Tag: Antarctica

With the release of their first three EPs, GoldBetter Off, and Broken Machine, and their full length debut Palace of Industrial Hope, the San Francisco, CA-based indie rock quintet The New Up — comprised of ES Pitcher (vocals, guitar), Noah Reid (guitar, vocals), Hawk West (automation), Nick Massaro (bass) and Art McConnell (drums) –developed a reputation for genre defying sound that possesses elements of garage rock and electro pop paired with lyrics that focus on philosophical concerns. And while the band has drawn comparisons to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Kills, their sound reminds me of Dirty Ghosts.

As the story goes, when it came time to start working on the material that would comprise the San Francisco-based quintet’s forthcoming, sophomore effort Tiny Mirrors, the members of the band launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to obtain the necessary funds to create and build their own recording studio, which the band felt was necessary to realize their creative vision for the album — with label or studio interference. Then they covered a secluded Mendocino County, CA barn into a state-of-the-art recording facility and enlisted Jack Frost who has worked with Antartica and BlackRock to produce the recording sessions and Sean Beresford, who has worked with Chuck ProphetThe Donnas and Vanessa Carlton to mix the album.

Now, if you had been frequenting this site towards the end of last year, you may recall that I wrote about album single “Black Swan,” a slinky and slickly produced track in which shimmering and atmospheric electronics, slashing and angular guitar chords and a sinuous bass line are paired with ES Pitcher’s sensual vocals — singing lyrics that reveal the narrator’s urgent, carnal need, the need (and desire) to lose one’s self, if even for a little bit, her increasing frustration with people and human relationships and empty, soulless hookups. But at the core of the song is the sort of loneliness and dissatisfaction that being in a large city frequently inspires within people. The album’s latest single “No Fly Zone” continues on a similar vein as its preceding single as shimmering synths and processed beats are paired with Pitcher’s cooing, shimmering guitar chords in a moody and sensual song that sonically and structurally reminds me of Antics-era Interpol.


Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the course of last year, you would have come across a couple of posts on Amanda Stickler, a New York-basd electronic music artist and producer, and her solo recording project Blonde Maze. And with the release of the aching  “Summer Rain,” off her debut EP Oceans and a slow-burning and melancholic cover of “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home),” Steckler received attention here and across several other sites across the blogosphere for slickly produced yet atmospheric electro pop that possessed a plaintive ache and longing for someone dear being half a world away.


It’s been close to a year, since we’ve last heard from Steckler, and her latest single “Antarctica” features a slick, glittering and swooning house music-leaning production featuring layers of cascading and shimmering synths, marimbas, layers of cut and chopped vocal samples, stuttering and skittering drum programming and hand claps paired with Steckler’s breathy and tender cooing.  Interestingly, the song focuses on a profound emotional connection — but at its core is that weird dichotomy between the fear and sting of loss and the sense of dependence that comes up within every relationship, even the most functional ones. And it captures that with an emotional honesty and wisdom that belies the artist’s relatively young age.