May 25, 2017

Sleepy Sun

(New York) Sleepy Sun has just released their video for their first single "Seaquest" on Relix. Prior to this video, Sleepy Sun also released the single "Crave". Both tracks will be featured on the forthcoming album 'Private Tales' out 6/9 via Dine Alone Records.

When talking about the video Sleepy Sun guitarist Matt Holliman states, "Seaquest" brought the band together with longtime media collaborator Brandon Moore. As with most of our videos, we pretty much give the director free reign and encourage their interpretation of the song. It was a bit of struggle to get the sailboat in the Bay, as bad weather canceled one date, and nearly threatened another. But we held out on the 2nd attempt, and Brandon was able to capture some incredible footage of the Golden Gate, with the Bay nearly completely clear of activity. Secondary shooting would find us nearly freezing to capture the underwater shots. Also: swimming with sunglasses takes a little practice."

If there's one thing we can all agree on in these dark, deeply uncertain days, it's humanity's latent desire to unplug from it all—to put our smartphones down, survey our immediate surroundings, and let the sweeter things in life rise to the surface.

Sleepy Sun gets it. Now five albums and more than a decade into making their own elusive brand of bold rock music, the Bay Area band aren't interested in flooding our synapses with far too many ideas on their new LP, Private Tales. They'd rather let a grander vision unfold over time, rewarding anyone with the willingness to wait it out, to actually listen.

Private Tales out June 9 on Dine Alone Records.

Sleepy Sun Tour Dates:
5/25/2017 -Santa Cruz, CA @The Catalyst
5/26/2017 -San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
5/27/2017 - Los Angeles, CA @The Hi Hat
7/21/2017 - Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door
7/22/2017 - Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse w/ Mr. Elevator
7/23/2017 - Tucson, AZ @ Congress
7/25/2017 - Dallas, TX @ Club DaDa
7/26/2017 - Austin, TX @ Barracuda
7/27/2017 - El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow
7/28/2017 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar w/ Froth
7/30/2017 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
8/1/2017 - Boise, ID @ Nuerolux
8/2/2017 - Portland, OR @ Liquor Store
8/3/2017 - Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt
8/4/2017 - Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge
8/5/2017 - Klamath Falls, OR @ Gino's

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May 23, 2017

Chuck McDermott

(New York) Chuck McDermott, comes full circle from music to politics and back to music again with the upcoming release of his new album, Gin & Rosewater. His music career began in the 1970s in Boston, expanded into Southern California and the Southwest, and then took him around the world touring with legendary songwriter, John Stewart. McDermott took a break from music for 30 plus years to help raise his three children and launch a successful career in D.C. politics and environmental activism.

With a music career spanning nearly five decades, McDermott has an impressive list of accolades in the singer-songwriter/Americana genre. With beginnings in the late ‘70s as the Boston-based long-haired country band called Chuck McDermott and Wheatstraw, McDermott established himself early as an Americana icon. He released two successful albums distributed by Rounder Records, which were critically acclaimed by Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Crawdaddy, Billboard, and others. He and his band toured extensively from Toronto to New Orleans, earning Chuck an induction into the Massachusetts Country Music Hall of Fame.

Today, McDermott returns full force to the music scene with his new album, Gin & Rosewater. He recorded 14 songs, 11 of them originals, with an impressive cadre of nationally known session musicians, including Stephen Stills, who calls the album “a refreshing work!” Produced by the highly regarded Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli, Ronnie Earle, Hayley Reardon), McDermott’s new album brings together a who’s who cast of roots music musicians, including Marco Giovino on drums (Robert Plant, Buddy Miller, Nora Jones, Don Henley, Rodney Crowell), Kevin Barry on guitar (Rosanne Cash, Peter Wolf, Mary Chapin Carpenter), Duke Levine on guitar (Peter Wolf, Leanne Womack, J. Geils) and Richard Gates on bass (Richard Thompson, Patty Larkin, Greg Brown, Ellis Paul).

Check out “Belvedere,” the first focus track from Gin & Rosewater by Chuck McDermott. The album is available now for pre-order here.

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Cigarettes After Sex

(New York) Cigarettes After Sex frontman Greg Gonzalez had a clear vision for his band's debut album, a gorgeously cinematic work. After the phenomenal online break-out success of "Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby" (which has + 46 Million YouTube views to date), from the early Cigarettes After Sex EP ('I.') from 2012, the Brooklyn-based Gonzalez (originally from El Paso, Texas) wanted to project his worldview onto a bigger screen, a broader canvas. As Greg explains, "This is like the novel or feature-length version of Cigarettes. I wanted it to feel like a complete work, where some of the imagery repeats - like it's all in the same world. It's very much a fulfillment of the feelings in the short works."

That sense of fulfillment is richly felt on Cigarettes After Sex, which unspools like the most achingly romantic of movies: immersive, cohesive and transporting. Swooning in the spirit of influences such as Mazzy Star and Red House Painters, its sumptuous songs of love elevate Cigarettes to the ranks of those acts who create worlds of their own, exciting the most devoted kind of following – for Gonzalez, The Smiths were a reference point.

Right from the off, Gonzalez’s ability to set a scene and sustain a mood reels you in deeply. On album opener ‘K.’, a tale of blossoming love etched in tiny details luxuriates over chiming guitars; on the hymn to the romantic compulsion of ‘Each Time You Fall in Love’, the suspended animation of Angelo Badalamenti’s heart-stopping Twin Peaks music is echoed. ‘Sunsetz’ and the gently lilting ‘Sweet’, meanwhile, showcase Gonzalez’s ability to weave impressionistic snapshots of romance into melodies that haunt like memories of past loves, all coalescing around his melting vocals.

To mirror their woozy romanticism in music, Gonzalez rejected conventional studio routes for his band, which numbers Randy Miller on bass, Jacob Tomsky on drums and Tubbs on keyboards. Taking influence from The Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session (recorded in a church, single microphone), Cigarettes recorded most of the album in three days at the Sweatshop rehearsal space, Bushwick. The exception is ‘Each Time You Fall in Love’, which was recorded in the Beekman’s stairway after hours, the ghosts of screen lovers channeled in every warm note. Like the best movie, Cigarettes After Sex holds you in a hell of a spell.

Prior to "Each Time You Fall In Love" the band released two other singles, "K." and "Apocalypse". The band will also be headed out on a U.S. tour this fall, dates are below. 'Cigarettes After Sex' will be out June 9th on Partisan Records.  You can pre-order the LP here and receive exclusive items including a picture disc, signed lyric booklet, and more. Tickets for all shows are available here.
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May 21, 2017

The AV Club

(New York) Chicago’s AV Club, led by bassist and composer Andrew Vogt, have dropped their eponymous debut! The album is a heady mix of New Orleans jazz, future funk, instrumental grooves and unexpected audio samples!

Bassist and composer Andrew Vogt has lived in the Chicagoland area for most of his life and has had the pleasure to perform with countless incredible musicians including The Chicago Yestet, Chris Madsen’s Kings of the Lobby, Pocket Radio, The Xavier Breaker Coalition, Donny McCaslin and Stevie Wonder’s long-time bassist and bandleader, Nate Watts.

In 2013 and 2014, he was honored to play alongside the legendary Ernie Watts at the Jazz Showcase and, In 2014, he released his first record as a producer/primary composer under the group name “The Humble Organisms.”

In 2016 Vogt released his first EP as a bandleader and 2017 marks the release of the AV Club’s self-titled debut. The AV Club’s recent album release show at Chicago’s Emporium Arcade Bar found the band performing to a packed house!

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Table Syndicate

(New York) Table Syndicate’s debut full-length album; Game of Life. The new album is helmed by Joseph Carringer who has been for years influencing his Didgeridoo stylings into the dance music genre. The album also features vocals by Liz Berlin, (Rusted Root and Drowning Clowns.) Game of Life is co-produced/written and engineered by the team of Daniel Sevelt, Jonathan Santarelli and Joseph B. Carringer. This album blurs the lines between rock, rap, and dance while promoting a culture of peace and unity in the world.

The origins of this new album have been influenced the changing political and social dynamic that we are experiencing in the global community. The lyrics in the album echo protests songs from the ‘60-‘70s with lyrics and vocals that bring to light the changes that are happening and affecting us all.

Some highlights from the new album; “Bombs Fly”, an explosive angst-ridden Alt Rock / Synth Pop that outlines of the world’s worst elements. “Jivana” a Big Room/Trance epic that beckons we join an awaited shift in consciousness, which brings the listener inward to reflect on themselves and make sense of the world around them. The spoken word narration is taken from the prose of Janine Jordan’s (co-founder and director of the Electronic Music Alliance book JIVANA: Track 1 The Awakening. “Game of Life” is a Dance / Hip Hop title track captures life's push and pull with the bittersweet message, “That's just the game of life,” as a response to the trials and wisdom laid down with a poetic lyrical flow.

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(Los Angeles) The duo Mitré, composed of Louis Mitré and Andie Sandóval,  introduced new songs and old favorites at a BMI showcase sponsored by Peroni at the plush Continental Club in downtown Los Angeles Friday night. They were joined, as usual, by Hugo Melendez in his La Katarina persona, delighting the jam-packed room with his startlingly accurate costume and makeup by Ruben Lopez.
While the new duo has appeared in several live events around Los Angles over the past few months, this was an official coming out party in a major club in both English and Spanish (all the songs were in Spanish but the conversations from the stage were bi-lingual). Louis Mitre has worked with a number of female singer-songwriters over the past year or so including Alih Jey and Irene Diaz, to add female color to his own astonishingly rich voice. Andie Sandoval, a singer-songwriter originally from Sinaloa in Mexico seems to be the perfect complement, both in vocal range, songwriting and stage presence, hence the new duo.

La Katrina returned to the stage with flowers and a swirling skirt for "Lloro", dramatizing the song’s namesake weeping spirit while Juan de Dios Martin joined them on the requinto.  As Katarina swirled around them, Mitre and Andie’s voices harmonized, soared, and belted with a  power that frankly overwhelmed the club’s temporary sound system. Louis reached and held his characteristic stratospheric notes and then came back down to earth in a guitar-requinto face-off with Martin as Andie picked up the song’s high altitude and turbocharged it even higher. Underscoring the harmonic point but dropping down to cruising altitude, Mitré wrapped the evening with an acapella version of “Perdon”, a perfect ending for the showcase.  

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LA. Correspondent
Patrick O'Heffernan
@Music FridayLive!

May 18, 2017

Flora Cash

Flora Cash talks about their new album -  a glowing world of melancholy music

(Los Angeles) Flora Cash is a duo composed of Minnesotan Cole Randall and Swede Shpresa Lleshaj, now based in Stockholm, Sweden. In their latest album, Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine), they have distilled feelings from their own love story into notes, lyrics and emotions that are an adventure into a misty world of melancholy without sadness. They met on Soundcloud in early 2012 and by the end of the year, they had released two EPs, Mighty Fine EP and Made It For You and built a fanbase in Europe. The duo moved to Minneapolis in 2013, got married, moved back to Stockholm by way of LA to release I Will Be There and their latest album Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine). I am hooked on them and anyone who listens will be too. They are visiting LA right now and stopped by to talk.

R360. You released your new album Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine) last month in LA. Congratulations.

Cole. Thank you it was a great party.  Wish you had been there.

Shpresa. Thank you so much.

R360. I think this is your best album so far.  It sounds like a hit to me – did you have that same feeling when you were putting it together, that you might have a hit on your hands.

Shpresa. Well, yes. It is not like we are aiming to write hits. It just comes naturally – we just do what we do naturally.

Cole.  We like to make music that is first and foremost what we love to do and is a form of therapy for us. And we want to make music that we really want to listen.  There were definitely songs that we said have great potential.

R360. There are so many layers in your songs. Take the song “Sadness is taking over”. You begin with the lines: When we were frozen you, you took the cold away./… when we were primal love you took the old away/And now we go to bed and then you turn away/ do you remember all we sacrificed? You sound like you have grown old together, but you are too young for that?

Cole. You can interpret it literally, and it has a literal meaning and a lot of people can relate to that. But that song was written during a kind of stressful time between us while we were in Sweden and we were overwhelmed by a lot of things. There was a bit of strain on our relationship, which is otherwise really awesome, in those moment you do feel like that scenario you described. Right Shpresa?

Shpresa. Yea. Totally. That’s right!

R360. But, you end the song with some hope, so it is not a cold and stressful:
See life in the right light/ it's a bright ride ain't it baby? one time we were so high/ see the bright side won't you baby?

Shpresa. Yes, totally.  And it is an encouragement. It is always like a dialog between us. When we wrote the song.

Cole. At that time it was me stressing a bit more. A lot of stress input on the song – that bridge line is like her comforting me and trying to understand what I was going through at the time.  We always want there to be a ray of optimism.  

R360. I like to listen to your music on headphones because of the soundscapes that you create – some call it the views through a rainy window, others call it misty or frozen.  What do you call it – what do you see when you put on headphones and listen to your music with your eyes closed?

Shpresa. Everywhere. I see everywhere.

Cole. For me personally – and maybe Shpresa too – I see an environment of fogginess and haze and  a lack of clarity -  not negative, but ambiguity.  We like the mystery. We like soundscapes so that each song takes people somewhere.

R360. One song that I don’t listen to it on headphones is “You’re Somebody Else. The lines Now you're making me nervous You look like yourself But you're somebody else /Only it ain't on the surface were my first focus.  But on a second listen, the lines that popped out are I saw the part of you that only when you're older /You'll see too, you'll see too. What is the genesis of that song – you are not old enough to see yourself as older, I don’t think.

Cole. The song was sparked by that period of sadness we talked about.  We both wrote it together, but it was actually me talking to myself – I felt like I was not myself; I was projecting my normal self, but I did not feel my normal self.  And  I thought about Shpresa – “the part of you that you see only when you are older”.  I think that sometimes we see things in ourselves and people that  they don’t see – the seed that is going to bloom throughout a person’s life. I see little seeds of a personally -- like in my siblings– you can see seeds in little children. Like I see a child as a grandfather someday…that may be the best part of people but they can’t see it themselves.   

R360. Now I understand why you call your music therapy.  This song was used in the sound track for a video by Save the Children in the Love Story Project.  What is the project and how did you get involved?

Cole. We were approached by Save the Children, Mexico to do a campaign about the risk to children online.  It was all volunteer – nobody got paid.  When they told us the idea about the track, we thought “wow !” this is perfect.  I have younger siblings and I have always been concerned about this. So we were overjoyed to be part of it.

Shpresa. Once we saw the video we saw that it works so well. We were contacted by a project manager who was based in Denmark – that is how Save the Children Mexico found us in Stockholm.

R360. I have referred to your music as cold and frozen, even the love songs.  Are they – and if so, why? Does love hurt for you?

Cole. We like to explore the dark side. You tend to write music in the dark moments. It is just interesting.

Shpresa. We are very much in love and it doesn’t hurt. Any relationship has its ups and downs. It just basically describes life.

R360. How do your live performances differ from the recording…do you try to create those soundscapes?

Cole. We usually perform with a band.  We do have a guy who operates things that emulate the recordings, but we adapt to the venue and settings.  We don’t want the live performance to sound just like the recording.

Shpresa. Sometimes we just do the songs acoustic. I like that and we like to show we can do them acoustic.

R360. You have a song on the new album about California. You even sing California sun running on the repeat/ California sun running on the repeat.  Do you ever think about coming here and living?

Shpresa. I think about it all the time, actually. Escape the cold.

Cole. Yes, it does cross our mind.

R360. Shpresa, there is a song on the album is titled Mother and Child that showcases the incredible power of your voice.  When did you realize you had that kind of power in your voice.

Shpresa. I have been singing since I was a child but it was about 12 years old when I  used to sing to Whitney Houston.  After that I thought wow – this was something I should do.

R360. So you see yourself singing to your child in the future?

Shpresa. Absolutely!  If I have a child. I will sing to it a lot.

Cole. It will be a very lucky child.

R360. Shpresa and Cole, thank you so much.

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LA. Correspondent
Patrick O'Heffernan
@Music FridayLive!