Posts Tagged ‘Wax Nine/Carpark Records.’

Image may contain: 3 people, indoor

Chicago’s Melkbelly will release new album “Pith” in April and they’ve just released this grungy new single and it’s accompanying video. For ‘Humid Heart,’ we wanted to let the mood and tone of the song guide our direction, rather than forcing anything too specific into the video,” say video directors Weird Life. “Loosely based upon the notion of going through everyday life with any sort of heightened emotions can weigh someone down, we followed our hearts and that of the song and fell down a rabbit hole. That being said, we have no regrets.

Right before they unleashed “Pith” upon the world, Melkbelly shared a video for their single “Sickeningly Teeth” which featured a dude waving at the camera with a handful of dog shit in his other hand, and another dude dislodging an entire salad from being stuck between his friend’s teeth. It honestly kinda set the mood for the off-kilter grunge record, with “Teeth” perfectly exemplifying the band’s strength as a group proficient in gentle pop choruses jilted off course by their fixation with off-putting time signatures and screeching guitars—essentially the audio equivalent of sticking spinach between their teeth and smiling.

“Humid Heart” is taken from Melkbelly’s forthcoming record, ‘Pith,’ out April 3rd, 2020 on Wax Nine/Carpark Records.

Image may contain: food

I’ve been thinking of life as one big roleplaying game,” Johanna Warren offers when asked why she chose to title her new album after a Dungeons & Dragons reference. “There’s chance, there’s choice, and there’s alignment—what forces in the universe do I choose to align myself with?”

Chaotic Good is Warren’s fifth full-length album and first for Wax Nine/Carpark Records. It represents a moment of rupture in the singer-songwriter’s career as she transitions away from the quiet, folk-adjacent work that defined her early solo albums with a bold statement piece that demonstrates the breadth of her ambition. Here, Warren flits between crushing admissions set to spare piano solos and muscular declarations of independence that have more in common with grunge acts of bygone years than anything we’ve heard from Warren in the past. “The last few years I’ve had an urge to change my name, or create some alter-ego,” she says. “But I’ve come to realize that ‘Johanna’ is already just a character. We think we know who we are based on what’s already happened, but we’re allowed to make new choices.” The oceanic, soothing single “Bed of Nails” illustrates that realization perfectly when Warren sings: “I tried a little bit too hard to be myself/It turned me into something else.”

Recording Chaotic Good was an exercise in self-reinvention. Warren decided to produce the album on her own, borrowing recording equipment from a friend to do much of the preliminary tracking alone in a garage. She enlisted a few key collaborators to fully enliven her vision, most notably former Sticklips bandmates Chris St. Hilaire and Jim Bertini. On the raucously resilient “Part of It,” Warren is joined by her musical brethren as she addresses a noncommittal narcissist and—a trademark of Warren’s work—the narrator’s complicity in her own suffering: “Don’t look at me like I’m the one holding you back/and I won’t look at you like you have something I lack.” Adding to the album’s dynamism is the fact that it took shape over the course of four years in studios across the United States while Warren was touring her most recent albums Gemini I and II. Warren uses words like “patchwork” and “scrapbook” to describe Chaotic Good; it is a collection of sonic snapshots that transport her to specific places in time with each listen.

“This album is about learning how to be with myself after a lifetime of codependent relationships,” Warren says. You can hear that especially well on “Twisted,” which finds her confronting a former lover, and ultimately, letting them go. “I’m a warrior, but I give up,” Warren howls, the surrounding production warping and distorting as her raw vocal crests to an acidic scream. Though her lyrics are resigned, her delivery is anything but. It is a moment of total abandon, when the multitudinous aspects of a personality coalesce to form something at once dazzling and monstrous. “Chaotic Good is a metamorphosis,” Warren says. “It’s my phoenix moment. Everything I’ve done before was just building the funeral pyre.”

released May 1st, 2020

Music and lyrics by Johanna Warren
Produced by Johanna Warren

Johanna Warren – vocals, guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, synths
Chris St. Hilaire – electric guitar, drums, bass, percussion
Jim Bertini – drums, percussion, bass, synths
Eric Margan – bass, cello, flute, synth
David Rothon – pedal steel