Posts Tagged ‘Saddle Creek Records’

The rise of Big Thief has been a charmingly old-fashioned one, built on hard work, word of mouth and wonderful music. The band have become one of the alternative-scenes most loved acts, and done it entirely on their own terms. Continuing that theme of doing things your own way, the band’s vocalist Adrianne Lenker has this week announced, not a new Big Thief record, instead a return to her solo career. Adrianne is set to release “Abysskiss”, the follow-up to 2014’s, Hours Were The Birds, in October and has shared the first taste of it, Cradle.

While much of Adrianne’s work has dealt with her youth, her past if you will, for Abysskiss, she has set out to document the here and now. Much of this record was written on the road and in studios as Adrianne lived the musicians life. It serves as an intimate and immediate documentation of where both her songwriting and life currently stand, in her own words, an attempt to, “archive the songs in their original forms”.Listening to Cradle, you feel like you’re almost listening to a demo, a song still having the life breathed into it as it’s performed; it’s not lo-fi per se, in fact it sounds lush and perfectly unadorned, allowing her unmistakable vocal and gentle backing plenty of room to breath. Lyrically, it seems to dance with half-finished images; there’s an underlying feeling of discontent, yet it seems to be more with an inability to accept the potential for happiness than any underlying sadness. As a snapshot of a songwriter at the peak of their powers, Cradle suggests Adrianne Lenker remains one of music’s most vital voices.

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Releases October 5th, 2018
Performed and written by Adrianne Lenker “Abysskiss” via Saddle Creek Records. 

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Sara Beth Tomberlin’s debut album, At Weddings, is an ode to the uncertainty and overall dishevelment of your late teens and early twenties: bogged down by self-doubt, seeking validation from others, rebelling against unsolicited religious beliefs that were pressed upon you as a child (the 23-year-old singer/songwriter was born to strict Baptist parents) and longing for someone even though you know they’re a bad influence.

Much of the record details her shift from a home-schooled daughter of a Baptist pastor, into a young woman striving to find her place in the world and questioning, perhaps rejecting, the faith that shaped her upbringing. At Weddings is released today on Saddle Creek Records, and this week Tomberlin has shared the latest track from it Any Other Way.

Influenced more by hymns than any modern artist, there’s certainly a clarity and power to Tomberlin’s sound more often associated with religious music, as well as a lyrical intensity that comes with those songs of judgement and revelation. Sarah Beth describes the moment she found herself singing in church and realising she wasn’t sure she believed the words in front of her, “I felt nauseous and shaky reading these words I was singing and feeling their intensity. If I did believe this, how could I sing these words without being scared out of my mind? That’s what’s influenced how I write”. On, Any Other Way, Tomberlin offers a candid snapshot of that moment, and the emptiness that came with it, “feeling bad for saying oh my god, no I’m not kidding, gave me a sudden feeling that I didn’t have a place”.

Throughout, atop a backing of muted guitar strums and gentle piano runs, Sarah Beth is struggling for answers, now they’re no longer found in, “a book off the shelf”, and despite others reassuring her it’s a brave decision, you can hear the doubt and the temptation to run back to the world she knows. Tomberlin’s music feels vital, a lifeline to those going through difficult times and wondering if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, “my number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist”, this certainly seems like a very impressive start towards achieving her goals.

Featuring only an acoustic guitar and various keyboards and effects, the record centers on Tomberlin’s Joni Mitchell-esque pipes, loud in their softness and tenderness and unsuspectedly moving you to your absolute core. The naked instrumentation mirrors the transparency of her lyrics and while the songs consist of just a few elements, her overflowing emotions make the tracks feel full and warm. At Weddings is filled with such a powerful, saintly aura that even the most ugly subject matters can spur flawless, beautiful results.

Tomberlin “Self-Help” from the album At Weddings

When her debut album At Weddings made a fleeting appearance on bandcamp late last year, we fell in love with Tomberlin‘s devastating “Self-Help“, an exquisite, achingly intimate inner devotional that was intensely moving and quietly powerful in a way that recalled Seven Swans-era Sufjan. At Weddings will see a proper release this week via Saddle Creek Records, and Tomberlin shares the gauzy Laura-Lynn Petrick-directed visuals for another beautiful, poignant gem from the record, “Any Other Way“.  At Weddings is out this Friday.

Tomberlin – “I’m Not Scared” From the album At Weddings – Out 10th August.

Saddle Creek Records are to release that very debut. It’s called At Weddingsand is due out 10th August. We’ve already gotten two great reasons why it should be on your radar, and now here’s yet another one.

Tomberlin’s new single “I’m Not Scared” is still very much of a piece with the previous ones we’ve heard. It’s a fairly somber track, but once again the voice of Sarah Beth Tomberlin is so striking in its emotive delicacy it’s hard not to get totally wrapped up in it. This song uses mostly piano to create a gorgeous thick layer of atmosphere with its hanging notes that lend to its even pace.

Of the song, Sarah Beth Tomberlin says “It is abrasive, heavy, but packaged delicately. I feel like many people view women as such — shrill and emotionally burdensome but responsible for consistently presenting themselves pleasantly. Gentle and affable – their warmth a tool to heal often with no regard for the state of the body and mind that warmth permeates from. Women, and especially queer, trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming people, have such a capacity for pain. Physical, mental, emotional, psychological pain. This is a hymn-like song in the way that it moves melodically. A reflection on that suffering. I didn’t realize the full meaning when I wrote it. The weight of the song didn’t hit me until I was listening to the final recording. It is kind of like leaving a person or situation that is really abusive and not realizing how much it affects your psyche until you’ve removed yourself completely. You look back and you realize you are strong, even though that is the last word you would use to describe how you feel.”

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released August 10th, 2018

Credits: Music + lyrics by Sarah Beth Tomberlin 
Sarah Beth Tomberlin – guitar, Wurlitzer, vocals
Owen Pallett – guitar, Prophet 6, and background vocals
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Owen Pallett at M’s House + Owen’s House
Untitled 2 recorded on my phone
Album cover art by Sarah Beth Tomberlin 

studious patrons of a specific corner of the internet may already be familiar with Sarah Beth Tomberlin’s stirring At Weddings , released under her own surname last year.  the substance and weight of that album appropriately drew the interest of Saddle Creek Records, who will reissue At Weddings, containing three brand-new songs, on august 10th.

as an introduction (or re-introduction), Tomberlin has shared a new music video for her standout cut “Self-Help,” its meditative, metallic timbre supplemented by hazy footage of Tomberlin taking in an aquarium.  the recurring jellyfish feel like a subtle nod to references of electrocution and overall pain, concepts Tomberlin sifts through with devastating turns of phrase.

Because the music is beautiful to me. Reminds me of Honey Tongue quite a bit, yet it is still a unique acoustic experience that rewards from repeated listening from beginning to end. I am basing my review on the White label that Joyful Noise Recordings released which contained several of the songs on this release.

On her deeply moving debut album At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Immeasurable space circulates within the album’s ten songs, which set Tomberlin’s searching voice against lush backdrops of piano and guitar. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable.

Sarah Beth comments, When I wrote a lot of these songs I never thought they would leave my bedroom. These songs are personal, but I think their themes are easily felt from person to person. I hope these songs can be there for you like they were for me when I was writing them. I am extremely excited to finally be able to share this record with you. My first full length record, ‘At Weddings,’ will be out on Saddle Creek Records on 8/10/18.

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Releases August 10th, 2018

Credits: Music + lyrics by Sarah Beth Tomberlin 
Sarah Beth Tomberlin – guitar, Wurlitzer, vocals
Owen Pallett – guitar, Prophet 6, and background vocals
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Owen Pallett at M’s House + Owen’s House

Philadelphia’s Hop Along will release their third studio album “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” on April 6th! Available on black vinyl, and a tri-color striped vinyl that is limited to 750 copies and sold exclusively on the Saddle Creek Store.  The formidable 9-song collection is the band’s strongest and most cohesive album to date. Crafted by Frances Quinlan (songwriter, lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums), the album considers what it’s like to cast off longheld and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them. Quinlan has been meditating a lot on power.

In this particular moment in history, this thought begs a greater question: what do we do with power and the men who so freely brandish it? “So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’

On album opener, “How Simple,” Quinlan wrangles with what it’s like to learn about yourself—which can get ugly. Quinlan explains, “People romanticize the idea of finding themselves, but when they do, at least in my experience, it can be really difficult. You see how you fail others and how others fail you.” Offering fans a classic dose of Hop Along’s searing songwriting and unabashed honesty. 

Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia by Reinhart and Kyle Pulley,Bark Your Head Off, Dog features the familiar sounds that have always made the band allergic to genre: grunge, folk, punk, and power pop all appear, with inspiration from ELO to Elvis Costello to ‘70s girl group vocal arrangements.

This time around, they’ve added strings, more intricate rhythms, lush harmonies (featuring Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian), along with a momentary visit with a vocoder. In more than one place, Mark Quinlan drums like he’s at a disco with Built to Spill. Bark Your Head Off, Dog is, without question, Hop Along’s most dynamic and textured record yet.

Throughout the album, one gets the sense that Quinlan is wandering in the thicket of a forest—a state of being that will feel familiar to longtime listeners—and on this outing, she hasn’t left a trail of breadcrumbs behind her. The album’s artwork, which Quinlan painted herself, invites the listener into that forest, as well. The record calls upon references that Quinlan has woven throughout all of the band’s albums: the wild presence of animals (rabbits, foxes, dogs, and blue jays all appear on this record) and historical touchstones (from a podcast on World War I to books by Karl Ove Knausgaard). Hop Along’s songs continue to reveal the curiosities nesting in Quinlan’s mind.

“If Philadelphia is the capital of indie rock, then Hop Along sits at the table with its top leaders.  […] Quinlan’s gripping vocals, an earworm of a chorus, and an unexpectedly dreamy violin outro. “How Simple” may leave you feeling a touch of whiplash, but the ride is undeniably fun.”
– Pitchfork,

Best New Track“ …with some extra touches like layered vocal tracks and a touching string outro, [“How Simple”] is a song that hits all the emotions that Quinlan can reach in one breath.”
– Esquire

“How Simple” is easily one of Hop Along’s poppiest moments, and as the two parties at the center of the song try to make sense of their confused situation, the answer comes in a glorious gang vocal you can’t help but sing along to: “Don’t worry, we will both find out, just not together.”
– NPR

New album “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” out April 6th!

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Young Jesus, are a indie rock band born in Chicago and now residing in Los Angeles, they have just signed with Saddle Creek Records with an album release due February 2018. Their lead single is nearly 10 minute track that wanders all over the place. Herre’s a little something about the band.

Young Jesus, looks to communicate the tensions between proximity and distance, chaos and order. On their upcoming debut record S/T, released by Saddle Creek, the band focuses on seemingly small moments in everyday life: phone calls with Mom, landscapes along the highway, crows in a tree. Yet with time these strange intimacies add up to a life. A life full of anxiety, confusion, sadness, joy, boredom, and ultimately wonder.

Band Members
John Rossiter (Guitar/Vox)
Kern Haug (Drums)
Marcel Borbon (Bass)
Eric Shevrin (Keys/Vox)

For Twinsmith, the occasion to make a third album came with an opportunity to distill their process down to its essential parts, and to re-focus the band’s perspective in order to fully embrace their sound. Longtime friends Jordan Smith and Matt Regner had written a pair of records as Twinsmith, starting with 2013’s self-titled debut and then 2015’s “Alligator Years” which earned lots of press attention . While the lineup would grow to include bassist Bill Sharp and other hired guns to round out the stage, the songwriting core learned to vary their approach while relying on each other to push the plot forward. Starting as DIY tinkerers in a basement, Smith and Regner would evolve their sound from hazy surf rock to a fuller, more dynamic guitar-and-keys pop appeal, making good use of the perks like recording studios and engineers that often come with progress. But as it came time to begin again for a new album, they found themselves looking back to the beginning, stripping back their process and recording in the dining room of their house using old synths and ‘80s drum machines.

Produced by friend and Omaha neighbor Graham Ulicny (Reptar, The Faint), this limitation on personnel would remain the only thing strict during the process. By removing distractions and relying on their own prowess, as well as pealing back the sound to create shorter, more direct songs, Twinsmith found that this laid back approach allowed them to focus on the same goals and to create something entirely for themselves. “The main goal was to make something a bit more personal to us,” Smith says. “The last album was kind of in-your-face pop music and that’s why we made this so short and sweet; we wanted listeners to hear the small, distinct sounds we were working on. Because there were only a few people involved, we could make our decisions more directly. We wanted to make something we could use to relate to a bigger mass and bring people back.”

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Stripping the words, the music, and the players down to their raw parts, Twinsmith have created a work of con dent determination. Melodies soar and rhythms sway, the beats pulse with a laid back but urgent immediacy, and the simplicity of it all stitches the songs together in its mysterious way. From the simple three-color design of the cover to the process that created the sounds underneath, “Stay Cool” rewards with its ability to connect.

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To open the fourth season of the Gladden House Sessions, Big Thief’s lead singer and songwriter Adrianne Lenker stopped by to perform an intimate and haunting solo set in the early evening of that Thursday. The intense and soft-spoken Lenker, armed only with an acoustic guitar, captivated the festival goers in attendance with a curated selection of songs.

Lenker opened with a gorgeous rendition of the title track from Capacity (Saddle Creek). Her second song was an unexpected treat; an unreleased, and hereto yet to be recorded, song that she has rarely performed. This new track was a delight to the many fans of Lenker’s enthralling approach to performance. Lenker closed the set with another track off of “Capacity”, the album opener “Pretty Things.”

The Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn

In December 2016, after her fall solo tour, the Mynabirds lead singer Laura Burhenn went to Nashville to record a song called “Wild Hearts” with her friend Patrick Damphier, who divulged that he was getting kicked out of his studio because of gentrification. “It felt like a metaphor after the presidential election … like we were all getting pushed out of the place where we felt safe, where we thought we’d be forever,” Burhenn says.

At a time where horrifying news seemed to be taking over the world, her need for a new album felt immediate. The emotional rollercoaster that she and the rest of the nation was going through spurred The Mynabirds‘ fourth record, Be Here Now, which arrives in full on August. 25th, after being released over the course of the summer on a trio of three-song EPs.

At the heart of Burhenn’s belief system is Buddhism, which fueled The Mynabirds’ new album. In the distress caused by the election, she looked to the religion for guidance, comfort and peace of mind. The idea of shenpa — a Buddhist term for shutting down in the face of high emotions — is what inspired Be Here Now. Instead of running away from unwanted feelings, Burhenn found herself focusing on mindfulness and being present, even in a moment of discomfort — which is why she borrowed the title of spiritual teacher Ram Dass’ book Be Here Now for her band’s latest body of work.

In crafting the nine songs from The Mynabirds’ forthcoming record, Burhenn felt as if she was a reporter doing “emotional journalism.” “I was trying to make a record at a very specific time and place, and I was trying to make a record of how people were feeling,” she explains of Be Here Now, which was recorded in the two weeks following Trump’s inauguration and the massive Women’s March in January. “I felt like I was observing.”

In a lot of ways, Be Here Now takes cues from the band’s 2012 politically charged record, Generals, but has the added effect of more analog instrumentation. The live moments weren’t overwrought, and there was no time to overthink anything. Burhenn wasn’t trying to make the album be anything in particular, which made the record emotionally raw. “It felt like singing a collective catharsis,” she explains.

The decision to put out a first single wasn’t an easy one, but The Mynabirds landed on the glimmering love song “Cocoon.”, “It’s about being in the middle of all of the political tumult, wanting to turn off the news and be surrounded by love and hope,” Burhenn explains.

In a broader sense, the track is about connecting with people — something inspired by Kimya Dawson’s essay on safe spaces following the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. Though the Ghost Ship proved to be unsafe in other ways, it was also a sanctuary for artists and the LGBTQ community.

The Mynabirds‘ Be Here Now is available Saddle Creek Records.