Posts Tagged ‘New York’

New York indie rock band Wild Pink recently unveiled what seemed to be one of the most beloved albums of this year so far, “A Billion Little Lights”. It came out in February, and the John Ross-led project is already back with a new song EP titled “3 Songs” out next month. (In the interim they also combined a bunch of covers they’d recorded for various comps into the “6 Cover Songs” EP, none of which was new but all of which was certainly of interest if you love Wild Pink.)

The lead single from 3 Songs is a weightless, immersive track, “Ohio,” with singer-songwriter Samia. Samia, who’s been very busy doing a lot of collaborations lately (including with Christian Lee Hudson, Bartees Strange, and Homeschool ), only adds to the ethereal, romantic atmosphere of Wild Pink’s floating ballads. The nearly four-minute track feels aimless, but with a purpose; it encompasses the sensation of a reverie.

John Ross played guitar, bass, keys and sang
Dan Keegan played drums
Samia sang on “Ohio”
Stephen Chen played saxophone on “Ohio”
Ellis Ludwig-Leone wrote string arrangements for “Leferever”
Andie Tanning & Gokce Erem played violins on “Leferever”
Mike Slo-Mo Brenner played pedal steel on “Leferever”

On April 1st, Jeff Rosenstock tweeted a version of the album art for his 2020 album “No Dream” that was retitled “Ska Dream” and he captioned it “4/20.” It looked a lot like an April Fool’s joke, but to quote this amazing tweet from Craig of the Creek head writer/voice actor Jeff Trammell, “Jeff made April Fools of us all, for not believing in the power of Ska.” 4/20 came, and Jeff proved that Ska Dream was no joke; it’s a complete ska reworking of his album “No Dream” and it’s very real. “As with most things ska in my life, what started out as a fun goof with friends eventually morphed into ‘Hey, what if we tried to make it good though?,'” Jeff said, and they really did make it good. We named the excellent NO DREAM the best punk album of 2020, and Jeff’s roots in ska (Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Bomb the Music Industry!) have been coming up a lot lately, as a whole new generation of ska bands that follow in the DIY footsteps of ASOB and BTMI have been gaining steam, so the timing was perfect for Jeff to turn his already-acclaimed album into a ska album,

“Ska Dream” is a complete re-recording of Jeff Rosenstock’s critically-acclaimed 2020 record. however this time around all the songs are ska songs you’re welcome. The very good idea to make this record came together when, like many other bands throughout this pandemic that refused to participate in super spreading events, we were trying to find a fun way to make some music together to share with people. Otherwise we were just spending our evenings texting the group chat in dread about the collapsing world around us. Not the most fun band activity.

As with most things ska in my life, what started out as a fun goof with friends eventually morphed into “Hey, what if we tried to make it good though?” All of us have a pretty deep history playing and touring the country in punk/ska bands. We all understand the stigma that comes along with ska, we’ve all dealt with the pitfalls of it, and we’ve all kept on truckin’ regardless. If you are one of those people who loves music as long as it isn’t ska, that’s cool, we see you. This record isn’t for you and you don’t have to listen to it. 

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Jeff made the album with tons of cool collaborators (including members of We Are The Union, Mustard Plug, Deafheaven, The Slackers, Fishbone, Oceanator, PUP, AJJ, Laura Stevenson, Mike Park, and more , and it also includes a tribute to The Suicide Machines’ “Our Time” (on “No Time To Skank”) and a snippet of The Specials’ “Nite Klub” (on “Leave It In The Ska”). The whole thing may seem tongue-in-cheek, but Jeff really took it seriously and he came out with an album that’s just as good on its own as No Dream is.

JOHN DEDOMENICI – BASS
KEVIN HIGUCHI – DRUMS, PERCUSSION
MIKE HUGUENOR – GUITAR
JER HUNTER – TROMBONE, TRUMPET
RICK JOHNSON – HAMMOND, FARFISA, CASIO CZ101
CHRISTINE MACKIE – BELLS
DAN POTTHAST – ACOUSTIC GUITAR, PIANO, VOCALS
JEFF ROSENSTOCK – VOCALS, GUITAR, TENOR & BARI SAX, FARFISA, JUNO 106, MOOG PRODIGY, LYRA, WURLITZER, BELLS, SPACE ECHO
LAURA STEVENSON – VOCALS

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This is the first single off Caged Animals’ upcoming “Underneath The Spell” album. Caged Animals is the recording project of Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter Vincent Cacchione. Cacchione emerged from his role fronting Soft Black (whose members included DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith) to form Caged Animals alongside his sister Talya, partner Magali Charron, and childhood friend Patrick Curry. Since 2011 they have released three LPs of their soulful and noir-tinged indie-pop.

Trading Soft Black’s live-to-tape psychedelia for a meticulous, bedroom-born style, Caged Animals make soulful, character-driven pop for an increasingly digital time. The live show is a family affair with a band comprised of Vin’s sister Talya, partner Magali Charron, and childhood friend Patrick Curry. On their upcoming fourth record, Underneath The Spell, Caged Animals have crafted their first “band album” during the least band-friendly moment.

Although the recordings began in 2019, the project took a long pause when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and Vin and his family unintentionally relocated to his wife’s Canadian hometown in Sackville, New Brunswick. What began as a pre-COVID family visit turned into a major lifestyle change when the virus and a closed international border conspired to keep Vin’s family within the safer confines of “The Atlantic Bubble.” Having left their Brooklyn apartment with just travel bags, the young family and musical couple had to get creative about life and art.

Through the kindness of Sackville’s creative community the Caged Animals crew landed on solid ground. Underneath The Spell got its finishing touches in late 2020 after Canadian musician Jon Mckiel helped Vin and his family find a place to live and work.

While the project’s sonic palette has expanded, the homemade spirit remains intact. It features the core Caged Animals lineup plus the spacey guitar of Dane Zarra, hypnotic alto-sax of Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers, Modern Nature), and psychedelic pedal steel of Jon “Catfish” DeLorme (Psychic Ills).

Underneath The Spell’s ten songs feel oddly tuned to the frequency of our shared, strange moment, building a cinematic world out of contemplative moods and isolated characters. From the foxhole spirituality of “The Ghost Of Jesus” to the mournful solitude of “The Coldest Place On Earth,” the album weaves its narrative on a thread of alienation and yearning; each character and melody pushing for renewal. It was born in a moment of slowing down, as Vin became a father and began to look back on the moments that shaped him.

On the title track, Vin’s character laments a life lived “in a circle, underneath the spell,” evoking our current Groundhog Day reality but hinting at the possibility of release each time Dane Zarra kicks at the fuzz pedal. For “My Friend Dave,” Cacchione delivers a drone-kissed elegy mourning the loss of a departed friend: singer-songwriter Dave Deporis. “The Coldest Place On Earth” is a plainspoken remembrance of his father, while “Mirage” delivers a pop duet lit by headlights, as Vin and Magali trade verses about a romance on the brink.

On the serpentine “Dream World,” a lush, somnambulant landscape unravels over looping arpeggios, a sample of Vin’s daughter Alaska, and the album’s most hypnotic groove, pushing towards one of Spell’s most poignant conceits: “we’re living in a dream world but we’re running out of night.”

In addition to Caged Animals, Vin Cacchione is an esteemed collaborator in the contemporary fiction podcasting scene, working with John Cameron Mitchell on his ground breaking Anthem: Homunculus podcast, as well as shows by Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel, and John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Caged Animals music has been used in popular podcasts like Conversations With People Who Hate Me and Welcome To Night Vale.

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Cacchione also produced the critically acclaimed debut album of author, Bob Dylan cohort, and John Cale collaborator, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, a record which gave him the chance to work with Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, and Yasmine Hamdan.

Vincent Cacchione – Voice, Guitar, Keys
Talya Cacchione – Bass
Magali Charron – Keys, Voice
Patrick Curry – Drums and Loops
Dane Zarra – Guitar

with
Jeff Tobias – Alto Saxophone
Jon “Catfish” DeLorme – Pedal Steel
Alaska Cacchione – Dream Recitation
Bertholet Charron – Lullaby

All songs by Vincent Cacchione, excluding “Au Clair De La Lune

“Like a hip-hop influenced Velvet Underground” – The New Yorker

“If Alan Vega was 40 years younger, he’d be doing this. Or if they remade Blue Velvet, this could work as the soundtrack.” – The Guardian

“Beneath the japing lies a searing emotional truth.” The Sunday Times

“The heart of Vincent Cacchione’s newest project continues to pump blood through the veins of poetic narratives and escapism.” The Line Of Best Fit 

releases June 25th, 2021

Sharon Van Etten’s career since the release of her second album, 2010’s epic is well-known; critically lauded albums, films, and television shows have continually displayed her expanding artistry. Upon its release, epic laid a romantic melancholy over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak without one honest thought or feeling spared. Her songs covered betrayal, obsession, egotism, and all the other emotions we dislike in others and recognize in ourselves. Van Etten’s grounded and clenched vocals conveyed a sense of hope–the notion that beauty can arise from the worst of circumstances.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this special album’s release, and to acknowledge the convergence of Van Etten’s present and past work, she asked fellow artists she admired to participate in an expanded reissue, where each artist would cover one different song from epic in their own style. Some are musicians Van Etten herself admired in her early days (Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, and Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon of Big Red Machine), some are peers (Courtney Barnett, IDLES), and others are part of a younger generation of innovators (Shamir, St. Panther). What they all share is embodied by epic–a musician frankly communicating them-self through the power of music.

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The resulting epic Ten is a double LP featuring the original album plus the new album of epic covers and reimagined artwork.

Released April 16th, 2021

From the start, Son Lux has operated as something akin to a sonic test kitchen. The band strives to question deeply held assumptions about how music is made and re-construct it from a molecular level. What began as a solo project for founder Ryan Lott expanded in 2014, thanks to a kinship with Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia too strong to ignore.

Arriving at a time of considerable uncertainty in the world, Son Lux’s multi-album ‘Tomorrows’ is ambitious in scope and intent. Born of an active, intentional approach to shaping sound, the music reminds us of the necessity of questioning assumptions, and of sitting with the tension.

The music encompassed on Tomorrows provides an appropriate parallel for the sustained cacophony of the present moment, advancing a friction that reveals the strange in the familiar and the familiar in the strange. While this carefully crafted inversion acclimatizes the ear to tension, the steadily hardening exterior fractures at unlikely moments, revealing a strikingly visceral, emotional core. The process of creating Tomorrows is iterative in nature, with the lyrical content and music continually adapting and responding to one another and the shifting landscape of the moment.

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Released April 16th, 2021

Beginning at Vassar College in the fall of 2016, the story of Spud Cannon charts the emotional journey of finding oneself with vignettes of rock and roll highs and lows interspersed throughout. All, mostly, before the quintet of Meg Matthews (lead vox), Jackson Walker Lewis (guitar), Ari Bowe (keys), Lucy Horgan (bass) and Benjamin Scharf (drums) could buy a drink (legally).

Spud Cannon’s forthcoming third full-length, “Good Kids Make Bad Apples,” bristles with an immediacy inspired in-part by all-night, definitely-allowed recording sessions at the Vassar squash courts. Each song recorded in the Wall of Sound-style court are pure takes capturing the energy of the Spud Cannon live experience in its purest form to date.

Returning from a stressful tour that nearly broke them apart for good, the album’s nine songs find the band locked in on the other side of turmoil stronger than ever. Reflections on relationships, knowing one’s worth, or simply just wanting to have a good time are all spun through Spud Cannon’s infectious rock sound. Like a good friend who knows exactly how to cheer you up or clock an ex from across the room and steer you away, “Good Kids Make Bad Apples” is a hand on the shoulder in the times that led you to yourself.

“Good Kids Make Bad Apples” out June 25th via Good Eye Records.

All Songs Written by Spud Cannon.

Meg Matthews: Vox
Ariana Bowe: Keys
Lucy Horgan: Bass
Ben Scharf: Drums
Jackson Walker Lewis: Guitar

Additional – Spencer McConnell: Trumpet

Releases June 25th, 2021

Next up on Levitation Sessions: Acid Dad! On the heels of announcing their upcoming LP “Take It From The Dead”, New York’s Acid Dad transports us to another realm via their green screen studio and the visuals of Webb Hunt. The setlist features some fresh takes on Acid Dad classics + the live debut of new tracks from their album. “Take It From The Dead” features an array of different influences ranging from 90’s neo-psych, modern post-punk and 70’s rock-n-roll. Acid Dad has crafted a record that sounds new, yet feels nostalgic. In contrast to their earlier work, they make use of slower tempos and expand their sound to include songs that are both more intricate and more hypnotic. To accompany the new record, the band spent the last year collaborating with video artist Webb Hunt, producing psych and glitch art videos that form a visual counterpart to the dreamy distortions of their sound.

This was our first attempt at shooting and performing in front of our blue screen rig we made in our studio in Queens. We’ve always talked about doing a blue screen shoot where we could be totally encompassed by CGI FX, but wasn’t until quarantine and not having the option to play shows to finally execute the idea. It’s hard to tell, but it was about 110 degrees in there with all the lights going so there is that authentic show time sweat.

Our visual artist, Webb Hunt, did an amazing job doing all the FX and different CGI looks for the session. It took weeks to edit and create, but it was totally worth creating this swimming pool of feedback and colours. We wanted to make a session that no one else was doing look wise. Something familiar but different and extremely psychedelic.

We reworked a bunch of our older songs with newer tempos and parts to create unique compositions for LEVITATION as well as debuting some newer songs from our upcoming album. It feels strange being off a stage for so long but it’s really exciting being able to attempt to recreate that experience in a multimedia virtual space.”

– Acid Dad 

The live album is being pressed up on a limited edition vinyl edition. These pressings will only be available as part of the stream. The album will be released digitally worldwide on May 14th.

I’d never heard of Brooklyn’s Cassandra Jenkins before her latest album, but she’s well-credentialed. She was set to tour with Purple Mountains before David Berman’s suicide and has also worked with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and The Fiery Furnace’s Eleanor Friedberger. Berman is referenced on ‘New Bikini’ – “After David passed away/My friends put me up for a few days/”

An Overview on Phenomenal Nature” sounds dubious on paper, an indie-folk record that celebrates nature, adds monologues about how men have lost touch, and incorporates the kind of new-age textures you’d expect on a 1980s Van Morrison record. But it’s lovely in practice, pretty and warm. Jenkins’ vocal is intimate and she’s a good enough lyricist to keep things interesting, casually dropping the word “panoply” into ‘Crosshairs’ and titling a song ‘Ambiguous Norway’.

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Jenkins’ main collaborator is producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman. Kaufman’s a member of the amazing Bonny Light Horsemen and who has worked with The National, Taylor Swift, and Josh Ritter. The arrangements are often key with lovely woodwind parts, while the dual lead guitar parts on ‘Ambiguous Norway’ are gorgeous.

A gorgeous, shimmering set of songs that combines ultra-smooth pop sounds (recalling the softer moments of Destroyer’s “Kaputt”) with sweet ambient textures. Fantastic song writing work, as well. A joy to listen to, and a clear early contender for 2021’s album of the year. 

For UK Dinked special edition, go here: dinkededition.co.uk/cassandra-jenkins-an-overview-on-phenomenal-nature

The Band of Musicians:

Cassandra Jenkins– vocals, guitar
Josh Kaufman– guitar, voyager, harmonium, banjo, synth, bass, piano, organ
~and~
JT Bates– drums, auxiliary percussion
Eric Biondo– drums
Michael Coleman– synth
Stuart Bogie–  flutes, saxophone
Doug Wieselman– sax
Oliver Hill– violin, viola, string arrangement  
Annie Nero– bass
Aaron Roche– synth
Will Stratton– guitar
Ben Seretan– drone

All songs written and performed by Cassandra Jenkins
Produced and mostly engineered by Josh Kaufman
at The Boom Boom Room, Brooklyn, NY

Released February 19th, 2021

Singer-songwriter Stevie Knipe has been making music for close to a decade, since they were a college student in upstate New York recording in a dorm room. But Knipe (who uses they/their pronouns) has really taken a leap forward in terms of both sonics and songcraft with the excellent Driver. While previous Adult Mom albums had a spare, bedroom-recording feel, Driver is more of a band album, with bright production and songs that carefully and vividly map out an early-twenties travelogue full of crisis, memory, hope, and the kind of intense moments that feel almost debilitatingly hard-hitting at that age — even if you’re just starting to become wise enough to know they’re ephemeral. 

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Released April 2nd, 2021
Written by Alexi Murdoch
Performed and produced by Stevie Knipe

King Buffalo is a psychedelic trio in the classic format, whose expansive and thunderous music is a powerful concoction of heavy psych, blues, and stoner rock. Texturally rich and oozing with psychedelic goodness, yet honed and driving in the next blink of an eye. Their efforts coupled with their impressive live show, quickly gained them an international audience. King Buffalo is the trio of vocalist/guitarist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds, and drummer Scott Donaldson. Since forming in 2013, the self-proclaimed “heavy psych” band has made its name via 4 EPs, 2 Full-lengths, and tours with the likes of The Sword, All Them Witches, and Elder.

The widely-hailed progressive heavy rock trio King Buffalo’s third full-length record, The Burden of Restlessness, will be released on June 4th, 2021. 

“King Buffalo has always had a penchant for weaving deep grooves and heady atmospheres into tightly composed songs, and these qualities are very much present on TBOR.”

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Self-recorded in late 2020 and early 2021 by guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson, “The Burden of Restlessness” continues to push King Buffalo’s progressive aspects forward into new avenues of melody and exploration.

At the same time, it is not mistitled. There are deep undercurrents of frustration and even an aggressive pulse that coincide with the spaciousness for which the band has been so widely lauded since their 2016 debut, Orion. Guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay drops what’s bound to become one of the record’s signature lyrics in opener “Burning” when he declares, “Another year lost in the wasteland,” and more succinct summaries of cancelled plans and rescheduled, lost or damaged lives are hard to come by.

“The Burden of Restlessness” was written over the course of what most would consider a pretty stark and stressful time period. The end result is our darkest, most aggressive, and most intimate work to date. We are extremely proud of what this record became.” – Sean McVay

Releases June 4th, 2021

King Buffalo – The Burden of Restlessness
Written and recorded by King Buffalo in Rochester, NY at the Main Street Armory in December of 2020 & January of 2021

Image of The Burden of Restlessness Test Press