Tag: Oakland CA

Currently based in Oakland, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lauren Hulbert has had a rather nomadic life, spending time living on both the East Coast and West Coast, as well as Thailand and Ecuador, among other places. Interestingly, Hulbert’s career has revealed an artists who has specialized in genre-defying diversity: as a child, the Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was a classically trained pianist, who competed in Bach and classical festivals. As she got older, she taught herself guitar, eventually becoming a folk/pop artist, whose work sonically features elements of folk, alternative, country rock and pop — and thematically explores the human experience, while drawing from her own experiences. As a result, Hulbert’s work is deeply personal yet accessible, and reveals an article, who has her feet planted in the classical training of her youth and the folk and pop of her adulthood, while centered around her dreamy and soulful vocals.

Superbloom, the Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s forthcoming EP is slated for an October 30, 2020 release, and some of the EP’s sound and approach was inspired by Hulbert figuratively blooming back to life: Hulbert suffered a serious foot injury while on a surfing trip in Indonesia. For the next six months, she was immobile and it was unclear if she would ever be able to walk again. Understandably, it was a very dark period for her — life as she had knew it, had seemingly ending and whatever artistic and creative momentum was quelled as a result. Fortunately, over a year later, Hulbert has healed and she credits the experience as terrifying but ultimately beneficial, as it forced her to reassess her life and align herself with what’s really important. Additionally, the experience has also made her much more grateful for her health and the opportunity to write, perform, and share her music again.

Superbloom EP’s latest single is the Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea-era PJ Harvey-like “Gone in One.” is centered around jangling guitars, propulsive and shuffling drumming, subtle Flamenco handicapping and Hulbert’s expressive vocals within an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure. Sonically and thematically, the song is meant to evoke the sensation of being pushed away and pulled back in a romantic relationship that’s dysfunctional and unhealthy — but while featuring a narrator, who develops the strength to run as fast as she could from it.

“This song is a vulnerable, personal account of unknowingly losing oneself in someone else, which is lonely, confusing, and scary,” Hulbert explains in press notes. “It was like being stuck in a fog not knowing how to get out, looking to others to show me the way but just becoming more lost. I was constantly running internally, but getting nowhere, until I was exhausted into total indifference and I felt like the real me had been erased. Eventually, I realized I was the only one that could really save myself, so I dug really deep and found the strength to get out, which was incredibly hard. I didn’t know when or how I’d heal, but I knew I was on the right path.”

Led by founding member multi-instrumentalist Candace Lazarou and currently featuring Noah Adams (bass), Silver Shadows’ Chase Kamp (drums), Jascha Ephraim (lead guitar) and Mel Weikart (keyboard), Oakland-based punk act Body Double can trace its origins to a period of intense grief and transition for its founding member: Lazarou’s previous band, underground noise rock act Mansion went through a acrimonious breakup in 2016, months before the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire. Simultaneously, Lazarou began rethinking and then disentangling herself from longtime personal relationships and with drugs.

Lazarou withdrew into her bedroom, creating material about intimacy and consent in the style of a drag mass attended by Brian Eno and Al Jourgensen. After being confined to vocal duties in Mansion, Lazarou desired and savored creative control, indulging in dramatic arrangement and hooks — and then she found a collaborator with Noah Adams, the band’s bassist and cowriter.

Slated for a September 18, 2020 release through Zum Records, the Oakland punk quintet’s produced full-length debut Milk Fed can trace its origins back to sessions with co-producer Jason Kick at Tunnel Vision beginning around 2017. Lazarou played most of the instruments on the album with Silver Shadows‘ Chase Kamp and Mansion’s Jeff Cook sharing drum duties. Last year, the band began playing live shows and expanded to its current lineup.

“The Floating Hand,” Milk Fed’s first single (and coincidentally, the band’s debut) is an angular No Wave-like take on post punk that seethes and bristles with the unease of someone, who has long been a square peg that has never quite fit in anywhere, ever. And while reminding me a bit of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference, the track is fueled by lived-in personal experience.

“‘The Floating Hand’ is generally about competition, and your options for reacting to it,” Candace Lazarou explains in press notes. “I grew up in a few different countries because my dad was a Marine, and each move felt interplanetary: the language changed, what was good and bad changed, even the bugs crawling on the ground changed.  I felt at odds with conservative military culture and run-of-the-mill high school viciousness, and fantasized about one day finding a safe haven in punk and underground music.  It turns out that even amongst weirdos you’ll still see people undercut each other, and you might be a maladjusted alien regardless of scenery.  I wrote this song about a musician I thought was particularly nasty, and it ended up being about myself, which is what happens whenever I try to write a dis track.”

Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jason Hendardy is the creative mastermind behind the post-punk/alternative rock/noise rock project Permanent Collection.  Since Hendardy started the project back in 2010, Permanent Collection has gone through a series of different iteration: the project’s debut EP, 2011’s Delirium was a collection of home solo recordings, which he supported with a number of solo shows and tours.

With the release of 2012’s full-length debut Newly Wed, Nearly Dead the project expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition of Megan Dabkowski (bass), Brendan Nerfa (guitar), Mike Stillman (drums), who were in the band for close to two years. By the end of 2013, the band’s lineup became more fluid as the band featured a rotation cast of collaborators that included Terry Malts and Business of Dreams‘ Corey Cunningham (guitar). The project’s 2013 EP No Void was written and recorded as a trio and after a series of touring to support it, Permanent Collection went on a hiatus with Hendardy focusing on writing music for other bands and several different creative projects, as well as work in video and sound design.

Late last night, Hendardy started to focus his efforts on writing new Permanent Collection material, and the end result is his soon-to-be-released and highly anticipated album Nothing Good Is Normal. All June digital sales of the new record, Nothing Good Is Normal, are going to the Anti Police Terror Project.

Clocking in at just under 2 minutes,  album single “Breakaway” is a mosh pit friendly ripper full of the scuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming, howled vocals and enormous hooks that brings JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers and The Jesus and Mary Chain to mind. Play loudly and mosh the fuck out. 

 

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy.  Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band. By 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy to Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about head off to New York University, where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

While she was in college, Allison played her first Soccer Mommy show at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. The Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal. After spending two years studying at NYU, Allison returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music.

Upon her return to Nashville, the acclaimed Swiss-born artist wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection through Fat Possum Records. Her proper, full-length debut, 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Alison has wound up touring with Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was gearing up to be a massive year for the young and rising singer/songwriter and guitarist: she began the year by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and had joined a list of contemporary artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Allison’s highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical applause — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Nashville-based artist had been gearing up for a massive year: she was about to embark one a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance, along with that, she had lined up appearances across the global festival circuit that included a stop at Glastonbury. Additionally, she was supposed to make her late-night, nationally televised debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring being on an indefinite half for the music industry, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist recognized that this was a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas. Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend it. The concert was so popular, that her fans crashed the platform’s servers, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Allison has also performed a number of live streams events, including  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. And she also recently released her own Zoom background images.

Recently, Allison and company embarked on a an Bella Clark-directed 8-bit virtual, music video tour in which the band plays some of the cities she was meant to be passing through — Minneapolis, Chicago,Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of virtually playing at the more common tourist locations or a traditional music venue, the members of the band are mischievously placed in unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto area subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge and more.performing album track “crawling in my skin.”

Continuing some wildly creative ways to maintain the momentum of her full-length debut, Allison recently launched a singles series, Soccer Mommy & Friends that sees some of her most accomplished friends and associates covering her work — and Allison covering their work. The singles series will see contributions from MGMT‘s Andrew VanWyngarden, Beabadoobee, Beach Bunny, Jay Som and a list others — with releases dropping every two weeks. The singles series first release finds the acclaimed Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte, the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed indie rock act Jay Som covering Soccer Mommy’s “Lucy.”

Interestingly, Jay Som’s take on “lucy” turns the jangling guitar pop anthem into a shimmering and brooding track, centered around atmospheric synths, thumping beats and ethereal vocals that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of Air’s ethereal remix of Beck’s “Heaven Hammer.” “I had an extremely fun time recording the ‘lucy’ cover,” Duterte says in press notes. “Sophie has such a special way of entwining catchy melodies and sometimes dark chord progressions. I feel very lucky to be a part of this comp!”

All net profits from Bandcamp sales from the series will be donated to Oxfam‘s COVID-19 relief fun. Oxfam is working with partners to reach more than 14 million people in nearly 50 countries and the US to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in vulnerable communities and support people’s basic food needs and livelihoods. As we’re all aware women and girls usually bear a disproportionate burden of care in a crises like COVID-19, and Oxfam has a proven record of helping women cope during and recover after these crises in ways that allow them to be safer and stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

felte · Houses of Heaven – Dissolve The Floor

With the release of their debut EP Remnant, the Oakland-based electronic act, Houses of Heaven — Kevin Tecon, Adam Beck and Nick Ott — quickly established their sound: centered around layers of synths, guitar, electronic percussion and drums, the act meshes early industrial and techno rhythms with shoegaze melodicism and dub-influenced effects.

Building upon a growing profile, the Bay Area-based trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, the Matia Simovich-produced Silent Places is slated for a digital release through Felte Records on Friday and a vinyl release on May 22, 2020. The album’s material was written against the backdrop of the Northern California wildfires, expanding tent cities, the rampant greed and gentrification in San Francisco that has resulted in empty, luxury high-rises — and thematically, the album explores the intimate experiences that transpire within the chaotic and uncertain confines of everyday modern life.

“Dissolve The Floor,”Silent Places first single is the arguably the album’s most dance floor friendly song. Centered around a pulsing synth arpeggios, industrial clang and clatter, muscular techno beats, woozy tape delay, an enormous hook and  emotionally detached vocals, “Dissolve The Floor” recalls early Depeche Mode, Factory Floor and others — but with an underlying  and shadowy sense of menace and unease.

New Audio: Oakland Psych Rockers Whiskerman Releases an Ambitious and Swooning New Single

Over the past seven years of their existence, the Oakland-based psych rock act Whiskerman — Graham Patzner (vocals, guitar, violin, piano/keys), Will Lawerence (bass, mandolin), Dan Schwartz (drums), Charles Lloyd (guitar, sitar) and Jeremy Lyon — have developed a reputation for thematically taking the sublime through ambitious songwriting, a rapturous live show and acute lyricism, and for being at the forefront of the Bay Area’s psych rock and festival scenes. 

The Oakland-based psych rock quintet is preparing to release their fourth album Kingdom Illusion and while the album’s material will reportedly continue the band’s run of crafting rock rooted in the traditions of classic rock, psych rock and glam rock but while pushing towards a louder, more colorful and more forceful sound. “Kingdom Illusion,” the album’s title track and cinematic, latest single is centered around an arrangement featuring soaring strings, strummed acoustic guitar, a sinuous bass line, thunderous drumming, church choir-like backing, shimmering electric guitar, a church choir-like backing vocal section and an enormous hook. And while sonically recalling Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd, The Band and Sgt. Pepper-era The Beatles, the song is rooted in an ambitious yet earnest songwriting and a rapturous, larger than life performance meant to inspire you to get caught in your feelings. 

New Audio: Rising Aussie-born Los Angeles-based Singer-Songwriter Hazel English Releases a Woozy 60s Inspired Pop Tune

Hazel English is a rapidly rising Australian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician. Her Justin Raisen and Ben H. Allen co-produced full-length debut Wake UP! is slated for an April 24, 2020 release through Marathon Artists/Polyvinyl Records. Recorded in Los Angeles and in Atlanta, English hopes the album will serve as a klaxon, a sort of warming horn that will give the listener a meaningful shake from their doldrums — and to encourage the listener to become more present in their own lives. “Sometimes, I feel like we’re just sleepwalking through our lives,” English says in press notes. She goes on to say that she hopes the album helps “make people become more aware and mindful.” 

Wake UP!’s fourth and latest single, “Five and Dime” is a woozy, mid-tempo track that sounds indebted to late 50s country and Phil Spector-produced 60s girl group pop. Centered around reverb drenched guitars, finger snap-led percussion, twinkling Rhodes, English’s expressive vocals, some twangy pedal steel and a rousing hook, the track is part playful love song and part bitter lament, as the song’s narrator muses on a love interest, who has become so consuming to her that she’s distracted.  Ah, to be that infatuated! 

“It’s about the desire for space and independence when feeling stifled in a relationship,” English explains in press notes. “I wrote it about a trip I took to Oakland when I just needed to get out of LA for a bit. ‘Five and Dime’ is actually an old slang term for the area code 510 which covers the East Bay, so I thought it would be a fun way to refer to the place that once used to be my home, while also invoking a sense of nostalgia for a time when a phrase like five and dime was very common.”