The other night, I was stepping off BART when a late-20s-something guy waiting for a train going the opposite direction perked his head up, twisted his neck in my direction, and looked me right in the eyes.
I see this as I’m still three people deep from exiting the train, and I’m curious, but also cautious. Do I encourage this behavior by engaging with his stare, or am I asking for trouble?
Once I reach the platform, I look back at him and take a right out of the train towards the stairs. Before I quickly disappear out of range, the guy yells across the platform at me, “Can I ask you a question?!” I continue to walk towards the exit, but I turn to look at him, and raise my eyebrows out of curiousity.
He takes this as a yes, and projects even louder now that I’m further away. “Has anyone ever broken your heart!?” he shouts. I turn my head back towards him, consider whether I should even participate, then give him a sincere and hearty, “YES!” He’s taken aback by my answer, but he smiles, then looks down into his lap and crumples his face in confusion and pain. He shoots his head back up and shouts back at me, “WHY!?” I took the corner, and up the escalator I went.
Why would someone ever break my heart? Good question. It isn’t easy trying to navigate the “why” of heartbreak. I just know it’s really fucking painful, and I’m not very good at handling it well. Which brings me to Widowspeak.
The dreamy, psych-folk rock, “earth tone pop” duo out of Brooklyn, NY has perfectly captured the wavelengths heartbreak creates with their latest, insanely beautiful jams. The songs can be found on Widowspeak‘s latest album, “All Yours.” It’s due out September 4th, and is titled after one of their most gorgeous, and accessible tracks about heartbreak aftermath. The album is also currently streaming on KCRW.
I highly recommend you soak in the essence of these jams, but with this word of warning: these beautiful tracks may elicit some serious sadness or nostalgia, ignite flames of heartache, and leave you wondering, “WHY!?” Enjoy:
Widowspeak – All Yours
Widowspeak – Dead Love (So Still)
Widowspeak – Girls
I know it’s April fool’s day and all, but I can’t be bothered to actually pull any pranks (I’m terrible at ’em anyway). I do, however, have some very real and amazing news about what else today represents: Album release day; hooray! Three very different, but talented and beloved bands, Timber Timbre, Mac DeMarco and Pure X have all released brand new LPs, Hot Dreams, Salad Days and Angel, on this fit for tricks day. Whether you’ve already been stumped, deluded and/or duped today, I bring you some refreshing musical truth:
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams via Arts & Crafts
Timber Timbre is a dark, beautiful, semi-spooky, and sometimes described as “swampy” Canadian folk project and trio made up of Taylor Kirk, Simon Trottier and Mika Posen. Their moniker refers to a timber-framed cabin set in the wooded outskirts of Bobcaygeon Ontario where they made an early series of recordings. Hot Dreams is their 5th (yes, 5th!) album.
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Timber Timbre – Curtains?!
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days via Captured Tracks
Oh, Mac DeMarc0. He’s everyone’s favorite goofy, guitar slingin’ Canadian crooner (who’s now currently residing in Brooklyn). Since the release of his wacky LP, Rock and Roll Night Club in 2012 (technically his first album), and the blow up of his second album, Mac DeMarco 2, that soon followed after, the 23-year-old seems to be on a never-ending whirlwind tour of mischievousness. Banging out Metallica covers, smoking endless cigarettes, and playing his catchy, crooner crowd pleasers to thousands over and over again, Mac may look tired, but no one is of his music. He’s come a long way since his days of Rock and Roll Night Club. With the release of Salad Days, which touches on more personal and semi-serious tops, like the inability for his long-time girlfriend, “Kiki” to stay legally in the United States in “Let My Baby Stay,” it seems as if Mac’s all grown up… kind of.
Mac DeMarco – Passing Out Pieces
Mac DeMarc0 – Brother
Pure X – Angel via Fat Possum
Pure X is Austin, Texas’s billowy, psychedelic chillwave quartet (formerly known as Pure Ecstasy). Angel is the group’s 3rd album and according to their LP promo material, Angel was written and recorded over just 5 days in a hundred-year-old dance hall situated in a small town in central Texas. Drummer Austin Youngblood described the album as “a record for the ladies, about the ladies.” Now, who can resist?
Pure X – Starlight
Pure X – Heaven
The moment Mt. Royal‘s jam, “Missing Reward” hit my ears, I immediately became obsessed. Since then, I’ve repeatedly listened to the group during my commute, while at work in between editing sessions, and I find any excuse to pop my headphones in for one more listen.
Who is Mt. Royal? They’re a new “vintage psychedelia” pop 5-piece out of Baltimore, Maryland (who took their name from a street in their hometown) fronted by the magnetic and soulful, Katrina Ford of Celebration. The group released their self-titled debut EP on January 27th via Bella Union and have hopes for an album release this spring/summer.
Though no tours are listed for Mt. Royal, aside from a show here and there listed in Brooklyn, keep your eyes and ears open. In the mean time, listen to Mt. Royal on Spotify (you can find the full EP here), give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter, and watch their glittery, glamorous video for “Missing Reward.”
It’s funny to think you’ve been listening to and watching a beloved band for a couple of years, only to realize they’ve never actually released a full-length album. Brilliant EPs and superb singles surprisingly and happily hold fans over for some time. This is the case for psych-electro-pop San Francisco music darlings and cousins that make up Painted Palms.
The duo released their addicting EP, Canopy back in 2011 (which caught the eye of Kevin Barnes from of Montreal), a 2-track 7″ titled Carousel back in March of this year, and their Nothing Lasts EP in June of this year. Painted Palms has also done the tour circuit, opening for bands such as of Montreal, Braids and STRFKR – All of this without a full length? Well, time to give praise the music Gods, as Painted Palms will be releasing their debut album, Forever, on January 14th, 2014 via Polyvinyl.
Luckily for us, they’ve also leaked two singles from their forthcoming album, “Forever,” and “Spinning Signs,” both of which seriously channel The Shins meets The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. And, if you’re in the San Francisco bay area, Painted Palms will be playing/having an album release party on January 17th, 2014 at the Rickshaw Stop accompanied by Soft Metals and Melted Toys. Enjoy:
Painted Palms – Forever
Painted Palms – Spinning Signs
Moodoïd‘s frontman is no stranger to psychedelic-pop. Multi-instrumentalist, Pablo Padovani is the touring guitarist in the lovely Melody’s Echo Chamber. And, Melody Prochet’s producer and boyfriend, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker also produced Moodoïd’s self-titled EP, which was released in September via Entreprise. Sharing is caring.
So not only does Moodoïd consist of and is produced by psychedelic darlings in the music realm, their music is an irresistible flurry of dreamy vocals, beautiful melodies, trippy synth and keys, fuzzy guitar, and smashing percussion. Even better? They recently released a cover of “Falling” by Julee Cruise and Angelo Badalamenti AKA the theme song to David Lynch’s late ’80s serial drama, Twin Peaks (listen below). Freak out!
Have a listen to Moodoïd’s self-titled EP below, watch their intriguing and splendidly bizarro interpretive art music video for “Je suis la Montagne“ and anxiously await with me for their forthcoming album.
Moodoïd debut EP
Moodoïd – Tomber (Twin Peaks theme song)
Moodoïd – Je suis la Montagne
Get ready to trip out. Boston hailing psych-dream-pop-folk rockers, Quilt have released two new trippy tracks: “Tired and Buttered,” and “Arctic Shark.” Both tracks can be found on Quilt‘s forthcoming sophomore album Held in Splendor.
Since Quilt emerged in music scene back in 2009, and released a debut LP in 2011, Anna Fox Rochinski, Shane Butler, and John Andrews have continuously succeeded in ‘patching’ together a magnificent conglomerate of equally upbeat, rockin’, spacey, catchy and dreamy sounds. The results are splendidly out of this world.
Quilt – Tired & Buttered
Quilt – Arctic Shark
Ooh baby, ooh baby. A quad of Brit rockers with beautiful shaggy hair who play amazingly catchy psychedelic jams? Sign me up! Temples, the UK hailing psychedelic four-piece, channeling The Byrds and giving Tame Impala some serious competition has just released, “Mesmerise.” The track is the first single from their forthcoming debut album, Sun Structures, due out February 10/11 via Heavenly Recordings & Fat Possum (Jackson Scott, Band of Horses, Youth Lagoon).
According to their bio, in the summer of 2012, bassist, Tom Warmsley and singer/guitarist, James Bagshaw were recent college graduates attempting to look for work, not really knowing what to do w/themselves, so they wrote, played and recorded music at home. In July of that same year, they recorded, “Shelter Song,” threw it on the internet, and it virally caught the ears and stole the hearts of many. Warmsley and Bagshaw suddenly found themselves signed with Heavenly Recordings. Though not really a full band at that time, Warmsley and Bagshaw recruited drummer, Sam Toms and keyboard player, Adam Smith. A year later Temples shared the bill with The Rolling Stones at London’s Hyde Park. From then on, the sky has been the limit for these hazy 12-string psych-rockers with beautiful heads of hair.
Temples – Mesmerise
Temples – Shelter Song
Temples – Colours to Life
There’s an interesting contest and event called the Oaktown Music Festival which showcases and celebrates musical talent hailing from the other side of the Bay Bridge. San Francisco always seems to steal the Bay Area music spotlight, so it’s refreshing and exciting to see some Oakland representation.
The contest is put on by local Oakland venue, Awaken Cafe and entertainment production company, Oaktown Indie Mayhem. The first round of the contest began with an online song and video contest in which bands were nominated and voted upon by judges and the public. This year, there were supposedly 2,100 submissions and 30 band finalists selected. The final round of winners (see below) were selected by a jury (musicians, writers, marketers, producers, etc.) and have been given the title: “Best of Oakland.” The winners will be headlining the Winners’ Party/Concert on November 15th & 16th at Awaken Cafe, and are also given recording time at Fantasy Studios, along with other perks.
Below are hand-picked, highlighted (and alphabetized) winners and finalists – Some beloved, some newfound joys, and a couple of wacky gems ranging from groovy funk, whimsical folk, surf/punk/psych-rock and “chill pop.” I’ve included commentary on any of the bands I’ve actually seen live; hopefully more so in the future.
My boyfriend, an Oakland resident, (does this mean I get some Oakland street cred?) introduced me to Bells Atlas. We saw them play an insane debut album release show back in June at The New Parish in Oakland. They have a huge and loving Oakland/Berkeley fan following, which was easy to hear and see why. They’re an extremely talented, vibrant, groovy, funky group.
Bells Atlas – Loving Your Down (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Video)
Emily Moldy – My Own One (Won: Best in Show – People’s Choice)
Fever Charm – Magazine
Minute is 4-piece of good lookin’ boys and their good lookin’ musical toys. I saw them play a packed show at The Stork Club in Oakland and it was a sweaty good time. Occasionally a trombone was thrown into the mix and people commenced to dance up a storm. They also did a cover of Keyboard Cat just for kicks and I nearly went insane with excitement. This is one of their dreamier, psych-inspired slow jams:
Minute – Adrift
This year I saw Shannon and the Clams play at Burger Records’ Burger Bugaloo Music Festival in Oakland, and as an opener for Sonny & The Sunsets in SF. They’re one of my favorite Bay Area acts to see live and they always steal the show! The rippin’ three piece look and sound like something out of the movie Hairspray, and their jams are so damn catchy. I obsessively listened to their latest LP, Dreams in the Rat House, for a good three weeks.
Shannon and the Clams – Rip Van Winkle (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
The Tambo Rays – Take That (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
Tin Cup Serenade – Sunny Oakland Day (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
We Became Owls – Suitcase (Won: Runner Up for Best Song)
Experimental art-rockers, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have been on radars and piquing serious interest ever since their raving 2011 debut album, YT//ST and, “Lamia,” an Adult Swim Single Series release last year. The self-proclaimed “Asian diasporic psychedelic noh-wave opera group,” is a mouthful to say, but luckily a delightful earful as well.
The 6-piece group hailing from Canada describes their sound as a fuse of “noise, metal, pop and folk music into a multidisciplinary hyper-orientalist cesspool of ‘eastern’ culture in giant monochrome paper sets.” Still with us? The group says they blend “Noh, Peking Opera, Buddhist Ritual Punk, Taiko Shows, Tokusatsu, Performance Art, Rock Opera and a cardboard ‘NEVERFLAT’ style of 2.5D set design.” All of this bizarreness wrapped up in one band? You betta believe it!
In eager anticipation, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have just released a new gem, “One” which can be found on their sophomore LP, UZU due out October 29th via Suicide Squeeze (US) and Paper Bag (Canada) – Exciting! Have a listen and download “One” now:
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – One
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – Lamia
The weather warmed up in San Francisco this past week for a hot minute – Our (one and only) glimpse of a true summer. So naturally, all San Franciscans piled into parks, crammed onto bar patio benches, threw on floppy hats and maxi dresses, and put our instagramming hands in the air to capture the clear blue sky, like we REALLY care. Alas, the moment has passed us, and our real “Summer is Coming,” which means chilly wind and eerie fog thicker than Turkish coffee. So with that, I bring to you a fresh track roundup of hot new tracks for cool days, or for cooler heads, depending on your geographical preference:
Joywave is a Rochester, New York-based electro/experimental group mastering in mixtapes. They released their mixtape, 77777, back in March of ’11 and just released a follow-up with, you guessed it, 88888. According to Interview Magazine, “The process behind Joywave‘s upcoming mixtape is an intriguing exercise in self-improvement. … frontman Daniel Armbruster, created a record that is not comprised of new material, but rather rethinks and reintroduces material from the band’s debut EP, Koda Vista. This idea is rooted not only in the dance and hip-hop tradition of the remix, but also in the paintings of Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, who famously remade the same painting several times, in order to best communicate with his audience.”
The rework and re-visitation of Joywave‘s previous material is obviously doing them justice, as “Tongues,” a new single found on 88888, is sickeningly addictive and has fiercely shot up to the top the blogosphere charts. Have a listen to “Tongues” and download 88888 for free on Joywave’s site:
Joywave – Tongues (feat. KOPPS)
Dead Ghosts is a quad garage rock band hailing from the depths of Vancouver, British Columbia whose sound has been described as, “raunchy lo-fi, country-esque, sweet guitar pluck-and-jangle.“ Listen to “Roky Said” a nostalgic-inducing, rockin’, “garage fuzz” psychedelic jam found on their recently released LP, Can’t Get No, via Burger Records:
Dead Ghosts – Roky Said
Ooh Wampire. Let me count the ways in which I’ve idiotically missed you play, and how I’m always kicking myself for doing so. The Portland, Oregon-based indie-pysch-rock-pop band was created by longtime bffs, Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps. The two “started jamming in 2001” while in middle school. Now, Wampire is signed to Polyvinyl and has been on tour with friends, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (who also produced their debut). Wampire won me over with their trippy track, “The Hearse,” and I’ve been throughly addicted since. Wampire‘s new LP, Curiosity, is due out May 14 and you can stream the entire album in advance on Pitchfork. Don’t miss these guys!
Wampire – Trains
Wampire – The Hearse
Hot & Cold is the collaboration of two young 20-something Canadian brothers, Josh and Simon Frank. The boys produce trippy, abstract, catchy, drone synth-rock and apparently made their first live debut in Beijing, of all places. According to an interview with Vice, the transnational brothers, while in Beijing, “earned a spot alongside the Rose Mansion Analog crew, joining the ranks of the Offset:Spectacles and Soviet Pop.” Have a listen to “Out of the Grey” an addictive single from Hot & Cold’s new LP, Border Area, via Moniker Records:
Hot & Cold – Out of the Grey
Phèdre is one of my all-time favorite wacky electro Canadian duo/bands, and that’s saying a lot ‘cus there are so many to choose from! Phèdre released their self-titled debut album just last year and left many hungry for more. Luckily, they’re currently in the album-producing mood and are in the process of finalizing another LP, Golden Age. “We spent the darkest days of the winter writing a new record in Berlin. We made a collage for each song. We’re gonna put this out into the universe real soooooon.” They’re also currently producing a spontaneous “ongoing record,” Eterna, in which they’re “droppin’ tracks as they come.” Listen to “Zenith,” the first track from, Eterna:
Phèdre – Zenith
Kisses is an LA-based electro-pop duo made up of Jesse Kivel & Zinzi Edmundson. Their sophomore album, Kids in LA, is due out May 14th via Cascine and was produced by Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs. Kisses is also currently and appropriately on tour with Chad Valley – A surefire dance party in the making. Have a listen to “Air Conditioning,” Kisses‘ synthtastic gem from the new LP:
Kisses – Air Conditioning