ARTS & CRAFTS MUSIC
Zeus was born from the musical friendship of Mike O'Brien and Carlin Nicholson. The two Toronto-based musicians have been living on the road for the past few years as the backing band for singer/songwriter and Broken Social Scene member Jason Collett. With a lineup rounded out by longtime friends and musical compatriots Rob Drake and Neil Quin, Zeus draws upon classic influences to craft timeless songs, complete with fuzzed out guitars and shimmering three-part harmonies; classic rock n'roll with a touch of twang. An EP, entitled Sounds Like Zeus, was released this past summer to widespread critical acclaim, garnering near-perfect reviews and creating a stir with the band's brilliant recreation of the Genesis hit, "That's All." Say Us expands upon the ideas put forth with Sounds Like Zeus, showing even greater range and diversity. The first single, "Marching Through Your Head" has already been declared "a strong contender for pop song of the year" by Exclaim Magazine. Say Us was recorded and produced by Mike O'Brien and Carlin Nicholson in their Toronto studio and mixed by Robbie Lackritz (Feist). As astute students of the history of rock n' roll and purveyors of a sound that cross-references the British Invasion with '70s southern U.S. rock, Zeus' debut album demonstrates a band with an innate ability to create powerful and infectious music and do so as though it's an entirely natural process. Say Us is an album for the ages.
Auction For The Promise Club
Auction for the Promise Club
"Their best to date." ~ Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music
“This is great, one of those songs that builds into something of a crescendo, it's really good.” ~ Charlie Ashcroft, Amazing Radio
“Dynamic, punchy and all the things that make you want to pogo around your living room.” ~ Pete Donaldson, Absolute Radio
"Their debut EP, recorded at London's famed Abbey Road Studios, received recognition across the country and now, Auction For The Promise Club return with their latest release 'This May Hurt' - a single that expects to get a very similar response. Musically inspired by the likes of Bjork, Radiohead and Muse; the Cornwall three piece wear their influences on their sleeves with this offering, if not through sound, through context. Zoe White Chambers (singer/guitarist), Toby White Chambers (drums) and Perran Tremewan (guitars/keys) make up this indie-rock three piece and straight off the bat, the trio began garnering support in all the right places. BBC and 6Music, NME Radio, XFM, Absolute and Amazing Radio have all backed the band's past pursuits while Rolling Stone, Classic Rock, Loaded and MTV Hive have all featured them on their sites. Auction For The Promise Club have already graced the stages of Bestival, Boardmasters, Y Not, Lodestar, Leopallooza, headlined theEmerging Icons stage in the Olympic Park on the opening day of London 2012 and were subsequently asked back to play again the following week. The band intend to cover just as much ground in 2015 (The Great Escape and the BBC Introducing stage at the Looe Music Festival) but this time off the back of their new material and what is arguably their best to date." ~ Wareen Morris, The Playground
It started with a want ad, plastered across the board of a post-industrial space near Brooklyn’s infamously filthy Gowanus Canal. The request? Quite simple: “Robert Smith / Emily Haines, where are you?” The sort of thing you’d expect from a Metric fan who, as a kid growing up in New Mexico, fell under the spell of the Cure’s often bleak, yet always beguiling music at a time when riff-raking guitar heroes were all the rage.
“People would say, ‘Why would you want to play like Robert Smith?,’” explains Lightouts founder Gavin Rhodes, last heard in one-man band Honeypower. “‘Wouldn’t you rather learn how to shred instead?”
No, not really. Better to become the backbone of a fuzz-toned band in the mold of the Jesus and Mary Chain with vocals that recall David Bowie’s most spirited moments. Enter Greg Nelson, the only sane person to answer Rhodes’ call.
Nelson was exactly what Lightouts needed: A seasoned natural at toeing the line between darkness and light. For proof of the man’s formidable vocal chops, listen no further than to his sensual croon and sky-scraping wail on the verses and choruses of “See Clear,” the band’s sledgehammering debut single from 2011.
Fast-forward through the release of four ensuing singles — each a brilliant, hook-laden monster — plus dozens of live shows, press adulation from the likes of The Village Voice, SPIN, and Magnet, and the recruitment of an airtight rhythm section in the form of Dean Perry (bass) and Josh Fleischmann (drums). What began as an instrument-swapping duo is now a full-on power quartet, a development that’s set the stage for the March 2013 release of Lightouts’ first LP, Want.
A loosely linked concept album based around the idea of following forward-moving instincts while trying to keep certain desires in check, Want features a 13-track lineup that draws liberally from Lightouts’ catalog of short-form releases to include all the band’s singles and accompanying B-sides to date. Three new cuts bookend and bisect Want, including the sucker-punch title tune that arrives ten tracks in. Rhodes calls it “the most collaboratively written song on the album, in contrast to me writing most of the other tracks, apart from the vocals.”
Why the wait for Lightouts’ first full-length release? “This was always our plan,” says Rhodes. “We wanted our debut album to come after we’d established ourselves as a band that made music worth listening to.”
There’s little doubt Want is a clear thoroughbred in 2013′s best debut album horse race, and Rhodes, Nelson, and Perry are justifiably proud of their two years of work. They’re also less than shy about paying homage to their strongest influences, buried in melodic distortion as they may be. For sonic proof, seek out the band’s singles for phenomenally reverent updates of deep cuts by the Stone Roses, the La’s, Guided By Voices, the Cure (of course), and not least of all, a devastating mash-up of LCD Soundsystem’s “All I Want” and Bowie’s “Heroes.”
Rhodes elaborates: “While we’ve been compared to everyone from the Hold Steady to Surfer Blood, it’s no secret that many of our touchstones are acts from the early ’90s.”
“I like bands who sound like Animal Collective and Yeasayer,” admits Nelson. “But we’re not part of the new primitive movement, you know? We’re after something tighter and more structured.”
“Like Smashing Pumpkins,” adds Rhodes. “When they were good.”
We Are The Arsenal
We Are The Arsenal is a 4-piece rock band based out of southern California Formed in 2006, the band has self-released 4 EP's and 1 full-length album. Most recently, the group released their most focused and mature album to date. "American Folklore," released on 3/26/13, explodes with seven tracks of guitar-driven, down-home rock & roll. Storytelling lyrics, shredding guitar solos, and powerful hooks collide to shape what has become the definitive We Are The Arsenal record.
Following in the footsteps of so many other iconic Orange County rock acts, WATA continues to carve their own niche in an ever-changing musical landscape. Over the last 7 years, this steadfast group of musicians has taken the state of being an unsigned band and turned it into an art form. Without label backing or funding, We Are The Arsenal has watched dozens of their peers fall by the wayside, while continuing to tour, release new music, and headline southern California's most prestigious venues.
Chief songwriter & vocalist Ryan Terrigno and Kansas City-bred Lead Guitarist Caleb Blacksher round out WATA's string section, while Bassist Alex Seielstad, and heavy-handed drummer Kris Dufour complete the rhythm section.
Jenna Earle is not your typical singer-songwriter. With a moody yet inviting soundscape that stems from her unique slide and open-tuning guitar techniques, her music couples distinctive lyrics and vibey production with sultry, almost haunting vocals. Born into a gypsy lifestyle, Jenna literally began her life on the road when her mom gave birth to her while traveling and she has been "off the grid" ever since. Spending her youth on a farm devoid of electricity and running water, Jenna's childhood consisted of one-room schoolhouses, bohemian parties and entertaining herself by listening to her parents and their friends play blues and flamenco music.
The product of a musical family spanning many generations, Jenna was fortunate enough to appear as a featured vocalist on a Juno-nominated album by uncle Lenny Graf at the age of 11. Her music education was furthered after watching late-night jam sessions at smoky downtown jazz clubs and attending Selkirk College, where she earned a diploma in music composition. Jenna's latest EP was produced by Bill Bell (Jason Mraz, Justin Nozuka, Tom Cochrane) and reflects her wide-ranging influences from greats such as Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Robert Johnson.
Badman Recording Company
If neural physics has taught us one thing, it's that together, three female minds form a super brain. In the triad Lovers, Carolyn Berk, Kerby Ferris, and Emily Kingan balance, accentuate, and harmonize their unique talents. With animated honesty and unrelenting humor, Lovers enthusiastically draws an audience into the darkly colorful world of their hearts, where throbbing pop textures and a steady electronic pulse transform tender introspections into room-shaking anthems. The result is an expansive sonic landscape of colorful wonder and hope, and an interactive and engaging performance that strives to leave audiences inspired.
Since 2001 songwriter Carolyn Berk has established her unique voice under the Lovers moniker with four acclaimed, haunted, heart-broken releases. The addition of waveform artist Kerby Ferris and multi-talented instrumentalist, Emily Kingan (of the hardcore due, the Haggard) focuses three wildly ambitious and boldly sincere artists on hooky beats and interactive performance.
Badman Recording Company
Hailing from Malmo and Stockholm Sweden, The Bell are a three piece with a penchant for memorable melodies and drum machine driven, classic, alternative songs. Vocals and instruments are shared by the trio of Nicklas Nilsson, Mathias Stromberg and Jan Petterson. Though they live many miles apart, they co-wrote and recorded Great Heat together through e-mail, electronic file exchanges and Skype. Great Heat is the follow-up to their stri- kingly good 2007 release Make Some Quiet.
Badman Recording Company
The Builders and The Butchers
Alaska is a most unlikely origin for the five young men who comprise the Builders and the Butchers. Between 2002-2005, each of the members that would eventually form the band moved to Portland from Alaska pursuing music as a means of escaping subzero temperatures and the endless winter darkness. Soon after moving to Portland Ryan Sollee, singer songwriter and guitarist for The Builders, immersed himself in pre-1950’s American music, and started writing Southern Gothic themed story-songs “I was raised on Punk Rock but when I moved to Portland I discovered American Roots music, I felt as though there was similarities between the two styles. They are both genres that you cannot passively listen to, they almost evoke a response or an immediate reaction from you.”
It was a typical rainy Portland afternoon at Ray Rude’s house (who plays “drums” in The Builders), hanging with friends when Ryan decided to show them what he was working on. Something clicked that afternoon and within minutes everyone in attendance found something to play. Alex Ellis happened to have an old acoustic bass, and Harvey Tumbleson had borrowed a Mandolin, Ray sat down at the piano and they just started playing. Paul Seely joined the band a week later as a drummer and instrumentalist and the Builders and The Butchers were born.
Starting innocently enough as a fully acoustic rambling bunch, seeking out audiences on street corners and outside of venues, make no mistake this is not another story of busking come good, The Builders were not looking for money nor were they looking for fame, they were just playing the music they wanted to on their own terms. The band didn’t work out parts on these early songs, they were developed playing on the street, and this philosophy carries through today, by choosing to develop songs live or at rehearsal. Ryan Sollee says “Something special happens when we get in a room and try to work out a song. If I come in with a developed song it never seems to sound as good or it does not sound like The Builders.” In particular it was at these performances that Ray and Paul worked out their unique “deconstructed” drum style.
They played in the rain and cold of Portland winters until instruments were warped and broken, then one day the Builders sold out and booked a real show, then another, and crowds soon were seeking the Builders out. At the early shows it was hard to distinguish the band from the audience, nothing was mic’d or amplified, and seemingly everyone in the audience had a shaker, washboard, or were just beating on the wall and singing. All in attendance saw something special happening, a Portland audience was having fun, singing along and participating, the music demanded a celebration. Within a year, the Builders would win the Willamette Week’s “Best New Band of 2008” and Seattle Sound’s “Best Live Performers 2008” and completed supporting tours with the Helio Sequence, Brand New, Langhorne Slim, Amanda Palmer, Dax Riggs, Murder By Death and Port O’brien.
The Builders don’t pay homage to old America, they channel it. All of the basic instruments are there, acoustic bass, drum, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. They mix gospel, blues, and bluegrass and howl desperate story-songs that latch onto your brain and demand immediate attention.
The timeless sound of their songs, harkens back to a time long passed in music, but reflecting the dark times of the present. Their self-titled debut was released in 2007 and showcases the bands early raw sound. Their latest release titled “Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well” is a much more complete work showcasing the bands full potential. On Salvation, the Builders worked with producer Chris Funk from the Decemberists who brought with him a throng of expertise, patience, instruments, and some of the best musicians in Portland. Salvation record combines the immediacy of the Builders early work with more a developed songwriting, each one with its own personality and story to tell. In the vein of the Southern Gothic tales Ryan weaves stories of struggle with the usual cast of characters God, the Devil, soldiers, branches, wind, rain and hell fire. The record starts with a piano chord and an eerie wind escalating into the thunderous “Golden and Green”, stomp and grinds its way through “Devil Town” and “The Short Way Home”, to the Spanish tinged “Barcelona" and “Raise Up”, and the soaring chorus of “In The Branches”, ending with a lesson of hope in the gospel homage “The World is a Top”.
The story of “Salvation is a Deep Dark Well” is that there’s joy and celebration through the darkness, there’s light in the hardest of times, and when you reach the bottom may salvation light your way.
Bang Bang Boogaloo
The Dead Exs
"The Dead Exs' debut Resurrection has such an authentic vibe. It's a vibrant recording, but it also sounds like it could have been released at any time over the last forty years." - Jason Kundrath, Pop Break (Mar 22, 2011)
"With the current revival of rock music demanding its place among New York City nightlife, The Dead Exs are within the vanguard of this musical re-explosion. " - Garrett Prince, The Hurdy Gurdy (Jan 24, 2011)
Pattiillo is a producer with a credit list from Alanis Morrissette to the Hold Steady, The Black Crowes to the Beastie Boys and last year produced the Reni Lane debut for Universal Motown. Wirth has toured extensively in Europe and the US with various bands and was a member of the Warner Bros act Sweet Lizard Illtet.
Pattillo's love for the upbeat raw recordings of Howlin' Wolf and the garage rock of The Sonics inspired him to go back to his roots and record a true to life thrashing blues record.
Bar None Records
Breakfast in Fur
With the February 3, 2015 release of Flyaway Garden on Bar/None Records, Breakfast In Fur showcases their full maturation as a band, drawing on influences as varied as sixties pop, British IDM, avant-garde jazz, psychedelia, shoegaze, ambient music and punk. Recorded in various studios, living rooms, and attics throughout the Hudson Valley, Flyaway Garden is an intricate soundscape encompassing an eclectic mix of instrumentation and musical styles.
Moving around upstate New York in his early twenties, Dan Wolfe found himself living in a friend’s laundry room in Ithaca. It was here he began experimenting on an old four track recorder and developing the aesthetic that would later evolve into Breakfast In Fur. In the summer of 2007 Wolfe moved again and landed in the small mountain town of New Paltz, NY. Once settled, Wolfe began to devote all his time to late night/early morning recording sessions that resulted in a collection of layered, intimate pop songs with foundations in folk and psychedelic music.
Coaxed by a friend into taking a break from his reclusive music making, Wolfe met artist and musician Kaitlin Van Pelt at a party and soon afterwards shared with her the recordings he had been working on. Wolfe asked Van Pelt to sing alongside him on these tracks and together they finished the songs and produced hundreds of hand-made CD-R’s that they distributed throughout the Hudson Valley. They called their project and the eponymous EP that resulted “Breakfast in Fur.”Sonically the EP is a self-contained universe of jangly guitar, children’s toy sounds, layered percussion, droning accordion and soft, whispered vocals. Released as a 10”vinyl on Analog Edition Records in 2011, these recordings would be a starting point for the project.
Mike Hollis, a guitarist and one of Wolfe’s first friends and roommates in New Paltz, played live music with several groups locally and insisted they start a band to play Breakfast In Fur’s songs live. Soon Wolfe, Van Pelt and Hollis were writing new material and experimenting with various collaborators as they played shows around the Hudson Valley and New York City. Together with multi-instrumentalist Matt Ross and drummer Chris Walker, Breakfast In Fur started working on the recordings that would become their debut full-length album, Flyaway Garden.
While maintaining elements of the pastoral folk of their first EP on songs like “Portrait and Whisper”, Flyaway Garden also sees the band moving into more aggressive, punk influenced territories with tracks such as “Shape and Setting Stone”. British IDM and ambient music play a significant role on their newalbum, most notably in the electronic textures that accent, and occasionally envelop these recordings. Perhaps best representing Breakfast In Fur’s multi-faceted aesthetic is their cover of Neil Young’s “Cripple Creek Ferry”, which brings together their many musical influences into a single recording. At once a dreamy pop song, a pulsing work of dissonant electronic music, an homage to a classic rock hero, and a prog-rock mini-epic in three movements, Breakfast In Fur’s production of “Cripple Creek Ferry” is a highly original and complex recontextualizing of Neil Young’s song that both embraces the past, and moves far beyond it
As Wolfe told the Miscreant Fanzine about the lyrical content of their latest album, “the new record has a lot of songs about time and identity—like when you look at a photograph of yourself as a child... how are you that person? There’s a lot about that kind of feeling.”These questions of identity and the passing of time crop up all over Flyaway Garden. Tellingly the cover art features an illustrated version of Wolfe as a four year old overtaken by flowing layers of color.
Now performing live as Dan Wolfe, Kaitlin Van Pelt, Mike Hollis, Chris Walker and Pete Newman, Flyaway Garden marks Breakfast In Fur’s transition from the quiet bedroom folk of their first EP into the experimental psychedelic rock of their new album.