Advancing from DIY basements and small venues to headlining tours and festival stages, Post Animal define their sultry brand of neo-psych pop on When I Think Of You In A Castle, the Chicago band's debut full-length record out Friday, April 20th via Polyvinyl. With the confidence of an outfit much deeper into their career, Post Animal deliver punishing, hot-blooded guitar bursts escaping between 70s psychedelic paranoia lulls on tracks like "Gelatin Mode," a trophy track exposing the band's hyper-tight sonic magnetism. Perhaps an initial bump in buzz could be attributed to the band's auxiliary member, Joe Keery of Stranger Things fame, the new record's supernatural appeal is less the upside down and more it's gale-force, prismatic grit and proggy panoramic gusto.
The fuel for Eamon Fogarty's debut LP spans a lifetime of influences and chance encounters, savagely tied together by the artful, analog jazz-folk debonair.
Let's take things back to your childhood where your pre-broadband-internet southern New Hampshire self was getting into music. What were your first experiences developing a taste and cultivating interesting and unusual music influences as a kid? Did you have some friends or family stewarding you through what was cool or was it more of an independent kind of discovery?
One of the earliest memories I have of the internet is of trying to download "The Muffin Man" by Frank Zappa from Kazaa while in Catholic middle school. I had probably just started playing guitar at that point and mostly wanted to hear that guitar solo over and over again. I got frustrated when it told me it was going to take 2+ hours. For a long time all I had was my dad's record collection and a few of my own CDs: mostly lowest common denominator guitar-heroic stuff like Led Zeppelin & Weezer. Other people my age were generally into screamo and hardcore which I couldn't stand.
The first person I knew who made music that effected me in any real way was my best friend Degan's older brother Clint. Even though he only had a few years on us he had already released a couple of albums that were full of manic, grunge-y, but very song-centric music. There were skits too. It was very 90's, but it felt right to me in 2002. Clint was the first person I was aware of who really seemed positioned to make a go of it as an artist. He and Degan lived a few towns over right by some kind of Waldorf school, and they were friends with a lot of the arty bohemian types who either went there or probably should have gone there and just sort of hung around, including this guy Willie who looked like Jimmy Page and sang like an even more androgynous Jeff Buckley. The whole idea of making art your life was very alien to me, but Clint and Willie made it seem like the most natural thing in the world.
Degan had started learning bass around the same time I started on guitar, and together with Willie and another friend who played drums we started a band. We went deep into the very "uncool" rabbit hole of 70's progressive rock: King Crimson, Yes, Caravan, Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd etc. There weren't that many opportunities for gigs if you weren't a pop-punk band, so not many people came to our shows. Somehow we convinced ourselves that was confirmation we were surrounded by philistines.
I had to be proactive about my "research." This being before the dawn of YouTube guitar lessons, I had a ritual of combing through my high school library's collection of Guitar World back issues, and photocopying every lesson that looked interesting. For a little while they were giving Trey Anastasio of Phish a column. Unlike the other columnists, his were usually all text- sermons rather a bunch of tabs and "licks." There was one where he talked about the four records that had most influenced his playing and thinking: "The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery", Miles Davis' "A Tribute to Jack Johnson" (electric period with John McLaughlin on guitar), Tom Waits' "Rain Dogs" (with Marc Ribot on guitar) and "Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos," which is a tribute to the Cuban son composer and tres virtuoso Arsenio Rodriguez. I went out and bought them all immediately. They were all life-changing records but the Marc Ribot stuff really rearranged my molecules. He's so loose and noisy and even when he's operating in an idiom he really asserts his individuality. I still recommend that Cubanos Postizos record to pretty much everyone, and though I'm not a huge Phish fan to this day, I gotta shout out to Trey.
Around the end of high school is when I got a digital multi-tracker and began experimenting with recording my own musical ideas separate from the band. Another friend started getting me into more psychedelic stuff like Arthur Lee's Love, Nick Drake, and Tim Buckley and that's what I was trying to emulate. The "freak folk" thing was making its way into my ears then too, but it was never any more real to me than any of the old stuff because I never got to experience it live. It was all happening in another universe as far as I was concerned.
In college you sang in a chorus and composed for chamber ensembles in addition to performing with rock and free improvising groups. Did you have multiple paths you were experimenting with musically? It seems like the choral/chamber ensemble and the rock and free improv playing are on separate wavelengths culturally and musically. Were you studying music in college?
I was - college was very much an "everything happening all at once" kind of time. All the wavelengths that started there were very separate, but they informed one another nevertheless, and I'm glad I started cultivating an appreciation for different practices when I did. One thing that I learned later upon moving to New York is that the most interesting stuff is always happening at the intersections of worlds.
A lot of my horizon-broadening had to do with my realizing I could sing. I never sang in my high school rock band, and I'd been accepted to school with the expectation that I would be playing guitar in the jazz big band. I'd lost interest in jazz before I even got there, but if you wanted to study music you had to be in an ensemble, so I joined the choir instead at the suggestion of my friend Philippe, who had a very Bonnie Prince Billy-influenced project that I'd also started playing and singing in. That choir did a lot of challenging, modern stuff and it made me a better musician on a lot of levels.
Philippe was also a modern dancer and choreographer and he convinced me to take this dance and improvisation class, where we improvised music and dance simultaneously for the entire class as one ensemble. We got into some serious "flow state" territory. I'd done other purely musical free improv stuff at this point, even some live improvised silent film sound-tracking, but there is a kind of compounding tension that accumulates when moving bodies are part of the dialogue... You'll get to a place and have no idea how you got there or where to go next, and the only thing you can do is to keep pushing or change completely. There's nothing like it.
The biggest development in college for me was getting into composing. I'd always wanted to write for classical instruments, but now those ideas wouldn't have to remain theoretical- there were actually people around to play the pieces! I wrote a few things, including a string quartet and a brass quintet which were both pretty lyrical (I was very into Ravel and Messiaen.) I really thought that's what I was going to do for the rest of my life: write chamber music. Right out of college I was up for a composing fellowship at Bennington- my composition teacher had told me I was a shoe-in. She'd never recommended someone for the post and had them NOT get it. I knew this going into the interview and naturally, I went in under-prepared and I didn't get it. I also didn't have a back-up plan.
You moved to NYC after school. Was there something specific that brought you to the City? How has your music and recording been impacted by your time in NYC?
Simply put, New York was the first place I found a job (as a cheesemonger) where I knew there would be opportunities to experience and make music. I moved via Megabus!
Those first few years were rough. I was hanging out with a lot of the same people I'd known in college, only many of them were now moving "up" in the world- they had unpaid internships or were busy going to grad school. Meanwhile I was trying to make a living and pay off student loans with my dinky retail job. On the inside I felt like a failure because of the Bennington thing, but outwardly I got this classist chip on my shoulder, and I think I alienated a lot of people during that time. It was only later on when most of that crowd had moved on and I got a better paying gig that I started going to more shows at places like Issue Project Room and meeting more musicians and artists. One place in particular that meant a lot to me was the warehouse where my friend Michael Hammond (who played bass on Progressive Bedroom) lived in Red Hook called "Van Dyke Park". They had really eclectic shows there all the time. I met my friend Dave there the night he played this trance-like microtonal saxophone piece to a pure sine wave. Another time I saw a guy play a contact-mic'd snare drum with a bunch of those egg-shaped vibrators and tuning forks, all amplified to deafening volume. People were involving choreography and film. It was the kind of place I'd moved to New York hoping to find, and of course, it didn't last very long!
(Thinking it would be good to condense these two Q's)- Progressive Bedroom came out last June on Joyful Noise Recordings. It's a crisp, silver-tongued record of crooner pop ballads atop fuzzy-yet-refined guitar instrumentation. For your first foray, it's a hell of a release. How did the record come about? (prying here for the Psychic Temple/cross-country tour info, haha)
Where was the album recorded? Was it a long process with lots of mixing and overdubbing or a simple and raw operation?
Progressive Bedroom was mostly recorded at Basement Floods in Catskill, NY in November 2015 by my friend Alex P. The band and I did most of the songs and overdubs over the course of one weekend, but after that first session the project was stalled for a long time while because I wanted to do the vocals myself and I was taking forever to finalize the lyrics.
Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) had just moved out to the West Coast around this time, and asked me in an email if I'd ever considered living in Los Angeles. I had not, but I had some friends out there so that spring I made plans with my then girlfriend Amelia to fly out and see the city. Amelia ended up having to stay in NYC for a freelance job that was too good to pass up so I was on my own for a whole week without a car. I went to the Echo a couple of times (saw Quilt, Mild High Club, Cian Nugent, and Nap Eyes) and kind of learned how to surf. It was fun but I had nothing to do while my friends were at work.
Enter Chris Schlarb (of Psychic Temple). My buddy Jay Hammond (Michael's brother) had made a record with Chris earlier that year and suggested he could help me engineer vocals for the still-in-limbo Progressive Bedroom. I had plenty of free time, so I called him up and we banged out pretty much every vocal track, harmonies and all, in about two hours. A couple days later he invited me to his house in Long Beach to sing on a couple of tunes on his record and by the end of that session we made arrangements for him to mix PB as soon as I'd put the finishing touches on it. Not long after that he invited Jay and me to go on tour with him.
Touring with Chris was great. He has a deep and abiding appreciation for a good breakfast, and a talent for tracking down incredible breakfasts regardless of city or circumstance. He's also been at it for a while so he has friends (i.e. places to crash) stashed all over the place. Basically the usual tour pitfalls of eating and sleeping poorly were not part of the experience- It was all music. (And pancakes.)
With your first record behind you, what's next musically? How will your next project build upon Progressive Bedroom?
The new record is actually already done, and the concept for it grew out of that tour I did with Chris. I had been covering "I Am the Cosmos" by Chris Bell as part of my opening sets and Chris had the thought that we should do a record that would take the vibe of that album and marry it to an Alice Coltrane-esque cosmic/spiritual jazz approach to instrumentation and improvisational looseness. At the time I'd been really obsessed with Mark Hollis' lone post-Talk Talk solo record, so my contribution to the scheme was basically "Cool- but what if we trade a couple horns out for clarinet and bass clarinet??" We picked a weekend, Chris but a band together, and I flew out to Long Beach to make the record in Chris' new studio "Big Ego"
In terms of the production approach, it was completely different from the last record because it's the first time I'd ever made something with people I'd never even met, let alone played with before- some of whom happened to be musicians I really admire, like the bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Chad Talyor. It was a little nerve-wracking in the moment, but we got a great record out of it.
Dutch cultivators Music From Memory present a smattering of bent pop tracks collected by Parisian rare wax lord Raphaël Top-Secret and label boss Jamie Tiller. The eighties' attempt to bust the mainstream wide open is exhibited in the 21 tracks rescued from the underground experimental punk, synth, and R&B of Europe during the growth of DIY 4-track and home recording. This batch of irregular outsider tunes yanks the boundaries toward the outré, rearranging the guidelines of popular music.
After a month spent living in an old mill in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort in the south of France consuming the day with songwriting, river swimming, and embracing a phone-and-internet free reality, Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley emerged with Hippo Lite, their second record as Drinks out April 20th via Drag City. Isolated from everything but the purest forms of entertainment, sustenance, and inspiration regeneration, the duo's creative entanglement led to their most true and authentically transparent collection of songs showing the hermetic intricacies and orphic foibles of their nonlinear domain.
We are giving away a pair of general admission wristbands to Moogfest 2018 happening May 17-20 in Durham, NC. To enter, follow @moogfest, and comment HERE with the friend you'd bring to this year's festival. Moogfest returns to Durham with another innovative and experimental suite of programming, interactive installations, daytime conferences, and performances by Jon Hopkins, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Jenny Hval, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Midori Takada, Psychic TV, and many more. Watch the video below to discover the lineup. Get to know the artists with a festival-curated Spotify playlist found below.
On his new record as RF Shannon, Shane Renfro condenses his sprawling desert blues into tender, searing monzogranite ballads.
Your first record, Jaguar Palace, is made up of long-player desert blues and more droning instrumentation. Your latest release seems to be more succinct in its arrangement. Was there a focus or intention to have your new songs shorter and more direct in their delivery and energy?
There was definitely an intention to have the songs hit their stride at a much quicker pace. Not necessarily for any reason. I think the earlier material was more accidental in its length and breadth, we just really liked the way that Luke, our pedal steel player, added an element of tension and atmosphere, so we rolled with it and explored that expansiveness. Fundamentally, we all enjoy falling into a pocket and having a simple groove, so our new material is just us having fun with that element and seeing where that goes for a change.
Trickster Blues is your second record as RF Shannon and your first since relocating from Austin to LA. How did the move impact the record and your songwriting?
I actually wrote and recorded all of the material for Trickster Blues before moving to LA. I don't know that I technically live in LA, to be honest, but I know in the process of trying to tell a quick blurb about someone, that's how it's ended up being told, this whole story of the move, because it's such a typical migration and its easy to latch onto. I have been working on some new material since spending time out there, but mostly in Landers, a little desert town outside of Joshua Tree. It feels like a clean slate.
Trickster Blues was recorded in Marfa, TX. What made you come back to Texas to make the record?
We recorded the demos in Marfa. The basis for the vibe of the record was definitely born in Marfa, but we recorded the album in Lockhart, TX. I did choose Marfa to write and demo the record because it's one of my favorite places in the world, and I knew if I just had room to breathe and live well out there, then something good would come about. But we lived in Lockhart in this big old Victorian house on the city square before I came out to LA, and thats where we recorded it.
The first single “Cold Spell” stems from a pivotal moment in a relationship you were in where you and a significant other expressed deep sentiments for each other and then stepped away to figure each other’s hearts out. How did those feelings define the songwriting process and what role did your emotional attachment have on the making of the album as a whole?
Yes, "Cold Spell" is based on a pivotal moment in my life and it's certainly changed the course of things. It's been pretty mind-blowing to see how a situation like that can open an entirely new path for you. I wouldn't say those feelings defined the songwriting process for me, it's pretty specific to that song. Each song is sort of its own slice of life. They are largely unrelated to me expressing myself or to emotional attachments and more about trying to translate ephemeral qualities of existence and otherwise grand narratives into a tone or a mood. I try to write songs to reflect on a way of being that is less emotionally attached, in general, but I understand the need to explore the heavy hitters like love and loss as they come.
The recording pace for Trickster Blues was quicker than that of your first record. What prompted the fast-paced recording process and how was the record affected by the time constraints?
The pace was largely set while we were demoing the material in Marfa. My friend and fellow songwriter Jesse Woods joined me out there for a few months and we used his tape machine in this old adobe casita. The house had faulty power and was located next door to an old Catholic church. Often, while recording, the power would surge and fade and the recordings became warbly and imperfect. Then, when everything seemed to be getting back to normal the church bells would start ringing. So we had these sort of random boundaries that presented themselves and we decided to work with the best stuff we could get in between these limitations.
We threw perfectionism out the window, and started to have fun, almost like a game, seeing how much good shit we could lay down before the next interruption. When we finally went into the studio in Lockhart to record, we kept this motto, to work fast and stay true to the pace we had developed in Marfa. I can't say I would continue to work this way, but I recognized at the time that it felt really natural and important to work that way.
What’s the meaning behind the albums title?
On a physical level, all the stuff going haywire while we were working on the demos had us scratching our heads and feeling like some weird trickster spirit was playing jokes on us all the time. Added to that, I am deeply interested in the Trickster archetype. I feel that I encountered it in a deeply personal way while working with San Pedro medicine just prior to beginning work on the record. It's the chaos of creation. It's a trans-moral attention to goodness, the quality of goodness, not the normative value of it. It's not always pretty. It can look filthy but its a love-affair with the sacred.
I feel that I live in a time where meaning is kinda out the window. It seems chaotic, exhausted, almost hopeless. And that gives me the blues. But I have this pulse in me that feels just fine. I have fun with my friends playing music. It's just fine, it doesn't have to be fucking amazing or hip, it's just part of the noise, the chaos, the blues. It's something for a human to do, to create in times of chaos, to chaotically create, it's working. It's gotten us this far as humans, you know? The funny part is, it's trying to teach us how to keep chaos from taking over at the same time, to find a balance.
Perennial road dogs and bare-assed hippybilly psych-stompers, The Nude Party, have announced their debut LP, an 11-track record of the Upstate NY group’s lysergic country-surf brand of rock and roll. A video for the first single “Chevrolet” casts the Nudes as corporate weenies compelled to fulfill the advice of their elders by getting a job and becoming somebody. Luckily for us, the Nude Party follow their innate instinct to pursue an alternate destiny rich in cheap beer, dip spit, and damn good tunes.
Self described as "mood music for nihilists," Asheville-based Nest Egg swirl to their foggiest and heaviest kraut-psych realm on the band's sophomore release, Nothingness Is Not A Curse, out April 13 via Fuzz Club Records. The cardiac rhythm of the motorik beats spawn an unrepentant swarm of turbulent guitar squalls and a flood of amp-crushing drones descending upon those who follow them into the slow, cold breeze of the abyss.
Recorded in Ramsgate, England in 2015 by Parquet Courts and PC Worship members, PCPC’s lone release Ramsgate is a sonic legacy of a joint European tour in 2014 between the two noise rock lords. Mutant skronks of gonzo rock crescendo as a free form wall of simple and aggressive noisy punk . The union of the two left-fielders bridge two groups of artists working in the same dimension on dissimilar wavelengths. The result is a cathartic, controlled chaos that’ll turn your head into squeeze cheese.
Preorder the new Parquet Courts record, Wide Awake! out May 18th via Rough Trade.
A couple months have passed since Tamara Lindeman released her fourth LP, her self-titled record as The Weather Station. Patient, eloquent, and entrancing, it's easily the Toronto songwriter's finest work.
Your fourth full length record came out last year. With a couple months between the release date and now, how has your connection to the record adapted? Do you find yourself developing new adaptations for songs on the record as you play them and hear them more?
Yes, totally, the songs have changed as we started playing them live. Everything got a lot faster and louder. We added harmonies, just cause we could and it worked. The guys have made the parts their own. We’re playing a pretty ornately arranged record as a simple four-piece rock band, so everything has morphed to suit that. But in a lot of ways, the way we play the songs live is how I intended them to be - it definitely has the energy I intended the record to have. I overheard the record in a store recently and was surprised at how slow and almost quiet the record was - I hadn’t realized how far the songs had travelled now we’ve taken them out on the road. It feels like the spirits of the songs have stayed consistent, but they have changed.
Your latest release was the Weather Station self-titled record. What made this time and this collection of songs worthy of the glorious self-titled designation? Do you believe there was something especially significant with this record that wasn't there for your past work?
Yes, this record is very different from my previous work, for me anyways. It’s the first record since The Line that is entirely my vision - my ideas - my weird perspectives expressed. It felt like it was fully and truly mine, so it felt good to self title it.
You've recorded each record in new spaces. Are you direct and intentional in the studio or is there some required level of improvisation when you go to lay down your songs? Do you have a formula you find most effective or have your recording styles and approaches been unique for each record?
Every record has been completely different. The Line was me alone in my room recording on and off for four years. All Of It Was Mine was a few days of hanging with Daniel Romano. Loyalty was a beautiful immersive process of collaboration in France. This record was in a lot of ways approached in a more normal way - we rehearsed, we recorded the beds, then I did overdubs, then we mixed it.
Absolutely there’s a certain amount of improvisation - I have yet to record a record having toured the songs and having a finished arrangement. For this record we rehearsed and nailed down some things, but lots of things happened in the studio as we recorded. The overdubs were pretty improvised, a lot of them were just me just messing around at home, and then others by the amazing musicians who played on the record. The strings were entirely arranged, so not improvised at all - all the parts written by me on a midi keyboard, and then translated into legible scores by my friend Mike Smith. That was a new and exciting idea for me. But generally, I think it's great to leave a certain amount of openness when going into a studio because then you can be informed by the sonic qualities of the recording - you can allow that to change the arrangement - and also because recorded music is just fundamentally different from live music. To me anyways.
You're bringing your live performance to Marfa Myths this year. Have you been or played in Marfa before? Do you amend or adapt your live performances based on the space you're playing in or the city you're playing to? Anything you're looking forward to about Marfa?
I have never been to or played in Marfa before, no. I’m excited to go. The lineup of that festival is amazing and so unusual. I wish I could stay to see everything.
Right now, me and the band are on a path of bringing the same energy to the show, whether it’s in a tiny club or a huge theatre or a church or a grimy bar. We’ve been looking to find consistency in what we present, to dig into the same well, to not be thrown off by a strange situation or a quiet audience or whatever the case may be. But of course every show is different too - you feel the audience - you are in different spaces within yourself. No two shows are ever really the same.
The Weather Station was the first record you self-produced. Do you have any formal training producing? What inspired you to take on the process independently? Were the result what you had intended or expected?
In music, the designation of producer is somewhat loose - but it essentially means the person creatively in charge - the person making the decisions - the person directing the process. I did self produce my very first record (The Line) and recorded and mixed that one also, but for the subsequent two records I’d collaborated creatively on the vision of the record. It was really great and necessary to take back that control - to make all the decisions and trust myself, after many years of thinking everyone else knew better than me. And it’s not that I necessarily know better than anyone else - but it took realizing that I had a specific vision, and whether or not my ideas were good or bad, it was important to follow them. I worked with great people - Howard Bilerman, who recorded the initial sessions - Darryl Neudorf who mixed the record - the many amazing musicians who played - who all brought a lot to the table. But in the end I did manage to direct the process and the outcome in my own way.
I had a pretty clear vision of this record going in - the sound, the vibe, some aspects of the arrangements - and it honestly turned out almost exactly how I imagined. It was and is what I hoped it would be.
As you tour and play your songs night after night while you're touring extensively, do you find inspiration to write new material or does the opposite effect set in? Are you motivated creatively while you're on the road?
Absolutely, I do some of my best thinking on the road, in the van looking out the window. It’s next to impossible to actually write on the road, as I never have any time or space or quiet, but I do have a lot of chances to think, which often leads to songs and emotions coming out when I get home.
I think too when you play the same songs for a long time, you start to see their weaknesses, and it pushes you forward to want to make something new and better than what you’ve done before. I definitely feel that way now, and am excited to have some time to be able to write again.
Lyon-based Ouch! Records presents a collection of traditional Muziki wa dansi, or dance band music in Swahili, the native language of Zanzibar. The singles gathered originate from 1960s-1980s Tanzania and feature Congolese rumba and Islamic Taarab music of the East African coast.
We're giving away a pair of 2-Day festival passes to Huichica Music Festival taking place on June 8 & 9 in Sonoma, CA.
TO ENTER: follow @huichicamusicfestival, comment here and tag a friend you'd bring to the Sonoma Valley festival. One entry per person. A winner will be selected at random on Monday, April 16 at 12PM EST.
Since 2010, Huichica Music Festival (pronounced wah-CHEE-ka) has provided a refreshing take on the music festival experience. A pioneer in a new breed of micro-festival, Huichica is built on the concept that wine, food, and music are best shared in beautiful, intimate settings with a warm and friendly attitude. Each year Huichica presents a hand-picked line up of psychedelic surf rock, indie and folk acts and pairs them with regional culinary talent and wines from Gundlach Bundschu Winery. Away from the crowds, there is no bad seat at this family-friendly boutique festival. Pack a blanket, relax and blend in with the crowd of musicians, wine enthusiasts, foodies and music fans.
Tickets available now via Huichica Sonoma.
Tom Zé- Dor E Dor
Hot Stuff Band- Juju Man
Raul Reixas- Murungado
Hugo Belardi- An American In Paris
Trio Mocoto- Swinga Sambaby
Orlandivo- Ondo Anda A Meu Amor
Evinha- Esperar Pra Ver
Seven years after their self-titled debut, Unknown Mortal Orchestra continue to deliver colossal, kaleidescoping radioactive pop music. Sex & Food, out today via Jagjaguwar, incorporates the prime time R&B boogie from 2015’s Multi-Love with the oblique, scuzzy psychedelia from the Portland group’s earliest works. The record maintains a healthy balance of commercially viable psych-pop and titillating outsider doses capturing the polymorphous identity of one of the supreme “big indie” bands recording these days.
Stream Goin' To Cades Cove, a 1968 film spliced from old footage documenting Appalachian ballads and tunes dating back to pioneer days. You'll hear songs like "Poor Old Dirt Farmer," "Three Men Went A-Hunting," "Ain't a-Gonna Get No Dinner Here Tonight" and plenty of others. You'll see The New Lost City Ramblers, Mike Seeger, and other local Appalachian musicians.
The halting, doomful image of a gas mask donned pedestrian on Air Waves' third full length LP, Warrior, evokes the hysteria and anxiety songwriter Nicole Schneit has confronted and defied throughout her career as a queer female artist. Warrior, her second on Western Vinyl, wedges itself into all of the political and social issues artists often cautiously skirt and pries up the overgrown roots of complacency and boldly brandishes Schneit's strength and chrome-plated charisma as a songwriter. The record's bespangled ballads enlist the familiar hypnotizing industrial noir to relay the painfully derelict, emotional songs about dignity, rights, and acceptance in a shimmering symphony of angular indie pop. These songs, created by Schneit to be heard by members of her queer community, will cascade within anyone aligned with her mission statement: "strong, powerful, and included."
An unmatched spirit for sonic and cultural adventure led Dr. Lloyd Miller to develop a wealth of knowledge in ethnological blends of jazz music and multi-instrumental competency the world has yet to reproduce. Spending much of the 60s and 70s acquiring a doctorate in Persian music and Middle Eastern Studies, Miller performed with an array of jazz and traditional musicians throughout his residencies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all the while learning dozens of languages and becoming proficient with hundreds of instruments. For 50 years, Miller immersed himself in the regional jazz music spanning from the West Coast to the Far East obtaining a wealth of experiences and a wildly authentic musical education. A Lifetime in Oriental Jazz is a collection of rarities compiled by Jazzman Records of Miller performing with a deluge of musicians from across the Old World supplying his spiritual jazz using a staggering variety of exotic instruments; an enduring auditory chronicle of his monumental musical odyssey.
The wistful, daydreamy world of The Shacks drifts into familiar territory of their Stax and Muscle Shoals soul and funk predecessors without imitation or overindulgence. The hushed vocals of Shannon Wise float across the 70s funk supplied by multi-instrumental nostalgia-inciting virtuoso Max Shrager. Together, The Shacks opt to detour through their own imaginations corralling the acute intricacies into a grand affair of psychedelic lullabies and AM-radio neo-rock fantasies. With the support of Leon Michels (Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones, Lee Fields), the crew created Haze, the group's debut LP out now on Big Crown Records, recorded between Shrager's basement and Michel's Diamond Mine Studio in Long Island City. Haze swirls and grows with a profoundly lush youthful lightheartedness and golden era razzmatazz.