Posts Tagged ‘Western Vinyl Records’

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Brooklyn band Activity (which includes members of Grooms, Russian Baths and Field Mouse) released their terrific debut album, Unmask Whoever, back in March and have made a new video for one of its standout cuts, “Violent and Vivisect.” The video was shot in all four members’ homes during this time of coronavirus isolation and was put together mimicking the artwork for the album. “Our record coming out in the early stages of this quarantine put our release show and tour on hold,” says guitarist Jess Reese. “We had a lot of extra musical energy with nowhere to go. We can video chat to stay in touch, but playing tunes together over the web has technological limitations – the slightest time delay makes it impossible in real time. We play off each other, listening and responding as we go. It’s really illuminating how communicative and interactive we can be as musicians, even without using a single word. Anyway, we made this video. Each of us alone, in our apartments in New York and Philadelphia. Selfie mode engaged. Looking forward to a time when this is in our past and we can reconvene.” That video premieres in this post and you can watch that, and listen to the album,

Find yourself exhausted by the brand of vibe-y instrumentals and confessional song writing that permeates much of today’s popular music? You should check out the spooky avant-garde quartet Activity. Their eerie, minimal guitar-based orchestrations will drop you into an unearthly dwelling place, but their lyrics, often softly spoken or sung, are underscored by biting human truth. Activity features members of Grooms, Field Mouse and Russian Baths, and their debut album, Unmask Whoever, came out on March 27th via Western Vinyl.

Jess Zoë and Steve Travis  Debut album ‘Unmask Whoever’ out now on Western Vinyl released March 27th, 2020 ,

Activity are an avant four-piece featuring Travis Johnson, and drummer Steve Levine, both from the band Grooms, bassist Zoë Browne from Field Mouse, and guitarist Jess Rees from Russian Baths.  Produced by engineer Jeff Berner of Psychic TV, their debut forms a casually menacing framework for lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws, and the broader human capacity for growth when an ugly truth is laid bare.

Lead single “Calls Your Name,” establishes the record’s spectral aura with nauseated electronic bells, and a relentless Geoff Barrow-esque drum beat beneath a half-sung, half-spoken lyrics inspired by C.S. Lewis’s 1945 novel The Great Divorce.  In the novel, characters stuck in a grey, joyless conception of hell repeatedly deny opportunities to be taken into heaven, instead making excuses as to why they should remain in their embittered purgatory states.  Allegorically, this speaks to the kind of opportunity for metamorphosis and positive change that’s possible when the depths of disillusionment are reached, an idea which permeates much of the album.  Despite recurrent aches of discontentment, each track glows with radiant waves of catharsis while elegantly evoking jubilation and anguish within the same breadth, showing that the two are always around the corner from one another.

Sinister and calming sounds might seem mutually exclusive, but New York City’s Activity beg to differ. The experimental quartet’s debut album, “Unmask Whoever”, which came out earlier this year via Western Vinyl, delights with its warm psych-pop bluster, but sufficiently would deter me from graveyard listening due to its ominous undercurrents. Its dark, understated melodies and hushed vocals make it feel like a fever dream, but one where you’re weirdly comforted by the surreal, slow-moving confusion. The witchy lead single “Calls Your Name” led me to believe the album would contain 10 songs of nightmarish, sacrificial moods, but it’s actually an outlier in that regard. Unmask Whoever is a beautiful, detailed LP of wonder.

Earth Angel  released on Western Vinyl 
Released on: 2020-02-18

Activity are an avant four-piece featuring Travis Johnson, and drummer Steve Levine, both from the band Grooms, bassist Zoë Browne from Field Mouse, and guitarist Jess Rees from Russian Baths. Produced by engineer Jeff Berner of Psychic TV, their debut forms a casually menacing framework for lyrical themes of paranoia, exposed character flaws, and the broader human capacity for growth when an ugly truth is laid bare.

Lead single “Calls Your Name,” establishes the record’s spectral aura with nauseated electronic bells, and a relentless Geoff Barrow-esque drum beat beneath a half-sung, half-spoken lyrics inspired by C.S. Lewis’s 1945 novel The Great Divorce. In the novel, characters stuck in a grey, joyless conception of hell repeatedly deny opportunities to be taken into heaven, instead making excuses as to why they should remain in their embittered purgatory states. Allegorically, this speaks to the kind of opportunity for metamorphosis and positive change that’s possible when the depths of disillusionment are reached, an idea which permeates much of the album. Despite recurrent aches of discontentment, each track glows with radiant waves of catharsis while elegantly evoking jubilation and anguish within the same breadth, showing that the two are always around the corner from one another.

Experimental, avant-garde art rock from members of Grooms, Field Mouse and Russian Baths.  available March 27th, 2020 on Western Vinyl Records.
Released March 27th, 2020

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Lightning Dust (Amber Webber and Josh Wells) are releasing a new album, “Spectre”, via Western Vinyl. they shared another song from the album, “Run Away.”

The band collectively had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Run Away’ explores the hardships of change-when our minds resist it. It’s the battle between logic and emotion. A tense and sonically deranged one in which a backward pulse blips into an electric piano solo and builds to a cosmic eruption of dark disco rain.”

Previously Lightning Dust shared Spectre’s first single, album opener “Devoted To”,Then they shared another song from the album, “Led Astray,” via a video for the track “Spectre” features Stephen Malkmus and Destroyer’s Dan Bejar .

Lightning Dust was previously a side-project for the Vancouver, BC-based duo of Amber Webber and Josh Wells, back when they were in Black Mountain. But in 2017 they both left the mother ship to focus solely on Lightning Dust and this is their first album since then. In 2018 Webber went back to school and tried out a new career, before music came calling again.

“It made me realize that art and music are still my light,” Webber explained in a previous press release. “Spectre” is my journey. It’s for all the women warriors that have been battling throughout life looking for a place to express themselves that feels inclusive and inspiring. It’s about finding yourself when no one is paying attention and inventing a new way of creating that feels honest and sincere. I truly feel that women, especially as we age, are underrepresented. That was truly the driving force to creating this album.”

Stephen Malkmus plays guitar on “A Pretty Picture” and Dan Bejar contributes guest vocals “Competitive Depression.” From the album Spectre released October 4th, 2019 on Western Vinyl.

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“YWLGOML” is a song about facing and overcoming challenges. Outer Spaces, the solo project of Baltimore-based songwriter Cara Beth Satalino, gives us an infectious midtempo cut born out of Satalino’s attempts to overcome the negativity that came with taking a break from a long-term, romantic relationship. Keep your ears peeled for the breezy, unexpected sax solo. Gazing Globe, Satalino’s sophomore album as Outer Spaces, is out June 28 on Western Vinyl Records.

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Outer Spaces is the name of the current project of Baltimore based songwriter Cara Beth Satalino. Cara had a well received debut album way back in 2016 ,“A Shedding Snake”. This week Outer Spaces have detailed a brand new album titled, “Gazing Globe” due out on Western Vinyl in June, as well as sharing the first single from it, I See Her Face. The track, is in Cara’s own words, “basically about embracing optimism…the ‘her’ referred to in the song is probably a more optimistic, lighter, brighter version of myself hidden somewhere waiting to be found.” Musically, the track also has a certain bright glow to it, albeit it one where you feel there’s a more melancholic edge hiding not far from sight. There’s a winning contrast between the breeziness of the light drums and Cara’s vocal delivery and the more crunchy tones of electric guitar. By the sound of it optimism suits Outer Spaces, so we best get used to seeing a lot of of that face!

The album came after Cara Beth Satalino took a break from a long-term relationship, and she says, “I think I was trying to get back to myself and my identity, separate from my relationship. For this record I was trying to articulate a feeling of disassociation, or something sort of intangible, surreal, and ethereal. I wanted it to be less literal and more of an illustration of a feeling.

Cara Beth Satalino’s Outer Spaces project also recently released another new song“Teapot #1″from their upcoming single for Saddle Creek’s Document Series.

From the album Gazing Globe, available June 21st, 2019 on Western Vinyl Records.

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From the album ‘Jettison the Valley’ out March 4th, 2016 on Western Vinyl Records.

By the time he was 15, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Carter Tanton was already playing bar shows in his hometown of Baltimore. Two years later, he caught the attention of Gary E. Smith, best known for discovering and producing The Pixies. After working together for a year, they parted ways, but Tanton never slowed down. In the mid-2000’s he released a couple of EPs with his band Tulsa, prompting Rolling Stone’s David Fricke to claim “…his indie-seraphim voice is not of this world…”, and after a particularly impressive live set KEXP’s John Richards said “…he’s one of the best singer-songwriters in the country today.” Beyond his critical acclaim, Tanton’s early work was cited as an inspiration by his old friend Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs. As Granduciel recalled in an interview with Pitchfork, “He was sleeping in someone’s basement, playing every instrument, going through this breakup,…That was the first time I saw someone make music obsessively. I’d never seen anyone living inside of something, to that level.”

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Over the years, Tanton has toured and recorded with numerous artists including Marissa Nadler, Strand of Oaks, Lower Dens, and The War on Drugs. In 2012, he assembled Freeclouds, his first collection of songs for Western Vinyl. A couple of years later, Tanton moved to England where he wrote all of the songs on his new album Jettison the Valley. The change of environment, and his rediscovery of early British influences including Richard Thompson, Nick Drake and John Cale sparked a powerful shift in perspective, which led him to write his most cohesive and personal work to date. Other than the pedal steel featured on two songs, Tanton engineers and plays every instrument on the album. His old friend and collaborator Marisa Nadler contributes lead vocals to “Jettison the Valley”, and Sharon Van Etten sings on “Twenty-Nine Palms” and “Through the Garden Gates”.

More about Jettison the Valley in his own words:
“Jettison the Valley” began in a little dot of a town outside Bristol called Hambrook in the Fall of 2013. I had just moved to England with my girlfriend where we lived in a caravan on her family’s plot of land with the M5 motorway on one side, and a horse farm on the other. To get away from the incessant low rumbling of cars, I often walked along the area’s ancient public footpaths that carve strange ways through the countryside. On those walks, my previous 30 years in America billowed and collapsed in front of me. As I stood there in the blowback, the constant push of time seemed to finally relent, and I found enough distance from it to see my past in clear broad strokes. After a few months we moved to Oxford and lived in a little attic apartment up on a hill. I spent most days watching the weather roll through the valley and writing these songs about my relationship ending. Eventually, I felt I had to come back to the states to record them. I consider this my first solo record. The other two releases I’ve put out under my own name since 2005 were simply collections of scattered recordings, mixtapes essentially. Jettison The Valley” was written in one long sitting, each song feeding the next.

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