Got this pretty lil’ track from Californian Pablo Gutierrez:
In a different version of my present life, two or so years ago, I was spending a lot of time with a particular girl and during the summer we stayed a couple nights at my parents’ house. One of these nights, when no one was around, we put on tall tees and decided to stay up all night making a record using the internal microphone of my computer. It turned out kind of how you’d imagine—sloppy, fun, goofy.
The songs we were writing sort of devolved into nonsense as the night progressed. But the last one we recorded, at around 5am, had some kind of magic in it. It captured all the tenderness we felt for each other, this sense of anxiety about the future, the sadnesses that come out only when you’re at your most happy. We each sang a verse, making up the words as we went, and the last lines I sang were “It’s hard, but I do only love you, but it’s strange to see that I always will be true.”
Writing them out, the lines read very saccharine and sweet, but it felt portentous, because when we broke up a few months later, we reverted back to our most independent selves, moving away from each other, talking rarely. But in the occasional moments we saw each other, we would fall in love again for those few hours or days, and at some point, I realized that I can’t make myself stop loving someone. I can live without them, I can and have found other love, but I can’t not be in love with this girl. It brings a certain measure of sadness to my life, but I don’t need to own her or be with her to feel what I feel for her. It’s so hard to do, but my feelings for her, whether I like it or not, are, for me, undeniably, true.
I re-recorded the song recently, having played it in various bands I was in over the last couple years. I wanted to capture all of those feelings again, to remind myself that time is, in some sense, an illusion. That the way I feel now singing these words is the same as I did two years ago. And so it goes.
And here’s the original just in case you wanted to give it a listen.
Les Tourangeaux du groupe Volage sortent un nouvel album intitulé “Heart Healing" le 27 octobre prochain sur le label parisien Howlin Banana Records. Après le très garage et très bon “Maddie EP " sorti en novembre 2013, il semblerait, à l’écoute du morceau "Loner" (7’30 minutes tout de même) que le quatuor ait effectué le virage psychédélique nécessaire pour propulser nos oreilles sur la lune et on ne va pas s’en plaindre!
There’s always a good bit of music talent brewing in Scandinavia. The instrumentation of this song seems to grow in just the perfect temperament. It’s wide and lush and feels like it’ll be a perfect piece for the fall.
I have a lot of strange dreams, but one where I saw Alex playing to 10 people in a art studio with his compadre Mac DeMarco when they were Makeout Videotape on tour here in Philly was not a dream ,and the memory makes me happy. But this new track makes me even happier.
Buscabulla are one of my favorite new acts from the year. They’ve found something of a perfect formula for their intoxicating pop music, incorporating influences of from the past with a weird, sensual, and contemporary sound. Their debut EP is out now on Kitsuné.
Got this deep-hearted out pouring from this songwriter in New York City:
This is a song I’ve been playing for over three years now, and for most of that time I introduced it by saying “This is the story of Hiromitsu Shinkawa and his wife Yuko and what happened to them when the tsunami hit their village near Fukushima, Japan.”
And it is.
Except it’s also about something else. The other story I kept a secret for years, but I finally realized this Spring that it was time to talk about it.
In the fall of 2010 my then-fiancé, Pooneh, lost her best friend to suicide. Lisa was an inspiring human, a fierce advocate for women, and a devoted friend, daughter, and mother. Her death was a wrenching blow and left all of us devastated and in shock. But though Lisa was a friend to me and her loss cut me deeply, my pain was nothing like that of her family, partner, and closest friends. In the first weeks after Lisa’s death, watching her survivors cope, I wrote these few lines:
"I don’t know anything of any use in this madness. All I have to offer you is questions and patience. And I wish I could say, ‘at least there’s a song for you in all of this,’ but then I’d have to leave you crying, and go away and write it."
And the song didn’t go any further than that for many months. I was dumbstruck by the depth of this tragedy, there was nothing else I could say, and I knew of no way to build a framework from which to tell about the story we were living.
On March 11th 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook the ocean floor off the coast of Japan, causing a Tsunami that unleashed massive destruction and a staggering death toll on coastal communities.
Among those swept away by the waters were a man named Hiromitsu Shinkawa and his wife Yuko from Minamisoma. Hiromitsu survived by clinging to the roof of their house as it was swept away. Yuko was lost. After three days in the open ocean afloat on the wreckage of their home, Hiromitsu was rescued.
When I first read about Hiromitsu’s ordeal in a short news article, it struck a spark in my mind and illuminated all these feelings that had been waiting to be told. As I read more about his ordeal and imagined this old man with his partner, his home, and his town all washed away, suddenly alone and devastated in an alien world that could only proceed with its unalterable spinning— I found the images filling in a vacant space that had an emotional vocabulary already in place. I found that I could talk about what we were going through by telling Hiromitsu’s story. And so, the rest of the song was written.
But as I began to workshop and perform this song, I realized that the original narrative layer could be fully masked by the second. It happened naturally in the rehearsal process— working with bands, even when they’re close friends, one doesn’t take the time to sit and unwrap the onion layers of the poetry in a song when there are harmonies to hash out and modulations to formulate. But before the song’s first performance I thought about it and cemented the decision in my mind. Lisa’s and our part of this story was to be a private tribute; the song, a locked reliquary whose innermost contents the public would not be permitted to see.
Why did I keep this a secret? To separate some inner sanctuary where my audience was not allowed entry, where the wounds and rawest feelings of myself those closest to me wouldn’t be subject to an outsiders’ gaze? To hedge against the performer’s gnawing suspicion that he is a fool to mount a stage and approach a microphone open-hearted, that turning a light on in that inner room will reveal something ridiculous, pitiful, or worse? Yes. And also for more universal and darker reasons— that I, like all of us, live in a culture that pathologizes both difference and weakness, and that in spite of myself I am still subject to the downward pull of this world we walk around upon.
Which is why I’m telling you now about the other part of this song’s story, Lisa’s story, and why I dedicate this song to her whenever I play it now.
I don’t feel that it’s up to me to rehash Lisa’s final months, but I this is what I see when I reflect on that time—
I see the psychological terrorism of domestic violence. I see the too-often-hidden corrosive power of depression. I see the suffocating effects of our culture’s homophobia.
All three of these enemies gain their power from stigma, from fear, and from secrecy. They are also enemies that Lisa dedicated her professional life to fighting on behalf of others. Because of this, I know that it is appropriate and necessary that I dedicate this song to her memory. Lisa knew, and I have again and again been reminded, that we have to talk about these things. We have to talk about them as long as they continue to rob from us beautiful and powerful souls like Lisa’s. We have to shine light into those dark corners of fear and pain, or what lurks there will rule us.
We have to talk about the fact that women are not property. We have to talk about the fact that it is okay and necessary to lean on each other when we feel overwhelmed, weakened, and desperate. We have to talk about the fact that we must accept each other’s differences, and allow each other to live in this world as our true selves. And when tragedy robs the very air from our lungs, we have to find ways to give voice to our pain, to affirm its reality, and to become more human and more alive because of the scars with which it marks us.
Mysterious London outfit Halos make their debut with “Dust.” The slow-burning dark electronic track is punctuated by strong vocals and a stomping beat. “Dust” is the first preview of Halos’ forthcoming debut EP, release date TBA.
“These men go off in interviews or on social media and take shots at anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their worldview, and it gets personal quick. They’re staring down the barrel of obsolescence, aimed at them by a culture where the most exciting music and art, as well as critical writing about that music and art, is being created by people they have nothing in common with. It becomes “you can’t fire me, I quit” very quickly—they’re no longer considered important voices, so they strike out against the people who are gaining traction. This is why Kozelek’s song is a seven-minute ode to how funny and smart he is for saying mean and sexually aggressive things about people he doesn’t know: it’s OK that you didn’t invite him to your party, because he didn’t want to fucking go to your stupid party anyway.”—
Jared Scharff's letter about his long journey to his perfect sound:
When I was a kid, I would sit in my bedroom for hours recording my guitar into a 4-track recorder. I was fascinated with creating music, especially guitar instrumentals. Since the early days, I’ve gone through so many different musical phases in my life. There was the RCA Records rock/pop band, Tom Petty-inspired solo project, hired gigs, multiple production/writing teams making pop music, and my current gig as the Saturday Night Live Band guitarist (2007-present). Once I started SNL, I really got into producing/writing pop music and it became my life outside of the show. Around 2012, I started feeling a bit lost in the music world. I knew that I had to get back to my first love and make the instrumental music I had always dreamed of. I had no idea what that sounded like or how to do it yet, but I knew this was the moment to start figuring it out.
I was bouncing back and forth from NYC to LA during the breaks in the SNL season. On one particular trip to LA in 2012, I borrowed my buddy’s amp and set up in the basement of my sister’s house in Silverlake. One random night I plugged in my guitar and out came the main melody riff for “On My Way Home”. Something about it really spoke to me and I knew I had something special. I started building the track immediately on my laptop using some of the analog instruments in the basement (vintage drum machines, synths/keys, bass, etc). I even used the exact guitar recording from that night on the final version because it had that initial moment of inspiration and feeling. For me, the whole idea, concept and challenge of all of this was to bring emotion to an instrumental song without needing a vocal to do so.
I went back to NYC with about 60% of the song finished. I tracked the rest of the guitars a few months later in Chelsea, at Claudius Mittendorfer’s studio. Claudius got this amazing dream-like sound with an old tape delay and I used that for the guitar solo (1:20sec). I only played one actual solo and that’s the one you hear at 1 minute and 20 seconds. Right after that take we looked at each other like, “uhhh, I think that’s the one!?!” To this day, that was one of my absolute favorite moments of recording my upcoming two EP’s (Light/Dark).
I spent the next couple of months tweaking, changing, arranging, sound manipulating (0:52sec mark is a guitar, not a trumpet), etc. It took a year or so from the moment I wrote it till I felt the recording was finished. It was all about listening, taking some time away then coming back with fresh ears and tons of tweaking. I really wanted to take the listener on a beautiful journey and get them out of their own world for a minute.
That’s the story of how “On My Way Home” came into this world. It was a long road but worth every minute. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and get lost with me.
"Why don’t we runaway?" asks rising star Grace Mitchell herself, the center question of her new track Runaway in which she describes the silliness of it all, and how she sometimes wishes to escape pretty much everything. There’s a sense of starting over with a clean slate more powerful than ever, rather than turn your back on things and cry in some corner - that exact feeling is translated into the track in which Grace takes matters into her own hands (and voice, re: sampling her own ooh’s).
I cannot believe that this song was created in 2014. Wow. This is just blowing my mind. The British singer Sarah Joyce was born in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1979, but could as well have been making music in the womb during that time.
Andrew Balasia shot me a new track of his and tells me that his project ”is still pumping.. it’s turned into a duo now, including my old pal Roshan from Delaware. He contributes a lot of ideas on the ole git-fiddle (guitar) and it feels awesome to be collaborating with someone again. I grew weary of sitting in a bedroom by myself forcing songs out. It wasn’t really fun anymore. I took some time off and traveled around a bit before moving back to Brooklyn, releasing some tunes here and there. But ultimately I missed the comradery when creating music with another peer and having someone to bounce ideas off of. I ran into Roshan by chance at a mutual friend’s gig (we hadn’t seen each other in years) and we decided to start working together. We’re both really stoked with how things are going and it’s cool to see how this thing has evolved since 2011.”