His Name Is Alive
901 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
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His Name Is Alive
His Name Is Alive's "All The Mirrors In The House, Home Recordings 1979 - 1986" is released June 21, 2019 by Warp Records imprint Disciples worldwide on vinyl, cd and streaming. Transcendental tape loops and bedroom ambient dream states from the teenage mind of His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever, All The Mirrors in the House is the first of three projected releases of early works by the Detroit-based savant, prior to signing to 4AD in the late-1980s. Shelley Salant of Tyvek helped transfer, compile and annotate a hundred aging cassettes and the unearthed results are revelatory - a gorgeous sequence of gently decaying tone float made with an incredibly primitive DIY set-up.
As Defever recounts in the liner notes: “By age ten, I had a tape recorder and was using it to capture the sounds of nearby lakes, thunderstorms, and my older brother’s LP collection played at the wrong speeds. As a teenager, I got deep into all kinds of music - punk, new age, blues - and played bass in the high school jazz band, as well as studying Bach chorale harmonization and counterpoint. My first album consists of rhythm tracks made of loops of the next door neighbor raking leaves and shoveling the driveway with echoey guitars and vocals with lyrics about ghosts.”
His Name is Alive has had over a hundred releases since their first in 1986. HNIA spent 13 years recording for the legendary label 4AD and sold 100,000+ records, toured the world, received gold and platinum records for soundtracking Tom Cruise’s nervous breakdown in the movie Jerry Maguire, collaborated on two short films with famed animators the Quay Brothers, and David Bowie declared HNIA's Detrola album of the year. Warren Defever continues to live and work in Detroit - he has recently recorded Jonathan Richman, Wolf Eyes, the Bush Tetras and as one of the engineers heading up Third Man Mastering worked on reissues for Caetano Veloso, Griot Galaxy and Lightnin' Hopkins.
Dangerbird Records is proud to announce the latest artist to feature in our Microdose single series, Los Angeles dream pop upstarts Mirrorball.
Mirrorball is the newly-formed project of singer Alexandra Johnstone and guitarist Scott Watson. Johnstone and Watson are both fixtures of the Los Angeles underground music scene. The roots of Johnstone’s songwriting inspiration date back to first hearing Leonard Cohen’s Songs from a Room, prompting her to “put poems to music.” She went on to front the band Monster, later know as White Dove, as a vehicle for her more minimalist, folk-woven leanings, garnering comparisons to the music of Low and Cat Power. Watson’s musical history dates back to playing in various groups in Silver Lake’s early 2000s indie rock heyday, continuing into the present with retro pop band Prints.
Johnstone and Watson’s combined efforts in Mirrorball push both musicians into new territory. The Los Angeles band’s otherworldly yet grounded sound evokes imagery of abandoned shopping malls and imaginary 1980s coming-of-age movies. Johnstone’s hauntingly memorable vocal lines are supplemented by dense beds of swelling synthesizer and strikingly bare, percussive guitar parts that fuse together into a compelling whole.
The debut A-Side single “This Time” is a more uptempo post-new wave number imbued with mystery and longing. Johnstone’s words ring out with poignancy over a sea of fluttering keyboard arpeggios, culminating with the almost cautionary phrase “never say this time.” The accompanying B-Side “Natural World” slows things down into a pulsing soup of dark Tropicália and slow motion disco. Johnstone reveals her Cohen-esque poetry influence in her plaintive uttering of the song’s opening line - “Think I’ll live the quiet life, stop living by the knife.”