Death Valley Girls – “Electric High” (Manimal)

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Listen Now: “Electric High”


“… snarly, punky, attitude-heavy rock n’ roll” – Brooklyn Vegan

“ … in the tradition of Leaving Trains, Stooges, or The Lazy Cowgirls” – Noisey

Watch the video via Noisey here!

Death Valley Girls are proto-punks of the modern age; so raw that their sound seems inspired by the ‘caveman rock’ of the Troggs. Their debut LP Street Venom (Burger Records) doesn’t seem to fit any neatly constructed genre; it’s stripped-down motorbike rock ‘n’ roll shrouded in mysterious overtones and a ghoulish blend of bluesy psychedelia and ’60s garage fuzz. Bonnie Bloomgarden is the leader of the pack. Laura Kelsey (formerly of surf/garage girls The Flytraps) plays Mo Tucker meets Nick Knox style drums and Larry Schemel who played in the last incarnation of legendary L.A. punk pagans The Flesh Eaters plays fuzz-heavy guitar like he just might be the bastard son of Davie Allan, you’d be hard-pressed to find a meaner one than the opening riff for “No Reason,” the most menacing song from DVG’s debut album Street Venom. It basically sounds like Larry plugged his guitar straight into a hornet hive and then kicked it. When the rhythm section kicks in it gives the song a sinister kind of rumble that would make Link Wray proud. Bloomgarden’s snotty, bratty vocal sneer cements their sound with old-school girl-gang attitude

“Electric High” is the latest 7” released on LOLIPOP Records and Manimal Records on Dec 9th 2014

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Field Trip – The Sounds Inside Your Mind (Invertebrate)

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Listen Now: “Song 4 California”


Noah Champ, while playing and writing for bands in Los Angeles, gradually realized that the pieces he was beginning to imagine were too particular and communicable to his own mind to be materialized by anyone but himself. Inspired heavily by the romantic trend of bedroom production that emerged while he was still in highschool (King Krule, Youth Lagoon, etc), he adopted a similar methodology and began tirelessly probing ideas in the solitude of his home until he came upon something real.

With his exploration came a newfound fervor for stylistic synthesis, resulting in songs rooted heavily in neo-psychedelic retrospect, with tinges of 90s boom-bap and bedroom pop throughout. His work aims to homogenize whispering voices of past decades with that of a 21stcentury daydreamer.

Upon relocating to New York, this habit only developed. His imaginations became more grandiose, and studying recorded music at school helped in allowing for them to be realized. Though his relocation ultimately grew him musically, the change of setting also had psychological repercussions, all of which manifest in his debut The Sounds Inside Your Mind. The solitude involved in his production coupled with that of relocation sent new, and sometimes concerning resonation through his echo-chamber. From locational isolation (Song 4 California) to estranged love (From Here to There) to fearing the surreal modernity all around him (21st Centurion Blues),The Sounds Inside Your Mind gets inside Champ’s head via four sonic portraits of new and terrifying psychological miens.

‘Noah, what’s in your head?’
‘It only makes sense when I close my eyes.’

The Sounds Inside Your Mind attempts incommunicable manifest. Each song gets at the colorful sound & fury that plagues the psyche in myriad cases, depicting four distinct mind states and their most horrifying/mystifying attributes. From locational isolation (Song 4 California) to estranged love (From Here to There) to fearing the surrealism of modernity (21st Centurion Blues), The Sounds Inside Your Mind gets inside Champ’s head via four sonic portraits of new and terrifying psychological miens.

Focus Tracks: 2, 3, 4
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Geronimo Getty – Greyhound Blues (Self-Released)

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Listen Now: “Mister James”


Geronimo Getty, Los Angeles-based Aaron Kyle, will release his debut full length album Greyhound Blues on vinyl/CD April 10, 2015. Produced by Jeff Halbert (Nick Cave, St. Vincent, Rickie Lee Jones) and captured mostly live, the final result is melodic and twangy, with an underlying urgency. It’s the sound of “four or five guys in one room, hashing it out, making it happen,” Kyle says explaining the rangy, roughly polished sound of terse rockers like “Mr. James,” the pedal steel and Telecaster-driven shuffle of “Dancing in the Morning Light,” creeping, distorted pickers like “Devil’s Theft” and his unabashedly romantic cover of Guy Clark’s “Anyhow I Love You.”

A loose concept album telling the story of a man easily given to violence, Greyhound Blues finds glimmers of hope in the changes over life’s journey. The album is accompanied by videos for each song, directed/produced by a slate of emerging independent filmmakers including Ruben Anders (Strutter), Dominic Ciccodicola (Top Chef, Project Runway), Bryan Kramer and Craig Bauer (Presence), Ashley Kramer (Drifter Pictures), Diane Bennett and Jay Bennett (Whisker Wars) and Dave Merson-Hess (Møkkakaffe), and veterans Allison Anders (Grace of My Heart, Gas, Food, Lodging), Tom Provost (The Presence), Travis Flournoy (Thank You for Judging), Ryan Jackson-Healy (Random Acts of Violence) and Aris Blevins (Suspension). The music videos evoke Kyle’s cinematic inspirations: the contrasting placid and foreboding vibes of David Lynch, the voodoo noir of True Detective and existential travelogs like Two-Lane Blacktop and Paris, Texas.

The Geronimo Getty live band will kick off their North American tour in Los Angeles. Catch them throughout the country in April.

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OOFJ – “Snakehips” (Ring The Alarm)

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Listen Now: “Snakehips


“…a dark and dreamy soundtrack of their own.” – LA Weekly

“Listening to this LA-based duo’s music is like being winded by beauty. But it’s a terrible kind of beauty…” – The Guardian

“In short, listening to OOFJ is like having a really sexy nightmare that you won’t want to wake up from.”- i-D

“OOFJ has the breathtaking beauty to literally soundtrack the more inspiring moments of life.” – The Line of Best Fit

LA-based electronic duo OOFJ are elated to announce the release of their sophomore album Acute Feast (April 21 on Ring The Alarm Records).

The brainchild of real-life couple Jenno Bjørnkjær and Katherine Mills-Rymer, the LA-based electronic duo OOFJ met in New York City while Bjørnkjær was working on music for Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. This chance encounter developed into both a romantic and sonic chemistry that would eventually lead to the couple collaborating on music that formed the foundations of OOFJ.

OOFJ have garnered international recognition for Acute Feast after releasing four singles since June. Their follow up to 2013’s Disco To Die To is wildly diverse while remaining true to their distinctive brand of eerie dream-like electro-pop infused with intense orchestral soundscapes. The record opens with orchestral strings paired with thick, foreboding basslines behind Mills-Rymer’s darkly romantic vocals on “You’re Always Good”, which ends in a rhythmic explosion featuring the frenetic jungle-esque percussion played by Trentemøller’s Jacob Hoyer. “I Forgive You” guides the listener into a sweeping, hauntingly lush track of duplicity that feels like a restrained underwater heartbreak while “Snakehips” radiates a sensual nostalgic aura. “Cliffdive” and “Sailor” veer away from pop into much more ambient, minimal odes.

Equal parts glamorous and nightmarish, with a glittery seductive tone to it, Acute Feast hints at the otherworldly, almost hyper-real world that OOFJ don’t just reside in, but have orchestrated.

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The One2s – EP 2 (Self-Released)

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Listen Now: “Cryer”


The One2s are currently
 preparing their new EP for
 release to college radio stations.
 The band’s sound can be described 
as a kaleidoscope of musical
 influences, one that brings the 
immediacy of punk, the melodies of Britpop, and the depth of shoegaze all under one umbrella.

The One2s operate in a unique fashion, regularly transitioning through different instrumental lineups. It keeps the sound fresh, and the creative direction of this style bleeds into their music. Their records are an excellent taste of their sonic manifesto.

The band consists of members Leiana (EMI) and Big Crowd Popular. EP 2 is a follow up to EP One, which was released earlier last year. “There is a more epic and experimental tone to this EP,” the Indie Band Guru explains. “The new EP is five more tracks of raw, unadulterated emotion pushed out in a fuzzy, in your face way.”

The band is currently booking their tour of the eastern United States this summer.

Focus Track: 2
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ADDS for 3.24.2015

Mitski – Bury Me at Makeout Creek (Don Giovanni)

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Listen Now: “Townie”


“Then came the wail: anguished, desperate, violent, cathartic, sad, ecstatic… the sort of stage moment
that focuses a loose room, that turns its executor into a star.” – New York Times

“Mitski’s talent for penning deep-cutting lyrics makes this album soar.” – Rolling Stone

“…an album that doesn’t flinch once detailing the maddening brutalities of love and the far-flung fringes
of insanity it pushes us towards” – NME

Bury Me at Makeout Creek sounds like a breakthrough” – Pitchfork

“The entire record is full of that kind of standing-on-a-cliff vulnerability, manifesting in shades of roughhewn
folk and discordant indie pop” – Fader

Bury Me at Makeout Creek is a monumental achievement” – Streogum

“a record full of non-stop moments of power and devastation” – Impose

Mitski warmly recalls a quote from sculptor El Anatsui, “Art grows out of each particular situation, and I
believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up.”
With this nerve exposed lyrically, and having dived into her new beginning, Mitski chooses her 2014
breakthrough album Bury Me at Makeout Creek to explore uncharted sonic territory, trading in large
string arrangements for guitar and bass. While studying composition at SUNY Purchase’s music
conservatory, she previously recorded music with a full orchestra. However as college graduation
inched closer, Mitski moved away from the concert hall and into the campus’ active DIY scene. Upon
relocating to New York following graduation, she entered stages at Death By Audio, Silent Barn, and
Bed Stuy basements, entrenching her songs of love, fear, lust, and brilliant clarity into entirely
sympathetic ears.

Since releasing Bury Me at Makeout Creek, Mitski has received international acclaim for her distinct,
arresting sound and profoundly reflective lyrics. Pitchfork applauded the release as “inventive and
resourceful,” while Rolling Stone celebrated her “deep-cutting lyrics.” NME said of the new record, “it’s a
record that doesn’t tug at your heart-strings as much as it mercilessly pounds at them, taking to your
emotions like a lead pipe to a piñata.” She has also received widespread attention for her “cathartic”
live shows as dubbed by The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica.

“I was so young when I behaved 25,” Mitski sings on “First Love / Late Spring,” “yet now I find I’ve
grown into a tall child.” This veritable thesis speaks to sentiments of the poetry and beauty of
struggling up the hill to adulthood. Mitski follows El Anatsui’s humbling advice, cathartically revealing
snapshots from her adventures in youth, and the empowerment found in sharing these stories with
others. In 2015 Mitski is poised to continue delivering her particular flavor of soul-baring rock, and tour
throughout North America and beyond.

Focus Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 6
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Niyaz – The Fourth Light (Six Degrees)

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Listen Now: “Yek Nazar (A Single Glance)”


Niyaz have taken a significant new step with The Fourth Light, out March 24th on Six Degrees Records, finding fresh inspirations, collaborators and new roles. At the center of the album is Rabia Al Basri, the first female Sufi mystic and poet. Born in the 8th century in what is now Iraq, she served as the main source of inspiration for the music on the album. The duo – lead singer, co-composer and co-producer Azam Ali and co-writer/instrumentalist Loga R. Torkian – also worked with GRAMMY-nominated mixer Damian Taylor (Bjork, The Killers, Arcade Fire), who aided in achieving a more dynamic, expansive sound for the album. And in a distinct change for Niyaz, Ali programmed all the beats on the album, a role she took on for the first time. All of this has resulted in an album full of exotic rhythms, outstanding acoustic performances and the bewitching melancholy of Ali’s voice, all seamlessly blended into a production of richly textured arrangements, sweeping choruses and electronic beats.

“It was a tremendous challenge to take on what is generally a very masculine role,” Ali says of the programming and production work. “People know me as a singer, not an electronic musician, and there was an initial fear that I would not be taken seriously. Once I freed myself up mentally from that self-imposed limitation, I discovered a whole new world inside myself, a world that led me to my greatest personal triumph on this album, which was transcending the role that had come to define me simply as a singer.”

Ali’s new programming role, as well as the influence of Rabia Al Basri very much make The Fourth Light a record rooted in feminism. Al Basri is recognized as a saint, having set forth the doctrine of Divine Love and non-duality, which today lie at the heart of Sufi mysticism. Though her role continues to be diminished in value because she was a woman, it bears great significance in today’s modern world. As Ali explains, “Rabia’s struggles even in the 8th century remain quite relevant to our time, when women continue to strive to rise above the status of inferiority placed upon them by many patriarchal societies around the world.”

The Fourth Light follows three successful releases from Niyaz, album’s that topped the iTunes World music and CMJ World music charts, helping build a loyal following all over the world. Ali’s voice has been heard in some of Hollywood’s biggest film and television scores including 300, Thor: The Dark World, Homeland and The Borgias.

Focus Tracks: 4, 1, 2, 5
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The Skints – FM (Easy Star)

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Listen Now: “Eyes In The Back of My Head (Feat. Rival)”


East London reggae four-piece The Skints unveil their highly anticipated third album FM, released through Easy Star Records.

Pulling from various influences as disparate as Tenor Saw, The Shirelles, Wiley, Jimmy Cliff, and Black Flag,FM is The Skints’ fitting tribute to the radio culture they love as music fans. Progressing through the bubbling sound of grime and garage to summertime sound system reggae, roots, dancehall, traditional rocksteady, Motown soul and punk, the group takes listeners on a whistle-stop tour of the capital’s underground culture.

Set on the hottest day in the city on record at imaginary London pirate radio station The Big FM / Frequency Murderation, 103.Skints, we encounter four radio shows over the course of the broadcast. Kicked off by original London reggae legend Tippa Irie, he welcomes listeners to the “Breakfast Show” as alter ego DJ Mr Versatile and proceeds to spin “This Town”, featuring Tippa himself along with MC Horseman, who showcases here his first recorded work with The Skints. A celebratory ode to London, this opener represents the good side to the city through the sounds of 80s Saxon style reggae dancehall, and joins “My War” – a Black Flag. After the band demonstrates their punk roots with the reggae-steppers-influenced ‘In the Night’ (feat. Horseman), Dr. Ranking Pegasus (Horseman) presents the ‘Dancehall Dilemmas’ show, featuring a call-in from listener Danny, who reveals he has put on a dance with the record’s producer Prince Fatty, only for Fatty to scarper with all the money that’s come through the door. The reported theft is fittingly followed by the infectious ‘Friends & Business’, a soulful ska track about the biting nature of the music industry.

Continuing its journey around town, next stop is “Grime Hour” with MC Rival’s alter ego Rivz, advertising a rave at the now repossessed Stratford Rex, before introducing the album’s lead track ‘Eyes In The Back Of My Head’, featuring Rival himself. A grimy affair with a warning tone, it’s a song about the liars, thieves and cheats that lurk the streets, with a heavy bass line that mimics the dark subject matter. To complete the twists and turns of its London adventure, FM ends with Mr Versatile’s evening session, playing out the show with the beautiful “Tomorrow”, whose chorus Don’t you worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow won’t be worrying about you provides the perfect refrain to set the world to rights.

With FM, listeners will hear a band that has come a long way from their humble beginnings as punk ragga urchins. Having left the squats behind, they’ve been regularly performing at Europe’s largest festivals and on London’s most renowned stages since the success of their debut album Live. Breathe. Build. Believe in 2010, gaining acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s David Rodigan, The Guardian and Clash, who summarize their style brilliantly as “fusing a skanking beat with lyrics which speak clearly about everyday life in the UK.”

A comprehensive piece of work that continues to showcase the accessible blend of Caribbean styles with an East London twist for which they have become famed, FM may just be The Skints’ most accomplished release to date.

Focus Tracks: 12, 2, 4, 13
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THRILLERS – “Can’t Get Enough” (Manimal)

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Listen Now: “Can’t Get Enough”


“[Can’t Get Enough brings] the sound of ’80s teen-pop R&B into the here and now, with a slightly ravey, slightly sexy makeover along the way.” – Entertainment Weekly

“It’s always fun to come across tracks that are unabashed tribute to ’80s pop, but have a modern twist to keep things interesting. THRILLERS’ ‘Can’t Get Enough’ is one of those songs” – Hilly Dilly

Los Angeles based, North Carolina born blood brothers THRILLERS are set to release their debut EP Cotton Candy Kisses in Spring 2015 via Manimal. In the meantime, we are thrilled to share the lead single, “Can’t Get Enough.”

The brothers sight their broad spectrum of influences ranging from Rick James to David Bowie to LCD Sound System to Michael Jackson and of course Kate Bush. The EP was recorded while on a sabbatical in Atlanta in early 2014.

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TORRES – “Sprinter” (Partisan)

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Listen Now: “Sprinter”


“A grim yet sexy intensity that recalls PJ Harvey’s first few records from the early ’90s” 
- Buzzfeed (8 New Rock Records by Women You Need To Hear)

“…a fierce, surprising turn for the young songwriter, who sings about love and inadequacy with a new rawness and at new volumes” – Consequence of Sound (10 Best New Songs of the Week)

Sprinter finds Mackenzie Scott pushing against the starkness of her 2013 self-titled debut into noisier, vicious rock without losing any of her razor-sharp songwriting” – Stereogum

TORRES knows the darkness. The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter otherwise known as Mackenzie Scott waits until anything—an idea, an emotion, a memory—gnaws at her, tearing at her fingers and throat until she releases it in song. Her husky voice strains against its human biological constraints like a wild-eyed horse, whispering desperately “Don’t give up on me just yet” on one end and yowling about jealousy with unnerving intensity on the other. Following her self-titled debut in 2013, TORRES pushes herself to even noisier extremes on Sprinter, a punishing self-examination of epic spiritual and musical proportions.

A keen awareness of Scott’s place in her family and in the world suffuses Sprinter, contributing to themes of alienation throughout. “You’re just a firstborn feeling left behind,” she sings on the ominously brewing “Son, You Are No Island,” which references one of Scott’s influences on this record: English poet John Donne’s 1624 poem Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Scott’s tortured wailing circles spirals downward around itself, reflecting in a dark mirror the feelings of an adopted child. “Whether it be abandonment, or fear of rejection, or perhaps inability to connect with people, comes down to that fear of isolation, of not being good enough,” says Scott. “Those are themes that have cropped up in my personal life, in my writing.”

But Scott escaped the confines of her churning mind in order to find herself by recording Sprinter in the market town of Bridport in Dorset, England; and then at the Bristol studio of Portishead’s Adrian Adrian Utley. With his guitar riffs and synthesizers lingering in the background like a lowland mist and PJ Harvey’s Robert Ellis and Ian Olliver on rhythm—the two fortuitously reuniting 23 years after the release of Dry, and in Scott’s 23rd year of living—she crafted a “space cowboy” record. “That’s as simply as I can say it,” says Scott, who cites inspirations as diverse as Funkadelic and Nirvana, Ray Bradbury and Joan Didion,. “I wanted something that very clearly stemmed from my Southern conservative roots but that sounded futuristic and space-y at the same time.”

It seems like an odd thing to look for in the picturesque seaside green, rolling hills in the south of England, but Scott had never been there before, and as a stranger in a strange land she found what she was looking for: a lost childhood. Sprinter was recorded in a room that had formerly been used as a children’s nursery, which combined with the alien landscape fuels the self-searching that roils TORRES’ music. “Cowboy Guilt” perfectly encapsulates the contrast of Deep South conservatism with future sounds, juxtaposing George W. Bush parodies with wearing one’s Sunday best, bouncing on a mechanically whimsical melody.

After all, it was Scott’s Baptist upbringing 4,000 miles away in Macon, Ga. that gave her a voice in the first place. When her parents gave her an acoustic guitar at age 15, after giving her flute and piano lessons before that, she would sing church hymns at the local nursing home to get over her stage fright. As Scott moved away from organized religion toward something far more real and personal (“I still think of myself as quite God-fearing,” she says), she ranged farther from home, to Nashville—where she grappled with her outsider status yet again, faced with an insular music scene as hard to break into as if it were surrounded by England’s famous hedgerows—and then to New York, where she finally felt another semblance of being at home.

“Nashville was just a bit too small for me,” she says. “I don’t really like walking down the street and knowing everyone that I see along the way. I was raised in a small town and there are very special things about it, but I don’t prefer to live that way. I like the chaos of the city.”

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ADDS for 3.17.2015

Ane Brun – “Directions” (Balloon Ranger)

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Listen Now: “Directions”


Swedish based Norwegian Ane Brun has announced details of a new single, “Directions,” which will be released by Brun ’s own label, Balloon Ranger Recordings, on March 10, 2015. The track is taken from her forthcoming – as yet untitled – album due for release in the fall 2015, and follows the surprise arrival of a live album, Songs Tour 2013, at the end of November 2014.

“Directions” is distinguished by dramatic kettle drums, subtle licks of piano and double bass, as well as Brun’s tremulous voice, which glides angelically through a musical landscape that is as idiosyncratic as – if not more than – anything she’s ever released. Apart from three tracks included on her 2013 compilation, Rarities, it’s her first newly recorded original material since her last studio album, It All Starts With One, which picked up the Best Female Singer/Songwriter Manifest Award (Sweden’s independent equivalent to the Grammies) and a second Norwegian Grammy (a ‘Spellemann Prisen’) for Best Female Artist, as well as a nomination for the 2012 Nordic Music Prize.

“Directions,” like the album from which it is taken, was co-produced Tobias Fröberg and Brun, and recorded with the musicians with whom Brun spent much of 2013 touring the world: bassist Dan Berglund (previously part of the Esbjörn Svensson Trio), pianist Martin Hederos (Soundtrack Of Our Lives), drummer Andreas Werliin (of Wildbirds & Peacedrums) and guitarist Johan Lindström, who also work together as instrumental group Tonbruket. For the single they’re joined on timpani by fellow Swede John Eriksson of Peter, Bjorn & John.

‘”Directions” hints at the path Brun has taken with the new album, much of which finds her further pursuing the rhythmic qualities central to a number of songs on her previous record. It’s a particular departure for Brun, who dispensed with writing on guitar and piano – as she’s always done in the past – and instead sketched out her ideas for the song on her phone using an app that allowed her to record and layer different tracks. “It includes rhythm samples that you can compose to,” she elaborates, “and that´s how I built the song, by laying down the bass line with my voice and then writing the melody on top of that. There were no melodic instruments involved, which is something new to me.” The demo was then completed with lyrics that she’d written some years earlier and had recently rediscovered in one of her old notebooks, though these were later rewritten.

“When I finished it,” she recalls, “I thought, This is going to be a great song. But the lyrics felt really wrong, because I didn’t feel that way any more. It was something I felt years ago. So I started writing the opposite, and all these images came. It was a nice experience to do that, because sometimes when I’ve written a lyric I look through it and I feel resistance somewhere: This is not what is true right now. So sometimes I change perspective to make it feel right. It’s very intuitive, and I think this song represents the kind of changes I’ve made in how I approach life. It’s about feeling strong, about feeling powerful. You can see that anything’s possible.”

Brun also confides that, like the single, her new album will be “more extrovert”, and reveals that it’s found her returning to music that played a big role for her as a teenager. “I have this long Spotify playlist of stuff like DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, this amazing trip hop, jazz and electronica stuff. I listened to that, and wondered, What is it I like about this?” she continues. “Also, some Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington, that kind of stuff: the raw sound of those albums, which inspired those 90s albums. I wanted my voice to float on top of beats this time.”

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Marilyn Carino – Leaves, Sadness, Science (Self-Released)

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Listen Now: “Tell Me”


When R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills (who co-wrote, performs and sings on Leaves, Sadness, Science‘s LP-only bonus track, “War and Peace”) first heard the entirety of Marilyn Carino’s second solo album, he raised the question that has made Carino (and scores of music promoters) wince since she began fronting the band Mudville in 2003, “What the hell do you call this music?” They came up with categorically-challenged terms like “torchy,” “existential,” and “womb-tronic,” which they agreed still wasn’t quite it but would do.

Carino’s singing has been called, “powerful to the point of bringing you to tears” (Straight No Chaser) and “smoldering” (The New Yorker); her music, “enchanting – a testament to the healing powers of rhythm” (Nylon); her music about, “troubled longings and bleak, surreal visions” (New York Times); her lyrics, “poetic, filled with imagery” (New York Post). Carino’s songs have been featured on prominent TV shows and films, including the FX hit Regenesis and the upcoming feature, Someone Else.

Informed by the voices of Nina Simone, Thom Yorke, Anna Calvi and Lightnin’ Hopkins, favorite singers she deems “soulful, stirring, bravely strange”, Carino’s second solo album after 2011′s critically-lauded Little Genius(which All Music Guide’s four-star review deemed, “an artful set of brave, assured electronic soul tunes, expressed with a voice that is free of artifice in its expressions of longing, struggle, empathy and desire”), imagines soul-mated collabs where those singers hang in stoned basement recording studios with Prince, Suicide and Boards of Canada. The album will be released on CD and vinyl LP.

Written, recorded, mixed and performed solely by Carino (except the aforementioned track with Mills), Leaves, Sadness, Science is a collection of vocally- and word-driven soundscapes; head-space grooves formed from layered, Moog-y synths and stark beats. The songs evoke gripping internal monologues about “hope and body fluids”; songs that are punkily romantic despite their overt skepticism of romance. The album’s title comes from a Frida Kahlo installation Carino saw, which featured monochrome rooms, for each of which a sign noted Kahlo’s feeling about the various colors. Yellow was madness, blue was peace, and green; leaves, sadness, science. The ten tracks on the album echo the graphic, challenging and charged paintings of Kahlo, who’s work, “Moses (Nucleus of Creation)” graces the album’s cover.

Focus Tracks: 1, 10, 4
FCC: Clean

Low Cut Connie – Hi Honey (Contender)

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Listen Now: “Shake It Little Tina”


Low Cut Connie returns with new album Hi Honey on April 21 via Contender Records. The new set of songs was produced by Thomas Brenneck (Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley) and features a number of notable guest appearances, including Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, Dean Ween of Ween, Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound, Oblivians), and Vinnie Pastore (aka Big Pussy from The Sopranos).

After a storm of critical acclaim for their first two Low Cut Connie records — 2011′s Get Out the Lotion and 2012′sCall Me Sylvia — songwriters Adam Weiner (New Jersey USA) and Dan Finnemore (Birmingham UK) dug deep to make songs that would make the kids free, weird, dirty, and just feel something… like the blue-collar cross-dressing boogie of “Shake It Little Tina”, the creepy espionage of “Diane”, the portrait of a trans streetwalker in “Little Queen of New Orleans”, the punky pep talk of “Dumb Boy”, and the band’s autobiographical “Danny’s Outta Money”. Weiner, Finnemore, James Everhart (lead guitar) and Will Donnelly (bass, drums) teamed up with renowned producer Thomas Brenneck and a stable of incredible guest artists to craft Hi Honey in a ten-day blitz in Brooklyn. Weiner formed his own record label, Contender Records, put on the gloves and got ready to draw blood and take a beating. Legendary Swedish photographer Anders Petersen (Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs) provided the cover image.

Focus Tracks: 2, 3, 9
FCC: 8 (Radio Edit Included), 11, 12

Nick Lutsko – Etc. (Self-Released)

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Listen Now: “Predator”


Chattanooga-based songwriter Nick Lutsko comes off of his decidedly folk debut album with a new record that is decidedly not.

“I wrote the bass riff for ‘Predator’ while I was finishing my debut album,” Lutsko says of the first single from his sophomore effort Etc., due March 17th, 2015. “Heart of Mold was a folk record,” he explains of his previous full-length, “and this was a major departure from that.”

The song took shape on the bass, which Lutsko then added a distorted Nine Inch Nails-esque drum loop to. The proof of concept came when he presented the track to his band. “Their enthusiastic reaction was the catalyst for this new record,” he says.

The shift in style actually represents Lutsko’s newfound ability to realize a sound that he was logistically unable to record during his initial dip in the waters of record-making.

“I’m extremely proud of Heart of Mold, but by the time it was finished, I had a great live band and wanted to replicate that sound in the studio,” he says.

Lutsko took the money he made from album sales and touring, used it to upgrade his recording equipment, and after arriving home from a two-month, 25-city tour in support of Heart of Mold, immediately started work on Etc.

This time around, Lutsko has captured a sound that curiously, but accurately, designates him one of the few musicians on Facebook listing their genre as “Folk/Funk/Blues.” Loud drums, crazy bass, and dirty guitar solos are all in the mix on Etc., an ambitious album that never sacrifices a hummable melody or clever turn of phrase to simply stand out as eclectic.

“When I look at history, I’m comforted to see that none of my favorite artists wrote in a box,” Lutsko says of his sound. “The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Ween, and Primus, to name a few.”

Indeed, Etc. covers a lot of sonic ground. Funk, pop, folk, psychedelic rock, and blues influences make for a great listener experience, but challenge Lutsko when it comes to explaining himself.

“I always have a hard time answering people when they ask what kind of music I write. As a Recording Industry major in college, I was told that this will be the death of me,” he jokes. “I love all kinds of music, so I write all kinds.”

Regardless of what his professors said, Lutsko sticks to a golden rule of songwriting: “Write what you know.” To do that, a songwriter must be self-aware, and he is.

“I’m an average white guy with great parents and an awesome girlfriend,” he says, adding an also-requisite ability to laugh at himself. “I live an ordinary, privileged life, so I look outside of myself to things that don’t necessarily affect me, but piss me off or fascinate me.”

For example, Etc. hits upon topics such as the shallowness of the “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” culture on “ALL SHOOK UP,” discrimination in the 21st century on “By & By,” and even obnoxious girls on Facebook on “(You Aren’t So) Beautiful”. Then there’s the corruption of power story of the previously mentioned “Predator”.

“I’ve learned that a lot of people who are overly self-righteous often have the dirtiest skeletons in their closets” Lutsko says of the single. The song does take a more personal turn when he goes on to explain that “You can turn on the news any day of the week and see this, but this song was directly inspired by two individuals who inhabit my day-to-day life.”

The sophomore Nick Lutsko album Etc. arrives on March 17th, 2015. The album’s first single “Predator” is streaming now. Lutsko is currently lining up tour dates to support the spring release of Etc.

Focus Tracks: 3, 4, 2, 8
FCC: Clean

Meklit – Kemekem Dub Colossus Remixes (Six Degrees)

Click to download Listen Now: “Kemekem (Dub Colossus Club Dub)”


San Francisco based singer songwriter, Meklit tapped into her heritage when she covered the traditional Ethiopian song “Kemekem (I Like Your Afro)” on her latest Six Degrees release, We Are Alive. Meklit originally learned the song from traditional poet and musician Professor Adugnaw Worku who lives in Sonoma CA. Meklit says “I used to go visit him and he we would teach me songs and proverbs and help me work on poetry. He sang the song to me and I knew right away I had to do it. I like your afro, how could I resist? The song was also sung by the famous Ethiopian singer Muluken Melese. Muluken used to go out into the countryside and collect songs. This was one of them…one of those old folk songs sung by people in the rural areas… but about Afros? I mean, they had so much style!I We had been doing the song live for a few years, just waiting for the right moment to record it.”

Now the track has been given a series of lovely, Dub remixes by the UK’s Dub Colossus, Nick Page’s ensemble which itself has been dedicated to breathing new life into the music of Ethiopia. These new mixes are the result of a logical collaboration since the original album version of the song features the talents of Addis Ababa based keyboard whiz Samuel Yirga, who has also prominently recorded with Dub Colossus. According to Meklit “I have loved Samuel’s work for some years now and thought he was the right choice. He sits so comfortably on that hyphenated line between jazz and Ethiopian sounds. It was the perfect match”

Dub Colossus is the vision of Nick Page. Composer, guitarist, bass player, producer and programmer, Nick has worked with a long list of notable artists and eccentrics. In 1990 he formed Trans-Global Underground with Tim Whelan and Hammid Man-Tu, with whom he produced-wrote-played six albums before leaving in 1997 to form Temple of Sound. Once Temple of Sound had run its course, Nick then decided to concentrate on his favourite alter ego, Dub Colossus. Having signed the project to Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records, Nick has produced 3 albums for the label, beginning with A Town Called Addi, which was released in 2008, Addis Through The Looking Glass in 2011, and Dub Me Tender Vols 1&2 in 2012.

Focus Track: 2
FCC: Clean