Tag: Chris Walla

New Video: Ellevator Shares a Hook-Driven and Incisive Look at Social Media and Presentation

Hamilton, Ontario-based indie rock outfit Ellevator — Nabi Sue Bersche (vocals), Tyler Bersche (guitar) and Elliott Gwynne (bass, synths) — have received attention nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound and approach that draws equally from late-aughts guitar music, post-rock, U2Peter GabrielKate BushFeistSpoon and Death Cab for Cutie paired with lean, razor sharp hooks and Bersche’s earnest, pop star-like vocals. Thematically their work touches upon power, love and loss from lived-in, personal reflections and experiences. 

Their self-titled EP amassed over a million streams across all of the digital streaming platforms. Adding to a growing profile, the members of Ellevator toured across North America with Our Lady PeaceMatthew GoodBANNERS, Cold War Kids, JOVM mainstay Rich AucoinDear RougeBishop BriggsArkells and Amber Run

Ellevator’s long-awaited, full-length debut, the Chris Walla-produced The Words You Spoke Still Move Me officially dropped today. The 12-song album sees the Canadian outfit documenting universal experiences like existential longing, romantic power struggles and the never-ending work of true self-discovery with the deeply personal and highly specific — notably, Nabi Sue Bersche’s experiences entering into and leaving a religious cult.

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I’ve written about three of TWYSSMM‘s
singles”

Easy,” a song that revealed a band boldly making a decided step forward in their sound and approach while seeing them embrace the fact that they’re a rock band: Earnest and lived-in lyrics are paired with enormous hooks, raw and passionate performances, deliberate craftsmanship and slick studio polish.

“Easy” may arguably be one of the most deeply personal songs on the album, with the song drawing directly and intimately from Nabi Sue Bersche’s life: For a period of her life, Nabi Sue Bersche was a member of a religious cult, and the song is a rumination on the good and evil things we are raised to believe without question. “I was raised in the world of charismatic Christianity – an offshoot of Pentecostalism,” Ellevator’s frontwoman explained. “God was magic and prophetic ecstasies happened every Sunday. As a child, I spoke in tongues and prayed until my body swayed with a gentle force like wind knocking me backward. A deep and abiding love of the natural world took hold of me. I witnessed firsthand the wild power of music – how it could uplift, ensnare, console, inspire.

“When I was 17 I moved to the other side of the world and joined what would most accurately be described as a cult. I prayed for strangers I met in parking lots. I shut my eyes and read the dappled light between my lashes like tea leaves that could divine the future. Vulnerability was a badge in that community so I learned to overshare. Teachings were given in the language of freedom while the stiff hand of purity reduced my body to a shameful temptation. Growing up like that gave me a love of music, a nose for bullshit, and a lot to unravel. This song is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.”

TWYSSMM‘s second single was the 80s rock/pop-like anthem “Sacred Heart,” which featured an expansive arrangement centered around slashing power chords, twinkling keys and Nabi Sue Bersche’s yearning vocals. While sonically recalling John Mellencamp‘s early-to-mid 80s output, Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” and Stevie Nicks, “Sacred Heart” details swooning and urgent, young love in its guilelessness, passion, fearlessness and neurotic self-consciousness.

“This one’s a love song about how intimacy and deep knowing can make it feel like there’s nothing left to discover, and choosing to push on anyway in search of new depths, “Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explained. “Ty [Tyler Bersche] (guitar) and I got married on a cold spring morning when I was 22 and he was 19. There wasn’t much chance to sell each other on our own myths, to be the mysterious stranger from outta town: we wrote our origin story together. Learning to love each other better has been a strange journey and the great gift of my life.”

Party Trick,” TWYSSMM‘s third single was a slow-burning and atmospheric ballad that accurately captures the insecurity, anxiety and flightiness of a young person still figuring out who they are and what they are: They seemingly adopt and discard identities, interests and beliefs until they stumble onto something that maybe suits them. While drawing from deeply personal experience, the song is rooted into something incredibly universal — something we’ve all done at some point or another in our lives.

“A friend said to me that being in a band means never growing up,” Ellevator’s frontwoman says in press notes. “It’s easy to feel like Peter Pan on tour, all the trappings of adulthood a hundred truck stops and a thousand miles in the rearview. I started writing this song to my teenage self: a flighty, insecure kid posturing confidence. I’d jump around to all the different cliques like a self-styled Ferris Bueller, leaving just before friendships could settle in. Being on the road brought out those same old tendencies: keep it all on the level, don’t go too deep. Driving down the highway, floating through the hall/Everything is different, nothing’s changed at all.”

“STAR,” TWYSSMM‘s fourth and latest single continues a remarkable run of enormous, hook-driven anthems featuring twinkling keys, propulsive drumming, shimmering and angular guitar lines and a sinuous bass line paired with Nabi Sue Bersche’s plaintive vocals. Sonically “STAR” — to my ears, at least — is a slick synthesis of Stevie Nicks, U2 and Death Cab for Cutie while rooted in a both personal and universal experience: Our tendency to play dress up and attempt to put on our best airs for the outside world — especially through the lens of social media.

“There are so many ways to disguise ourselves I don’t think we even notice we’re dressing up anymore,” the Canadian outfit’s frontperson explains. “Good art has a human point of view, which is to say it’s nuanced, complicated. It often doesn’t have a clear agenda that’s easily distilled, packaged, and sold. Flattening that perspective into something that fits neatly between the clean lines of social media has been difficult for me. Learning how to do it has changed the way I see the world, brought out ugly instincts, and magnified my vanity and insecurity. The wildest part is that this sort of curation and performance is no longer reserved for people like me: artists who pay people lots of money to convince you to listen to our music. Any fourteen-year-old on TikTok has given at least as much careful attention to their brand as I have. But the neurochemical trick these platforms play is just the latest version of a very old phenomenon. We’ve always built our identities carefully: showing the world our good side is an intrinsic part of evolution, whether it’s holding our arms high to make the bear think we’re bigger than we are or an Instagram story of our eight-car-garage.

“I started writing this song about Sable Starr and the baby groupie scene from the 70s in West Hollywood. Writing about licked lips, hey sweethearts, and other abstractions of crude men is a natural place for me to write from. Like a lot of people, there’s a deep well of rage to draw from there. But it morphed into a song about me, how the fucked up aspects of my industry have shaped me, how I’ve bent to the wills of people and entities I don’t trust. When the road runs out, will I be waiting around? Will I still be pretending?”

Directed and shot by the band’s frequent collaborator Cam Veitch, the accompanying video for “STAR” is optimized for viewing on a mobile device in vertical full screen. But whether you’re watching it on a computer as I have or on a phone, we see the members of Ellevator adopting cartoonish. one-note personas, which only capture a small portion of the complicated, flawed people behind the person. But the likes, the shares, the fucking clout!

Lyric Video: Ellevator Shares Slow-Burning “Party Trick”

Hamilton, Ontario-based indie rock outfit Ellevator — Nabi Sue Bersche (vocals), Tyler Bersche (guitar) and Elliott Gwynne (bass, synths) — have received attention nationally and elsewhere for a sound and approach that draws equally from late-aughts guitar music, post-rock, U2Peter GabrielKate BushFeistSpoon and Death Cab for Cutie and paired with lean, razor sharp hooksand Bersche’s earnest, pop star-like lyrics. Thematically their work touches upon power, love and loss from lived-in, personal reflections and experiences.

The Hamilton-based outfit’s self-titled EP amassed over a million streams across all of the digital streaming platforms. Adding to a growing profile, the members of Ellevator toured across North America with Our Lady PeaceMatthew GoodBANNERS, Cold War Kids, JOVM mainstay Rich AucoinDear RougeBishop BriggsArkells and Amber Run

The Hamilton-based outfit’s long-awaited, full-length debut, the Chris Walla-produced The Words You Spoke Still Move Me is slated for a May 6, 2022 release through  Arts & Crafts. The 12-song album reportedly sees the band documenting universal experiences like existential longing, romantic power struggles, the never-ending work of true self-discovery and the deeply personal and highly specific — i.e., Nabi Sue Bersche’s experiences entering into and leaving a religious cult.

In the lead-up to the album’s release next month, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s released singles:

Easy,” a song that revealed a band that not only making a bold decided step forward in their sound and approach, but a band embracing that they’re a rock band with a balance of deliberate craftsmanship, earnest and lived-in lyrics, enormous hooks and raw, passionate performances with a slick studio polish that reminded me of 80s pop and deDeep Sea Diver‘s impressive Impossible Weight

“Easy” draws directly from Nabi Sue Bershe’s life: For a period of her life, the Ellevator frontwoman was a member of a religious cult, and the song is a rumination on the good and evil things we are raised to believe without question. “I was raised in the world of charismatic Christianity – an offshoot of Pentecostalism,” Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explained. “God was magic and prophetic ecstasies happened every Sunday. As a child, I spoke in tongues and prayed until my body swayed with a gentle force like wind knocking me backward. A deep and abiding love of the natural world took hold of me. I witnessed firsthand the wild power of music – how it could uplift, ensnare, console, inspire.

“When I was 17 I moved to the other side of the world and joined what would most accurately be described as a cult. I prayed for strangers I met in parking lots. I shut my eyes and read the dappled light between my lashes like tea leaves that could divine the future. Vulnerability was a badge in that community so I learned to overshare. Teachings were given in the language of freedom while the stiff hand of purity reduced my body to a shameful temptation. Growing up like that gave me a love of music, a nose for bullshit, and a lot to unravel. This song is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.”

Sacred Heart” continued a run of slickly produced yet dramatic, radio rock with enormous, arena rock-like hooks, earnest and lived-in lyrics that to my ears reminds me of John Mellencamp, Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” and Stevie Nicks, thank sin part to an expansive arrangement featuring slashing power chords, twinkling keys and Nabi Sue Bersche’s yearning vocals. “Sacred Heart” details swooning and urgent young love in its gutlessness, passion, fearlessness and uncertainty.

“This one’s a love song about how intimacy and deep knowing can make it feel like there’s nothing left to discover, and choosing to push on anyway in search of new depths, “Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explains. “Ty [Tyler Bersche] (guitar) and I got married on a cold spring morning when I was 22 and he was 19. There wasn’t much chance to sell each other on our own myths, to be the mysterious stranger from outta town: we wrote our origin story together. Learning to love each other better has been a strange journey and the great gift of my life.”

The Words You Spoke Still Move Me‘s latest single “Party Trick” is a slow-burning and atmospheric ballad that manages to accurately captures the insecurity, anxiety and flightiness of a young person still figuring out who they are and what they are; so they spend their time adopting and discarding identities, interests and beliefs until they maybe find something that suits them. While drawing from personal experience, the song captures a universal experience.

“A friend said to me that being in a band means never growing up,” Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche says in press notes. “It’s easy to feel like Peter Pan on tour, all the trappings of adulthood a hundred truck stops and a thousand miles in the rearview. I started writing this song to my teenage self: a flighty, insecure kid posturing confidence. I’d jump around to all the different cliques like a self-styled Ferris Bueller, leaving just before friendships could settle in. Being on the road brought out those same old tendencies: keep it all on the level, don’t go too deep. Driving down the highway, floating through the hall/Everything is different, nothing’s changed at all.”

Lyric Video: Hamilton’s Ellevator Share Swooning and Anthemic “Sacred Heart”

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock outfit Ellevator — currently Nabi Sue Bersche (vocals), Tyler Bersche (guitar) and Elliott Gwynne (bass, synths) — have received attention in their native Canada and elsewhere for a developing and honing a sound and approach that draws from late-aughts guitar music, post-rock, U2Peter GabrielKate BushFeistSpoon and Death Cab for Cutie paired with lean, razor sharp hooks, sweeping crescendos and Bersche’s sultry, pop star vocals singing increasingly earnest lyrics, which thematically touch upon power, love and loss from deeply lived-in, personal reflections and experiences.

Ellevator’s 2018 self-titled EP amassed over a million streams across the digital streaming platforms. Adding to a growing profile. the band toured across North America with the likes of Our Lady PeaceMatthew GoodBANNERS, Cold War Kids, JOVM mainstay Rich AucoinDear RougeBishop BriggsArkells and Amber Run

The Hamilton-based outfit’s long-awaited, full-length debut, the Chris Walla-produced The Words You Spoke Still Move Me is slated for a May 6, 2022 release through  Arts & Crafts. The 12-song album reportedly see the band documenting universal experiences like existential longing, romantic power struggles, the never-ending work of true self-discovery and the personal and highly specific – in particular, Nabi Sub Bersche’s experiences entering into and escaping a religious cult.

Late last year, I wrote about The Words You Spoke Still Move Me‘s first single, “Easy,” a song that revealed a band that not only making a bold decided step forward in their sound and approach, but a band embracing that they’re a rock band with the band balancing deliberate craftsmanship, earnest and lived-in lyrics, enormous hooks and raw and passionate performances with a slick studio polish in a way that reminded me of 80s pop and Deep Sea Diver‘s impressive Impossible Weight

“Easy” draws directly from Nabi Sue Bershe’s life: For a period of her life, the Ellevator frontwoman was a member of a religious cult, and the song is a rumination on the good and evil things we are raised to believe without question. “I was raised in the world of charismatic Christianity – an offshoot of Pentecostalism,” Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explained. “God was magic and prophetic ecstasies happened every Sunday. As a child, I spoke in tongues and prayed until my body swayed with a gentle force like wind knocking me backward. A deep and abiding love of the natural world took hold of me. I witnessed firsthand the wild power of music – how it could uplift, ensnare, console, inspire.

“When I was 17 I moved to the other side of the world and joined what would most accurately be described as a cult. I prayed for strangers I met in parking lots. I shut my eyes and read the dappled light between my lashes like tea leaves that could divine the future. Vulnerability was a badge in that community so I learned to overshare. Teachings were given in the language of freedom while the stiff hand of purity reduced my body to a shameful temptation. Growing up like that gave me a love of music, a nose for bullshit, and a lot to unravel. This song is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.”

The album’s second and latest single “Sacred Heart” continues a run of slickly produced yet dramatic, radio rock with enormous, arena rock-like hooks, earnest and lived-in lyrics that to my ears brings John Mellencamp, Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” and Stevie Nicks to mind, thanks in part to an expansive arrangement featuring slashing power chords, twinkling keys, and Nabi Sue Bersche’s yearning and plaintive vocals. At its core, the song details a swooning, young love in its guilelessness, passion, fearlessness and uncertainty. (From experience love — particularly young love — is all of that and then some.)

“This one’s a love song about how intimacy and deep knowing can make it feel like there’s nothing left to discover, and choosing to push on anyway in search of new depths, “Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explains. “Ty [Tyler Bersche] (guitar) and I got married on a cold spring morning when I was 22 and he was 19. There wasn’t much chance to sell each other on our own myths, to be the mysterious stranger from outta town: we wrote our origin story together. Learning to love each other better has been a strange journey and the great gift of my life.”

Directed and shot by Cam Veitch, the accompanying lyric video for “Sacred Heart” features intimately shot footage of the band playing the song live. “We shot, edited, and delivered the whole thing in less than 24 hrs,” Nabi Sue Bersche adds. “We’ve made a bunch of videos that I’m proud of but this one touches something special: we wanted to show what it feels like to play live as Ellevator, in all its sublime chaos, and I think we captured the lightning.”

New VIdeo: Hamilton, Ontario’s Ellevator Releases a Stylish Visual for Sleek and Anthemic New SIngle “Easy”

Rising Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock trio Ellevator — currently Nabi Sue Bersche (vocals), Tyler Bersche (guitar) and Elliott Gwynne (bass, synths) — have received attention in their native Canada and elsewhere for a developing and honing a sound that draws from late-aughts guitar music, post-rock, U2, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Feist, Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie paired with lean, razor sharp hooks, sweeping crescendos and Bersche’s sultry, pop star vocals singing lyrics, which thematically touch upon power, love and loss from deeply lived-in, personal reflections.

With the release of 2018’s self-titled EP, the Hamilton-based indie act exploded into the national and international scenes: material from the EP amassed over a million streams across the digital streaming platforms. The band also toured across North America with Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good, BANNERS, Cold War Kids, JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin, Dear Rouge, Bishop Briggs, Arkells and Amber Run.

Elleavator’s long-awaited full-length debut is slated for a 2022 released through Arts & Crafts. But in the meantime, the Canadian trio released their first bit of new material in some time, the Chris Walla-produced “Easy.” Featuring slashing guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, Nabi Sue Bersche’s pop star-like vocals and razor sharp hooks, “Easy” reveals an act that has made a bold and decided step forward in their sound and approach. The song sees the band balancing deliberate attention to craft, earnest, lived-in lyrics and slick, studio polish in a way that reminds me of Deep Sea Diver’s impressive Impossible Weight.

Much like the rest of the trio’s previously released work, “Easy” thematically touches upon love, connection and identity while drawing from Bersche’s personal experiences: For a period of her youth, Nabi Sue Bersche was a member of what could be described as a cult, and “Easy” is a rumination on the good and evil things we are raised to believe. “I was raised in the world of charismatic Christianity – an offshoot of Pentecostalism,” Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explains in press notes. “God was magic and prophetic ecstasies happened every Sunday. As a child, I spoke in tongues and prayed until my body swayed with a gentle force like wind knocking me backward. A deep and abiding love of the natural world took hold of me. I witnessed firsthand the wild power of music – how it could uplift, ensnare, console, inspire.

“When I was 17 I moved to the other side of the world and joined what would most accurately be described as a cult. I prayed for strangers I met in parking lots. I shut my eyes and read the dappled light between my lashes like tea leaves that could divine the future. Vulnerability was a badge in that community so I learned to overshare. Teachings were given in the language of freedom while the stiff hand of purity reduced my body to a shameful temptation. Growing up like that gave me a love of music, a nose for bullshit, and a lot to unravel. This song is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.”

Directed and edited by Cam Veitch, the recently released video for “Easy” was shot in and around a Hamilton parking lot with a sleek and stylish panache fitting of a sleek and stylish song. But throughout there’s the odd sense of the video’s protagonist — the band’s Nabi Sue Bersche — being followed by something inescapable and constant.

New Video: Mike Edel Releases a Hook-Driven and Joyous Single

Mike Edel is a Linden, Alberta, Canada-born singer/songwriter and guitarist, who currently splits his time between Seattle, WA and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Since  2008, Edel has released two EP’s 2008’s , 2008’s Hide from the Seasons and 2012’s The Country Where I Came From and three full-length albums 2011’s The Last of Our Mountains, 2015’s India, Seattle and last year’s Chris Walla-produced THRESHOLDS.

Now, as you may recall, THRESHOLDS was a decided change in sonic direction for the Canadian-born signer songwriter and guitarist.  Shortly before he went went into the studio, he adopted a “consistency-is-boring” mantra, which helped him transform his sound and songwriting approach towards hook driven rock anthems centered around earnest songwriting. 

Co-written by Edel and Parker Bossley, Edel’s latest single  “Hello Universe” is a decidedly upbeat and optimistic anthem centered around boom bap beats, atmospheric synths, shimmering guitar, Edel’s plaintive vocals and a rousing, arena rock friendly hook. While continuing a run of hook-driven rock paired with earnest songwriting, “Hello Universe” focuses on finding life’s joys. 

The recently released video for “Hello Universe” was shot in Morocco and follows Edel, accompanied with an old school boom box, as he traveled through the North African country. And while giving the viewer a small glimpse into Moroccan life, the video reminds us all that although we all may have different cultures, languages and even different religions, we can all bond over simple yet profound things —  a smile from a kind face when you’re a stranger in a foreign land, a favorite song blasted on a boom box and so on.

“Somehow, Jordan Clarke and I ended up shooting the best music video we’ve ever made in Morocco – a single day before all the borders shut down due to the pandemic,” Edel says in press notes. “We were chased by a snake charmer for filming, but the people we met during the shoot loved the boombox. We almost didn’t make it home!”

 

Born Jennifer Hays, the Tucson, AZ-born, Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jenn Champion can trace the origins of her music career to when she met her then-future Carissa’s Wierd bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke at the local pizza shop, where they all worked. In 1997, the trio first moved to Olympia, WA for about a year, before settling in Seattle, where the trio formed Carissa’s Wierd. The band released three albums before splitting up in 2003 — but interestingly, the trio cultivated a rabid cult following, which has resulted in the release of three compilation albums of their work, including 2010’s They’ll Only Miss You When You’re Gone: Songs 1996-2003, which was released through Hardly Art Records.

Since Carissa’s Wierd’s breakup, the Tuscon-born, Seattle-based Champion has focused on several acclaimed solo projects such as the guitar and vocal-based pop project S, with which she has released four albums, including 2010’s I’m Not As Good At It As You and 2014’s Chris Walla-produced Cool Choices. While critics and fans have applauded and gushed over her open-hearted lyrics and willingness to eschew conventions while crafting sad songs meant to be cried to and with. Now, as you may recall, the last half or so of Champion’s last S album found her moving towards an electronic-based sound with “No One”  being a complete embrace of electronics. “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” Champion said at the time. And although she intended to follow up Cool Choices with “a rock record — guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” her plans had changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.”

After the release of “No One,” Champion’s music publisher partnered her with Brian Fennell, an electronic music artist, songwriter and producer best known as SYML and the pair co-wrote “Leave Like That,” which was featured on SYML‘s Hurt For Me EP. Champion and Fennell hit it off so well that after Champion had written the demos for last year’s Single Rider, she enlisted Fennell as a producer. Fennell agreed and they spent the next five months working on and refining the material on Single Rider. As Champion recalls, “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been,” and as a result the material evolved into a slickly produced, anthemic dance floor friendly album; however, the new album reportedly finds Champion maintaining the earnest emotionality and vulnerability that has won her attention — but this time, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Seattle-based singer/songwriter imploring the listener to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance heartache, outrage and disappointment away, for a little bit at least.

Turntable Kitchen has spent the past few years with the Sounds Delicious vinyl club. Over the course of its 13 previously released editions, a carefully curated collection of bands have released a full-length cover album. Interestingly, Jenn Champion has joined the ranks of an eclectic array of artists — and her cover album, the 14th of the series will find her taking on Weezer‘s 1994 full-length debut, The Blue Album. The first single off Jenn Champion’s The Blue Album cover is an icy, New Wave-like synth-based reworking of “Undone — The Sweater Song.”

Although Champion replaces the fuzzy power chords with layers of shimmering and atmospheric synths and propulsive industrial synth pop-like beats, she retains the song’s enormous and beloved hook creating a modern rework without erasing the original’s social unease, awkwardness and longing. The Jenn Champion cover reminds the listener that despite its release over 25 years ago, it’s a crafted bit of incredibly anthemic fuzzy power pop that manages to still sound contemporary and relevant, which is a rare thing for most of the material released during the same decade.

“I knew I wanted to take a synth heavy approach to this album, and in my mind The Blue Album was pretty straight-forward indie power pop,” Champion says in press notes. “But as I was deconstructing all the parts and putting the songs back together, I realized how much nuanced there is to [Rivers] Cuomo’s songwriting style. It’s a testament to his talent  that he can make an entire record of songs we want to sing along to and don’t realize just how weird those songs are.”

“I will say it was a challenge, a really fun challenge (!) to keep true to what makes these songs so great while putting them through an electronic lens.” 

New Audio: Mike Edel Releases an Anthemic Radio Friendly Rocker

Mike Edel is a Linden, Alberta, Canada-born folk singer/songwriter and guitarist, who splits time between Seattle, WA and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Edel can trace the origins of his musical career back to about 2008 and since then he’s released two EPs 2008’s Hide from the Seasons and 2012’s The Country Where I Came From and two full-length albums 2011’s The Last of Our Mountains and 2015’s India, Seattle.

Edel’s forthcoming Chris Walla-produced album THRESHOLDS is reportedly a major sonic departure for the Canadian born singer/songwriter as he adopted a consistency-is-boring mantra before spending a year in the studio working on new material and evolving his sound. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Houdini” is a radio friendly rocker with anthemic hooks and while bearing a subtle resemblance to David Bowie’s “Heroes,” the song focuses on love being confusing and contradictory: as much as any one of us claims to want it, we can be afraid of being vulnerable, of getting hurt, of losing ourselves and our freedom — and yet when we’re at our most desperate, it could be the most sustaining and necessary thing ever.  

New Video: Jenn Champion’s Whimsical Rival Crew Dance Off

Born Jennifer Hays, the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jenn Champion grew up in Tucson, AZ, where in the mid 90s, she worked at a local pizza shop with future bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke. In 1997 the trio moved to Olympia, WA for about a year, before settling in Seattle and forming Hays’ first band Carissa’s Wierd. Although they only released three albums before splitting up in 2003, the band had a cult following that has resulted in the release of three compilation albums of their work, including 2010’s They’ll Only Miss You When You’re Gone: Songs 1996-2003, all of which have ben released through Hardly Art Records.

Since the breakup of Carissa’s Wierd, Champion has focused on several acclaimed solo projects including, the sparse, guitar and vocals-based pop project S. And with S she has released four albums, including 2010’s I’m Not As Good At It As You and 2014’s Chris Walla-produced Cool Choices. Critics and fans have applauded her open-hearted lyrics, technical skill and willingness to eschew conventions — and perhaps more important for writing sad songs meant to be cried to (or should I say be cried with?).  Interestingly, the B side of Champion’s last S album found her moving towards a more electronic-based sound; however, her single “No One” found Champion fully embracing electronics.  “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” Champion says in press notes. While she’d initially intended to follow Cool Choices with “a rock record – guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” plans changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.”

After the release of “No One,” Champion’s publishers partnered her with Brian Fennell, an electronic music artist, songwriter and producer best known as SYML and the pair co-wrote “Leave Like That,” which was featured on SYML‘s Hurt For Me EP. Champion and Fennell hit it off so well that after Champion had written the demos for her recently released full-length Single Rider, she enlisted Fennell as a producer. Fennell agreed and they spent the next five months working on and refining the material on Single Rider. As Champion recalls, “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been,” and as a result the material evolved into a slickly produced, anthemic dance floor friendly album; however, the new album reportedly finds Champion maintaining the earnest emotionality and vulnerability that has won her attention but this time, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Seattle-based singer/songwriter imploring the listener to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance heartache, outrage and disappointment away, for a little bit at least. And goddamn it, sometimes strobe light, thumping bass and shimmering synths are so absolutely necessary to your basic survival.

Single Rider‘s latest single “Time To Regulate” is a slickly produced, sultry and propulsive bit of dance pop centered around layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths, cowbell-led percussion, thumping beats and an anthemic hook that reminds me of Soft Metals‘ Lenses, Cut Copy‘s In Ghost Colours, of 80s synth soul and Giorgio Moroder; but underneath the slick production, thumping beats and razor sharp hooks, there’s a desperate person trying to put on a brave face on a daily basis — with the acknowledgment that sometimes just being can be difficult in itself, and that adds a triumphant, “well, fuck man, keep it going  as best as you can” vibe to the shimmering proceedings.

Directed by  Rhea Bozzacchi, the recently released video for “Time to Regulate” is a whimsical and joyous back alley dance off battle royal between two rival crews, one headed by Jenn Champion of course — with the end result being that the two rivals dance together as one fun-loving unit. Underneath the whimsy though is a series of imagery in which a marginalized group bands together for camaraderie and empowerment. 

Born Jennifer Hays, the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jenn Champion grew up in Tucson, AZ, where in the mid 90s, she worked at a local pizza shop with future bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke. In 1997 the trio moved to Olympia, WA for about a  year, before settling in Seattle and forming Hays’ first band Carissa’s Wierd. Although they only released three albums before splitting up in 2003, the band had a cult following that has resulted in the release of three compilation albums of their work, including 2010’s They’ll Only Miss You When You’re Gone: Songs 1996-2003, which was released through Hardly Art Records.

Since the breakup of Carissa’s Wierd, Champion has focused on several acclaimed solo projects including, the sparse, guitar and vocals-based pop project S, and with S she has released four albums, including 2010’s I’m Not As Good At It As You and 2014’s Chris Walla-produced Cool Choices. Critics and fans have applauded her open-hearted lyrics, technical skill and willingness to eschew conventions — and perhaps more important for writing sad songs meant to be cried to (or should I say be cried with?).  Interestingly, the B side of Champion’s last S album found her moving towards a more electronic-based sound; however, her single “No One” found Champion fully embracing electronics.  “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” Champion says in press notes. While she’d initially intended to follow Cool Choices with “a rock record – guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” plans changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.”

After the release of “No One,” Champion’s publishers partnered her with Brian Fennell, an electronic music artist, songwriter and producer best known as SYML and the pair co-wrote “Leave Like That,” which was featured on SYML‘s Hurt For Me EP. Champion and Fennell hit it off so well that after Champion had written the demos for her forthcoming full-length Single Rider, she enlisted Fennell as a producer. Fennell agreed and they spent the next five months working on and refining the material on Single Rider. As Champion recalls, “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been,” and as a result the material evolved into a slickly produced, anthemic dance floor friendly album; however, the new album reportedly finds Champion maintaining the earnest emotionality and vulnerability that has won her attention — but this time, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Seattle-based singer/songwriter imploring the listener to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance heartache, outrage and disappointment away, for a little bit at least. And goddamn it, sometimes strobe light, thumping bass and shimmering synths are so absolutely necessary to your basic survival.

Single Rider‘s latest single “Time To Regulate” is a slickly produced, sultry and propulsive bit of dance music centered around layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths, cowbell-led percussion, thumping beats and an anthemic hook that reminds me of Soft Metals‘ Lenses, Cut Copy‘s In Ghost Colours, of 80s synth soul and Giorgio Moroder; but underneath the slick production, thumping beats and razor sharp hooks, there’s a desperate person trying to put on a brave face on a daily basis — with the acknowledgment that sometimes just being can be difficult in itself, and that adds a triumphant, “well, fuck man,” vibe to the shimmering proceedings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOUR DATES

08.09.18 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
08.10.18 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
08.16.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg T

Initially began as the solo recording project of the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Peter Michel, Hibou quickly exploded into the national scene with his self-produced, home recorded, 2015 self-titled debut, which received praise from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound and others for crafting shimmering yet introspective bedroom pop. And adding to a growing profile, Michel opened for the like son Metric, Phantogram and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Michel’s sophomore Hibou effort Something Familiar is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through Barsuk Records finds Michel embracing a number of changes. The Seattle, WA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer made a rather conscious choice to track the album’s material in a real studio — this time, Chris Walla‘s Hall of Justice Studios, with an outside producer, Dylan Wall, who has worked with Craft Spells, a band that Michel once played drums in. Adding to a string of changes to his creative and recording process, Something Familiar finds Michel recording with his touring band. “I toured for a long time with the band, and it was really interesting to see how the songs changed when there were four people playing them, as opposed to just me in my bedroom,” Michel explains in press notes.

Along with that, the material reflects a period marked by profound changes. “I was still a teenager when I was writing the first album,” Michel says. “All of the songs feel a little one-faced. They’re about relationships and love and summertime and things like that. On this upcoming album, I really challenged myself lyrically to get a little more personal, and talk about some of the darker parts of myself.” In fact, the material addresses Michel’s ongoing bouts with anxiety and depersonalization. (Depersonalization is a disorder generally distinguished by feeling disengaged from the mind and body. as if if the sufferer is an outsider looking in at their own self.) Naturally, while still retaining elements of the sound that first caught both national attention and the attention of the blogosphere — namely, lush keys, reverb soaked guitars and Michel’s dreamy crooning.   “It was strange to start consciously writing from a different stylistic standpoint, but I didn’t want to totally turn the page,” Michel notes. “There is still a fundamental Hibou sound in there. It just is drenched in a little more honesty.”

You might remember that “Junipero Love” was reportedly inspired by the Emmy Award-winning “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror.  Interestingly, Michel found common ground with the episode’s protagonist Yorkie, who navigated two different realities and a burgeoning relationship.  “The contrast between the two worlds depicted in the episode hit very close to home for me,” Hibou’s creative mastermind says in press notes. “I often feel torn between a conscious state and losing a hold of my memories and who I am.”  And while the single will further cement Hibou’s reputation for crafting breezy and shimmering guitar pop, there’s a subtle expansion of his sound as you’ll hear a tight and funky groove throughout; but underneath the breeziness is a wistful and bittersweet tone that suggests that the song’s narrator isn’t quite sure if he’s dreaming or awake or if he’s experiencing is actually real.

Something Familiar‘s latest single “Malison” is a breezy bit of power pop that features enormous power chords, soaring synths and a rousingly anthemic hook paired with Michel’s dreamy yet deeply anxious vocals within a song that sounds indebted to 90s alt rock, complete with a radio friendly air; but underneath, the swaggering arena rock sound, the song is much darker with Michel admitting in press notes that the song is “the most honest song I’ve ever written. It confronts the attention that my anxiety demands and handicaps me into a spiral of routines that only end up making things worse. I can’t remember the last time I had a day where I felt comfortable in my own skin and felt like I wasn’t putting on an act of normality.”