89.9 KCRW Presents
MUSIC TASTES GOOD - Saturday Only 9/24
The Specials, Iron and Wine, Squeeze, Dr. Dog, Warpaint, Deltron 3030 w/the 3030 Orchestra, MELVINS, Twin Peaks, Vintage Trouble, Girlpool, P.O.S., Easy Star All-Stars, METZ, Nick Waterhouse, Cody Chesnutt, LE1F, Pokey Lafarge, Hippo Campus, Open Mike Eagle, Skinny Lister, Los Master Plus, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Foy Vance, The Dead Ships, The Ziggens, Clipping, Dustin Lovelis, Rudy De Anda, Lemolo, Machineheart, LP3 & The Tragedy, Neighbors to the North, Golden Drugs, Special C, MC Imprint, The Lost Weekend, Sister Crowley
335 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA, 90802
12:00 PM (event ends at 11:59 PM)
Watch & Listen
When The Specials reformed in 2008 for a one off surprise performance at the Bestival Festival few would have banked on the band still playing to huge audiences around the world in 2016, but they are with a new tour booked for October and November and plans for the future. Following the terribly sad loss of drummer and founder member John Bradbury suddenly in December 2015 the band have decided to carry on and continue to fill dance halls and inspire fans young and old.
With the first tour in 2009 selling out immediately and more dates hurriedly added it was obvious there was a massive demand to see this iconic band who only released two albums in their short career but were one of the most influential groups in UK musical history.
Hailing from the industrial city of Coventry, this multi-racial seven-piece combined the angry, disaffected voice of punk with the wind-your-waist sensibility of ska and reggae to re-define pop music and make Britain dance again. A mercurial two and a half years later and it was all over, leaving behind seven top ten singles (two of which went to No.1) and two top five genre-defining albums. Their first single, ‘Gangsters’, released on their own 2tone label in 1979, was their calling card and ‘Ghost Town’, their swan song, encapsulated the political mood in Britain. In between was a larger-than-life reputation for killer sweat-drenched live shows and an attitude that walked like it talked.
Since they reformed 30 years later, The Specials have performed at over 200 shows worldwide including (deep breath): Coachella / Live on the Letterman Show (US), Summersonic / Fuji Rocks (Japan), Benecassim (Spain), Lalapalooza Festival, (Chile), Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), Bluesfest Byron Bay (Australia) as well as countless other worldwide events. In the Uk they closed the Olympic Games festival in Hyde Park, played Glastonbury, Isle of Wight Festival amongst others and had several sold out tours.
The band have now confirmed that Gary Powell of The Libertines will be drumming on the 2016 dates following the tragic loss of founder member John (Brad) Bradbury who died at the end of 2015. Powell has said: “It is with deepest gratitude that I state what an honor it is to be asked to perform for The Specials in their up and coming US and UK tour dates. John (Brad) Bradbury was a unique performer and his style and ability was definitely one of the defining factors that helped to create The Specials sound, and it is with great humility that I will be doing these tours and carrying on his legacy.
The Specials are one of the UK’s most important bands so I am also very excited at the prospect of performing such a great catalogue of music with some of the most important characters in English music folklore.
Iron and Wine
Sam Beam is a singer-songwriter who has been creating music as Iron & Wine for over a decade. Through the course of five albums, numerous EPs and singles, and the initial volumes of an Archive Series - Iron & Wine has captured the emotion and imagination of listeners with distinctly cinematic songs. Iron & Wine is currently celebrating the first two installments of the 'Archive Series' on Sam’s own label, Black Cricket Recording Co. Both releases tap into work created before Sam was Iron & Wine, when he was making music only to be heard by his family. Songs from these same home recording sessions were used for Iron & Wine’s debut, ‘The Creek Drank The Cradle.’
It’s 1973 in South London. Teenage friends Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook form the band that will see them dubbed ‘The New Lennon and McCartney’. Over 35 years later, with their legacy intact and as vital as it has ever been, Squeeze are still touring and reminding fans worldwide just why they have left such an indelible impression on the UK’s music scene.
As teenagers on the South London scene, Squeeze – setting out their stall early on by facetiously naming themselves after a poorly-received Velvet Underground album, and at the time also comprised of Jools Holland on keys, Harry Kakouli on bass and Paul Gunn on drums - became a fixture of the burgeoning New Wave movement. When Gilson Lavis replaced Gunn on drums everything seemed to fall into place, and word of mouth soon spread about the band - ironically, it was none other than Velvet Underground man John Cale who caught wind in 1977 and offered to produce their debut EP ‘Packet Of Three’ and much of the ensuing album.
Yet it was second album ‘Cool For Cats’, released in 1979, which cemented their place as one of Britain’s most important young bands. Featuring the classic single ‘Up The Junction’ as well as the title track, it was many listeners’ first introduction to the witty kitchen-sink lyricism and new-wave guitar music that has become the band’s trademark. With albums ‘Argybargy’ and the Elvis Costello-produced ‘East Side Story’, Squeeze even started to make waves across the pond, although in 1980 former Roxy Music and Ace - and future Mike + The Mechanics – man Paul Carrack would replace Jools Holland, going on to lend his unmistakeable vocals to the smash hit ‘Tempted’.
By 1984 Squeeze had disbanded. The chemistry between Tilbrook and Difford could not be as easily dismissed however, and the ensuing record they made together has become the “lost” Squeeze album for many fans. But the band couldn’t lay dormant for long, as Squeeze reformed the next year for ‘Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti’, along with Holland, Lavis and Keith Wilkinson, Squeeze’s longest serving bass player. Over the next 12 years Difford and Tilbrook remained the only constant element as Squeeze continued to receive critical acclaim, release albums and tour, with the likes of ‘Hourglass’ becoming their biggest ever hit in the USA.
Despite an official Squeeze break-up in 1999, Difford and Tilbrook continued to make music and gig with the same enthusiasm and abandon that they brought to Squeeze’s first EP, either with their own solo projects or with each other. Chris Difford has released two solo albums to date, with a third ‘Chris, That And The Other’ set to be the first release from the innovative online label Saturday Morning Music Club later this year. Glenn Tilbrook, meanwhile, has released three solo albums, with 2009’s ‘Pandemonium Ensues’ heralding the debut of his other band The Fluffers and saw him recording with Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. Tilbrook has also been an active member of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, which sees him join fellow musicians such as founder Mike Peters (The Alarm), going on treks and climbing some of the globe’s greatest landmarks in order to raise money to help treat cancer sufferers throughout the world.
As befits one of the UK’s much-loved acts, there is no end of Squeeze fans currently wearing their influences firmly on their sleeve, whether it be Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Supergrass, Lily Allen, The Feeling or Razorlight. With their fingerprints keenly felt throughout the fabric of popular music, it is only right that these songs, with their evergreen and popular sound, continue to be played and enjoyed live. And so since 2007, a newly reformed Squeeze have been slowly finding time to play a series of gigs and festival dates, preferring to reaffirm their abilities as a band rather than follow some of their peers who have come out in a blaze of publicity, only to be met with disappointment. The new Squeeze line-up, their most able yet, is completed by Squeeze veteran John Bentley and Tilbrook’s Fluffers cohorts Simon Hanson and Stephen Large, and has become an instant favourite on the festival circuit since reforming with appearances at V, Oxegen, T in the Park and Latitude.
Squeeze’s contribution to music has been noted in 2010 with the site of their first gig being awarded a prestigious PRS For Music Heritage Plaque, which has so far commemorated the debuts of Blur and Dire Straits. It joins an ever-increasing list of Squeeze accolades alongside their recent Ivor Novello for Outstanding Contribution to British Music and their Nordoff-Robbins Icon Award. Chris Difford’s lyrics and Glenn Tilbrook’s music have survived everything over the years, from the ever-changing musical landscape to their own internal reshuffles and acrimonious breakups - but Squeeze is here to stay, still going strong and still loving every moment.
Dr. Dog's latest album could very well have been their first. It could have been their only album; or it could have never been made at all. It's either a refined culmination of 15 years of collaborative music-making or the blunt instrument on which they cut their teeth. This chicken v. egg debate will be for historians to decide; fact is that if "The Psychedelic Swamp" was a half-baked idea back in 2001, it has been reborn in 2016, fully baked.
In the waning days of our previous millennium, an envelope arrived at the Dr. Dog Bungalow. Initially misplaced among credit card solicitations and clothing catalogs, it had no postage and smelled of a fusty funk, as if it had once been wet. The return address said simply "Phrases from the Psychedelic Swap."
Inside was a cassette tape. "Play me," it said. So they did, and they grew 10 feet tall — tall enough to reach the key but too big to fit through the door.
Phrases, they learned, was a man who had been neither happy nor sad, neither success nor failure, during his time on Earth. He just kind of was. Or wasn't. Was or wasn't, depending. In his quest for satisfaction, he found himself susceptible to hollow promises. He drank Coke, but it did not make him smile. He used Old Spice, but beautiful women did not whistle at him. He wore Air Jordans, but jumped no higher. And one day he awoke from a beautiful dream to find himself still lying next to the wife he neither loved nor hated. Lying still, still lying. Same gray room, same gray life. He knew he had to slip away. It took only a slight turn of the wheel.
Life in the Psychedelic Swamp, a refracted reflection of reality, gave Phrases all that he was looking for. Music took on new dimensions. Food tasted better. Love was sweeter. At least initially. The swamp was draped heavily with abstraction, where there was nothing too garbled, random or chaotic to be separated from the absolute need for meaning.
But soon the same old hollowness crept back into his soul. The romance of harvesting dry rot and herding acorn weevils under the swamp's moon-sun had dulled into a humdrum kind of workaday existence. He began to regret his decision to leave Earth for the Psychedelic Swamp. Things were not really better there, only different. Remember what the old swamp folks say: The bladderwort is always yellower on the other side of the schist. This was his epiphany. Life, flawed as it is, is meant to embraced.
It was this message, more or less, that came through on that funky old cassette tape in the mail. And "Play Me," didn't mean simply "Listen to Me," but literally "Play Me!" It was a call to action, urging Dr. Dog to record a great pop album, to give meaning to Phrases, backed by oohs and ahhs and layered harmonies, to top the charts, capture the imagination and bring joy to the people.
Why us, the band wondered. They were so young, mostly just a cover band, sort of lost in their own verdant vegetative environment, fiddling around in the basement with a loose assemblage of chords and riffs, on equipment held together with duct tape and rust. They were not ready. To do justice to "The Psychedelic Swamp," they first had to find themselves as a band. They were flawed, reluctant messengers, like Spider-Man or Siddhartha, bestowed with a responsibility they did not yet accept. They needed to face the trials and tribulations of life on the road, to hone their skills as songwriters and performers.
Years went by, and the band became bogged down in life of a recording-touring rock'n'roll operation. The tape was often lost, only to be found in dusty corners or falling out of a seldom used guitar case. Someday, the band vowed, we will get back to "The Psychedelic Swamp."
That day is now. Swamp is on. Phrases will be heard.
"The Psychedelic Swamp" is Dr. Dog's ninth album, and third studio release with the ANTI- label. Most of the songs were among the first ever written together by Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman along with the friends and cohorts that would evolve into Dr. Dog. This early endeavor helped shape their worldview of a label-defying, multi-hyphenated indie-psychedelic-rock-folk-basement-Americana-touring band. Many artists might cringe at the idea of revisiting the works of their younger selves. Not Dr. Dog. "I've never looked back at that time with anything other than real affection," McMicken said. "The original tape could have disappeared and never been heard again, and I still would have held it dear to my heart, because it was the closest I've ever been to a true creative process."
If the seeds that were planted in "The Psychedelic Swamp" helped give voice to many of Dr. Dog's songs over the years, this revisiting finds the fruit of 15 years of collaboration in full bloom. Fans will recognize the harmonies, the puckish wordplay and the introspection, but it's impossible to place these songs in the Dr. Dog chronology. The album opens with "The Golden Hind" echoing the dreamy low-fi pops and whistles found on the album "Easy Beat" (2005), while the next song, "Dead Record Player," could just as easily been found among the smooth front-stoop soul of "B-Room" (2013). It's as if past, present and future Dr. Dog are collaborating in a kind of timeless recording studio. Even the songs within "Psychedelic Swamp" borrow from each other: Leaman's "Bring My Baby Back" is a whole song sprung from a single line in "Engineer Says."
Leaman says this is not a rock opera with a traditional A-to-Z narrative arc, but rather a tapestry of Phrases' search for happiness. "I'm comfortable calling it a concept album, for sure," he says.
The most important element of Warpaint's second, self-titled album is space. The hauntingly lovely sounds that comprise its 12 songs are punctuated by a distinct absence of sound, one that elevates the band's music to a new place of depth and emotional poignancy. For the Los Angeles rock band crafting a second album offered an opportunity to expand the ethereal, hypnotic songs on their 2010 debut The Fool and to mirror their extensive live experience on a recording while allowing for the inclusion of more room.
The group, formed in 2004 by Kokal, Wayman and Lindberg, toured on The Fool for two and half years, solidifying the bond between the musicians over the course of numerous performances around the world. The new album represents Mozgawa's first full collaboration with Warpaint since she jointed shortly before the band recorded The Fool in late 2009, something that augmented the experience this time for everyone involved. The initial work on Warpaint began at a house in Joshua Tree in March of 2012, where the four musicians decamped to write and demo early ideas for the new songs. There was no immediate vision or goal, instead the band wanted to create a meditative place in which to channel inspiration.
"We could come from any direction we wanted," Kokal says. "Here we'd been playing the same songs over and over again on tour and being in Joshua Tree it was like a dam was released and all this water started flowing out. Recording and writing this album, we really started to play and interact with each other in a new kind of way. It was the natural next level of getting to know each other and discover our album. I think the element of space became kind of a band member, and we were very conscious of not trying to fill in every silent moment anymore."
The musicians spent a month in Joshua Tree before returning to Los Angeles, where they continued to write and demo before going into the studio with Flood in January of 2013. The producer, the only person on the band's producer wishlist, joined the group at Five Star Studios in Echo Park for six weeks. The band was drawn to Flood's ability to balance the lo-fi aesthetic of a raw demo with hi-fi production, a sensibility they hoped to embrace when recording the new tracks. In fact, several of the demo pieces made their way onto the final tracks on Warpaint.
"I could hear in Flood's work with PJ Harvey that he was comfortable with having a demo-type feeling to the music sometimes but able to translate that on to a greater level of professional sound," Wayman says. "He's got so much experience under his belt and he's really talented at creating things, making them sound big and luscious. We used a lot of mood-enhancing atmospheric stuff, like synths and electronic drums. We all love hip-hop and trip-hop, which is really mood and rhythm based. That influenced us here."
"We wanted to make a sexy record," Lindberg adds. "Something a little more minimal than The Fool. We had so much to express – and still do – but have learned the magic of less is more and truly went in with that frame of mind. We were more mindful and wanted to make room for one another."
The resulting album, self-titled because this it the truest expression of Warpaint to date, is vast and beautiful, collecting lush, compelling songs that embody otherworldly tones and hushed pauses. There is a hazy sense of abstraction that pervades, leaving each song lingering as the next begins. "Hi," which Kokal calls "a really beautiful and dark twist to a very conventional songwriting structure," shimmers with sparse emotional verve while "Keep It Healthy" explores a meditative groove. "Love Is To Die," a number that emerged almost directly from a jam session, balances soaring melodies with ambient beats. The album finds all four musicians playing in tandem, and indeed much of the album was recorded live in the studio. It merges disparate influences and sensibilities while eventually landing on a cohesive – and unexpected – thematic thread.
"Without sounding trite, the subliminal theme of the album is love," Mozgawa says. "It's a record that meditates on different forms of love in a poetic manner. This wasn't a preconceived theme – it's just one powerful prevalent thread."
The musicians have found a cohesion between this new album, The Fool and their 2009 EP Exquisite Corpse, a sort of evolving symbiosis that always comes back to the strong connection between the four players. The album art, created by Chris Cunningham, reflects the collaborative strength and inherent friendship heard in the songs. Cunningham, who is married to Lindberg, is presently working on a multimedia documentary about the group, which he started while the band was in Joshua Tree last year.
"We came up with the idea of making a long short film, a mixture of the kinks and quirks of Warpaint and his kinky and quirky brain and ideas," Lindberg says. "It is going to be a medley of things. Chris is such a mindful and respectful guy. It's been so wonderful to have someone with such impeccable taste and an endless amount of creativity witness all stages of this record."
Ultimately Warpaint reveals the next stage of evolution for the group, a truly collaborative effort that showcases both musical growth and a startling depth of friendship. "We thought about this collection of songs like, this is us," Wayman says. "This is an expression of who we are."
Emily Kokal – vocals/guitars/keyboards
Theresa Wayman –vocals/guitars/keyboards
Jenny Lee Lindberg – bass/guitars/vocals
Stella Mozgawa – drums/guitars/vocals
Deltron 3030 w/the 3030 Orchestra
Deltron 3030 is composed of a trinity of alt-rap all-stars: Master lyricist Del The Funky Homosapien, virtuoso turntablist DJ Kid Koala and superproducer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura. Individually, they stand at the top of their respective musical disciplines; together, on the eponymous Deltron 3030, they warped space, bent time, transcended genre and blew minds, creating an album that still stands today as one of the most important records in the annals of underground hiphop. Critics called it a masterpiece — both timely and avant garde: "Exactly what you might expect from such a teaming: a wildly imaginative, unabashedly geeky concept album," said AllMusic.com. "It's not only one of the best albums in either of their catalogs, but one of the best to come out of the new underground, period." Pitchfork called Nakamura the "poet laureate of creepy, oppressive beats," describing the album as an "exciting" reimagining of "the future from the bottom up" that reveals Del as a "surprisingly acute social critic." Now, over a decade later, they're finally releasing the long-awaited followup to their debut — an album titled Deltron 3030: Event II.
Here we are in 2003 and it's become obvious that we need to clear up a few things about the Melvins. 1. Remember, when some son-of-a-bitch sells you something, expect the goddamn thing to work.
2. The Melvins are NOT a "trick on music".
It hasn't been a year since the last bona fide Melvins album but nonetheless, slated for release is yet another album... However, this here new one is actually a RE-release of the classic Melvins record "10 songs". Of course the NEW one has a NEW super deluxe cover and has been expanded to 26 songs. That's 16 more than the original! The record even includes a secret recording of one of their hometown buddies out of his mind on Angel Dust. This added historical window should fully explain their origin and current message in a way never before captured on record. Even if this reissue is 16 years old you can rest assured this record is up to date! If you get this record you can know there is nothin' or nobody ahead of you. Nobody knows nothin' that you don't know. All the cards are on the table friends and that's a fact!
Dang! It's been damn near 20 years since these Melvins started and they still have yet to find the common decency to die or break up. The core-band of King Buzzo and Dale remains intact and they've had the same bass player since 1998! Hailing from the Minneapolis Cows is pioneering slide bass pervert Kevin "Rutmanis". The Melvins proclaim this lineup the definitive whatever you want to call it of whatever it is they think they do. Nothing should be denied them forever more.
Don't try to twist around or screw up this last one, it's a lot easier to just surrender and let the good times roll. After all, the Japanese and the Germans surrendered and look at them now. One things for sure don't listen to anyone about anything. The masses and the media don't know shit. Have no fear, the Melvins and Ipecac know what they are doing. Just sit back and let these guys do the driving. Too many know nothing know it all music critics, humorless tire iron wielding troglodytes and internet weed heads spoil the broth.
Give Twin Peaks an inch and they'll take a stretch of the road. Having careened across America and beyond, sharing their staggering energy, the band made their third album the best way they know how: by themselves. The same group that pro-duced the scuzzy squalor of their debut "Sunken," had legions of fans screaming along to their anthemic sophomore effort, "Wild Onion," now swings and serenades with "Down In Heaven" (out on Grand Jury on May 13th).
Co-produced by the band and longtime collaborator R. Andrew Humphrey, and mixed by new confidant John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth), the rec-ord is by turns raw, polished and wise beyond its years. The diverse new songs beg the listener to sway slowly, bang their head wildly and question what they were do-ing wasting emotional time on anything less. It is a marked, and some may say ma-ture, development for a band that doesn't know how to play it safe. They aren't here to tell you what youth is like or what being a little older now means, though; they want to join you in a conversation about why we hurt, love and tug at each other.
While Twin Peaks is a bit older, they're not necessarily calmer; their restlessness endures. Born of Chicago's league-leading DIY scene and with several of them re-maining friends since elementary school, Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel, Connor Brodner, Jack Dolan, and most recent addition Colin Croom share an enthusiasm, authenticity and passion their audiences have found contagious. In the three years since dropping out of college to support their debut album "Sunken," the band has covered a lot of ground. They've played to ever-increasing crowds, bigger and row-dier each time they come barreling into a city; they were anointed "Best New Band" by NME and countless other blogs, and they have performed for (and partied with) more than hospitable masses at festivals in the states and Europe, including Pitch-fork, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, and Roskilde. In between all this action, the group set up camp in the summer of 2015 amidst the solitude of a murky lake in Western Massachusetts, where they could experiment and record on their own terms in the warm living room of a good friend's house.
Recording on reel-to-reel with the band learning studio tricks on the fly, Twin Peaks set out to a make an LP that reflects how far they've come and how much of life is left, trusting themselves to make a record they'd want to hear. James explains, "I've been particularly drawn to records that have a more personal feel, not necessarily lyrically, but in sonic aesthetic, like The Kinks Village Green Society, Beatles White Album, and Rolling Stones Beggar's Banquet. We wanted to make a record that em-ployed the restraints of our favorite artists from yesteryear. It was about trying to simplify and hone in on the things that are important to our music and ethos." In considering the development of the band's sound from "Sunken" to "Wild Onion" and now to "Down in Heaven," Frankel adds, "The bands we admire are the ones who change drastically over the course of their span, like The Velvet Underground, where no two records of theirs sound the same."
Whether sneering or pleading, aggressive or impatient, the thirteen tracks of "Down In Heaven" are a continuation of the bands path and an eschewing of previous com-parisons. It is a record all about feel: heartbreak, forgiveness, anger, jubilation, re-invention, growth. Album opener "Walk To The One You Love," written by James about letting someone close to you go is immediately followed by Frankel's song "Wanted You," with lyrics about not getting the one that you yearn for. With "Stain," perhaps the biggest departure for the band on the record, Frankel says, "I didn't want another love song, so after a while I got what it is, how you suffer for your art but you put up with it because you don't wanna do anything else. It's a song about the love of music." Even though four of the five members contribute lyrics, there are obvious connections both thematically and musically across the record and the band's voice rises unified.
"Down in Heaven" will bring old fans and new Twin Peaks most complex record to date, encompassing elements only teased on their previous efforts. Frankel says, "I don't know yet what kind of band we are, since we keep changing with every year. I guess we are a band unafraid of new influences and changes." Put simply, "Down In Heaven" makes it increasingly hard to call their sound "classic." It's rock new and old, it's a little bit of country, it's a whole lot of punk attitude, and it's something to get excited about. Twin Peaks is here to stay, and they aren't going to get pinned down.
Over the past few years, Vintage Trouble have wowed audiences across the globe by opening for The Rolling Stones in London's Hyde Park, touring North America and Europe with The Who, and playing sold-out headline shows worldwide. Now, on their debut album for Blue Note Records, the Los Angeles- based foursome — singer Ty Taylor, guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill, and drummer Richard Danielson — channel the vitality of their live show into a fresh and urgent take on guitar-powered rhythm & blues. Produced by Blue Note president Don Was (a three-time Grammy Award-winner known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Al Green, and Iggy Pop), 1 Hopeful Rd. finds Vintage Trouble building off the groove-fueled sound that Yahoo! once painted as "James Brown singing lead for Led Zeppelin" and blending blues, soul, and riff- heavy rock & roll with joyfully gritty abandon.
Recorded at L.A.'s East West Studios and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Mark Ronson, U2, The Black Keys), 1 Hopeful Rd. borrows its title from the album's opening number and lead single "Run Like the River." With its foot-stomping rhythm and gospel harmonies, "Run Like the River" embodies the infectiously irrepressible mood that runs throughout 1 Hopeful Rd. and gives even the album's most pained moments an electrifying edge. The follow-up to Vintage Trouble's debut album The Bomb Shelter Sessions — a self-released effort praised by Paste magazine as "the stuff the best soul'n'roll is made of" — 1 Hopeful Rd. matches that emotional intensity with a raw yet sophisticated musicianship that's prompted BBC Radio 6 to crown the band "the heirs of rhythm and blues."
After kicking off with the bluesy snarl of "Run Like the River," 1 Hopeful Rd. rolls on to offer up everything from lovesick ballads (the falsetto-laced "From My Arms") to fired-up anthems (the thrillingly frenetic "Strike Your Light") to stripped- back soul-folk tunes (the sweetly breezy, acoustic-guitar-driven closing track "Soul Serenity"). On the world-weary but determined "Doin' What You Were Doin'," Vintage Trouble slips into a soul-soothing melodicism and lyrics that gently plead for reflection and renewal ("Why don't we allow ourselves to be the legends while we're living?" asks Taylor in his show-stoppingly smooth vocals). And with "Angel City, California," Vintage Trouble lay down a dirty and glorious, - rock-inspired ode to their hometown and all its sleazy charms.
Longtime devotees of incendiary artists like Ike & Tina Turner, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry, Vintage Trouble possess sharply honed instincts for rhythm and groove and unabashed showmanship. Now based in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon neighborhood, the band first played together in 2010 and soon brought their high- energy brand of soul to weekly residencies at local venues like the Edison and Harvelle's Blues Club. As they steadily amassed a following, Vintage Trouble eventually drew the attention of Doc McGhee (a legendary music manager best known for working with KISS, Bon Jovi, and Mötley Crüe). Once under McGhee's wing, the band set their sights overseas and — by 2011 — had taken the stage at Britain's influential TV show Later...with Jools Holland, delivering powerful performances of "Blues Hand Me Down" and "Nancy Lee" (a stirring serenade to Taylor's mother, penned from his father's perspective).
After joining Queen guitarist Brian May on tour in May 2011 and Bon Jovi on tour that June, Vintage Trouble put out The Bomb Shelter Sessions and quickly saw the album hit the UK Top 40. Also charting as the No. 1 R&B album and No. 2 rock album on Amazon UK, The Bomb Shelter Sessions had its U.S. release in April 2012 and fast earned acclaim from such outlets as NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and Billboard. By the end of the year, in the pages of the New York Times, critic Val Haller had hailed Vintage Trouble as a modern-day answer to Otis Redding ("Like Otis Redding," Haller remarked, "Vintage Trouble makes music that is a little bit of everything").
Along with appearing on Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View, Conan, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! — as well as at major festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Glastonbury, Vintage Trouble, under the management of Doc McGhee, has kept up a grueling touring schedule; This has included opening for such artists as The Who, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Lenny Kravitz, Paloma Faith, Joss Stone and Willie Nelson. At a hometown gig at the El Rey Theatre in summer 2013, Don Was caught the band live for the first time and found himself floored by their explosive performance. "Half of the songs were brand new and totally unfamiliar to the audience...yet the place was rocking from the first notes straight through to the final encore," recalls Was. "Do you know how hard it is for a new band to pull that off? It requires tremendous charisma, thundering power, incredible grooves, and top-notch songwriting." By the following spring, Vintage Trouble had inked their deal with Blue Note Records, and set to work on 1 Hopeful Rd.
With Vintage Trouble fiercely dedicated to constantly playing and creating new music — including a 2014 fan-only EP called The Swing HouseAcoustic Sessions, in addition to 1 Hopeful Rd. — Don Was isn't the only music legend struck by the band's passion and musical prowess. Admirers also include Prince (who name-checked Vintage Trouble in an early-2014 interview with MOJO) and Lenny Kravitz (who noted that the Vintage Trouble live experience bears the same feeling as "being at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967"). When describing their own sound, Vintage Trouble use the term "formatted recklessness": a fantastically paradoxical phrase that captures the spirit of a band whose music is wildly unhinged but rooted in real musicality, gut-punching but thought-provoking, steeped in the heritage of old-school soul but utterly and irresistibly timeless.
Girlpool is a Los Angeles-based two-piece made up of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad. Having met at local DIY venue the Smell, the two quickly grew very close. Their sound is comprised only of a guitar, bass and vocal harmonies. The band uses this bare bones instrumentation to accentuate their vulnerable yet powerful lyrics to create honest pieces, tackling concepts ranging from awareness and respect to the simple feeling of being alone at a show.
Minneapolis-bred rapper, producer, hardcore musician, punk philosopher and co-founder of the hip hop collective Doomtree, P.O.S is gearing up to release his upcoming full length We Don’t Even Live Here on Rhymesayers October 23rd. The LP, which comes three years after his well received LP, Never Better, finds the rapper with one foot still firmly planted in his punk heritage (he grew up listening to Minor Threat and Refused and has been in punk and hardcore bands since the late ‘90s) and another boldly striding into unconventional songmanship. It’s a tight, bombastic record that builds on P.O.S’s penchant for grinding beats and radical-leaning lyrics while incorporating futuristic synth that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Berlin nightclub. We Don’t Even Live Here is influenced by P.O.S’s work with Gayngs and Marijuana Death Squad as well as musings into enlightened anarchist ideology. The album is literally and metaphorically centered on doing things differently. Fueled by anti-establishment fury, which has always been part of P.O.S’s outlook, the release acknowledges that the boat for social change has already set sail and this is the music for those already having fun aboard. P.O.S has tapped collaborators including German DJ’s Boyz Noise & Housemeister, Gayngs’ Ryan Olson, Innerpartysystem’s Patric Russe, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon (who lends his shapeshifting vocals to the heartfelt bear-hug of an anthem “Where We Land”) and P.O.S’ trusted Doomtree co-conspirators Lazerbeak, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan and Sims. Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Jay Z and Lil Wayne) provides stellar production work throughout. The raw vigor and resistance to categorization of this album positions itself to make a great impact on artists and listeners across genre lines and stand as a landmark recording for the future. POS raises the roof while razing the temple.
Easy Star All-Stars
Blending musical versatility, instrumental prowess, beautiful vocal harmonies and a premier rhythm section, the Easy Star All-Stars have established themselves as one of the top international reggae acts on the scene today. Thanks to their best-selling tribute album releases, Dub Side of the Moon (2003), Radiodread (2006), Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band (2009), Easy Star’s Thrillah (2012), the remix album Dubber Side of the Moon (2010), as well as original releases Until That Day EP (2008) and First Light (2011), the Easy Star All-Stars have built a growing, dedicated fan base throughout the world, bringing together fans of reggae, classic rock, dub and indie rock into one big family. The band has toured in over 30 countries on 6 continents. They’ve played many major festivals around the world, including an unprecedented three-day, three-stage stand at Glastonbury in 2009, which earned them a UK Festy Award Nomination that year.
"I look at it like this," METZ frontman Alex Edkins says. "You start a band, just as something to do, because music's what makes you tick, the thing you dream about and think about and that's it. You never think that you'll be able to do it all the time. But then, for some inexplicable reason, people actually listen and latch on and the band begins to take on new meaning. All of a sudden there are expectations and pressure, real or imagined, to change who you are. It was important to us, when making this record, not to give in to that pressure."
What happens when a seemingly irresistible force meets an immovable object is a serviceable metaphor for the music METZ creates, both live and on record. Now behold II, the concussive new full-length from what is arguably North America's finest touring rock band. Written and recorded in 2014, after two years of constant touring behind their rightly adored self-titled debut, II is METZ at their most true to form—as pure an expression of what they do as can currently be committed to tape. The guitars are titanic, the drums ill-tempered, the vocals chilling, and the volume worrisome. Though they incorporated new instruments, (baritone guitar, tape loops, piano, synth, found sounds) and stretched out the arrangements, they still managed to "stay true to what made us tick in the first place: that immediacy," Edkins calls it. "If it punches you in the gut."
And does it ever. From the exhilarating grind of "Spit You Out" to the blunt-force thrills of "Landfill," herein reside 10 songs as uncompromising in their ferocity and abrasiveness as any collection this record label has had the pleasure of releasing to date. To accomplish such a sound, the band forced itself to stay home and write for the better part of six months. Tracking was done in three different studios, in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including the same barn where much of METZ had been painstakingly assembled. While said predecessor was often "clean and clinical," II is what Edkins describes as a "much heavier, darker, and sloppier" affair, with many of its roughest edges and ugliest tones kept intact. Its lyrical matter, Edkins notes, stems from a year of loss and doubt, of contemplating our relationships with death and the planet. "I consider myself a pretty massive pessimist, but a pessimist who knows how lucky he is," he says. "A lot of things in everyday life drive me crazy: how we relate to each other; how politics, media, technology, money and medication influence our lives. This band, in a lot of ways, is an outlet." What we're left with is the sound of an already monstrous band improving in both subtle and terrifying ways."We take our noise and our feedback very seriously," Edkins says. "The more we do this, the more we realize there's no such thing as right or wrong in music. It comes down to feel. And if it feels good, it works. This time we sorta said, 'This is who we are. We are not going to clean up our sound, we are not going to hire a big producer, we are not going to try to write a radio song. We are going to be honest and leave the warts for all to see. We are really happy with how it turned out."
As are we.
Nick Waterhouse's art springs from a simple idea: everybody wants to be somebody else. One of his heroes, Van Morrison, got his start covering Bobby Bland, whose own musical idol was Nat "King" Cole. In Waterhouse's view, emulation is a journey; you never truly succeed, but as the singer, guitarist and songwriter puts it, "You become something on the way there."Nick was born in 1986 and grew up in Huntington Beach, known predominantly for UFC, commercial surf culture, and tanning salons. He established his musical sensibilities in the middle of the burgeoning southern California Psych-Garage scene (Burger records, Ty Segall, McHugh's Distillery studio) while retaining his unique perspective on the spirit of American Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll.Waterhouse started performing as a teenager. "It was really motivated by fear," he recalls. "I'm kind of an introvert, so it was an uncomfortable situation. It was a way to force a crisis." The young artist experienced an exhilaration he'd never felt before, and hasn't found anywhere else since. "It's a feeling of heightened awareness that goes beyond pleasure," Waterhouse explains. "It has something to do with seeing ahead in time and behind in time all at once. You don't just get the immediate reward; you get the potential that rewards you the same way."Waterhouse explored the idea of potential on his breakthrough single, "Some Place," a beautifully lean, propulsive track recorded at all-analog studio the Distillery and self-released in 2010 on his own Pres label. "Well, there's someplace that I'd rather be," Waterhouse sang in a fierce yet plaintive register. "And it's something that's been on my mind almost constantly."These days, Waterhouse is a successful recording artist, with one well-received LP and and several high-profile tours and collaborations to his name. But his latest work still embodies the struggle of his early forays. During "This Is a Game," Waterhouse sets up a snarly, post-surf guitar solo with a succinct statement of a cynical outlook: "This is a game / Please remember my words / And don't get upset when you don't get what you think you deserve." And on the gothic-soul strut "Let It Come Down," he meditates on
the inevitability of pain. "If there's gonna be rain tonight," he sings in a stoic croon. "Let it come down."It's clear from this material that Waterhouse is in the midst of his own becoming. He isn't the type to let ecstasy take over, like Van Morrison, or to drawl away in a consummately laid-back register, like Mose Allison. In the tension between his wry lyrics and crisp arrangements, you hear the expression of a worldly skeptic who's also—when it comes to his art—a sanctified believer. Whoever it was that Nick Waterhouse wanted to be matters less now; these days, he just sounds like himself.
Cody ChesnuTT is a rare creative force with a sound that springs from the crossroads of soul, funk, and rock. He converged on the music scene in 2002 with his debut project, The Headphone Masterpiece, gaining massive exposure from the hit song “The Seed 2.0”. An artist in every sense of the word, Cody’s artistic love for composing the unexpected accident along with his “Independent, Do You” attitude, and his multitalented musical abilities set his performances and recordings apart from his contemporaries. At the dawn of 2011, almost a decade after his debut, Cody ChesnuTT is reemerging full force with highly anticipated new music.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Cody had a natural inclination for music that had him active by five years old. Raised at the height of the civil rights movement when rock and roll, funk, soul, and R&B were all taking center stage, Cody’s life and musical style were strongly influenced by all of these elements. At age twenty he embarked on his musical career, making an attempt as an R&B singer in Atlanta. Not having been formally trained, Cody cultivated his own art form moving beyond just singing to playing several instruments, writing, and producing.
As Cody continued to explore his musical sound, he transitioned into a more rock and Southern soul blend. Following his musical dreams, he uprooted to Los Angeles. There he formed the band The Crosswalk in late 1996 and two years later they received a deal with Hollywood Records. Their time on the label was short-lived lasting only long enough to record and mix what would’ve been their debut album, Venus Loves A Melody. They were dropped before the album was ever released and soon after went their separate ways with Cody retreating to what he loved most, making music.
In 2002 Cody took his bass, drum machine, keyboard, guitar, organ, microphone, and headphones into his bedroom and single-handedly crafted his debut album, The Headphone Masterpiece (Ready, Set, Go). The multi-flavored double CD featured 39 songs spanning 99 minutes, impressively all written, produced, and performed on Cody's four-track cassette recorder. Cody was able to achieve something virtually unheard of in the 21st Century high tech recording world and turned heads all throughout the industry for doing so.
Cody’s notoriety and fame soared when Grammy Award winning band, The Roots decided to cover his song, “The Seed” for their Phrenology album and featured him on guitar and vocals. “The Seed (2.0)” video was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award and an MTV 2 Award , introducing Cody to a more mainstream audience. Simultaneously, his own album The Headphone Masterpiece was nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize in 2003.
Cody’s resurrection of live music and pop funk style continued to gain attention with his song “Look Good in Leather” appearing in international TV commercial ads and his performance in the 2006 Dave Chapelle's Block Party movie. Cody, having tasted musical success, continued to tour nationally and internationally with music from his 2006 project The Live Release and received accolades for his video “King of the Game”, directed by Academy Award winning visual effects artist Michel Gondry. Following the 2007 tour, Cody decided to step back for a while in and shifted his focus to his family and self-development.
Returning in 2010, refreshed and renewed, Cody brings a more mature lyrical approach having evolved beyond the more profane content of The Headphone Masterpiece. Cody’s first reemergence project, his six-track EP, “Black Skin No Value”, will be released at the end of 2010. In his words, “The EP is social commentary rooted in spiritual and soul traditions,” and promises to be as passionate and expressive as his debut piece. In addition to the EP release, Cody is continuing to devote time to his wife of over 15 years, their children, photography, and growing vegetables as he resumes touring and recording for his next full length album, “Landing On A hundred” due out in 2011.
Le1f is always looking toward the future. Since the release of his debut mixtape Dark York in 2012, the Manhattan-raised rapper born Khalif Diouf has been renowned his circles and across
the media for pushing boundaries with everything from lyrics, the technicalities of his flow and his beat choices. Producers are only now catching up to the sound of its first single "Wut." With
an almost-lifelong background in ballet and modern dance, as well as a degree in dance from Wesleyan University (where he honed his music skills, learning production on FruityLoops and
ultimately creating the beat for Das Racist's breakout "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell").
With Dark York, Le1f commanded attention from both the rap and dance music worlds—although his vibrant curiosity with his ample footwork, the deep cadence of his voice, his ability
to both tell stories and flex in his lyrics and an undeniable sense of forward-thinking in his music. The subsequent release of his Fly Zone and Tree House mixtape, a collaborative EP with
producer Boody called Liquid released via Boysnoize and his Terrible Records debut EP Hey furthered that narrative. But with his first full-length Riot Boi (Terrible/XL) finds Le1f finalizing the
vision. Drawing inspiration from the Riot Grrl Movement and artists like M.I.A. and Missy Elliott, the album is both a celebration of marginalized identities but without slipping into the divisive territory of "conscious rap." In his own words, he's "somewhere between an activist and an antagonist."
Riot Boi features guest appearances from fellow innovators Junglepussy, House of LaDosha and Dev Hynes, as well as production from PC Music's SOPHIE on the first single, coquette
club anthem "Koi." Le1f has received accolades from press on the cutting edge like Vice, The FADER, FACT Magazine and Pitchfork and has been featured in Vogue, Interview and
BuzzFeed. But he is not just being noticed for his own artistry and his impeccable taste and prescience for the future of rap and R&B is deftly displayed through artists like Rahel, Donchristian and more signed to his own Camp & Street label.
Something In The Water
“It really feels like I’m taking a big step forward on this one,” Pokey LaFarge says of Something in the Water, his seventh album and his Rounder debut. “While we were recording it, I kept thinking, ‘Hey, we’re really onto something here.’”
Indeed, the dozen-song set marks a new landmark in a career that’s already filled with musical highlights. The St. Louis-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist draws from a deep well of American musical traditions to create distinctively personal music that’s timeless rather than retro, transcending the confines of genre in a manner that reflects the artist’s openhearted attitude.
Incorporating elements of early jazz, ragtime, country blues, Western swing, and beyond, LaFarge has created a vibrant, deeply expressive body of work that embodies an expansive musical vision and vivid storytelling sensibility that are wholly his own. He’s also earned a reputation as a tireless, uniquely charismatic live performer, winning a loyal international fan base that regularly packs his rousing, celebratory live shows.
Since he began recording in 2006, Pokey has maintained an indefatigable work ethic that’s yielded a wealth of compelling music. After making a grass-roots splash with his self-released debut album Marmalade and moonlighting as mandolinist with the Hackensaw Boys, he continued to gain notoriety with his widely acclaimed longplayers Beat, Move, and Shake, Riverboat Soul and Middle of Everywhere—the latter two were both named Best Americana Album by the Independent Music Awards—and the concert set Live In Holland.
Longstanding admirer Jack White added LaFarge to the roster of White’s Third Man label for the 2011 EP Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County (which White produced) and the 2013 album Pokey LaFarge, as well as enlisting Pokey as opening act on the North American tour in support of White’s Blunderbuss album. Also in 2013, Pokey was featured on the soundtrack of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, performing the jazz standard “Lovesick Blues” with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. 2014 was LaFarge’s busiest year yet, with the hard-working artist performing on five continents, including tours in India, Australia and New Zealand as well as extensive roadwork in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, and The Netherlands.
Something in the Water finds the artist doubling down on his established creative strengths, expanding and deepening his musical reach on such new originals as the wry, rollicking title track, the swaggering ragtime workout “Wanna Be Your Man,” the infectiously jazzy “Underground,” the evocative instrumental “Cairo, Illinois,” the exotic ballad “Barcelona” and the swinging album-closer “Knocking the Dust off the Rust Belt Tonight,” whose witty lyrics underline the album’s proudly Midwestern sensibility. Also featured are fresh, buoyant takes on popular blues standards “When Did You Leave Heaven” and “All Night Long.”
“The Midwest is at the heart of this record,” LaFarge asserts. “The people playing on these songs are from Wisconsin and Illinois and Chicago and St. Louis, and there’s a certain attitude that comes across in the songs and the way that they’re performed. I’m born and raised in the Midwest, and my family’s been here for generations. This is where I’m from and how I think, and that’s reflected in the music I make.
“Americans love to reinvent themselves, but you can never really get away from the place that you come from,” he continues. “And in a globalized world, I think that there are some parts of our regional identity that we should hang onto and cherish. I do buy into that old idea of the Midwestern work ethic, and it’s definitely something that’s been passed down through my family and something that I feel connected to, and it influences the way I approach making music.”
LaFarge teamed with kindred-spirit producer Jimmy Sutton to record Something in the Water at Chicago’s Hi-Style Studio. For the occasion, he recruited a diverse cast of talented players, including his own longstanding touring combo as well as members of such notable outfits as NRBQ, the Fat Babies, the Modern Sounds, and the Western Elstons. He designed the sessions’ communal recording approach to push himself creatively, while bringing several new musical elements—including the more prominent use of drums and vocal harmonies—to the table.
“I knew that I really had to challenge myself on this one, and to create a slightly different take on my music,” LaFarge notes. “The Third Man album put me on the map for a lot of people, so I was conscious that I wanted to take things to the next level. One thing that I really wanted to do this time was to emphasize the groove, and I was also thinking a lot about space and about juxtaposition. The ability to work with some different people took me out of my comfort zone, and Jimmy really challenged me and pushed me into some new places. And as I felt the spirit and the camaraderie that we all had in the studio, the whole thing took on a life of its own.”
The resulting album is the most powerful showcase to date for Pokey LaFarge’s peerless gifts as a songwriter, performer and entertainer.
“You try to make something that’s cool, something that’s sexy,” he observes. “But when you come down to it, you can really only make music for yourself, and I feel like this album is the first time that I was really able to do that. I’m 31 and I’ve been doing this for awhile, but I feel like I’m only starting to make the music that I’ve always wanted to make. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself when I was younger, because guys like Hank Williams and Bob Dylan and Otis Redding made so much great music when they were in their 20s. But now I feel like I no longer have that pressure, so I can just be myself.”
A strange thing happens when freshwater and saltwater rub up against each other. In the ocean, when left undisturbed, the two kinds of water will separate into strata that are all but indiscernible from above or below—and when a deep-sea diver is swimming upwards, thinking they're just about to come up for air, they'll actually hit another layer of clearer, fresher water that separates them from the atmosphere. It's a beguiling effect that scientists call the halocline.
For the band Hippo Campus, the idea of the halocline has taken on a profound meaning. Having just graduated high school in 2013, the four members of the band teeter in that precarious place between being a kid and being a fully independent adult; though they have been kicking their legs as hard as they can to rise above murky waters of adolescent angst, a whole new echelon of complications lingers just overhead.
we rose in the morning
confused by what we were mourning
for some things are better left in the adolescence of youth
The quartet have grasped "the halocline" like a mantra, using it as their handle on social media and as an inspiration for their lyrics. "It's the illusion of growing up," says Hippo Campus's guitarist and co-lyricist, Nathan Stocker. "Like, you don't ever, really. It's just all these things that happen that sort of signify adulthood, suddenly." And with that idea in mind, they've figured out how to perfectly capture that mixture of longing, aimlessness, and eternal hope that consumes all young people transitioning from adolescence to adulthood on their debut EP, Bashful Creatures, and its follow-up South.
"We really liked high school," bassist Zach Sutton notes, laughing. As their backstory unravels, it's easy to understand why: The four young men in Hippo Campus first met while attending the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a rigorous charter school in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota that prepares music students for the fast track to college conservatories and it quickly positioned music at the very center of their young lives.
cheery cheeks and bloodshot eyes
see good on earth, and truth in lies
"Music is such a vague thing. It's very subjective, it's very sentimental, it's very abstract," Nathan muses. "So a lot of people probably don't have any sort of training to actually talk about it, you know. And so going to a conservatory, we were able to develop our tongue, I guess, so we could communicate more easily. Not necessarily when we jam, because that's all feeling. But when we're trying to decipher what it all means, that's where the language can come in handy. It's a pretty mutual understanding."
Nathan, Zach, and drummer Whistler Allen all participated in the school's jazz program, while Hippo Campus's lead singer, Jake Luppen, studied classical music and developed his voice by singing opera.
"Studying classical music allows you to adjust your voice to get multiple tones, similar to a guitar or any other physical instrument. It's like another way of singing." Jake notes.
Anyone who has heard Luppen sing knows exactly what he's talking about: he approaches melodies in swooping lines, making octave jumps and sudden high notes look effortless. The playful elasticity of his voice is at the very center of Hippo Campus's bright, optimistic, and emotionally resonant sound, and his melodies play a starring role.
wise me talk the same way my mother taught me
i walk the same way my father told me
back straight, chest out, just like a soldier
back straight, chest out, just like a soldier
In addition to their prescient lyrics and buoyant melodies, Hippo Campus have quickly earned a reputation for their rock-solid live shows and the impressive way they can build toward enormous crests before breaking apart into glistening four-part harmonies. Even in the Twin Cities, where the band quickly trampolined from playing all-ages shows to sharing stages with the town's largest acts on the city's biggest stages, it's not uncommon to overhear the exasperated question, "Who are these guys and where did they come from??"
In the course of just over a year, Hippo Campus have skyrocketed. In the Twin Cities, they became darlings of their local radio station, 89.3 The Current, playing the station's 10th anniversary bash at First Avenue in January. The first time they toured outside of Minnesota at SXSW, they created such a buzz that they wrapped up their week playing "Suicide Saturday" for none other than Conan O'Brien on his show CONAN. And this summer, they'll continue a tireless touring schedule opening for big-name acts like Walk the Moon, Real Estate and My Morning Jacket and playing in front of tens of thousands of music fans at Lollapalooza.
The band is still in the midst of a transition period, but now they're not only figuring out how to make the brave leap into adulthood—they're dangling between being hometown heroes and becoming breakout stars. As they literally grow up in front of their audiences' eyes, Bashful Creatures and South are the sound of the four young men from Hippo Campus finally coming up for air.
we moved in packs together, bounded by our oldest brothers
the night was ours for taking, rolling cigarettes and sneaking out
we sung our songs of youth and promised that we'd never lose it
"There were a lot of questions when we were writing Bashful Creatures," says Jake. "I think we were asking a lot of questions through the songs, and just with ourselves in general. Is this what we're doing? Zach and I were in college, figuring a lot of stuff out. It was just a very formative time, and a lot of those songs represent those growing pains. There are a lot of themes in there with brotherhood—that was a big part of us banding together and writing this music, to kind of push through this really crazy, formative time in our lives to just be like, This is what we want to do."
Open Mike Eagle
Open Mike Eagle might not have all the answers, but few artists in hip-hop, music, or American life are asking smarter questions. In a landscape governed by ceaseless babble, flashing lights, and hollow lies, Eagle harmonizes into the void so we don’t have to.
On this descent into the digital trenches, Eagle teams up with British producer, Paul White for Hella Personal Film Festival. Released on Mello Music Group, the full collaboration finds White behind the boards, conjuring a psychedelic strain of soul-funk, booming drums, and 21st century crate-digging in tropical attics of the imagination. On the microphone, the Chicago-bred, LA-based, Eagle artfully breaks down the banalities and perils of the modern condition.
Recorded in London, Hella Personal Film Festival continues where his 2014 masterpiece, Dark Comedy left off. It’s anxiety-riddled but whimsical, addicted to and scornful of social media, stuffed with old wrestling in-jokes and film snippets. Self-aware admissions blend into attacks on societal double standards.
Known for alchemical solo work and collaborations with Danny Brown, Homeboy Sandman, and Mos Def, this is White’s first proper union with Eagle. The two artists bonded over the notion of diversity. The process started out with rough demos, which White ended up finishing in post-production—playing guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, percussion and pieces of wood found in a forest. Its genius ultimately comes from the pair mining a deep vein of emotional content—a discussion of the things we feel that you don’t say. A movie that hits so accurately it’s almost uncomfortable.
These are tense anthems for the vulnerable, consecrations to black people with rich internal lives, agnostic prayers for those grappling with pain. They’re emotional landmines leavened by the wry bleakness usually only found in great stand-up comedians. Eagle exists in the lineage of They Might Be Giants and Richard Pryor, Freestyle Fellowship and his longtime friend and collaborator, Hannibal Burress.
Within the first act, the plot becomes clear. See “Admitting the Endorphin,” where Eagle raps, “I chase my poison tail and get so high that voices fail.” These are the movies he’d make it he knew how to make movies. Surreal vignettes about waking up with burrito hangovers in hotels you don’t recognize, wondering if you remembered to charge your phone. Aesop Rock and Hemlock Ernst (Sam Herring of Future Islands) pop up as fellow travelers.
No one is better than Eagle at capturing the nauseous disorientation of day-to-day life. The deluge of sports highlights, unread texts and Twitter notifications. The compulsive need to check your phone at red lights and pauses in conversation. But his incisiveness extends far beyond observational humor. “Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)” examines the slights and casual bigotry of daily interaction. “A Short About a Guy That Dies Every Night” is a morbid rumination on death.
These are the returns after long dark nights of the soul. When the noises are loud, the lights are off, and the armor is pierced. Short films that loop over and over again, as soon as you close your eyes.
They’ve held gigs in Land Rovers. They’ve sung while wing-walking. They’ve toured in a narrow boat. They’ve stomped and jigged on restaurant tables, in hotel elevators and in record label car parks. And wherever they play their lusty shanties, punk folk roar-alongs and crazed whirls of love, fighting and hardcore drinking – be it festival camp-fire, pub snug, Vans Warped Tour or to 5000 people crammed into a tent at Fuji Rock – you’ll find them out dancing with the crowd, passing around their flagon of rum or crowd-surfing to the bar, double-bass in hand, to neck shots mid-song. Make no bones – Skinny Lister are the wildest party band you’ll ever get drunk with. And you will get drunk with them.
“We still have the flagon,” says singer, guitarist and one-time chief of the stomp-box Dan Heptinstall. “We pass a flagon of rum out to the crowd and everyone partakes of the flagon.”
“It’s the core of folk music,” explains singer and mandolin player Max Thomas, “we’ll always have that everyone-singing-rip-roaringly-loud-in-a-pub togetherness.” At Skinny Lister gigs, whether being accosted by their glamorous assistants The Skinny Sisters or made to chug from the communal rum sack, the audience always feels part of the band. “And sometimes they can be,” Dan laughs. “If someone’s there with a fiddle, or we’ve had drummers come up who’ve brought a snare drum with them. We’re quite open to that, in a folk club sort of situation.”
That is, after all, exactly where Skinny Lister sprung from. Max and his singing and dancing sister Lorna were brought up in a folk music family, their father George – a folk music radio DJ – taking them to art fairs and folk events as kids to try to rid them of their bump’n’grind tendencies. It worked: as they hit pub-going age, they began learning to play jigs and reels on the accordion so they could play with their dad, in the classic tradition, over foaming pints. They even formed an Americana bluegrass family band, playing Christmas festivals and pub shows.
“We used to get dressed up in 1900s gear like Little House On The Prairie and do the ‘howdy’ sort of thing, and I started singing,” Lorna recalls. “Basically, Max became the angel child ‘cause he wanted to play music with my dad, and I was like, ‘well, goddammit, I’m going to play music with my dad too!’.”
Meanwhile, fishmonger’s son Dan was busy moving to Greenwich from the East Yorkshire fishing town of Bridlington, his head full of shanties, and infiltrating the local folk scene. That he was a fishmonger’s son rather than from trawlerman stock didn’t stop him having the seafaring songs in his soul. “I don’t think you need to be a fisherman or a sailor,” he says. “In Greenwich you felt like you were living on the sea front, you know, in the harbour really. Next to the house I lived in, which was on the central square in Greenwich, they used to have a folk night where everyone used just gather in there, play jigs and reels and sing sea shanties, and we used to go in and join in with the sea shanties, and we sort of borrowed some of those shanties, and we still do them now in the set.”
Hooking up with Max, the pair began playing traditional folk reels in Dan’s front room around 2009 on guitar and squeezebox, then graduated to playing the pub next door. “It used to go down really well, used to sort of get the party started,” Dan says. Soon Lorna saw her chance to get into festivals for free by joining them as their singing dancer, and alongside guitar and concertina wielding Sam ‘Mule’ Brace, and double bass playing Dan ‘Tash’ Gray, the five-headed dervish known as Skinny Lister burst jigging, swilling and ‘arrr!’ing from the very heart of the celebratory folk tradition.
“We made it a lot more English sounding,” Dan says, “English polkas rather than Irish, and rather than the Americany Mumford sound. We wanted to make it very English, but there is a bit of Celtic in there, a bit of Irish, a bit of Scottish, so we do all that sort of stuff too. Lots of shanties, even the original songs.”
From day one, Skinny Lister set out to cause chaos and make friends. They recruited a gaggle of friends called the Skinny Sisters to dance and cavort around their shows with the flagon of rum (“We had to sack them because they drank the rider, there was never any booze left for us,” Lorna says). One of their first exploits was to hire a canal boat and sail the Grand Union canal from the midlands to Camden, playing pre-arranged pub gigs by night and recording an EP – 2010’s The Grand Union EP, featuring the rollocking pop barnstormer Rollin’ Over as well as traditional shanties and canal boat songs and a guest spot from Lorna and Max’s dad George – by day. Lorna made denim sleeves for the CDs and they gave them out at the end of the tour.
“Sometimes there’d be nobody there,” said Max, “but it was such a crack that the next day we’d have like four or five people, and then it built throughout the tour. Through the Towpath Telegraph the word spread that there was this boat-band.”
“A Lister engine is the engine of a narrow boat,” Lorna says. “We didn’t know that but it worked for us, so we had like a boating community follow us down.”
Next they toured each of their hometowns, recording the Home Made Tour EP in cars and hotels as they went, featuring the story of a sailor with two eyes tattoo’d on his arse. Before long Skinny Lister were becoming known as the hardest playing, hardest partying band in the country, word reached the ears of Rob Da Bank, the DJ and mastermind of Bestival, and he offered them a deal for an album on his Sunday best label.
Contract inked, Lister set about partying their asses clean off. Over the course of 2011 they played more festivals than any other band in the world (Ed Sheeran came second), and often played three or four sets per festival. “That was how we really cut our teeth on the UK festival circuit,” says Max, “and homed our diddling and parties and drinking by doing however many it was that earned us that awful accolade, ‘The Hardest Working Band In Britain’.” “We were the hardest partying!” Lorna says. “We just wanted to go to festivals.”
Somehow they also managed to find ten days to get to Bryn Derwen Studios in Snowdonia with producer David Wrench and record their 2012 debut album Forge & Flagon. “There was no central heating and there was proper snow, it was freezing,” Lorna remembers, and Max adds, “he’d gone up this mountain and decided that this house would be a good place to record.” The album was a sublime concoction of reeling folk mania such as Forty Pound Wedding Song (video: the band pack eleven people, a chicken and a dog into a gig in a Land Rover), sweet-hearted pastoral paeans to countryside revels like Colours (video: a coach trip to watch Lorna wing-walk on an aeroplane) and tales of urban wastreldom on the ruined London streets like Seventeen Summers (video: the band busking through the filthy Soho streets gathering fiddlers and bagpipers).
Hitting SXSW at the start of 2012 changed their fortunes again. Catching the attention of several major bookers and Side One Dummy Records at an open mike show at an Irish them pub, they landed a deal with Side One after an audition in the label’s LA car park and slots at Coachella 2012 and on that year’s Vans Warped tour.
That seven week tour catapulted them into the heart of America. “I suppose when we go to the US it touches something in them, where they think they feel some sense of history or something,” says Max. But though the tour was great fun, with Lister entertaining the screamo and hardcore bands at after-hours barbeques and winning fans at every stop, it took its toll on their original line-up. By the time the Vans Warped Tour was starting to bleed into another lengthy jaunt with Flogging Molly, double bass player Dan Gray had fallen by the wayside.
“It’s the casualties of any live rock band,” Max argues. “You go through that phase. You’re investing so much time and financially it’s hard to make a living so there’s a natural tension that pulls people.” “People learn whether it’s what they want to do or not,” Lorna adds.
So Skinny Lister regrouped. To tour with Flogging Molly and on the Vans Warped tour in Europe they recruited Hawaiian punk rock bassist Michael Camino, a man prone to crowd-surfing to the bar on his double bass to get booze mid-song, so the perfect man for the job. By the autumn of 2013, inspired by the noisier bands they’d been touring with, they’d expanded to a six-piece with the addition of drummer Thom Mills. “The drums has given us another tool just to take it somewhere a bit different,” Dan explains. “Now we’ve got the ability to bring the back-beat. In the new material we’re throwing in a lot of stuff that sounds more like The Clash or The Jam or Dexy’s. There’s a lot of that going in on top of the folk foundation. We’re not restricting ourselves to something that sounds really traditional.”
In the meantime, Skinny found themselves breaking territories across the world. Having made serious inroads into the US on the Vans Warped tour, they took Germany with one incredible show at Haldern Pop Festival where they set up their own PA between the main stages and caused a drunken dustbowl riot. “Suddenly we gathered this just mad crowd,” says Mule, “I mean if you were stood at the back you wouldn’t have been able to hear us but I think you could just feel the energy, the dust flying…” “I did my first crowd surf!’ Lorna yelps.
Then, at Fuji Rock, they unexpectedly broke Japan with just three gigs. “We did the opening night which is the pre-party night when there’s not much on,” Max says. “We got put on at 9pm in the big tent and we walk out to about 10,000 people. This is one week after the record’s been released so no-one knows us but we walked out to this sea of Japanese kids going nuts.”
Lorna: “We actually felt the floor rumble. During the end of ‘Colours’ I did something with my hands and I don’t know what, but they all sat down from the front all the way to the back and then got up again like a big Mexican wave. We sold more CDs than any other band.”
So it was a bright and bristling Skinny Lister that descended on Rockfield Studios in December 2013 to record their second album, Down On Deptford Broadway. Taking a more urban slant, the record takes in city-wide pub crawls (Six Whiskies), hazy lock-ins (George’s Glass), the struggles of modern living (This Is War) and, on the Clash-esque first single Trouble On Oxford Street, a real-life fight that Dan had in the West End. “That’s about me getting kicked in on Oxford Street by a couple of punk guys because I ruffled his hair,” he explains ruefully. “He told me not to do it so it was kinda justified but I lost teeth and had to go to hospital.”
Lister have been just as musically mischievous on the record too. Between their Celtic swings, romantic folk balladry and grand sway-along anthems, they’ve taken on a host of fresh inflections, from Costello to Tenpole Tudor. The roof-raising Cathy – one of several songs about “a scarlet lady, someone that you’ve fallen for that you shouldn’t have fallen for” – is built around a Wall Of Sound beat and, cheekiest of all, they’ve borrowed the distinctive rhythm of Adam Ant’s Prince Charming for the roaring devotional Raise A Wreck. “I’d written it just as a vocal-only sea shanty,” says Dan, “and I was discussing it with Ted [Hutt], our producer, and we thought we could make it even bigger by putting some accompaniment to it. I’ve been listening a lot to Adam Ant so I thought it’d be alright just to borrow that rhythm, which is an amazing rhythm. I’ve not heard it on any other record.”
“We’re trying to push forward the sound we had before,” Max explains. “We don’t want to be a static band that just does this, we want to move with whatever influences are going on around us all the time. We might end up being a band that’s got quite a different feel to each album.”
Now signed to Xtra Mile Recordings, Skinny Lister spent 2014 touring with the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Boy George in the run-up to Down On Deptford Broadway. As they whip up this new urban reel, though, expect glorious chaos.
Los Master Plus
Los Master Plus nace en la ciudad de Guadalajara, México en el año 2010 con la idea de conjugar en un proyecto divertido y fresco el amplio remolino de gustos musicales de sus integrantes, El Comanche y Larry Mon. Por un lado están algunos de los aspectos más representativos de la banda: el folclor de los ritmos mexicanos populares como la cumbia y el norteño, las formas de hablar, la picardía, imagen y costumbres que caracterizan a gran parte de México. Por otro lado encontramos la mezcla de las influencias musicales de distintos géneros como el hip-hop, rock y electrónico. La combinación da como resultado géneros nombrados por ellos mismos como ‘Cumbiatrónico’ y ‘Sabrosindie’. Todos estos elementos junto con sus videos musicales (algunos covers viralizados) le otorgaron rápidamente a la banda un estatus de íconos.
Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas have arrived at last with their long awaited Instant Records debut, SECRET EVIL. The album sees the Detroit-based band serving up a brilliantly polyglot sonic stew – equal parts rockabilly and surf pop, cabaret jazz and funky reggae, Latin psych and Gypsy punk – all cooked up on the hot Motor City pavement and seasoned by that distinctly Detroit combination of blasted R&B, showband theatrics, and limitless rock 'n' soul energy. Songs like "Caught Up" and the syncopated "No Place Left To Hide" showcase Hernandez's unstoppable vocals and breath of musical ambition, braiding contemporary pop thrills with an original and unmistakable creative persona all her own. Dizzying in its range and ambition, SECRET EVIL is fresh, focused, and surprising, a remarkable debut album from an indescribably compelling new band.
Foy Vance is a critically acclaimed singer and songwriter hailing from Bangor, Northern Island and deeply rooted in the rich musical history and aesthetic of the Southern United States. Traveling through America for much of his youth, Foy eventually settled down in Ireland where he worked to put out his debut album Hope in 2007. Gathering the acclaim of both fans and fellow musicians, Foy was invited to tour worldwide with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Marcus Foster, Snow Patrol, Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John. Foy’s second full-length album, Joy of Nothing, debuted in 2013 on Glassnote Records and was followed up by Foy’s first live recording, Live at Bangor Abbey, recorded in Foy’s hometown.
In late 2015 Foy became only the second artist signing to Gingerbread Man Records, a division of Atlantic Records started by Ed Sheeran. Recording for his Gingerbread Man debut The Wild Swan took place at the legendary Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tenn. with GRAMMY-winning producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones, James Bay, Kings of Leon, Of Monsters and Men). Recording legend Elton John is the album’s Executive Producer, and Foy will support Elton on the UK & European legs of his Wonderful Crazy tour this summer. The Wild Swan will be released May 13th 2016.
The Dead Ships
In the four years since the Dead Ships traded punches at their first living room practice, LA's howling garage rock trio have toured the shadiest parts of the continent, slept on the grimiest couches, and been named one of the city's best live shows (DoLA, Grimy Goods). Balancing feral and soulful, they've most recently released the first of two EPs, produced by Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning, with emotional lead single "Big Quiet" spending 5 weeks at number one on KROQ's Local's Only. Stream here
From celebrating youthful innocence to comprehending life after tragedy, singer Devlin McCluskey writes songs that are pensive yet upbeat. Building off influences such as The Pixies while maintaining their comparison to The Strokes, the Dead Ships are a reminder that honest guitar rock still has its place in this world - and it's a loud one. - Britt Witt (DoLA)
The Ziggens are a band based out of Orange County, California whose self-described style of "cowpunksurfabilly" combines elements of cowpunk, surf, rockabilly, punk, ska, and country. The Ziggens are led by Bert Susanka who sings and plays rhythm guitar. Other members include Dickie Little on lead guitar, Jon Poutney on bass, and Brad Conyers who plays the drums and provides background vocals. The Ziggens have been playing since the early 1990s and have developed a strong following in Southern California.
The Ziggens were contemporaries with Sublime and were originally signed to their Skunk Records label. Their song "Big Salty Tears" was covered and popularized by Bradley Nowell on the Sublime acoustic album. The Ziggens, and more specifically Bert Susanka were also mentioned in the Sublime song "Greatest Hits". Also, their song "Outside" is sampled in the Sublime song "Smoke Two Joints" for the line "Smoked cigarettes 'til the day she died!" The Ziggens contributed a cover of the song "Paddle Out" to the Sublime tribute album Look at All the Love We Found, released in June 2005. The Ziggens' bassist Jon Poutney formed the supergroup supergroup with Meat Puppets frontman Curt Kirkwood, Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh, and Sublime soundman Michael 'Miguel' Happoldt after the breakup of Eyes Adrift. They released one self-titled studio album in 2004. More recently, Bud Gaugh formed the band Jelly of the Month Club, a children's music side project, with Bert Susanka. The Ziggens are currently signed to Cornerstone R.A.S., which is a subsidiary of Skunk Records.
“clipping. makes party music for the club you wish you hadn’t gone to, the car you don’t remember getting in, and the streets you don’t feel safe on; are phantom broadcasts bleeding into Power 106 as you drive out of range; are twenty different rappers looking into one broken mirror, talking to themselves all at once; are classic west coast rap music out of the tradition where sounding different wasn’t cause for fear” (Press release for Midcity, September 2012).
Things have changed for clipping. In the time since the above was written. The band found that listeners were more ready for them than they’d first imagined. Before 2013’s Midcity, the trio of rapper Daveed Diggs and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson did not expect to find an audience for their abrasive brand of rap music. But since the formation of clipping. and the release of their debut album, the field of commercial music enlarged ever so slightly, making room again for noisier, more adventurous elements in electronic production. Examples of this have been incremental, mere baby steps, so far. And despite clipping.’s insistence that they’re really just making rap— not noise-rap, industrial-rap, or any other mashup genre— their music might be more sonically challenging than that of the punkish rap rockers, lo-fi bedroom producers, and street goth hybridists they’ve been lumped with so far.
Sure clipping. sound fucked up, but for them, sounding that way isn’t a criticism of anything. It doesn’t mean they hate, or are out to destroy rap that doesn’t sound like theirs. The band makes its music in a genuine attempt to contribute productively to the form, to offer what they can to the genre they love. clipping. see themselves as respectfully following the path first explored by rap’s pioneering sound designers like The Bomb Squad and Dr. Dre— those producers who were inventing a new language as they worked, and especially those who smuggled industrial soundscapes and musique-concrète techniques into mainstream music and popularized a sound that felt as tough as the stories its lyrics told.
In fact, they don’t see themselves as doing anything too different from the various trajectories of experimentation in recent rap production, and believe the genre is reaching out in many different directions at once. clipping. imagine their work as simply one method among many— no more or less avant-garde than the stark, unrelenting soundscapes coming out of Chicago, the psychedelic blur of contemporary Atlanta rap, the ultra-minimal party clap currently dominating the West Coast, or the off-kilter post-backpack sound of their label mates Shabazz Palaces. Rap music is getting weird again, and clipping. are proud to be around to witness and participate.
Lyrically, clipping.’s music attempts to reshuffle and repeat accepted rap scenarios, while eliminating a traditional single-point perspective. Diggs’s writing is heavily citational, like a rough-edged collage, gluing together half-glimpsed images and misremembered references, many of which might feel familiar, and some of which assuredly do not. But even while he consumes and regurgitates established styles, his self-erasure is incomplete; Diggs’s dense, often motormouthed flow remains wholly his own.
The band formed in 2009. Initially conceived as a remix project, Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson began composing new beats to accompany mainstream and gangster rap acapellas. These early attempts paired noise and power-electronics inspired tracks with existing vocals by commercial rap artists. This was done simply to amuse each other and the duo earned very few fans. clipping. began in earnest in 2010, when rapper Daveed Diggs joined the group. The three members had known each other for many years— Diggs and Hutson since elementary school, and Snipes since college. Despite this, clipping. is their first project as a trio, building on their long relationship and on their shared obsession with rap, and with music’s outer limits.
Individually, the members are known outside of the group for their extra-curricular artistic projects. Diggs is a stage actor, while Snipes composes music for film, and Hutson is an established noise music artist. Snipes and Hutson have collaborated on many projects, including the score to the documentary Room 237, which was released by IFC in 2013.
In February 2013, clipping. released their debut album, Midcity, on their website. The project was created entirely in-house, with the trio writing, producing, engineering, mixing and mastering all of the material themselves. There was no budget, no outside promotion, no hype-machine, no blog or label interest. In fact, clipping. had no expectation that anyone would bother listening to the album, let alone enjoy it. Nevertheless, reactions were largely positive— despite the uncompromising nature of the production, and its obfuscatory lyrical content— and within five month’s of Midcity’s release, clipping. signed a deal with Sub Pop Records.
CLPPNG, the band’s label debut, was written and recorded between February and October of 2013. Although clipping.’s working methods were pretty much the same as they were for Midcity (only passing off the mixing and mastering to outside professionals) CLPPNG is a much more ambitious project. The album features guest verses from some of the band’s strongest influences, including Gangsta Boo (formerly of Three 6 Mafia, and currently of Da Mafia 6ix), Guce (longtime Bay Area mainstay, member of Bullys Wit Fullys), King T (all-around West Coast gangster rap legend, founder of the Likwit Crew, and mentor to Xzibit and Tha Alkaholiks). For the first single from the album, “Work Work”, clipping. joined up with Cocc Pistol Cree, a newcomer from Compton best known for her appearance on DJ Mustard’s mixtape Ketchup, and her song ‘Lady Killa.’
In addition to the featured guests, CLPPNG boasts a more varied sonic palette than its predecessor. The new album attempts to stretch the band’s experimental sounds to fit a wider emotional range— Midcity had anger and aggression figured out, but how can clipping.’s harsh electronics fit into a club track, or a slow jam, or a song to strip to? Relying heavily on musique-concrète techniques, the trio built many of the tracks out of field recordings and acoustic sounds. The beat for “Tonight (featuring Gangsta Boo)” evokes a nasty, late night encounter with its fleshy slaps and squishy, biological noises, while “Dream” utilizes natural ambiences to create a bleary, hypnagogic mis-en-scène. But the band hasn’t gone soft, not by a long shot. The album’s intro is likely the most uncompromisingly brutal piece of music they’ve yet recorded, and “Or Die (featuring Guce)” is as mean as anything on Midcity. CLPPNG is an album that demonstrates the variety of sounds available when the ‘rules’ of a genre are willfully questioned.
Composer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist Dustin Lovelis has been busy crafting songs in his coastal birth town Long Beach, CA. Since Dustin's late teens, the god-son-of-grunge has toured the globe with a myriad of musical outfits, including The Fling (Dangerbird Records) as primary vocalist and songwriter. Taking a break from touring and the music business, The Fling went on hiatus with no concrete plans to continue. Fortunately for his fans, Dustin couldn't stop writing songs and returns with an ambitious debut solo effort Dimensions, due for release on Porch Party Records on May 19th, 2015.
Dustin's music is drenched in textures both vintage and modern, while his fine-tuned pop-sensibilities rise out of whichever era ignited the inspiration. After The Fling dissolved, Dustin took over all writing responsibility. With a guitar, a microphone, and a bottle of whiskey, Dustin found his way through his influences and pinned his own demos to a multitrack. Without any input from band members, Dustin meticulously created his new DNA of sound with hints of The Everly Brothers, The Pixies, and The Beatles. He knew it was time to return to the studio.
Dustin recorded Dimensions at Elliott Smith's former music home New Monkey Studios. He found the ideal compliments for his timeless sound with an insane amount of gear and incredibly talented musician friends. Elijah Thomson of the band Everest played bass and produced the album, and prolific composer and session player Frank Lenz lays down his dynamic drumming with classic fills. After two days, the basic tracks were finished. A few more instruments and vocals were added, and Dimensions was complete.
Rudy De Anda
Rudy De Anda is here. The front man for Long Beach psych-prog group Wild Pack Of Canaries has been hard at work carving out his debut solo EP 'Ostranenie'. The debut track 'Visions Of Plumeria,' has a beautiful melancholic approach that sonically echoes the experience of Brian Wilson & Ray Davies.
Backed by drummer Anthony Vezirian, bassist Lily Stretz (Meow Twins), and multi-instrumentalist J.P. Bendziniski (Crystal Antlers, De Lux) the band can be caught creating a bustling movement throughout Long Beach and L.A. Rudy De Anda is also part of a burgeoning community in LA called Qvolé Collective (Chicano Batman, Cutty Flam among others) who represent and celebrate progressive Latino music.The EP recorded and produced by the late Isaiah 'Ikey' Owens, was released on Porch Party Records on July 7, 2015.
Lemolo is the dream pop brainchild of Seattle musician Meagan Grandall. Grandall formed Lemolo in 2009 and the band has since been named one of the Best Seattle Bands by Seattle Magazine, was voted Best New Band by City Arts Magazine and was just named one of the Top Bands Rocking Seattle Music by Seattle Magazine. Lemolo's debut album The Kaleidoscope was included in KEXP's Top Listener Voted Albums of the year list and was chosen for Google Play's Best Artists album collection. Lemolo has toured throughout Europe and the US and has performed with acts such as The Head and the Heart, Allen Stone, Sharon Van Etten, Mirah, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down and From Indian Lakes. Grandall is currently making plans to release the sophomore Lemolo album which she just finished recording.
Machineheart has lit up the blogosphere with their shimmering, alternative sounds, making the five-piece band one to watch as they prepare to launch their Columbia Records debut album this year. Lead single "Circles," an artfully delivered track, was received ears-and-arms-wide-open; it broke into Spotify's Viral 50 chart and soared to the #1 spot on Hype Machine, fully embraced during its reign as the most popular song on the internet. A remix of their sweetly haunting track "Snow" quickly followed suit, garnering machineheart another #1 spot on Hype Machine. Hailed as "a girl power Foster The People turned all the way up..." by Neon Gold, the L.A.-based alternative group is cementing their place in the alt-pop world.
Fronted by the charismatic female firebrand Stevie Scott (who Neon Gold praised for her "endlessly endearing vocals") the group merges their pumped up drums, haunting melodies and cinematic soundscape to create a soulfully resplendent sound. Completing the group are Trevor Kelly (acoustic guitar), Harrison Allen (drums), Carman Kubanda (electric guitar), and Jake Randle (bass).
LP3 & The Tragedy
“There are members sprouted from the PanAmerican roots of Los Lobos and tweaked by the dark, swampy blues of The Gun Club. There are members who have refined their chops in punk, ska, and funk but inevitably turned their attention toward the roots of it all. united and propelled by a sense of family through blood, touring, and DIY culture, LP3 and the Tragedy posses a staggering combined mass of musical tastes, talent, and muscle memory” - Martin Wong
Neighbors to the North
Neighbors to the North is a trio of San Diego musicians. Harnessing their wide-ranging and eclectic influences into a focused rock-n-roll whirlwind, their music incorporates elements of alternative, indie and blues. Bringing a fierce energy to the stage, Neighbors to the North is best experienced live.
Neighbors to the North has been nominated as Best New Artist for the 2014 San Diego Music Awards.
Their debut EP album 'Starfisher' was officially released in Spring 2013, and is available everywhere.
"If you're plugged into the Bay Area music, you may remember Twin Steps, who put out a few killer releases, including a 7″ for Oakland's 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, and then promptly disappeared. And it was like…come on. Why.
I think the answer might be in the first song off of Golden Drugs' first release "In the Midnight Sun or Stubbornly Persistent Illusion". Drew Pearson, vocalist from Twin Steps, has opened this new project with a song called "Appalachian Blood". It's a fuzzy, buzzy, frenetic track, covering a lot of territory in it's 5:52 life span. The second verse begins with the line "each night as I fall asleep I see 1,000 faces/and each one tries to yell at me for all the years I've wasted". Coming off of Twin Steps genre bouncing approach, it's tempting to read it as a little ironic, a step removed from reality. But the atmosphere of Golden Drugs (the band, this band) gives it weight, and I definitely hear it as an honest statement. Which is why I think it's the answer to the earlier question. The lyrics, the music, and the context all make it seem like Drew Pearson is antsy as shit to get things done.
And it's a great thing! The new band is great, and they seem to be doing well, with music videos for three of the six songs. There's a dreamy quality throughout, but the music is never stagnant. It's the dreamy haze of a 10 hour drive, where you can find calm at 80 miles an hour. The songs tend to journey, rarely staying in the same vibe for more than 2 minutes. It makes for a lot of unexpected turns, staying interesting on repeat listens and showing off the versatile, creative band." --Oakland Indie Mayhem
Special "C" a product of Redondo Beach, South Bay, Los Angeles, California.
Dustin Jones - Vocals/Guitar
Adam Gonzales - Bass
Jason "Bubba" McMackin - Drums
Special "C" has a laid back approach at bringing the garage to the stage. Influenced by local bands, like Pennywise, Sublime, and Black Flag.
Special "C" gives you their version of reggae/roots/punk rock.
Brett Guidry, alias Imprint, understands strife. After his father passed away, he found solace on the streets and became hooked on drugs at a very early age. Progressing worse and worse, Imprint began chasing this illustrious lifestyle as a way to buffer his own problems and eventually ended up in custody fighting a six year bid in prison. Through these moments, he realized a change needed to happen.
Always a fan of music, it was not until he started creating his own brand of West Coast swagger that he finally found a way to channel his aggressions into a more positive light. Honing his craft in a rehabilitation center, Imprint cemented his now lifelong goal. As a member of the Mash Down Babylon community, he quickly embraced this new lifestyle and attacked the microphone with a zeal and a style that would only force other acts into envy.
After the release of his first album in January of 2011, “The First Impression” undoubtedly made it’s mark and set IMPRINT far apart from his contemporaries.
The Lost Weekend
Hardcore Dave wrote these songs over years of travel and experience. Crafted over time with help from producer Paul Fig. These songs were played in hotel rooms, stages, bedrooms, parties, and every and anywhere to realize the truth behind them. Tracked entirely live In a whirlwind two day recording session at Dave's Room, the musicians assembled and the machines running, these boys and girl put together an album that sends the listener on a emotional roller coaster.
Each musician dived in with the same heart Hardcore Dave at times barking and other times soothing vocals guide your emotions. Joey Ponchetti keeps pounds through the rockers and guides through the softer ones as Rob Douglas completes the rhythm section. Parker Richey and Eli Wulfmeier keep the electric guitars blaring from both speakers. Richey returns only to caress the listener with the lap steel and pull on the heart strings or drive it home on dobro. Carl Byron, never to be under-estimated, fills the songs out with his delicate counter-melodies on the piano. But the real magic is his ability to layer upon layer playing the harmonium, organ, and accordion. Jennifer Goodridge comes through with a very necessary feminine counter to Hardcore Dave's husky vocals, and adds some beautiful harmonies.
All-in-all this is really unique performance by a very unique band. Very non-traditional song structure but easily accessible. it'll keep your toes tapping and your heart breaking, just the way a record should.
Loud garage/psych band from Long Beach, CA. Taking ourselves WAY too seriously and apologizing relentlessly for our pretentiousness.
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