Flower Moon Records “Friends and Family Volume 1” release party

Maria Taylor

Maria Diane Taylor is an American singer/songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. She was born on May 21, 1976 and started her musical career in the band Little Red Rocket which released two albums on Geffen Records. After the band disbanded she formed, with fellow musician Orenda Fink, the band Azure Ray, releasing several records on WARM Records and Saddle Creek Records.

Maria Taylor released her first solo album 11:11 on Saddle Creek Records on May 24, 2005. She has also contributed to releases by artists such as Bright Eyes, Now It's Overhead, Crooked Fingers, and several others.

Jake Bellows

Jake Bellows had quit music. Or so he thought.

After fronting Neva Dinova for more than 15 years which included five full-lengths, a split EP, and countless tours, he packed up his dog and moved from his native Omaha to his girlfriend's hometown of Los Angeles. Two days before he left he recorded 18 demos with musician and engineer Ben Brodin (Before the Toast and Tea, Conor Oberst) at Brodin's insistence. Once in L.A., Bellows got a job installing sliding-glass doors and sold his Les Paul to buy a Datsun pick-up truck.

Though he had no plans to form a new band, he played the occasional solo show, performed with Whispertown, and continued to write songs. In early 2011, an invitation arrived from Omaha's Film Streams Theater for Jake's old friend Ryan Fox (Our Fox, The Good Life), also living on the West Coast, to perform an original live film score. Fox enlisted Bellows and Brodin to collaborate and the trio began to compose and discuss improvisational ideas over long-distance. Since they were all going to be in Omaha and had a long history of playing in each other's bands, Brodin and Fox nudged Bellows into booking studio time to record some of his dormant songs.

Fox and Bellows drove from LA to Omaha that November in a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle that didn't have heat, a speedometer, a fuel gauge, seatbelts, or radio. They made it as far as Lincoln, NE, before the car caught fire at 4 in the morning. The following night they performed the score to The Adventures of Prince Achmed. They entered ARC Studios two days later for a feverish recording session, arranging and writing parts on the fly with an impromptu band including Heath Koontz (Neva Dinova), Todd Fink (The Faint), Whispertown bandmate Morgan Nagler and other old friends. Committing quickly to intuitive arrangements the band recorded 17 tracks in a little more than a week. They worked remotely on the record throughout that winter and spring, adding overdubs in basements and bedrooms across western North America.

The group reunited in Omaha to debut the new songs at a couple of shows one week the following June. Excited to release the new material on their own terms the band put out a preview EP on cassette, Help, at the end of 2012. The new music is underpinned by philosophical conviction and shaped by an interest in physics, cosmology and mythology. Bellows returned to music with a renewed sense of the intrinsic value of art and its ability to express the commonality of human experience. His debut full-length, New Ocean, offers a mix tape of different kinds of songs hanging out on one record – love songs that are not necessarily ballads despite their introspective gauziness, with left turns into drunk-in-the-sun bossa nova and blue-eyed-soul ruptured by fuzz guitar. Bellows believes that songs change the fabric of the universe through the very frequencies they emit. As such, the record attempts to create the world he wants to see instead of reflect the world that is. "Our theory of the beginning of the universe is the big bang – a sound," Bellows said. "What gave birth to the universe is our one tool that we can change the universe with."

Whispertown

LA-based WHISPERTOWN is the latest iteration of the unique vision of Morgan Nagler (songwriter, lead vocals, guitar). What was once The Whispertown 2000 has morphed into a less structured version of itself, with Nagler's unmistakable vocals leading a revolving cast of musicians and artists.

As The Whispertown 2000, Nagler and company garnered support slots for Jenny Lewis, The Breeders, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, She & Him, The Elected, Azure Ray, Maria Taylor and many more. The band soon caught the attention of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, inspiring the first signing to their own Acony Records. Shortly thereafter, the band released 2008's Swim, their debut release from Acony, comprised of classic songwriting and harmonious folk-pop.

WHISPERTOWN'S sophomore release on Acony Records, Parallel, sticks to Nagler's earth grounded wisdoms while taking a turn toward a new form of lo-fi electronica. Parallel moves easily through rock gems like "Blood From Wine" and "State Of Mind" with lyrical prowess, only to be punctuated perfectly by stark dance tracks such as "Open The Other Eye." Produced, recorded and mixed by Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes), Co-Produced by Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova), and Executive Produced by David Rawlings, the stars have aligned here. This is classic music for the people.

Viva Violet

"Viva Violet is the pedigreed duo of Jiha Lee and Nick White, longtime friends who have called Chicago, Omaha and Athens, Ga., home, and started their new project last year in L.A. Lee, the former keyboardist in the Good Life (and like White, who has toured with Adam Green, Binki Shapiro and Tilly and the Wall, a Bright Eyes alum), takes the foreground on the duo's single "Nothing Illuminated," plaintively suggesting that self-delusion is part of our landscape, with "palm trees and pavement" and everything else. The song appears on a self-titled EP that Lee and White recorded with producer Will Golden that features Daniel Ocanto (Big Harp) on drums. There's a deceiving innocence in Viva Violet's guitar-keys-and-samples approach that recalls the early music of Rilo Kiley — coincidentally, Lee played flute on that band's 2002 (thematically similar?) song "Hail to Whatever You Found in the Sunlight that Surrounds You." Illumination, of course, often comes from reading between the lines." - Kevin Bronson, Buzzbands.LA

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