Tag Archive: “Porch Party Records”

Inspired by personal tragedy, and comprised of Ian Metzger, lead songwriter and vocalist, drummer Mark Kulvinskas, and multi-instrumentalist James Mulhern, The Gentle Hits have gained a wide-scale following with their critically acclaimed projects Dear and the Headlights (Equal Vision Records) andWhat Laura Says. But it is when beloved things disappear that the opportunity for rebirth and growth happens.

In addition to writing, arranging, and performing its music, The Gentle Hits produced and engineered their forthcoming self-titled album. The result is a 13-song epic that spans the full spectrum musically and emotionally.The Gentle Hits’ previous projects continue to have an effect on their fans, while simultaneously connecting with new ones.

Even with noteworthy appearances at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Coachella, desert band Dear and the Headlights gave their fans only a taste of Metzger’s melodic nature and lyrical delivery. To his fans- Ian Mertzger’s voice is still a part of their daily lives. The Gentle Hits is an unapologetic expansion on Metzger’s own truth. He and the band dynamically create a self assured and beautiful sonic landscape, encompassing all the grit and beauty one human life can hold.

Ghettoblaster caught up with Metzger to discuss this new undertaking.

How did the concept for The Gentle Hits come about?  What made it an endeavor worth pursuing?

The Gentle Hits came together over the course of four or five years. I had finished the lyrics and chord structures for a group of about 15 or more deeply personal songs and when I moved home to Arizona wanted to put together a group of people who believed in the material to help fill out the compositions. Mark Kulvinskas of Dear and the Headlights and James Mulhern of What Laura Says were long time friends and incredibly talented musicians that I had always enjoyed playing music with. After showing the guys a few songs we all saw pretty quickly that this was going to be a great project and a chance to blend our collective styles and put together a solid record.

What tragedies were you tackling in your personal lives during this time and how did it impact your writing?

The writing of the songs was basically dictated by struggle and tragedy.  During the course of this record we saw the end of significant relationships, struggle and diagnosis of mental health issues, parenthood, death in the family as well as financial and medical crises.  Some of the toughest times in our lives thus far, this  record was a chance to work through it all and acknowledge these things face to face.

Who is this project different than What Laura Says and Dear and the Headlights?

I think this project differs from What Laura Says and Dear and the Headlights in the same way.  We have reached a point musically that is beyond wanting to be impressive and more centered around being consise and direct. We’ve become better musicians and writers and don’t have to do as much flailing to get a meaningful message across.

What were you hoping to accomplish with your debut?

The main motivation was to get this group of songs out into the world as a coherent whole. Really if the record does anything, it is my personal hope that it helps someone else through pains that were nearly unbearable for me, and to know that they are not alone and maybe carry some of the burden side by side.

Where did you record and engineer it?  Was it taxing to wear both performer and engineer hats?

We recorded and engineered most of the basic rhythm tracks live in an historic Phoenix home, overdubbing at Ethos Recordings, Mark’s studio and at James’ studio The Delivery Room. It’s like an A room and a B room but 15 miles apart for added convenience, haha.  We loved recording and producing this whole thing ourselves. The learning curve was intense and though it came through years of study and effort we didn’t find it the least bit taxing. To choose how everything sounds all the way down the line is a dream come true for each of us. This also made us more capable of producing music quickly for less money, and moved us toward our goal of recording and producing others. Our eternal gratitude goes to our mix engineer Chris Kasych and mastering engineer Alex DeYoung, who revealed a depth and beauty we didn’t even realize we’d captured.

What has Porch Party done to nurture this endeavor?

Porch Party is the best thing ever for us! Casey Terrazas runs the label and also happens to be my best friend since 7th grade! Casey’s heart and soul has always been about helping bring forth amazing and interesting art into the world without being influenced by money or other distractions.  He is true to his beliefs and we couldn’t be happier to have them put out the record for us. It’s family really.

You’ve already seen considerable attention for the first couple of singles.  How are people responding to those?

In general, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Those that have heard the full record have stated that while it is a departure from Dear and the Headlights and What Laura Says, there is a familiarity of voice and music that really connects with the listener. We’ve managed to take a good portion of our previous endeavors’ fan base along this new journey. We have kept up our tradition of directly responding to people through social media, which has helped in spawning new Gentle Hits fans. It has been interesting to see their growth from being high school/college kids listening to our earlier bands, now becoming musicians, business professionals, spouses, parents, or all of the above.

Do you have plans to tour in support of the record?

It is not an immediate option for us. In undertaking this record DIY style, we’ve invested 10’s of thousands of dollars of our own money and personal loans to make it happen. As of right now, there is no affordable transportation available that could get us touring cross country. Secondly, for us to perform a great representation of the album, we need another person or two to pull that off live.  Performing with backing tracks is not something we’ve ever done or are interested in doing. When the opportunity presents itself that we can’t pass on, of course we’ll have to figure it out.

We ask the Wilcos, Rolling Stones’, Radioheads and Kurt Viles of the world to please contact our booking agent!

Have you continued to write since completing the record?  What’s next for Gentle Hits?

Currently, we have another album’s worth of material in various demo phases. What’s next for us is to continue to write and record music that resonates with the listener on a personal and emotional level that we as fans can appreciate. We are most into music where it is evident that great care has been taken from the creative side and when repeated listening reveals new levels of detail.  We are doing our best to be the bearers of that torch.

(The Gentle Hits will be released on November 18 via Porch Party Records. Pre-order The Gentle Hits’ self-titled debut here.

Visit The Gentle Hits here:

thegentlehits.com

porchpartyrecords.com/thegentlehits

facebook.com/thegentlehits

instagram.com/thegentlehits

twitter.com/thegentlehits)

(Photo by Dan Busta)

Los Angeles native Kevin Litrow’s Litronix is a one-man music machine.

Technologically based off the roots of repetition through high-tech loop pedals, Kevin creates pop structures coloring the songs with dynamic layers of warm analog synthesizers, micro tonally open tuned guitar, bass heavy polyrhythmic electronic beats and soulful vocal melodies on top.  The beats are created from either beat boxing, drum machines, or just experimenting with what toys or instruments are around at the time.

The vocals are what drive the soul of the sound and command the listener to either think deep or dance hard.  Each song has its own character and is its own painting with its own subject. Every subject has a deep meaning or a story to tell.

And watching Litronix perform live is a spectacle, as Kevin is an experienced  true performer, singer and dancer.

In the past, Kevin has been the sole creator of bands such as  Dance Disaster Movement who were part of Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label and 60 Watt Kid.  He has shared the stage and toured extensively with acts such as Ariel Pink, Broadcast, The Kills, The Gossip, Peaches, Blood Brothers, Ian MacKaye, Prince Rama, Bloc Party, Best Coast, Mum.

Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing “Maggot,” the new single from Litronix upcoming album Pump the Gas due out early 2017 on Porch Party Records.

This is what he had to say about it:

” Maggots are Larva from the fly.  They like to feed on us when we die.  So why do we feed them, while we are alive?

A maggot is, in the sense, a sort of parasite of negativity.  A damper in your day. That extra voice in your head always putting you down (saying ‘You’re not good enough,’ ‘You can’t do that,’  ‘Life is hard’). That moment when you’ve been feeling amazing all day and then something or someone takes you down.  It could be the front page of the news. It could be your co-worker.  It could be the weather.  It could be your paranoia.  It could be your anxiety.  It could be your own maggot you created in your head to wreak havoc.  You feed it every day. You keep it alive.  But you don’t like it.  It’s killing your soul.  So how do you get rid of it? It’s easy…

Smash it!”

(Visit Litronix here:

www.soundcloud.com/litronix1

www.facebook.com/litronix1/

www.instagram.com/litronix/

www.twitter.com/litronix1

www.porchpartyrecords.com/litronix

Catch him live here:

November 3rd – Prospector w/ Avi Buffalo, Breatherrr and DJ Dennis Owens)

Coromandelles ’ debut album Late Bloomers’ Bloomers reminds us there is no line to tow. Dan Michicoff of the Tijuana Panthers started writing and recording songs in his Los Angeles apartment. The project grew to include Matt Maust of Cold War Kids on bass and visuals, and also the voices of Robyn Roth and Naomi Greene. Michicoff and Maust then made their way up to Seattle for tracking at Joe Plummer’s studio La Puebla. Plummer of Cold War Kids and The Shins donned two caps as drummer and engineer of the sessions. Finally, they handed the mixed bag of home and studio recordings off to Yukki Matthews of The Shins for mixing. The resulting bouquet is the parti-colored Late Bloomers’ Bloomers.

Does there have to be a trade-off between staying on track and getting comfortable with feeling lost? After all, “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Instead of over-achieving, Coromandelles opted for nights out, cheap wine, French lessons, and figure drawing classes… Late Bloomers’ Bloomers is about finding the enjoyment in being derailed. The album rolls through moments of anxiety, doubt, and hope before finally closing with a two-song suite that evokes a flowering transition. “End of Mad Men” is the bloom and “Seaudeaux” is a hazy memento mori of wilted flowers, empty wine glasses, and oyster shells – a definite highlight.

If Father Time is constantly confronting us with ever-changing expectations, then Coromandelles are here to remind us we have options. It’s never too late in life to feel clouded or lost. Yet, it’s never too late to feel an optimistic itch like “New Ordain.” Coromandelles are willing to come out and say it. Make a change. Go with it. You’ll be surprised.

In late spring 2015, Michicoff and Maust met with Long Beach label Porch Party Records to discuss a vision for their debut. With such a solid collection of recordings, it was evident that this dynamically balanced album needed to be made into wax. The songwriting strengths of Coromandelles- tangled with their ability to have fun and not take themselves too seriously- perfectly aligned with the music appreciating and house-party-born label. Additionally, the overall spirit of these 10 tracks doesn’t stray too far from the beach. Although nearly half of the lyrics are in French, the songs swim in a coastal Long Beach sound. Coromandelles debut album Late Bloomers’ Bloomers will be available this fall October 23 as a 12-inch vinyl on Porch Party Records. Lastly, Orange County label Burger Records recently confirmed a cassette release, also available October 23.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Michicoff to discuss the record and this is what he told us about it.

When did you begin writing the material for Late Bloomers’ Bloomers?

I had a handful of bedroom recordings laying around for the past five years.  No real intention to do anything with them until a year ago when Maust and I had the idea to flesh them out and record them at Joe Plummers up in Seattle. We ended up improvising and writing more tunes.

Was it always meant to be a Coromandelles project with the three of you? Or did it begin more as a Dan solo project?

They were just song ideas floating around.  I think Coromandelles really gave it a life and identity.

Who is singing the female part on “New Ordain?” Obviously, there’s a solid heaping of French-Pop on this release. Are you all fans of the genre?

Naomi Greene is singing on “New Ordain.” I met her in Paris when I was on tour in Europe.  She plays the harp and studied music at Cal arts where she was living.  Which I am certain is ironically how music relationships need to work.  I hang with more LA bands in other cities than I do in LA.

I am definitely a french pop fan.  Not a huge collector but I have my faire share of the classic albums Jacque Dutronc, Françoise Hardy, and Serge Gainsbourg.  Get my juices flowing.

Late Bloomers’ Bloomers is being released on vinyl (Porch Party) and cassette (Burger Records). Is it ever going to be released on CD?

Depends on supply and demand.

Do you guys have plans to play out at all?

Supply and demand.

(Visit Coromandelles here:

Facebook.com/coromandelles

instagram.com/coromandelles

http://www.porchpartyrecords.com/#about)

Indie supergroup Coromandelles share “The Project” in advance of the Oct 20 release of Late Bloomers’ Bloomers, via Porch Party Records.

“The Project” SoundCloud

Coromandelles’ debut album Late Bloomers’ Bloomers reminds us there is no line to tow. Dan Michicoff of the Tijuana Panthers started writing and recording songs in his Los Angeles apartment. The project grew to include Matt Maust of Cold War Kids on bass and visuals, and also the voices of Robyn Roth and Naomi Greene. Michicoff and Maust then made their way up to Seattle for tracking at Joe Plummer’s studio La Puebla. Plummer of Cold War Kids and The Shins donned two caps as drummer and engineer of the sessions. Finally, they handed the mixed bag of home and studio recordings off to Yukki Matthews of The Shins for mixing. The resulting bouquet is the parti-colored Late Bloomers’ Bloomers.

Orange County label Burger Records recently confirmed a cassette release, also available October 20.

Forest of Tongue
Forest of Tongue (photo by Linnea Stephan)

Forest of Tongue was founded during a Long Beach summer when singer-songwriter/guitar-shredder Joel Jasper connected with blitzy drummer Zach Mabry and invented their flavor of thrashy loop rock.

Since 2008, Forest of Tongue has been performing across Long Beach and Los Angeles at established venues, house shows, warehouses, underground parking garages, and other unique spaces. With the same DIY-punk spirit, they spent early 2012 self-recording their first album Body Pains. In March 2012, they self-released the album in a packed out performance at (what would later become) Porch Party Records.

In the summer of 2014, after a brief hiatus due to other music projects, Forest of Tongue reunited. In a fit of inspiration, exploding from the intense stress of a bug infested household, Jasper and Mabry wrote a completely new batch of sticky songs in under three weeks- unintentionally creating the gummy backdrop of the new full-length Fancy Itch (with album art by Linnea Stephan, as shown above).

The weekend after writing the new songs, Forest of Tongue played the album live in its entirety at the legendary Long Beach venue Alex’s Bar. Shortly after, the band met up with producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist J.P. Bendzinski (Crystal Antlers, DeLux) to record the album. After one long sweaty weekend in Bendzinski’s living room and garage, the core of the songs were finished.

The songs are ready to be experienced in their entirety as Fancy Itch– available on limited edition cassette via Porch Party Records on August 11. Born from influences such as Deerhoof, Animal Collective, and Sonic Youth, Forest of Tongue is screeching beautifully into a dark chocolate world of gumdrop thrash-pop.

Today Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering “Feeling Fresh,” which you can enjoy below:


(Visit the band here:

https://www.facebook.com/forestoftongue https://forestoftongue.bandcamp.com/ http://www.porchpartyrecords.com/)

Dustin Lovelis
Dustin Lovelis

Composer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist Dustin Lovelis has been busy crafting songs in his coastal birth town Long Beach, California. Since Dustin’s late teens, the god-son-of-grunge has toured the globe with a myriad of musical outfits, including The Fling (Dangerbird Records) as primary vocalist and songwriter. Taking a break from touring and the music business, The Fling went on hiatus with no concrete plans to continue. Fortunately for his fans, Dustin couldn’t stop writing songs and returns with an ambitious debut solo effort Dimensions, released on Porch Party Records on May 19.

Dustin’s music is drenched in textures both vintage and modern, while his fine-tuned pop-sensibilities rise out of whichever era ignited the inspiration. After The Fling dissolved, Dustin took over all writing responsibility. With a guitar, a microphone, and a bottle of whiskey, Dustin found his way through his influences and pinned his own demos to a multitrack. Without any input from band members, Dustin meticulously created his new DNA of sound with hints of The Everly Brothers, The Pixies, and The Beatles. He knew it was time to return to the studio.

Dustin recorded Dimensions at Elliott Smith’s former music home New Monkey Studios. He found the ideal compliments for his timeless sound with an insane amount of gear and incredibly talented musician friends. Elijah Thomson of the band Everest played bass and produced the album, and prolific composer and session player Frank Lenz lays down his dynamic drumming with classic fills. After two days, the basic tracks were finished. A few more instruments and vocals were added, and Dimensions was complete.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Lovelis to discuss the record. This is what he told us.

When did you begin writing the material for Dimensions?  

Over the past couple years.  I had a few songs floating around already.  I’m constantly trying to write.  Sometimes I get a songwriting spurt and complete songs just fall on my lap.  Sometimes I am constantly butting heads with just one song.

Which of the songs on the LP is most different from your original concept for the song?

I added a layer of synth on the whole record.  That was kind of a last minute decision.  I borrowed a Moog Voyager from my friends Highlands (Long Beach), and just locked myself in my room manipulating sounds that eventually found their way into the songs.  Other than that all the songs on the LP stayed pretty true to the original demos.  They just sound better sonically.

What was it like recording in New Monkey Studios? Are/were you a fan Elliott Smith’s music?

Yeah I have always been a big Elliott fan.  Especially his last 3 records.  Some of which he recorded at New Monkey.  There was something pretty inspiring about being able to play instruments that he has played on songs I love.  There were people in and out of the studio constantly and I heard a lot of Elliott stories first hand.  It was pretty rad.  Also, the Neumann mic I used for most of the vocals had a piece of masking tape on the box with his full name written in sharpie.  You don’t see that everyday.

You used to front Long Beach band, The Fling. How does this stuff differ? Is The Fling over, as a band? Or might there be a return in the future?

I have definitely matured as a songwriter since The Fling days.  Everyone in that band has.

The big difference is only having one songwriter for the record.  I think it makes the music a little more cohesive.  The record makes more sense in its entirety.

The Fling never really broke up.  Everyone just got too busy.  We toured too much and always came home broke.  We all just got burned out and started feeling the “i’m too old for this shit” creeping in.  So we all just walked away.  We’ll come back if there is a demand for it.  For now I am just looking forward.  Not gonna beat a dead horse, again.

Do you have any plans to tour the states this year?

Yes.  I want to hit the road as soon as possible.  Hopefully by summer.

(Visit Dustin Lovelis here: https://www.facebook.com/dustinlovelismusic.)