With fresh experimentalism and confident craftsmanship, the Austin-based SPEAK split the difference between dreamy electronica, hip hop production tricks, rock instrumentation and traditional song structure on their new album "Pedals", channeling their multiple interests into a sound, style and attitude that are wholly their own.
The edgy blend of accessibility and inventiveness that drives "Pedals" has already established SPEAK as a formidable, self-contained creative force, developing its own distinctive body of work and building a rabidly loyal fan base, while winning the respect of several notable artists who've sought the band out as collaborators.
SPEAK have already been out on the road with Cage The Elephant, Jukebox The Ghost, Chain Gang Of 1974, Ra Ra Riot, Tegan & Sara, and The Griswolds and have played SXSW, Voodoo Fest, Austin City Limits and Fun Fun festivals.
"...'Pedals' further proves their penchant for the grandiose, delivering a sonic blowout as large as it is entrancing.....Speak is dreaming--and delivering--big."--Austin Chronicle
"....synth-pop sound of Passion Pit with lofty Muse-like arrangements, 'Pedals' is a particularly impressive effort."--Austin Monthly
" (SPEAK) is playing right now and they are a fine musical act."--Weezer (from their Twitter)
+ "Best New Band"--Austin Music Awards winner
Listen: "Gates" (radio edit)
Will Butler has been a core member of the band Arcade Fire for over 10 years. The upcoming "Policy" (out 3/10) is his first release under his own name and is American music—in the tradition of the Violent Femmes, The Breeders, The Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, The Magnetic Fields, Ghostface Killah. And John Lennon (I know, but it counts). Music where the holy fool runs afoul of the casual world.
"Policy" was recorded in one week in Jimi Hendrix's old living room (upstairs at Electric Lady Studios). Jeremy Gara played drums; other musicians contributed woodwinds and backing vocals. Most everything else was played by Will.
The song structures are traditional; the arrangements are clean. The music is experimental only in that it attacks consistency as a requirement for sincerity. The songs are angry, loving, joking, tired, honest, idiotic. They clash against each other but also fit and work to- gether—as if a blind watchmaker made a Frankenstein watch that came alive and told extremely accurate time while having conflicting feelings about its creator. No, about creation itself. But then the watch makes friends with a talking rat, and they go on hilarious adventures until it turns out that the rat was dead the whole time. With a really good credits song—I mean, the whole soundtrack is excellent. You should check it out.
Before she died, Matt Sheehy's mother used to tell him about a dream she had about Lost Land Lake—a place she spent part of her mid-western childhood. That dream inspired the name of the Juneau-born, Portland-based songwriter's band, and her memory is imbued in Lost Lander's "Medallion". If "DRRT", the group's first independently released album, was about the confluence of nature and technology, "Medallion", its latest, concerns dualities - experiences of love and loss, impermanence and longevity, death and rebirth.
The confrontation of these dualities resulted in a set of songs that explore "more human territory," according to Sheehy, a professional forester who spend his days in Oregon's immense wooded expanse - where he collects data while occasionally dodging 1,000-pound bull elks and the stray hunter's bullet.
The coming-apart of Sheehy's marriage engagement and nearly concurrent loss of his mother, followed closely by the blooming of a relationship with longtime friend and bandmate Sarah Fennell, heavily influenced the lyrics on "Medallion".
Lost Lander's "Medallion" was recorded with producer Brent Knopf (Ramona Falls, Menomena), but also owes its current form to Sheehy's bandmates; keyboardist Fennell, drummer Patrick Hughes and ex-bassist Dave Lowensohn. "Medallion" also features Beirut trumpet player Kelly Pratt, Akron/Family's Dana Jenssen, and new bass and guitar player, William Seiji Marsh.
"It's a tightrope act with the band Lost Lander, a tension created by catchy loops, and layered lyrics, either of which are all too easy to get lost in."--KEXP
Listen: "Gemini" (radio edit)
We Are Undone
On February 3rd, San Francisco guitar-drum duo Two Gallants are set to release their 5th studio album, "We Are Undone".
While singer and guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel have stayed true to the two-person format since their acclaimed 2004 debut, "The Throes", their sound has evolved considerably over the intervening years. Following 2012's "The Bloom and the Blight", "We Are Undone" is the band's second release for ATO.
Thematically, the album ranges from songs that attempt to make sense of the dramatically shifting social landscape of their home town, to the illusion of authenticity, impending environmental collapse, and romantic estrangement.
"pulls from enough strains of rock 'n' roll to defy attempts to pin a modifier on it. It's just, you know, rock 'n' roll, in the same sort of timeless way that the best Replacements records are."--Entertainment Weekly
"Singer-guitarist Adam Haworth Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel write white-knuckle songs of intensity and passion, then perform them intensely and passionately."--NPR
For The Dodos "the best time to make a record is right after you've finished one" says vocalist and guitarist Meric Long.
Having just wrapped up the sessions for their previous record "Carrier", and fired up on the level of comfort achieved with brothers Jay and Ian Pellicci at Tiny Telephone studio, the duo immediately began laying to tape the batch of songs that would result in their latest and sixth record, entitled "Individ".
"There were things I didn't want to forget, sounds that we had just scratched the surface of making that record that I wanted to capitalize on. Songs came together easily, there was not a lot of questioning, just moving ahead with the feeling that we were on the right track. We were freed up to do whatever came naturally" says Long.
And for The Dodos, their natural inclination is to create music that sounds positively epic.
"In a lot of ways making this record brought us back to making "Visiter"," their 2008 critical and commercial breakthrough, "relying heavily on the movement that occurs between just two instruments, guitar and drums. From the first take of the first song we tracked, things sounded huge and that set the tone for the entire thing."
"Individ"'s first single "Competition" is a shining example of this proclivity, built on dueling guitar lines that overlap above and below a persistent drum beat as Long's assured vocals soar above it all.
At other points, "Goodbyes and Endings" infuses a similar up-tempo feel while changing time signatures every few bars. "Retriever" chugs along on one of the dirtiest guitar riffs The Dodos have ever set to tape, all the while accompanied by drums that are more akin to gunshots.
As the album closes with "Pattern/Shadow" (a track that features vocals from Thee Oh Sees' Brigid Dawson), Long sings "Your shadow remains / I cannot resist / The mirrored escape / Of your pattern."
It's a moment that lyrically reinforces the record's guiding force of acceptance, imparting a lesson to a band whose name inherently calls into question its future: resilience isn't always about changing or adapting to a new environment, sometimes it's about staying true to your instincts and asserting yourself in this ever changing atmosphere.
Explains Long, "Carrier was about breaking habits, recognizing and imagining yourself away from the washing machine that has you trapped. That's why the cover image was of someone watching a tornado go away from him. This record is about accepting what is natural for you or maybe even a part of you. 'Individ' is what it sounds like inside the tornado."
A Flourish and a Spoil
The Districts deliver raw, rollicking power on the upcoming "A Flourish And A Spoil" (out 2/10) and the band has already been buzzing on Both sides of the pond!
The four-piece formed in 2009 while the members were still in high school in Lancaster County, PA. "A Flourish And A Spoil" was produced/engineered/mixed by John Congleton (St. Vincent) and features singer/guitarist Rob Grote's vocals front and center, combining equal parts ferocity and yearning. "A Flourish And A Spoil"'s resulting 10 tracks capture the boisterous liver performances from the quartet, who are all between 19 and 20 years old.
The Districts have toured with bands including Temples, White Denim, Dr. Dog and Deer Tick and won over fans on both sides of the pond with 2014 sets at Lollapalooza, ACL and Reading Festival among others. The band will tour extensively throughout 2015 and are a Must See!
"The Districts will be your new favourite band."--The Guardian UK
"As performers, they're naturals, having the confidence and stage presence of bands twice as old and twice as popular"--Consequence Of Sound
"just try not to bob your head"--Interview
Listen: "4th & Roebling" (radio edit)
A stalwart of Austin indie rock and one of the city's most highly regarded songwriters, Aaron Sinclair has teamed up with Dangerbird Records for the national release of the new album "Pretty Girls" under the moniker A. Sinclair. 12 songs are available digitally now and a 6-song 10" vinyl EP arrives October 28. A. Sinclair’s recent releases have drawn the attention of press around the country, intrigued by a sound that the Austin Chronicle described as "tension-driven" with "tight, rough riffs and sharp post-punk lines." SPIN remarked on the underlying feeling of "twitchy paranoia" that permeates Sinclair's songwriting, which Baeble Music described as having a "strung- out urgency."
A. Sinclair’s rock passport has a number of notable stamps: First Houston, his hometown, where he initially picked up a guitar with friends and considered it to be a reasonable enough vehicle by which to leave. Then it was on to Boston, where Sinclair established himself in the mid-aughts first as the drummer for Drexel and then as a member of The Lot Six, the widely-beloved band that grew out of that city’s fertile Tarantulas punk scene, and with whom Sinclair crisscrossed the country for 4 years, steadiy building a loyal following on the East Coast until it was over in 2006.
Meanwhile, Sinclair made a name for himself with his own band Frank Smith, the band through which he explored a rootsier sound while touring, recording, and collaborating with friends like Juliana Hatfield, who released two of the band's albums on her own label.
Later that year, Sinclair made the decision to relocate to Austin in his home state of Texas and rebuild first his band and ultimately, himself. With a fresh start, a new band name and a collection of songs that more than validate the impressive display of resolve, A. Sinclair's 'Pretty Girls' is the sound of an artist crashing ahead, unafraid to dig in even harder on being great, even if it means blowing it all up first.
Paste praised A. Sinclair's ability “let the music speak for itself” with a sound that can only be described as “full-on rock," while the critics at the UK site The Line of Best Fit were drawn to the combination of "massive guitars" and "boozy vocals," with "swagger, melody and timeless drive.”
Listen: "Suit Up"
No Cities To Love
Sleater-Kinney surprised fans by including the new song "Bury Our Friends" as a one-sided 7" with the October 21 release of "Start Together", a limited-edition vinyl boxed set comprising remastered versions of their seven previous acclaimed albums.
The trio - Corin Tucker (vocals/guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar/vocals) and Janet Weiss (drums) - recorded "No Cities To Love" in secret at Tiny Telephone Recordings in San Francisco in early 2014, with additional sessions at Kung Fu Bakery Recording Studios in Portland, and Electrokitty Recording in Seattle. John Goodmanson, who helmed four previous Sleater-Kinney albums, produced "No Cities To Love".
"We sound possessed on these songs," says Brownstein, "willing it all - the entire weight of the band and what it means to us - back into existence."
Sleater-Kinney formed in Olympia, WA in 1994, and set a new bar for punk's political insight and emotional impact, earning the mantle of "America's best rock band" (Greil Marcus/Time Magazine) along the way. Since the 2005 release of "The Woods", which Entertainment Weekly called "a masterpiece," Tucker has released two albums with the Corin Tucker Band, while Brownstein and Weiss released one album with Wild Flag. Brownstein also co-created and co-stars in the IFC series 'Portlandia,' and Weiss has recorded and toured with Quasi and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, among others.
"Kicks a whole lot of ass."--Stereogum
"'Bury Our Friends' suggests Sleater-Kinney remains vividly multidimensional. A distorted declaration that opens with dueling guitar lines and a booming beat, the song arrives with angular urgency."--LA Times
"Incredibly catchy"--NPR Music
Listen: "A New Wave"
The End Of Your Life
Gemini Club is a four-piece electronic influenced indie-rock band whose unique live shows have been tearing up the Chicago scene for the last three years as they have become a not-to-miss live phenomenon. Far from the conventional live performance, Gemini Club have enhanced their live appearances with a specially designed rig that allows for on-the-fly remixing of their own songs, meaning each Gemini Club show is different from the last. This unique musical event has resulted in them sharing the stage with acts as varied as AWOLNATION, Interpol, The 1975, Metric, Panic! At The Disco and Cut Copy (to name a handful).
As the band continued its rapid ascent, a constant touring schedule this year also allowed them some high profile festival slots at Lollapalooza, Hangout Festival and Firefly Festival. Look for the band to hit the road again in early 2015 in support of their forthcoming "The End Of Your Life" EP.
"We've been in the studio a ton and playing shows, and now we're finally putting out what we've worked so hard on. 'Empty Bed' has an interesting duality between the dark verses and bright choruses--like you're going through a long tunnel until you reach daylight. Everyone has uncertainty in their lives, and to me, 'Empty Bed' is about being able to move past it."--Tom Gavin of Gemini Club
+ "Empty Bed" on Soundcloud has Already racked up 150K spins After Just 3 Weeks and some change!
+ "For fans of Bastille, Empire Of The Sun...This Chicago band has the ability to traverse the full spectrum of indie-dance....sharp songwriting, dance-floor beats and dynamic performance skills have seemed to finally click"--Time Out Chicago (at Lollapalooza)
Listen: "Empty Bed"
Rolling Down The Hill
Last year Born Cages released "The Sidelines EP" on Washington Square, an imprint formed by Razor & Tie. "The Sidelines EP" (on iTunes) was produced by Jon Kaplan (Walk The Moon) and Olivier Straus (Arctic Monkeys, Matt & Kim) at Mission Sound in Brooklyn, NY. Born Cages boundless style encompasses arena-size energy and folk-inspired melody and song craft. The band’s music walks a fine line between timeless rock grandeur and artful indie alternative. A balance that seems gracefully concocted yet flows naturally by the band’s collaboration with their producers.
Lead singer and guitarist Vlad Holiday formed Born Cages in 2011 and the group dove head-first into New York City’s eclectic indie rock movement. He is joined by high school friend Amanda Carl on keyboards, Dave Tantao on drums, and Matt Maroulakos on bass. Born Cages has already shared bills with acts as varied as Har Mar Superstar, Royal Teeth, The Pretty Reckless and Said The Whale and were even handpicked by Guns N’ Roses to be the sole support band on two sold out GN’R club shows.
With first single "Rolling Down The Hill" out now on 7-inch and digitally, the new album lands February 2015.
“Beautifully straddles the line between dreamy and discordant.” - Filter Magazine
“100 Bands You Need to Know” – Alternative Press
“blend of 80s-influenced synth/guitar work and modern pop-rock sounds” – Vice/NOISEY
Listen: "Rolling Down The Hill"