Caravan of Thieves – Kiss Kiss (Buskaroo)

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Listen Now: “Home”

GOING FOR AAA ADDS

“Caravan of Thieves stole my heart… the lovely melodies and harmonious vocals of Caravan of Thieves make ‘Bouquet’ a sweet indulgence, indeed.”
–-Washington Post

“To listen to Caravan of Thieves’ live album, ‘Mischief Night,’ is to transport yourself to a Halloween night of your childhood or to a 19th century campfire in the woods surrounded by gypsies… the group’s enjoyable yet spooky sound, fronted by Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, translates well to the stage.”
–Relix Magazine

Gypsy folk troubadours Caravan of Thieves will release their new album, Kiss Kiss, on March 31st. Caravan of Thieves is led by the singing/songwriting husband and wife team, Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, who often invite an imaginary collection of old time entertainers, sensitive song writers, street performers and cartoonists to their creative process.

Produced by Fuzz and Carrie, Kiss Kiss delivers the group’s signature brand of gypsy swinging guitars, thumping double bass, dramatic violin lines, oddball percussion and rich Beatlesque vocal harmonies while waltzing further out to include hints of Ragtime, Latin, New Orleans, marching band and bebop music.

Kiss Kiss combines the dark humor and sarcastic social commentary of their previous efforts with an added emphasis on love and all the beauty and danger it brings. They have created the music to match, adding in tuba, beat box, and everything including the kitchen sink to draw listeners in to the Caravan of Thieves’ world.

According to Fuzz and Carrie, “We enjoy writing about concepts that most listeners can relate to while seeing how far we can bring it to the edges of our imaginations, and try to use as many unexpected images and comparisons as we can to illustrate them. One of the main themes behind Kiss Kiss is love, which is already so complex, so we tried to cover as many angles as possible, the good the bad and yes, even the ugly.”

Kiss Kiss is the fourth album from Caravan of Thieves, which formed in 2008, including fiery violinist Ben Dean and double bass madman, Brian Anderson. With each release they have expanded their musical range and incorporated even more sounds and instruments. They have built a loyal fanbase with their colorful, interactive live show, and have shared the stage with world renowned artists such as Emmylou Harris, Dan Hicks, Glen Campbell, Nanci Griffith, The Decemberists, Keb Mo, Iron and Wine, Punch Brothers, Tony Trischka, John Hammond, John Jorgenson and many others.

Focus Track: 4
FCC: Clean


CaveofswordS – Sigils (Boxing Clever)

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Listen Now: “Aviation Administration”

GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS

Mixing together elements of psych rock, electronica, shoegaze and dream pop to create something greater than the sum of its parts is the modus operandi of CaveofswordS. The music on Sigils sounds much more robust, layered and intricate than the majority of contemporary popular artists in the genres that the group touches upon. The opening track, “Aviation Administration,” establishes the depth of the band’s tonal layers and introduces listeners to the enchanting vocals of Sunyatta McDermott. Her lyrics and delivery evoke a nod to Siouxsie Sioux, which serves as a proper foil to the rich tapestries of the music created by herself and bandmates Kevin McDermott, Eric Armbruster and Zagk Gibbons. The tracks that follow continue a journey of discovery on tracks like “Pastense” and “Datura” before taking a slightly darker turn in “Lately” before raising the mood again on “Feathers.” Sigils is a listener’s album in all the right ways, filled with clever twists and turns that make a great collection of music worth revisiting again and again.

Focus Tracks: 1, 4, 6, 8
FCC: Clean


Low Cut Connie – “Shake It Little Tina” (Contender)

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Listen Now: “Shake It Little Tina”

GOING FOR AAA ADDS

“Shake It Little Tina” is the first single from Hi Honey, to be released on April 21 on Contender Records. The album is produced by Thomas Brenneck (Alabama Shakes, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley). It features guest appearances from: Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, Dean Ween, Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound, Oblivians), and Vinnie Pastore (aka Big Pussy from The Sopranos).

“Shake It Little Tina” has already been added at WXPN in Philadelphia.

Focus Track: 1
FCC: Clean


lowercase letters – lowercase letters (self-released)

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Listen Now: “Ransom”

GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS

“Washington D.C.’s premier indie rhythm and blues rockers.” – Diffuser Magazine

“Poppy, polymathic and neosoul” – Washington City Paper

“lowercase letters is blending indie rock and blues to create melodic, hypnotic tracks” – Creem Magazine

lowercase letters has recently released their self-titled debut album to critical acclaim, being described as a “powerful outing” (Washington City Paper) with “10 masterful tracks” (DC Music Download) that “confidently and competently blur the lines between soul, rock, jazz, and pop music.” (Mighty Burners)

lowercase letters is the combination of Alphie, a naturally talented front-woman with “vocals to die for,” (WRGR) Clinton Cool, a musician steeped in classical and jazz but with a penchant for heavy psychedelic rock, and John Beckham, a multi-instrumentalist producer. “Alphie anchors the action in her lead vocals of satin and spiked punch, with bass curations courtesy of Clinton Cool, while the production powerhouse and beat considerations are compliments of John Beckham. Combining powers like a superhero faction force, lowercase letters keeps the capital lands fun.” (Impose Magazine)

The group puts on a “captivating live show,” (Brightest Young Things) and their multi-genre approach has allowed them to play a variety of shows, including opening for Talib Kweli at SxSW, rocking rowdy house party shows, playing an acoustic set at the Kennedy Center Holiday Spectacular, as well as Smithsonian Storyteller performances.

“The band is irresistible — fun, self-assured, quirky, and, most difficult to achieve, cool.” (Adobe and Teardrops)

2015 will see lowercase letters increasing their exposure outside of the DC area as well as continuing to write and hone their craft.

Focus Tracks: 3, 4, 7, 8, 10
FCC: 2


Prinze George – Prinze George (Sounds Expensive)

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Listen Now: “Upswing”

GOING FOR TOP 200, RPM & MODERN ROCK SPECIALTY ADDS

“It’s a breezy bridge between modern and retro, a heavy song with an easy way about it” – Stereogum

“It’s like Say Lou Lou holding hands and looking at the stars with Odesza” – Noisey

“The sound engineering is crips and balanced, and the final product is impeccably finished.” – HillyDilly

“[a band that] has all the makings of being one of the most talked about new acts” – Through My Headphones

“[this band] could be destined for Indie Pop royalty status” – The Wild Honey Pie

Prinze George is Kenny Grimm (production/instrumental), Naomi Almquist (vocals) and Isabelle De Leon (drums), who are based in Maryland. Kenny and Naomi grew up together in Prince George’s County, where they met Isabelle while she was in college. Formed in 2013, Prinze George has quickly exploded onto the Indie scene. Following the release of their breakthrough single, “Victor,” The Wild Honey Pie declared, “[This band] could be destined for Indie Pop royalty status.” Climbing to #1 on the Hype Machine charts, the single and the band have won the attention of music blogs, fans and labels from all over the world. “Victor” was also selected for the movie soundtrack of Warner Bros.’ biggest European release in 2014, “Honig Im Kopf,” a film directed by Til Schweiger.

Through My Headphones calls Prinze George “[a band that] has all the makings of being one of the most talked about new acts.” With their follow-up single “This Time” trending to the Top 10 on Hype Machine and the release of their most recent single, “Make Me,” the newly formed Indie band has been compared to Lana Del Rey, Litle Ms Jeans, and MS MR. They will be releasing their debut EP in early 2015.

Focus Tracks: 1, 3
FCC: Clean


ADDS for 2.24.2015

Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter (ATO)

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Listen Now: “Wherever Is Your Heart”

GOING FOR AAA & TOP 200 ADDS

Brandi Carlile will make her independent label debut with the release of The Firewatcher’s Daughter on March 3 through ATO Records. The album explodes with energy, urgency, and pristine harmonies and represents the start of a fresh chapter for Carlile and longtime collaborators, Tim and Phil Hanseroth, also known as The Twins.

The Firewatcher’s Daughter was recorded almost entirely as first takes, without any demoing and little rehearsal before gathering at Bear Creek Studio in Washington. The result is immediate and electrifying. Lead-off track and first single “Wherever Is Your Heart” captures the recording’s fiery intensity.

The Firewatcher’s Daughter follows 2012′s Bear Creek, which debuted in the Billboard Top 10 and was hailed as “gorgeous” and “tremendously assured” by Rolling Stone and NPR, respectively. Brandi has sold out Red Rocks, back to back nights at The Beacon Theater, and performed at festivals like Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and more!

Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 10, 12
FCC: Clean

 

Diamond Rugs – Cosmetics (Sycamore / Thirty Tigers)

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Listen Now: “Voodoo Doll”

GOING FOR TOP 200 & MODERN ROCK SPECIALTY ADDS

“Voodoo Doll is a swell rocker with a little sharp-toothed New Wave sheen and some growlin’ sax.” — Nashville Scene

“Diamond Rugs, the gritty rock’n’roll outfit that includes members of Deer Tick, Black Lips, Dead Confederate and Los Lobos, wasn’t a one-album kinda supergroup. They’ll make it official this February with Cosmetics … even if frontman John McCauley seems to have settled down, his tunes have not.” — Paste

“With a big rhythm section and melodies that expand to take in influences including 1950s country music and 1960s British-Invasion rock, Diamond Rugs is a band that’s determined to avoid easy category, a consistent point of view or even a signature sound.” — NPR

In rock journalism, the term supergroup is often doled out a little too easy. But Diamond Rugs fit the bill in the most valiant ways – Deer Tick’s John McCauley & Robbie Crowell, former Black Lips guitarist Ian St. Pé, Dead Confederate’s T. Hardy Morris, Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin and Six Finger Satellite’s Bryan Dufresne.

On the band’s new sophomore LP, Cosmetics, each musician maintains the distinct personality you loved about ‘em in the first place, while at the same time locking in like puzzle pieces, feeding off each other in a way that’d make most full-time bands jealous as hell, and leaving in their wake a breezy, wide-open, unpretentious set of rock & roll songs that beg you to dance your ass off.

Like Diamond Rugs’ debut—and some of the most classic records of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s—Cosmeticswas cut to 1-inch 8-track tape. “When you have a three-piece horn section, guitars, bass, synthesizers, organs, multiple vocals, and you gotta fit it all on 8 tracks, it makes you think,” St, Pé says. “I call it the art of deconstruction. Nowadays, there are so many possibilities to punch everything in. But when you take all that away and force yourself to make it work on 8 tracks—if you give yourself those limitations, you kind of have to live with things as they are. But those imperfections are perfection—and they’re a big part of Diamond Rugs’ sound.”

There’s a tasteful self-imposed restraint at play on Cosmetics, even as the band beckons you into the wild, off-the-cuff abandon of its epic bar-band anthems. This is the work of a gang of one-time upstarts who are now seasoned pros in full command of their musical powers. They’ve been through a whole lot, and because of it they know what’s important, how to have a good time, when to push the limits, and when less is more.

“It’s not the notes you hit,” St Pé says. “It’s the notes you don’t hit, and D.Rugs do this extremely well. That’s one of the things I love about these guys.”

Focus Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
FCC: 5 (for “goddamn”)


Dom La Nena – Soyo (Six Degrees)

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Listen Now: “Llegaré”

GOING FOR AAA, TOP 200 & WORLD ADDS

“A young Brian Wilson” – Wall Street Journal

“a bossa Joanna Newson” – TimeOut New York

“Cat Power’s…lost sister” – Pop Dose

“the shadow of Lhasa like an angel passing by” – Voir

Just shy of her 25th birthday, Brazilian cellist and songwriter Dominique Pinto has learned to live in motion. Born in the coastal city of Porto Alegre, she spent her childhood split between her hometown and Paris, studying cello and piano while her father pursued his doctorate. As music developed from a passion to a career, her studies brought her to the doorstep of acclaimed American cellist Christine Walevska. Dom moved to Buenos Aires at the age of 13, and whenever Christine visited they would get together for intensive teaching sessions. It was in Argentina that her older peers dubbed her “La Nena” (“little one”), a nickname that has followed her since.

One of the first artists that Dom met and performed with was Piers Faccini. After Dom had written the collection of songs that would eventually become her luminary debut, Ela, Piers offered his home studio to record the compositions. Once all the basic tracks were captured on tape, Faccini assisted as a co-producer and arranger.

Ela was hailed as a “sonic masterpiece” (NPR), and Dom found herself on the road. Out of these tours came the songs of her ambitious new album, Soyo, out March 3, 2015, via Six Degrees Records. Co-produced by Brazilian songwriter/singer/guitarist Marcelo Camelo (formerly of the band Los Hermanos), Soyo builds upon the vocabulary of Ela.

The new album is anchored by La Nena’s unmistakable voice and cello playing, but it also plants flags in new sonic territory. The songs were written in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English, and the recording process began much as Ela had, with Dom working on the arrangements in isolation. When Camelo joined the recording process, he immediately contributed a percussive and rhythmic dynamic, infusing the shine of Rio de Janeiro and bringing lighter and more upbeat elements to Dom’s melancholic undertones, while dipping equally into indie rock and Latin dance forms. In the end, every instrument you hear was played by either Marcelo or Dom.

Focus Tracks: 1, 5, 7, 8, 10
FCC: Clean

 

Future Brown – Future Brown (Warp)

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Listen Now: “Room 302 (Feat. Tink) [Radio Edit]“

GOING FOR TOP 200, RPM & HIP HOP ADDS

“setting a new standard for the second half of the decade” – V Magazine

“their raucous club rhythms, graceful melodies, icy synths, and enchanting percussive licks call out to different corners of the planet” – FADER

Future Brown is a crew comprised of Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof of Nguzunguzu, Fatima Al Qadiri and J-Cush. The four form a collective that draws on digital interconnectivity, global travels and a vital worldwide artistic community for inspiration. From US regional rap mutations to UK grime, dancehall to reggaeton, Future Brown weave a deeply considered aesthetic that reveals the innate connections between these idiosyncratic sounds and then seek out the individual collaborators to give them a voice.

Already acclaimed for their work individually, Future Brown made waves with their epic debut track “Wanna Party” featuring ascending rapper/singer Tink. And now the first track from their debut full length features the one and only Shawnna, who appears alongside fellow Chicago native DJ Victoriouz on the hard-hitting “Talkin Bandz.”

From this point the album shifts from the high-tension grime inflections of Ruff Sqwad members Rapid and Dirty Danger and Roll Deep affiliates Roachee and Riko Dan to the haunting R&B of Kelela, Ian Isiah and Tim Vocals. Johnny May Cash, YB and King Rell from Young Chop’s 8TMG appear on “Killin Time,” while Chicago’s vital bop scene is represented by it’s resident superstars Sicko Mobb, who’s twisting auto-tune flow laces “Big Homie.” After tapping New Orleans’ rising star 3DNa’Tee to appear on the “Wanna Party” remix, Future Brown and 3D return with “MVP” alongside NY singer Tim Vocals. Reggaeton’s syncopated heartbeat runs through “Vernáculo” a standout track with Maluca Mala, and Kingston’s Timberlee steps up for some especially carnal dancehall chat on “No Apology.”

These, along with the album’s other alliances bridge incredible gaps between seemingly vast musical spheres, while simultaneously eliminating Future Brown’s actually geographic displacement from each other. Their first foray into performance sphere was at MOMA’s PS1 for the gallery’s Pitchfork series FORMS where collaborators THV ENT installed a basketball arena exhibition and friends at DIS Magazine designed and choreographed Drills, a performance of warm-up exercises, and ball handling. Next they took to Miami’s Art Basel for a time-based art performance, which mixed beats, vocals, video and gravity-defying water sports.

Future Brown constantly challenges the role of the producer in the modern realm, with their ever-evolving ideas jointly mutating into a transcendental, collective sound.

Focus Tracks: 5, 12, 13, 14, 15
FCC: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Some Radio Edits Included in Download)


ADDS for 2.17.2015

Bombadil – “Coughing on the F Train” (Ramseur)

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Listen Now: “Coughing on the F Train”

GOING FOR AAA ADDS

“Quirky, multi-textured, wildly inventive, eclectic, and hugely enjoyable.” “…a combination of open-minded chamber folk and the bright and sunny pop music of the 1960s.” “Syd Barrett meets The Beatles.” These are just some of the media accolades used to describe Bombadil, a most critically-acclaimed band that, over the past year or so has been building a steady buzz, catching the attention and support of media outlets like the New York Times, NPR, and Diffuser.

 

Managed by the same team that steers the career of The Avett Brothers, the North Carolina-based Bombadil – Daniel Michalak (bass, piano, harmonica, vocals), James Phillips (drums, vocals), and Stuart Robinson (piano, ukulele, vocals) – produced and recorded their new album, Hold On (March 24, 2015/Ramseur Records) over a nine-month period in 2014, scheduling the sessions into the spare moments between tour dates. The album is an amalgamation of rapturous harmonies, sparkling instrumentals, sharp, poignant songwriting, and layers of imaginative arrangements that show off the band’s folk roots, but with traces of funk, country, rap, R&B, and New Wave-inspired dance beats. Hold On is an album that surveys the terrain of love with songs full of hope and ironic humor.

The songs on Hold On, all written by Michalak, Phillips, and Robinson, allowed each to bring his own personality to the mix. “Each of us has different styles so combining them gives us a unique sound,” said Michalak. “I get a lot of my inspiration from books and authors like Ernest Hemingway, Ronald Dahl, or Shel Silverstein…James and Stuart get their inspiration from music, science/math, and computer programming.” Unique indeed.

Dolph Ramseur, head of Ramseur Records/Management, discovered Bombadil on the band’s MySpace page, caught their live show and signed them. He helped the group book tours, hone their sound and make records, including the Bombadil EP in 2006, A Buzz, A Buzz in 2008 and Tarpits and Canyonlands in 2009, the record that has often been referred to as “the album that should have made [Bombadil] famous.” Just prior to its release, Michalak, considered Bombadil’s main driving force, was diagnosed with neural tension, an ailment that caused him to lose the use of his hands. Consequently, Bombadil couldn’t tour or promote Tarpits; the album was stillborn and, with other added band complications, Bombadil took a hiatus. After several years of therapy, Michalak was able to return to Bombadil for the band’s 2013 album Metrics of Affection, a release that again was showered with great reviews: “It’s tough to be truly original while still creating catchy pop tunes, and this band manages to do just that…” “Bombadil exerts a natural magic for telling tall tales with a splendid tendency towards casual detail.”

After an 18 month period of intense touring and songwriting, Bombadil has crafted a record packed with unforgettable melodies, imaginative sonic landscapes, and irresistible harmonies, making Hold On a “do not miss this one” event.

Focus Track: 1
FCC: Clean

 

Crook & The Bluff – Down to the Styx (Self-Released)

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Listen Now: “Turned Wild”

GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS

“The intensity of their music closely resembles the energy they obtain from the wilderness, meshed with grinding blues. Progressive psychedelia is infused throughout, transforming jarringly from languid and hazy to wailing and droning with a heavy dose of feedback, akin to The Troubles.” – SLUG Magazine

“Crook & the Bluff say that blues is the “foundation” of their sound, which is largely experimental and includes psych-rock and country elements. ” – City Weekly

“With their long-awaited debut album, Down to the Styx, psych-Western duo Crook & the Bluff (Kirk Dath & Tad Wilford) have established their identifying sound—an unholy joining of tripped-out Western psychedelia and dirty desert blues—and proven that they’re masters of mood. And oh, do things get moody. Dense layers of reverberating guitar slowly grow into ground-shaking crescendos, then fade into ghostly atmosphere, over all of which echo Dath’s deep, booming lead vocals. And always looming at the center of the album is the ever-watchful desert, which, in Crook & the Bluff’s hands, seems to take on a personality of its own. One important aspect of Crook & the Bluff that Down to the Styx captures is their penchant for loose, meandering guitar interludes, which gives the album a sense of wild vastness. And although there are some songs that feature tighter, more conventional blues-style songwriting (“Greenbriar Coal”), the most spine-tingling moments happen when Crook & the Bluff gradually build hypnotizing tension and then suddenly unleash all the power of their dual guitars, like on the deliciously wicked “Down to the Styx,” which will blow your hair back.” – City Weekly

Focus Tracks: 2, 5, 9, 10
FCC: 8


decker. – Patsy (Mescal Porch)

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Listen Now: “O.D.B. (Radio Edit)”

GOING FOR AAA & TOP 200 ADDS

decker. creates an expansive palette of folk, gospel, rock and psychedelia and will release Patsy on February 17, 2015. The album’s title track made its way online last month, and at the end of last week The Bluegrass Situation premiered the mesmerizing desert psych-folk artist’s Wu-Tang inspired, “O.D.B.”.

Cameron Matthews of TBS says, “The rootsy rambler ‘O.D.B.,’ off the group’s upcoming record Patsy, has just enough swing to make you ‘just dance / If you caught up in the holy ghost trance’.”

Patsy is bookended (save for a quick intro) by “O.D.B.” and “Ol Dirty Revival,” two themed tracks that lean gospel revival over psychedelic guitar folk. Musical outliers here, in a way similar to Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street,” they fit decker.’s vision of people betrayed by the outer, unknown dwellers of their social, artistic and professional circles.

Patsy is the follow up to 2013’s much-hailed “desert gospel masterpiece,” Slider. Recorded at WaveLab Recording Studio (Neko Case, Iron & Wine, DeVotchKa) in Tucson, Patsy veers from quiet shuffles to noisy guitar jams and horn-driven ballads, but never becomes quixotic or difficult. The Phoenix New Times says, “the band’s intensity, its ability to tap into spooky Old Testament terror as well as pastoral Verde River amble, is what sets it apart from the ever-crowded indie folk populace.”

decker. will be on the road extensively in 2015. The first run of dates is confirmed with many more to be added. A popular live act, decker. has shared the stage with Local Natives, Dr. Dog, Deer Tick and Keller Williams.

Focus Tracks: 10, 6, 4
FCC: 2 (Radio Edit Available)


José González – Vestiges & Claws (Mute)

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Listen Now: “Leaf Off / The Cave”

GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS

“A truly beguiling mixture, one that González uses to deliver affirmations about living life and self-actualization.” – Consequence of Sound

“Warm sonic aesthetics and lyrical themes that explore notions of truth and reality…” – MTV Iggy

“González has honed, developed and refined a method of questioning (himself and those around him) that is unsparing and direct, but it somehow also sounds serene, even soothing, aimed at the common good.” – NPR Music

“‘Leaf Off/The Cave’ is the new single, a lush, folky song with choral peaks and soft-spoken valleys” – Pigeons & Planes

“Gorgeous collection of slow-burning compositions … A succinct evolution for José González and his solo work.” – Under The Radar

“He knocked it out of the park.” – My Old Kentucky Blog

“The work he’s done with Junip seems to have rubbed off, as the typically bare-bones sound we’ve come to expect from a González record sees a tad bit more embellishment, creating a fuller and more dynamic sound.” – PASTE

Vestiges & Claws is González’s first album in seven years and was self-produced in his home as well as Svenska Grammofonstudion, both in Gothenburg, Sweden. It consists of years’ worth of musical sketches that in other hands might naturally sprawl wildly in sound and style, but on Vestiges & Claws, he has created a collection of songs that cohere just about perfectly, ensuring his position as one of the most important artists of his generation.

González will begin his North American Tour in support of the new album on April 6 in Philadelphia. This will be his first solo tour on these shores since 2008. After Philadelphia, the tour will have him performing in most major cities including New York, Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Iceland’s singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Ólöf Arnalds, will be the support act for the entire tour.

Focus Tracks: 5, 2, 3, 6, 10
FCC: Clean


KNTRLR – The Great Filter (Goodnight)

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Listen Now: “XXX (Radio Edit)”

GOING FOR TOP 200 & RPM ADDS

“Definitely listen to this band, they are sleek and mesmerizing” – Pancakes and Whiskey

“KNTRLR’s noir, electro post-punk, with its pop openings and epic moments, develops art-rock tendencies in new directions” – The Deli

“KNTRLR generate something especially buoyant, making it impossible not to tap your feet and rock your head…It’s truly a unique experience.” – Baeble Music

Charles and Michael are KNTRLR, the duo behind the arctic calypso sound of the Velveteen EP, and the haunting “Kursk” from their 7” split with The Big Sleep. Their first LP from Goodnight Records expands their sound just as well as it expresses their maturity, both in music and in life experience. The men behind KNTRLR have evolved, but their backgrounds may belie some of the pensive lyrical storytelling of their best songs.

Charles grew up near Los Angeles and experienced modest success as a child actor, appearing – on a unicycle – in a show with Ryan Seacrest and several made-for-TV movies before growing disenchanted with acting and turning to music. He learned the drums, and quickly found himself opening for 80’s new wave one-hit wonders Missing Persons and holding psychedelic green-room philosophy salons with Rick James. After a stint as a high school substitute teacher, Charles moved to New York in 2006.

Michael had a strict Christian upbringing in Oklahoma and was being groomed for a seminary education until a sudden change of heart compelled him to abandon his teachings, forsaking the road to righteousness for another road much less certain. He’s lived all over America: San Diego, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Tulsa, San Jose, Knoxville, Boston, and Atlanta, while working odd jobs as a dishwasher, bartender, landscaper, gypsy cab driver, and a short-order cook in a diner. He left for New York City in 2006, but not before learning mariachi songs from his Guadalajareño co-workers as he harvested grapes in vineyard in California. In 2010, Charles and Michael met by chance in the ovens of the Russian Bath House in the East Village, and they soon formed KNTRLR.

As KNTRLR evolved into a five-piece live act over the years, their music became further charged by the confrontation of mortality. From love and death to loss and family, the sum of the band’s life experiences has created a darker collection of songs. “XXX” is the first single from their new record, and the strong confidence in the sound they’ve built is obvious; the life experience has served KNTRLR’s music well.

If The Walkmen joined with Death Grips and toured brothels, we have something like the sound of KNTRLR’s debut LP The Great Filter.

Focus Tracks: 1, 2, 8
FCC: 3, 4, 7 (Radio Edits Available)


Stars – “Trap Door” from No One Is Lost (ATO)

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Listen Now: “Trap Door”

GOING FOR AAA & MODERN ROCK SPECIALTY ADDS

“Trap Door” is the new single off Stars’ latest critically-acclaimed album No One Is Lost. The band will launch their new leg of U.S. tour dates in early March on the West Coast.

For No One Is Lost, Stars craved autonomy, and serendipitously inherited a Mile End rehearsal space above the now defunct, Royal Phoenix nightclub in Montreal. Stars built a functional studio out of the former space of then-disbanding Handsome Furs (and site of Arcade Fire’s first rehearsals); Mile End became a home away from home. Then the nightclub (and life) crept in, resulting in Stars’ most urgent record to date.

Focus Track: 1
FCC: Clean