Tag: Baltimore MD

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Beach House Return with a Gorgeous and Atmospheric Single from Forthcoming Album

Comprised of Victoria Legrand (organ, vocals) and Alex Scally (guitar, vocals), the  Baltimore-based indie rock act Beach House have released a handful of critically and commercially successful albums, including 2015’s Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which were written and recorded within a two-and-a-half year period between 2012-2014 — and while being individual efforts, they’re meant to be viewed as closely related companion pieces, as metaphorically being two sides of the same coin, as they built upon similar themes and a related, overall sound centered around sparse and atmospheric arrangements of organ, guitar and Legrand’s ethereal vocals. 

Much like countless bands before them, Legrand and Scally have written and recorded a large number of songs throughout their career, some of which have been played live or released that for whatever reason just didn’t quite fit their album-based material. Over the years, some of those songs have proven to be increasingly difficult to find and listen to, and to accommodate their fans, they released B-Sides and Rarities, a 14 track compilation of songs that they’ve recorded and released that just didn’t make their albums, and two previously unreleased singles “Chariot” and “Baseball Diamond,” recorded during the Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars sessions. As a music journalist and fan, B-side compilations can offer a revealing look into a band’s creative and editorial processes as they write and record an album.  

Interestingly, the Baltimore-based dream pop duo will be releasing a new album later this spring through Sub Pop Records in North America, Bella Union Records in Europe and Mistletone Records in Australia and New Zealand, and the as yet untitled album’s first single “Lemon Glow” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting tender yet atmospheric material centered around Legrand’s ethereal vocals but this particular track is a bit more jangling and finds the duo (to my ears at least) subtly drawing from shoegaze as it possesses an equally subtle cosmic glow.

New Audio: Introducing the Ethereal 80s Synth Pop Sounds of Barrie

While now currently based in Brooklyn, the individual members of the up-and-coming indie pop act Barrie, comprised of founding trio featuring lead songwriter Barrie Lindsay, who worked as a studio assistant for a sculptor; Spurge and Noah, who both work at The Lot Radio, a community-run online, radio station, where the band’s founding trio met through a mutual friend and eventually connected with their drummer Dom; and their bassist Sabine, who was recruited through a Tinder profile set up by the band to meet a bassist, each individual member can claim the following as their hometowns — Baltimore, Boston, Sao Paulo, Brazil, London, and Upstate New York. 

“Canyons,” the Brooklyn synth pop act’s debut single is a slow-burning track that finds them pairing gossamer vocals with wobbling arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, propulsive drumming and a feathery and ethereal hook in a minimalist song that draws from 80s synth pop but possesses an underlying bittersweet barb similar to Yumi Zouma, as well as JOVM mainstays ACES and Beacon. 

New Video: The Woozy, Nostalgia-Tinged Visuals for Beach House’s “Chariot”

Since their formation in 2004, the Baltimore-based indie rock act Beach House, comprised of Charm City music scene vets Victoria Legrand (organ, vocals) and Alex Scally (guitar, vocals), have released a handful of critically and commercially successful albums, including their last two efforts, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which were released within two months of each other in 2015. Written and recorded within a roughly two-and-a-half year period between 2012 and 2014, both albums continue a long-term collaboration with co-producer Chris Coady while being closely related companion pieces or in other words, while separate, the two albums should be viewed in a very metaphorical sense as two sides of the same coin, as they build upon similar themes and an overall sound — a decidedly sparse, atmospheric sound that  nodded at Mazzy Star and others.

Much like countless bands before them, Legrand and Scally have written and recorded a large number of songs throughout their career, some of which have been played live or released that for whatever reason just didn’t quite fit their album-based material. Of course, over the course of the past few years, some of those songs have been increasingly difficult to find and listen to, and to accommodate their fans — while providing insight into the band’s own creative and editorial process when it comes to their albums. So the band will be releasing B-Sides and Rarities, a 14 track compilation of songs that they’ve recorded and released that just didn’t make their albums, and two previously unreleased singles “Chariot” and “Baseball Diamond,” recorded during the Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars sessions and much like the material off those albums, “Chariot,” the first single off the B-sides compilation is a slow-burning wisp of smoke with a hauntingly melancholy and nostalgia-tinged air. 

Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Chariot” possesses a woozy and dream-like nostalgia as it begins from the perspective of watching from a movie theater with both color and black and white footage from the 60s that we’re all familiar with — a lot of it revolving around pop culture.  And much like the song it accompanies, the video lacks a clear narrative but makes up for it in by further emphasizing the moodiness of the song. 

New Audio: Beach House Returns with a Moody and Shimmering B-Side

Since their formation in 2004, the Baltimore-based indie rock act Beach House, comprised of long-term local scene vets Victoria Legrand (organ, vocals) and Alex Scally (guitar, vocals), have released a handful of critically and commercially successful albums, including their last two efforts, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, which were released two months after each other, back in 2015. Written and recorded within a roughly two-and-a-half year period between 2012 and 2014, both albums continue a long-term collaboration with co-producer Chris Coady while being closely related companion pieces or in other words, while separate, the two albums should be viewed in a very metaphorical sense as two sides of the same coin, as they build upon similar themes and overall sound — a decidedly sparse, atmospheric sound that subtly nodded at Mazzy Star and others.
Much like countless bands before them, Legrand and Scally have written and recorded a large number of songs throughout their career, some of which have been played live or released that for whatever reason just didn’t quite fit their album-based material. Of course, over the course of the past few years, some of those songs have been increasingly difficult to find and listen to, and to accommodate their fans — while providing insight into the band’s own creative and editorial process when it comes to their albums. So the band will be releasing B-Sides and Rarities, a 14 track compilation of songs that they’ve recorded and released that just didn’t make their albums, and two previously unreleased singles “Chariot” and “Baseball Diamond,” recorded during the Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars sessions and much like the material off those albums, “Chariot,” the first single off the B-sides compilation is a slow-burning wisps of smoke with a hauntingly melancholy air, while subtly nodding at Purple Rain-era Prince.

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Caption: Statues at Union Station, Washington, D.C. Sadly, this was one of the few things in .D.C. that I actually took a picture of; of course, to be fair during my conference, I was carrying two laptops -- theirs and mine -- so carrying additional electronics just wasn't going to happen. Also,  the two laptops were enough as it was.

Photos: Light City Baltimore Festival

Live Footage: Beach House Performing “Rough Song” on Charlie Rose

Interestingly, although released last October, Thank Your Lucky Stars was recorded during the same two month period as its predecessor Depression Cherry and continued an ongoing collaboration between the band and co-producer Chris Coady. Naturally, both albums build upon similar aesthetics, making them inseparably companion albums. Now you may remember that I recently wrote about “The Traveller” off Thank Your Lucky Stars. The duo were recently on Charlie Rose’s show where they performed a gorgeous and aching version of “Rough Song.”

New Video: The Otherworldly Visuals and Sounds of Beach House’s “The Traveller”

Although released last October, Thank Your Lucky Stars was recorded during the same two month period as its predecessor Depression Cherry and continued an ongoing collaboration between the band and co-producer Chris Coady. And naturally, both albums build upon similar aesthetics and themes, although “The Traveller” manages to possess a subtle world-weariness and bitter regret at its core — while also subtly reminding listeners of Mazzy Star.

Directed by Jennifer Juniper Stratford, a media artist and founder of Telefantasy Studios, an analog media lab dedicated to the creation of avant-garde television and video experiments, the video was shot using an ancient television camera before being processed with a video synthesizer and a reconfigured broadcast mixer to create imagery that possess a cosmic glow, as though the female figure in the video is crossing through several different dimensions.

As I’ve mentioned on this site a number of times, the Internet really has proven to be a wonderful place to discover both new music and extremely rare, lost music — and with an increasing ease. Just think about it, the technology that brings this site into your home has contributed to a wild proliferation of independent labels across the world, equally competing against the major conglomerates for your ears, attention and money. And interestingly enough, smaller, independent artists have been much more willing (and able) to take the sort of risks that their larger, monied rivals wouldn’t and couldn’t — i.e., attempting to re-introduce artists, whose work was so wildly ahead its time that audiences at the the time just couldn’t accept it — and yet fill in a musical gap, or seem so current that it was impossible to figure how it was missed; attempting to reintroduce regionally favored artists from a time when hit songs in Milwaukee were often different than hit songs in Atlanta, Baltimore, Des Moines, Minneapolis or New York.

Of course, before the Internet, bulletin boards and social media, much of this material was only known to cultish and dedicated insiders, who would spend their time seeking and collecting long-lost and long-forgotten albums, often hoarding them in private collections or selling them at collector’s shows. The Internet and blogosphere have democratized the process, allowing the average listener and fan a chance to listen and to love some of these long-forgotten wonders. Unsurprisingly, there’s money that can be made from discovering long lost material, and it often results in labels and bloggers mining beloved and influential genres to exhaustion through endless compilations of certain genres — in particular psych rock, AM rock, doo wop, singer/songwriter folk, funk, soul and a few others come to mind.

Now, strangely enough up until last year, there hadn’t been many proto-metal, pre-stoner rock compilations when the Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA-based distributor Permanent Records released a compilation of incredibly rare singles from the 60s and 70s on Brown Acid: The First Trip. With the help of Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records, Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi spent time not just collecting and compiling the singles on the compilation, they also spent a great deal of time tracking down the songs creators, often bands who haven’t been together in over 30 or 40 years, and encouraging them to take part in the entire process.  As Barresi explained in press notes for the first compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been huge given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.“ And by having the artists participate it can give the songs and the artists a real second chance at success, if not some kind of attention.

Barresi and Hall have complied a second volume of rare proto-metal and pre-stoner rock from the 60s and 70s, Brown Acid: The  Second Trip, which is slated (fittingly enough) for release on April 20. The Second Trip‘s first single, Ash’s “Midnight Witch” manages to sound as though it drew from Mountain‘s “Mississippi Queen,” Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” and early Black Sabbath as layers of huge, sludgy and bluesy power chords are paired with a driving rhythm and soulful vocals. And while being forceful, the song manages to possess a trippy feel — and in some way the song nods at material that has been released by a number of contemporary bands including Ecstatic Vision and others.