“We walked down streets and crammed onto trains, our faces masks of fear. Unsure how to react, we, collectively, did not react. We grieved for a country and an ideal we never thought would die. We grieved for a loss of certainty.
We argued about what we thought would happen. We preached understanding. We advocated for anger. Some people said that we’d at least get some incredible art, other people said that was a small view of a world we were quickly realizing we’d misunderstood. Everyone was right. Everyone was wrong. Art made in precarious times matters as much as we let it matter.
But what are we looking for from the art we enjoy? Escapism? A reckoning with harsh reality? A temporary shared hallucination? Music can heal because it presents the pain of being human as universal.
Love is Love was written and recorded in the two months immediately following the election, but it’s not a record borne entirely of angry, knee-jerk reaction to what America is becoming. Instead, it’s a meditation on love, and on what life means now. Taking cues from last year’s City Sun Eater in the River of Light, it feels very much like a record made from living, shoulder to shoulder, in a major city: weaving psychedelic swirls of guitar between languid horns reminiscent of the best Ethiopian jazz—Love is Love is a distinctly New York record. It is a document of protest in uncertain times and an open-hearted rejection of cynicism in favor of emotional honesty. It is bright, and then, unexpectedly, a little dark sometimes too.
There will be parts of life where we will watch as events unfold and we will feel helpless. We will not be sure of the future. On good days, we’ll have each other. On the bad ones, we’ll turn to the art that helps us feel something. Love is Love is a document of the new world we live in, proof that light can come from despair and hope is still possible. We just need a little help remembering it exists.” – Sam Hockley-Smith

The Fresh & Onlys

Three long years of anticipation have preceded San Francisco's psych-blasted, starry-eyed weirdos The Fresh & Onlys’ return with Wolf Lie Down. The opening title track is a searing return to form with chugging full speed rhythms, snotty Wipers wall-of-sound guitar gristle, and the unmistakable midnight croon of singer Tim Cohen. Their 6th LP and debut for Sinderlyn Records finds the band equally at home with anthemic garage rock burners like "Impossible Man" and "One Of A Kind," and the brooding western twang of "Walking Blues" or "Black Widow".

While Cohen and guitarist/producer Wymond Miles are not the new kids on the scene (both are fathers of two now), Wolf Lie Down strips back the layered feel of the last few records to reveal themselves full of passion, imbued with an uplifting romanticism, and their trademark (if often overlooked) wry sense of humor. Recorded mostly at Miles' home studio, the songs' foundation came to life in the studios of Bay Area analog garage/ psych veterans Kelley Stoltz (Electric Duck) and Greg Ashley (Creamery).

Wolf Lie Down builds on the band’s literate guitar-pop arcana, seamlessly incorporating their pastoral desert-noir sensibility into Cohen and Miles' dueling damaged art-punk songcraft. While the record is driven and performed predominately by the duo of Miles and Cohen, former members Shayde Sartin and Kyle Gibson lay down their classic rhythmic chug on a few tunes. They also enlisted original drummer James Kim, as well as touring companion James Barone (Beach House) on drums and some mixing duties.

This new chapter in the elusive world of The Fresh & Onlys is a triumphant return to form as underground jangle titans. Wolf Lie Down also wears the haunted pastoral vividness of their most recent work. Perhaps ironically, their latest LP in a vast canon of work may be the best introduction to this unapologetic multi-faceted rock ‘n’ roll band.

Jessica Pratt

“To say that Jessica Pratt is an old soul would be a vast understatement,” says Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork. “The young San Francisco singer/songwriter’s deeply intimate folk sounds so sincerely cast in from the 1960s that it’s hard to believe she didn’t release a proper LP during that period of time.” Pratt’s spooky and seductive self-titled debut is the inaugural release on Tim (White Fence) Presley’s new imprint, Birth Records. “I never wanted to start a label,” Presley says, “but there issomething about her voice I couldn’t let go of.”

Pratt’s debut release includes recordings from over the last five years, and steady advances in sophistication of recording and melody are evident throughout. To the artist, the record is a time-lapse document of discovery, both musical and personal. But in strangers’ hands, Pratt’s debut is another kind of discovery altogether. A fully-formed emerald artifact dug up cobwebby and cold but no less green for its time spent buried. Sun-bleached and sounding a thousand years old, Pratt’s debut is arrestingly brand dazzling new, and watch how the lights in your living room go soft and yellow when you put it on.”

$15 adv / $17 door

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