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Sandy Babes: The Sandwitches play Duck Duck Goose!

Posted by Kells, June 30, 2010 03:50pm | Post a Comment
 
There are many things to love about The Sandwitches and their latest release, the Duck Duck Goose! EP (on Empty Cellar/Secret Seven Records), serves as further proof that these ladies are not only gilding a most devastatingly alluring and emotional totem pole of a discography, but they are also among the very sagest of storytellers, which is, when you think about it, just about as artistically primal as witch's tit in a brass bra. It takes courage to create an album this dark for kids, yet it's not clear if the wee ones are really who the Sandwitches are lulling here. If storytelling, besides being the earliest of mediums in that it's the way cultural and familial values are communicated, parent to child, grants us a means by which we may overcome and deal with overpowering fears --- fear of the dark, fear of the unknown --- then there is nothing cowardly or immature about the eerie compositions that permeate this limited run, one-sided vinyl 12". Clearly the Sandwitches are not about to soften their punches, no matter how bewitchingly thrown.

Duck Duck Goose! begins with the cooing, protracted "Stardust" --- a lush and dreamy original number that at once lives up to the descriptive "heartbreaking acoustic lullabies" label affixed to the record sleeve. In fact, it is a lullaby so heartbreaking that it seems meant to comfort a terminally ill child fearlessly into eternal sleep: "nothing to fear going into darkness/ we'll be nearer to each other." What follows is the first of two aural vignettes (the reprise closing out the recording, accordingly) wherein the echos of ghostly rounds of duck duck goose are played against the sound of nursery rhymes tapped hastily on a distant spectral piano, thus upping the spook-factor enshrouding the sessions captured for this EP, achieving an overall don't-even-think-of-exploring-that-abandoned-school-house vibe. Then "Rock of Gibraltar," a haunting cover of a Tim Cohen song that appeared as a bonus track to the excellent Two Sides of Tim Cohen album, segues into a impressionistic rendition of the bravest little Disney tear-jerker of all time, the Oscar nominated "Baby Mine" (check out the video below) . If you haven't settled down snugly into the darkness by now, or at least stopped the record to call your mom for love's sake, the Sandwitches' own "Song of Songs," another sweet 'n' simple ballad (yet less heavy than the preceding pieces), lights the night with its own slow burning wax and wick. It's enough to remind one of what it feels like to be a child, a young person guided though his or her terror by comforting voices and lilting melody. And when the ghosts appear again the heart is less anxious, the mind less afraid.

Duck Duck Goose! is a far cry from the jaunty shoreline jams "Back to the Sea" and "Relax at the Beach" that shine on the Sandwitches' How to Make Ambient Sadcake LP. Little similarity can be drawn from these recent forlorn lullabies to the delightful weirdness of "Beatle Screams;" the b-side on the "Back to the Sea" 7" single; or the more girly, coy or downright romantic strains of "Tarantula Arms," "Kiss You Feet," or "Crabman" that make the aforementioned debut record so essential and addictive, worthy of repeated listening in all kinds of weather. However, Duck Duck Goose! seems to be made up of more intimate and saturated textures than any previous Sandwitches record, like the watercolor artwork depicted on the album's sleeve --- a medium more inherently allusive than the rigor and realism of oils; the brush and the stoke may be the same but the wash this time is rich enough to drown in, willingly.

Duck Duck Goose! was recorded and produced by Wymond Miles (Fresh & Onlys) and the initial pressing is limited to 500 copies, available now at Amoeba Music San Francisco.

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In A Cloud Release Party in SF Starring Kelley Stoltz, Sonny Smith, Tim Cohen and More!

Posted by Miss Ess, February 26, 2010 02:32pm | Post a Comment
I'm pleased to announce that local San Francisco record company Secret Seven Records has a new release! It's called In A Cloud and it's an exclusive compilation of previously unreleased tracks starring many famed and talented local artists such as Kelley Stoltz, Thee Oh SeesSonny & The Sunsets, Fresh & Onlys, Hannah & Raven (of Grass Widow), Jacques Butters, Ty Segall, The Sandwitches, Exrays, Donovan Quinn & the 13th Month, Trainwreck Riders, Dylan Shearer, and Paula Frazer. This special release comes as a limited edition of 500 on vinyl only. The record was mastered by Paul Oldham, sometime bandmate and always brother to Will Oldham. Listen to The Sandwitches' track "Grey Wizard" right here. You can also hear Kelley Stoltz's sweet "Pinecone" hereIn A Cloud will be for sale at Amoeba starting on Tuesday, March 2! Come an' get it!

There will be an extra special release show at Amnesia in San Francisco also on this Tuesday, March 2, starting at 9pm. It's gonna be a real treat, because it's all acoustic for your listening pleasure. The lineup includes artists from the comp such as Sonny Smith of Sonny and the Sunsets, Donovan Quinn of Skygreen Leopards, Tim Cohen of the Fresh and Onlys, Jon Bernson of the Exrays and Mr. Kelley Stoltz. Come out and support local music!

Sonny Smith of Sonny & the Sunsets Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, November 11, 2009 01:57pm | Post a Comment
San Francisco's own Sonny & the Sunsets are releasing an album of confident, cool rock songs that have an easy, loose vibe to them called Tomorrow is Alright on Secret Seven/Soft Abuse Records! [Secret Seven is the same label that put out (with Empty Cellar) The Two Sides of Tim Cohen, and is soon to release The Sandwitches 12"...] It comes out November 17th as a vinyl only, limited release of 500 copies and will be available at Amoeba. The album features a wallop of guest appearances by San Francisco stalwarts Kelley Stoltz, Tim Cohen from The Fresh and Onlys, Tahlia Harbour of The Dry Spells and Heidi Alexander from The Sandwitches, among others. Sonny, whose musical endeavors have taken him through the years from piano bar gigs in Colorado to Marin's Headlands for an artist's retreat, chatted with me about his past, present and future.



MIss Ess: So you grew up here in San Francisco? How did you start playing music? Who helped you get going and what a
rtists influenced you as a kid?

Sonny Smith: I learned when I was a kid. I was given a guitar. Van Halen.

ME: Eventually you moved to Colorado. Whose music were you playing at your piano gigs out there?

SS: I met a woman that played Jackson Browne songs and Eagles songs and stuff like that on flute at a bar for pay. She gave me her gig. That was my first gig. Playing piano instead of her.

ME: What sparked the first song you ever wrote?

SS: I don't know. Lust, probably. Loneliness. One of those, probably.

ME: Was there anything in particular you were aiming to capture with the recording of the
record?


SS: I can't relax.

ME: How was your artist's residency in The Headlands? What was it like to have nothing to do but create? Was it freeing? Paralyzing?

SS: Well, it's a very amazing place. Very inspiring. Can you imagine living like that all the time?

ME: I would love to live like that! The Headlands have been an extremely special place to me since I was very, very small. Sounds like this album has been cooking for a while, and even though it has just been released, have you already written more new songs for your next album?

SS: Yes, lots of stuff being made all the time. Only some of it gets heard by others.

ME: Who makes up your band currently when you play gigs?

SS: Ryan Browne, Tahlia Harbour, Kelley Stoltz and me.

ME: What musician inspires you the most?

SS: The minute I hear something good I am kinda inspired.

ME: How do you feel about the music scene in the Bay Area currently? Any particular favorite local band, aside from your own?

SS: I don't know about the music scene. I'm out of it. I stay in. I only go out to play. It looks good from where I'm standing. What do I know? I don't know anything. The Sandwitches are good.

ME: What have you been listening to lately?

SS: I was liking Donovan Quinn and the 13th Month lately. I had it in my car for a while.

ME: What is your most treasured piece of musical gear?

SS: My guitar.

ME: What's next for you? Tour?

SS: I am in Alaska on tour doing this e-mail from a internet cafe. $2 per 15 minutes. Thank you.

ME: Thanks for your (apparently expensive!) time.

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The Two Sides of Tim Cohen

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 16, 2009 05:20pm | Post a Comment
Tim Cohen may be familiar tthe two sides of tim coheno you because you recently heard about The Fresh & Onlys, are a fan of the multi-genred Black Fiction, or are familiar with one of his many mysterious side projects.

This newly released record, The Two Sides of Tim Cohen, however, is the first to bear his name. Written and recorded by Tim at his home during the interim between the unfortunate end of Black Fiction and the birth of The Fresh & Onlys, The Two Sides of Tim Cohen is perhaps his most personal work to date. An immensely creative psych-folk opus, it is full of heartfelt love songs, amazing visions, and musings on death and worms. Tim's songs are reminiscent of the catchy, self-produced pop sontwo sides of tim cohengs of RAM-era Paul McCartney crossed with the skewed baritone bellows of Skip Spence and Michael Yonkers. The new album is recommended for fans of Ariel Pink, Panda Bear and Mayo Thompson. It has been released on Secret Seven/Empty Cellar Records.

The Two Sides of Tim Cohen is available at Amoeba now, on vinyl only, and includes an mp3 downloadable version with seven, yes, SEVEN bonus tracks! The release is limited to 250 copies, 100 of which are on white vinyl.

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Mt Egypt Interview - His New Album III Is Out Now

Posted by Miss Ess, May 13, 2009 04:58pm | Post a Comment
Travis Graves is the one and only member of the musical act known as Mt. Egypt. His latest album, III, is out now on vinyl only from Secret Seven Records and available at Amoeba. Airy, cyclical and sweet, nature seems to surround the album. Its acoustic songs are confessional and simultaneously sunny- sounding. The record kinda makes me want to go to the beach but maybe for a good cry down near the crashing surf. Mt. Egypt's music has beautiful harmonies and gorgeous moments of sonic intensity. This all seems strange perhaps, coming from a formerly sponsored skateboarder who mostly listens to hip hop, but welcome to the enigma that is Mt. Egypt -- read on for more about what makes Travis tick, how his new record III came to be and also his brushes with greatness, including tours with Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, Cat Power and even...The Osbournes!


Album artwork by Justin Limoges

Where does the name Mt Egypt come from?

Travis: The name Mt. Egypt came from an area in rural North Carolina out by my father’s house. It’s an homage to him, his songwriting and to spending long periods in the wilderness with little to no human contact.

When did you pick up the guitar?

Travis: My old man got me playing guitar when I was 12 or 13.

How did you start writing songs?

Travis: By the swimming pool – summer camp, Maryland – right before the lockers [literally] fell on my forehead. I was six or seven…

What musicians' posters did you have on your walls growing up?

Travis: I only ever had skateboarding posters on my wall.

What albums or artists do you like to skateboard to?

Travis: I don’t skateboard to any music, but what gets me hyped to skate right now: 1) E-40The Ball Street Journal 2) The first Wu-Tang 3) NasUntitled.

What was the album that really sparked your interest in music when you were growing up?

Travis: Will Oldham’s music made Mt. Egypt happen. I was 18. In particular, “Oh How I Enjoy the Light” from the album Lost Blues [& Other Songs].

What was the first live show you ever went to?

Travis: REM with my mom circa ’87.

I know you have toured with artists like Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Flaming Lips and Cat Power...Please share some stories about these artists' idiosyncrasies that you learned from touring with them!

Travis: Willie Nelson smells good. Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses can knock you out. Wayne Coyne is a sweet, thoughtful man. Chan Marshall is a reminder of how strong women are.

What was the Flaming Lips' tour bus like?

Travis: Being on the Flaming Lips’ bus made me realize how much better vans are…I get motion sickness in buses…puke…

How did you end up touring with Willie Nelson and what was it like?

Travis: Miss Caitlin Crowell [Rodney Crowell and Roseanne Cash’s daughter who worked for Record Collection, Mt Egypt’s last label] hooked up the Willie tour. I was frazzled, but it made my grandpa proud.

Who produced this album and what was your concept for its sound?

Travis: Blake Mills produced this record…no concept, just song by song.

What was the process of making the record like? Where was it recorded and how was the experience of committing your songs to tape?

Travis: This record is all pro-tools. I’m glad these ghosts finally have a home. It was recorded at Zeitgeist Studios [in Los Angeles] by Sean V. with ghost dog Tony Berg.


A little bird told me you were on The Osbournes?! How did that come about and what was the
experience like?

Travis: The Dillman [pro skateboarder Jason Dill] brought my friend Nicki and I over there. It was like being at the circus. I didn’t talk to anyone really…watched the little dogs hump each other though.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

Travis: All musical pleasure with no guilt, I must say.

What have you been listening to lately?

Travis: Nas, Nastradamus; The Game, LAX; and 105.9 in LA.

What is next for you once the record comes out?

Travis: Just keep working at my day job, skateboard whenever it feels appropriate, eat food, drink water, coffee, kombucha, listen to the rain and frogs all night. Go to Greg’s wedding…

What has been your best find at Amoeba over the years?

Travis: [Employee] Gregory Todd -- “Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

Mt. Egypt - Perspectives from MIKE PISCITELLI on Vimeo.

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