Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Freedom

Amen Dunes (aka the project of New York-based Damon McMahon) will release his fifth album, Freedom, on 30 March via Sacred Bones Records.

Amen Dunes last released an album in 2014. The album was called Love .  The tune below is called “Miki Dora” . Here’s what McMahon has to say about the track.

Miki Dora was arguably the most gifted and innovative surfer of his generation and the foremost opponent of surfing’s commercialization. He was also a lifelong criminal and retrograde: a true embodiment of the distorted male psyche. He was a living contradiction; both a symbol of free-living and inspiration, and of the false heroics American culture has always celebrated. With lyrics of regret and redemption at the end of one’s youth, the song is about Dora, and McMahon, but ultimately it is a reflection on all manifestations of mythical heroic maleness and its illusions.”

On the surface, Freedom is a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The characters that populate the musical world of the album are a colourful mix of reality and fantasy. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past.The lead single  Miki Dora”, and its accompanying video, which features 17-year old Boomer Feith with McMahon appearing as both the story’s narrator and its subject.

Of the track, McMahon says, “Miki Dora was arguably the most gifted and innovative surfer of his generation and the foremost opponent of surfing’s commercialization. He was also a lifelong criminal and retrograde: a true embodiment of the distorted male psyche. He was a living contradiction; both a symbol of free-living and inspiration, and of the false heroics American culture has always celebrated. With lyrics of regret and redemption at the end of one’s youth, the song is about Dora, and McMahon, but ultimately it is a reflection on all manifestations of mythical heroic maleness and its illusions.”

On every record, Damon McMahon’s project has transformed continuously, and Freedom is its boldest leap yet. On the surface, the album is a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The themes are darker than on previous Amen Dunes albums, but it’s a darkness sublimated through grooves. The music, as a response or even a solution to the darkness, is tough and joyous, rhythmic and danceable. The album comes out March 30th.

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The video for the first single from Freedom, “Miki Dora,” is out now.

The first LP, D.I.A., was a gnarled underground classic, recorded and played completely by McMahon in a trailer in upstate New York over the course of a month and left as is. The fourth and most recent LP Love, a record that enlisted Godspeed! You Black Emperor as both producers and backing band (along with an additional motley crew including Elias Bender Rønnenfelt of  Iceage and Colin Stetson), featured songs confidently far removed from the damaged drug pop of Amen Dunes’ trailer-park origins.

Love took two years to make. Freedom took three. The first iteration of the album was recorded in 2016 following a year of writing in Lisbon and NYC, but it was scrapped completely. Uncertain how to move forward, McMahon brought in a powerful set of collaborators and old friends, and began anew. Along with his core band members, including Parker Kindred (Antony & The Johnsons, Jeff Buckley) on drums, came  Chris Coady (Beach House) as producer and Delicate Steve on guitars. This is the first Amen Dunes record that looks back to the electronic influences of McMahon’s youth with the aid of revered underground musician Panoram from Rome. McMahon discovered Panoram’s music in a shop in London and became enamored. Following this the two became friends and here Panoram finds his place as a significant, if subtle, contributor to the record.

The bulk of the songs were recorded at the famed Electric Lady Studios in NYC (home of Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, D’Angelo), and finished at the similarly legendary Sunset Sound in L.A., where McMahon, Nick Zinner, and session bass player extraordinaire  Gus Seyffert (Beck, Bedouine) fleshed out the recordings.

On the surface, Freedom is a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse.

The characters that populate the musical world of Freedom are a colourful mix of reality and fantasy: father and mother, Amen Dunes, teenage glue addicts and Parisian drug dealers, ghosts above the plains, fallen surf heroes, vampires, thugs from Naples and thugs from Houston, the emperor of Rome, Jews, Jesus, Tashtego, Perseus, even McMahon himself. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past.

The themes are darker than on previous Amen Dunes albums, but it’s a darkness sublimated through grooves. The music, as a response or even a solution to the darkness, is tough and joyous, rhythmic and danceable. The combination of a powerhouse rhythm section, Delicate Steve’s guitar prowess filtered through.

It’s a sound never heard before on an Amen Dunes record, but one that was always asking to emerge. Eleven songs span a range of emotions, from contraction to release and back again. ‘Blue Rose’ and ‘Calling Paul the Suffering’ are pure, ecstatic dance songs. ‘Skipping School’ and ‘Miki Dora’ are incantations of a mythical heroic maleness and its illusions. ‘Freedom’ and ‘Believe’ offer a street tough’s future-gospel exhalation, and the funk-grime grit of ‘L.A.’ closes the album, projecting a musical hint of things to come.

 

 

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Jesse Marchant is the artist formerly known as JBM,  It could almost be inferred that Jesse Marchant wrote the songs for his new album over a period of months in New York City during which a lot of his world had come out from under him, in what he has described as “a general period of falling outs, absence and abuse, both of self and of what should or could have been surrounding”. But in the process of finding an end to that Marchant feels to have grown. One is not left to wonder why he chose to drop the moniker of his former releases (his initials JBM) for the use of his proper full name, nor why his voice and lyrics, recorded with a mouth-to-ear intimacy, emphasizing his deepening and wearying baritone, sit loud and naked atop the widescreen backdrop of the deep synthesizer and orchestral pads and arrangements, often reminiscent of “I’m on Fire” era Springsteen. There is a sense of wanting to take responsibility and a desire to have things seen and said clearly for what they are, directly.

The production of the record reflects that same growth, balancing a new, vivid sound with matured control and rootedness. The lyrics were written later in that same year, when Marchant toured the country twice alone, on early mornings in motel rooms and for a period that he spent following, in a rented house far into the desert around 29 Palms, CA. The tone and image of this is carried throughout the record – drenched in a blinding white sunlight, in the heat, in a dream.

The songs that make up this eponymous album are menacing, dreamy worlds of their own, each one unique for each listener, instantly relatable and surprisingly therapeutic: Marchant’s revelations are infectious. He is processing internal and external problems that aren’t just personal but feel like signs of our times, and in doing so has created an album that feels particularly important, relevant, and powerful.

Starting with the ambitious 6-minute, lyrically dense album opener “Words Underlined,” Marchant quickly establishes this tone. “Where were you,” he asks, “when all of this was fucked and on it’s side?”

“I am on your side,” he sings in the very next song “All Your Promise”, with a feeling like the dilemma has been resolved. But this is not an album of resolution; it’s an album of disillusion. Even the album’s poppiest song, “The Whip”, contains a biting social commentary: “everybody likes to feel they’re holding the whip.”

But for all its philosophical, world-weary tendencies, the album is really based in themes of lost love and failed relationships. Not in a conventional sense, but in the decidedly 21st century conundrum of looking for love in the age of disconnection. Marchant’s disillusionment is rooted in this disconnection, and ironically, it exists in opposition to his uncanny ability to articulate himself through music and, in turn, connect with listeners. But when focused on an individual, these theoretical ideas become painful realities.

Later in “The Whip” he sings, “I felt the sun…then I lost you…and I never got it back.” In “Every Eye Open,” he continues, “I’ve been living in lies too… and the secret sin that I’ve loved you for more than a little while.” And in “Stay On Your Knees,” “love was real, but the meaning was wrong.”

Whether at odds with the outside world or the world within him, the battles Marchant fights on this record are such that any intuitive, conscientious listener will relate. Perhaps the entire notion is contained in a single couplet from “Snow Chicago,” that feels at once exhausted and revelatory: “I just wanna feel at ease / And that for once I do belong.”

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Sunflower Bean made a late play for putting out one of 2017’s best songs when they released “I Was a Fool” in November, the first new music they had released since their acclaimed 2016 debut Human Ceremony. Today, the New York trio have done us one better by announcing their second album Twentytwo in Blue, due out March 23rd via Mom + Pop Records. Jacob Faber, Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen will each be 22 years old at the time of the record’s release, which comes almost two years and two months after that of Human Ceremony. See what they did there?

Twentytwo in Blue’s second single is “Crisis Fest,” an urgent, yet upbeat call to arms that warns, “If you hold us back, you know that we can shout / We brought you into this place, you know we can take you out.” The track feels of our time and timeless at once, a heartening and defiant reminder of rock ‘n’ roll’s power to galvanize. “2017—we know / Reality’s one big sick show,” sings vocalist/bassist Cumming. “Every day’s a crisis fest.” “Crisis Fest” also received an Andy DeLuca-directed music video,

Sunflower Bean say of their new song:

This last year was extremely alarming, traumatic and politically volatile. While writing this album, we often reflected back on the people we met while on tour. We felt a strong kinship with the audiences that came to see us all over the country, and we wanted to write a song for them—something to capture the anxieties of an uncertain future. “Crisis Fest” is less about politics and more about the power of us, the young people in this country.

Indeed, the band is unafraid to address the many anxieties of our modern moment on their new album, which was co-produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait (who also mixed the record) and Matt Molnar of Friends.

Says vocalist guitarist Kivlen:

This has been such an unbelievable time. I can’t imagine any artist of our ilk making a record and not have it be seen through the lens of the political climate of 2016 and 2017. So I think there’s a few songs on the record that are definitely heavily influenced by this sort of—whatever you want to say what the Trump administration has been.

“A shit show,” answers Faber.

Listen to “Crisis Fest” below ,Twentytwo in Blue is out March 23rd on Mom +  Pop Records.

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Foxygen is the Big Bang of two combusting minds. It’s the splayed Galaxy of polar geniuses Sam France and Jonathan Rado. It’s a handshake with a knife behind your back. A cosmic, Californian death-game of highway chicken. A sleepless night in a five star hotel. Truth or dare. Foxygen is the risk of pushing your best friend off the ledge just to see if they can fly. You listen to this album properly. You take in each moment. Each new melody that threads forward from the fingertips of one of this generation’s finest piano men in Jonathan Rado. And you fall in line behind Sam France’s sprawling and reckless lyric. Witness his mastery. Feel them struggle against the walls of their own creations. Follow them there. To the perimeter. To the exit sign. And let your eyes fog up with thoughts like ‘For at least this moment I understand how cold blooded and beautiful I am.’ Notice that the two young guys aren’t there anymore. They’re outside looking for another joint to haunt. They’re already out of sight.

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And now you’re on a train. Facing the wrong way so the trees are passing in front of you. And you’re looking forward but everything is getting further away. These nowhere towns somehow sound good. Like the city is heavy, but out here we float a little bit. America is too big of a boat to sink. Don’t sink baby. Hang.

Released January 20th, 2017

Nandi Rose Plunket teased the name of her second long-player as Half Waif back in June. “[The title] is the talisman we hold to heal ourselves and ward the night away,” she explained. Lavender – which follows the EP form/a on Cascine – was recorded over five months after moving to upstate New York: “I am exactly where I’m meant to be… it feels like an album I couldn’t have written before I was this age, and I wouldn’t have made the move up here before I was this age, so it’s a natural harmony of timing and need.”

She describes it as “elegy to time, the pilgrimages we take, and the ultimate slow plod towards aging. It takes place at dusk; its spirit animal is the heron, which I occasionally spied at the pond behind our summer house as the album gained shape. It’s an examination of the way we fracture over time, inside ourselves and inside our relationships – the fissures that creep along the structures we build, the tendency towards disintegration.”

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Sinkane music — every note of it — comes straight out of a generosity of spirit. Never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the uplifting new album Life & Livin’ It. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard. The stylistic ground covered in this album ranges from Afro-beat to Shoegaze to Jazz to Synth-pop, yet it flows smoothly throughout to create a wonderfully cohesive whole.

By the time they finished touring for their acclaimed Mean Love album in late 2015, Ahmed Gallab and the band had spread the gospel of Sinkane to the world, playing 166 shows in 20 countries. During the same period, he had also led The Atomic Bomb Band — the highly celebrated 15-piece outfit that played the music of elusive Nigerian electro-funk maestro William Onyeabor. The band included David Byrne, Damon Albarn, members of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Jamie Lidell and legendary jazz musicians Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, and they played all over the planet, including making their TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “Those 14 months really changed my life,” Ahmed says. “Not only did I learn how to put on a bigger show, but all that touring brought Sinkane closer as a band.”

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How a record with these poppy, infectious hooks doesn’t make it into the charts is among the clearest evidence that the music industry is totally run by marketers and not music-lovers. Begun as the solo work of Ahmed Gallab (Born in London to Sudanese parents, who moved to the US when Ahmed was 5), Life & Livin’ It is perhaps the development of Sinkane into a more democratic band.

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Nandi Rose Plunkett finds beauty in empty space. Battling with the inner-workings of identity and what it means to be alive, Half Waif is an escape into the void. Whilst her lyricism is distinctively enchanting, it’s her gorgeous, thoughtful melodies and layered instrumentation that feels like time is standing still.

Plunkett has spoken of wanting to “tear out [her] guts” and give titular form to the feelings which flow through us when in and out of relationships, and on the EP she does this time and again with an honesty that is often lacking in what’s ostensibly a synth pop record.

The breaks between notes are as meaningful as each utterance of instrument, acting as an pleading inhalation. Layers are added as she unravels each tale, throwing spectacular colour and warmth towards a hopeful conclusion. ‘Probable Depths’ thrusts neon surges into a brutal landscape, shattering nerves in its wake.

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Vocals, Keyboards, Songs / Nandi Rose Plunkett
Drums, Electronic Percussion / Zack Levine
Electric Bass  / Adan Carlo

“Full of sharp turns, heavy lyrics, and bursts of righteous anger. A fierce will to survive animates these lean, scrappy songs.” – Pitchfork
“A hunk of sweet power pop that’s instantly delightful, but melts quickly.” – Bandcamp
“Everything about All Belief is Paradise is gripping.” – Post-TrashAfter years of playing bass in multiple bands across the Brooklyn music scene, Nicholas Cummins is releasing All Belief is Paradise, the debut full-length for their first songwriting effort, Fits. Songs that began as vocal and bass loops recorded to voice memo as a way for Cummins to express their own desires and songwriting designs, have evolved into effusive power-pop songs with the help of close pals drummer Brian Orante, Joe Galarraga (Big Ups) on guitar and Emma Witmer (gobbinjr) on bass.

All Belief is Paradise, named after a line in a Lisa Robertson’s The Weather, honors the spirit of the early material while unveiling Fits’ evolution into a fully formed band. These songs are quick, loud, and rarely content with sticking to any one style, often holding for meditative intervals before launching into full-throttle caffeinated pop. The therapeutic drive behind the songs and the genuine fun of the group’s dynamic make Paradise a rewarding listen and Fits a band that can more than hold its own. Throughout the album Fits shows they’re capable of being thoughtful and bratty, accessible and weird, and tackling it all with confidence, humor, and great hooks. Many of Cummins’ lyrics are intentionally difficult to follow, but each song conveys its own individual feeling. There’re puffy power-pop cuts like “Hot Topic,” “All The Time” and “Superdead;” moody, bassy ventures like “Drop Thistle,” “The Ground,” and “How Did You;” and urgent punk rippers like “Running Out” and “Mango;” each delivering their sentiments sonically rather than with lyrical specificity.

released November 17th, 2017

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Fits is:
Nicholas Cummins – guitar and vocals
Emma Witmer – bass
Joe Galarraga – guitar
Brian Orante – drums

 

 

Tica Douglas is an artist that is able to pull the beauty from our desperations, weaving them into narratives that feel reassuring and real. Douglas gives us something to hold on to; acknowledging the ambiguity of the world with thoughtful prose and an unhurried, delicate structure that allows their ruminations to sink into our own perceptions of the world. Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us is a collection of lyrically-driven, sincere songs of comfort.

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all songs written by Tica Douglas 
vox/guitar/harmonium/farfisa/piano: tica douglas
synth bass: ryan dieringer
drums: alex tkill 
percussion (and drums on ‘familiar): lee falco 
guitar: kyle morgan

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The phrase “yeah, no, I know” crams two opposite thoughts together out of indecision, surrender, or both. As the title of Macseal’s second EP, it’s clear that the New York five-piece may volley between two close corners of the indie-rock universe with syrupy pop-punk and serpentine emo , At least that way it’s neither a sugar rush nor a comedown, but an eager introduction to a set of songs thrumming excitedly in the interim.

As the first release recorded with an outside party Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball“Yeah, No, I Know” is given more creative space to breathe outside the DIY chamber. (In fact, the set’s slowest cut, “These Things Happen,” found Cole Szilagyi’s yelp recorded,

Macseal are 1 of the bands that I think are doing the best. Their EP, Yeah, No, I Know, is still bringing something exciting and interesting to the table. Their back and forth vocals, twinkly guitars, and emotional screams keep me coming back again .

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Macseal is: 
Ryan Bartlett
Justin Canavaciol
Greg Feltman
Francesca Impastato
Cole Szilagyi

Recorded at The Metal Shop in Philadelphia, PA