Tim Kasher

Whereas The Game Of Monogamy was an orchestral album filled with theatrical arrangements, Adult Film favors less ornate, equally impactful instrumentation across its 10 affecting tracks. The album is filled with variations of Kasher's signature blend of ruminative rock/pop, ranging from raucous and barreling ("American Lit," "Truly Freaking Out") to uneasy and undulating ("Where's Your Heart Lie," the dreamy "Lay Down Your Weapons"), from deceptively bright and poppy ("The Willing Cuckold," "A Raincloud is a Raincloud") to tempered and cascading ("You Scare Me To Death," "A Lullaby, sort of"). Lyrically, Kasher is at his incisive best, thematically elastic and touching on aging (self-reflection and taking stock), mortality (one's own and others'), and relationships of all kinds.

Kasher is joined on Adult Film by Sara Bertuldo (bass, vocals), Patrick Newbery (organ, keys, synths, horns), and Dylan Ryan (drums) – who backed him while touring around The Game Of Monogamy – as well as additional artists including Nate Kinsella (drums; of Make Believe and Birthmark) and Laura Stevenson (vocals; of Laura Stevenson and the Cans), among others. The album was mixed by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Wye Oak, Explosions In The Sky) at Elmwood Recording in Dallas, TX.

Laura Stevenson

Laura Stevenson is finally learning not to worry. After more than a year of national and worldwide touring following the release of her critically acclaimed album Wheel, both headlining, and alongside such varied acts as Against Me!, The Go-Go’s, Kevin Devine, Tim Kasher of Cursive, and The Gaslight Anthem, the songwriter made the move from her between-tour home base of Brooklyn, to upstate New York’s Hudson River Valley. There, she rented a nineteenth- century Victorian, a former brothel in a cement-mining town-turned hippie-enclave, and converted the attic into a makeshift studio. It was in this space that she and her band went to work arranging and demoing the eleven songs she had written that would make up Cocksure, Stevenson’s fourth album. The record features musicians Mike Campbell, Alex Billig and Peter Naddeo, who in various incarnations have performed with her for over seven years, as well as newcomer Samantha Niss, a long-time Hudson Valley resident and the veritable go-to drummer of the region.

Where 2013’s Wheel was full of lingering uncertainty, harkening to Stevenson’s folk and country leanings, Cocksure is a straightforward, to the point, emboldened rock and roll album. Although some existential dread still peaks through the cracks, Stevenson treats themes as heavy-hearted as sudden and tragic death, self-imposed exile in small windowless rooms, and that back-of-your- mind anxiety that the road you’re on may not be the right one, as their own signs of life; a life that is brightly colored by those realities.

The New Trust

Depending on which part of its story you choose to focus on, The New Trust is either extremely straightforward or tantalizingly complex. In one corner, the co-ed band from Santa Rosa—located about 55 miles north of San Francisco—plays unpretentious, fired-up indie-rock songs that bring to mind the mid-'90s heyday (think Boilermaker, Knapsack, early Promise Ring, etc.), are catchy as all get-out, and rarely reach the three-minute mark. In the other is a European tour the band booked only a year after it formed, lyrics that quote Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off" while dissing religion and championing a DIY lifestyle, and a guitarist who originally thought her six-string would be used to sing her future kids to sleep.

"My goal was someday I would at least be good enough to play 'Puff The Magic Dragon' to our children," says Sara Sanger, who happens to be the wife of singer-bassist Josh Staples, who also handles The Velvet Teen's low end. To some, their married-and-in-a-band arrangement is another oddity, but it's hard to get anyone in the band to see it that way—in fact, Sanger would probably still be completely focused on her photography if it wasn't for Staples' encouragement. "Josh was so serious, and such an optimist—he doesn't do anything unless he knows that it's going to happen. I didn't realize that for a long time. I just thought, 'Oh, this is just something he's doing for his wife to make me feel better.'"



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