Ghost Town, Inc.
With the decline of Western civilization comes a new pilgrimage of musicians looking to carve out their fates from the wreckage of the past. ÆGES are the new breed of California's creative drifters.
Founded by former Seattleite Mark Holcomb (Undertow, Shift) and Chicago-raised Larry Herweg (Pelican, Tusk), ÆGES grew out of a temporary hiatus for their other band, San Angelus. Holcomb and Herweg continued writing new material and forging into heavier terrain. Another transplant, Kemble Walters (The Rise, The Blank Faces, Juliette and the Licks), who grew up in Indonesia, had met Herweg while on tour in Chicago. With both Herweg and Walters now living in LA, they began to play music together. Herweg noticed the similarities between Holcomb and Walters playing and writing and knew the two had to meet each other. Holcomb and Walters hit it off instantly in person and in the rehearsal space. The final piece to the puzzle was the sole California native, bassist Tony Baumeister (16, Cutthroats 9).
Converging in Southern California across state lines and international waters, ÆGES use their world-wise musical expertise to rebuild the archetype of the heavy rock band. There's a definite element of desert rock in ÆGES sound--the low-tuned guitars, the sludgy sun-baked riffs, the deceptive pop hook buried in the molasses-thick instrumentation. Yet the diverse backgrounds of the band members create a unique blend of perspectives and a resultantly fresh sound. The common sonic thread between the four individuals in ÆGES--their tenure in bands that explored the darker side of hardcore-manifests itself in the aggressive tonalities of their sound. But their divergent paths, both geographical and musical, broadened the emotional palette beyond the angst of their earlier bands. Their debut EP, "Roaches", is set for release via Hawthorne Street Records (Pelican, The Life and Times, Sweet Cobra) on April 19th, 2011. Their live debut is slated for April 16th, Record Store Day.
The new millennium ushered in a new, revitalized era of artistic integrity for LA. We saw it in the age of the acid-hazed '60s, the age of the nihilistic Regan-era punks, and the current age of abandoned archetypes of a failed economy. It's creative optimism in a time of hopelessness. It's the music of ÆGES.
Ghost Town, Inc.
Pink Frost (formerly called Apteka) is Adam Lukas, Dino Balocchi, Jesse Hozeny, and Dave Narey. We are from Chicago. We play rock music. We like large kick drums, tube amplification, and face melting. Thanks.
Said the Gramophone - "If The Clientele were a punk band: people prone to fistfights with their brothers, with flicking light-switches til they break. If snowstorms shed sparks or cicadas caught fire. If you longed so much for something that you could never sleep again. Or if all your friends started playing electric guitars at once."
Chicago Reader- "With its chiming guitar, churning rhythms, expansive atmospherics, and keening, melodic vocals, the song presses the same buttons as classic Ride. I expect good things from this band, and soon."
Devil Has the Best Tuna Blog- "Their Smashing Pumpkins like twist on the late 80s Oxford based shoegazers Swervedriver and Ride takes me back to those halcyon days when staring at your shoes through a matted mop of hair whilst furiously bashing your guitars to create a Tsunami of sound was the sound of the future. Sign them now or regret at your leisure."
FutureSounds/Tankfarm label- "Apteka are building their reputation in the Midwest through a wall of sound and Jane's Addiction type fury."
Pasta Primavera- "This four piece band from Chicago has captured the 1990s sound of Smashing Pumpkins in a bottle and is using it will. Watch out."
Ghost Town, Inc.
From Sweden, on Service Records.
Ghost Town, Inc.
Kordan is a group of musicians led by Arthur Eisele (guitars, vocals). Current members also include Gabo Rodriguez (bass), Liz Reboyras (synth, vocals), and Jake Chudnow (drums). They live in Brooklyn, New York City.
"Sifting through traces of quantum universes, Kordan find the lush textures, pulsating beats, and somber melodies that they use to project dreams of bleak, dismal cities in a holographic future. But just below this mournful atmosphere there is also flicker of energy, like one of those cities is slowly flickering back on after a blackout. Lumines- cent synths build on scratchy guitars and the electricity of the city finally rushes back on.
Arthur, Liz, and Gabo emerged from the vibrant rave and indie rock scenes in Puerto Rico during the early 2000s. After different stints found them in different parts of the US, the trio converged in Brooklyn. Together again, they began to fuse an electro glint and a shoegaze murk, and thus forged Kordan.
In the fall of 2008, Cut Copy heard the band's songs and chose Kordan as an opening act on their North American tour, taking them through Minneapolis, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, and back to New York City. In the summer of 2009 Kordan released their demo recordings as the Fantasy Nation EP, garner- ing critical acclaim from Filter, Jezebel, and Oh My Rockness, among others. The debut release heralded Kordan's aural world, tinged by futuristic visions and Japanese street culture. The following autumn months saw Kordan playing a CMJ showcase and shows in New York City, including opening for The Drums and The Mary Onettes. They have also brought their sonic influences to other bands, having done remixes for ZAZA and The Delta Mirror."
Lazerbeak is a thug. Do not be deceived by the nice-guy introductions backstage. Beak is responsible for some of the hardest lavabangers in hip hop, period. Catchy, rib-crushing, filthy.
In his basement workshop, Beak works mostly with a MPC2000XL. He layers propulsive, hard-hitting drums with driving guitar and keyboard melodies. He paces after the addition of each element, ducking to avoid the overhead pipes, playing air drums, and calculating his next layer.
Beak’s sequencing is a large part of his sound. “After you’ve got the main structure, to make it a real song, you have to take it all part again. It’s like a battle with the beat, every time.” And Beak always wins. When it’s over, the effect is some helicopter-at-the-omnitheater shit. He’ll take a beat down to its most essential elements before letting it off the leash to explode into anthemic proportions.
Lazerbeak got involved with the Doomtree crew through his high school friendship with Stef (P.O.S). But by then he’d already been playing music for years. Since 8th grade he played with The Plastic Constellations, the indie rock group that would go on to tour the country, signed to French Kiss Records. Stef, having heard Lazerbeak’s music with TPC, encouraged him to start making beats. Beak got a loan from his folks to buy his first MPC from Guitar Center. Stef came over in the afternoon to show him the ropes. No looking back.
To date, Lazerbeak has produced over 400 beats. His production appears on almost every Doomtree release, including all three of P.O.S’ solo albums. He’s now completing the production for the upcoming Sims solo release and working on a solo endeavor of his own.
Most recently, Doomtree released Lazerbeak’s collaboration with Mike Mictlan. The two schemed for years to write and record the disc. For much of that time Mike was living in L.A. Lazerbeak sent Mike beat CDs in the mail. Mike rapped his verses to Lazerbeak over the phone. Big dreams, big phone bills. Now the fruit of their labor is available in all its glory as Hand Over Fist. Legend Recognize Legend.
On Prom, Grooms' sophomore album, to be release on the Kanine label July 12th, 2011, the Brooklyn avant-rock trio has come into their own. In every way, Prom is a more mature, unique, adventurous, and most of all, accessible record than 2009?s widely-praised album Rejoicer. Travis Johnson (vocals/guitar) and Emily Ambruso (vocals/bass) met, ridiculously, on Friendster, shortly before that website became 100% irrelevant, only to meet in person at a Valentine's Day party in the Oklahoma woods a few weeks later. They immediately started discussing experimental music and pop, and, after relocating separately to New York in 2004, starting playing experimental music and pop together in their bedrooms.
They met Jim Sykes (drums) through a friend soon after, but didn't start playing with him until 2009, when Grooms formed and released their debut album. That album was a dark, noisy, and tangled affair, the lyrics focusing almost entirely on Travis' religion-fixated obsessive-compulsive disorder, which he was diagnosed with in adolescence.
On this gorgeously poppy album, Prom, the experiments are with beauty, texture, and melody, and the OCD-related lyrics are nestled in lulling, comforting sounds. The album was written with touchstones like genre-crossing records from Broadcast and Wire's "154" in mind, in between Emily dragging everyone to see terrible movies in theaters and Jim finishing up his PhD in ethnomusicology. The result is a semi-electronic, often ambient and haunting record, that sounds variously like zombies playing surf rock ("Imagining the Bodies"), glitchy, pounding IDM ("Tiger Trees"), and creepy Spector girl-group tunes ("Sharing") among dozens of others. Emily and Travis obsessed over the melodies this time around, pushing each other to sing better at all turns, and harmonizing in ways they'd never tried before. The band slept in sleeping bags in the studio (Uniform, in Philadelphia), staying up late and waking up early to obsess more, and to fidget with sounds they'd never played with before. Friend Jay Heiselman mixed Prom over the 2010 holidays, diving deep into post-production to help create the intensely new direction for the band.
To Grooms, this record is about freedom: to be catchy, to be unabashedly pretty, to try entirely new types of music, and even to write their first-ever breakup song. They hope you sing along to Prom, that you get happy and sad to it in the way you do with great pop records, and that you get just a little freaked out when their dark side shows up here and there.
While they now live in Los Angeles, Pepper Rabbit was practically born in New Orleans. In fact, the NOLA sessions for their debut LP (Beauregard) left such a lasting impression on the young duo that it continues to haunt this summer's Red Velvet Snow Ball album, from the surreal art on its sleeve to the cake-flavored snow cone that gave the mind-expanding record its name.
Red Velvet Snow Ball was recorded in a much different setting than the festive full-length that came before it, however. Starting a few months prior to the fall 2010 release of Beauregard, Pepper Rabbit toured North America several times over-including legs with the likes of Passion Pit, Freelance Whales, Ra Ra Riot and Givers-and tracked new songs in two-week spurts at Ryan Hadlock's secluded barnyard studio.
The calming breaks in Pepper Rabbit's hectic schedule helped keep frontman Xander Singh and drummer Luc Laurent focused. But more importantly, it resulted in their most collaborative work yet (Beauregard started out as Xander's solo record); incorporating influences from several generations, from Portishead to David Bowie and Supertramp to Jamie Lidell. "At the root of each song is something simple," explains Xander, "whether it be the chord progression, the instrumentation, or the lyrics. But the most important aspect of this record is the freedom we gave ourselves to experiment and construct something that's easy to get lost in."
Stepping outside a standard guitar, bass, drums setup certainly didn't hurt. While Luc's main focus is the rhythm section, Xander's interest in varying instruments came from working at a vintage music store...on credit. Taking different instruments home every week, he would then watch clips on YouTube and teach himself to play. "I don't like to be limited to only a handful of tools," he says. "Having a lot of options lying around makes it hard to get stuck." Incorporating around 11 instruments-including ukuleles, clarinet, horns and a striking array of dusty analog synths-the Pepper Rabbit sound can be described as a loose brand of psychedelic pop music, rounded out by Xander's deftly-layered loops and a third touring member on bass and synths (currently NOLA native Jonathan Allen). "Unlike the last album," Xander says, "we didn't try and pull from any generation in particular. We'd just sit down and take the songs in whatever direction felt natural without deviating too far from a core pop song structure. And in the end I think it comes across exactly as we hoped."
Xray Eyeballs is the brainchild of O.J. San Felipe. Originally from San Francisco, O.J. landed in Brooklyn in 2000, but only after numerous cross-country adventures.
Upon settling, O.J. quickly cemented himself in the underground Brooklyn punk, noise, and indie scene playing in numerous bands including Golden Triangle (Mexican Summer, Hardly Art). While Golden Triangle is known as an all around party band that bashes out garage pop tunes that could easily be found on a Nuggets compilation, O.J. had something else in mind for Xray Eyeballs. Starting as a solo project, O.J. aimed to make pop songs that kids could remember after leaving the party. O.J. explains, "I just wanted to make every song sound like a lullaby. To me, lullabies are the most memorable kind of songs; everyone remembers them from when they're babies. They're not all happy lullabies either. I think people like songs they can relate to, with things like love, loss, dark vices, and sex." So while these songs are filled with dreamy pop hooks and melancholic melodies, they are all covered in a spooky haze.
Once O.J. had the framework for the songs, he gathered fellow Golden Triangle band mates Carly Rabalais (Bass, Vocals) and Jay High (Guitar, ex Gogogo Airheart), along with Rop Style (Synth, Theremin, Beats, formerly of the famed band Pee Chees), and Allison Press (Drums). Together, their live show rivals the crowd up into a huge party frenzy, like their fellow garage contemporaries (and buds) King Khan and Black Lips, except it's carried out with a New-Wave Pop twist. Drawing comparisons to the frantic pop of Jay Reatard and the Urinals, and the moodiness of Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain, Xray Eyeballs twist it all into their own pop concoction. Liz Berg from WFMU described their sound as, "fuzzy, over modulated garage pop at a languid trot."
To date, Xray Eyeballs has been playing around NY, and if you live here, there is a good chance you've seen Xray Eyeballs 'ghost girl' t-shirt given away to skaters, punks, indie rockers and goths. It's like a badge for a secret society. O.J. says, "I like the shirt because you don't know if it's a band or a skateboard company or what. People always ask for it. Even kids in the projects from Bed Sty ask for them, so I keep making them to giveaway. People that have it almost seem like they belong in a secret cult, which I like. It's like that story of how the Germs had those t-shirts before they even had a band! I like that mentality."
Unlike the Germs, Xray Eyeballs has had two sold out cassettes on Night People Records and Party Store Music, as well as an upcoming 7" single on Hozac. Their debut album Not Nothing will be released April 19th, 2011 on Kanine Records. For next year, Xray Eyeballs will venture out on the road, in attempt to grow their (not for long) secret cult of followers.
Eternal Summers will detonate your chill vibe. While you've no doubt spent the hot months absorbing ultraviolets and soaking up beachy sounds, Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff have been cutting loose in the back woods, creating their fuzziest, jangliest statement yet: Silver, out on Fall 2010 on Kanine.
The inland duo's music comes out of the forests of Roanoke, VA, where the mountain vistas are inspiring but the scene is mostly cover bands. Both members are a part of the Magic Twig Community, a collective of nine like-minded musicians that cherish boundless creativity and weirdo indie pop. When Yun, who sings and plays guitar, moved to Roanoke, she originally played with another drummer, but when he bailed before a gig, Cundiff jumped in. What resulted was something very, very punk, and Yun and Cundiff knew they had the right musical chemistry. That's when Eternal Summers was born.
Feeling no need to flesh out their lineup, the duo decided to treat the open spaces as an instrument. When they call it dream punk, they're only partially joking. Taut, hooky and often wide-open, their sound is simple but it takes up room. They employ the quietest quiets and the loudest louds-from hazy, clanging reveries to rapid No Wave squalls. They've received adoring write-ups since the release of their self-titled debut EP, available on 10-inch vinyl: Pitchfork called "Lightswitch" a song "you need to hear now" and posted the "also-awesome" "Fall Straight Back." The band has since played with the likes of Harlem, Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast, Dan Deacon, Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing to name a few. On Silver, Eternal Summers has streamlined and then leaped beyond their original sound.
Where the EP was sun-drenched and simple, Silver is far-reaching and ambitious despite its minimalist drums-and-guitar cast. The album mixes 90-second fist-pumpers and dreamy, six-minute meditations, noisy highs, and uncomfortably quiet hums. Silver captures the energy of their live shows–which has inspired the lead single "Pogo"–and calls to mind early indie legends like the Raincoats, Galaxie 500, Beat Happening, and Unrest.
8D Industries, LLC
Eric McGauley, better known as Eros, is an American electronic music artist based out of Orlando, Florida. Eros began writing and producing electronic music in high school, followed by releases on a multitude of Florida based labels, including his own D'funkt records. In the 90s, Eric first had success with a few of his songs being played in regular rotation on local commercial FM radio. This got the attention of Robins Entertainment and Tommy Boy record scouts, both who contacted him after the release of "What's that Sound," a single that featured a sample of rapper Skee Lo. During this time Eric played frequently at popular events such as Zen Festival in Los Angeles, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and many other venues and clubs throughout the U.S. Eric currently has 6 full length albums, 15 vinyl releases and over a dozen appearances on compilations such as Koch's Beatles Re-grooved series. Eric has recently branched out, working on styles outside of the breakbeat dance realm, creating solid productions in the genres of trip hop, dubstep, and electronic rock/pop. This experimentation has paid off (literally!) with newer tracks being licensed to ads for Quicksilver sportswear and Burton Snowboards, as well as a track appearing in NBC's hit show Smash and the feature film Bachelorette. This year also marked the collaboration between Eros and DJ Magic Mike, a childhood hero, best known as one of the pioneers of the Miami bass sound. This creative combination helped to launch Magic Mike's album to number one on Beatport.com. Along with recent tracks being released on Caffeine, Zone, Bad Baby and EA Records, Eric is working on several remixes for heavy hitters in the electronic music scene and finishing up the next full length album, scheduled to be released in the near future.