Colorado’s A Shoreline Dream Presents New Single ‘Room For The Others’
Colorado’s A Shoreline Dream Presents New Single ‘Room For The Others’
What’s in a name? Sometimes a lot more than you might at first realize. The band’s name suggests a perfect combination of complexity and a chilled vibe, which is exactly the dynamic dichotomy making up both their sound and attitude.
Originally conceived and launched in New York in the late nineties, the collective re-assembled in 2016 to grow anew in the San Francisco Bay Area and are again built from a wonderful blend of soul, pop jazz and the spirit of social activism.
The original band grew from the bass-drums pairing of John Ormondand Jaz Sawyer, best known as the rhythm section for the late great Abbey Lincoln, probably the most outspoken of the jazz divas, who brought a sense of black consciousness and social activism to the jazz world a long time before it became a trend. Taking everything they had soaked up while working with that great lady, the linked up with vocalist Valerie Troutt, keyboardist Emanuel Ruffler and rapper Ambessa ‘the Articulate’ Cantave, resulting in a unique mix of hip hop, rock, neo-soul and spoken word, sampling, beat making and improvisational approaches honed while performing in clubs and lounges in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.
Fast-forward to 2016 when the opportunity arose to revisit the project with the original lineup and new direction. In the interim, Valerie Troutthad done more than establish herself as a musical artist in the East Bay area, taking on a highly active role in the cultural and creative community through her work with the Oakland Public Conservatory, the Museum of African Diaspora, Higher Ground Neighborhood Corp. and the Embodiment Project, where she is Music Director.
After a recent performance at Oakland’s Studio Grand, the band locked themselves away in the Bird and Egg Studio, resulting in six brand new tracks for their ‘Porgy’ LP, The lead track ‘Trouble Won’t Last’ is a fantastic balance of classic and exploratory, iconic past sounds and forward moving modernity, a subtle and meaningful fusion of free jazz, pop and urban minimalism, reaching far beyond the cross-genre shot-in-the-dark approach many artists take when navigating such territory.
“Valerie sent me a phone recording of the song, with her doing all the parts with her voice. I took it apart and added a few harmonic twists to it, but left the feel and tempo unchanged. The song deals with the division of the spiritual and material life… And how we often have to make an effort to not be limited or controlled by our material environment,” explains Emanuel Ruffler.
But Labyrinth Lounge is certainly a team effort and it is the varied and diverse journeys – musical, physical and spiritual – the players have been on that bring the various elements and textures together.
Valerie Troutt is a music collagist, borrowing from ancestral centuries of sound, channeling spirits, and delivering the stories of our love, loss, and lives, a musical shaman and hungry to communicate with people. Jaz Sawyer, also originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, has toured with everyone from George Benson to Santana to The Grateful Dead before working with Abbey Lincoln on this particular path.
German born Emanuel Ruffler visited New York in 1992 and was immediately struck by the breath-taking artistic level and creative environment, so moved there to study with legendary pianists such as Jaki Byard, John Hicks and Mulgrew Miller a few years later. After taking grand prize in the Thelonious Monk Competition, he has achieved songwriting credit on Me’shell Ndegocello’s ‘Aquarium’ and also collaborated with world-famous designer Emanuel Ungaro, which ultimately led to Ruffler soundtracking an ad for an Ungaro-produced perfume.
Jaz Sawyer also comes with a colorful pedigree, beginning drums at the age of two and having played Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Santana, and The Grateful Dead, among many others.
“Trouble Won’t Last” Is a funky soulful laid-back approach to Trump’s America. It’s what our grandmothers said when life gave them lemons. It’s a reminder to keep pushing against all odds until you see the outcome you desire,” says Valerie Troutt.
The accompanying video was produced by Townfuturist Media and directed by Korise Jubert. It features members of Mooncandy LiveHouse Ensemble and Labyrinth Lounge.
‘Porgy’ will be released on August 25 through Rufftone Records. The band is also preparing a string of live performances in LA and the San Francisco Bay Area in the fall of 2017.
Recorded by Nino Moschella at Bird and Egg Studio in Richmond, CA
Mixed by Rashaan Carter and Emanuel Ruffler at Rufftone Studios
Mastered by Kevin Blackle
Cover Art: “I See Black People” by Valerie Brown-Troutt
Montreal’s Discolor Blind Previews ‘Black and Grey’ from Debut EP ‘Long Vivid Dream’
If a musician’s creative output is intrinsically linked to the journey that brought them to that point then it is hardly surprising that Discolor Blind’s debut EP ‘Long Vivid Dream’ is a mercurial blend of flavours and genres. The journey taken by frontman Askhan Malayeri has been one that has taken him from his native Tehran to Cambridge and London and then across the Atlantic to Canada, where he established his own studio and began pulling together all of the ideas that would weave together as his first significant release.
This is as much a show case for Ashkan’s musical skills, from composition to lyric writing to multi-instrumentalism to production, as it is a suite of songs in its own right. This EP not only connects the dots of his musical learning, but also connects the flavours of the cultures he has lived in and the styles that have influenced him.
‘Long Vivid Dream’ was recorded in Montreal between April 2013 and October 2015. It features vocalist Alexis Nadeau, who Malayeri met through a mutual friend in September 2013. The EP also involves Grammy and Oscar-winning music producer Jeff Bass, best known for his long-term work with Eminem.
The first single from the EP is ‘Black and Grey’, a song shot through with the melancholia and angst that crept in from the cold Canadian winters he now found himself acclimatising to. But it also sums up the myriad textures found on the record, a mix of chilled and measured washes, which are used as platforms for more intricate sounds from raw guitars and plaintive pianos to pop beats and even sultry jazz grooves.
Building up the songs involved a long and dedicated process, where Askhan plays the core sounds across a variety of instruments and digital methods, many of which are then replaced by other players for the final recording, and vocals added above the tracks. He likened the process to “rebuilding a large cathedral brick by brick”.
Anyone listening to the five songs that make up this debut will see that the attention to detail is worth the effort as this generically shifting collection is not only difficult to categorise but may actually need new genres created to describe it. It takes in dreamy soundscapes, rock aggression, pop aware melodicism, progressive attitudes, sonorous gothic edges and quirky nu-jazz and everything in between, yet somehow maintains a cohesiveness, always sounding like a complimentary collection of songs rather than a scatter gun of musical ideas. Eclecticism, it would seem, is back on the menu.
Ashkan Malayeri – electric guitar, bass guitar, drum and synthesizer programming, lyrics
Tulipomania Presents Seahawks Remix of ‘Don’t Be So Sure’
Philadelphia-based Tulipomania has announced they will release a new single, which includes three tracks. The first single from this collection is the Seahawks Remix of ‘Don’t Be So Sure’.
Seahawks is a duo made up of Jon Tye, founder of the legendary Lo Recordings (whose roster includes Grimes, Aphex Twin, Four Tet, Thurston Moore and Astronauts) and Pete Fowler, creator of Monsterism vinyl toys and perhaps most famed as illustrator of oh so many Super Furry Animals album sleeves. The duo are self-described purveyors of “psychedelic yacht rock, deck shoegaze, hazy beach pop vibrations, and marina drone”.
The original version of ‘Don’t Be So Sure’ featured on the band’s fourth album ‘This Gilded Age’ (2016), described by Byron Coley of WIRE Magazine (May 2017 edition) as “…pretty whacked – something akin to a battle of the bands between Crazy Horse and The Kronos Quartet”.
Tulipomania, whose name was inspired by the 1637 Dutch tulip market collapse, has been categorized as ‘cult synth punks’, ‘glam-leaning’, ‘postpunk’, ‘art rock’, and ‘muscular chamber pop’. Band members Tom Murray (lead vocals, bass, drums, guitar-organ) and Cheryl Gelover(synthesizer, background vocals) were joined by Mitch Smith (guitar, glockenspiel), who also contributed to the band’s eponymous first album, Richard Hartline (piano, percussion, engineering and mastering), and Howard Thompson (executive producer).
This release features intriguing new artwork by legendary artist Vaughan Oliver, whose work they have long admired. Oliver give distinct visual identities for 4AD releases by many bands, including Mojave 3, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Breeders, This Mortal Coil, Pale Saints, Pixies, and Throwing Muses, in addition to numerous non-4AD artists such as David Sylvian.
This release will also be accompanied by two new music videos, animated by Tulipomania themselves. The band’s meticulous, mesmerizing videos augment the group’s artistry, involving painstaking frame-by-frame stop-motion animation techniques.
Gelover and Murray first met in Art school, and found themselves collaborating on projects for their Experimental Film and Animation classes. Tulipomania essentially grew along with these experiences. They were influenced by Talk Talk, the solo work by Mark Hollis andTim Friese-Greene, and many early 4AD bands, including Cocteau Twins, Lush, Throwing Muses, and The Pixies.
Described as “artistic and inventive”, the music videos created by Tulipomania have been featured in film festivals worldwide, the most recent of which include the London Short Film Festival (England), Leeds International Film Festival (England), Aesthetica Short Film Festival (York, England), Encounters (Bristol, England), Zubroffka (Poland), and StopTrik (Croatia, Poland).
‘Don’t Be So Sure’ was the band’s first hand-painted animation, featuring multiple passes of brushwork shot on thousands of individual sheets of black paper, thereby allowing singing self-portraits to morph and dissolve in an atmospheric exploration of ambiguity. For the video made for the Seahawks Remix, the band re-photographed the original artwork, frame by frame, matching the new tempo and softer mood, which they felt also called for a more painterly, layered approach to the imagery.
1. On the Outside
2. Don’t Be So Sure (Seahawks Remix)
3. Don’t Be So Sure
Crash City Saints are back with the long awaited follow up to Glow In The Dark Music, which inspired rave reviews back in 2010, with single “Out From The Storm” winning Song of the Day honors from KEXP.
Highlighted by the contribution of Cocteau Twins‘ Simon Raymonde, Are You Free? might be the best shoegaze-influenced album released all year, and yet it’s so much more than that.
It’s something of a shoegaze “Quadrophenia”, telling the autobiographical story of a teenager growing up in a dead-end small town in the early 90s.
Each song, other than being a lyrical outlook at teenage melancholia in a small-town wasteland, represents also an homage to the bands from that period: My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Galaxie 500, and the whole Madchester scene (Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Dylans, The High, Soup Dragons, Northside, Charlatans UK, Jesus Jones and EMF).
Music can “save your life” as The Smiths once put it, and those bands become actual torches to move forward in the darkness.
Every band has a history, and the history of Crash City Saints is a litany of missed connections and infidelity, a series of false starts and crushing disappointments.
In this sense, Crash City Saints are just like the rest of us—you’d think they were cursed if their music didn’t sound like it was touched by the gods. And yet they haven’t given up.
In that sense, they are special.
They’re from Kalamazoo, Michigan. This means they sing about going to 7-11, not going to brunch. Are You Free? gallops from strength to strength—songs of ice cream and car crashes, the end of school and the end of existence—before ending with the elegiac ‘Harbour Lights.’
Although anglophile enough to reference an iconic UK sitcom, the album title is American enough to wonder if freedom still exists.
1. Ice Cream Headache
2. Smile Lines
3. Weirdos Need Love Too
4. There’s No School Tomorrow
5. Use Once Then Dispose
6. Spirit Photography
7. Act 2
8. Dawn Of A Bright New Nothing
10. It’s Not A Party Until Someone Breaks Your Heart
11. The Hour Of The Wolf
By 2004, the intricate and tightly constructed chamber pop of The Heavy Blinkers had become well known, winning them widespread acclaim, albeit without corresponding commercial success for their self-titled debut release in 2000 and the ‘Better Weather’ LP in 2002. The band reached a remarkable breakthrough with their fourth album ‘The Night and I Are Still So Young’ (2004), exhibiting a new maturity in this stunningly orchestrated pop masterpiece.
At the time that ‘The Night and I Are Still Young’ was recorded, The Heavy Blinkers were comprised of Andrew Watt, Greg Fry, Jason MacIsaac, Ruth Minnikin, and Trevor Forbes. MacIsaac is currently the only remaining original member of the band.
Two years in the making, this album consolidates the nocturnal orchestrations of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev and grafts them onto material akin to 70’s era Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman. This has led to the group gathering fans wide and afar, including Sondre Lerche, Van Dyke Parks and The High Llamas.
Stream ‘Kristin Hersh Live on KEXP’. Kristin Hersh returns to Dublin for special one-off concert
Kristin Hersh is most recognized as the front person for the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses. She has also found a surprisingly successful career as an author, she has published the critically acclaimed “Paradoxical Undressing” in the UK (released as “Rat Girl” in the USA), a children’s book “Toby Snax,” and “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die,” a highly acclaimed personal account of her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt.
‘Wyatt At The Coyote Palace’ is the third release in the ground-breaking book-CD format that Hersh began with her previous solo album “Crooked” and Throwing Muses’ 2013 release “Purgatory/Paradise”.
“Wyatt” is a collection of true stories and songs of love and loss, combining Kristin’s humor with the pains and travails of a life spent constantly in motion. Defined by potent guitars, addictive melodies and poignant lyrics, this release is a serious sign of strength and depth, bringing the listener into what the BBC calls Kristin’s “dark and dizzy world.”
“The stories are all true. They happened over the last few decades. The songs were written in the last five years. They’re true, too, in a much more oblique way,” explains Kristin Hersh. “But it’s always felt to me that songs were pushing my life around so they could be born: I live the stories and then the song lives. Very much like children. A baby isn’t born because you got pregnant, you got pregnant because a baby was going to be born.”
Kristin plays all instruments on this 24-track opus, including guitar, bass, drums, piano, horns, cello and even field recordings. Recorded in Rhode Island with engineer Steve Rizzo, the songs were written in the last 5 years over a turbulent period in her life, the prose was inspired by her son Wyatt, who is on the autism spectrum. His fascination with an abandoned apartment building behind the studio inhabited by coyotes inspired this record’s title.