Har Mar Superstar

Bye Bye 17, the new album from acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Tillmann), is currently out on Cult Records. Already receiving widespread critical praise,BULLETT calls the album, "impossibly groovy and infectious," while KCRW asserts, "I'd call the album a guilty pleasure but I don't feel guilty at all. It's just packed full of hooks." Additionally, of the album's first single, "Lady, You Shot Me," Death + Taxes declares, "Har Mar Superstar returns with the song of his career," while MTV Buzzworthy calls it a "Buzzworthy Obsession."

Vertical Scratchers

Vertical Scratchers is John Schmersal (ex- Brainiac/Enon, live Caribou & Crooks on Tape) and Christian Beaulieu (ex-Triclops!/Anywhere). Their debut album Daughter of Everything will be released on February 25, 2014.

One of the most persistent elements you will hear throughout the record is the percussive nature in which the guitars were played and recorded. Guitar playing is vertical scratching, and in this band, the guitar strums are almost louder than the amps. John explains, "Part of the aesthetic we we're establishing when writing Vertical Scratchers songs was to maintain a sense of urgency and raw energy without relying on volume and distortion. I wanted the guitars to sound light and jangle-y and most songs were purposefully sang in a soft falsetto.

Simplicity was the inspiration. Get in the van. Rehearse in the van. Tour in the van. Stay mobile. "I have played in a lot of bands with complicated set ups and implemented technologies," says John. "I also do a lot of recording and editing on computers of music/audio. So, part of the longing for simplicity was about streamlining the ideas to be as organic and real time as possible." This impulse to keep things moving is reflected in the songs themselves. Most Vertical Scratchers' songs clock in under the 2 minute mark but, often going in twice as many directions as your average length song. Pop Deception. Think the Kinks with a Buzzcocks brevity.

"The most complicated aspect of the songs are the structures themselves but, only if you tried to learn how to play them. The details are supposed to SOUND easy," continues John. We wanted to strip things down to the bare bones for aesthetics and presentation. Christian and I liked the idea of being able to show up anywhere with next to nothing, jump onto a stage that had whatever drums and guitar set up and be able to play these songs. (not that we plan on showing up everywhere with absolutely nothing) But, the principle is possible.

Daughter of Everything was recorded live in Los Angeles at The Smell in September of 2012. The special guest appearance on lead vocals from Robert Pollard was recorded at Waterloo Sound in Ohio by Todd Tobias.


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