Tag: Bright Eyes

Currently comprised of Kyle Morton (vocals, piano, guitar), Tony Tanabe (bass, vocals), Dave Hall (guitar, vocals), Shannon Steele (violin, vocals), Jef Hufnagel (violin, vocals), Pieter Hilton (drums, vocals), Alex Fitch (drums, vocals), Tyler Ferrin (horns, guitar, piano, vocals), Ryan McAlpin (trumpet, vocals), Eric Stipe (trumpet, vocals) and Devin Gallagher (percussion, ukelele, vocals), the 11 member Portland, OR-based indie act Typhoon has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of indie rock, baroque pop  and orchestral pop as their material is rooted around complex arrangements and lush orchestration, as well as a penchant for restless experimentation with various styles including classic sea shanties, Country and Western, Eastern European folk and others. And unsurprisingly, they’ve drawn comparisons to Frightened Rabbit, Bright Eyes, Beirut and Arcade Fire among others. Along with that, they’ve received attention for live sets that routinely feature 12 (or more) musicians performing on stage. However, with the release of Hunger & Thirst and A New Kind of House EP the collective’s material revealed an increasingly consistent sound paired with a greater attention on crafting a thematic through-line — with much of their material based around a preoccupation with mortality, based primarily around (and making references to) Morton’s childhood struggles with Lyme Disease.

Adding to a rapidly growing local and national profile, they’ve had their music appear on SyFy’s Being Human, NBC’s Chuck and the major motion picture Veronica Mars, and they’ve opened for the likes of The Thermals, Quasi, Yann Tiersen, Explosions in the Sky, The Decemberists, Belle and Sebastian and The Shins and have toured with Lady Lamb the Bee Keeper, Portugal, the Man and Grouplove. Thanks in part to the success of album single “The Honest Truth,” which was ranked #3 in Paste Magazine‘s Top 50 Songs of 2011 List, and 2013’s White Lighter, which reached #105 on the Billboard 200, #2 on the Heatseekers and was 37 on Paste’s Best Albums list, the members of the collective played sets at 2014’s Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.

After the release of 2015’s live album, Live at Crystal Ballroom, which features the band playing material from off Hunger & Thirst and White Lighter, Morton released his solo debut What Will Destroy You — and during that time, the members of the collective spent time working on the material, which would comprise their soon-to-be released fourth album Offerings. Thematically, the album is centered on a fictional man, who is losing his memory — and in turn, his sense of self.  “I’ve always been preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory. I wanted to explore the questions: What does a person become if they don’t know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?” explains singer/songwriter Kyle Morton in pres note

As the story goes, motivated by his own preoccupation with “losing it,” Morton was inspired by the films of David Lynch, Christopher Nolan’s Memento and Fellini’s 8 1/2, as well as several different books on his nightstand, including Samuel Beckett’s famed Three Novels — in particular, Malloy. “It made it a much darker album for sure,” Morton says in press notes.  Structurally, the album is divided into four different movements — Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning and Afterparty — meant to represent each of the four mental phases the main character goes through when he first realizes that something is wrong, then struggles through the chaos of his situation, and finally moves into acceptance before succumbing to a terrible and unimaginable fate.

Musically, the band evokes an impending doom and chaos that’s supposed to mirror the main character’s sense of fear and anxiety. And to set the set the tone, Morton and company decided to write the material with much more guitar than horns and string arrangements.  “I wanted it to be a darker, more intense rock record, so it’s very guitar-based. It’s going back to my rock roots before Typhoon,” says Morton. But along with that, the material parallels the contemporary world. “I was also reading historian Timothy Snyder and was inspired by his take on how America is at risk of losing their sense of history. If we haven’t learned the lessons of our past, historically, we can’t recognize when elements come back to haunt us, which is what’s happening right now,” Morton adds.

Interestingly, Offering‘s latest single “Darker” is from the album’s third movement, and as Morton explains, the song details some of the final stages of the album’s main character’s memory crisis in which he loses the critical distinctions separating self from other. And naturally all kinds of chaos and confusion ensue. And while the arrangement balances a hook laden arena rock friendliness with a sweeping, cinematic quality, it possesses a tense and creeping anxiousness of someone, who’s fully aware of something horrifying happening to them and that they’re utterly powerless to stop it — but along with that, there’s the strange recognition that whatever it was that it was happening to them is something they’d have a difficult time explaining to someone else. Personally, what makes the song interesting is that Morton as a songwriter has revealed himself to have a novelist’s attention to psychological detail, capturing the fractured thoughts and uncertain emotions of someone slowly losing it all.

 

The band will begin 2018 with a lengthy US and European tour, and it includes a January 27, 2018 stop at The Music Hall of Williamsburg. Check out the tour dates below.

 

 

TOUR DATES:
01.10 – URBAN LOUNGE – SALT LAKE CITY, UT (TICKETS)
01.12 – GOTHIC THEATRE – ENGLEWOOD, CO (TICKETS)
01.14 – THE WAITING ROOM – OMAHA, NE (TICKETS)
01.17 – TURF CLUB – SAINT PAUL, MN (TICKETS)
01.18 – MAJESTIC THEATER – MADISON, WI (TICKETS)
01.19 – THE METRO – CHICAGO, IL (TICKETS)
01.20 – EL CLUB – DETROIT, MI (TICKETS)
01.23 – LEE’S PALACE – TORONTO, ON (TICKETS)
01.25 – PARADISE ROCK CLUB – BOSTON, MA (TICKETS)
01.26 – UNION TRANSFER – PHILADELPHIA, PA (TICKETS)
01.27 – MUSIC HALL OF WILLIAMSBURG – BROOKLYN, NY (TICKETS)
01.31 – 9:30 CLUB – WASHINGTON, DC (TICKETS)
02.01 – CAT’S CRADLE – CARRBORO, NC (TICKETS)
02.02 – TERMINAL WEST – ATLANTA, GA (TICKETS)
02.03 – EXIT IN – NASHVILLE, TN (TICKETS)
02.06 – THE MOHAWK – AUSTIN, TX (TICKETS)
02.08 – THE CRESCENT BALLROOM – PHOENIX, AZ (TICKETS)
02.10 – MUSIC BOX – SAN DIEGO, CA (TICKETS)
02.11 – TERAGRAM BALLROOM – LOS ANGELES, CA (TICKETS)
02.13 – THE INDEPENDENT – SAN FRANCISCO, CA (TICKETS)
02.16 – THE CROCODILE – SEATTLE, WA (TICKETS)
02.23 – CRYSTAL BALLROOM – PORTLAND, OR (TICKETS)
02.24 – RICKSHAW THEATRE – VANCOUVER, BC (TICKETS)
02.28 – THE DEAF INSTITUTE – MANCHESTER, UK (TICKETS)
03.01 – BROADCAST – GLASGOW, UK (TICKETS)
03.02 – THE LEXINGTON – LONDON, UK (TICKETS)
03.07 – LE PETIT BAIN – PARIS, FRANCE (TICKETS)
03.08 – BOTANIQUE – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (TICKETS)
03.09 – PARADISO – AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (TICKETS)
03.10 – KNUST – HAMBURG, GERMANY (TICKETS)
03.13 – VEGA – COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (TICKETS)
03.14 – MUSIK & FRIEDEN – BERLIN, GERMANY (TICKETS)
03.15 – FLUC – VIENNA, AUSTRIA (TICKETS)
03.16 – GARE DE LION – WIL, SWITZERLAND (TICKETS)
03.18 – ROYAL – BADEN, SWITZERLAND (TICKETS)
03.20 – ARTHEATER – COLOGNE, GERMANY (TICKETS)

New Video: The Playful and Summery Visuals for Umm’s “Black Summer”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of the summer, you’ve likely come across a couple of posts featuring the  Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock duo Umm. Comprised of Stefanie Drootin, best known for stints in The Good Life, Big Harp and in the backing bands of She & Him and Bright Eyes, and her Big Harp bandmate and husband Chris Senseney, the duo specialize in a 90s alt rock-inspired sound, full of fuzzy power chords, propulsive and forceful drumming paired with swoon-worthy boy-girl harmonizing and anthemic hooks; in fact, as a child of the 80s, who started to come of age in the 90s, “I’m in Love,” off the duo’s recently released full-length debut Double Worshipper instantly reminded me of the countless hours I spent watching 120 Minutes, of scanning the radio stations to make mixtapes of my favorite songs of the moment and of borrowing friends’ tapes and CDs and dubbing them on a Sony boombox stereo I had owned. 

Double Worshipper’s second single “Black Summer” continues along a similar vein as its predecessor, as it clearly 90s alt rock-inspired. And although the song manages to possess  some rather dark lyricism, there’s a breezy and old timey pop accessibility that bolsters both the song’s anthemic quality, as well as its mischievous irony; after all, the song is about rejecting the idea of some kind of stable, acceptable adulthood — and pretty much saying “Fuck it, it’s all bullshit. Just exist, man.” 

Directed by Mike Stillkey and shot with what looks like grainy Super 8 film, the video features the duo goofing off on a glorious Southern California day at the beach and in the desert, playing together and naturally a horse’s head mask, because — well, why not? 

Over the past month or so, I’ve written a bit about the  Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock duo Umm. Comprised of Stefanie Drootin, best known for stints in The Good LifeBig Harp and in the backing bands of She & Him and Bright Eyes, and her Big Harp bandmate (and her spouse), Chris Senseney, the Southern California duo specialize in a decidedly 90s, alt-rockinspired sound, full of fuzzy power chords, plaintive and swooning harmonizing and anthemic hooks reminiscent of The BreedersThe Posies and others. And in that same month or so period, you may recall the 120 Minutes-like “I’m in Love,” and the dark yet breezy “Black Summer” off the duo’s soon-to-be released debut together, Double Worshipper.

Double Worshipper‘s third and latest single is the slow-burning and moody ballad “Yeah I Want It,” and while further cementing their growing reputation for crafting anthemic, 90s alt rock-inspired tracks with rousing hooks; but what makes this particular track different is its emphasis on swooning boy-girl harmonies and a dreamily wistful melody, which makes the song the most summery, if not most dream pop-leaning song they’ve released to date.

 

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about the  Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock duo Umm. Comprised of Stefanie Drootin, best known for stints in The Good Life, Big Harp and in the backing bands of She & Him and Bright Eyes, and her Big Harp bandmate Chris Senseney, the duo specialize in an alt rock-inspired sound, complete with fuzzy power chords, plaintive and swooning harmonizing and anthemic hooks reminiscent of The Breeders, The Posies and others; in fact, as a child of the 80s, who started to come of age in the 90s, “I’m in Love,” off the duo’s soon-to-be released full-length Double Worshipper instantly reminded me of countless hours watching 120 Minutes, making mixtapes of my favorite songs off the radio, spending even more hours in record stores and trading cassette tapes with friends.  Interestingly enough, the album’s latest single “Black Summer” will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for crafting 90s alt rock inspired material; but in the case of their latest single, the song possesses a breeziness that underlies both the dark lyricism and anthemic nature of the song.

 

 

Comprised of Stefanie Drootin, best known for stints in The Good Life, Big Harp and in the backing bands of She & Him and Bright Eyes, and her Big Harp bandmate Chris Senseney, the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock duo Umm specialize in a sound that features fuzzy power chords, plaintive and swooning pop-leaning harmonizing and anthemic hooks reminiscent of The Breeders, The Posies and others as you’ll hear on “I’m in Love,” the latest single off the duo’s forthcoming full-length debut Double Whisper. Certainly, as a child of the 80s, who started to come off age in the 90s, “I’m in Love” reminds me of making mixtapes, dubbing my friends tapes and making dubs for friends and spending countless hours in record stores.

 

 

New Video: The Understated Beautiful Visuals and Sounds of Bay Uno’s “Black Beauty”

It’s been over a year since I’ve last written about him and his work but he’s been playing a number of shows across town — including a December 7, 2016 set at The Slipper Room, which benefits Barc, a no-kill shelter. In any case, his latest single “Black Beauty” is a thoughtful and gorgeously hushed single featuring strummed guitar, twinkling percussion, bursts of accordion and a cinematic sweep paired with Bay Uno’s earnest and thoughtful crooning in a song that evokes the swooning sensation of being swept up in profound love and of finding oneself through a connection with nature. And much like his previously released singles there’s a sense of childlike awe and wonder that’s infectious — and should remind the listener of their own forgotten inner child.

The recently released video was shot on a grainy Instagram-like filter and shows the singer/songwriter riding a beautiful black horse, with whom he seems to have a profound connection, and of being in nature. And much like the song it possesses a simple and understated beauty.