Burn this, a pile of fried out crispy flavors from the twangy 70s and 80s.
Itasca’s Kayla Cohen has shared the latest single and video for “Lily” from her upcoming record Spring out November 1st from Paradise of Bachelors. Cohen’s latest single and accompanying Super-8 video is an extension of a year-long songwriting sabbatical stationed in New Mexico exploring the dusty and desolate high desert terrain of the ranges.
Allah-Las share the third single and video for “Prazer Em Te Conhecer” from their upcoming record LAHS out October 11th from Mexican Summer. Drummer Matt Correia provides vocals sung in Portuguese for the song (“Nice To Meet You” in English) and also shot the new music video for the track.
Men I Trust, the Québécois electro-pop trio, have shared their latest record following several years building up with a constant slow-drip of excellent singles. Oncle Jazz comes in at a deep 24 tracks and maintains a bright and slow dreamy shimmer throughout.
When you chug the last of your longneck Lone Star, slam it on the bar and grab your pretty little miss to swing around the saloon in the Texas Hill Country, Cactus Lee should be the sound humming from the jukebox in the corner. The outfit started as the resident band at Austin’s famed dive bar Dry Creek Saloon and share musical sensibilities with their Texan forefathers like Townes Van Zandt, Doug Sahm, and Willie Nelson and they’ve already dumped two full-length debut records into the ether.
The the 1970s, Andrew Potter and Eric Tillman, two Chicago friends and musicians, split for opposite coasts; Tillman to the west, Potter to the east. The two were successful in their local jazz & funk scenes touring with Minnie Riperton, The Dells, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ryo Kawasaki, among others. The duo combined jazz-funk fusion backgrounds on their 1980 record New York to L.A.: Coasting that was recently reissued by High Jazz Records. It’s got the sizzle and groovy bump of the nightclub scenes happening at both ends of the country.
Luke Temple, the mastermind of such projects as Here We Go Magic and Art Feynman, returns to stamping his own name for his latest record Both-And that’s out today via Native Cat Recordings. From one data point at a David Byrne or Mark Knopfler sound, the next a calming folk song, with mosaic electro-acoustic arrangements throughout, the plot diagram shows Temple is performing his shuffled-deck art pop with full accuracy.
Kevin Basko, the prolific songwriter behind Rubber Band Gun, discusses the origin of his current undertaking, a challenge posed by friend and musical collaborator Jonathan Rado to release 25 records in 2019 dubbed the RBG25.
For those who may not know, can you explain the story behind #RBG25?
This past January, I was at my house in NJ preparing for Jackie Cohen’s US tour when I was watching the rain hit the cover of the pool in my backyard. It had a very soothing sound and I mentioned to Rado that it’d be a funny sound for a soundscape album. Rado suggested I should try to make an insane amount of albums this year. He then dropped the number 25. Seemed pretty crazy, but I loved the idea of the challenge. Over the next day we tweeted rules for the challenge. The rules were that the releases would need to have at least 3 songs and that they need to be albums that I record and produce (and not exclusively RBG records).
Can you remember what the products of some of your earliest home recording sessions were like? How has your equipment, style, and attitude changed over the years?
When I was in high school I recorded my first solo album on a Tascam portable digital 8-track. It had a built-in mic and 4 knobs per track, one of which was dedicated only to reverb. I recorded an album that is probably in my basement somewhere, maybe one day I’ll release it again. When I was in Boston, everyone I knew was using Ableton and I hated recording on a laptop so I bought a Sony Reel-to-Reel 2-track for $20 at a great record shop, In Your Ear. Channel 2 was broken so I had to do it mono and that was where I did my first RBG demo in 2014. Shortly after that I bought my first cassette multi-track, a Tascam 488. I still use both of them today. I used the Sony for the Late Twenties album and it’s one of my favorites of the challenge.
Who are some of the people that have helped support your RBG25 mission? How do they impact your creative processes?
Rado was the one who proposed the challenge this January and he’s been a big part of the process. Hes helped me record a few of them and he’s played on some as well. He’s also becoming somewhat of a villain in the story by trying to poke holes in the rules we set up. It’s all in good fun. But he can never stop me dammit. So far I’ve had a lot of close friends play on the RBG25. We’ve had Rado, Eric Slick, Sam France, the Lemon Twigs, Jackie Cohen, Ronnie D’Addario, Star Moles and more that I’m probably forgetting. There are also more on the way with some nice features.
What’s the strategy behind mapping out 25 releases in one year? What kind of things help maintain creative thinking?
I’ve had a lot of people give me ideas for albums. A lot of RBG albums have very literal titles. I like to try and be upfront about what it is. Call it what it feels like. I really love how fans and other artists have given me their idea about what they want out of an RBG record. It feels very open source that way. I have a very long note listing out all the ideas I’ve received. I don’t think they’ll all make it but there’s always next year.
As for creative thinking, I try not to stress over little things in my songs. I like to let them happen naturally and I usually don’t spend half a year mixing. Also the fact that I mix all off of tape makes the mixing process it’s own sort of performance. It’s nice to let things out into the world knowing they’re almost like Polaroids. Like little pics of me at a certain time and place that aren’t too manipulated. I like everything being relatively natural.
At the time of this interview, it’s late summertime and you’re near the halfway mark in your quest while also being on tour with Jackie Cohen. Does touring hinder your ability to write new music? Are you able to record while you’re on the road?
I’m actually at 13 right now. I also have a few finished that are being shopped around. Touring with Jackie has been a nice way to break up the constant recording and writing when I’m at home. I also have a conspiracy theory that Jackie’s touring is a plot by Rado to keep me from completing the challenge, but the joke’s on him because I’m gonna do both!! It is nice to get back and feel inspired and crank some out really fast. I have a few things that I’ve done on my phone that will be released toward the end of the year. I’m sort of behind right now but I’m confident I can get it before the one year mark.
What are some things you’ve learned about yourself and your musical practice by accepting the RBG25 challenge?
To be honest, the roll-out process for albums has always been weird to me. The whole “release a single, release a video with a blog write-up and announce the tour.” That whole thing always seemed like a stale way of releasing music but who knows I’ll probably be doing that in a few years just like everyone else. But I’ve loved self-releasing things and feeling closer to my fans. Especially giving away most stuff for free on bandcamp. I think throughout this year I’ve gotten better at mixing and recording. One of the big appeals to my catalog is that you can hear my progress at production. My bandcamp is chronological so you can see how everything has changed over the last 6 years.
The releases have all been unique and wide ranging in their styling. What style of music seems to come most naturally for you? What style have you found to be the most difficult to write and record?
I’ve been writing music on acoustic guitar for my whole life. For the last few years I have been trying to find new ways to come up with songs. But since the Late Twenties album, I’ve kinda got back into the acoustic. Maybe it’s my recent obsession with the Bob Dylan bootleg series that’s put that fire back. It’s been nice to get back to that medium again. I’ve been trying to do a lot of different genres and there are some weird ones coming up, but nothing has proven to be too difficult yet.
At essentially the middle point in the challenge, how are you feeling? What’s at stake with the success or failure of the challenge?
I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been referring to my final stretch of albums as the “Back 9,” which is a golf term for the last nine holes for those unfamiliar. The Back 9 is going to get real weird and desperate in my attempts to accomplish the challenge. There will be no failure. Rado and I joke about what I will win when I beat the challenge. Maybe his house? But all I really want is the love and respect of my beautiful beautiful fans. All 10 of them.
Purchase releases from the Rubber Band Gun RBG25 collection here. Purchase tickets to the upcoming Rubber Band Gun show at Baby’s All Right in NYC on September 17th.
The 90s inspired bedroom R&B project from Dylan Dawkins, Persona La Ave, shares two singles from their upcoming record Isabella due this November. The two tracks “Ya Always” and “Love In The City” are the openers for Isabella, an album whose namesake derives from the street where Dawkins’ home studio is located in Charleston, South Carolina. Persona La Ave also shares a VHS-style music video for “Love In The City” produced and directed by Billy Comfort.
World Brain is the sweet and slightly absurd pop project of Berlin’s Lucas Chantre and his debut record Peer 2 Peer is a reactionary byproduct of an over-connected world where the phenomena of Moore’s Law inescapably chain-links the once-free psyche to a digital reality of software updates and virtual subscriptions. Hey, by the way, do you guys have free Wi-Fi here?