Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

Horse Feathers feels like a secret you don’t really want to share. Over twelve years and five albums, a passionate fan base has experienced this band as a precious commodity that they want to keep close to their hearts. One reason for this can be found in lead singer Justin Ringle’s distinctive voice, at once vulnerable and piercing, and in the quality of the music: gorgeous, lush string arrangements surrounding stark, visceral lyrics whose bite makes a piquant juxtaposition to the surrounding beauty.

Now, however, Horse Feathers has created an album that differs enough from its predecessors to suggest that the cat might get out of the bag. On Appreciation, their sixth full-length and the fifth on venerable independent label Kill Rock Stars, the signifiers of the band are there: Ringle’s warm tenor and lyrics that speak of work, love, and other struggles. But on this album less of the song dynamics are achieved with strings and more with an exciting new rhythm section steeped in Northern Soul. Longtime violinist Nathan Crockett and keyboardist Dustin Dybvig provide continuity, but much of Appreciation feels like the best of Ringle’s previous musical ideas just took a giant step into a larger arena.

Recorded primarily in Kentucky (at La-La Land Studios in Louisville and Shangri-La Studios in Lexington), the new album features instrumentalists J. Tom Hnatow, Robby Cosenza and R&B vocalist Joslyn Hampton, who helped make Appreciation a mixture of strutting ‘70s-style country-pop (“Without Applause,” “Don’t Mean To Pry”) and supple soul (“Best To Leave,” “Evictions”). But Horse Feathers hasn’t gained accessibility at the expense of quality, nor at the expense of their signature instrumentation (“The Hex” might be the only R&B/soul song where the rhythmic lead is played on banjo). For those who crave what NPR called “the densely pretty seethe of Horse Feathers’ earlier ballads”, the album delivers “Born in Love” and “On the Rise”, accentuating the string surge with Hammond organ, piano, tambourine, and finger snaps.

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“It just felt like a fresh take on how my songs can come across,” Ringle says. “With this incarnation, it’s okay if what I’m doing right now is in fact kind of a pop song. I can have a chorus and repeat something. I’m more aware of that and enjoy it.”

This artistic adjustment comes in the wake of a lot of changes in Ringle’s life. Not too long ago, he left his former hometown of Portland for the coastal city Astoria, Oregon. He’s also been dipping his toes into the world of record production, helping North Carolina band River Whyless with the recording of their last album We All The Light. After a while of bouncing between three states, as well as stops in Camas, Washington to finish Appreciation with longtime compatriot Skyler Norwood at Miracle Lake Studios, Ringle is finally settling down just in time to get ready to hit the road with Horse Feathers in support of this new album. “I wanna get out there and do my job,” he says.

Diehard fans are going to find plenty to cherish on Appreciation. But they’re going to have to make room in the club house for a lot more people – with this album, the Horse Feathers secret is officially out.

Horse Feathers:
Justin Ringle: songs, vocals, guitar, banjo
Nathan Crockett: violin, viola
J. Tom Hnatow: bass, pedal steel, guitar, rhodes
Robby Cosenza: drums, percussion
Halli Anderson: vocals, violin
Dustin Dybvig: piano, synths, percussion
Lee Carroll: piano, wurlitzer, hammond
Jenn Crockett: clarinet, bass clarinet
Joslyn Hampton: vocals
Chriss Dennison: vocals
Appreciation is out May 4th, 2018 on Kill Rock Stars.

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The Orange Kyte is an experimental music project with a manifesto to release music in various shapes and forms varying in fidelity and approach but always drawing heavily from a love of ethereal tones, fuzz, reverberation and all things psychedelic. Introducing Stevie Moonboots and a revolving cast of collaborators and cohorts, musical and otherwise. Vancouver, British Columbia’s The Orange Kyte is an exercise in boundless sonic tomfoolery with an emphasis on mind expansion and continuous evolution.

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Little Cloud Records was founded in October 2016 by Mike Nesbitt, Josiah Webb and Mike’s twin brother, Joe. What started as a way to release Magic Shoppe records has become a vehicle for releasing vinyl for other bands we dig. This includes releases from Pete International Airport (Pete Holmström of Dandy Warhols), New Candys (dark psych rockers from Venice, Italy), The Orange Kyte (tripped-out Irish transplants living in Vancouver, BC), Firefriend (São Paulo psych warlords) , Heaven (Brooklyn based psych rock) and Arizona’s Wiccan Godesses, Burning Palms. 
 
We’re partnering with a Portland, OR vinyl based plant and Joe runs a Chicago based printing facility. This allows us to produce all records, printing jacket design / printing and vinyl pressing in-house. We have been established by Cobraside in the United States and Fuzz Club Records in the UK. For digital distribution we use our own department to plaster your bit Across the usual suspects … like Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music and many more.
 

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Brooklyn-based psych-rock band, Heaven, announce their sophomore album, All Love is Blue, due out on March 2nd, 2018 via Little Cloud Records. The 9-track LP is produced by the band, engineered by Albert DiFiore (Caveman, Sinkane, Beck) mixed by Al Carlson (Zola Jesus, Widowspeak).

Heaven is Matt Sumrow (vocals and guitar), Mikey Jones (drums) and Liz Lohse (keyboards and vocals). Sumrow and Jones created the band in the wake of touring and recording with artists such as Dean and Britta, Swervedriver, Ambulance LTD, The Comas, Snowden, The Big Sleep and others.

A romantic clash between your Dad’s long-lost favorite psych record and the soundtrack to a John Hughes film, Heaven ride a massive sonic wave in delivering their dear and dreamy tracks. In July of 2013, Heaven released their debut LP Telepathic Love on Goodnight Records. The live lineup came together on the touring of Telepathic Love with the addition of keyboardist Liz Lohse (X-Ray Eyeballs) and guitarist Eric Altesleben (Desert Stars), who have since become permanent members. 

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As 2018 sees the release of All Love Is Blue on Little Cloud Records, out of Portland, Oregon, subsequent tour dates for Heaven in support of the album will follow. Their new work is a quantum leap forward for the band, both artistically and sonically, making the protracted wait between albums a huge payoff.

Released March 2, 2018

Haley Heynderickx

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal—both for the individual and, obviously, the environment. Winter releases its grasp, the trees turn green, and flowerbeds come back to colorful life. But before flowers can bloom or those vegetables can sprout, there are a million little things that need to be done: there are bulbs to be planted, earth to till, seeds to be watered. So it’s fitting that Haley Heynderickx is releasing her debut record, the gentle and gorgeous I Need to Start a Garden, as the new season starts to peek around the corner. Throughout the album, Heynderickx focuses on the small moments in life—those necessary moments of toil and work that, ultimately, cause a person to grow. And though the album’s title refers to a literal garden, it should be noted that it’s aspirational.

“I grew up with some really wonderful gardeners,” she says. “My mother, for example, has really good intuition of what to plant and how. I was always bad at science in school. I want to get to know nature better.”

On I Need to Start a Garden, it often feels like Heynderickx has been getting to know herself better, too. “Show You a Body” is a stark, striking number where piano flutters between gently-strummed guitar and Heynderickx’s bell-clear voice. “I am humbled by breaking down,” she sings. On “The Bug Collector,” Heynderickx reconciles herself with her desire for perfection, and on “Oom Sha La La,” she sounds as though she’s working through her own insecurities in real time. “I’m tired of my mind getting heavy with mold / I need to start a garden,” she sings, building up to a shout as she repeats the lyric that gives the record its title.

Despite the songs’ effortless beauty—classic folk and Appalachia built around Heynderickx’s equally old-timey voice—the record didn’t come easily: it took three tries with three different producers for I Need to Start a Garden to bear fruit. Most of the issues came down to bad timing, but Heynderickx nevertheless found herself repeatedly wondering whether or not she wanted to keep going.“I felt like an onion, just so many layers of insecurity and weeping over not knowing how to do it right,” she says. “I found the right people with the right intentions, and it kind of became a labor of love, which is what I wanted it to be all along.”

The record isn’t Heynderickx’s only passion project—she also works as a teacher in an after-school music program helping middle-school students form rock bands. As they learn their instruments and write songs with a mentor’s guidance, the students learn about communication, self-actualization, and collaboration with each other. That, too, has found its way into Heyndrickx’s work. “It humbles me, getting to see them through different phases of feeling embarrassed and feeling empowered, and trying new things,” she says. “It makes music more human to me.”

Heynderickx has a keen eye and ear for those tender moments of humanity, and those observations turn up most explicitly in “Untitled God Song.” The track is a poignant take on spirituality: God doesn’t have to be some omnipotent force; rather, it’s possible to find tethers to something bigger than yourself through unconventional forces. Heynderickx sings that maybe her god has thick hips, a knockoff designer bag, and “a trot in her walk.”

At the time that she wrote it, Heynderickx says that she was struggling to find emotional support in her life. But she found unexpected strength through the advice of older women—most of them strangers, like customers at the bakery where Heynderickx once worked—who somehow happened to show up and say the right thing at exactly the right time.

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“And then you’re crying at your customer service job because this older lady just saw the root of what you’re going through,” she says with a laugh. “It’s a really wonderful experience. Kind of embarrassing, but it’s kind of cool when someone older can see through you for a second. Recognizing those people in our lives that feel sacred—that was my way of saying thank you to that force, whatever it was.”

Though Heynderickx has her first record behind her and a long stretch of U.S. touring ahead of her, she says she’s still unsure what she’ll do next, artistically. “I have a lot of groundwork to do again, finding that safe space in myself to create again. I just want to write songs that feel honest and feel good to share, she says. “I hope I get to just do this again.” In the meantime, though, there’s always that garden to tend to.

Haley Heynderickx

Portland’s Faustina Masigat has a background in traditional music, having spent her college years studying and learning in a rigorous training program. It was when she left that behind, though, that the songwriter, vocalist, and instrumentalist was truly able to find her own voice. After a couple years of writing and reflecting, Masigat is preparing to share that voice with the wider world with her forthcoming self-titled debut album.

Ahead of the album’s release, Masigat has shared a new song, “Stay With Me.” A simply rendered love song, “Stay With Me” showcases Masigat’s delicate vocals, contemplative songwriting, and affection for the intimacy brought forth from a worn-out guitar or an imperfect take. Throughout the song, player Tucker Jackson answers Masigat’s voice with ethereal pedal steel.

“’Stay With Me’ was my attempt at writing a love song, in the very traditional sense,” Masigat says. “It was originally recorded as a duet, but over time it made less and less sense conceptually to have any vocals other than my own on the album. Ben Nugent, who mixed the record, encouraged me to keep the songs self contained in this way, to dig into that intimacy instead of obscuring it.”

For Faustina Masigat, Masigat enlisted Portland’s Ryan Lewis, Ben Nugent, and Timothy Stollenwerk to bring these new tunes to life in the studio. The album is out April 6th via Mama Bird Recording Co.

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releases April 6th, 2018

Faustina Masigat: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Keys
Tucker Jackson: Pedal Steel
Nate Szytel: Percussion
Dan Bindschedler: Cello
Tyler Maxwell Bussey: Banjo
Rian Lewis: Electric Guitar

ALELA DIANE – ” Cusp “

Posted: February 12, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Alela Diane has a new album out titled “Cusp”

“This music is about motherhood,” Alela says of her highly anticipated fifth album Cusp. “Even just by saying that, it feels like people will write you off. It’s like you’ve suddenly lost the charm of being youthful and even attainable––you’ve been commoditized as available. There is not a big place in the music industry for 30-something women with kids making music.” She laughs as she pauses, then adds, “Maybe we can create that space.”

If anyone can carve out needed new territory, it’s Alela. Cusp may be a thematic departure for the Portland, Oregon-based artist, The new 11-song collection was born during Alela’s three-week artist residency at Caldera in Oregon during January 2016. The time was a revelation to Alela, who’d been consumed with her then two-year-old daughter and had found little time to create. In a small A-frame cabin deep within Caldera’s snowy woods, alone for the first time since becoming a mother, she tended to a wood stove, made soup, rediscovered how to be on her own, and wrote songs. “I was just coming back to myself and learning how to take care of me,” she says. “It was really wonderful to be able to get back in touch with my creative side and just reflect on the intensity of what I’d been going through, becoming a mom––reflecting on that from a space where I wasn’t inside of it.”

Early in her Caldera stay, Alela broke her thumbnail while shoveling snow, and her signature finger-picking guitar became a challenge. She had noticed a grand piano in the main lodge and wondered: Why not write songs there? The result is the most piano-driven album of her career, fueled by that energy that only comes with facing and falling in love with something new. “It definitely felt different,” Alela says of composing for the first time on the piano, pointing to the visibility of chords that keys allow, especially when compared to guitar. “It was pretty freeing to get out of my normal habits that I usually fall back into when I write on guitar.”

Alela recorded most of Cusp at Flora Playback and Recording while pregnant with her and her husband’s second daughter, who was born in February 2017. Produced by Peter M. Murray and mixed by Noah Georgeson, the album features contributions from heavyweights including Ryan Francesconi (Joanna Newsom), Rob Burger (Iron & Wine), Peter Broderick, Heather Woods Broderick (Sharon Van Etten), Luke Ydstie (Blind Pilot), and Daniel Hunt (Neko Case).

 

The February weekend that Cusp was mixed in Los Angeles, Alela planned to be there. Instead, she went into labour––five weeks early. Severe complications ensued, and in a harrowing twist, Alela almost died giving birth to her little girl. “I have never felt so grateful to be alive as I do now,” she says. “I hope that by exploring motherhood in song, I can help demand respect for the life givers we are. Talking and singing about the experience of motherhood is not something I can shy away from. It is the essence of who we are as human beings. This album is my version of women’s work.”

When Alela releases Cusp in February 2018, it will mark exactly one year since her near-death, new-life experience. “Life and death meet in a cusp,” Alela says. “The two are intrinsically linked. My second daughter was born on the cusp.”

Cusp explores the weight and beauty of creating life. Album opener “Albatross” bemoans the pain of leaving her daughter behind for a promotional tour––a heartache she’d never experienced. “The chorus is a reference to flying overseas and having to leave my kid at home, the intensity of that,” she says. Forlorn but also imbued with wonder and acceptance, the song is a perfect example of Alela’s ability to capture the nuances of an experience. Gorgeous “Move Us Blind” delves into our complicated relationship with time, while “Buoyant”––which Alela says “surprised her”––is rich with the vivid imagery her loyal listeners have come to expect.

Throughout the record, Alela refuses to stray from her perspective as a mother and woman. “These songs are about a really different moment in my life than my earlier work, which was more rooted in being young, innocent, curious––I was reflecting on the past and the magic of youth.” “Song for Sandy” was written for British singer Sandy Denny who died shortly after the birth of her daughter. Triggered by the drowned Syrian toddler who washed up on a Turkish shore, Alela penned the haunting “Emigré” in response to the international refugee crisis. Moody “Never Easy” tackles Alela’s complex relationship with her own mother, a recurring theme throughout her albums.

Alela Diane – Ether & Wood (Official Video) Album ‘Cusp’ is now available

A rare “love song” from Anna Tivel. “Dust & Magic” is a song about loving someone, learning their colors, their depths. It’s about trying to see someone honestly, even when they’re hard to see. It’s about knowing and hoping the person you love can find their way back from a darker place, believing in the raw power of their beautiful spirit

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Haley Heynderickx‘s songs have a way of sneaking up on you: They start out spare, animated by a lone voice or a subtly snaky guitar line, only to billow out into something strange, beautiful, bracingly intense or some combination thereof.  This Portland, Ore., singer hasn’t even released her first album —” I Need To Start A Garden” comes out in March yet she’s already an utterly distinct and wonderfully nervy, idiosyncratic presence.

In the run-up to I Need To Start A Garden, Heynderickx today releases the album’s third single, a slow-building eight-minute wonder called “Worth It.” Opening with a few long oooooooohs that conjure images of maybe Sharon Van Etten, “Worth It” at first seems to echo from down a hallway, only to pull in closer and closer as it rolls along, its initial tentativeness giving way to something commanding and sublime.

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“I was living in a house with six women at the time and attempting to pursue music as more than a bedroom act, Heynderickx writes . “In this, I was struggling to find confidence and purpose in it. Writing ‘Worth it’ was a cathartic release at the time, just allowing myself to take up space and make as much noise as I could in our basement without driving my roommates too crazy. After several weeks, this song got carved out. It has been through a lot and it means something new to me each time I hear it.

releases March 2nd, 2018

The Band: 
Haley Heynderickx – Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Lily Breshears – Electric Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
Tim Sweeney – Upright Bass, Electric Bass
Phillip Rogers – Drums & Percussion, Backing Vocals
Denzel Mendoza – Trombone, Backing Vocals

All songs written by Haley Heynderickx

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Raised on a steady diet of sarah records singles, slumberland noise pop, and creation-era shoegaze, Portland’s A Certain Smile work hard to find that balance between the sweet twee, the fuzzy gaze, and punky pop

Thomas Andrew, band leader of A Certain Smile, is a man on a mission to keep the Portland indie-pop scene alive; whether he’s playing records at the Toffee Club Sunday Brunch, or putting out his radio show on Freeform Radio or fronting his band, he’s always keeping the jangly, fuzzy, indie-pop flame burning. Originally formed back in 2002, A Certain Smile are in some ways an homage to the music Thomas loves, labels like Slumberland and Sarah’s Records, bands like Velocity Girls and McCarthy; their influence is all over the band’s upcoming debut album, Fits And Starts. That record is out next month.

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Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Thomas suggests that it is,  “about long distance love and the inequities of separation.” Atop a backing of energetic blurring drums, reverberating guitar lines and driving bass, Thomas’ vocal carries a tale of missed phone calls, changing lifestyles and the joy of getting the call and slipping right back into love. It’s a perfect blend of the melancholic and the romantic seemingly free of musical fads and trends.

There are those who will argue this record is some sort of retro-throwback, the final dying scream of a genre on its last legs, yet when it is done this well, it’s hard to do anything but embrace the jangle and enjoy a perfect indie-pop song.

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