Category: psych folk

New Audio: DG Solaris and Jeremy Tuplin Team Up on The Gorgeous and Meditative “In The Name of Love”

London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Danny Green may be best known for being the frontman of acclaimed British folk pop act Laish. With Laish, Green wrote and recorded four critically applauded albums released through French indie label Tailres, which he and his bandmates supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States. 

In 2019 Green went through a number of major life changes: That March, he met Leanna “LG” Green — and by December they got married. For their honeymoon, Leanna and Danny Green decided to spend six months across South America with a simple recording setup that they carried with them in a backpack. During their trip, the couple wound up writing and recording demos that would become the earliest material of their recording project together DG Solaris. “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” the Greens explained in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning home to London after their honeymoon, Danny and Leanna recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they demoed during their honeymoon. The end result was the act’s full-length debut, last year’s Spirit Glow, which drew from and meshed elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog rock in a unique and playful fashion — with the album’s material written as a textural journey through emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leanna Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

Recently Green has been collaborating with Somerset, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter  Jeremy Tuplin. With the release of his full-length debut 2017’s I Dreamt I Was an Astronaut Tuplin’s sound and approach gradually evolved with the Somerset-born, London-based singer/songwriter incorporating indie rock and psych music into what he has semi-ironically dubbed “space folk.” 2019’s Pink Mirror was released to critical acclaim with the album being lauded by The Line of Best fit, Loud & Quiet Magazine, BBC Radio 6 and Rumore Magazine. As a result of Pink Mirror’s success, Tuplin received funding from PRS’ Open Fund to record last year’s Violet Waves.

Green and Tuplin’s first single together, “Ocean/Are You Weird Enough?” came about from some unusual circumstances: Although Green and Tuplin have been writing and recording albums during the past decade, they’ve only been vaguely aware of each other’s existence. One night in Peru, following an intense shamanic ceremony, Green had a vivid dream that he and Tuplin were floating high above the ocean. The next morning, Green contacted Tuplin to share his strange astral encounter — and the pair began a correspondence.

Written and recorded during the middle of a pandemic — which created its own challenges — “Ocean/Are You Weird Enough?” is centered around a sparse yet haunting arrangement of acoustic guitar, atmospheric synths, shuffling drums serving as a gentle and ethereal bed for a gorgeous melody — and some equally gorgeous harmonies. And while sounding a bit like a cross between The Church and Nick Drake, the song as Green explains thematically explores the oneness and weirdness of people within a collective whole. 

centered around atmospheric synths, strummed acoustic guitar serving as a sumptuous bed for the pair’s mellifluous vocals and equally gorgeous harmonizing. Much like its predecessor, “In The Name of Love” brings The Church’s “Under the Milky Way” but while also nodding at Nick Drake. Thematically, the song tackles chaos theory, the nature of the cosmos and our tendency to distort the truth in the name of love. But underneath the seriousness of the song, there’s a a delicately wry sense of humor over the fact that everything in the cosmos may ultimately be up to chance.

Live Footage: Amsterdam’s Altin Gün Performs “Ordunun Dereleri”

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk and to frequent tour stops in Istanbul with a previous band.

As a result of his tour stops in Istanbul, Verhulst wound up discovering a lot of music that wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” The Dutch act actively interpret and reimagine this beloved material through a contemporary 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

The act’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece helped the Amsterdam-based act win further worldwide acclaim for their reimagining of traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. The band’s highly-anticipated third album Yol, the third album from the Dutch act in three years, finds the act continuing to draw upon the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk music. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the Dutch act was forced to write music in a new way: they traded demos and ideas built around Omnichord, 808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email.

“We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

As a result of arrangements featuring Omnichord and 808 — and the new songwriting approach, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: a sleek, synth-based Europop sound with a dreamy quality that may have been informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, Yol finds the members of Altin Gün enlisting Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders.

“Ordunun Dereleri,” Yol‘s mesmerizing first single finds the Dutch act pairing an old folk standard with an arrangement centered around atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor drumming paired with Mediterranean-like polyrhythmic percussion, shimmering bursts of guitar, a sinuous, motorik groove and plaintive vocals. And while, being a sleek and futuristic push in a new sonic direction, the track finds the band balancing careful and deliberate attention to craft with a dreamy introspection.

The members of Altin Gün filmed a livestream concert for Dekmantel Connects that will air December 17, 2020 at 8:00PM Central European Time/2:00PM Eastern Standard Time/1:00PM Central Standard/12:00PM Mountain Standard Time and 11:00AM Pacific Standard Time. The livestream will feature a sneak peek at the band’s forthcoming album, including this gorgeously shot live footage of the aforementioned “Ordunun Dereleri” filmed in what looks like an abandoned factory.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

New Video: Amsterdam’s Altin Gün Releases a Cinematic and Feverish Visual for “Ordunun Dereleri”

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk and to frequent tour stops in Istanbul with a previous band.

As a result of his tour stops in Istanbul, Verhulst wound up discovering a lot of music that wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” The Dutch act actively interpret and reimagine this beloved material through a contemporary 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

The act’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece helped the Amsterdam-based act win further worldwide acclaim for their reimagining of traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. The band’s highly-anticipated third album Yol, the third album from the Dutch act in three years, finds the act continuing to draw upon the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk music. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the Dutch act was forced to write music in a new way: they traded demos and ideas built around Omnichord, 808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email.

“We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

As a result of arrangements featuring Omnichord and 808 — and the new songwriting approach, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: a sleek, synth-based Europop sound with a dreamy quality that may have been informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, Yol finds the members of Altin Gün enlisting Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders.

“Ordunun Dereleri,” Yol’s mesmerizing first single finds the Dutch act pairing an old folk standard with an arrangement centered around atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor drumming paired with Mediterranean-like polyrhythmic percussion, shimmering bursts of guitar, a sinuous, motorik groove and plaintive vocals. And while, being a sleek and futuristic push in a new sonic direction, the track finds the band balancing careful and deliberate attention to craft with a dreamy introspection.

Directed by Bob Sizoo and Najim Jansen, the recently released visual for “Ordunun Dereleri” is an incredibly cinematic fever dream that follows the Dutch act’s Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz driving a white BMW through a sodium and fluorescent-lit cityscape and into an eerie forest where he encounters the rest of the band. Even stranger things occur.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

Portland, OR-based The Parson Red Heads — currently Evan Way (guitar, vocals), Brette Marie Way (drums, vocals), Robbie Augspurger (bass), Raymond Richards (multi-instrumentalist, production), the band’s newest member Jake Smith (guitar) and a rotating cast of friends, collaborators and associates — can trace their origins back to when its founding members met while attending college in Eugene OR back in 2004, studying for degrees that as the band’s Evan Way once joked “never used or even completed.”

The members of the then newly formed Parson Red Heads spent the next year writing songs and rehearsing constantly. “We would rehearse in the living room of my house for hours and hours until my roommates would be driven crazy — writing songs and playing them over and over again, and generally having as much fun as a group of people can have,” Way fondly recalls. “We weren’t sure if we were very good, but we were sure that there was a special bond growing between us, a chemistry that you didn’t find often.”

In 2006, the band relocated to Los Angeles, with the hopes that they would take music seriously and become a real band. The members of the band moved into and shared a one bedroom apartment in West Los Angeles. “Eventually the population of our 1 bedroom ballooned to 7 — all folks who played in our band at that point, too,” Way says of the band’s early days in Southern California. The Parson Red Heads quickly became mainstays in a growing, 60s-inspired folk and psych folk scene primarily based in Los Angeles’ Silverlake and Echo Park sections. “We played every show we could lay our collective hands on, which turned out to be a lot of shows. We must have played 300+ shows in our first two years in L.A.  . . . . We practiced non-stop and wrote a ton of songs, and eventually recorded our debut album King Giraffe at a nice little studio in Sunland, with the help of our friends Zack and Jason,” Way reminisces.

After the release of King Giraffe, The Parson Red Heads spent the next three years writing new material and touring, which eventually resulted in their sophomore album, 2011’s Yearling. The album was partially recorded at Los Angeles-based studio Red Rockets Glare with Raymond Richards, who had then joined the band to play pedal steel and in North Carolina at Fidelitorium with The dB’s Chris Stamey. After finishing the album, the members of the band decided to quit their day jobs and give up their apartments to go on a lengthy tour with their friends Cotton Jones. After the tour was completed, they would relocate to Portland.

Simultaneously, the band had developed a reputation for performing an uninhabited live show, in which they could easily morph from earnest folk to ass-kicking rock anthems with their sound and approach being inspired by The ByrdsTeenage FanclubBig StarCrosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Jackson Browne. Interestingly, with the band’s third album 2013’s Orb Weaver, the band desired to capture the energy and sound of their live sound.  “We’re always made records that were more thought-out,” Way says of Orb Weaver.

The Portland-based band’s fourth album, 2017’s Blurred Harmony found the band actively intending to do things differently than they did on their previously released work — with them and recording and tracking themselves: frequently, they would set up drums ad amps and furiously record Blurred Harmony‘s material after everyone put their kids to sleep, finishing that day’s session before it got too late. And as a result, Way says  “the record is more a true part of us than any record we have made before — we put ourselves into it, made ourselves fully responsible for it. Even the themes of the songs are more personal than ever — it’s an album dealing with everything that has come before. It’s an album about nostalgia, about time, change, about the hilarious, wonderful, bittersweet, sometimes sad, always incredible experience of living. Sometimes it is about regret or the possibility of regret. These are big topics, and to us, it is a big album, yet somehow still intimate and honest.”

After the release of Blurred Harmony, the band’s founding member Sam Fowles left the band — and the members of the band were forced to ask themselves tough questions about both the future of the band and its creative direction. The remaining founding members recruited their touring Jake Smith to join the band full-time, and then they decided to approach any new material with a completely new lens. Slated for a November 13, 2020 release through their longtime label homes Fluff and Gravy Records across North America and You Are The Cosmos across Europe, The Parson Red Heads’ fifth album Lifetime of Comedy reportedly finds the band excavating the bedrock of their well-honed sound and allowing it to be remolded. While remaining a quintessentially Parson Red Heads album, the material as Way contends in press notes are the most collaborative they’ve written and recorded to date.

Initially starting the recording of Lifetime of Comedy earlier this year, The Parson Red Heads quickly found themselves and their plans in limbo as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. And once studios could reopen, sessions continued at a snail’s place for small, very intimate sessions. With the material being recorded in a delicate, touch and go period, the album’s material seems to be deeply informed by a sense of perseverance and hope.

“All I Wanted,” Lifetime of Comedy‘s first single is classic Parson Red Heads — breezy yet careful and thoughtfully crafted song centered around shimmering guitars, twangy steel pedal, rousing sing–a-long choruses, saccharine bursts of multi-part harmonies, Evan Way’s plaintive falsetto and incredibly earnest lyricism, born of lived-in experiences. And while superficially sounding as though it could have easily been part of the Blurred Harmony sessions, the track manages to possess a subtle free-flowing, jammier vibe. If you pay close attention, you can literally feel longtime friends creating something with a revitalized sense of togetherness.

Featuring a regretful and brokenhearted narrator, “All I Wanted” thematically is full of the hindsight and regret of someone looking back at the past — their past selves, their past mistakes and misgivings — and wishing that there was some way that they could undo it, so that they could remain in a relationship that they desperately prized above everything else. And yet, there’s a tacit recognition that while you may pine for the past, you can’t ever get it back. In fact, life does what it always does — pushes and forces you forward.

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Will Powers · RIVERS

 

Will Powers is an emerging Sudbury, Ontario-based folk singer/songwriter and musician. Powers’ latest single, “RIVERS” is heavily influenced by the cottage his family owns on the French River. “. . . in rent years, I’ve become more aware of its history as an important trading route in early colonial times,” Powers explains in an email to me. “I’ve often thought about the significance of us occupying that land, which is now a pristine provincial park.

“Living in the twenty-first century amidst a pervasive ignorance of colonial history has pushed me to learn about the general circumstances that enabled us to be there today, and obliges me to convey a message of respect to that place.” “RIVERS,” he adds is a personal acknowledgement of the complex realties behind my presence on that river.

Centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched acoustic guitar, some pedal effected electric guitar, a propulsive backbeat, Powers sonorous baritone, the lushly arranged yet kind of dusty “Rivers” brings to mind — to my ears, least — Nick Drake and Loving. It’s a gently buzzing yet half-remembered dream of a song. “My voice shouldn’t necessarily be the one being heard in this arena, but rather be the one relaying towards Indigenous voices, attempting to draw attention to them and their needs,” Powers adds. “I hope that ‘RIVERS’ can serve as a conduit as I come to terms with my position within reconciliation.”

 

New Video: DG Solaris’ Much-Needed Blast of Playful Optimism

Danny Green is a London-based singer/songwriter, best known for his time fronting British folk pop act Laish. With Laish, Green released four critically applauded albums through French indie label Tailres, which he and his bandmates supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States. 

Last March Green’s life changed — he met his soon-to-be wife Leanna “LG” Green. And by December, the pair married. For their honeymoon, the Greens decided to spend six months traveling across South America with a simple recording set up that they carried with them in a backpack. And that’s how their newest project together DG Solaris began.  “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” DG Solaris’ core duo explain in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning to London after their honeymoon, the duo recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they wrote and demoed during their trip across South America. And the end result is the act’s forthcoming full-length debut, Spirit Glow which is slated for a June 19, 2020. Reportedly, the album is a focused development to Green’s songwriting with the material drawing from and meshing elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog in a unique fashion. Ultimately, the album’s material was written as a textural journey through different emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leana Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

Back in March, I wrote about the woozy album single “Brother, I’ll Ask Her.” Centered enormous and an expansive song structure  featuring a pastoral and slow-burning introduction, a lurching Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake-like middle section and a krautrock-like coda with fluttering flute and synth arpeggios,  the track is a hallucinogenic fever dream that’s inspired by deeply personal experience: a painful shamanic experience they had in the Peruvian jungle. Interestingly, “Don’t Need to Tell You” is a decidedly upbeat song centered around a lushly textured arrangement of LG’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, shimmering acoustic guitar, atmospheric synths and flute, an infectious hook led by boy-girl harmonies, a supple bass line and propulsive drumming. And while clearly indebted to 70s psych folk and 60s bubble gum pop, the breezy pop confection accurately captures and evokes the giddy joy of new love. “We wanted to release something unflinchingly positive and happy during this difficult time. The song is an expression of unquestioning love for someone,” the Greens say. 

The recently released video for “Don’t Need to Tell You” is split between live footage of the band performing in little clubs, and footage of the adorably in love couple in South London’s Ruskin Park on a glorious day goofing off and enjoying each other. While playful, the video should be a reminder that when things are at their most difficult and their most bleak that we should lean on those we love. 

 

Danny Green is a London-based singer/songwriter, best known for his time fronting British folk pop act Laish — and with Laish, Green released four critically applauded albums through French indie label Tailres and toured extensively across the UK, the European Union and the States to support each of those albums.

Green’s life changed when he met his soon-to-be wife Leanna “LG” Green last March. By December, Green and LG were married. For their honeymoon, they decided to spend six months traveling across South America with a simple recording set up that they carried in a backpack. And that’s how their newest project DG Solaris began.  “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we have been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” DG Solaris’ core duo explain in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning to London after their honeymoon, the duo recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they wrote and demoed during their trip across South America. The end result is the act’s forthcoming full-length debut Spirit Glow, which is slated for release in May. The album reportedly sees a more focused development to Green’s songwriting with the material mixing elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog in a unique fashion: the material is essentially a textural journey through different emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leana Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

Spirit Glow‘s latest single is the woozy and lurching “Brother I’ll Ask Her.” Centered around an expansive and mind-bending song structure — a pastoral and slow-burning introduction, a middle section that sounds like a synthesis of Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake before ending with a krautrock-like coda with a motorik groove with flittering flute and arpeggios synths, the track is a hallucinogenic fever dream that draws from deeply personal experience: a painful shamanic experience in the Peruvian jungle. But what holds the whole thing together is the Greens’ unerring ability to craft an enormous and infectious hook.

 

 

New Video: Brighton Psych Act Wax Machine Releases a Gorgeous and Mind-Bending Animated Visual for “Shade”

Led by its Brazilian-born founder Lau Ro (vocals, guitar), who spent time living in Italy and England, along with Isobel Jones (vocals, flute) and Toma Sapir (drums), the Brighton, UK-based psych rock act Wax Machine draws heavily from its founder’s international’s upbringing. With a handful of EPs under their collective belts, the band has developed a reputation for drawing from a number of disparate genres and styles.  The Brighton-based act’s forthcoming Go Kurosawa-produced album Earthsong of Silence will further cement the Brighton-based act’s growing reputation for a genre-defying, anachronistic sound, as the album reportedly finds the band incorporating elements of spiritual jazz, krautrock. tropicalia and library music filtered through a psychedelic lens.

Slated for a March 20, 2020 release through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records, Earthsong of Silence continues where “Mind Palace,” off their last EP, Mind Palace left them — exploring English psych folk but while also touching upon the sunny tranquility of West Coast psych. As the band’s Lau Ro says in press notes, the album thematically “is an exploration into paradoxes, meditation and magic, predicated on the underlying idea of becoming one with nature and in harmony with the environment.”

“Shade” Earthsong of Silence’s latest single is a lysergic and seamless synthesis of Nick Drake-like folk, Haight-Ashbury-era grooves and vibes, Brazilian tropicalia-like breeziness and free-flowing jazz-tinged improvisation that manages to sound decidedly anachronistic — as though it could have been released sometime between 1967-1969 or so. The song — to me, at least — manages to evoke an easygoing summer afternoon, observing nature under the influence of hallucinogens.

The recently released animated video for “Shade” is fittingly mind-altering: in the background the viewer will see leaves fluttering in the wind, the rippling of water. But superimposed over that are gorgeous line animations of the band performing the song, with equally hallucinogenic imagery.

New Video: Ft. Langley-Directed Visual for Shimmering “Lately in Another Time” Follows an Astronaut in Training

Tracing their origins back to when its members — David Parry and Lucas and Jesse Henderson — spent shared summers planting trees in Western Canada’s forest, the rapidly rising Victoria, British Columbia-based, lo-fi psych folk act Loving with their self-released debut effort, quickly established a signature sound – a warm and dreamy sonic soundscape paired with existentially-leaning lyrics and an unspecified, all-encompassing sense of nostalgia. 

In a relatively short period do time, the trio found success online and as a result, they also managed to quickly amass a devoted fanbase. After only selectively touring to support a handful of prominent and acclaimed artists including the likes of Crumb, Alice Phoebe Lou, Still Woozy, and others, the band embarked on their first proper North American tour to build up buzz for their full-length debut, If I Am Only  My Thoughts slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Last Gang Records.

Recored to tape, and then mixed and mastered by the band’s David Parry in his self-described “cold, dismal” basement studio in Victoria, British Columbia, the album’s lush and homespun material, reportedly are balmy and inviting and comprised of a series of open-ended questions, centered around existential themes. “There isn’t a single narrative driving this album, but we do linger on some basic human problems: confusion in the face of a desire for self-knowledge and belonging, a struggle for meaning that is circular and sometimes seemingly endless,” the band’s Jesse Henderson says in press notes. While those looming questions go largely unanswered, they are fodder for further competition, delivered with a peaceful and effortless naturalism. 

If I Am Only My Thoughts’ latest single is the shimmering and achingly nostalgic “Lately In Another Time.” And while possessing the intimacy and contemplative nature of a bedroom recording, the song is deceptively cinematic, as it’s centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, gently padded drumming, a soaring hook and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about the utter strangeness of life itself. Much like its predecessor “Only She Knows,” the track features an anachronistic sound and production that recalls Nick Drake, Junip and others. 

Directed by Ft. Langley, the recently released video continues the old-timey vibes, as it follows an astronaut and NASA staff and crew prepare for a mission into space. There’s constant monitoring, tracking and testing and our dutiful and brave astronaut recognizes the seriousness of the entire ordeal — after all, if something goes wrong during the tests or in space, he could die. Interestingly, the gorgeous and contemplative music gives the mundanity of it all, a surreal air. 

 

Brian Collins is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the creative mastermind behind the rising, indie recording project Hurt Valley. With Hurt Valley, Collins crafts shambling and rollicking songs that sound heavily indebted to AM Radio rock, as they frequently feature elements of folk and psych rock — and while sounding as though it were released in 1967, “Apartment Houses,” off Collins soon-to-be-released Hurt Valley debut, Glacial Pace, the shimmering track is centered around a sense of being lost and lonely in an unfamiliar and new place. And yet, the song’s narrator finds a way to push onward.

I’m writing this post in a Starbucks, looking at the snow out  of the window and I’m reminded of my recent trip to Montreal. And as soon as I landed atMontreal-Trudeau International Airport, I was aware of the fact that I was yet again in a strange, unfamiliar place where no one really knew me — and where I didn’t speak or comprehend the language. But I’ve always managed to push onward and thrive. So as you can imagine, the song hits a real personal spot at the moment.