If Angel Olsen is my future wife and Josh Tillman is the devastating affair which tears us apart, Sharon Van Etten is the woman who teaches me how to love again and eventually grows old with me. This is how I categorize my music idols, what of it? #summershowtunes (at Doug Fir Lounge)
Weekly Seasoning: DR’s Recs (7/01)
Both my body and mind are sore, but I’m still feeling really feisty. Also, it’s 95 degrees outside and I had to wrest a lot of self-discipline on my part to stay inside in order to bring you guys another installation of new music. Not that I’m complaining because air conditioning at the teahouse feels lovely. Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff to read today. Here goes nothing:
Slow Magic has a new album in the works, which…will be out soon-ish through Downtown Records. There is some better news for anyone in Portland. He’ll be playing at the Holocene on October 15th and I’ve heard he puts on an incredible show. See you there?
Yesterday, Imogen Heap finally received the release date from her label for her new album, Sparks. Since the announcement, she’s provided us with not one, but two new songs—“Run-Time”, as featured here, and “The Listening Chair”, which premiered in video format on TIME this morning. Seeing as I’ve been harboring an immense love for everything this woman has produced in the last decade in and outside of music, I’ve been dancing in my chair all day long, anticipating any news about a tour of some sort. Sparks will be out August 19th through Sony.
Bristol’s Empty Pools released their debut full-length, Saturn Reruns, last year. Yet in light of bandmate Leah’s departure, They’ve already announced the release of an EP called Liberation Prayers, out July 28th via Enclaves.
Speaking of debuts, four more featured artists have their first releases planned for a near release date. Recent favorites Lowell announced We Loved Her Dearly for a Sept. 16th release on Arts & Crafts, Tape Waves' Let You Go will be out July 28th via Bleeding Gold Records, and Jenn Ghetto’s band, S, plans to drop Cool Choices on Sept. 23rd through Hardly Art Records. Lastly, folk duo Luluc will release Passerby on July 15th through Sub Pop. That was a lot of information just jammed in one sentence, I’ll have to work on a better way of talking about upcoming releases.
Okay, phew. I have one more thing to talk about. Just as I did with James Thomas last week, I’ll end this week’s Weekly Seasoning by personally directing you guys to someone worth the attention. When London two-piece Winter In Toronto sent me “Adhere”, the feeling of that organic calm which results from a mid-winter’s rainstorm instantly came to mind. Summer may have finally found its way to the Pacific Northwest, but both Cameron Pickard and Ellis Mizen have captured the elegance of the acoustic austerity often attached to the woodsy faucets of folk. Having worked with Tom Misch, I was told they’ve recently been working on material, which you can catch here on Distant Records when the time’s ripe.
Indie darling Sondre Lerche will always a very, very special place in my heart. For those of you that have been following me for years through the various twists and turns my blogging style has taken, you’d have heard me reference time and again about that one time I saw him play in Los Angeles three years ago to the day. Y’know, the one where Nightlands and Kishi Bashi opened and I started talking to that one dude from Portland, like, the very next day and my life shortly became an everlasting clusterfuck of ups and downs. Anyway, I love Lerche and I love everything he’s done—yes, even 2009’s Heartbeat Radio—and watching him humiliate himself in the video for his new single has made me respect the man that much more. Granted I say this all the time, but these three and half minutes seem like a pretty damn accurate story of my life.
His latest record, Please, will be released Sept. 23rd through Mona Records. For my fellow Portlanders, Lerche will be playing at the Doug Fir on October 11th. Will I see you guys there?
Everyone and their mother have posted this video since yesterday, but I’ll gladly add my own number to the raising statistics. FKA Twigs, the London-based artist behind last year’s stunning “Papi Pacify,” returns with a new single from her forthcoming album, LP1 (to continue her trend of stating the obviously in naming her work). Nabil himself has gathered notoriety by working with an eclectic group of artists such as Antony and the Johnson, James Blake, Bon Iver and Kayne West. Seeing these two collaborate to create a gorgeous Egyptian-themed number for “Two Weeks” is nothing short of surprising, yet appreciated nonetheless.
LP1 will drop August 12th via Young Turks.
Not much has happened on my end since the last playlist, which is partly because I’ve been binge watching the new season of OITNB and getting my butt kicked by whatever allergies are in the air now. But hey, I’ve caught up and have a few things to say.
A lot of “old” names are returning with new albums this year! Lia Ices, for instance, announced that Ices will be released via Jagjaguwar on Sept. 16th and Zola Jesus' Taiga on Oct. 7th through Mute Records. Folk artist Hiss Golden Messenger also drops his latest work, Lateness of Dancers, on Sept. 9th via Merge Records.
Three of the artists included—How to Dress Well, Cocktails and Donovan Blanc—dropped their new albums today and each are beyond stellar. Especially HtDW because of all the conflicting emotions he brought to the surface and all I really want to do now is just hide in the dark. That’s normal, right? Oh, and The Walkmen’s ex-bandmate Peter Matthew Bauer also came out with his solo record, Liberation!, proving he’s not entirely down and out because boy, it’s good.
And finally, there is one artist I want to personally shine a spotlight on. James Thomas is a Canadian-born, California-based 28 year old folk artist who has captured the essence of the kind of folk I’m passionate for. Much like Vikeesh Kapoor, Anais MItchell or even Josh Ritter, Thomas shifts the focus less on banging banjos (forever against Mumford & Sons) to create enchanting melodies fitted for the intricate tales often woven within the standard folk song. He’ll be a name that will undoubtedly pop up on Distant Records time again, but in the mean time, head on over to his soundcloud and give the rest of his work a listen.
That’s it for now, guys. I’m ready for some more Nyquil.
It’s Tuesday and I remembered about the Weekly Seasoning. Milestone for me, confetti and glitter, etc. These last few days were rough. Finals are done and school’s out for most of us, but the NW weather would have you believing otherwise. Most of the week on my end was spent ignoring the multitudes of people in favor of exploring Soundcloud, which isn’t entirely a new thing for me to do but hey. A thought did come to me. Why does this thing have to have a maximum? Why not just feature a clusterfuck of new songs? Why didn’t you guys demand more? Probably because you don’t trust my posting patterns at this point, I can’t blame you.
Anyway, some highlights:
Portals has been absolutely murdering it this week with their premieres. Mitski, Frame and Teen Body came to me through this stellar group of people, so here’s a quick recommendation to hit up their site if you enjoy these artists.
The Echo Friendly dropped what has become one of my favorite singles this year, “Fuck It and Whatever,” a few months ago and their debut, Love Panic, shortly followed. The song isn’t entirely new, but it’s too good not to include. For Portlanders, they’re opening for the Veruca Salt reunion show this Sunday at Mississippi Studios. See you there?
Jessie Ware, the woman behind 2012’s “Wildest Moments,” released a new single yesterday called “Tough Love.” She hasn’t given any information by way of a new record, yet, but she’s previously made hints of spending time in the studio (obviously) and that must mean something, right? You can pre-order her single here.
Featuring guitarist Todd Wisenbaker and her bog Bo, Katy Goodman’s new video for “Fall In Place” plays as a Sofia Coppola-esque burst of Los Angeles sunshine. Parts of me wish all dog walks could look this fun. Goodman’s new album, Hour of the Dawn, is out now on Hardly Art Records. For the sake of that wholesome summer sound, do yourself a solid favor and listen to it.
To Conquer Pain With Love by Mariam the Believer
"I am not a hell of a lover. I’m finding it hard to trust anyone that way, but if I don’t give up myself, then how I can think that you’ll do it and I need that."
I’m a sad song kind of girl. The people I personally know seem to all share the opinion that I’m “boring” because the music I play is often slow, with emphasis heard largely in the lyrics. I could write about references to depression or certain events of the past, but why? There’s just this special relationship between myself and the shifting projection of love, one born from my hopeless struggle with reality. Music that leaves me aching in any way leaves a powerful impression on me, which is exactly what “To Conquer Pain With Love” has done.
Last year, through the Nordic music blog Ja Ja Ja, I discovered “The String of Everything" by a woman under the moniker of Mariam the Believer. Completely aghast, I failed to understand how she wasn’t already front page news on sites like Pitchfork or Spin. Her debut, Blood Donation, grew to be a surprising favorite by the end of the year and I’ve kept my eye on her through Soundcloud since. Earlier today, Mariam Wallentin dropped the first single from her forthcoming EP and downright slaughtered any competition by doing so. One part Majical Cloudz with an edge of the emotional lyricism found in Phosphorescent’s “Song for Zula,” a song such as this is as enchanting as it is painful. Enjoy the emotional experience.
Wallentin will be releasing her next project, The Wind, on June 18th through her label, Repeat Until Death.
Pardon me for a second, but life’s been stupid busy for nearly three months. Between work, life, school and everything else, there’s hardly been time for me to offer you guys any kind of love. Life’s slowing down for now, which means I can be productive with Distant Records again. So, first thing’s first. You guys know I’ve been trying to organize my posts into something much more “efficient” (meaning less posts, but more material) and professional. Here’s the first experiment in a laundry list of what’s to come:
Weekly Seasoning (n.) — a playlist featuring artists who’ve found themselves in and out of my head throughout the week, posted every Tuesday. The music listed will be exclusively new since my other series, Wayfaring Exchange (which is only on Spotify now—sorry for the inconvenience), focuses on both “old” and new songs. This will help combine most of the single posts on Distant Records, making it easier for me to introduce you guys to new material without all those long, crazy breaks in between. I’ve found that managing something like this can be really challenging for a working girl.
Typically, I’d only feature 5 to 10 artists, but because I’ve been gone for nearly two months, this week’s will include 30 (!!!) songs. It’s almost as if I were trying to apologize, y’know?
Some names have been featured on DR throughout the past year—Paris Carney, Banks (oh, my darling Banks), Phoria, Paperwhite, Magic Man, Belgian Fog, Wouie—and others are familiar to nearly everyone. La Sera, Pink Mountaintops, and Sharon Van Etten, for instance, all released fantastic albums last month and it’s been rather difficult for me to listen to much else. Cold Specks came out with a new single called “Absisto” in preparation for her sophomore album, Neuroplasicity, (out 8/25 through Mute Records). So on, and so forth. There’s a lot of music in this list to go into each one personally, and I feel like I’ve already written enough.
tl’dr: happy listening, kids.
Emanate by Phoria
Trailing from the success of their first EP, Bloodworks, Brighton five-piece Phoria plans to release the follow-up, Display, this forthcoming June under the London-based singles label X Novo. Given the power of energy built up through the course of the song, we should expect more coverage of a band whose sound easily exceeds the influential comparisons made to Active Child, Tycho, and most others under the electronic-alt genre.
I’ve been fairly M.I.A. since this new term of school started a few weeks back. Most of my time has either been consumed in mass reading (15 books, 10 weeks, 1 girl) and a number of other activities. Between guest-starring on a friend’s podcast and writing for Oregon Music News and a quickly approaching trip to Santa Barbara for the National/Portugal. the Man show, etc etc, the last month has flown by. To everyone who has been trying to get a hold of me or simply wondering where I’ve run off to this time, worry not. I’m here, but I’m just a tad bit busier than I normally am. Chances are, my life will remain in this state for just a few more weeks and I politely ask if you’d kindly bear with my sporadic absence.
Anyway, since I have a little breathing room tonight, I thought I’d share with you a few changes I plan on experimenting with in the months to come. Distant Records has been getting more recognition than I bargained for since its creation at the end of 2012. Meaning, it’s finally time for a makeover.
As I ask around for friends with any sort of knowledge in web design while fashioning a new and much more polished insignia for the site, I’ll start first in developing “categories” which will help condense the majority of my posts into one. That way, I can provide you guy with something at least once a week without the stress of having to individually flesh each and every post. I’ll be keeping the monthly Wayfaring Exchange in tact (with a little twist—I’ll need to figure out another way to sync Spotify and Soundcloud to maintain continuity), but a few ideas I have in mind:
Anyway, so yeah. I’m sorry I ended up writing so much. That tends to happen a lot. Here’s to a successful foray into the great frontier of professional music blogging!
A DISTANT RECORDS MUSIC VIDEO PREMIERE
Featuring a band of strangers singing along to the words of the song, a jazz-artist capturing the events before him and an ensemble of imaginary string musicians—all grouped together on a crowded New York subway—Skye Steele’s video for the poignant Breathe In is a feat in and of itself, given the surreal edge of DeFlorio’s photographic background and the melodious simplicity in Steele’s work. With a quality of sound laying somewhere between a budding Andrew Bird enthusiast and a hint of the day-dreamy Western (think cowboys and cacti), his ability to shift reality to fit a more “communal” theme set within the video allows for a relatively peaceful first encounter with a man whose talent is bound for success.
Steele’s EP, Glorious Sunshine, is currently available for all to listen and you can purchase it through iTunes as well. However, after talking to Steele about any future ventures in mind, he does hope to release a full-length debut sometime in May. For those living in the New York area, keep an eye out for any word of upcoming shows the band will have and then, you know, tell me all about it. I may be stuck here on the West Coast for the time being, but a girl can live to dream.
My review of Monday night’s St. Vincent show at the Crystal Ballroom is up on Oregon Music News. Take a look and let me know what you guys think!
K by San Francisco’ Mira Stolpe
Stockholm-raised singer-songwriter Mira Stolpe sounds stunningly similar to Joan Baez that the diehard folk fan in me cannot help but gush.
Strange Paradise by Youth Warrant
"I preferred a philosophy to a white picket fence."
Occasionally, I need to put down those heavily emotional records (right now, Nathaniel Rateliff’s Falling Faster Than You Can Run and Phosphorescent’s Muchacho come to mind) for fear of losing my mind to the maddening descent of “thinking too much.” In place of those depressing folk tunes are ones much more…sunnier, for lack of a better word. The kind of songs that take me back to the youthful age of 17 (six years makes a difference), when days were spent brainstorming possible adventures while climbing out the passenger window of your best friend’s car to test your immortality because young girls do that, I guess.
Anyway, the point of that was to introduce you to the same impressions I felt when the beginning chords of Strange Paradise first hit my ears. Baltimore’s Youth Warrant are digitally releasing their debut EP of the same name tomorrow, making the three songs comprising the release available for a free download. Definitely keep these two in mind when you browse the blogs for music to match your wanderlust spirit this year.