Jesse Kivel Residency

Jesse Kivel

Jesse Kivel, who you may know from Kisses and Princeton, is prepping his first solo record, an EP titled Content. It’s his first record since Kisses’ 2015 LP Rest in Paradise and he says this one was a difficult birth. “It’s taken me almost 3 years to finish 5 songs. I had a child, started a company, bought a home with a 2-car garage, and am in an ever-changing 11-year relationship. But am I content?,” he ponders in the LP’s press release. “My music has never taken longer to complete, but this new depth of time altered me. It slowed me. My mind calmed and my heart eased its pulse.”

Kivel made the record with Russ Manning (Rush Midnight), Victoria Bergsman (Concretes) and others, and sites jazz fusion, Kings of Convenience, Kamasi Washington, and Steely Dan among the influences, and you can hear those on the genuinely lovely, deep-shag groovy first single “LA Story.”

Los Angeles-based songwriter Matt Kivel got his start working as a player in various bands during the first decade of the 2000s. Around 2013, Kivel quit playing with other bands to focus on his solo material. The first evidence of his work came in the form of some limited-run cassettes, but he truly came into his own with 2013's full-length album Double Exposure, released on the Olde English Spelling Bee (Julian Lynch, Ducktails) label. Kivel's solo work took a decidedly more subdued path than his previous affiliations, with shimmering ambient synths meeting muted acoustic songwriting and understated vocals. Second album Days of Being Wild, recorded with Palace Brothers member Paul Oldham over the course of the previous summer, saw release on the Woodsist label in 2014. The record found Kivel stretching out a bit more, both compositionally, and in his arrangements, which introduced more rhythm, pulse, and melodic texture.

In late 2015, Kivel joined songwriter Alasdair Roberts (Drag City) in his native city of Glasgow, Scotland, to record his third full-length album “Janus.” Roberts produced the project, and assembled a stylistically diverse supporting cast of local musicians to supplement Kivel’s desolate, acoustic songs. Over 11 musicians contributed to the music on the album, and their improvisations and sensitive instrumental interplay draw from the realms of avant jazz, traditional folk, classical, outre experimentalism, and straightforward melodic pop. Kivel’s vocals are pushed to the front and his lyrics cut clearly through the shifting instrumental backdrops. The album is simultaneously calm, warm, and uneasy. Never far from darkness.

Jordan Gatesmith of Howler/Total Babe has a new project. And this
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Kacey Johansing

“It seems great opportunities come in blessings as well as tragedies,” Kacey Johansing sings on the title track of her third album, “The Hiding”. After the breakup of her band Yesway, and an abrupt falling out with her closest musical collaborator, Johansing set out to record a new batch of songs that resulted from the sea change in which she had now found herself. Instead of drawing from her regular band, Johansing pulled from a wider cast of players that she’d come to know in the community of musicians throughout California and the West Coast. The resulting sound is one based wholly and unabashedly in pop. Nods to Christine McVie and Fleetwood Mac can be heard, but Johansing brings these sounds to a modern stage, blending her ethereal vocals with effervescent synthesizer washes and reverberating open-tuned guitar. Recorded at Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, where Kacey worked as caretaker, as well as at home in Bolinas, on a ridge above the cloud layer in Big Sur, and at a friend’s studio in Portland, the album also serves as a document of Kacey’s time spent traveling in search of the sound she was after. After finishing initial tracking, and still reeling from the heartbreak of losing her musical community, Johansing found a necessary move was in order. Landing somewhat-blindly in Los Angeles, she continued to work on the album and hold it close. The end result is “The Hiding”, a tone poem about loss, growth and “leaving the insular beauty of a tight-knit community,” as Johansing describes it. The release of “The Hiding” comes at a time when Johansing is deeply longing to emerge from her extended absence and reconnect with her desire to create and share her music.

“The Hiding” is set for release June 2 on Night Bloom Records, a label Johansing founded with Real Estate’s Alex Bleeker and longtime-friend and songwriter Jeff Manson.

Kacey Johansing was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and raised in the mountain towns of Colorado. After leaving Berklee College of Music in Boston, Johansing relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spent a decade creating a community of musicians, artists and filmmakers, co-founded the duo Yesway, and released two solo albums. She has toured internationally and shared the stage with such acts as Kings of Convenience, Angel Olsen, Chris Cohen and Little Wings, and has collaborated with members of My Morning Jacket, Real Estate, Fruit Bats and The Range of Light Wilderness. She is currently preparing for the release of her third album, “The Hiding”, on her own Night Bloom Records. Johansing lives and works in Los Angeles.

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