Tag: Seattle WA

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.”

“Junipero Love,” the latest single off Hibou’s forthcoming, sophomore effort 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.

 

 

The Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Jenny Logan may arguably be one of her hometown’s quietly kept and most talented secrets as Logan is a member of grunge of pop trio Loveboys, post-punk act Miss Rayon and guitar pop act Sunbathe, who I recently saw open for Typhoon at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more on that later). Along with that, Logan had a stint playing bass for Summer Cannibals and keyboards for a Seattle-based Rolling Stones cover band. Amazingly, the incredibly busy Logan managed to squeeze in the time to pursue her own singular musical vision with her solo recording project Deathlist, releasing her attention grabbing Deathlist debut last year, an effort which found Logan playing almost every instrument.

Slated for a March 9, 2018 release, Fun, the follow up to her Deathlist debut was written and recorded in the aftermath of the death of her best friend, and as a result, the material focuses on the grief and despair of a seemingly solitary mourner, with its narrator finding herself contending with a harrowing and impossible to answer question: how does one continue a conversation with someone, who will never be there again? And while the ironically titled Fun may feature some of the most achingly personal material that Logan may have arguably ever released, it points to one of the most universal experiences any of us will ever know: someone we love, respect and cherish will die, and we’ll brokenheartedly fumble through some portion of our lives, desperately trying to find some larger meaning to all the lingering ghosts of our pasts — or some convenient closure, when there never really is. Yet, we find a way to push on, to find some beauty and occasionally even acceptance within chaos.

Unsurprisingly with the material focusing on death and loss, Logan’s cites Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy and Suicide as inspiring aspects of the album’s sound, and while you’ll hear hints of that on album single “Charm School,” as Logan pairs buzzing and slashing guitars with throbbing, propulsive bass, forceful, industrial-like drum machines and razor sharp hooks; but I also hear hints of Sixousie and the Banshees, The Cure and Dirty Ghosts as the song manages to channel confusion, sorrow and anger — simultaneously and within a turn of a phrase.

New Video: Up-and-Coming Indie Rock Act Delivers an Ironic Take on Infomercials and Commercialism in Visuals for “TV”

Comprised of Grant Mullen (guitar, vocals), Gianni Aiello (bass, vocals) and Henry LaVallee (drums), the Seattle, WA-based indie rock/punk rock trio Naked Giants formed in 2014 and over the past few years they’ve become one of the Pacific Northwest’s best, up-and-coming bands, thanks in part to a sound that manages  draw from a wild array of disparate influences from punk rock, psych rock, post punk, garage punk and the individual band members own different influences and tastes with a brash, restless and explosive creativity and mosh pit worthy hooks as you’ll hear on “TV,” the latest single off their forthcoming, full-length debut SLUFF, which is slated for a March 30, 2018 release through New West Records.  

Adding to a growing profile, the members of Naked Giants have become members of renowned singer/songwriter Will Toledo and Car Seat Headrest’s backing sextet and will be supporting him both an opener and his backing band for his upcoming world tour, that will include a stop at this year’s SXSW. You can check out the tour dates below; but in the meantime, the recently released Sean Downey-produced video is an extensive and ironic take on informercials, and rampant commercialism. 

Currently comprised of founding members Joey Lemon (guitar, vocals) and Paul Goodenough (drums) with their college friend Matt Aufrecht (keys) and close friend Shane Bordeau (bass), the indie rock quarter Berry can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members met at an intensive, four-month, music program in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, back in 2002. When the band’s founding members returned to the Midwest, they recruited Aufrecht before writing and recording their debut effort Marriage, which was released by Right Place Records in 2003 to critical applause. Building on a growing profile, the band toured extensively across the country, with a number of touring bassists before relocating to Chicago with the hopes that their idiosyncratic and quirky sound would fit into that city’s scene.

While in Chicago, the members of the band had an incredibly prolific year between 2007 and 2008, in which they wrote, recorded and released six EPs — and to promote the releases, the band embarked on a novel tour: forgoing the typical cargo van or bus, the members of the band purchased a 30-day Amtrak pass and booked shows from Chicago to Seattle, relying entirely on public transport, traveling with a rather minimalist setup that included a tiny tube amp in a rolling suitcase, a children’s drum set in a single kick drum case and a full-sized keyboard on rollers. Exhausted by the tour, the band Bordeau, and eventually wrote and recorded their 2010 full-length Blue Sky, Raging Sun, which was inspired by their Amtrak tour — with the material juxtaposing scenes of epic, natural beauty with ennui of endless train rides in which micro societies were formed by handfuls of strangers.

However, despite the band developing a long-held devoted following, their 2010 effort saw limited commercial success and after its release, the individual members of the band spread out across the country to pursue separate professional opportunities; but in 2014, the band reconvened in rural Kansas to write and record without much expectations as to what the end result would be. Unfortunately, after writing and recording 11 songs in a breakneck 4 day period, the album fell into production limbo for several years until Paul Klimson offered his services to complete the album, which will finally be released through Joyful Noise Recordings next week. Everything, Compromised will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting  forward-thinking indie pop that’s complex and yet delicate.

Interestingly, Everything, Compromised‘s latest single “Civil Disobedience” finds the band’s sound possessing elements of shoegaze, dream pop and indie rock reminiscent of The Shins, The Breeders and hanging 70s AM radio rock — but with an offbeat and mischievous air.

 

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Singer/Songwriter Malia Releases Ode to Enjoying Life’s Simple Things

Malia is a up-and-coming Seattle, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who at a young age was drawn to music. Although she was extremely shy, she loved to signing and always participated in choir while in school; but because she frequently suffered from crippling insecurity and self-doubt, she initially didn’t pursue her lifelong passion. “For some reason I didn’t allow myself to dream musically, I always told myself that being a singer was too far-fetched and I wasn’t good enough anyway,” the Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains.

Putting her passion aside, Malia upon graduation from high school, decided to move to California, where she attended college and ultimately graduate with honors, obtaining a BA in Political Science. “I just went through the motions, I never did anything with music throughout those years, I just told myself I would continue on through the education system.” As the story goes, several years later, while working and enduring through several short-term, unfitting and unfulfilling jobs, she found herself in an existential crisis, in which she realized that everything in her life had to change.

“That’s when I sat down and had the first, honest conversation I’d had with myself in years. I asked myself ‘What makes you truly happy, fears aside?’ . . . and I knew that answer was and always had been music. I had been running from my happiness for years, in fear of what people may say, reaffirming on the regular that my musical skills were not good enough to make it,” Malia recalls. And from that point on, she started to focus on pursuing music. She bought out guitar and taught herself how to play.  “I sought out people to jam with and learn from, and fell into a very fitting situation hanging out at a studio in Hollywood. Every day, I worked on my guitar skills and eventually began to play some small shows. I was able to record my first EP at the studio with the help of friends.”
 
After a West Coast tour with Syd, Malia decided to surprise fans with the early release of the Late Bloomer EP, which features singles “Simple Things” and “Dirty Laundry,” a collaboration with her recent tourmate Syd.  Reportedly, the EP reveals an artist with a newfound confidence and self-assuredness, and from the aforementioned EP single “Simple Things,” Malia specializes in an easy-going, thoughtfully crafted soul that simultaneously nods at Bill Withers, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others while being an ode to slowing down, taking a breath and enjoying the simple things in life and with others. But interestingly enough, the song also suggests that by simplifying one’s life that it leads to a deeper sincerity and happiness in one’s life and relationships; after all, modern life can be complicated enough. 
 
Co-directed by Mali and Quentin Lamont and shot and edited by Dana Rice, the recently released video for the song captures the easygoing, summer afternoon vibe of the song while featuring the young artist hanging out, writing and goofing off — with an enormous, endearing smile. 

New Video: Grieves’ Call to Celebrate and Live Life Urgently in Visuals for “A-Okay”

Benjamin Laub, best known in hip-hop circles as Grieves is a  Chicago, IL-born, Seattle, WA-based emcee, by way of New York, Colorado and San Diego, CA, who with the release of his first four full-length albums — 2007’s independently released album Irreversible, 2010’s Budo-produced 88 Keys & Counting, 2011’s Budo-produced Together/Apart, and 2014’s Winter & the Wolves — has managed to achieve critical and commercial success; in fact, 2011’s Together/Apart debuted at #112 on the Billboard Top 200, and 2014’s Winter & the Wolves debuted at #57 on the Billboard Top 200.

His Chords-produced fifth, full-length album Running Wild was released earlier this year through renowned indie hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment, the label home of JOVM mainstay Atmosphere and others, and if you had been frequenting this site around then, you’d recall that album single “What It Dew” found the Seattle-based emcee focusing on succeeding against all odds, despite haters and naysayers over a swaggering and soulful production consisting of electric guitar, boom bap beats, brief bursts of organ and swirling electronics. But underneath the swaggering and slick production and witty punchlines is a honest devotion to pure hip hop — i.e., dope production and dope emcee paired together. 

Running Wild’s latest single “A-Okay” features yet another soulful production consisting of stuttering drum programming, twinkling organ, a sinuous bass line and warm blasts of guitar paired with an infectious hook but at its core is a call to celebrate and live life with  urgency and passion as the song finds the renowned Seattle-based emcee essentially saying “life is short, and sometimes we gotta turn this motherfucker out and cherish the small things”  because ultimately, life is about the small things: the smile of a potential lover at the club or at the bar, the drinks and bullshitting about music, life and art with friends, listening to your favorite song on your headphones or at your favorite bar, etc. And as a result, the song manages to feel appreciative, as its narrator recognizes how truly blessed they are to be alive and in the moment. 

Directed by Ryan “Pants” Gross,” the recently released video for “A-Okay explores a series of carefree and fun situations through the eyes of a stereotypically miserable Debbie Downer type. As the renowned emcee comments, “Life is way too short to be mad at other people’s enjoyment. Go out and live a little, rent a hot tub boat, get your butt touched, whatever…Just smile!”

The up-and-coming Seattle, WA-based quartet Thunderpussy, comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), quickly exploded into the national scene with co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and for a string of attention-grabbing, critically applauded live shows. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you’d recall that I wrote about their incredibly assured, ass-kicking and name-taking, power-chord Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Joan Jett anthem “Speed Queen.”

“Velvet Noose,” is the much-anticipated, bluesy follow up to “Speed Queen,” that features a blistering “Evenflow“-like guitar solo from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, twinkling keys, thundering drumming and arena rock friendly hooks — and while further cementing the quartet’s reputation for straightforward yet incredibly assured power chord-based rock, the song manages to be roomy enough to prominently display Sides’ Janis Joplin meets Wilson sisters-like vocals.

The band is currently in the studio with Sylvia Massy, who’s worked with Johnny Cash and Tool, working on new material that will be released in 2018 — and based on “Speed Queen,” and their latest single, I suspect that you’ll be hearing quite a bit about these ladies over the course of the following year.

 

Comprised of childhood friends Ben Grant and Paul Dutton, the up-and-coming, Seattle, WA-based duo Ravennas have been playing music since grade school — from drum lessons to junior high jazz band to their own creative pursuits in which Dutton contributes his expertise in music theory and instrumental mastery with Grant’s guttural artistic instinct. And with their DoM-produced debut single “Meet In A Garden,” the duo’s sound manages to be an effortless blend of psych pop, electro pop and indie rock that’s reminiscent of Amoral-era ViolensIn Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms as the song is propelled by jangling guitar chords, an angular bass line and soaring hooks. But what makes the song remarkable to me is that the Seattle-based duo manage to balance a deliberate attention to craft with an earnestness of feeling and purpose.