Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

Josiah Johnson, co-founding member of the Billboard chart-topping band The Head and the Heart, has begun a new musical journey in 2020. And he does so with new collaborative tools and creative blueprints in tow, buoyed by a single idea: no matter what happens, the world will still turn and you’re still here.

Since breaking with The Head and the Heart a few years ago, it was his first time playing new music in front of a crowd.  “I got together with friends in New York and we arranged all the songs.” The reception was warm and enthusiastic. “People were definitely grooving. You don’t always see that in a seated venue, people getting out of their seats. I was like, ‘Oh, okay, alright!’”

Johnson’s latest tour will see nine dates, eight states, and a full band of friends and talented musicians backing his solo effort. “I have no excuses this time around. I can afford to have a full band on the road with me and it feels exciting and meaningful to learn and grow with this crew.”  Growth is a recurring theme throughout our conversation. Johnson joins a long canon of artists who’ve taken the ambitious and slightly terrifying leap from band to solo artist.


He’s signed to a record label last September while his album release is looking toward spring.  Having complete control over the creative parts of releasing his music, Johnson states he is the “decider of things now.” The colours and design of the album art, creating a music video, the logistics of putting a tour together — all the working parts of things are solely of his own accord.

Pendant is the new project of Oakland based Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). ‘Through A Coil’ is the debut full-length album from Pendant. The album was recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
‘Through A Coil’ will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019. formerly of the noisy rock band Never Young. In a couple months, he’ll release his debut album, Through A Coil, which was recorded with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.

He’s sharing its title track, a fuzzy blowout that rips and roars and takes over your entire head as Adams’ voice peeks through the layers with spiritualistic mantras: “Oh, the lives we never live/ And the ones we have to come/ Sing and weep concurrently/ In rotation through a coil.” – Stereogum

“Recorded by Melina Duterte of Jay Som fame, Pendant melds tender songwriting with an atmosphere that plunges the listener right in to the heart of the compositions…a muted display of guitar-pop, laced with a poignancy that becomes more prevalent with each passing, somewhat faded hook.” – Gold Flake Paint

Pendant is the project of Christopher Adams (calculator, Never Young, Dye). Through A Coil is the debut full-length album from Pendant. Recorded and mixed by Melina Duterte of Jay Som.
The album will release on Tiny Engines in November of 2019.

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Oakland native, longtime Brooklyn resident, and now Los Angeles newcomer Jennah Bell, has been passionately described as the sum of music’s best parts; drawing influences from genres such as Folk, Soul, R&B, Rock, and Pop .Jennah Bell is not just a folk singer. She’s a master picker, yes, but her songs are heartier and brighter than your run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter ditty. That’s probably due to her soulful voice—she sounds ready to belt out a pop song or try out for a singing competition show, in a good way. She’s a natural talent, and her debut full-length, Anchors & Elephants (out February. 22nd) is sure to stun. The Berklee College of Music grad made the record with help from master mixer Russell Elevado (The Roots, Erykah Badu) as well as producers Michael Haziza and James Poyser, also a member of The Roots.  Jennah Bell could be one showcase set away from exploding.

“3hrs, 59min. (New York)” Written, Composed and Performed by Jennah Bell

Mazy Fly

Mazy Fly, is the second full-length by the Bay Area artist Spelling, explores the tension between the thrill of exploring the unknown and the terror of imminent destruction. Chrystia Cabral spent the summer of 2018 in her Berkeley studio reflecting on the thresholds of human progress and longing for a new and better tomorrow. She was struck by the way the same technologies that have given humans the ability to achieve utopian dreams of discovery have also brought the world to the precipice of dystopic global devastation. Despite the darkness of this reality, Mazy Flyis defiantly optimistic. It is a celestial voyage into the unknown, piloted by Cabral.

Each song on Mazy Fly enshrines distinct sentiments within this imagined voyage, from the deeply personal (“Hard to Please Reprise”) to the cosmic (aliens travel to Earth to hear music on “Real Fun”). “Haunted Water” is an intensely heavy song about the memories of colonial violence that haunt the historical slave ship routes of the Middle Passage. “Under the Sun” is a cosmic prayer for good fortune that sees the potential for radical newness in our own lives in the births of stars.


Emily Brown is a Californian singer-songwriter and poet. Drawing comparisons to Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, her clear voice, and carefully crafted lyrics draw from personal experience and literature.

‘Unseen Girl’ possesses the type of chords and indie girl vocals that beat a path to our door on a daily basis. This time however it comes fitted with an urgency that suggests an artist up for the fight and in the process cuts a fine Sharon Van Etten dash. On this evidence Emily Brown could well be on her way, a soft edged juggernaut at full tilt where nobody but the bad guys get hurt. It grows and it blooms, if only falling in love with somebody was this easy. Emily Brown’s new album ‘Bee Eater’ is out at the end of August.


Releases August 31st, 2018

All songs written and performed by Emily Brown 

Lindenfield: guitar, bass, upright bass, piano, Farfisa, drums, synths
Jaxon Williams: guitar
Aaron Hatch: clarinet
Stuart Wheeler: french horn, vocals
Alyssa Pyper, Mary Nielson, Anne Bennion: violin
Sophie Blair, Michele Gardiner: viola
Max Olivier, Paul Woodward: cello

Pre-Order: Lumerians - Call Of The Void,Vinyl,Fuzz Club - Fuzz Club

Lumerians long-overdue new LP, Call Of The Void, is officially unleashed into the world this Friday. Four years in the making it see’s the Oakland band return on top form, a face-melting combination of synth-heavy dancefloor grooves, oddball prog wig-outs and exploratory psych.


Oakland, CA outfit Lumerians are a prodigious force in the extra-terrestrial realms of modern psychedelia. Since forming in San Francisco back in 2006, Lumerians have traversed their way through multiple different genres – offering mind-bending adventures into everything from space rock, kraut and noise to zamrock, free jazz, drone and dub. Drawing from a range of influences, both familiar and esoteric, past and present, Lumerians conjure up sounds from far into the future. In their twelve years as a band they’ve toured with everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Killing Joke and Black Moth Super Rainbow, putting out a number of critically-acclaimed releases including two ‘official’ albums and two collections of improvised compositions called Transmission from Tellos III & IV. On June 22nd the band will be returning with their third album, Call of the Void, on London-label Fuzz Club after four years under the radar. The album is dedicated to the memory of Barrett Clark, Lumerians’ long-time friend, sound engineer and collaborator who passed away in the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland 2016.

It may have taken the band four long years to put their latest album together but it was definitely worth the wait, their mystical exploratory soundscapes at their finest. Eclectic and vastly multifaceted, the album is further proof – if you needed it – that Lumerians are a singular force in contemporary psychedelia. Talking about Call of the Void, vocalist Jason Miller explains: “If ‘Transmalinnia’ represented the exploration of an alien world and ‘The High Frontier’ a voyage through space, ‘Call of the Void’ is a penetrative exploration of Earth through an alien gaze gone native – the weight of gravity, the build-up of pollution and sediment, experiences of ecstatic revelry and tragedy.”

With Valentine’s Day coming up and whether you’re single or coupled the day can bring on complicated mixture of memories, regrets and desires. The latest from Oakland-based dream-pop artist Jay Som depicts a specific kind of romantic encounter in a bright, meandering tune.

“Hot Bread” is featured on Love Me Not, one of two playlists (the other is called Love Me) that Amazon Music has compiled in honor of Valentine’s Day. As the titles suggest, each playlist offers a different take on love. But Jay Som’s track isn’t a gushing ode to romance or a lamentation on lost love; instead, “Hot Bread” deals with tricky, blurry feelings that fall somewhere in between.

Jay Som, aka Melina Duterte, says the song is about having a one night stand with a former lover. In the first two lines, she sings, “Will you dance with me, Jen? You won’t have to see me leave again.”

Duterte’s pleading voice and pensive guitar give the tune a light, vintage feel with a tinge of sadness. About halfway through, whistling and trumpets interrupt the song with a cheery melody, jolting you out of the melancholy chorus. Duterte says that she enjoys making songs with themes or light guidelines and that this track was “insanely fun” to write and record.

“My new microphone arrived just in time to track the song,” she says. “The warm and dry ’70s tone inspired me to make a chill but optimistic arrangement with simple lyrics … I also named the song after one of my favorite things in the world.”

“Hot Bread” concludes with Duterte repeating the line, “You’re always gonna be here,” though it’s not clear whether this means her former lover will forever be the one who got away or if their relationship has been saved. Regardless of the outcome, her ex’s “powerful love” has sunken in once again, leaving the artist feeling as scattered as the piano notes at the end of her song.


Club Night are less a supergroup and more a logical coming together; the band consist of members of various Oakland DIY-bands, who went to each other’s shows, supported one another’s project and then almost inevitably formed a band. Members of various musical backgrounds and styles, thrown together by band-leader Josh Bertram, Club Night quietly produced something cohesive and intriguing, their debut EP, Hell Ya.

The band have recently shared the video to their latest single, “Shear”. The track is a frenetic blast of angst and energy, combining the impassioned yell of Wolf Parade with the expansive ambition of Broken Social Scene. Add a claymation video with ominous nods to the illuminati and Shear becomes an exciting triumph and a fitting send off to what has been an excellent year for Club Night.

Band Members
Josh Bertram, Rebecca Lukens, Ian Tatum, Josiah Majetich, Devin Trainer

Hell Ya is out now via Tiny Engines.

Madeline Tasquin was born and raised in Quesnel, BC, Canada, on a diet of Maria Callas, Joni Mitchell and river water. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2006, she can often be found galavanting about Montreal. It was in Montreal that she wrote, recorded and mastered her upcoming debut EP, Future Telephone, which is out now. Her varied musical influences include Bjork, Feist, Animal Collective, Chopin, Mr.Bungle, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and her mother. Singing in both English and French, Canadian-Californian songcrafter Madeline Tasquin weaves nimbly from jazz folk to odd-meter soul, and from sassy pyschpop ballad to delicately dark fairy-tale, delivering it all with a stage presence that radiates. With influences ranging from Primus and Mr.Bungle to Rachmaninoff and Chopin, it’s no surprise that her songs takes unexpected harmonic and rhythmic twists and turns, though she manages to pull this off without leaving anyone in the room behind.

The track is a study of long distance relationships and modern (mis)communications. Explaining the track, Madeline suggests, “The lyrics of this tune are paraphrased from actual lines and emotions spoken and felt by myself and my (now ex-) sweetheart in a long period in different timezones, when our words and intentions got lost in pixelation thanks to these future telephones we were trying to communicate complex emotions through”. Musically, Future Telephones is a delight; Madeline’s dulcet vocal tones, accompanied by flourishes of piano, jazzy guitar and even at its denouement some delightfully, smoky saxophone. The entire EP exists as an attempt to communicate with people, an attempt Madeline admits may get lost in “the radio silence of modern living”, it will be a great shame if it does as Future Telephone is a message the world could do with hearing.


All lyrics & music written by Madeline Tasquin
Vocals, guitar, piano: Madeline Tasquin
Synth, sax, vocals: Félix Petit
Bass: Jeremi Roy
Drums, percussion: William Côté


Eric Pollard has an interesting musical career. played keyboards for Low, drumming for Retribution Gospel Choir and Sun Kil Moon and body and soul devoted to Actual Wolf, his country project. With an enviable back catalogue that covers the spectrum from home made demos to fully produced, crisp tracks, the music of Actual Wolf mixes classics like Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, The Band and Red House Painters.

His music conveys that open country landscape with massive overcast skies, straight from America’s heart. Fading emotions, like freight trains howling away during the night, are spread all over Faded Days, his latest album. As the album gets a vinyl release on September 15th.