All posts by timothy.anderl

Produced alongside Wes Jones featuring Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In), the release of Ritual of Mine’s Devoted landed it on many indie “Top Ten Albums of 2015” lists and for good reason. The project, primarily comprised of Terra Lopez and Dani Fernandez and that originally carried the Sister Crayon moniker, is a fiery, electronic-tinged experiment that hammers on the appropriate synapses of any self-respecting music devotee. It is equally challenging and familiar songcraft that is as deeply cutting edge as it is accessible.

In fact, eventually a major label came calling, and due to its ultra-limited initial release, Warner Bros. Records decided to remaster and re-release the album after the duo signed with the label in February of 2016 with studio legend Tom Coyne (Led Zeppelin, Adele) at the helm

The truth is, Lopez and Fernandez have been making their mark on the West Coast as electronic workhorses since 2009. After years of building a loyal fanbase in California by playing countless house shows and selling out local establishments, the duo began touring relentlessly throughout the states with the likes of The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and more. With independent releases Bellow (2011) and Cynic (2013), the band earned widespread acclaim for their ghostly 21st century trip hop séance of soulful vocals, heavy beats, and breathy catharsis. As of late, the band has released several remix, rework projects, that transform their music in even more challenging and beautiful ways, and are in the studio working on the highly anticipated follow up to Devoted.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Lopez to discuss everything from the rework projects, to the new LP, social activism and ’90s hip hop. This is what she told us.

Rituals of Mine have been writing the next record, right? Where are you at in that process?

We are demoing our new record right now with our producer Wes Jones. Dani {Fernandez] and I are sending him ideas, trying to write as much as we can, and then we’ll access those and see what songs we want to move forward with. Right now it is just a ton of writing.

We’ve worked with Wes for the last two releases. We worked with him on the Cynic EP we released as Sister Crayon and on the Devoted LP with Rituals. We’ve been working together for four years now. We work so well with him. He almost feels like an extension of the band and it is pretty effortless in our communication with what our vision is for the sound and how he is able to help us make that a reality. It has always been an easy decision to work with him.

Do you ever feel like you’ll get to a point where you don’t want to be in that comfort zone?

Definitely. It is funny that you asked. With the next album we are going to be working a lot with Wes, but we’ll also probably be working with different producers as well just to see how we work. That is exciting too. It will be challenging to go into a studio with someone that we don’t have a history with and to see if that even works. I do a lot of writing sessions like that. I work with a lot of different artists and write songs with them so I’m used to that. But, we are very interested in seeing how it will feel with the entire band doing that. It could be really cool.

Have you ever been in a situation that you knew wasn’t going to work?

That’s a good question. So far, no. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been in studios where we are artists and we understand each other and get each others’ visions and we create something that we both really like.

In the past, while working other projects, yes, I’ve been in situations where I worked with producers or engineers that got us artistically, but the work flow and how I like to work didn’t match up.

Did you curate the rework projects? What amount of involvement did you have in that?

Yeah. Each song was sort of a different situation. For some of them we just had pure remixes and others were more collaborative efforts so we kind of titled them appropriately. Like the one with Geographer. We worked together on that one. With the one with INDO from Dim Mak, he worked on that completely by himself and that’s a genuine remix.

We handpicked every artist. I hand wrote every artist to see if they’d be interested in working with us on this project. It has been cool to hear every individuals drastic rework and remix and it is cool to hear their takes and interpretations of the song.

Do you have a favorite?

I wouldn’t say that. I love them all. I will say that it was a real dream to work with this artist called Sin Fang. I’ve loved his work, or been a fan of his work for many years. So to work with him, and I think he killed it, was definitely a dream. Working with our friend ZAVALA who is the Chicago house producer and working with Geographer. Geographer and I were working on a ton of music so that was really cool too.

We are releasing reworks of “Devoted,” “Ride or Die,” and “Armor.” I think that will be it for now. We have a new track coming out this Summer. We are releasing a ton of stuff.

You also work as a publicist. Do you feel like being an artist in the role gives you an advantage?

I feel very fortunate that finally I have a job that is in the same industry. For so long I worked odd jobs where I felt like I had to turn myself off completely to go to work and then to turn myself on to be an artist where with this I can balance both and utilize my talents. Being able to build relationships with writers and being in the trenches every day has definitely helped. It makes so much sense. Terrorbird is a dream to work for. They are so supportive of me as an artist. It is the most content I’ve ever felt while working. For them to take me on as a publicist has just been incredible and it means everything as an artist to have that support. I can go on tour and not have to worry about finding a new job when I get back. It is definitely a massive game changer in terms of my sanity.

Have you read Amanda Dissinger’s [another Terrorbird publicist] book?

I am a huge fan of Amanda’s poetry. I have both of her books. I’m so proud that she is a friend and that she is killing it on that front. I wish I lived in New York and that I could go and attend her readings. I’m absolutely a fan for sure.

The last two years have been huge for Rituals of Mine. You signed to a major label, went on tour with the Deftones. What have those experiences been like for you?

It has been fantastic working with Warner Brothers. I had worked with indie labels for ten years so a major label was never in the cards, was never really a goal of mine. As soon as I met Samantha Maloney, who is our A&R rep who signed us, I immediately fell in love with how she is and how she moves about in the world. She’s an artist herself so we completely connected. It was undeniable to me. So far it has been beautiful. The team is supportive, realistic, and wants to develop Rituals of Mine, which is really all you can ask for from a label really.

Is it out of character for the industry to do those kinds of things?

Yeah, exactly. We’ve been super fortunate. Same thing with The Deftones. We’re both from the same hometown of Sacramento. We’ve known each other for years, but it was so special, and easily one of the best tours we’ve ever done because the guys are so sweet and so hardworking. And they really like our music, which is crazy because I grew up listening to them. Chino and I bonded and we are working on music as well outside of both of our things. Very grateful.

We’ve been super fortunate where every single artist we’ve been on tour with has connected with us in some way. Either we end up making music together, or they invite us onstage during the shows, or we end up becoming friends. So far, I want to say every tour that has happened.

What is it about working with Dani that has made that collaboration so special?

Dani has been one of my best friends for almost a decade now. I felt like we connected as soon as we met about music and what kind of music we wanted to make. In fact, I forced her to start making music with me. We’ve really developed and grown so much. Now, we’re very rarely not in sync with each other musically. We always have the same vision and it is pretty effortless. I don’t have to tell her that this is what I want a song to sound like, she’s already doing it. I feel so fortunate there to have someone in the project who is such a rock.

I imagine it is empowering as a songwriter and singer to stand onstage and know that the music is exactly what you want it to be.

That’s huge! That goes to working hard to build a team of people around you who will help to make your vision a reality. That goes into play with working with Dani or Wes Jones. If something is right you aren’t going to change it because it is hard to find those people you resonate with on so many levels.

The change in the political climate over the last year has been perhaps as terrifying for you as it has for me. How have you used Rituals of Mine as a platform for civil rights work?

The political climate has inspired our work and just us as people. So in February I created my first ever art installation, which was called This Is What It Feels Like. I presented it for the entire month of February. That brought out a whole side of me that I’ve been passionate about, social activism. I’ve been involved with different organization since I was a teenager, but I felt like I couldn’t fully express myself in the music. So doing that exhibit and watching it grow, and hosting the second exhibit at Bonnarroo, allows me to find my way to resist, to educate people, and to get my message across. I want to play a small role in making this world better and to counteract all the crazy shit that is going on.

What kind of dialogue do you want to have with your fans and audience? What do you want them to take away?

I believe in being as open as it makes sense to. I talk to fans online, I sell our merch after shows because I want to have those connections. I’ve found that our fans are so loyal, supportive and devoted. They’ve been there since the beginning or they at least feel like it and that is the kind of passion and intensity I hope resonates. That is why people feel so strongly about the project. Performing is therapy, it has kept me alive all these years, it is real for me. Maybe that resonates to them.

Is it a symbiotic relationship? What about their reaction nurtures you?

It absolutely feeds the performance. If people are screaming, singing, crying, dancing, which all tends to happen, or if they are just staring out, it is all energy that comes back to me. It’s so important; for me it is absolutely crucial. When fans give that kind of energy it changes the dynamic completely.

You are one of many artists who experiences synesthesia. Have you talked to other artists who experience that?

I haven’t. For a long time I just assumed everyone experienced that. As I got older I realized that wasn’t the case. But, I don’t think I’ve ever talked to another artist about it.

I imagine the tragedy at Ghost Ship had an impact on you?

We lived in Oakland for several years and I’d been to several shows there. I also had a lot of friends who passed away in that. Think of all the talent that was taken? It is insane to me. I feel like Oakland is still reeling from that. It was devastating.

I feel like it has had an impact on anyone who has been in a DIY art space that wasn’t necessarily up to code…

Yeah, definitely. I think that if you are an artist, you will do your art anywhere. And we don’t live in a society that is always supportive of that kind of lifestyle. To create and perform, sometimes it puts you in unsafe environments. When I lived in Oakland it was in a renovated, make shift porch space with power that was not safe. I did it so I could be in a city that made me inspired.

I think back, especially after Ghost Ship, as to how unsafe it was. As an artist sometimes you put yourself in those vulnerable positions so you can continue to create and to be inspired. It is really unfortunate. I wish the arts were supported more and that there were safe, accessible, affordable places for artists so that we wouldn’t have to compromised.

On a lighter note, you have been known to DJ and have a special love for ’90s hip hop. What is your go-to jam?

[Laughter] I play a lot of Aaliyah, Tribe Called Quest, Missy Elliott. There are so many. That is my all time favorite music to DJ. It is a pleasure to DJ any event where I can throw in a few of those tracks.

(Visit Rituals of Mine

Rituals of Mine Official Site

Soundcloud

Facebook

Twitter)

Ohio-based extra special effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices will host the second-annual EarthQuaker Day festival at their downtown Akron facility (350 W. Bowery St.) on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 1:00pm until 8:00pm.

The company, proudly based in Akron, Ohio since 2004, invites music lovers of all ages to converge upon their facility for a day of live music, product demonstrations, local business and art exhibitions, guided workshop tours, food from local favorites the Square Scullery and Nuevo, coffee by Kent’s Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, discounted EarthQuaker Devices B-stock, door prize giveaways, the PRS Guitars Riff Contest, fun, and games.

The event is free and open to the public. Each attendee will receive a raffle ticket upon entry for a chance to win one of several door prizes, including contributions from Moog Music, MakeNoise, the Nightlight Cinema, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, SIT Strings, the Akron Civic Theater, Summit Artspace, DeMarco School of Music, Good Life Tattoo, Tri-C Recording Arts & Technology, and more.

One of the 2016 highlights was the Riff Contest, which thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Maryland-based PRS Guitars, will receive a significant prize upgrade. This year’s winner will take home a PRS SE Custom 24 guitar valued at $759, in addition to EarthQuaker Devices’ Erupter and Ghost Echo v3 effects pedals, an EarthQuaker Devices swag pack, and a first place trophy. Contestants will receive 30 seconds to impress a panel of celebrity judges with their best riffs performed through an assortment of EarthQuaker Devices pedals. Participants must pre-register at www.earthquakerdevices.com/eqday and check-in on the day of the event. Limited to 20 entries. Contest begins promptly at 5:15pm on the Lawn Stage. The 2017 celebrity judges include:

Juan Alderete – bassist in Halo Orbit, Deltron 3030, Racer X, the Mars Volta, Juliette Lewis

Nick Reinhart – guitarist in Tera Melos, Big Walnuts Yonder

Jamie Stillman – EarthQuaker Devices founder, president, and product designer, guitarist in Relaxer, the Party Of Helicopters, Drummer

EarthQuaker Day 2017 will feature original music and covers performed by EarthQuaker Devices employees, including:

Suffer Little Children (The Smiths tribute)

Crystal Visions (Fleetwood Mac tribute)

Obnox

Thelma & the Sleaze (Nashville, TN)

Fringe Candidate

EYE (Columbus, OH)

Effects pedal clinics and Q&A sessions include:

Marc Lee Shannon (Michael Stanley & the Resonators) – Using Pedals with Acoustic & Folk Instruments

Nick Reinhart – Guitar Clinic

Juan Alderete – Bass Clinic

Nick Reinhart / Juan Alderete / Jamie Stillman – Roundtable Discussion & Jam

Other notable additions to this year’s festival include a dunk tank, a cash grab machine, and, courtesy of 91.3 the Summit FM, EarthQuaker Day 2017 will be an official MusicAlive Donation Station where attendees may donate their new or gently-used instruments to help keep music in our schools and place instruments in the hands of Akron Public Schools students in need. The official EarthQuaker Day 2017 after party begins at 8pm at Annabell’s Bar & Lounge (784 W. Market St.) and will feature performances by Black Sabath and This Moment In Black History.

To celebrate the occasion, participating retailers in the United States will offer EarthQuaker Devices products at a 15 percent discount on August 5, 2017. EarthQuaker Devices is a manufacturer of hand built guitar effects pedals that has been based in Akron, Ohio since 2004. The company, which began as a one-man basement workshop operation is now an award-winning multimillion-dollar international phenomenon with clients ranging from bedroom rock gods to Grammy Award winners.

What: EarthQuaker Day 2017 When: 1:00pm – 8:00pm, Saturday August 5, 2017 Where: EarthQuaker Devices HQ – 350 W. Bowery St. Akron, OH 44307 Cost: Free, open to the public RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/400570750288921/ More Info: www.earthquakerdevices.com/eqday

Drawing inspiration from such bands as Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala, Canadian Duncan Lee worked through his one-man origins and found himself in possessionof 30 songs that seemed to exit within an insular inspiration. And it would be these songs that formed the basis of his understanding of his solo project, Impuritees. He then met with local producer/engineer Felix Fung (who was also working with The Cut Losses) and began to work through the tracks that would form the basis of his debut EP under the Impuritees moniker.

Opening with “Nothing Matters,” Lee works through a glittering pop-rock theatricality that feels distinctly ‘80s indebted. “Acceptance” finds him experimenting with a stripped down indie rock classicism that wouldn’t have felt out of place on an early record from Dinosaur Jr. Fuzzed-out bass grooves take the reins of “Speak to Me,” giving him a chance to stretch his legs and really push the limits of the sounds that he come to associate with this project. Closing track, “Easy Way,” channels the jangle and shimmer of bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and The Jesus and Mary Chain without sacrificing the natural cadence of his own creativity.

Buoyed by a history of musical adaptation, Lee has built an atmosphere of striking guitar lines, bass rhythms that pump blood to the heart of his influences and a percussive rattle that sinks into the deepest parts of his listener’s skeletons. Channeling both his extensive musical upbringing and the experiences that drove him to refocus on the trajectory of his own music, his work as Impuritees looks to expand on a pop and rock sound that doesn’t bend to accommodate any particular genre but evinces a series of unique personalities, revealing the inherent spirit and force behind his sprawling influences.

Ghettoblaster recently spoke with Lee about the self-released Nothing Matters EP, which hit the streets on June 16. This is what he said.

When did you first begin writing the material for this EP?

I began writing material for the EP a couple years ago. The opening track “Nothing Matters” was one of the first ones.

Were all of the songs written at the same time? Or was it more like a collection of songs you’ve written over the years?

3/4 of the EP was written about a year ago along with 20 others. I just picked the ones that would work better with each other.

The imagery to along with the release looks spiritual. Is it meant to be?

Funny you mention that. Originally, I saw that design in the stairwell of a furniture store when I was installing security alarms for a living. The company apparently had a problem with homeless people breaking in the stairwell and squatting. Anyway, the drawing in there caught my eye and I thought it would be cool imagery for the record.

Do you play all of the instruments on Nothing Matters?

Yup! It was a lot of fun. I have always wanted to do something like this so it’s perfect for a debut release.

What new artists are you listening to these days?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Matthew Logan Vasquez because he just released an album recently and it’s loaded with crazy good material. I listen to a wide variety of music like Cloud Nothings, Wavves, Joywave, Hot Hot Heat, The Growlers, Bully, Joyce Manor, etc.  

What’s next for Impuritees?

Well, I have to form a band since I recorded everything myself on that record so maybe I should start with that.

(Visit Impuritees here: https://www.facebook.com/impuritees/.)

New Jersey’s Brick + Mortar, comprised of longtime friends Brandon Asraf and John Tacon, have been building a movement. Spreading a message of empathy, positivity, and self motivation, their songs have garnered a notable history at both terrestrial and satellite radio, with singles like “Locked in a Cage,” “Hollow Tune,” and “Train,” which remained on AltNations Alt 18 for 10 weeks, peaking at #11.

In celebration of acquiring ownership of the masters, Brick + Mortar will are offering a fully remastered version of their Dropped EP cleverly called Dropped Again. The new EP features two new singles “One Little Pill” and “Great Escape.” Both singles offer a glimpse into the world and sound that will be their first full length album due out later this year.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Asraf and Tacon to discuss their friendship, battling depression, posi jams and their forthcoming LP.

You guys have known each other since age 14. Are you guys like brothers at this point? If so, who is the cooler brother?

Brandon Asraf: Tacon is definitely the coolest, I mean he exudes coolness. He has all the charm and sex appeal of Michael Cerra in Twin Peaks.

John Tacon: I wish I could be as cool as Wally. We’re brothers because on tour we fight over who gets the last hotel towel while arguing who sleeps on the air mattress.

What made it the right time to circle back to the material on Dropped Again?

BA: I’d say its timing and opportunity. We officially gained legal ownership of the EP masters right as we began recording the full length. We were approached by Believe Digital about re-releasing the EP to work it internationally. So we decided to add a couple of new tracks from the batch we were considering for the record and just went for it.

You recently dropped a video for “One Little Pill.” How do you feel about the way America deals with depression? Do either of you struggle with depression? If so, how do you deal with it?

BA: We realize that we don’t have the answer. We are merely pointing out that as Americans, we seem to want that quick fix or instant relief for almost everything. You get this feeling we were conditioned from a young age to feel this way. I struggle with depression and deal with it by expressing myself. I definitely need to work more on that part of my life, putting it in the music feels good and gives me a sense of purpose but I still feel I need to work on caring about myself and dealing with my past head on.

Who came up with the concept for the video and how did that come together?

BA: Well, I was hanging out with Richie Brown, our stage visual slingin, pee wee herman prop makin, nipple tassle swingin, goblin friend, and the plan was to find an intro clip of pills being processed and shoot the rest of the video. At the time, Trump just got in the White House and the world just seemed to be burning a little hotter than usual. While looking on the stock footage site for footage of pills and talking about news clips, we were seeing we realized how overwhelming it is to be alive today. We decided why shoot a video when we can just source it all from real life or stock footage? We knew it would have a hard time getting placed, but we didn’t care. The world is a beautiful and terrifying place.

[Brandon] had a rough upbringing. Does processing or dealing with those experiences leach into your writing at all? 

BA: Absolutely, sometimes it feels that way so much that I have to distance myself from my own past to stay fresh lyrically.

Brick + Mortar has an overall message of positivity. Which of your songs do you feel like wave this banner the best?

BA: For me, it’s “Keep This Place Beautiful”. The chorus is just very uplifting to me.

JT: Same. It’s just reminding everyone that everything could be ok if we all just try.

What are your favorite posi-jams by other artists?

BA: I am going to be honest and admit I always sing along to Sublime’s “What I Got” as I was a teenager of the ’90s.

JT: Anything ’90s hip hop makes me happy.

Is there new material on the horizon?

BA: Absolutely. We have a full length that’s close to being finished and beyond that we have songs already for the record after that. We stay writing pretty much.

What are your loftiest goals for the band moving forward?

BA: I’d say to tour internationally and become a cartoon

JT: Definitely tour the rest of the world, put out more music, and help write a movie/be in a movie.

(Visit Brick + Mortar here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter)

In advance of their album, New Magic, which arrives September 15 via Anti-, Son Little visited Cincinnati’s Fountain Square on June 16 (photos by Tim Anderl below).

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Son Little is a unique artist who proves the axiom that sometimes the best way to move forward is to look backwards.  Artists from Muddy Waters to Thelonious Monk to Bob Dylan to the Ramones all took music that they grew up on and shape-shifted it into something modern, and even futuristic, while retaining a timeless quality.

Each of New Magic’s tracks draw from the diaspora of American blues and soul that includes not only modern R&B, but also rock & roll and hip-hop and transforms them into a singular sound that is propelled by his mesmerizing and soulful vocals and production that artfully balances between rustic immediacy and hip hop cut-and-paste.

Son Little first came to the public’s attention through his collaborations with The Roots and RJD2, and has since toured with artists as diverse as Mumford & Sons, and Kelis, Shakey Graves and Leon Bridges.  In addition he won a Grammy for his work producing Mavis Staples.

Son Little will embarking on an extensive North American tour beginning this fall. All dates are listed below. Tickets go on sale this Friday June 23 at 10 AM local time.  Live Dates: 06.22.2017 Thu, The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI 06.23.2017 Fri, Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI 06.24.2017 Sat, NXNE 2017 , Toronto, Canada 06.27.2017 Tue, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Calgary, Canada 08.27.2017 Sun, Afropunk, Brooklyn, NY

09.13.2017 Wed, One Longfellow Square, Portland ME* 09.14.2017 Thu Petit Campus, Montreal, QC* 09.15.2017 Fri CityFolk Ottowa, ON 09.16.2017 Sat, Fresh Grass North Adams, MA 09.16.2017 – 09.17.2017 Grand Point North Festival, Burlington VT 09.19.2017 Tue Stage One Fairfield, CT* 09.20.2017 Wed, The Haunt, Ithaca NY* 09.21.2017 Thu, Club Cafe, Pittsburgh PA* 09.22.2017 Fri Rumba Cafe, Columbus OH* 09.23.2017 Sat, Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN* 09.24.2017 Sun, Culture Center Theater, Charleston, WV* 09.26.2017 Tue, White Rabbit Cabaret, Indianapolis, IN* 09.27.2017 Wed, Zanzabar, Louisville, KY* 09.28.2017 Thu, The Southern, Charlottesville, VA* 09.29.2017 Fri, Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia PA* 09.30.2017 Sat, Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia PA* 10.19.2017 Thu, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY*** 10.20.2017 Fri, Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, NY*** 10.21.2017 Sat, The Sinclair, Cambridge MA*** 10.25.2017 Wed, The Barns at Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA*** 10.26.2017 Thu, The Mothlight, Asheville, NC*** 10.27.2017 Fri, Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA***” 10.31.2017 Tue, Antones, Austin, TX 11.01.2017 Wed, Club Dada, Dallas, TX 11.03.2017 Fri, Valley Bar, Phoenix, AZ” 11.04.2017 Sat, Soda Bar, San Diego, CA 11.05.2017 Sun, Constellation Room, Santa Ana, CA 11.07.2017 Tue, Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA 11.08.2017 Wed, The Chapel, San Francisco, CA 11.10.2017 Fri, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR 11.11.2017 Sat, The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC 11.12.2017 Sun, Tractor Tavern, Seattle WA 11.14.2017 Tue, The State Room, Salt Lake City, UT 11.15.2017 Wed, Globe Hall, Denver, CO 11.17.2017 Fri, Reverb Lounge, Omaha, NE 11.18.2017 Sat, Turf Club, Saint Paul, MN 11.19.2017 Sun, Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL 11.21.2017 Tue, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON

* Doe Paoro supports

***ALA.NI supports

Yellow Paper Planes formed somewhat out of necessity after Joshua P. James and Brandon Woods spent a few months on hiatus from touring as Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes. Woods and James started playing together in early 2011, touring fervently through 30 States and some 150 shows. That early collaboration on James’s solo material naturally dissolved as lineup changes sucked the momentum out of two packed years peddling tunes on the road, but there were still songs to be sung.

In August of 2013, after writing an entirely new set of music, this time with a band at the center of the songwriting motivation, a newly formed foursome including bassist, Peter Mendenhall, and multi-instrumentalist, Jeremy Ebert, played their first show as The Paper Planes.

Several early setbacks made it seem like the ghosts of music future didn’t want the band to get off the ground. Right out of the gate, threat of legal action prompted a name change from “The Paper Planes” to the current Yellow Paper Planes moniker. Then, in the winter of their first year, Woods (drummer for the band) broke his hand, which required three pins and extensive physical therapy to get back to even holding a drum stick. During that time, James, a self-styled “overthinker,” re-evaluated the set of songs they had written and were planning to take to the studio that spring. The conclusion was to scrap it all and strip everything back to the studs. It wasn’t until after the release of their debut, Feather’s Touch, a cathartic five-track EP, that they were able to establish a clear focus on what they were set out to do.

The new album (Building a Building) tackles topics both personal and universal drawing on existential themes that are natural to introspection but presented with earnest outward passion and layers of hooks. The album track list continues to skirt any notion of easy genre classification taking cues from late ’60s British Blues a la The Kinks to the ’90s alt-scene (Sebadoh and Built To Spill) through to modern indie pop and rock.

Today the band premiere’s their video for the album’s “Pinch of the Sunrise,” which was filmed and edited by Joshua Howey and Feikert Creative.

(Catch Yellow Paper Planes live here:

June 23 – Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati, OH

June 24 – Spacebar – Columbus, OH

June 29 – Casa Cantina – Athens, OH

June 30 – CODA – Cleveland, OH

July 22 – Rumba – Columbus, OH

August 11 – Blind Bob’s – Dayton, OH

August 12 – James Street – Pittsburgh, PA

Visit them online here:

facebook.com/yellowpaperplanesmusic

twitter.com/ypaperplanes

Instagram @yellowpaperplanes

yellowpaperplanes.bandcamp.com

open.spotify.com/artist/2jyVPWH6FMka00uY9hsXwY)

The Mess We Made
The Mess We Made

Tomás Doncker cut his teeth as a guitarist with such genre-busting groups as James Chance & The Contortions; Defunkt; J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz; and many more, making him a prime mover on New York’s downtown “No Wave” scene in the early 1980s. Eventually he went international, touring and recording in Japan with jazz pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, and producing studio and songwriting sessions with Bootsy Collins, Yoko Ono, and Grammy-nominated Reggae vocal group The Itals, among others. Beyond that, he has produced hundreds of records-and is the founder and CEO of NYC’s fastest rising record label, True Groove Records.

Now in the busiest era of his career, in the last few years he has played Shanghai and toured Europe with his business partner and labelmate Marla Mase. In recent months he has played Camden Jam, SXSO, performed at Brooklyn Bowl with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, and was featured lead guitarist with “No Wave” icon James Chance’s Contortions during a sold out six-show stint at Tokyo’s famed Blue Note Club.

Channeling his anger and frustration after the Charleston Church Massacre and the highly publicized deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Doncker’s politically charged LP, The Mess We Made, combines afrobeat and other world music genres with ’60s and ’70s funk and soul to create a unique sound Doncker calls “global soul.” The deluxe edition of The Mess We Made, due out July 7, features rerecorded versions of original album tracks as well as five new songs and a live acoustic performance of “Time Will Tell.”

Doncker’s single “Funky Dollar Bill” is his take on a Funkadelic classic exploding with soaring lead guitars, danceable backbeat percussion and Doncker’s smooth vocal melodies. Check out the video below. Additionally, the video comes in advance of his participation in Maplewoodstock on July 9.

(Visit Doncker here:

Website: tomasdoncker.net and truegroove.nyc

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Cruel Summer releases their Ivy via LP and digital on Mt. St. Mtn. on June 30. Cruel Summer’s sound evokes the dazed, fuzzed-out, swirling noise of the late 1980s UK sound while still sticking to their pop roots–they’ve aptly been crowned San Francisco’s “jangle darlings.”

Following their 2013 ST/EP (Mt. St. Mtn.,) they released the sold-out lathe-cut 7-inch for “Leeches,” accompanied by a video. In 2016, Cruel Summer released “Around You, Around Me,” recorded for L.A.’s Part Time Punks, the 7-inch b-side features a moody cover of Pylon’s “Crazy.” It was mastered by Kramer (Galaxie 500 and Low).

Ivy is the long-awaited, first full-length album from this quartet, who have become a mainstay in the San Francisco and Oakland club scene. Recorded at Santo Studio in Oakland, California by Jason Kick (Sonny & the Sunsets, Once and Future Band, Mild High Club, Maus Haus), the record is a love poem to San Francisco, with all its changes and disappointments. Cruel Summer recently completed a California tour with the UK’s Primitives, and in early August they will be accompanying the ’90s noise pop demons Swirlies on a full west coast tour.

Catch them live here:

6/22 – San Francisco, CA @ The Knockout w/ Terry Malts, Male Gaze

7/8 –  Guernville, CA @ Deathstock III

8/3 –  San Diego, CA @ Space (fka Hideout) w/ The Swirlies

8/4 –  Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door w/ The Swirlies

8/5 –  Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar w/ The Swirlies

8/6 –  Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo w/ The Swirlies

8/7 –  Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium w/ The Swirlies

8/8 –  San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel w/ The Swirlies

8/10 –  Portland, OR @ The Doug Fir w/ The Swirlies

8/11 –  Seattle, WA @ Barboza w/ The Swirlies

8/12 –  Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown w/ The Swirlies