Meditative and spiritual, OCA's newest tape of downtempo layers and loops, Preset Music, gushes with a technicolor ambiance that dissolves the barriers between synthetic and organic sound. Drone patterns splash against windy washes of synth textures to drench the speakers in a retro electro-acoustic high-tide surge.
Charlie Rich, Dottie Rich, Rose Maddox, Jimmy Dean, and more tell ya how bad it hurts. And Lord does it hurt.
The Patagonian desert shuffle of Mendoza, Argentina's Las Luces Primeras rolls across the warm tape hiss on Forestal Tape. The band's newest LP kicks off with the psychedelic sway of a buzzy reverb instrumental and swirling analog feedback that garnishes the opener with a preparatory cosmic calibration. The Spanish-spoken neo-psychedelia levitates with guitar arrangements like a spiral nebula and synthesized whistles like an intercepted radio emission from the cosmos.
Moving from behind the drum set to the front of the stage, Justin Sullivan finds a home on Mare Records for his debut record, In The Break, a new introduction of the veteran performer.
In The Break is your debut full length as a songwriter though you've been performing and recording with artists and bands for many years now. How is it different having your own project than as being a supportive member of someone else's vision?
It’s just a very pleasurable freedom. I love helping a writer shape their songs and I always felt like my role was to offer any edits when needed and overall to be a cheerleader for the good idea. But when you are at the center of the idea, it’s just a new level of expression. You can indulge in a strange idea or feeling and it’s been surprising how much I enjoy it.
The record is coming out on the newly created Woodsist imprint Mare Records. What drew you to the label and what makes it a good fit for Night Shop's first LP?
Well, very simple and organic reasons. Kevin is one of my best friends and Jeremy is another dear friend who I’ve worked with for many years. Working with your friends to make things has basically been my approach to music since I was a teenager and I like that life continues to reveal that this is, for me, the best way to do things.
You've toured with a handful of DIY punk bands and in 2009 joined The Babies with Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone based in NYC. After the band went on hiatus, you and Morby moved to Los Angeles. What prompted the change of coast and how did the move lay the groundwork for where you currently are on the cusp of Night Shop's first record?
It was just a time of endings in New York. The Babies were winding down, a relationship I was in was ending and the changes to the city were making it very hard for people to stay inspired and make art. People were getting burned out. And I couldn’t blame them. But whenever I would visit LA for music, people would be talking about the art they were making. It was really just a clear disconnect. I’m currently crossing my fingers that it doesn’t happen here all over again.
Your primary duty for the past twenty years has been being a touring drummer. Have you been writing songs the entire time you've been in other groups? What made 2018 the time to step out from behind the set and release your own material?
Never directly. When I was younger, I did write lyrics and sing in some bands. So singing and writing lyrics is not new. And I always felt super concerned about song structure as a drummer. I’m not a “top notch pro player” so I always felt like enhancing the song was my role. So that doesn’t feel totally new either. But I never sat down and worked on a song on guitar until 2015.
You drum in a garage-punk band Flat Worms that has a totally different sound and energy than Night Shops. Is the style heard on In The Break more what's at the core of your musical nucleus?
For sure. I think Flat Worms speaks to a part of me that has always been attracted to the energy and excitement of an intense punk sound. It’s just part of my history and I like having a space to sort of contribute to that tradition. And I think that when it’s done right, it’s still a very visceral live experience. Also, I just will always see something very beautiful and earnest about a “band.” It’s a very messy democratic thing and it makes the good nights very special. But yes, these are the songs that really spring from myself. Also, it’s worth noting that the first Night Shop EP actually is just me and Tim and Will from Flat Worms who play on the recording.
The new record features contributions from Meg Duffy, Jarvis Taveniere, Greta Morgan, and Anna St. Louis. How did these collaborations help achieve a desired sound on In The Break? Were each of them specifically selected for unique talents or was the involvement more organically developed?
Well, they are literally some of the most talented people I’ve ever met but, as with Mare, it’s really back to the basic principle of working with your friends. I think whatever comes out sonically from that process is going to suit what I’m trying to express better than erring on the side of professional strangers. But luckily for me, I happen to be friends with such insanely talented people.
You're taking the Night Shops project on the road with Waxahatchee which will bring you to North Carolina to play Hopscotch Music Festival in September. After years of touring, are there any nerves or new perspectives finally taking the stage as the frontman?
Oh of course. I’m someone who gets nervous before every show. From a basement house party to a huge festival stage. I’ve finally just accepted that before I play, my stomach feels insane and I can’t hold a conversation with anyone. Then I usually get so nervous that I think “Why am I even doing this? It’s not worth it.” Then I play and of course, it’s always worth it.
Chicago's Ehers pop the top on their second single from their upcoming self-titled debut out August 24th via Trouble In Mind. On "Something," the band's skinned-knee thrash slow-boils with their steamrolling veteran garage rock flavor.
The way-out psychedelic safari of long-jam Dead and the condensed and potently diffused in-studio Dead are siphoned and consigned into a sorcerous display of guitar mastery and endlessly cool cosmic blues on Cosmic Cash, the debut LP from New Jersey's Garcia Peoples. A perfect cross-section of American music, Cosmic Cash's sprawling 6-string experimentation slices through desert blues, acid folk, and country soundscapes.
Live long enough and you'll experience the strain of adulthood. Tastes change, feelings mutate, friendships adapt, living spaces transition. For Shy Boys, the phenomenon was absorbed and converted into fuel for their second record, a well-evolved follow up to 2014's self-titled release. The record, Bell House, is named for the house the Kansas City group shared for half a decade; a place in time the band reflects back on as home-base for a period of mutual identity crisis and lifestyle transformation; marriage, moving back in with parents, dwindling leisure time. Brothers Collin and Kyle Rausch and three of their closest friends rescue youthful simplicity as Shy Boys with kindred, featherlight harmonies, nimble guitar arrangements, and spirited melodies.
On Putting On Airs, Erin Rae hems a Laurel Canyon folk psychedelia through a Nashville seam with her timeless and restorative voice and smokey barroom instrumental backdrop.
Earlier this year, you released Putting On Airs, your newest and most impressive record. How had you changed as a songwriter, musician, and artist since your 2015 record Soon Enough?
Hopefully I’ve grown! I think this record is more introspective lyrically and sonically more exploratory.
Is songwriter something that's been an important part of your life? Has your interest always been in folk, singer-songwriter style material?
That’s what I grew up hearing my parents play, and what I heard around the house. When I started writing that’s what came First. All kinds of music influence me but that’s what comes out the easiest!
How long have you been in Nashville and how has your time there influenced your sound? Is the twangy history of the city a vital part of your musical foundation?
I grew up here, been here since the sixth grade. It’s the only community of music I know! My music isn’t twangy at all, but my early mentors were Kathy Mattea, a country musician, and Phoebe Binkley, our vocal coach, and the coach for many country artists like Ronnie Millsap, Crystal Gayle, Reese Witherspoon for her part in Walk The Line, and more. She also wrote songs for Marty Robbins. I felt connected to a long tradition of music through them before I was even really creating a ton of my own stuff.
How have you seen new artists adapting the "sound of Nashville?" Who are your most favorite people in the city?
The important thing to note is that there’s all kinds of music and not just country. There’s a strong hip-hop scene, there are so many pockets of all kinds of music. I don’t consider my music country. I love so many artists in Nashville, but I think the people that are helping make a difference are the writers like Marissa Moss & Ann Powers. They cover and share so many aspects of the scene, and aren’t afraid to uncover “controversies” in the music world. We need those voices.
The past two years have been a period of growth for you and your career; bigger stages, the new record, new followers of your project. As things start to build, does pursuing music and all that comes with it ever become overwhelming or a drag?
No, I have so much great support from my team and family and friends. If I was doing it on my own I’d sure feel overwhelmed. And sure I have moments, but they pass. Mostly just excited!
Recently, what moments have made you most confident and renewed your passion as a musician?
Hearing kind words from audience members after shows are always so encouraging. Support from fellow musicians means the most to me I think.
The last time I saw you in Charlotte, it was opening for Andrew Combs at the Evening Muse. Neighborhood Theatre is a bigger venue with a bigger stage. I'm excited for the July 31st show. Were you able to do anything interesting during your time in the city? Are there expectations good or bad about playing in Charlotte within your music community?
We just vintage shop and get coffee everywhere we go! And everyone loves North Carolina, we’re excited to get back!
Jeff Fribour, Los Angeles photographer, visual artist, and founding member of psych-kraut outfit Froth, presents a collection of dark, post-punk on his full-length as Numb.er. Analog synths buzz behind aggressive drums and manic guitar riffs that surge with an industrial tension. The chaos is controlled with Fribour's distressed, melodic vocals.
The plainly charming properties of Onlyness' debut extend from the blush-tone cover into the calming orbit of their carefree and straight-faced Americana. A project lead by Florist's Rick Spataro, Onlyness maintains a raw, unfiltered songwriting and production style that vacates the musical space of any extraneous fluff leaving just a casual, countrified cadence.
All photos by Olivia Cummings
From the moment the first glob of paint struck the wall on the side of the Violet Hour in Wicker Park, Pitchfork Music Festival 2018 was off to a creative and exciting start with one of their most diverse and impressive lineups to date. Attendees flooded Union Park, defying lousy weather forecasts for performances by over 40 acts including a long-awaited return from Tame Impala, the first Blood Orange set since announcing a new record, a transcendent avant-garde seance from This Is Not This Heat, and a supernal exhibition from Moses Sumney.
The fourteenth iteration of Chicago's premier musical gathering captured the identity of the leading music publication covering a broad range of genres and providing programming inclusive of cultural mainstays and also newer, developing artists. If the trip to Chicago wasn't feasible, Pitchfork offered live streaming of the festival from their YouTube channel to view from the comfort of your own convenience.
Following a period of decompression after her breakthrough 2017 release Please Be Mine, Molly Burch resurfaces with the dreamy and elegant first single from her upcoming sophomore record First Flower out October 5 via Captured Tracks. "Wild" features Burch's majestic vocals pairing supremely with the gleaming guitar arrangements of boyfriend and bandmate Dailey Toliver. Expect First Flower to be a more intimate experience exploring heartbreak, broken friendships, and anxiety but "peppered with moments of triumph."
The latest additions to the already spectacular Desert Daze 2018 lineup includes My Bloody Valentine, Shellac, Steve Albini, Julia Holter, GUM, Escape-ism, and Yonatan Gat & The Eastern Medicine Singers. These artists join an unreal list of performers like Tame Impala, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Mercury Rev, Ty Segall & White Fence, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Kevin Morby, Hinds, Kikagaku Moyo, Mary Lattimore, Bedouine, and more.
The Environments series was an archival project in the 60s and 70s by Irv Teibel that captured field recordings of natural sounds like a country stream, gentle rain in a pine forest, and a Caribbean lagoon. Philadelphia experimental noise outfit Empath's interpretation of the legendary works includes a two-track single representing wind and water, respectively. The tracks "Polyfoam" and "Only One" begin with the group's gritty lo-fi garage and vaporize into a swirl of abstract soundwaves.