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Weekly Roundup: Widowspeak, Johnathan Rado, FUZZ and More

Posted by Billy Gil, July 12, 2013 10:59am | Post a Comment

Lots of stuff this week!

widowspeak the swampsWidowspeak – “True Believer”

Howdy, pardners! We were big fans of Widowspeak’s dusky, dreamy last album, Almanac, which was released last year. Now they’ve got more goodness on the way in the form of The Swamps EP, with hints of a third album on the way. The EP is out Oct. 29 on Captured Tracks, and you can hear the Mazzy Star-in-a-ghost-town-style “True Believer” now.

 

johnathan rado foxygenJohnathan Rado – “Hand in Mine”

More rootin’, tootin’, country-flavored indie pop on the way from Foxygen’s Johnathan Rado. As if his band’s effing fantastic We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic wasn’t enough for one year (one of the best of the year so far, I’d say), California native Rado has a solo album, the awesomely titled Law and Order, due Sept. 3 on Woodsist. “Put your hand in mine, it will excite you” says the Nancy Sinatra counterpart to his Lee Hazlewood. Cute ‘n’ seductive.

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At LAST: Kyle Field chats Little Wings' latest opus

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, April 7, 2013 03:20pm | Post a Comment

kyle field little wings Photo by Adam Zeke
 
Photo by Adam Zeke             

Earlier this year worlds collided when Little Wings took the stage at Cafe du Nord, one of San Francisco's best preserved former mobster speak-easy joints that maintains decidedly authentic-feeling with shadowy vibes fully trimmed in dust-covered scarlet velvet. Looking like a costumed "tourist" complete with a plastic lei and something like a Greek fisherman's hat, Little Wings breezed through a delightfully unpredictable set of mostly new songs from his first ever double LP release, LAST, his borrowed backing band (The Range of Light Wilderness I believe, sharing the bill that evening) jamming over a few false starts before eventually leaning into the billowy groove of the nearly seven-minute "Neptune's Next" that opened the show. A hushed wave broke over the crowd, and it was then that I noticed, and I could be wrong, but  I think maybe I could see that Kyle's teeth were painted.
little wings last double lp vinyl new record 2013 kyle field marriage records rad imprint
Accomplished visual artist, avid surfer, and "musician's musician" Kyle Field channels a great deal of his most personal energies and intuitive creative powers into recording and performing music as Little Wings, his ever-fluctuating entity that continues to inspire and challenge audience perceptions with multi-layered song cycles, subconscious-tapping lyrical head trips, and concurrent visual presentations that sometimes embrace an apparent love of adopting guises couched in a language of "the best costume for the day." Seemingly open to collaborations and improvisation, Field continues to garner praise from fans and contemporaries like Will Oldham a.k.a. Bonnie 'Prince Billy and Feist who not only named her 2010 documentary Look at What the Light Did Now after a Little Wings tune but also covered and performed it as a duet with Field as well. Though admirers may tend to paint him as something of a folk hero from time to time (this bromantic GQ piece on Kyle being a prime example), Field seems to play it close to the vest when it comes to his self-expression despite having publicly sharing so many personal pieces. I recently corresponded with him and learned a lot about the new album (2LP! out on Field's own Rad imprint via Marriage Records), what he's listening to lately, and "free friction" in surfing. Read on for the interview!

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Local Stuff: The Soft Pack, Pinback, Ariel Pink

Posted by Billy Gil, August 24, 2012 12:14pm | Post a Comment
soft packThe Soft Pack – “Tallboy”
 
Every taste we’ve gotten thus far of the new Soft Pack album, Strapped, has been an indication that the album presents a leap forward for the band in terms of songwriting and production. “Tallboy” is no exception, with its gently tugging melody and subtle horns that come in halfway through. Strapped is out Sept. 25 on Mexican Summer (preorder here). They're also playing FYF Fest Sept. 1-2; tickets are still on sale at Amoeba Hollywood!











 

 
 

pinbackPinback – “Proceed to Memory”

 
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Pinback, since their last album, Autumn of the Seraphs, in 2007. I grew up loving this band and am excited to have them back with a new song and album, Information Retrieved, out Oct. 16 from Temporary Residence Ltd. The same elements I fell in love with before are still intact — great guitar and vocal interplay, intimate sparseness — but I haven’t heard a soaring chorus like the one on “Proceed to Memory” before in a Pinback song. Leaves me hungry to hear the rest of the new album!
 

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Album Picks: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Bill Fay, Lorelei, Plus Albums Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, August 21, 2012 06:46pm | Post a Comment
ariel pinkI haven’t had any picks per se over the past couple of weeks. Truth be told there just wasn’t that much I was excited about. Then this week comes Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s new album, Mature Themes. I was concerned about this one — reports of the band breaking up, then not; an inter-band lawsuit; and a lovely yet somber cover (“Baby”) chosen as the first single. But not to worry; Mature Themes proves to be a tongue-in-cheek title, though its title track does tuck quarter-life crisis neatly into clever lines and jaunty ’70s AM Gold (“I wish I was taller than 5-foot-four/Thirty-five years old/My life spent computing it all”). Ariel Pink has a way of making even self-destruction sound amusing, bouncing lyrics like “Who sank my battleship? I sank my own battletrip” off gooey guitar riffs and organs on Mature Themes’ opener, “Kinski Assasin” (another sample lyric: “suicide dumplings dropping testicle bombs”). It’s as much fun as its predecessor, Ariel Pink’s lo-fi pop breakthrough, Before Today, but with more of a focus on songcraft. “Only in Dreams” has its fair share of neat production flourishes, but it wouldn’t need them to send its ’60s pop hooks into your brain. And with repeated listens, the breadth of bargain-bin pop and forgotten sources reconfigured through Ariel Pink’s art school lens becomes more apparent, and more bewildering. Is “Live it Up” meant to sound like the dream-pop soundtrack to an early NES game? Is “Symphony of the Nymph” both the name and theme song to a sexy straight-to-VHS ’80s comedy? Is “Schnitzel Boogie” actually a boogie, and does that mean I should learn more about boogie? With Ariel Pink, every song seems to occupy its own little sound wave, and surfing between their brilliant colors makes all others seem monochromatic in comparison.
 
bill fayAlso out today is the first album in 40 years from British singer-songwriter Bill Fay. I hadn’t heard Fay’s music previously, but after hearing the stunning Life is People, I’ll be sure to check out his earlier work. “There is a Valley” is a spiritual of sorts personifying the trees, sheep and flowers that surround humanity, detailing how they’ve born witness to the destruction caused by humanity. It doesn’t come off as preachy, but rather, when taken with the album’s title, allows its listeners to see the bigger picture of humanity as one element that impacts its environment more than any other. It helps that Fay’s voice evokes rare wisdom, like a subtler Leonard Cohen or calmer Patti Smith. While many of the songs on Life is People invite somber meditation, based around ominous orchestration, there’s also a fighting spirit that saves Life is People from too much cynicism — even as lines call to mind the struggles of the working poor on “This World,” a collaboration from admirer Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco, who covered Fay’s “Be Not So Fearful” in their documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart), the song benefits from a sunny, alt-country delivery. Similarly, “The Healing Day” is so lush that even its bittersweet tone feels comforting, as Fay sings a simple line like “it’ll be OK” and sends shivers down your spine. But you don’t have to take my word for it — listen to a full album stream below and pick up a copy of Life is People.
 

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Local Stuff: Ariel Pink, Ty Segall, Puro Instinct, LOL Boys, Starred, Soft Pack

Posted by Billy Gil, July 13, 2012 02:29pm | Post a Comment
So much West Coast goodness coming our way this week, I’ll just get right into it …
 
New Ariel Pink – “Only In My Dreams”
 
Ariel Pink debuted a new song this week from his upcoming Mature Themes, the regal-sounding “Only In My Dreams.” Loved the “Baby” cover, but it’s great to hear that his new originals are great, too. Mature Themes is due Aug. 17 on 4AD.
 

 
Ty SegallNew Ty Segall Coming — Again
 
Won’t I ever shut up abou this guy? Not when he’s making such great music so consistently. On the heels of his White Fence collab Hair and his searing Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse comes a new album just credited to the king of SF garage himself, called Twins. It’s out Oct. 9 on Drag City. The next time he’s close to this neck of the woods is Oct. 14, at the Treasure Island Festival.
 
New Puro Instinct – “Dream Lover”
 
Speaking of Mr. Pink, his friends in dreamy duo Puro Instinct have a new song, “Dream Lover.” It’s not a Mariah Carey cover, although I bet that would sound amazing. This song finds them branching out, getting bigger than the sound they debuted on Headbangers in Ecstasy. Sounds like My Bloody Valentine by the pool. It’ll be on an EP later this year.
 

 
LOL Boys – “Changes” [ft. Heart Streets]
 
Originally hailing from Montreal, these guys make sort of lo-fi jazzy house music. And they are called LOL Boys, which is pretty good, although I feel like it should have been LOL Boyz. I’m pretty bewildered by the whole thing in a good way. Their debut Changes is out July 17.
 

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