Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Valley Maker is the contemplative psych folk project of songwriter Austin Crane. Crane uses billowing, revelatory metaphors to narrate his own journey through cosmic mystery and the essential search for meaning. Check out the vital full band performance by Valley Maker live at Audiotree. Recorded on May 1st, 2019 in Chicago, IL.


Setlist : Be Born Today
 04:44, A Couple Days 03:48, Supernatural 03:39, Beautiful Birds Flying 04:06, Seven Signs 02:55, Baby, In Your Kingdom 04:03

Band Members 
Austin Crane – Vocals and Guitar
Amber Joyner – Vocals and Keys
Jared Price – Bass and Guitar
Nic Jenkins – Drums and Percussion

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Lisa Prank is a true blue romantic. In fact, “I’m very preoccupied with romance,” songwriter Robin Edwards admits, “and I’m always trying to figure out what the deal with love is.” On her new record, “Perfect Love Song”, Edwards acknowledges the ultimate joke of love: that there is no perfect, so you’ll get tripped up while chasing it but what else could possibly be more rich, more exhilarating, more everything, skinned knees be damned? Stitching together pop punk panache and pillow talk introspection, Perfect Love Song finds Lisa Prank not in pursuit of the
flawless impossible, as the title may suggest. Rather, she’s interested in the entire experience of love and learning through it. “I never learned how to be mad,” Edwards sings on the reflective “Get Mad” but she did learn how to write totally gratifying pop songs about it, with the end of “processing my feelings, and hoping that other people can relate if they’ve been in a similar situation.” Perfect Love Song is an album that takes a soft focus gaze at romance’s sharpest points and edges, both the exciting peaks and the scary cliffs.As Edwards was navigating a drawn out, Lifetime movie level heartbreak, she found herself drifting back towards the home she had in her friendships. She moved back into her old room in storied Seattle punk manse, Spruce House, sharing a door with Tacocat’s Bree McKenna. She’d knock and ask McKenna for feedback on songs, who wound up playing guitar on the record. To produce, Edwards tapped old friend Rose Melberg of Tiger Trap. Melberg’s artistic alignment and personal closeness to Edwards gave her near psychic insight into Lisa Prank’s sonic goals,
but at enough remove to provide breakthroughs to Edwards at stuck points. It was a collaboration that felt like coaching. She helped Edwards step back and look at harmonies, percussion, guitar tones she may have not considered at first, but that helped her achieve her ideal polished punk sound.

Plus, it was fun in the studio, with friends around, creating the kind of lighthearted, mutually supportive feeling one needs surrounding them feel like themselves again after retrieving their heart back from a breakup.

“I love love songs, or falling out of love songs,” explains Edwards, “where I can see one moment of the situation and know what the whole story is.” Writing Perfect Love Song was Edwards’ opportunity “to personally say all the things that I wanted to say, or wish I had said.” In “Scream the Truth,” a gaslighting extinguisher anthem about reclaiming your sanity, she gets to be mad on her terms: “I wasn’t losing my mind,” she sings. Says Edwards, “its about seeing someone else navigate the world as a very nice guy whose very woke and feminist or whatever, and knowing the truth about him.” The first track, “Rodeo,” likens the searing, sinking in feeling of a
post fight realization “‘cause ‘I don’t wanna be in love’/means I don’t wanna be in love/with you” to the dangers and desires of the spectacle of love. “By now I know/this is the rodeo I chose,” she sings, electing to get back on her horse and ride, acknowledging the pain that’s part of that game.

“I wish a different emotion was so alive and exciting to me,” Edwards laughs, “but love is just the one that feels so visceral and consuming!” Perfect Love Song explodes the roller coaster snapshots of romance in bursts of poppy neon bright color, with Edward’s cheeky perspective
polished to full shine. “Lisa Prank has humor to it,” she says. “Some of the songs are really sad to me, but it’s still fun pop punk.” And the mission of that genre, one could argue, is to keep on bopping along through the bullshit of life. To stay buoyant, to find fun in the big what ifs and whatevers.

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It what keeps the dream Lisa Prank afloat: as she sings on “Constellation,” “still I keep on hoping this is some perfect love song/and we’ll go on and on and on, and on and on, and on.”
releases October 4th, 2019

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With Falling, Dude York show that they are a prime example of a band owning their adolescent renaissance by channeling, rather than imitating, their music influences (some of which include The Cure, Black Sabbath, Blink-182 and Carly Rae Jepsen) and echoing the emotions of yesteryear. Listening to Dude York’s latest power pop album, the Seattle band’s fourth to date, sends teenage pangs through your heart that remind us how intense and overwhelming every crush or heartbreak used to be (or still is).

Claire England (bass, vocals) opens up Falling with the sweet daydream that is “Longest Time,” which swings like a pendulum between her earnest voice and electrifying guitar. She romanticizes the honeymoon period of relationships, singing, “This is the best part / When you believe I can do nothing wrong.”

“Box,” the album highlight, takes a different approach in its post-punk revival sound, still managing to absolutely yank on your heartstrings. The first line more than tips its hat to the Killers’ ever-beltable “Mr. Brightside,” as Peter Richards (guitar, vocals) laments that “It started with a kiss / Who would have thought that it would end like this,” bringing back middle school dance flashbacks of Brandon Flowers deciding “It was only a kiss.” Life in 2019 can be so overwhelming that numbness seems like our only defense,

Dude York is ready to put you back in touch with your most visceral, excruciatingly intense emotions. Fair warning, though—if you put Falling on, you may be tempted to doodle your crush’s name all over your binder.

“Should’ve” is from Dude York’s 2019 album “Falling”.

Seattle trio Dude York have returned with the new full-length Falling, their tribute to adolescent romance and the pop-punk that clogged up FM radio wavelengths of yesteryear. To celebrate the announcement, the band has shared a new animated music video for the album’s impossibly catchy title track. Falling will be out Friday, July 26th on LP, CD, Digital, and Cassette . First-run LP copies come on frosting-colored vinyl.

“There are two ways things can fall” says Dude York’s Claire England. “They can fall and be ruined, or they can fall gently like a feather and be fine”. On Falling, their second full-length for Hardly Art, the Seattle trio explores that sentiment

“Falling” is from Dude York’s 2019 album of the same name.

The Berries will release their new album Berryland on September 26th, via Run For Cover Records. The announcement comes with a new video for their lead single “Fruit.” Led by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Matt Berry, Director Will Anderson taps into the feeling of Berryland with his video for “Fruit,” capturing the band’s mix of vintage style alongside the modern idiosyncrasies of the songwriter.

Matt Berry, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and overall mastermind of The Berries, first began to turn heads with his work in louder bands in the west coast underground music scene (Big Bite, Happy Diving), but his true love has always been unfiltered melody. “I’ve always been attracted to pop sensibilities and I was interested in making music that leaned more towards that instead of volume and distortion,” he explains. After a handful of demos, The Berries’ released their 2018 debut LP Start All Over Again, which documented a miserable Seattle winter and Berry’s impressive ability to organically wear his influences on his sleeve. As he began working on a follow up, he found himself becoming more and more at ease in forging those inspirations within his own unique sonic identity.

That assured sense of identity is unmistakable on Berryland. After tracking drums with Trevor Spencer at his studio outside Seattle, Way Out, Berry began the in-depth process of recording nearly every other instrument on the album in his own home. “Every day I wake up and if I’m not working, I’m in my cave for eight hours makng music, so I was very used to spending days just working on a song,” he recalls. The extra time spent tinkering and experimenting can be heard in Berryland’s vast array of guitar tones, psychedelic flourishes, and layered vocal harmonies. Traces of Berry’s punk roots remain in the occasional noisy guitar squall, which meets the jangle and twang with surprising cohesion. Driving all the guitars is Berryland’s secret weapon: its attention to rhythm. The sense of groove and occasional electronic percussion are subtle but key elements of the album’s pulse, often inspired by Berry’s love of the 1990s intersection of rock and danceable beats.

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releases September 20th, 2019

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Seattle based band Chastity Belt have announced a new self-titled album and shared its first single, “Ann’s Jam,” via a video for the track. Chastity Belt is due out September 20th via Hardly Art.

The album is the follow-up to 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. The band consists of Julia Shapiro (vocals, guitar, drums), Lydia Lund (vocals, guitar), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals, guitar), and Annie Truscott (bass). Chastity Belt is their fourth album and it was co-produced by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. The band took a several months hiatus in 2018 and then reconvened to work on the album.

“So much of the break was reminding ourselves to stay present, and giving ourselves permission to stop without saying when were gonna meet up again,” says guitarist Lydia Lund in a press release. “It was so important to have that-not saying, ‘we’re gonna get back together at this point,’ but really just open it up so we could get back to our present connection.”

“Ann’s Jam” is the lead single from Chastity Belt’s 2019 self-titled album.

When Julia Shapiro flew home from a cancelled Chastity Belt tour in April 2018, everything in her life felt out of control. Dealing with health issues, freshly out of a relationship, and in the middle of an existential crisis, she realized halfway through a tour supporting her band’s third album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone that she was going through too much to continue. “I was really struggling; I was really depressed. I felt like I couldn’t sing or be a person,” Shapiro recalls. “At that point I couldn’t even imagine playing a show again, I was so over it.”

Returning home to a newly empty Seattle one-bedroom apartment, Shapiro had wanted for a long time to learn how to record and mix her own music, and out of the uncertainty of the future of her music career and her health, she began to record the songs that would become Perfect Version, her solo debut for Hardly Art. What she created in the space of ten songs is an intimate and beautifully self-aware examination of feeling lost in the life you’ve created for yourself. It’s an album of shimmering guitars and layered vocals that feels vast in the emotional depth it conveys and masterful in the way each song is intentionally crafted and recorded.

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Throughout the record Shapiro tries on different ways of living, all thematically centered around the idea of what it would be like to be a perfect version of yourself. “How can someone be so blindly confident/I wanna know that trick,” she wonders on “Natural,” the opening track that begins using another person as a mirror and then pans back to a bigger picture: what would it take to really love yourself? The album is peppered with ideas of what self-improvement could look like—whether it’s learning a skill and living out in the woods, going to bed at a reasonable hour, or even more playful, deeply relatable lines like “I should really delete my Instagram.”

Shapiro has a knack for turning simple images into something profound, drawing influence from songwriters like Elliott Smith to capture complicated moods. The everyday act of circling the block trying to find a parking spot becomes a metaphor for trying and feeling like you can’t quite get anything done. “All my problems feel like paper/I can finally rip them up,” she sings on the title track, describing a moment of lightness in hanging out with friends who can find humor in your failure “at least I have my friends to laugh at what I’ve done.”

Over the course of a tumultuous year of trying to find stability amidst depression and surgery, Shapiro ultimately rediscovered the parts of music that she loved through the process. Her perfectionist qualities create an album that shines in tiny lyrical moments and meticulous guitar parts. “When the rest of my life felt out of control, I felt like this was my chance to be in control of everything,” says Shapiro. She plays all the instruments (save for a mouth trumpet solo by Darren Hanlon and guest violin by Annie Truscott) and after recording and mixing the first batch of four songs at the Vault studio with Ian LeSage decided to record the final six tracks alone in her apartment, adding drums in the studio later and learning to mix them with the help of her friend David Hrivnak.

Perfect Version is a fully realized vision from a gifted songwriter finding a more intimate voice. “So what comes next?” she questions on the album closer “Empty Cup” which explores the quiet satisfaction of being alone with yourself and creating a blank slate. “A lasting sense of self,” she concludes.

Exclusive: Julia Shapiro Shares Surreal New Song and Video, "Shape"

Taken from Julia Shapiro’s forthcoming solo debut “Perfect Version” (due out June 14th via Hardly Art Records),“Shape” is an illusory song, keeping its muddied bass and guitars just out of grasp. Shapiro’s vocals are similarly like a mirage, a siren beckoning you on your endless journey, as she sings detached lyrics yearning for connection: “And in my dream / things were just as they seemed / we were on the phone / and your thoughts were my own.”

Swooning dreampop soundtracks a surreal travelogue through the Australian outback in this music video for “Shape,” the third single taken from Perfect Version, the solo debut of Julia Shapiro, singer/guitarist of Chastity Belt and Childbirth. Perfect Version is out Friday, June 14th.

Chastity Belt have been poised to make that entrance for nearly a decade now, but before they return with album number 4, frontwoman Julia Shapiro is taking a solo trip with her debut studio album. A year ago the musician returned home from a cancelled Chastity Belt tour, feeling like she “couldn’t even imagine playing a show again.” What emerged from that period of darkness is something clear, the sad but savvy summer sing-song of Perfect Vision. If Ms. Shapiro is the next Seattle singer to break it big, then the musical reputation of the Pacific Northwest is in very good hands, indeed.

At the conclusion of the majestic Maraqopa trilogy, and four consecutive records with Richard Swift behind the boards, Damien Jurado decided to take the reins himself on the subtly orchestral and gorgeously melancholy The Horizon Just Laughed. That Swift would pass on mere months after the album’s release made the whole situation feel even more significant. Jurado and Swift immersed themselves in a psychedelic, hallucinatory world on the Maraqopa trilogy, but the horizon indeed just laughs, and fate stretches its legs out to trip you up, as though the borderline of their fantasy world had been watching with a detached amusement all along, waiting for our protagonist to return to a more sobering reality. When Jurado does step through the door, he finds himself back in a misty morning of a weary world where Charles Schultz and Charlie Brown exchange letters detailing their mutual late life struggles. Characters populate the album from front to back, showcasing Jurado’s beautifully empathetic and inspired vision of a world and its inhabitants more reflective of ourselves, and, as revealed on the hauntingly prophetic album highlight “The Last Great Washington State,” one with love and appreciation for what and who we have, while we have them, and afterward still.

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released May 4th, 2018

Seattle band Tacocat will release “This Mess Is a Place”, their new full-length album on LP/CD/Digital and Cassette tomorrow, Friday, May 3rd. The album is their first for Sub Pop Records, and heralds a more pop-driven and ebullient direction in their sound. Critics are calling it “as effervescent as ever”and “the band’s most polished record to date” ( The Seattle Times). Checkout the band’s trippy music video for “New World”.

This Mess is a Place (release date: May 3rd, 2019)