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Category Archives: Alternative

68creep – Goodnight, Sweet Betty (Kiss/Kill/Repeat Records Release: 22 September 2017)

68Creep Announce Debut Album, Preview First Single ‘Black Cat’

NYC outfit 68creep have announced their debut LP ‘Goodnight, Sweet Betty’ and are teasing the album’s first single ‘Black Cat’. 
It says a lot about an artist when those trying to catch their essence in a witty sound bite move from being concise and descriptive into the realm of high literary art. Any band that can be metaphorically described as sounding like “murder at midnight” and “beautiful melodies telling me terrible things” makes for a tantalising proposition. NYC’s 68creep are indeed that. Inspired by numerous artists, including PJ Harvey, Dead Weather, Beach House, The Misfits, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper andThe Cramps, they offer a fusion of dark emotions, doom-laden pop, acid-laced musical retro-mania, and the dark underbelly of the hippy dream turned bad.
‘Black Cat’ is inspired by lack of love and the persistence of hope and humor, ringing through in lyrics like “I wanna make you mine. You lovely waste of time”.
The spirit of filmmaker and musician David Lynch seems to hover above everything the band does like a mercurial patron and spiritual advisor. “What would David do?” has even become the band mantra for swerving creative blocks, ensuring that the music brims with the same essence as one of his films.
68creep’s backstory even starts with a very Lynchian starting point, with John McRandle and Patrick Casey meeting at a New York City advertising agency, where they were marketing drugs designed to combat schizophrenia. The Kiss/Kill/Repeat label gave the band the backing and impetus they needed and very soon they were pushing their heavy, surreal, carny, creepcore to like-minded music fans.
Adding to 68creep’s intense sound is Colyn Hunt on bass and Kimberly Seewald on vocals. “Kim’s pretty soft-spoken; well, except when she laughs,” says Patrick Casey. “But once she opens her mouth to sing, she can pin you up against a wall.” She’s more than pure power though. “Kim’s got versatile skills. Our softer, more melodic, melancholy songs really show that off.”
Following up their debut EP ‘The Rumors Are True’ is the perfect storm coming in the forthcoming long-play album ‘Goodnight, Sweet Betty’, the title of which derives from a quote from the David Lynch film ‘Mulholland Drive’. This LP promises more of the same dark and heavy, ethereal weird beauty and slightly tongue in cheek qualities that have become the band’s hallmark.
At the heart of this release is John McRandle’s big, earthmoving baritone guitar. It can churn out a song’s sludgy riff, or sparsely sprinkle it with a chilly melody. Drummer Patrick Casey leans into his work, riding his toms taiko style, while giving even the heaviest grooves a good hard swing. Colyn Hunt anchors the foundation with deep-in-the-pocket grooves and a taste for airy, melodic runs. Riding on top of this swell is Kimberly Seewald’s vocals. Together, 68creep wails and soars, hitting the listener hard, but every so often, also comfort and console.
“This album wouldn’t have sounded like this if it weren’t written in New York. We are always talking about how a relationship with New York is love/hate. And it’s a real relationship. This environment is gonna seep into your songs, like an ex lover might slip into a dream. Whether you want them there or not,” says Casey. “To me, New York seems to be constantly saying, ‘I’m gonna hook you up with the most talented, mind-blowing people on the planet. But don’t look for a happy ending here’…”
Who knows? Perhaps somewhere out there, David Lynch is even listening. ‘Goodnight, Sweet Betty’ will be released on September 22 and is already available for pre-order via 68creep’s Bandcamp.
TRACK LIST
1. Stone Cold Kiss
2. Black Cat
3. Welcome to my Nightmare/Halloween (Alice Cooper/Dead Kennedys)
4. Birthday
5. I Put a Spell on You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
6. Sarina Said [Bushwick Manor Mix]
7. Watch You Fall [Bushwick Manor Mix c]
CREDITS
Kimberly Seewald, John McRandle, Colyn Hunt, Patrick Casey
With melodic contributions from Sara Aridi, Anya Kaz, Fiona Silver, Carrie Slimski, and Anna Maliere
Managed by Tracey Keevan
Album painting by Calina Hiriza

Keep up with 68Creep
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Alternative

 

Darto – Human Giving (Aagoo Records 8 September 2017)

Aagoo Records to release Darto ‘Human Giving’ LP and joint Darto / WAND 7”
U.S. release on September 8.  U.K. release on September 22.

Aagoo Records has announced two releases to be issued simultaneously on September 8. The first is ‘Human Giving’, a full length album from Seattle-based four-piece Darto. The second is the ‘Follow Up / Hush’ 7” featuring Darto and WAND, who wrote and performed these tracks together.

The first LP is preceded by the single ‘I Am’, which The Big Takeover Magazine calls “a catchy sultry melancholic downtempo synth-infused psych-trip combining the best of Cate Le Bon, The Velvet Underground, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Black Ryder”.

The album’s mood is immediately clear from the first note of ‘GDLS’, enveloping the space around the listener. By the time ‘I Am’ enters, the sound and feeling transitions from lush and inviting, to focused and intentional with the keyboards and strings propelling the movement. The lyrics and accompanying melodies float along seamlessly like being lulled into a dream.

“Despite all of its catchy qualities, ‘Human Giving’ is a difficult album to pin down. The lyrical phrasing, and melodies have been stuck in my head for months,” says Alec Dartley of Aagoo Records. “It takes me to a place filled with light, despite the psych realms the band takes us”.

As the record progresses, splashes of Americana seem to emerge, painting subtle pictures of the American West, or a vast expanse that we would associate it with. It’s a momentary visit to those places as Darto keeps moving, exploring new worlds. The album closes in a cinematic soft way, where the constant is an emotional hook that dives into the human condition. This is an open story, suggestive but with room for the listener to fill in the blanks.

“We didn’t play shows or hardly go to shows for a year and a half so we could write and record the album,” says Darto’s Gordon De Los Santos. “The album comes from the places within us where hope and love exist. Where the focus is not on the self, and where everything is possible. Humans giving themselves to other humans. The power of listening on all fronts. The desired effect is and was to bring hope in some capacity.”

“We are extremely proud of this record. Writing, recording, mixing and mastering was the most intentional musical experience we have had to date. We took a lot of chances on it, and grew exponentially in the process,” says Gregory Flores. It felt, and feels like we walked through many doors while working on it, and the place we ended up is very similar to the place where we were as young people first deciding to create. A vulnerable first step towards something larger.”

‘Human Giving’ was recorded by Darto between September 2015 and January 2016 in a cabin in Cle Elum, WA and their home in Seattle. The ‘Follow Up / Hush’ 7″ was written, performed and recorded by Darto and Wand at Comp-ny in Burbank, CA in April 2017. It was engineered and recorded by Be Hussey. Both releases were mixed by Cory Hanson at Comp-ny and mastered by JJ Golden at Golden Mastering in Ventura, CA.

“We smashed together in Los Angeles and wrote these two songs; repurposed lyrics we wrote in the studio together.  A lot of people got to sing who had never sung on record before,” says Cory Hanson of WAND. “All in all, this was a successful collaboration I think. The spirit of both bands made it onto the tape together, intact.  We ate breakfast burritos the next morning, then Darto flew away.  I went to go to the beach but our car died in Topanga Canyon”.

Aagoo Records is home to vinyl releases by Xiu Xiu, Lucky Dragons, The Use with Rachelm Mason, Philippe Petit and more.

Darto Members
Gordon De Los Santos
Gregory Flores
Candace Harter
Nicholas Merz

WAND Members
Cory Hanson
Robert Cody
Sofia Arreguin
Lee Landey
Evan Burrows

DARTO ‘HUMAN GIVING’ TRACK LIST
1. GLDS
2. I Am
3. Omniscient
4. Fell III
5. Truss
6. No Self
7: Human Becoming
8. Character Study
9. Guiding Light
10. Aging
11. Within Without
12. American Storyteller

WAND/ DARTO 7″ TRACK LIST
1. Follow Up
2. Hush

Keep up with Darto 

Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Blog

Keep up with Aagoo Records

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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Alternative

 

A Shoreline Dream – Room For The Others (Latenight Weeknight Records 14 July 2017)

Colorado’s A Shoreline Dream Presents New Single ‘Room For The Others’

Colorado’s A Shoreline Dream has announced they will release a new single ‘Room For The Others’ on August 14, 2017. This is the fourth single from their ever-evolving new album, which is being released digitally one track at a time, before the full vinyl-only album is finally ready. After fine tuning the song over the winter months, it has become a favorite for the duo to play, partially due to the resonance of the song’s message. The song deals with the struggle to come to terms with, and attempting to overcome, the biggest fear in life…change. With the recent loss of close family and friends, Ryan Policky has instead taken those potential negatives and turned them into a message of personal reflection.
“Given the nature of all the amazingly overwhelming things going on these days politically, socially, etc., this track became a personal reflection on it all. Both the good and the bad. The love and the sadness,” says Ryan Policky. “I found myself feeling emotions from all sides of the spectrum, and room for the others is just that… a spectrum of emotions. This song goes out to those who may have ever felt just a little bit of place… who just wanted to stand in line with the rest.”
While the original wave of shoegazers chose textures and otherworldliness over conventional clarity and 90’s post-rockers opted for progressive and fluid structures rather than traditional form, A Shoreline Dream are the keepers of both of those flames. Delivering a heady cocktail of dream-pop, shoegaze, neo-psychedelia, goth and progressive rock, the new single also brings a gothic undertone set against a pulsing, energetic rhythm and is, on the whole, more in keeping with northern European atmosphere than the warm sidewalks of Denver’s suburbs.
A Shoreline Dream, comprised of Ryan Policky and Erik Jeffries,originate from Barnum, Colorado. Their music is often referred to as “progressive shoegaze,” indicating their blending of lush sampled textures, organic instrumentation and vocals layered like a synth. But it is the studio’s final treatment of the song that is the real joy, affecting a cavernous production style, and haunting and ethereal resonance in keeping with the semi-lucid and sonorous nature of this music.
While A Shoreline Dream have not re-invented this particular musical wheel, they have certainly re-treaded it, painted it interesting colors, and added some shimmering gloss before taking it out for a spin, ultimately leaving multi-colored vapor trails throughout the neighborhood.
Over the past 10 years, A Shoreline Dream has churned out numerous acclaimed releases under their own label (Latenight Weeknight Records), working with legends such as Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Kramer and The Engineers (for whom they remixed a song for progressive label gods K-Scope). They also opened for Chapterhouse for their final appearance.
“Room for the Others” by A Shoreline Dream will be available through iTunes and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.

LYRICS

fear the life that you recondition
In time it all will seem
miles away
the time you’ve seen
in me makes no difference
a change will make them
all fade again
you’ll break your heart
and mend your soul
there’s no room for the others
they’ll take your heart
and not let go
there’s no room for the others
the time you’ve seen in me
makes no difference (x2)
you’ll break your heart
and mend your soul
there’s no room for the others
they’ll take your heart
and not let go
there’s no room for the others

Keep up with A Shoreline Dream
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Keep up with Latenight Weeknight Records
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Posted by on July 30, 2017 in Alternative

 

Discolor Blind – Long Vivid Dream (Republic of Music 1 September 2017)

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.

CREDITS

Ashkan Malayeri – electric guitar, bass guitar, drum and synthesizer programming, lyrics

Alexis Nadeau – vocals
Daniel Dobleu – album cover artwork
All songs composed, arranged and produced by Ashkan Malayeri
Jeff Bass – rhodes, analog synth, drums (3)
Michael Spleit – cello (1,3,5)
Eric Maillet – drums (3,4,5)
Arthur Zoch – bass guitar (2)
Kelly Craig – trumpet (3)
Mixed by Boris Wilsdorf (1), Jon Caffery (2,3,4,5)

TRACKLIST

1. Migraine
2. The Life of Lily
3. What Pain Brings
4. Black and Grey
5. Poor Receipts
Keep up with Discolor Blind 

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2017 in Alternative

 

Tulipomania – On The Outside / Don’t Be So Sure (Seahawks Remix) Sursumcorda Recordings 15 September 2017

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 TwinsLush, 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.

The new three-track single will be available via Sursumcorda Recordings on September 15, 2017. It is already available for pre-order from Tulipomania’s Bandcamp page.

TRACKLIST
1.         On the Outside
2.         Don’t Be So Sure (Seahawks Remix)
3.         Don’t Be So Sure

CREDITS

Tom Murray (lead vocals, drums, bass, guitar-organ)
Cheryl Gelover (background vocals, synthesizer)
Mitch Smith (background vocals, guitar, glockenspiel)
Richard Hartline (piano, percussion, engineering and mastering)
Howard Thompson (executive production)
Keep up with Tulipomania
Website | Facebook Twitter | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Vimeo | YouTubeKeep up with Seahawks
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2017 in Alternative

 

Crash City Saints – Are You Free? (St. Marie Records 11th August 2017)

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.

Tracklist
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
9. Annabella
10. It’s Not A Party Until Someone Breaks Your Heart
11. The Hour Of The Wolf

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Shoegaze

 

The Heavy Blinkers – The Night And I Are Still So Young (Label Obscura 1 August 2017)

Label Obscura Announces Classic Re-Release for Nova Scotia’s The Heavy Blinkers First Vinyl Release of The Heavy Blinkers ‘The Night and I Are Still So Young’ 
Canada’s Label Obscura is proud to announce the upcoming reissue of one of the best independent pop albums of the early 2000s – ‘The Night And I Are Still So Young’ by The Heavy Blinkers. This is the first time this classic album will be released on vinyl.
Described by Spin magazine as “one of the greatest bands you’ve (probably) never heard”, The Heavy Blinkers is a five-piece formed in 1998 by Jason Michael MacIsaac and a group of friends, including keyboardist and songwriter Andrew Watt and ethereal vocalist Ruth Minnikin. They are based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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.

The luscious pop songmanship of this album has earned The Heavy Blinkers comparisons with Brian Wilson’s best work at his peak, as well as international acclaim and devoted fans. The band’s sonic landscape is rich with multi-tracked vocals featuring an affecting interplay between Minnikin, Watt and MacIsaac, combined with a virtual enchanted forest of arrangements.
Noisey recently included The Heavy Blinkers in their Completely Biased Ranking of the 60 Best Canadian Indie Rock Songs of the 00s, with the band also ranking Number 1 in View 902‘s The Top 20 Albums by Nova Scotians.
Label Obscura is giving this classic album the vinyl release it deserves. With brand new artwork by Yorodeo, detailed liner notes by Brian Chidester and pressed on 180-gram vinyl with a limited edition pressing of 300 copies, this release will bring plenty of smiles to fans new and old alike. It is now available for pre-order via Bandcamp.
TRACKLIST

1. Filtered Light
2. In the Morning
3. Mother Dear
4. Try Telling That to My Baby
5. Gentle Strength
6. The Night and I Are Still So Young
7. He Heard His Song
8. Silver Crown
9. Veranda Celeste
10. Fall On My Sword
11. Unreasonably Sad
12. Don’t Get Me Wrong

Keep up with The Heavy Blinkers
Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Alternative