Ezra Bell's first full-length debut features ebullient soul twang, flowing and leaping like the music of a late 60s/early 70s recording of well-trained freaks dabbling in various genres. This Portland band sounds like they effortlessly recorded one of those forgotten-gem "cult albums", despite it being early 2018.

After three well-received EPs and playing regularly in Portland since 2013, the playfully literate and cheerfully plaintive Benjamin Wuamett and his gaggle of quite fit players, conjure up a festive dusky folk-rock-blues-jazz-R&B-pop vibe that doesn't smother out the melancholy. These haunted stories include key tracks "Tourists" ("This one is about realizing the game is rigged, but you still have to play; it's the only game in town"); "Yawning at the Seance ("This one is about the stories we tell ourselves in order to feel like everything is okay"), and "Let Me Do the Talking." About that last one: "The opening line is a rip-off of something the boxer Jack Johnson said when asked how he managed to so intrigue women. He said 'eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts.' I think it's one of the great travesties (and a telling indictment of our society) of our time that a great man's name has been usurped by some surfer singing about breakfast." The glistening, giddy music on these tracks help to document the car-wreck gas-lit lifestyles Wuamett masterfully describes. He displays gleaming shards of a self-depreciative self-awareness but also someone busy getting lost. "The overall theme going into this?" Wuamett answers to what the album is about. "Desperation. A call to arms. A whimper. A declaration that being witty by yourself at 4 AM in a basement, is a poor way to live." Ezra Bell features Maurice Spencer (bass), Tom Trotter (drums), Aaron Mattison (horns and arrangements), Honora Hildreth (backing vocals and percussion), and Jeremy Asay (keys and guitar) more-than-ably backing up Wuamett's story-songs and satirical jigs with organic precision.

Sarah Slaton is an out singer/songwriter that expresses pathos both poignant and relatable. She's known for her vivid storytelling and captivating live show. An Arkansas native, Slaton taught herself to play guitar in the shadow of the Ozarks before making her way out West to Denver. Slaton fronted the Colorado trio, Edison, recognized for their tireless touring efforts. The band traveled over 150,000 miles between 2014-2018 and with a relentless DIY approach signed with Rhyme & Reason Records (pronoun, Red Baraat). Edison toured with Iron & Wine and opened for Nathaniel Rateliff, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Shakey Graves. The band saw national acclaim with their debut LP, Familiar Spirit, with positive reviews from Consequence of Sound, No Depression, and features on Daytrotter, Jam In The Van, and Relix Sessions.

Slaton steps out with her first solo single with a summer ready tune, Dance In The Sun, released May 24,2019. The song channels Fleetwood Mac with it's multi-layered vocals and vintage guitar tones. The Colorado artist flew to Los Angeles to work with Lewis Pesacov (Local Natives, Nikki Lane) who produced and engineered the co-write. His neighbor, Garrett Ray (Vampire Weekend), swung by to lay down the drums.

"Beginning a new chapter where there’s no voices in the peripheral margins means that the music a solo artist makes is as open and limitless as a blank notebook. Slaton, who is best known for wearing many creative hats in defunct Denver trio, Edison, has taken the first step to showing the world what she wants to sound like when standing solo at the mic. And while it’s no hard left turn into dramatically different genre territory from fan-familiar folk roots, “Dance in the Sun” is definitely a stylistic detour on Slaton’s musical journey. Light in tone, this single effortlessly walks a line of instrumental substance and melodic looseness". - Throw The Dice & Play Nice

Lauren Joy

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