Posts Tagged ‘Saddle Creek Records’

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Another delicate and devastating piece of music from the pen of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker. Her deeply affecting, evocative lyrics are potent as ever on the Brooklyn band’s third album, and the music has that same free and unencumbered spirit as their best work in the past.

Adrianne Lenker is here for the journey. On rare breaks in her touring schedule, she travels. It’s a willing itinérance that confirms the singer-guitarist’s rapport with the unknown. “I’ve become very translucent,” she says. “I allow things to pass through me, rather than feeling them hit me, like a defense mechanism.”

Lenker and her band Big Thief has built their reputation on a transcendent live show, where the boundaries between performer and audience evaporate in the wake of Lenker’s vulnerability, words sprouting from her harrowing and beautiful depths. The folk-steeped indie-rock quartet has toured relentlessly since their 2016 debut Masterpiece and its 2017 follow-up Capacity became hits for Saddle Creek, playing hundreds of shows across North America, Europe, and Australia.

“I’m living out of my truck,” Lenker explains. Speaking from that vehicle, parked outside a café in Los Angeles, Lenker explains that life without a permanent home is freeing, but also has its drawbacks. “I’m driving this truck, and it’s a gas guzzler,” she says. “If I could afford it, I’d get an electric car, and I’ve been thinking about converting this one.”

The band’s third album, U.F.O.F., marks their debut for indie stalwart 4AD. Recorded with long time producer Andrew Sarlo at Bear Creek Studios near Seattle, the record showcases the locked-in nature of the band whose communal instinct has been honed by the intimacy of its live show, and the tacit bonds formed from an aggressive touring schedule. Capturing this spirit was essential in the recording process, and the band largely played live in a cozy, rustic room.  Big Thief, which includes guitarist Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik, and drummer James Krivchenia. The group will live here together for a month, and eat, sleep, and rehearse for their upcoming tour. But today, the mountaintop hideaway is Lenker’s alone—one in a long line of interim homes for the songwriter, who ditched her Brooklyn apartment three-and-a-half years ago in exchange for a life on the road. “We basically set out on tour and kind of never went back,” she says. “When I’m not touring, I’m just visiting with people, or renting, staying in an AirBnB or a motel. I like it, but the grass is always greener in a way. I think I’m craving a space where I can be still. But I imagine if I had the stillness, I’d be longing for the road.”

“We wanted it to be one big moment of energy with lots of passions,” recalls Krivchenia. Many of the tracks on U.F.O.F. were recorded live—some in just one or two takes—in the studio’s cabin-like main room. “Dom had this focus on the microphones and capturing the sounds of our instruments, so we were able to dance a lot more,” recalls Lenker.

Lenker’s complicated relationship with her life in perpetual motion is one of the many inspiration points behind Big Thief’s latest record, U.F.O.F. Anchored by Lenker’s vocals, U.F.O.F. (the last F stands for “friend”) sounds as expansive as its title implies—a shimmering collection of songs about “the blood and the guts of the human experience and the outward wondering about the mystery of it all,” says Lenker. It’s the most ambitious music Big Thief have ever made. Compared to the band’s last two records, U.F.O.F.’s arrangements are fuller, brighter, and harsher, delivered with the kind of ease that can only come from years of living, working, and creating side-by-side.

“There’s always some element of that alchemy of us playing together in real time, rather than stacking everything,” Lenker says. “It’s important. When a band is actually playing together you can feel it in the recordings.” Though U.F.O.F.is sharp in its instrumentation—drums, bass, and guitars passing through one another with a patterned fluidity—it also exudes spontaneity. Ambient sounds and textures punctuate the songs, and Lenker’s vocals growl and skitter.

Led by Lenker’s stunning, vulnerable lyrics, Big Thief’s songs have the keen ability to command attention. Few do that as well as U.F.O.F.’s opening track, “Contact.” The song begins with Lenker’s trance-like voice and Meek’s droning atmospherics. “It started as this exercise about the movie “Contact,” says Lenker. “I was looking at this heroine [played by Jodie Foster] who was so brave and so passionate, but didn’t receive much recognition, and had to fight through life. She had this deep longing for contact with the unknown—she was so committed to it. I thought it was so inspiring. That’s what I want to be like. Sometimes I feel like I get there, but then sometimes I’m so far from that—I’m caught by the traps of my ego, or all these things that make me feel smaller. That whole beginning section [of the song] is this brooding, numb state—a state I’ve been fighting my whole life. When you’re depressed, you can go to this place where you could be run over and not even feel it. There’s this disassociation from the body. But at the same time, you can see the sun, you can see the wind, you can see all the life around you. You can recognize that there is life being breathed through everything, but somehow you just can’t feel yourself connected to it.”

Around the three-minute mark, “Contact” is jolted from its slow, languid rumination on depression by a jarring onslaught of noise, accompanied by Lenker’s big, blood-curdling scream. “The idea was this person who could sort of see the sunlight through the water, and suddenly they feel this hand on their arm and they get pulled up. Their lungs fill with oxygen and they can feel the joy, they can feel the loss, they can feel the beauty, they can feel the nastiness—they can feel everything suddenly because they’re alive. That scream is suddenly feeling the deepest and oldest wounds. It’s the scream of birth—of being knocked back into life.”

There’s an unexpected bite when she sings the phrase “screaming sound” on the fourth track, “From” (a song that also appeared on Lenker’s 2018 solo album abysskiss). The heart-rending enunciation poured out unexpectedly, and was a point of discomfort at first. “I’ve been practicing trusting the band, even to the point where I don’t always choose my vocal takes,” she says. “Even if I don’t like something, I let go of it if the collective thinks that it’s good. I’ve realized that I’m not a good judge of my own singing.”

Whether you’re losing your mind in the dizzying ‘From’, stomping your feet to the down-home Americana of ‘Cattails’, or bawling your eyes out to the title track – you’re not gonna get through this record without feeling some feelings.

Though her life isn’t tethered to possessions, there are aspects of keeping a home that she misses. “I imagine that if I lived in one place I would have a compost toilet, and would be gardening and cooking my meals, and biking around a lot,” she says. She’s also not remiss about the volume of disposable wares commensurate with life as a working musician. “It’s a pretty wasteful industry that we’re a part of, even making records,” she says. “All the paper products and fliers and water bottles and driving. Not to mention when you play festivals, there are all these products that are offered to you.”

This macro view of the music industry can feel staggering, so for now Lenker is focused on more easily attainable and conscious decisions when it comes to avoiding waste. “When I bring my little ceramic mug made by my friend into the coffee shop, and ask them to please put the coffee in there, I feel more myself,” she says. “It’s little things, like turning off the water when I’m brushing my teeth.” Though it can be easy to abandon these principles when rambling from green room to green room, she feels more grounded when honouring them. “I feel part of the earth in some small way,” she adds. “You can ignore these tiny thoughts, or you know, you can turn off the lights when you leave the room. The small things are really important.”

This spring, Lenker begins playing in support of U.F.O.F., marking the start of fifty tour dates at mid-sized clubs and European festivals stretching into November. She’ll have only July and September off to recharge, and admits that this amount of travel and outpouring of physical and emotional expression can be depleting—but to her, it’s mostly a blessing and an opportunity to connect.

“The only way we can do this is to try to knock walls down with our music,” she says. It’s in this open posture, on the road and in performances, that she’s found her greatest sense of self. “That’s Big Thief in a nutshell,” she says. “We’re digging through all these layers that separate us.”

Listen deeply and allow yourself to be taken by its subtle charms.

Quarter-Life Crisis is a collaboration between Ryan Hemsworth and various artists who’ve come to prominence over the past couple of years, many of whom got their start playing scrappy DIY shows. The self-titled debut EP released on December 4th, 2020 features contributions from Frances Quinlan (Hop Along), Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), Charlie Martin (Hovvdy), Yohuna, and Claud. It showcases Hemsworth in a new phase of his career, one that is perhaps a bit less indebted to the nightclub dance floor. “It’s always been a goal to mix, like, 25% electronic sounds and 75% live indie rock sounds,” he says. Collaboration is paramount to Hemsworth’s process, and though he produced all of the instrumentation on the album, he left the lyrics and intention of the song up to the contributors. The resulting collection shapeshifts from track-to-track, taking on new personalities as it moves between artists.

Quarter-Life Crisis, Ryan Hemsworth’s shared another new track from their self-titled EP:  “Comfortable” featuring Meg Duffy of Hand Habits. Quarter-Life Crisis‘ debut EP also features collaborations with Frances Quinlan (Hop Along), Of the track Duffy said “When I was asked to do a writing session with Ryan, I had no idea who he was or what his music sounded like or what his life may be like. I completely showed up to this weird little studio completely blind to predisposition, a little embarrassed because the first time Ryan and I tried to connect I accidentally no-showed him after writing in the date on my analogue calendar wrong. I had never done any sort of co-writing session before and was a little nervous, but since I had no investment I went in with the intention of having fun and being open to whatever spirits wanted to move. We threw autotune on as a joke (half-joke because I can be pretty pitchy especially in the writing process) and it sounded kind of cool. I started thinking about AI and cyborgs and people/souls disassociating from bodies and identity and kind of just freestyled until a mildly understandable common theme started to swim up. It was really fun!!”

The collaboration is paramount to Hemsworth’s process, and though he produced all of the live instrumentation on the album, he left the lyrics and intention of the song up to the contributors. The resulting collection shape-shifts from track-to-track, taking on new personalities as it moves between artists. Quarter-Life Crisis announced the EP with “Postcard From Spain” feat. Frances Quinlan, which Stereogum, Paste and Under The Radar hailed as one of the best songs of the week upon its release. This was the followed by “Waterfall” feat. Charlie Martin of Hovvdy, which was highlighted by NPR, Under the Radar, and others.

The genesis of Ryan Hemsworth’s new project, Quarter-Life Crisis, can be traced all the way back to his childhood bedroom in Nova Scotia, where the producer spent the bulk of his high school years listening to emerging indie acts and playing guitar. Not loving the sound of his own voice and without a band, he eventually started making music on his laptop, which earned him accolades as he stepped out into electronic and club music scenes. His prolific output, paired with a voracious appetite for a wide range of genres and creation of his own label Secret Songs, has made Hemsworth a fixture since he released his debut solo album, Guilt Trips, in 2013. 

But now, Hemsworth’s trying his hand at something unexpected that is nonetheless close to his heart and origin story as a musician. Quarter-Life Crisis is a collaboration with various artists who’ve come to prominence over the past couple of years, many of whom got their start playing scrappy DIY shows. “This project has me in the process of going back to when I was a kid when I’d sit down and play guitar for hours and come up with melodies and chords by just messing around,” Hemsworth says. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. Quarter-Life Crisis is just another way for me to work with artists whose music I really enjoy and listen to all the time.”

Working with musicians who largely fall into the category of “indie” gave Hemsworth the opportunity to revisit some of the artists who inspired him to become a musician in the first place. He cites bands like the Cardigans, Grandaddy, Bright Eyes, and Sparklehorse as being foundational to his writing process this time around. Quarter-Life Crisis a sharp turn away from his last project, 2019’s CIRCUS CIRCUS, which he made alongside the Japanese rap duo Yurufuwa Gang, but for Hemsworth, working in a wide array of genres and modes keeps him on his toes, and ultimately, keeps his career interesting. “Getting out of my comfort zone and bringing others into that process has always led to something really unique,” Hemsworth says. “As a producer, I really respond to other people’s ideas and whatever they can bring to a song. Being in a room with someone with a different outlook, or working remotely with them, I hopefully help facilitate something that feels new and exciting for both of us.”

Quarter-Life Crisis – from the Quarter-Life Crisis EP out December 4th, 2020 on Saddle Creek Records. 

Tomberlin, the Los Angeles via Lousiville, KY artist, has announced a new EP titled “Projections” with a Busy Philipps-directed video for its lead single “Wasted.” The EP, which was produced by Alex G (Alex Giannascoli) and his bandmate Sam Acchione, continues the arc of her critically acclaimed 2018 debut, At Weddings. The rich vocal harmonies and guitar lines that made At Weddings so riveting still provide the EP’s foundation, but new percussive backing and instrumental flourishes open the path forward for Tomberlin.

What hides in the fog that keeps people apart, and what does it take to cut through it? These questions hang heavily over Sarah Beth Tomberlin’s music, whose hushed and intimate tones orbit answers as much as they savour the unanswerable. To be in relation to another human being is to engage with a deep mystery: We are all fundamentally alone, siloed into confusing bodies, and yet occasionally we find someone who lets us feel as if we weren’t. Tomberlin, the Louisville native who recently relocated to Los Angeles, delights in articulating and amplifying that mystery, picking out its details and marveling at its scale. In singing her aloneness she soothes it, and extends a hand to others reckoning with their own solitude–a paradox that warms her spectral songs.

Tomberlin’s new Projections EP continues the arc of her critically acclaimed 2018 debut At Weddings, weaving new collaborators and new techniques into her signature dusky milieu. Since the LP’s release, Tomberlin has toured with Pedro the Lion, Andy Shauf, American Football, and Alex G, played a Tiny Desk concert for NPR, and given a riveting performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The five-song EP, capped with a cover of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s stunning “Natural Light,” reflects this period of intensive growth and self-discovery. “I wrote these songs while getting to know myself outside of people’s perceived notions of who I was,” says Tomberlin. “I just started being like, What am I interested in? What do I want out of relationships and friendships? What am I looking for that I don’t have in myself already?”

The rich vocal harmonies and guitar lines that made At Weddings so riveting still provide the EP’s foundation, but new percussive backing and instrumental flourishes open the path forward for Tomberlin. After touring the US with Alex G and playing new songs for the band in their shared green room, Tomberlin reached out to Alex Giannascoli and bandmate Sam Acchione to produce the EP’s four original tracks. She recorded her new songs in Giannascoli’s Philadelphia apartment alongside Acchione and frequent collaborator Molly Germer. The fleshed out sound lends a sense of urgency to tracks like “Wasted,” an uptempo romp across the kind of thorny relationship that withholds as much as it gives, and “Sin,” a song that applies reclaimed Christian imagery to an unorthodox romantic partnership. “I don’t mind sinning if it’s with you,” Tomberlin sings against washes of violin and brushed cymbals. “Say a prayer/Lay your hands on me/I just wanna be clean.”

“I wrote ‘Sin’ while living at my parents’ home and exploring my queerness, but afraid to make it too obvious,” Tomberlin says. “It’s definitely using imagery that gets used against queer people, but making a joke out of it. That’s a thing with queer people. We all use humour to deflect our pain.”

Tomberlin’s ability to pan across the general disaster of human relationality and then zoom in on an effervescent moment of pure intimacy is one of her greatest strengths as a songwriter. Queer people get shuttered under the label of sin by the wider world, and yet despite that brand they steal moments of love and healing for themselves. Love is, generally speaking, a wellspring of pain and dysfunction, but look at the moments where it works. “It’s all sacrifice and violence, the history of love,” Tomberlin sings on EP opener “Hours,” “But remember when we stayed up/And took turns playing songs?” The camera zooms in, and magic alights on the people who suddenly take up the whole frame.

You can refuse the mystery of how people manage to be among each other, or you can delight in what it offers, no matter how fleeting. Tomberlin opts for delight every time. Hers are songs for people who, despite the turmoil of the world at large, despite the weight of its sadness, unshield themselves and fall into wonder.

New EP out October 16th. Produced by Alex G and bandmate Sam Acchione.

“£Projections” comes out digitally on October 16th, with a picture disc vinyl pressing following on November 13th. You can pre-order the limited run picture disc today at the Saddle Creek Records Store.

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Los Angeles-based band Young Jesus have shared their new album, “Welcome to Conceptual Beach”, which follows 2018’s The Whole Thing Is Just There. They do a lot with just seven tracks their improvisational jams span jazz, math rock and haunting folk-rock, but nothing is set in stone. It’s blissfully conscious and unconscious, and at times, they sound more like conjurers than musicians. Their abstract, impressionistic lyrics heighten the beautiful recklessness of their music. Young Jesus met at Pea Soup Andersons and the rest is history.

Imagine a shoreline alone, carved from the continent, without land or water to border it, a rind of possibility, a moon-coloured border between land and sea, knowing and unknowing. This is Conceptual Beach, a place John Rossiter, vocalist/guitarist of Los Angeles-based Young Jesus, describes as his long-time mental refuge, where he imagines himself living. Their new album, Welcome to Conceptual Beach, first took form as a physical zine in 2016, when the four members of the band were on their first tour together. At that time, it was still somewhere Rossiter inhabited alone, protective of his solitude. Now, he is allowing others to join him there. “The reason it’s called Welcome to… [Conceptual Beach] is because I’m inviting other inner landscapes into it,” Rossiter explains as he describes the transformation of the beach’s terrain into a whole varied emotional world.

Coming in at over 10 minutes, “Magicians” is the latest single off of “Welcome to Conceptual Beach”, the newest Young Jesus album, out next week via Saddle Creek Records. “Magicians” acts as the larger than life closer for Welcome to Conceptual Beach, an album based on, well, the conceptual beach that is the mental escape of frontman John Rossiter.

“Faith,” the opening track, runs parallel to the album as a whole: dynamic and groovy and psychedelic and emotional. Each musician has a moment to shine and to speak. Opening with Kern’s version of the Purdie Shuffle, to Marcel’s polyrhythmic bass, to Eric’s organ solo, and held together by John’s whispered prayer that, “we just might grow,” Young Jesus offer a music uniquely in service to emotion. “(un)knowing” is a “meditation celebration,” a song about the confusion and pain of re-examining a life—of committing to a life of experience and curiosity. Mixing the spirit and experimentation of OK Computer with the sincerity of Bon Iver, “Root and Crown” is the first song that offers a way out of the traps and patterns of a life. A commitment to grieving, listening, and growing. A devotion to spring, sung from the depths of winter.

Young Jesus previously released two other singles from the album: “Root And Crown” and “(un)knowing.” Welcome to Conceptual Beach follows their 2018 release The Whole Thing Is Just There. The band also features bassist Marcel Borbon, keyboardist Eric Shevrin, and drummer Kern Haug. 

On Welcome to Conceptual Beach, Young Jesus pries our sobs from parentheticals and wields them with a brutal but tender force. They take these elements and translate them into a spacious ground for growth, for ourselves, our communities, our world. They affirm that change starts with how we reckon with ourselves as individuals, that we are all magicians, as the closing track of Welcome to Conceptual Beach suggests, “making love and doing dishes,” capable of conjuring new worlds for ourselves, and to live in others’.

Release Date: August 14th, 2020

Band Members
John Rossiter (Guitar/Vox)
Kern Haug (Drums)
Marcel Borbon (Bass)
Eric Shevrin (Keys/Vox)
Crake are an alt-folk four piece from the city of Leeds in northern England who write melodic and (sometimes) hopeful songs about flora, fauna, anxiety and the tough stuff. Formed on the cusp of 2016/17 after a New Year’s Eve pact, Crake spent their first couple of years playing locally with loose-line-up changes, self-releasing two EPs – 2017’s “By the Slimemould” and 2018’s “The Politics of Lonely”.

Led by singer/guitarist Rowan Sandle, Crake blend shimmering alt-folk and indie-rock, featuring an increasing density of guitars, tape-loops and synth blankets. Their songs provide a more sonically reassuring but equally intimate bed for Sandle’s poetic lyrics.

In late 2018 the band supported Big Thief’s Buck Meek on the Leeds date of his solo tour, impressing the guitarist so much that he invited them along for Big Thief’s forthcoming tour across the UK and Europe. Those three weeks spent travelling and playing with their musical heroes saw Crake go from a small, beloved act who’d barely left their hometown, to finding themselves with a legitimate fanbase of their own. Their third 3-track EP “Dear Natalie” was subsequently released in 2019, also marked by the addition of lead guitarist Russell Searle, joining Rob Slater on drums and Sarah Statham on bass. The EP was the sound of Crake finding their feet on a larger stage, both literally and figuratively, with opening track ‘Glycerin’ shining a spotlight on Sandle’s ever-confessional words.

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Since the Big Thief tour and the Dear Natalie EP the band have focused solely on writing and demoing new music, assembling in garages, practice rooms and the beloved Greenmount Studios in Leeds (The Cribs, Pulled Apart By Horses) where drummer Rob Slater works.

The first results of this focused time away can be heard on “Enough Salt (For All Dogs) b/w Gef”, a brand new, two-track single which will be released on 7” vinyl via Saddle Creek’s ongoing Document Series. Their first self-produced effort, the new single is Crake at their most confident. Exploring the depths of their sound while staying rooted in Rowan Sandle’s brilliant song writing and captivating lyrics.

releases September 18, 2020

2020 Saddle Creek

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Land of Talk today shared the video for their plaintive new song “Now You Want to Live in the Light,” which singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell calls “a poem set to music. A tender negotiation between the light and dark parts of ourselves.” The gentle track is the fifth single released from the Montreal-based band’s forthcoming album “Indistinct Conversations”, out July 31st, and showcases the album’s versatility. “In developing the visual image for ‘Now You Want To Live In The Light,’ I anchored myself in the pulse of the song,” explains director Lara Kramer of the video “I wanted to mobilize in ways we think, feel, and do in our self-confronting states.”

Indistinct Conversations is now available for pre-order and shipments will begin going out shortly to ensure your copy arrives by street date.

“Now You Want to Live in the Light” follows previous singles “Footnotes,” “Diaphanous,” “Compelled,” and “Weight of that Weekend,” which have earned press from outlets including Pitchfork (Selects playlist), Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, Paste, NPR Music (‘NMF’ and ‘Press Pause and Hit Play’ playlists), and Brooklyn Vegan, among others.

Hand Habits, in partnership with Saddle Creek Records and Bandcamp, will be donating all of the profits raised from the EP to the Amazon Conservation Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, that has been protecting the Western Amazon for almost 20 years.

“Being a touring musician 8 months out of the year, you are exposed to a lot of varying degrees of climate change effects in a short period of time. From the gasoline that’s used to fuel touring vehicles, to the massive amount of plastic waste at the end of every show, to the carbon emissions released into the air by all the travel, it’s often not the most environmentally conscious career. I wanted to contribute, even if in a small way, to the efforts at work by the people at the Amazon Conservation Association for being dedicated to preserving such a vast and heartbreakingly crucial part of our ecosystem that has been threatened by wildfires, deforestation, and the effects of climate change.

I believe that writing and performing music can be a healing force, used for good, and not always for capitalizing on emotions and commodifying a personality or lifestyle. People need to be able to relate to each other, in times of joy, and especially in times of sorrow or struggle. The Wildfire Compilation, in partnership with Bandcamp and Saddle Creek, will be donating all of it’s funds raised to the ACA in hopes to lend a helping hand to those on the front lines of fighting climate change in places that may seem inaccessible to those of us unable to travel at length.
I chose 5 artists, Tara Jane O’Neil, Lomelda, John Andrews, Angel Olsen, and Kacey Johansing to interpret and cover my song “wildfire” that I wrote during the California Wildfires in 2017. All of these artists are dear friends and have all taught me a lot about the complexity of emotions in music.”
Released December 25th, 2019

Introducing our cover of Jeff Tweedy and Wilco’s “I Know What It’s Like.” We always love throwing a cover or two in the set, and were gearing up to learn this one as a band so we could play it on our Collector release tour, but we all know what happened to that. We hope that somebody might find some comfort in our version of this song like we’ve found comfort in Mister Tweedy’s original. I’ve been a big Wilco fan for the past few years and picked up Jeff Tweedy’s album Warm after Brendan had played it in the car a few times the track- “I Know What It’s Like” really stood out to me as a great pop/rock song that I could put my own spin on- the minimal structure of the original gave room for creative license. I sped up the original recording a decent amount so I’d have something to play along to and off I went. We decided it’d be fun to present the finished product as an interim release; post-Collector and pre-whatever’s next.

We always love throwing a fun cover or two in the set, and were gearing up to learn this one as a band so we could play it on our Collector release tour, but we all know what happened to that. My hope is that somebody who is a fan of Disq or Wilco (or both, or neither) could find some comfort in our version of this song.
Isaac deBroux-Slone
June 2020

Released on 30th June 2020 Saddle Creek Composer: Jeff Tweedy

what we say in private

Montreal, Quebec-based musician Alexandra Levy — who records and performs as Ada Lea— is also a painter and visual artist, and traces of her many creative abilities run throughout her debut album “what we say in private”, a beautifully colorful collection of profound pop songs to be released later this summer via Saddle Creek Records .

To her, music and visual art are different vessels for communicating similar ideas. Levy’s appreciation of female artists — including the writer Sylvia Plath, visual artists Frida Kahlo and Eva Hesse, and musicians Karen Dalton and Nina Simone — provides inspiration and guidance, informing her use of multiple artforms as tools for self-expression. Whether it’s creating music or art, “It’s a world that I can build around me and sit inside,”she says.Through all her work, Levy explores the concept of womanhood as it feels and looks to her, as well as love and how it transforms over time. She doesn’t shy away from exploring uncomfortable and painful emotions, either. With the brightness of love, strength, and hope contrasted with the darkness of loss, suffering, isolation, and abandonment, the Ada Lea album what we say in private is a varied and vivid record that constantly seems to shift in the light, bringing together all the intricate influences she’s collected over the years.

what we say in private began with a need to document the ending of an important romantic relationship. Following a tormented period of staying up all night (sometimes days at a time), frantically painting or writing songs as a means of coping, she journalled for 180 days in the hope of finding herself again. She conducted this period of analysis and introspection in private, like most of her creative pursuits, and the process eventually resulted in a rebirth: a rediscovery of self and a new sense of freedom and self-acceptance.

These chaotic feelings and the resulting catharsis are deeply felt in the final recording of what we say in private. Levy wanted the Ada Lea album to feel like a journal entry from those 180 days as she cycled through emotions. Throughout, she expresses feelings and thoughts that all humans experience behind closed doors and alone, but are conditioned to keep to themselves. This is reflected in the lyrics, the artwork, and the songs — together forming a public exhibition of deeply private matter. The album is a collection of raw, confessional, and at times messy emotions, presented to a society that can fear such realness, often favouring the uncomplicated, curated, and manicured.

Levy delivers something very special on what we say in private. Bold and daring, but also gentle and vulnerable, the album finds new ways of presenting its vision from one inspired idea to the next, a big leap into the wider world with passion and exuberance.

Released: July 19th, 2019

Get Disowned

Hop Along‘s Painted Shut made many 2015 best-of lists and definitely made it into my personal top ten for the year. Now thankfully Saddle Creek Records is reissuing Hop Along’s 2012 debut full-length album “Get Disowned” for those of us who missed out on either of it’s previous pressings. This is also Get Disowned’s first ever colored vinyl pressing for those of us addicted to colored wax. With 2,000 pressed there will be plenty to go around, but preordering helps guarantee you’ll get the record about a month before it hits your local record store.

This band reminds me of Gang of Four. It has this strange indie-rock–meets-funk thing happening. The singer [Frances Quinlan] has this way of effortlessly taking it from this angular funk verse to this incredible melodic hooky thing. When she sings, she has this beautiful, breathy voice. But when she wants to hit something harsh, she pushes it so much you can feel her voice flaying under the pressure she’s putting into it. Her voice starts to whistle like it’s going to spray apart into pieces and shatter. It doesn’t ever, but it’s really cool

The 2012 debut full-length from Philadelphia’s Hop Along, Get Disowned. Featuring “Tibetan Pop Stars,” which Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 called “the most painfully beautiful song ever.”

“Their first album, 2012’s Get Disowned, is a messy world where people stomp on old floorboards for percussion and saw violins like they were made of something stronger than wood. Everything is governed by Quinlan, who sings in the wild voice of someone casting out demons (or having the demon cast out of them). Its second song, “Tibetan Pop Stars”, should be etched in titanium and shot into outer space for safekeeping.” – Pitchfork

Hop Along’s first full-band full-length, Get Disowned was punk’s best kept secret. Critically overlooked but totally devastating, full of epic, unpredictably unfolding guitar songs with massive, quotable lyrics that wring you out emotionally and inspire the kind of furtive, conspiratorial devotion punks live for.” – Impose

“nearly perfect… The album is notable for its folk-gone-indie-punk approach, coupled with massive choruses and Quinlan’s personal, soul-crushing lyricism” – AV Club

“one of the most devastatingly honest records I’ve heard in years.” – Stereogum

Hop Along Bundle