Heavenly Beat, Dead Leaf Echo, Andre Obin, United Ghosts, Black Books

Heavenly Beat

"PROMINENCE" is the 2nd full length in as many years from Texas transplant John Pena. It was recorded/mixed in the same apartment(after a failed attempt to mix in a "real" studio) as last years TALENT over the first few months of 2013 after shelving a full length's worth of songs for not being sonically or emotionally interesting enough. Using Primitive Radio God's "Standing Outside A Broken Telephone Booth With Money In My Hand" as a sonic touch point John built a new album from the ground up utilizing chopped/sampled drum breaks and, for the first time, some non laptop based keyed instruments(piano, mellotron) along with H.B. main stays classical guitar and steel drums. Live member Christian Barsi and Daniel Schlett of Strange Weather Studio both contributed keys to a few songs but the outcome is still a very solo sounding project. Arrangements is where PROMINENCE shines. Managing to sound inventive and not quite like anything else with such a limited palette is a rare and commendable feat. From the slide guitar and pulsing nylon string samples of "Honest" to the flamingo call and deep kick combo of the 2nd half of "Complete" Heavenly Beat keeps the whole affair sounding fresh, interesting and natural. Lyrically, PROMINENCE is not an escapist affair. It's a very direct look into someone dealing with poor body image(Thin), infidelity(Honest) and emotional/physical/sexual recklessness(Prominence). It's not asking or answering any questions. Just existing within itself, fully a where of it's shortcomings.

Dead Leaf Echo

Dead Leaf Echo is a NYC band that has just finished recording their debut LP " now mixed by John Fryer (Cocteau Twins NIN). The album is scheduled for release in early 2012. Their first single "Kingmaker" will be released in 7" vinyl and digitally on 1.31.11 on Custom Made Music.

The band toured the US this summer in support of their latest EP "Versimilitude" which was released on May 31st featuring remixes and collaborations from Mark Van Hoen (Seefeel, Mojave 3), John Fryer (This Mortail Coil, Depeche Mode), Elika, RxGibbs and Remarkably Spry!

The band played SXSW earlier this year on bills with "A Place To Bury Strangers" and "And Your Will Know Us By the Trail Of the Dead" and played sold out shows in 2010 opening for the reunited Chapterhouse and Ulrich Schnauss.

"Words like ethereal, atmospheric and dreamy all come to mind after a spin of Dead Leaf Echo's Truth, and while all these descriptions are apt (and have been used repeatedly in other Dead Leaf Echo reviews), it's safe to say that the band could similarly be described as heavy, raucous - or simply, loud-as-fuck."
- H Magazine

"Some of the best live music in the city"
- Time Out NY

"We love Dead Leaf Echo's dreamy pop"
- The L Magazine

Do you ever just turn out the lights, lay down on your bed and crank the stereo, allowing the music to take you wherever it likes? Andre Obin's debut LP, The Arsonist, makes me feel like I'm hosting the most awesome of awesome underground warehouse dance parties in Bushwick. Everyone who's anyone is attending and everyone is having a great fucking time! I close my eyes and it's impossible not to get immersed in the beats and let the fantasy take hold as opening track "Golden Hair" sucks you in with it's driving beat and bass line. Boston based Obin has drawn comparisons to a range of talented producers, such as Com Truise and Trent Reznor, with his breadth of sound covering various electro sub-genres; chill wave, industrial, minimalist, and pop. "Blue Powder" is reminiscent of the former's 80's synth-rich grooves and mellow beats whilst title track "The Arsonist" summons much darker elements as found in Reznor's body of work. For me the stand out track on the record is the ethereal "Enjoy" with its' lavish soaring synths and chill wave tones; it's easy to see why comparisons to Washed Out have been made

The Arsonist is out next month on Sky Council Recordings and Obin will be perfoming at this year's SXSW to support the release.

United Ghosts

Meet Los Angeles band United Ghosts. The band blends a seemingly dizzying collection of influences that range from Kraut-rock and electro to classic psychedelia and shoegaze into a cohesive sound that celebrates its influences, while keeping one eye firmly set towards the future.

Initially conceived as a loose garage-studio project by founding members and co-vocalists Sha Sabi and Axel Steuerwald, United Ghosts quickly developed into a fully-fledged band with the inclusion of drummer Sean Burgess and guitar player Jason O.

The band released its debut 7", "Holes Into the Night" in November 2011 and the track quickly made waves in the blogosphere and appeared on a number of "Best of 2011" lists, from Buzzbands LA and LA Record to NYC's Indie Darkroom.

Radio acclaim soon followed on both sides of the pond. UK indie maven Steve Lamacq gave "Holes.." several spins on his BBC 6 music show, as did XFM London's "Guru of new music" John Kennedy.
Los Angeles DJ Nic Harcourt, formerly host of the legendary "Morning Becomes Eclectic", made it his "Connection" (single of the week) on KCSN, granting three spins a day throughout the week. Encouraged by this response the band started work on a full-length album.

"We want to explore a different side of LA," says Steuerwald, "the side we know. It's not all sunshine and gloss. There's a hazy, murky, electric-night-pulse to this place that is really interesting".

The (self titled) album saw a March 2013 release to positive reviews from both the UK and US.. In March/April '13, the band also completed a successful mini-tour of England, bringing critical acclaim from the British print and online press. Artrocker described the live set as "effortlessly cool", while Critical Wave's Samantha Graham said of the band's Brighton show "it was mesmerizing...blew me away...these guys will haunt you". As a result of the UK success, the album, originally only on the band's own Tambourine Girl label, was picked up by UK-based distributor Cargo Records.

Back on US shores, the band recently completed a buzzing month-long Los Angeles residency and is now gearing up to release its next single and accompanying video "Sparks From A Cold Star". This fall United Ghosts will also take their visceral show on the road, dates including another month-long stint in Europe and the UK and a subsequent stop for showcases at New York's CMJ music festival.

Black Books

Black Books began creating their heady, atmospheric mix of dreamy, visionary pop and epic southern rock in their hometown of Austin, Texas back in 2010. By 2011 The Austin Chronicle had hailed them as "Top Ten Locals to Watch in 2011," by 2012 they had toured with on coveted opening slot for The Flaming Lips. This was complimented with a wash of influential US blog attention that garnered the band complimentary comparisons to contemporaries such as Grandaddy, My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses, plus nods to iconic Godfathers of subtle psychedelic rock, Pink Floyd. Their self titled debut album Black Books has been announced for a North American release date of October 1st on Believe Recordings.

Black Books debut Aquarena EP, released in February this year, premiered exclusively on The Line of Best Fit. The EP features the cut "Favorite Place," which is also the opening S/T album track. You can hear it here via Soundcloud too. A stunning video for the song can be seen here as well. A handful of shows in Texas have been announced for August and September, while a national October tour will be announced soon as well.

Black Books are young school friends who act as a self-sufficient, close-knit creative family. Guitarist - and professional recording engineer - Kevin Butler produces all of the band's music, while keyboardist - and artist - Clarke Curtis creates their artwork and gig posters. It's been quite a ride in the band's short life span, highlighted by a recent tour with The Flaming Lips. ""It's always nuts to meet your heroes, but it's even crazier when they have confetti cannons," Ross says.

The closeness of the musicians could explain in part why Black Books' ambient, anthemic shoe-gaze has an experimental edge and maturity that stands them apart from their contemporaries. Black Books create an evoking and enveloping wall of emotion that seems as intimate as it is epic, with sprawling, mesmerising psychedelia and sun-soaked melodies blended into something driven and tightly charged with Ross Gilfillan's warm throaty drawl of a vocal. It could also be explained in the album's recording - completed as it was in a record breaking Texas drought of 2011, shortly after singer Ross Gilfillan and wife Meg (keys/vocals) became parents for the first time. Black Books debut is therefore the child of a stifling, claustrophobic heat and an overpowering awe inspiring feeling of love.


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