Posts Tagged ‘Noah Weinman’

May be an illustration of tree

Helen Ballentine has announced the next project under her Skullcrusher banner. “The Storm in Summer” EP releases April 9th via Secretly Canadian, and has released the title track as an early preview. The five-track follow-up to her 2020 Skullcrusher EP finds Ballentine reeling from the spotlight after experiencing some unexpected success. As she explained in a statement,

“I wrote ‘Storm in Summer’ after releasing the first Skullcrusher EP. Over that summer I thought a lot about what it means to really put myself out there and share something personal. I felt so vulnerable and overwhelmed by the fact that these songs I had written in private were exposed and likely being misinterpreted or disliked. I think the song really tries to communicate these anxieties in a cathartic way while also leaning more into the beauty of relinquishing part of myself.”

The song begins with a kind of sonic disassociation: A banjo played by Noah Weinman seems to come to the listener from a great distance, as if your next-door neighbour played it on the radio. But after a few seconds, everything comes crashing into place. “And I wonder if I go back home,” Ballentine sings, “Can I hide away?/ Or if I step into the storm/ Is it warm?/ Will I find my place?” The track comes with a music video that shows Ballentine staring out of a rainy window, 

Previously, Skullcrusher shared the lead single from “The Storm in Summer” EP,  track “Song for Nick Drake”. Skullcrusher is the musical project of Los Angeles based songwriter Helen Ballentine


Helen Ballentine, who performs as Skullcrusher.

Skullcrusher, the musical moniker of Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Helen Ballentine, has shared a new song, “Song for Nick Drake,” via a video for it. Ballentine spent the fall in rural New York State, working on new material with her collaborator Noah Weinman, and this is another fruit of those sessions. Ballentine and Weinman both directed the video, which seems to have been shot on VHS or some other tape format. Skullcrusher’s understated energy radiates with the atmosphere of waking up to the quiet terror of shapeless, structureless days, but it finds power in eschewing the pressures of careerism and a vapid culture of productivity. Instead, as Skullcrusher, Ballentine has the audacity to be comfortable enough with herself, and to simply accept the unknown as her life.

Ballentine had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Song for Nick Drake’ is about my relationship to the music of Nick Drake. It recalls moments in my life that are viscerally intertwined with his music, specifically times spent walking and taking the train. The song is really my homage to music and the times I felt most immersed in it.”

It follows the previous track “Farm,” a new song released in October.  At the same time she also released a cover of Radiohead’s “Lift.” They followed her self-titled debut EP, released in June 2020 via Secretly Canadian

Skullcrusher featured four tracks, written by Ballentine and produced by Noah Weinman, all about the influx of media she consumed after leaving her 9-5 day job. The EP is available digitally and on Vinyl, 

Storm in Summer EP Tracklist:
01. Windshield
02. Songs for Nick Drake
03. Steps
04. Storm in Summer
05. Prefer

Released October 23rd.

a picture of the band runnner

“We start with these honest, bedroom-folksy songs. Then we just start adding like 808s and weird found sounds and pretty soon it’s something totally new and exciting. The Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Noah Weinman leads Runnner, often recruiting close friends including Skullcrusher’s Helen Ballentine and A.O. Gerber to help with vocals. His poetic, melancholic lyrics shine through on his 2020 second EP One of One, which meanders through contemplative, folk-tinged ballads to an almost unrecognisable, anthemic rework of Thundercat’s “Captain Stupido”.

Writing about their debut EP, “Fan On”, we described the music of Los Angeles-based band runnner as “somehow at once low key and blazingly expressive, distinctive and relatable.” If modesty and ambition seem like strange bedfellows then runnner disprove the thought, their “smooth and emotive bedroom pop combined with DIY folk leanings” working to create a sound that’s intimate yet thematically far-reaching, “explor[ing] the bittersweet nostalgia imbued in the minutiae of the day-to-day” to poke at existential questions and fears.

Though formed around Noah Weinman and Nate Lichtenberger, runnner performs live as a seven-piece yet the band are intelligent in their use of their numbers. Rather than throwing everything into the songs in some maximalist frenzy, runnner are frugal even in this sprawling form, maintaining a simple intimacy and fleshing out where necessary—with vocal harmonies, saxophone and trumpet—to further support and underline the emotion of the songs. Hectic crescendos are objectively great, but clever is the artist who can earn them with a careful balance of quiet.

The fact is pertinent because runnner are quickly establishing themselves as experts in balance, finding the sweet spot between loud and quiet, earnest and wry, and forming tracks of genuine emotional resonance. This year sees the band return with a brand new EP, “One of One”, and lead single ‘Heliotrope’ suggests that the development is continuing. Making the release one of our most anticipated of the year to come.