Monthly Archives: June 2013

Dear Reader Releases Video for Latest Track, Took Them Away

Dear Reader returns with another powerful new video from her latest album Rivonia, out now through City Slang.

Directed by multi-award winning Rob Savage, the new clip illustrates Took Them Away, one of the most heartbreaking tracks from this startling journey through a childhood spent in apartheid South Africa.

Dear Reader

Dear Reader

Speaking about the footage, Savage states: “The video tells the story of a young girl who misinterprets something she sees and inadvertently causes tragedy to ensue. We wanted the visuals to have a theatrical quality, taking place in a black void representing her view of the events, almost as though the action was taking place on an empty stage.”

Took Them Away starts with a solemn piano piece and beautiful lyrics that build a narrative. It tells the story of a girl who is confused by everything that is happening around her, she can’t make sense of it all. She visits her friends house to find white woman and black man kissing in a barn, “Nicholas invited me to visit at the farm/We were playing in the yard I saw them in the barn/White and black together sat/I just stood and stared”. She then has tea served to her at this family’s home by the man she saw in the barn, “David in his overalls came in to serve the tea/I had seem him in the barn something wasn’t right/As I told my father late that night.”  The song tells the story of the apartheid through a little girl’s eyes which makes it an emotional and touching song.

Took Them Away is taken from Dear Reader’s latest album, Rivonia, which is available to buy now.


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Chelsea Wolfe Reveals Lastest Track from New Album, Pain Is Beauty

Chelsea Wolfe shares the latest track The Warden from her new album, Pain is Beauty which is out September 2 on Sargent House. You can listen to The Warden here.

Pain is Beauty is the new studio album from the Los Angeles-based artist and is a self-described love letter to nature. Many of the album’s 12 tracks veer in a decidedly more electronic direction than previous recordings while at the same time capitalising on Wolfe’s trademark penchant for the morose and otherworldly.

Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe

As Wolfe explains: “[The album] becomes an exploration of ancestry, how the mythology, landscapes and traditions of our ancestors affect our personalities today. Honesty is what initially drew me to music, and I’ve been more honest and open with myself than ever through these songs. There is peace in truth. There is clarity in solitude. And there is power within simplicity and focus. Love is not always easy. Tormented love is something I understand more than society’s skewed idea of what love should be. Love is indelible, severe, earnest, merciful. To push forward against the odds is to make history”.

Chelsea Wolfe makes records that transcend time, avoid pigeonholing and, most importantly, allow a glimpse into the soul of a true visionary. Her work is free of the contrivances of lesser artists, the trivial “concepts” and pandering for attention at any cost. Hers is a dignified way of doing things, proven without any doubt by the sheer quality of her work. Pain is Beauty presents not so much an auditory experience as it does an encompassing atmosphere with which the listener can surround themselves, a soul-stirring link with infinity.

Pain is Beauty is out on Sepetember 2 in the UK through Sargent House.

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Zola Jesus Reveals the First Track from New Album, Versions

On August 20, Sacred Bones Records will release Versions – an album of nine classic Zola Jesus songs and one new track arranged for string quartet by JG Thirlwell.

On the heels of her Conatus world tour, Nika Roza Danilova AKA Zola Jesus was offered an opportunity to perform at one of the most prestigious modern art museums in the world, New York’s Guggenheim. Rather than doing her standard Zola Jesus electronic set she decided she wanted to work with a classical composer who could arrange her songs for a quartet. She recruited experimental pioneer JG Thirlwell (Foetus) to do the arrangements.

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus

Since his work as Foetus in the early 80’s New York no-wave scene, JG has been scoring and composing symphonic arrangements for his own project Manorexia, in addition to currently scoring Adult Swim’s Venture Brothers series. If there is a common thread to Thirlwell’s varied musical styles, it is dramatic intensity and evocative, cinematic quality. Thirlwell’s oeuvre runs the gamut from orchestrations, big band, and cathartic noise-rock to abstract electronics, sound sculpture, and chamber music, thus making him the perfect collaborator to help realise Danilova’s vision.

Danilova explains her intentions with this album: “Versions is about the bone of the music; taking approximations from past records and turning them inside out. With all framework exposed, the songs are given a new medium in which to evolve and bloom into their own tiny worlds.”

Removing the bulk of electronics from these songs gives them the space to breathe, thusly opening them up to exist beyond the restrictions of previously imposed genres.

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Gauntlet Hair Stills – Album Review

Gauntlet Hair are Andy R and Craig Nice. Andy R is the master behind the guitar and vocals while Craig Nice is in charge of the drums and triggers. The duo who combine to make Gauntlet Hair are due to release their new album Stills on July 15. Recorded during Portland, Oregon’s grey winter days in producer Jacob Portrait’s (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) appropriately named studio “The Cave,” the album reveals Gauntlet Hair’s guileless affection for the goth industrialists and post-punks who blazed a shadowy path through the 80s and 90s.

After moving back to their home-town of Chicago last year, Craig and Andy looked to their teenage selves for inspiration. Nice explains: “I started listening again to the stuff I would have in my discman in the back of my mom’s car; White Zombie, Marilyn Manson — the production on those records is so amazing. Nothing sounds like that anymore.”

Gauntlet Hair

Gauntlet Hair

Mining that nostalgia has proved effective and the result is that Stills is a garden of dark delights. Gauntlet Hair manage to allow their listeners to lose their mind and body to their entrancing music. As the listener you are transported to a dark, spacious room where there is nothing but huge speakers and loud intoxicating melodies bursting through them. Gauntlet Hair have that ability to help you zone out and immerse yourself into their world of music.

Human Nature is a dark track to start an album with although it is incredibly chilled out at the same time. It doesn’t actually set the scene for the next few tracks which are much more electrifying and energetic. Gauntlet Hair do have a slight Electronica feel to their music and it’s especially present in Human Nature. The song gradually builds with the drum beat increasing and the deeper synth tones also becoming more intense. Juxtaposing these intense elements are the vocals which are surprisingly calming.

The second track Spew is a lot more upbeat than its previous number. It’s a real party track with those post-punk/rock influences being heard. The vocals are gravelly yet also higher pitched than the last track which starts to show off Andy’s great rock-star voice, especially in the chorus – it will send a flow of passionate energy through your body. Spew is a punchy track that will get you dancing.

Bad Apple is the latest single to be taken from Stills. Bad Apple takes the album back to its chilled roots as the track is full of relaxing synth tones and far off sounding vocals which all help to make this track more serene. There’s a strong 80s feel to Bad Apple due to the drum machine’s beat. The chorus “My god it’s another bad apple” will go round and round in your head after just a few listens due to the mesmerising melodies.

Obey Me sounds like something from a sci-fi thriller. It starts slow with the haunting, innocent vocals. It’s sort of a like an interlude track that leads to Heave which is a brilliant rock influenced track which has passionate, almost angry sounding vocals. The guitar riff is very Kenny Loggins in the 80s but even so, Heave is a kick ass rock track that’s not to be missed. Heave sounds more real than the other songs on Stills – there’s less synth and more real instruments being played.

G.I.D has clearer vocals than the rest of the songs on the record. It has a fantastic sombre and almost stoned beat throughout the song; it’s really dark yet pleasant. As a listener it makes you feel spaced out and almost as if you’re floating above the clouds. This is definitely one of those tracks that transports you to the dark, empty room with just you and the speakers. The lyrics are intriguing and memorable in G.I.D, “You are the one/The one I want/I don’t care how it’s done…You stole my heart right out of my chest…Carved your heart right into my chest/And you mentioned stress of your G.I.D complex yeah/I told you/ they say…oooh”. It has the best lyrics on the album – there’s something about this song that instantly draws you in and captivates you.

Falling Out is completely different from the other songs on Stills. There’s an acoustic guitar that can be heard clearly at the beginning that suddenly changes to an electric guitar with a great melody that’s expressed vocally. The way the layers get introduced and compliment each other in this track is spot-on. The lyrics, “Falling out of love with you/Falling out of love with you…” are accompanied by more real music with the synth enhancements taking more of a back seat. It uses a brilliant drum beat and tempo that get you feeling good despite the slightly depressing message.

Although Stills is an interesting album that defies categorisation, the whole album does begin to sound like one, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish when one song finishes and the next begins. There’s not a lot of distinction between the tracks. However, in a strange way it helps the album to retain that spaced out feel – you can become really immersed in the songs without the interruption of sudden and dramatic changes in influences.

Stills is a record that cannot be placed easily into one category – it seems to be Andy R’s and Craig Nice’s take on post-punk experimentation in the noughties. It’s more than impressive and should be listened to at least once even if it’s not usually your sort of thing.

Stills is out on July 15 through Dead Oceans.

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The Milk Carton Kids Announce New Autumn Headline Tour Dates

The Milk Carton Kids have announced a brand new series of North American tour dates in October and November. The duo is continuing to perform in support of their acclaimed new album The Ash & Clay. NPR recently described the album as ‘gorgeous, contemporary folk.’

After releasing The Ash & Clay on March 26, The Milk Carton Kids embarked on a two week European tour before returning to tour the U.S. in April and May.  This summer includes appearances at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Newport Folk Fest and both Winnipeg and Edmonton Folk Festivals in Canada as well as dates with Josh Ritter.

You can watch the duo performing live here.

You can catch The Milk Carton Kids live on the following dates:

12 October – Katonah, NY – Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
24 October- Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
26 October – Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre – A Praire Home Companion
27 October – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
28 October – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
29 October – Columbus, OH – Lincoln Theatre
30 October – Knoxville, TN – The Bowery
1 November- Asheville, NC – Altamont
2 November – Middletown OH – Dave Finkelman Aud, Miami University – Middletown
3 November – Birmingham, AL – WorkPlay
4 November- New Orleans, LA – The Parish @ House of Blues
5 November – Houston, TX – The Mucky Duck
6  November – Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theater w/ Sarah Jarosz
7 November – Austin, TX – The Paramount Theater w/ Sarah Jarosz
8 November – New Braunfels, TX-  Gruene Hall w/ Sarah Jarosz
9 November – Elgin IL – Visual and Performing Arts Center, Elgin Community College

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Paste Magazine Streams The Melodic’s Debut EP, On My Way, In Full

Paste Magazine is premiering the brand new debut EP from The Melodic called On My Way which hit digital stores yesterday via Anti-. This effervescent English group delivers a joyous new kind of afro-folk-pop incorporating sonic influences from throughout the world. Band members utilize instruments such as the Charango, Melodica and Kora to create heartfelt and beautifully poetic songs that defy categorisation. English newspaper The Observer described the band’s unique sound as “Incredibly beautiful, with harmonies and rich instrumentation that make you want to dance and cry at the same time.” To stream the EP click here.

The Melodic

British folk band, The Melodic

The young members of The Melodic came of age in the South London neighbourhood of Brixton amidst bustling streets and open air markets reverberating with a rich assortment of music from around the world. In the distinctly English tradition of sonic assimilation, they found influence in the sounds they were hearing. “Brixton is a real melting pot of different people so it doesn’t feel inappropriate for us to introduce sounds from around the world into our music,” band member Huw Williams explains.

In the end, the band has created a dynamic new music which both recalls contemporary artists such as Belle & Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields and the Decemberists, exhibits an unapologetic reverence for past masters Paul Simon and Bert Jansch and mixes in enthralling flourishes from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. The result is a vital sound entirely their own.

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Nothankyou is the new project from Olga Bell and Tom Vek. Nothankyou’s debut single is a double a-side 7” titled Know Yourself/Oyster that will be released through Moshi Moshi records on August 5 2013.

Hailing from opposite sides of the Atlantic, Bell and Vek first met over mid-aughts Myspace during what Tom refers to as “a window of about a week when I was speaking to people over social media”. They kept in touch, seeing each other every few years in Vek’s London or Bell’s New York, until eventually and inevitably, they found themselves at the same Creators Project party in Brazil.


Tom Vek and Olga Bell of Nothankyou

Olga asked if Tom was working on any new tracks. Tom played her a rough instrumental. Thumb drives flashed, flash drives hummed, Myspace rolled over in its grave and back in Brooklyn Olga added topline and keyboard parts before sending the track back to Tom. After a few exchanges they had one finished song. After a few more, they had two.

Know Yourself can be heard here. Know Yourself is a punchy track full of energy, brilliant beats and warbling yet controlled vocals. It’s a film soundtrack sort of song with instantly loveable melodies, lyrics and guitar riffs. It’s sure to be a hit.


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