Posts Tagged ‘Orindal Records’

This  is a Woozy, lovelorn, plaintive, playful, tender, a list of all things. It could be any of them. It could be all of them. All and so much more. Love is never normal but it’s all I wanted us to be. Normal people, together and apart, finding comfort in the small things: a candle on a birthday, the click of the latch on the door when you return with the groceries. Plaintive components of a spellbinding journey, small cogs across the breadth of a relationship, from learning to love, to watching it all fall apart.

Recommended on a whim, I recommend this album with an utmost certainty that this is music for all ears and listens, among my most anticipated albums of 2018 when it was finally released . “There’s Always Glimmer” by Gia Margaret . And I can already say it’s gonna be one of those few albums that will leave quite an inspiring mark . I just love the sound and mood, subtle use of electronic parts, the overall warmth. Just beautiful.

On the surface, Gia Margaret’s music is somber, glistening songs might seem gloomy — especially when her lyrics revolve around alienation, anxiety, depression and memories she wishes would fade already. But as its title suggests, There’s Always Glimmer is about letting slivers of appreciation and light pierce the melancholy. “Birthday” is downright intoxicating, as Gia Margaret’s drowsy voice nestles comfortably against tender guitar lines.

All songs written, performed and produced by Gia Margaret 

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Recorded and mixed by Nicholas Papaleo and Gia Margaret at Inside Voice, in Gia’s bedroom and at Decade Studios Smoke and West recorded and mixed by Doug Saltzman

Additional musicians:
Brendan Losch — additional guitar + backing vocals (2)
John Morton — backing vocals (2), drums (2, 3)
Scott Jacobson — additional guitar (10)
Ivan Pyzow — trumpet (3)
Quinn Tsan — additional vocals (7)
Bob Buckstaff — bass (2, 5)
Nicholas Papaleo — bass (6, 10), additional keys (2, 5, 10)
Molly Rife — cello (4)
Doug Saltzman — drum production (4, 12)
Chris Dye — drum production (10)

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Owen Ashworth’s albums have always been about the human condition, and his latest is no exception. That may sound strange, given that it’s called “Animal Companionship“, but it’s as human as anything he’s done before.

After hearing problems forced the end of his electronic pop project Casiotone for the Painfully Alone in 2010, Ashworth started making quieter music as Advance Base, releasing A Shut-In’s Prayer in 2012, Nephew In The Wild in 2015 and a slew of tapes and 7” EPs in between. After releasing a 2016 live album, In Bloomington, the prodigious songwriter shifted his focus to his label, Orindal Records, and put his efforts into helping other artists release their music.

This break from songwriting gave him time to explore not just how he makes music, but why he’s driven to do so. “I spent a lot of time thinking about why I write songs and what I get out of writing songs,” he said. “It took a while to get back to writing for myself, unselfconsciously.

“The reason I’ve always made music is because it’s therapeutic for me,” he said. “It’s a way of processing my feelings and understanding my subconscious. I love the ritual of writing a song and performing it over and over again until its meaning reveals itself. It’s the closest I get to meditation.”

The meditative nature of Ashworth’s new songwriting process can be heard in Animal Companionship’s spacious arrangements. Blissful drones and lush synthesizer textures envelop soft electric piano arpeggiations and spare drum programming, creating an almost hypnotic backdrop for Ashworth’s lyrical narratives. And the lyrics themselves have found a new focus: dogs.

“There was a while last year when a bunch of different friends of mine were having problems with their dogs,” said Ashworth, “and even though I don’t have a dog, suddenly I was giving all of this dog advice. I was just thinking and worrying about these friends and their dogs all of the time, and dogs just started showing up in my songs.

“When you explain the relationship you have with a pet, it can sound crazy. We all tend to anthropomorphize the animals we love, talking about them as if they’re children, siblings, even spouses,” said Ashworth. “I wrote these songs to help myself understand what pets mean to their owners, how those animal relationships affect our human relationships, and vice versa.”

Unlike the previous Advance Base albums, which were made at home on Ashworth’s trusty 4-track tape machine, Animal Companionship was mostly recorded at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles with Ashworth’s old friend and former Casiotone for the Painfully Alone collaborator Jason Quever. Animal Companionship still sounds like Ashworth, but Quever’s production adds more depth and clarity than you’ve ever heard from an Advance Base or Casiotone album. The album opener, “True Love Death Dream,” is full of warm synthesizer textures and lush drum machine tones, the kind that sink deep into your soul and take root there. It shows how much time and consideration Ashworth put into Animal Companionship, and how Quever knew exactly how to capture it.

From the pedal steel atmospherics of “Dolores & Kimberly” to the densely layered oscillations of “Rabbits,” every movement beautifully frames each song’s narrative. Animal Companionship’s production is expansive but always deliberate, allowing Ashworth to speak volumes through subtle, emotional gestures.

Taken as a whole, Animal Companionship is not just a step forward for Advance Base—it’s the culmination of everything Ashworth has been building for the past two decades. It’s a record that’s gentle in approach and endearing in practice, the kind of thing that only Ashworth could create.

“Dolores & Kimberly” by Advance Base off the album Animal Companionship out September 21st, 2018 on Run For Cover Records

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Songwriter Katy Davidson they/them revived the band Dear Nora in January 2017 when Orindal Records reissued the thirteen-year-old album Mountain Rock on vinyl. The reissue received great acclaim and the band toured the west and east coasts last year. Spurred by the momentum, Davidson decided to create the first album of new Dear Nora material in a decade, Skulls Example.

Katy explains:  I wrote the songs on Skulls Example between 2009 and 2017, and recorded most of them during the latter half of 2017. “Skulls Example” is a name I once chose for myself during a party by closing my eyes and picking two words at random from a book of magic.

I tracked most of the basic instruments for each song with my bandmates Zach Burba (bass/synth), Greg Campanile (drums), and Jessica Jones (guitar) at a studio in Portland, Oregon. We used nice microphones, ran audio into a Mackie mixer, then ran stereo audio out of the mixer to a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. Then I bounced the individual instrument tracks from cassette to Ableton Live on my laptop. Zach overdubbed a lot of the bass and synth tracks remotely from his house in Seattle. I tracked all the vocals and recorded some guitar overdubs in a reverberant empty bedroom  in my house in Portland. Engineer Tim Shrout expertly mixed the album on ProTools while I micromanaged.

It has been a decade since I have released new material under the name Dear Nora. The last time I released an album of new material was in 2011 – that was called California Lite and it was under the band name Key Losers. Thematically, California Lite makes sense as an early warm-up to Skulls Example. It’s about freeways, the internet, human connections (and broken connections), and wilderness.

Skulls Example is about how our weird, techno-futuristic present (VR, self-driving cars, drones, Tinder dates, reality TV show government, Starbucks ubiquity, iPhone as extension of human body, Blade Runner -esque income inequality, cryptocurrency “utopias”, etc.) juxtaposes so absurdly against the never-ending backdrop of inexorable, ancient elements (fire, ice, wind, storms, mountains, rocks, human instinct, etc) . It’s like we live in multiple realities at once: Now Reality layered upon Ancient Reality, Virtual Reality layered upon Now Reality. The palimpsest creates the illusion of collapsed time.

The album is specifically about humanity. Our capacities and feats are so incredible – we’re godlike – and yet we’re scrounging for happiness and basic survival, we’re heavily addicted, we just want love, we want family. We’re simultaneously so brilliant and so basic. To me, this feels like the worst and best time to be alive. I experience some level of horror and bliss on a daily basis.

One of the reasons I “retired” Dear Nora ten years ago was because I couldn’t figure out how to navigate financial stability as a full-time songwriter and touring musician. And for the last three years, I’ve worked as a commercial music producer. I enjoy my work, but I constantly think about how I’m contributing to the Massive Capitalistic Garbage Dump of Life. When Trump got elected, I knew it was time to make a new album.

I derived a ton of lyrical inspiration from several recent visits to Oaxaca and Mexico City. I’m fairly obsessed with Mexico’s culture, music, and attitude towards death. I also derived inspiration from the Mojave desert and Oregon’s high desert, places where there are creosote or juniper trees, and fields of ancient lava rock. To me there’s nothing like letting go of my thoughts and being in the dusty, sensual wilderness. Living on Earth feels like pure magic to me and I tried to bring that feeling to this album. .

Released May 25th, 2018

All songs written by Katy Davidson between 2009-2017
The song “Skulls Example” was co-written by Zach Burba