state of mind when trying to think of lyrics, while trying to avoid cliches!” The marriage of the minor-key melodies and melancholic lyrics is powerful and make Alicia’s songs all the more memorable, especially so on songs like “No Home,” with its echoes of girl harmony post-punk groups like Grass Widow and Household.


Clearly, with 16 great songs included, there is a lot at work here on this standout debut album. Jeanines have been compared to such cult pop icons as Dear Nora, Black Tambourine, and more recent acts like Veronica Falls and Girl Ray, but their dark, modal melodies and pensive, philosophical lyrics, along with Smith’s versatile but ever-economical musicality, ensure them a place of their own in today’s crowded but boisterously healthy DIY pop scene.

Originally released June 14th, 2019

When Rachel Angel sings “I wanna be a renegade,” she is speaking to the experience of personal transformation and resilience, like putting on a protective coat of armour to meet the world with grace and courage. While the songs on the EP were inspired by the spirit of outlaw country, her sense of the outlaw is metaphorical rather than literal. These songs are about taking the unconventional artists path, and staring in the face of danger, fear, and pain. In her latest EP “Highway Songs,” the country-folk troubadour takes the listener on a wild journey— physical, emotional, spiritual, and everywhere in between.

These songs were written in the midst of a harrowing time for Angel— she was physically sick with an auto-immune disease, self-quarantined in her Brooklyn apartment, writing at a feverish pace. She reflected on her recent travels, both as a touring musician, and time spent in Mexico during a 7.1 earthquake with her family.

“Highway Songs” was recorded live in two days with an all star lineup at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn, NY.

Released August 21st, 2020
The Band:
Rachel Angel – Vocals/Guitar
Brian Betancourt – Bass
Sam Owens – Lead Guitar/Keys
Noah Hecht – Drums
Dan Iead – Pedal Steel Guitar
Clyde Daley – Trumpet on “Mexico”All songs written by Rachel Angel (BMI)

Oceanator aka Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Elise Okusami, is releasing her debut album, “Things I Never Said”, on August 28th via her own Plastic Miracles label. She has shared a new song from it, “Heartbeat,” which is about the anxiety that comes from having a crush on someone.

Okusami had this to say about “Heartbeat” in a press release: “This song is loosely about having a crush, and both the grounding feeling and the anxiety that feeling brings. We recorded it all together like a live performance, and then I went back and added the lead guitars and the vocals. Guitar and vocals by me, bass Eva Lawitts (they), drums Aaron Silberstein (he).

Things I Never Said includes “A Crack in the World,”. Then we loved the album’s next single, the more synth-poppy “I Would Find You,”.
Things I Never Said was originally due to come out on Tiny Engines, but then that label pretty much imploded after it was revealed that it was having difficulty making royalty payments to its artists, so Okusami is putting out the album on her own label instead. Although the British label Big Scary Monsters has just announced that they have signed Oceanator and will be releasing the album in the UK.


Releases August 28th, 2020

All songs written by Elise Okusami

No photo description available.

Anything and everything can happen in a Voidz song. Acoustic blues, heavy metal, deep prog, funk, pop, the 8-bit Freon-chill a bank of synthesizers creates — sometimes individually, sometimes en masse. This three-guitar sextet firmed and led by Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas pursue this alchemy with true heart and enthusiasm, a go-for-broke gusto that makes 2014’s Tyranny, 2018’s Virtue, and a handful of 2019 one-off cuts a stoner’s sonic amusement park. Here, Casablancas has free rein to indulge his whims beyond the sleek, robotic rock-populism the Strokes are constitutionally mandated to champion. His accompanying sentiments — a mélange of Trustafarian contrarianism, personal philosophy, and passive-aggressive winks allegedly targeting different Strokes — complement a musical aesthetic inclined to melodic overload. This excess sidles to tender, epic life on the 11-minute “Human Sadness” and informs “Wink,” a roiling, cutting synth-pop bop that threatens to transform into reggae or an alternate 90210 theme. Theirs are consummate “older brother” records, arriving a couple of decades too late.

The syncopated, Pacific Coast haze of 2018’s “Permanent High School,” complete with plastic falsetto.


To fully understand the energy of frontwoman Eva Hendricks and Charly Bliss, you gotta see them live. I learned that when the Brooklyn four-piece totally smashed the stage the first time I saw them. Not sure why I was surprised, but any doubts I might’ve had about Charly Bliss were effectively squashed. Hendricks is a dynamic instrumentalist and her distinctive high-pitched voice stands delightfully front and centre on a range of harmonies. This is a killer indie power-pop band.

Indie rock quartet Charly Bliss have an otherworldly knack at rendering certain playful images just as sinister: “cardboard cereal,” a bleeding snow cone, a mouth red with Gatorade. 2017’s Guppy established the band as masters of this subversion. Their crunching guitars and Eva Hendricks’ sweet, pointed vocals sliding through increasingly pop arrangements are the vehicle for a creeping dark that filters through each track’s observations of the mundane humour and horror of human affection. 2019’s stellar Young Enough polished its predecessor’s frayed, glittering edges for a slow burn of synthesizers and sharpened focal points; that cleaner sound also made room for a deeper emotional reservoir. Both are examples of kinetic and potential energy refined to an art.

“We’re young enough / To believe it should hurt this much.” They’re old enough to recognize it.

Listen / Buy Young Enough