Posts Tagged ‘Richmond’

After spending years writing and recording music by himself in various bedrooms and basements, Andrew Carter hit his stride with the debut Minor Poet album, And How!. Made on a creative whim with no outside expectations, the eleven-song collection combined Carter’s love of carefully-crafted pop with a loose, fun, off-the-cuff recording aesthetic. The album was released in 2017 and developed a small but loving fan base, and Minor Poet has grown from a passion project into a cross-country touring band with write-ups in publications such as American Songwriter.

Minor Poet’s second album, The Good News, is a six-song collection that expands the boundaries of what constitutes the band’s sound. In just twenty-two minutes, the songs take apart the standard formulas of guitar-based rock and infuse them with vibrance and energy. On opener “Tabula Rasa,” interlocking guitars and a Farfisa organ carry the song through until everything drops suddenly into a doo-wop section that wouldn’t be out of place on a 1950’s greatest hits compilation. Warped noise envelops a tropicalia-flavored Casio beat in “Tropic of Cancer” before a slick groove and sliding bass line lead into the chorus’ pure pop bliss of of horns and vocal harmonies. “Museum District” begins with a drum intro reminiscent of an off-kilter “Be My Baby,” and “Bit Your Tongue/All Alone Now” features a midsection with a glam-rock guitar solo amidst trumpet fanfare. These are a just a few of the infectious moments on an EP filled with many more.

The Good News was made over four days at Montrose Recording, in Minor Poet’s hometown of Richmond, VA. In the past, Carter has played all the instruments and handled all the production, but he knew he that he had to reach outside himself to do justice to these songs. “I couldn’t capture the sounds I heard in my head,” Carter explains. “I wanted something that was vast and expansive but that at the same time could hit you immediately in the gut.” Paying homage to the “wall of sound” techniques made famous by Brian Wilson and Phil Spector, Carter and co-producer Adrian Olsen (Natalie Prass, Foxygen) overdubbed layer after layer of Carter playing an array of guitars, pianos, organs, synths, and percussion, as well as singing all the harmonies. The members of Minor Poet’s touring band were brought in to perform the core rhythm section, and local musicians stopped by to add crucial flourishes, such as the harmonizing guitar riffs in “Reverse Medusa” and the saxophone solo that closes out “Nude Descending Staircase.”

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At the center of everything is Carter’s voice, singing lyrics that seamlessly mix allusions to religion, mythology, art, and philosophy as he questions himself, his place in the world around him, what he owes to his relationships, and, in turn, what he needs to ask of others in order to stay healthy. Tabula Rasa is a concept that argues that humans are born blank slates, shaped through experience and environment. The last two years couldn’t have felt more applicable for Carter, who started out as a fresh face with little-to-no experience in the music industry and slowly grew into himself as a stage performer and bandleader through both good and bad times. During this period he began to come to terms with lifelong struggles, such as the depression that permeates “Tropic of Cancer” and the social anxiety that runs through “Museum District.” Rather than be one-dimensional, however, Carter dives deeper into himself and his motivations, such as in “Reverse Medusa” when he sings, “Hide my love in poetic half-truths/never was one to dwell on my issues.” Carter’s ability to balance emotional honesty with a tongue-in-cheek self awareness adds to the richness and originality of the music. Short but memorable, catchy yet meaningful, The Good News is another promising step forward for Minor Poet.

Releases May 17th, 2019
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On their self-titled full-length, Richmond’s Young Scum use gentle, infectious indie pop to sketch out the contours of the quarter-life crisis: the first time in a youthful life when it becomes apparent that both action and inaction do, in fact, have consequences beyond the immediate moment. More concisely, Young Scum is a record about the dawning awareness that one’s life doesn’t just have a future, but a past that will only grow longer with each passing day. The band sets the tone with opening track “Wasting Time,” which features a mess of jangly guitars and wistful lyrics lamenting: “Can I sleep knowing there’s another missed chance?/ No I can’t.”

This is a lovely, empathetic record that treats ennui, idealism and disillusionment with a light touch, hewing close to indie pop’s core qualities of intimacy and vulnerability while offering a self-aware maturity and sympathy for its subject matter that feels right for the current moment. Yet despite its overall softness, there’s a determination and velocity to Young Scum’s music that peaks on “Itchy Sweater,” a track that’s as close to “shambling” as the band gets on the record, and showcases their talent for lyrically navigating the porous borderlands of the interior and exterior worlds, the past and the present, optimism and disappointment: “Itchy from my sweater/ I hope this gets better/ I spoke to remember/ You spoke to forget.”

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Getting old is inevitable. And in the latter half of your 20s, it begins to finally set in. things that you once enjoyed now seem like a waste of time, a reminder of how little time you have. Sharing the same power poppy jangle of their previous EP ‘Zona’, this 8 track album further showcases Young Scum’s ability to craft pop songs that have you dancing along and then maybe shedding a tear afterward. Songs about losing friends, having shitty jobs, freaking out about your future, and of course wasting time.

released July 6th, 2018

Young Scum is:
Chris Smith: vocals, guitar
Ben Medcalf: guitar
Brian Dove: bass
Caleb Knight: drums
Additional vocals: Ali Mislowsky
Taylor Haag plays drums on this record thoughout!

 

Natalieprass

The album was written, the tour scheduled, the pieces all in place. It had been almost two years since Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut garnered rave reviews for its luscious, baroque-pop sounds. At the end of 2016, the singer-songwriter’s sophomore follow-up was almost ready to be released. Then the election happened.

“I had a record ready to go,” Prass says. “And I scrapped it.”

What followed was a trying time for the Richmond, Virginia, native, full of soul-searching, dark thoughts, and a protracted fight with her (now former) record label. But Prass was insistent. “I can’t release a neutral record right now,” she says. “I need to contribute to the conversation.” Her determination and focused songwriting has finally led her to her new album, The Future and the Past.

It’s been three-and-a-half years since Prass’ debut, and her newest effort has her returning in fighting form. She once again worked with producer Matthew E. White and the Spacebomb House Band, who are quietly earning a reputation as one of the best house bands around. Prass’ gorgeous orchestral strings are back, but with a smaller role this time around. Instead, she’s rummaged through the thrift shops of music history, dusting off artifacts of funk and soul, Brazilian tropicalia, indie folk, and bedazzled LA rock. The result is eclectic, fun, and thoroughly groovy — a polished statement of raw feeling.

“Oh My”:
At the time I was writing these songs in 2016 and 2017, right after the election, I was pretty raw and feeling so many emotions. The news was just pounding down on all of us. It was a lot to handle and feeling like my life was changing and the country was changing and the world was changing really quickly.

So, I would go to my little rehearsal space — I shared this shitty rehearsal space with metal dudes for a while. I would go there in the morning time when there were no metal people playing and lie on the floor and cry. Read, write, play piano for a little bit, and cry. I felt like it was my responsibility to try and put some positive energy into the world and talk about things that were very real. The only thing that was hard about it was convincing the label I was with at the time that it was a good idea, because they were not into it at all.

“Short Court Style”:
So, “Short Court” was already gonna be on the other record. For that one, I already wrote the music for a short film called Oh Jerome, No that was written by Teddy Blanks and Alex Karpovsky. They asked me to write the music for it, and I wrote maybe five or six tunes for that little short film. That was the opening track, the montage, without lyrics or anything. Then when the short film came out, people were hitting me up like, “Where do I get that song? I need that song.” So, I was thinking, “Oh, I should just write lyrics to this and make it an actual song I can put on my record.” Usually, the melody and chords come to me pretty effortlessly, and then I start building from there. Usually, when I co-write, I have people who help me fill in lyrics and help me put my thoughts together. Usually, the chords and the melody are what I feel most confident about.

“Interlude: Your Fire”:
It’s funny, I didn’t intend for that to be split up. Everybody was like, “”The Fire” should be a single, but we need to split up that intro and make it a separate track,” and I was like, “No!” But I get it. It was intended to be all one piece, but it’s kind of cool; a lot of my favorite records have interludes, so I was like, “Ok, ok, I’ll split it up.”

“The Fire”:
I wrote a version of that song in Nashville with my buddy Mikky Ekko. We wrote that a long time ago, and then I couldn’t remember how it went.  That song was on an old laptop that died. I’m really bad with technology, so when a computer dies I’m like, “Well, that’s it.” But that one…I went from memory, and kind of re-wrote the whole thing. I thought it was a good story of feeling in-between, of knowing you need to get out of something but feeling stuck at the same time. The whole…the future and the past… stuck in-between, very much in the present – knowing what has happened and what led you here – But what’s going to happen in the future?

“Hot for the Mountain”:
That one is a protest song, a political song for staying focused. You might feel like you’re the only one, but you’re not. “Hot for the Mountain”, like, it’s not gonna be an easy way, but just stay positive. It’s kind of like, “You’re not alone.” I feel really numb to a lot of stuff now. I’m just trying to focus on the big picture, doing what I know I can do, making sure I always vote — that is so important to me now. It’s like, “Oh, I’ll do it on the big election.” But now it’s like, “No, I am always going to stay up on it” and be involved in my local elections, especially. I knew it was important before, but now it’s a very high priority.

“Lost”:
That one goes with the Me Too movement. I really didn’t want that song to be on the record. I didn’t want to give the person it’s about any kind of ammo against me. The Me Too movement has been really hard on me, personally, because it’s really painful to remember things that have happened to you — but I’m so grateful for it at the same time. Now there’s all this language, there’s all this support, when you just felt like you were so alone … People were like, “You just have to deal with it and move on.” Which, yeah, you have to move on. You can’t live your life in pain like that. It’s nice to know there’s brave women out there and they’re telling their stories. I’m a pretty private person, but I think it’s important to have solidarity with people who have had experiences like myself.

“Sisters”:
Matt’s
the producer. He’s been my buddy for a very long time and is like a big brother to me, and he lives a 10-minute walk from my apartment. I went to his house almost every day during those couple months and spent a lot of time sitting in his kitchen drinking coffee. He had this drum machine, and he had this beat he made on his drum machine, and I was like, “Oh, that’s what I’m feeling right now. Let’s write to this beat.” It was a heavy-hitting kind of beat, and I wanted it to be kind of like a fight song for how I was feeling. I was feeling extremely hopeless at the time, feeling that people don’t want to listen to women, people don’t want women leaders, women cut each other down, men cut women down, there are so many deep stereotypes, and women are pitted against one another. Basically that entire song is A Minor. I was listening to a lot of gospel music when the election happened. I wanted to put some of that feeling into the new music I was writing.

“Never Too Late”:
The label I was with before I parted ways with them — after this record (laughs) — they were like, “How would you feel about going to LA and writing with some people?” I was like, “Sure, I’ll try it.” And that was the worst month of my life. These people… All right, they’re just trying to get by, like me, and they have to hustle way more than I do because I live in a very cheap city, and they live in LA. Of course, they want to write music that could potentially make money. But that’s not where my interests are. I was miserable. It made me feel like the one thing I know how to do very well I don’t know how to do. People were treating me like I didn’t know how to write music. We couldn’t agree on anything.

My publisher, who I’ve been working with since I was 23 years old, was like, “Hey, Nat, there’s this guy out there, Steve Lindsey, this old LA scene kind of guy. I feel like you might like him.” He’s this old LA session dude. Used to play with Toto back in the day. He knew exactly where I was coming from. It was this bright light in the middle of all the terrible. I was having fun, relaxing, like, yeah, “Let’s write this glitzy, shiny, Steely Dan kind of song.” Of course, I don’t relate to the people my age or the people younger than me. I relate to the people 70 and up. That’s so me. We wrote that song super fast. I had the melody already. For the chorus, either, “It’s too late,” or “It’s never too late.” They helped me tighten up the loose ends. But I had a pretty solid idea of what I wanted to do already.

“Ship Go Down”:
I really love psychedelic tropicalia music. Tropicalia music was a huge political movement, and I was taking inspiration from how they expressed their political views. Brazilian music has the most beautiful melodies, harmonies, and it’s groovy: it takes from jazz, pop, R&B, and american blues. The lyrics are really meaningful and thought-provoking and poetic, talking about politics in Brazil at the time.

No place is perfect, and I always thought America had a ton of problems. But I at least felt like we were moving in the right direction. I thought, “There’s no way people are going to vote for this…” I was so naive. I knew it was going to be close. Then the shock. Going out in Richmond — and Richmond is very progressive — but going out, thinking, “Who did they vote for? Who did they vote for?” Feeling like I don’t know where I live anymore. That’s definitely the darkest song on the record.

“Nothing to Say”:
I’ve had that one for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to record that one, and I thought the time is right now. There’s so many talking heads. That one was funny when we were recording it in the studio, because Matt was all, “I don’t know what to do with this song,” and I was like, “I got it, I got it, I got it! We’re going to record this marble bouncing off the floor, and then we’re going to have this bell sound!” And then Matt just basically cleaned up the huge mess I made.

“Far from You”:
That one’s written about Karen Carpenter. I’ve always loved her; I’ve always thought she was this beautiful soul. She’s very misunderstood, and people often only think about her in terms of how she died [from complications due to anorexia]. But there’s so much more than that. She was from a time when women didn’t play drums; women were up front and singing. She didn’t have a choice. Her label and everybody pushed her out from the kit. Once she got pushed out front, the body shaming started. It got to her head. She started to feel like she didn’t have any control over her career and what she was doing musically. The one thing she could control was her diet. Always in a competition with her family, who favored her brother. You can hear how kind she is and how much she just loves singing and gets a joy out of music. I wanted to write a tribute to her.

“Ain’t Nobody”:
That was straight up trying to bring joy into a harsh reality. You have to keep moving and stay energized. We weren’t intending it, originally, to be such an upbeat tune. We were thinking it would be a little more subdued, almost more of a piano, mid-tempo groove sort of thing. But once we got in the studio, I was like, “This isn’t what I need right now. We gotta pick this up.” It took a long time for us to figure out where that one was supposed to sit, but it got there. That’s what’s so fun about creating and putting a production together. If you have a pretty solid song you can mold it to be whatever you want it to be. I wanted to end on a high note.

The Future And The Past is bursting with a myriad of grooves and Natalie’s vocals float on top, light as a feather and tough as nails. Short Court Style dials the tempo into 90s R&B territory – punctuated by handclaps, sampled “woos,” and a Dr. Dre-esque whistling synth line. Lyrically she wields a sharp knife as well. The love torn Lost begins with: “Turn up the fader, its like a lightning bolt / we can’t be saved, so now I’m listening on my own / Once there was a time when you had me hypnotized / you realized that your finger prints were on my bones.” Funky feminist anthem Sisters is an empowering rallying cry: “I want to say it loud / for all the ones held down / we gotta change the plan.”

thanksconsequenceofsound.

Watch Lucy Dacus perform a few new songs from her new album ‘Historian’ at the PledgeHouse day stage. The extraordinary singer songwriter Lucy Dacus, is one of the most heavily-buzzed acts playing Austin this week. Some artists just have a presence, captivating listeners from the first note, and Lucy Dacus is very much among them. Whether her songs come in a quiet wash or a rocking churn, her powerful and expressive voice cuts like an airplane wing through atmosphere, pulling the music up and up and up. Songs like “Night Shift” — the title track to her new album Historian reward the attention with uneasy, engaging lyrics.

You might not have caught the buzz for Lucy Dacus’s superb released 2016 album ‘No Burden,’ but you’d have to have your head in the sand to miss the wild anticipation for her sophomore LP ‘Historian.’ Her lilting and confessional brand of indie-rock will make for a riveting live set.

Historian is a record that’s great for introspection and Thinking About Your Life™, but it’s also the perfect kind of music for a late afternoon outdoor set in Texas, Lucy Dacus’s music can feel like a bit of a slow burn, but the layered, aching guitars sound like they’re a lost recording session from every influential guitarist from the 90s. It’s great.

Songs performed: 0:57 Historians 4:22 Nonbeliever 12:55 Body to Flame 16:32 I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore

Welcome to the world of Natalie Prass co-produced by Matthew E. White. It looks a lot like our own, but it’s all painted in bright smears of blue and light pink. There are a lot more horns this time. The year of the ’70s singer-songwriter never really took off again, but Prass album certainly did, and that’s mainly due to the boundless creative energy she exhibits on her debut, where the limits are only as high as her ambition. The 2015 album from the Nashville-based singer/songwriter. Not only one of the sharpest up-and-coming songwriters in Nashville, Natalie Prass possesses a rare artistic method she infuses into all her endeavors. She handcrafts album artwork and flyers and organizes local vinyl listening parties/drawing sessions, and there appears to be little end to the homespun creativity of this bright young talent. She’s also no slouch in the pipes department either — the girl can sing. While her delicate alto evokes clear benchmarks of influence — see early Rilo Kiley, Feist, Karen Carpenter, etc. Natalie Prass never seems weighed down by the artists she’s absorbed. Instead, she has developed a refreshing guitar-grounded musical vocabulary and a knack for infectious and entrancing tunes. Still, it’s a spirit of invitation and friendship that continues to be Prass’ most pronounced attribute.

By crafting ornate, grandiose arrangements about heartbreak and loss and desire, she imbues all of these emotions with the dramatic flair they deserve.

Natalie’s live set also got better as the year went on, but she was never short of surprises throughout it all. One night at the Los Angeles’ Troubadour, Prass brought out Ryan Adams on stage for a couple songs that left the crowd speechless (and she was opening for San Fermin mind you). Prass essentially courses through the entirety of her brilliant debut album (Top Albums of 2015) and her incredible backing band is just as mesmerizing as she is. Trey Pollard on guitar, Michael Libramento on bass and Scott Clark on drums all—like Prass—hail from Richmond, Va. and are all essential to enacting Prass’s live experience. In late October, Natalie performed at a few of our festivals this year, her set was highly intimate. She had a few drinks in her and the confidence of her budding career came through with every joke and every gorgeous note as she was among  one of the best live performances I saw all year

The 4th release in the Hatched Series, Doll Baby brings you a 5 song EP- Hell Block.
Doll Baby is an alternative punk band from Richmond, Virginia. The band was formed by Julie Storey and brothers Dan and Eric Kelly, with the current addition of Jake Guralnik. They debuted their first EP titled Polliwog in the summer of 2016. Their sound is a blend of 90s influenced garage rock with the bands punk roots. The band features the separate influences of each member, effortlessly forming Doll Baby’s unique sound.

track listing – Alive / For Sylvia / Perfect Posture / Softee / Silver Stars

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Lucy Dacus Shares Second <i>Historian</i> Single, the Anthemic "Addictions"

Historian, will be the sophomore album from Richmond, Va. native Lucy Dacus, counting down the days until its March release. Our anticipation has only intensified with the release of “Addictions,” the second single from Dacus’ impending record.

The second track on Historian, “Addictions” is an honest, horn-assisted anthem, accompanied by a video directed by the singer-songwriter herself. Dacus, a former film student, was able to put her cinematic skills to use in the making of the video, in part a love letter to her native Richmond. A nameless protagonist explores the city, viewing it through a magical, black-and-white frame while reflecting upon her past. This visual device separates the reality of the present (the world of color) from the fantasies of the past (the black-and-white world), reinforcing the central idea of “Addictions”—how we come to rely upon substances, activities, places or people, and how hard it can be to leave them in the past. “You’ve got addictions too, it’s true,” Dacus insists as the song crescendos, forcing each one of us to look inward and take stock of all we’re holding on to.

Historian is out on March 2nd via Matador Records. You can revisit the album’s initial announcement—and its superlative first single, “Night Shift”

In May of 2015, I traveled to Chicago to record some songs for my album Clipper Ship. The band for these sessions was bassist Darin Gray, guitarist Jim Elkington, percussionist Glenn Kotche, and multi-instrumentalist Jim Becker. We recorded four songs in just a few days. Two of the songs made it onto the album, but I ultimately decided to omit the remaining two, as they did not fit with my concept of the album.

Everyone told me I was crazy to cut these songs, as they had been the favorites of everyone who heard them, but I’ve never blanched at the murder of darlings: the two songs I cut were decidedly more ‘rock’ and, while it pained me to omit them, I knew I’d eventually have to release these songs. Well, eventually is now.
Included here for the first time are the two previously unheard songs recorded at this session with some of the most inventive and creative musicians a songwriter could ever hope to know.

released November 27th, 2017
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Aurora: 
Darin Gray – electric bass, piano
Glenn Kotche – percussion
Jim Becker – vocals, fiddle, piano
James Elkington – vocals, lap steel, electric guitar
JT – acoustic guitar, vocals

Faraway Faultlines: 
Darin Gray – electric bass
Glenn Kotche – percussion
Jim Becker – electric guitar
James Elkington – electric guitar
JT – acoustic guitar, vocals

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Not sure if it’s layered solo work or a group or what, but it’s great short pop spasms owing equal debts to early New Zealand’s South Island groups and Guided by Voices. Honey Radar sound like a low-budget Clientele, all major-key arpeggios somewhere between psych and Felt. 

Giraffe EP info:
Recorded by Jason Henn
with Billy Stines (Trumpet) and Jordan Burgis (Trumpet thoughts)
Manufactured & Assembled in USA

Ignore The Bells info:
Recorded by Jason except bass on “Ink Circle” by Jordan
Paper Car guitar orchestra: Armen & Jesse
The Operator chorus: Sarah, Rob & Erin
Lacquers by Bob Weston
Thanks Henry

Released on CHUNKLET INDUSTRIES

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Says Swans frontman and head of Young God Records Michael Gira, James Jackson Toth’s “got that picaresque quality that Dylan had in his heyday, wherein the shambolic narrator undergoes various travails and epiphanies—harrowing, bleak and darkly comical—in the course of a narrative, then leaves you mystified, both smiling and sad.” They are collections of outtakes, demos and songs that never, for one reason or another, made it onto his other recording output.

Toth’s Law, Volume II 
The response to the first volume of home recordings (Toth’s Law Vol. I, now deleted) was really positive, so here’s a second batch, with a third (and likely final) installment to come before the end of the year. All songs here written / recorded sometime between 2008 and 2016.

This time I thought I’d provide a little context by offering a few brief notes on the songs:
“Drug Sniffing Dogs”
About conflicts of interest and cognitive dissonance. I was probably also thinking about Fugazi’s “Great Cop.”
“Paralyzed”
Considered (but not recorded) for the upcoming One Eleven Heavy project (shhhhhh!). This song has been kicking around, in various forms, since at least 1998. Can’t seem to get it exactly right.
“You Could Have a Job” 
Self-explanatory.
“Hall of Mirrors”
The first of two songs re-recorded for the Carlos The Second album, Regal Beast (available elsewhere on Bandcamp).
“Art of War” 
Written after being challenged to write a jingle about a work of literature. After the first few lines it went somewhere else.
“Rockabye Kid” 
Recorded with the Briarwood Virgins band around the time of the Briarwood LP, left off the record for reasons I no longer remember. Full band version will be released on limited edition single later this year; this demo version originally appeared on a scandalously limited lathe cut 7” released on the Sonido Polifonico label.
“Don’t Let Love Make a Liar Out of You”
Eventually re-recorded for the album Regal Beast by Carlos The Second, a band I co-founded with good friend and collaborator Ryan “Coupler’ Norris, and featuring guest vocals by old pal Langhorne Slim. This is the original, previously unreleased demo version, exclusive to this release.
“One Can’t Only Love” 
A sort of ‘answer song’ to the similarly titled “One Can Only Love,” found on the most recent Wooden Wand album, Clipper Ship (Three Lobed Records, 2017). Still not sure which side I’m on.
“Fuzzy’s Smokehouse” 
A tribute to the operator of said smokehouse, and a very dear friend.
“Everything I’ve Lost” 
A sequel to my own song “Collateral Damage,” also about a dog. Dogs pop up in a lot of my songs.
As always, I reserve the right to delete this release without notice (and probably will) so grab it while you can. 

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