Today, Aquarium Drunkard streamed two gorgeously understated Steve Gunn covers of The Smiths for their acclaimed Lagniappe Sessions. On his renditions of "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" and "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle",Gunn emulates Morrissey’s ivory smooth vocal longing and his trademark trill. The crisp staccato guitar notes on the original of “The Night Has Opened My Eyes” must have attracted Gunn to it in the first place. He translates these into gentler spanish folk acoustic picks and it’s the pacifying sound that emanates and echoes from playing under a stone terrace. A simple drum machine track captures the original rhythm in “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and floats the lull of Gunn’s lyrical portrayal. Head over to Aquarium Drunkardto stream these covers and for some great background on Gunn's personal connection to The Smiths. Here's some of it:
“A lot of teenage guitar players went straight into metal or prog, but the Smiths were the first guitar band that really spoke to me. Some people hated this band then and still do. Somehow that is pretty understandable. I love them. When I was a new guitar player, I borrowed a Smiths cassette from my older sister. Johnny Marr’s arrangements mystified me, transfixed me. I felt that they were something I’d never be able to decipher. It wasn’t until later that I started to look into his influences, and I came to understand his playing and arranging, especially in partnership with Morrissey. Plus, Johnny looked so damn cool playing that Rickenbacker. I took an extended break from the Smiths after my teenage years. I kind of grew out of my first phase of love for them and tried to stop feeling so sorry for myself. I lost the passion after the first solo Morrissey album came out. I was on to more formulaic music that in retrospect wasn’t any better—though much easier to play! I no longer had it in me to go and cry at the concerts (I never saw him), or fight for a sliver of Morrissey’s torn shirt. All of that being said, I will always have a deep admiration for this band. I always go back to them.” – Steve Gunn
Glitter Veils, formerly YOU, is the Australian duo Michael Whitney and Luke Zahnleiter. Today they released their debut by new name, Figures In Sightvia Flexible records. What becomes apparent in listening is the duo’s embracing of the musical function of catharsis.
These are contemplative fabrications that convey an existential awareness and their creators are conscious of them opening zones one can escape into. Sedated and funneled vocals drift along with processed guitar strokes and moody electronic shading. “Gibberish Talks” is quick-pulsed example.
Glitter Veils’ label paints a better picture for you, going along with today’s announcement of the new album: “Bearing a gift of melancholy, Glitter Veils craft delicate and finely wrought jewels that sparkle even in the dim light in which they were forged. With crystal-clear acuity the songs of Glitter Veils communicate intimate thoughts and reveries formed under streetlight, in isolation, in vulnerable moments. With lashings of ethereal noir, the deep-dream pop of Glitter Veils strike chords – emotional and musical – that you forgot existed.” – Charles Steinberg
Premiere:“Mama Said”: Live Video in NYC
Feb 09, 2017
Cat Clyde has emerged from the woods of Canada, picking up her acoustic guitar that backs her vintage blues song to lovely affect. Growing up in the forests of Ontario, she lived in a kind of time warp and to this day is pretty much blissfully unaware of all modern day pop culture, contouring her songwriting from her family's old vinyl collection. As such, her music has a throwback quality, and at the same time her sweet, palliative voice brings to mind contemporaies like Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath and Alela Diane, "by retooling old bluesy sounds with a modern urgency and fresh vocalism".
Clyde's debut album Ivory Castanets is due this spring and the first single "Mama Said" is bending ears. Clyde recently traveled to the States for the first time to play "Mama Said" and other songs at Berlin in New York City and Under the Radar is premiering the video, produced by Convicts NYC. Clyde shared her newcomer feelings in an endearing way. "It was all very overwhelming the first time I went to New York. I was extremely nervous, and had never really been interviewed before. It was exciting, but also strange." We're looking forward to Clyde growing more comfortable in the role of sharing her music, because it's good. Check out the premiere of "Mama Said" live at Berlin, NYC, which also includes some of her interview with Convicts. The official video lies below. – Charles Steinberg
Cold Beat: “62 Moons”
Feb 08, 2017
Hannah Lew, the bassist for San Francisco’s Grass Widow, has gone the DIY route in conceiving and releasing her own music since 2013, as Cold Beat. Anchored in low-fi post-punk that somersaults forward, swirling around her Deborah Harry like vocals, she has essentially released an album a year and on April 7th, her third full-length Chaos By Invitation will be released via her own Crime on the Moon label. The first single is called “62 Moons” and was shared today. You can listen to it below.
Lew sites musical inspiration by bands such as NEU! and Tubeway Army on the new album and if her past work is any indication, the mood and aesthetic of Aussie garage punk band Total Control will come through. Mikey Young of Total Control actually worked with Lew on tracking the new album. On “62 Moons”, Lew ascends above the kind of tense detachment felt on her previous albums with a lighter vitality. According to the press release, the song was also influenced by her own burgeoning interest in astronomy. “‘62 Moons’ is a song about love taken for granted, analogous to the 62 moons of Saturn, which are in constant loving orbit around a beautiful siren planet with many satellites.”
Chaos By Invitation is descibed as "much more personal and direct than (2015’s) Into The Air, which was more of a band effort. Collages from Lew’s home environment make up many of the textures of Chaos By, woven in to create an intimate atmosphere, a sort of chaos by necessity and design. The album also features performances by her friends Kyle King, Alex Shen, Jackson Blumgart, and Mikey Young.” – Charles Steinberg
Taking the theme of old-school indulgence to new and exciting places, Microsoft has engaged a team of up-and-coming developers to build a web game experience “Meet Me At Go!” inspired by M83’s 8-bit remix of “Go!” a standout on last year’s outstanding album Junk. This awesome throwback tech project was inspired by Anthony Gonzalez’s love of retro video games. A press release informs that, “The online game experience, “Meet Me At Go!,” takes fans on an unexpected journey through the song as they race through a retro-futuristic cityscape, dodging obstacles and collecting objects in pursuit of their love”. You can check it out here: Play it now
Along with the 8-bit remix of “Go!”, which takes you back to Nintendo soundtracks, the just released Remix EP has versions from J. Laser – the creative moniker of M83’s touring bassist/multi-instrumentalist Jordan Lawlor, Scottish DJ/musician/producer KC Lights, and Animal Collective/Deakin . The EP Also includes a Fabich remix of “Bibi the Dog” and a C. Duncan remix of “Solitude. Listen to M83 band mate J. Laser’s "Go!" remix above. – Charles Steinberg
Greenfield: “Fountain of Youth” + “Loud Lights” & “All of Us” Videos
Feb 04, 2017
Friday’s Bandcamp drive for support of the ACLU inspired many to search its tremendous catalog for artists that perhaps haven’t been given their due shine. The music of Paul Dally, who goes by Greenfield, stood out. Dally recalls with vivid imagery, the lone traveller, straight off the bus with nothing but his guitar, boots kicking up dust on his way to the local bar to play the song he just penciled. The young Mellencamp or Springsteen, with a contemporary mien. The sense you get is that he’ll play no matter what, to a room full of people or the stray dog outside on the street. He is the kind of unvarnished gem to unearth in the spirit of purchasing music to support a worthy cause, the scrappy and talented dreamer, a voice in the night. Greenfield's Fountain of Youth EP gives you a taste of what he's got.
Here’s some background from his Bandcamp page: “Paul Greenfield Dally is a musician and songwriter originally from the Pacific Northwest. He has been in numerous bands in Washington and in New York but has always returned to the moniker Greenfield. The first collection of songs Paul ever recorded and self-released under the name Greenfield dates back to the early 2000's. Since then Greenfield has been many things ranging from acoustic to electric to digital to thoroughly bizarre. The only consistency in Greenfield is Paul himself. From (roughly) 2013-15, Greenfield was a rock and roll band that consisted of Noel Chanyungco on drums and Dylan Treleven on bass with Paul singing and playing guitar. They self-released an EP called BLOODTHIRSTY and played shows around New York. Many songs of their catalogue were not recorded."
Now based in New York, Dally has collaborated with producer Samuel Gilbert and Launch Point Records to create a large body of work and Fazed Out is the first release from their time together in the studio. Further delving found a couple of pretty radical videos too. “Loud Lights” is particularly of the moment. – Charles Steinberg
❖: ❍: Bandcamp supports ACLU
Feb 03, 2017
Today, in response to last week’s Executive Order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States, Bandcamp, in tandem with hundreds of artists and labels, is donating 100% of its proceeds to the ACLU. As stated on Bandcamp's homepage: "...all day today (starting at 12:01am Pacific Time), for any purchase you make on Bandcamp, we will be donating 100% of our share of the proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union, who are working tirelessly to combat these discriminatory and unconstitutional actions...Over 400 artists and labels have joined us in donating their Bandcamp profits today to the ACLU and other organizations in support of immigrants and refugees." It has also presented music to share from these affected countries.
❖ from Yemen offers impactful darkwave electronic music that tunnels you in. There isn't a lot of available information about the artist, so it's best to let the music do the talking, and the mystery linger. A quote from J. Edward Keyes on the site fills us in: "❖’s 2013 EP is just four songs long, but what impresses is the way it’s able to create a distinct mood in such a short period of time. Its songs are built from weatherbeaten synth tones that crackle and pop—as much distortion as they are melody. On opener “i x u,” a scuffed-up, blown-out synth line is stretched out across depth-charge bass tones, clawing its way from the song’s beginning to its end. The mood continues on “n æ o “; the beats thump like an android heartbeat as sandpapered electronics wax and wane. There’s much this approach could suggest: the triumph of beauty, no matter how battered; the existence of peace in a grinding post-industrial landscape. But in the end, that kind of speculation is almost beside the point. ❖ has created a small world with their music. The best option is to close your eyes and disappear inside it." Check it out here:
Tinariwen: “Imidiwàn N-Àkall-In”
Feb 02, 2017
One of a kind Saharan guitar band Tinariwen just previewed their upcoming new album,Elwan (Elephants) on NPR First Listen. It is the band’s eighth international release and is due out February 10th. Tinariwen’s richly absorbing ancestral desert songs reanimated through contemporary electric guitar layering have crossed borders and joined cultures, amidst the strife and endangerment of their homeland.
“Imidiwàn N-Àkall-In” is an inspiring testament to their persevering love of music in the face of adversity. Inescapable dangers at home in Mali have presented challenges to the continuation of their recordings, thus, Elwan was recorded between suburban Paris, the California desert of Joshua Tree and Southern Morocco. The record features guest performances from Kurt Vile, Matt Sweeney, Alain Johannes and Mark Lanegan among others. Tinariwen’s return is a symbol at a time when the globally unifying power of music is needed most. Tinariwen have also announced dates for their 2017 headline tour of North America, beginning on March 30th in California. – Charles Steinberg