September 3rd, 2014 , by John Beeler
Rookie Magazine interviewed Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and premiered a brand new video for “Pressure.”
Did you find the answer to what the value of music is?
The answer came in not needing to answer the question anymore. In American culture, we have so much that communicates to us that art is superfluous. If something doesn’t have an immediate financial gain, then we say, “Well, that’s not valuable to us, and we’re not going to prioritize it.” In asking this question, I fell in love with making records again, and I fell in love with what music has meant to me. You can’t separate human beings from music. It’s always been with us.
Read the interview at Rookie here.
Derrick Belcham and Emily Terndrup directed the new video, which you can watch at Rookie or above.
My Brightest Diamond is making another video for the song “This Is My Hand” and you can be in it. See details here.
September 2nd, 2014 , by John Beeler
Yes, Helado Negro is one of the kids on the cover of his new album, Double Youth. But he won’t say which one. A long-forgotten photo dug out of a childhood closet, this mysterious image encapsulates the themes of his latest record, released today: the duality and ambiguity of memory, identity, and self.
He communicates them with language, through the ambiguity of his lyrical content, the duality of his bilingualism, and even through a gentle warping of grammar itself: what Helado Negro, a.k.a. Roberto Lange, calls the “confused consciousness” of the opening track—”Are I Here”—is right there in the title, as the words’ refusal to agree with each other manages to be at once technically incorrect and oddly appropriate.
And perhaps more importantly, he communicates it in the rich dualities and ambiguities of the music itself. His arrangements are replete with fuzzy basslines, blurry beats, and a haze of dreamy vocals, but organized with tautly syncopated grooves and focused songcraft. Through the nuanced layering of spare, but discreetly nuanced elements, he creates something vastly more textured and complex than the sum of its parts.
Sasha Geffen at Pitchfork reviewed the album: “Fittingly, Double Youth, the boldest and most intricate Helado Negro work to date, grapples with memory and its uncanny tendency to wear away despite our best intentions to preserve it.”
Catch Roberto of Helado Negro on CNN yesterday here.
Double Youth arrives in a plethora of formats: CD, digital download, black LP, limited edition translucent blue LP, and an even more limited VIP edition of 100 translucent blue LPs sleeves decorated by hand—complete with those two enigmatic youths, printed on photo paper, plus more hand-made surprises inside.
Buy it here.
August 29th, 2014 , by John Beeler
You can now hear the title track from This Is My Hand by My Brightest Diamond. The song debuted today on Hitfix. Go here to listen, and to read an interview with Shara Worden of MBD. Says Shara:
This song is really about self acceptance and re-integrating the WHOLE self and there is so much happening right now across the globe, with body image, our sexuality, slavery, racism, that I just feel like this song belongs to “the larger tribe” and I want to open up this video format so that more people can have a “ritual” of sorts, accepting themselves and the tribe shows itself to be beautiful and varied as possible.
You can be in the music video for “This Is My Hand” by taking a photo that matches the lyrics and posting it on Instagram. See here for details. We hope you do.
Limited edition translucent red vinyl is still available, and we have a few hand-numbered, handstamped VIP editions left (only 150 worldwide). Get either of those here.
August 19th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Castanets’ new album is out today.
When we asked writer Will Boast to pen the liner notes for Decimation Blues, here’s what he wrote:
Decimation Blues [is] the music of a man who’s learned to live and build among the wreckage—twelve seemingly offhand, secretly meticulous tracks that we can hunker down in. “Still always good to be alone in someone else’s home,” Raposa sings. He’ll lend us his place, or teach us how to fix up our own. Come in out of the rain, put your shoes by the fire. The walls might shake, the wind might howl, but you’ll be safe here a while.
Fred Thomas reviewed the record at Allmusic:
Perhaps the complete lack of self-consciousness is at once the most impressive and strangest thing about the album. This is the sound of an artist open to a range of possibilities so vast they can’t help but contradict each other, and he just can’t be bothered by the confusion or annoyance those contradictions may cause his listenership. In the end it doesn’t matter anyway, as Raposa is already on to one of the album’s many moments of brilliance by the time our heads have stopped spinning from one of its moments of unfettered oddness.
We have some limited edition marbled blue vinyl still left, which you can see and buy here.
And be sure to watch the new music video to “Tell Them Memphis” below
August 18th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Lily & Madeleine’s goal is to release an album a year. So far, they’re on track to hold to that promise. Last week we announced Fumes, Lily & Madeleine’s follow-up to last year’s self-titled LP. We also released “The Wolf is Free,” the first single from the album, a song that promises not just a new album but a developed maturity in sound for L&M.
Now we’re proud to release the video to the song. Directed by Laurel Cohen in the woods of Indiana, the video features Lily & Madeleine making preparations for a mysterious tea party.
Rookie debuted the video and also interviewed the girls about the song, the new album, and life in general. Read it here.
Fumes is due at the end of October. You can preorder it here.
August 14th, 2014 , by John Beeler
New song out today from My Brightest Diamond’s forthcoming This Is My Hand.
Says Shara Worden of MBD: “‘Lover/Killer’ is based on the idea that we all have two sides: the lover, the warrior. We’re all capable of both. The lyrics started out with me singing ‘I am a lover and a killer’ over and over again. I was trying to channel ‘bad-ass,’ be the Karen O type, show off bravado. But as I sang it, I questioned why violence equals power. ‘At the wall in the mirror’ is the resolution of that. It’s facing your own demons and embracing the shadow of your character. It’s about embracing your own power and your own frailty.”
You can listen to the song over at Refinery 29 or above.
Preorder the album on iTunes, your local record, or from Asthmatic Kitty (or Paper Bag Records in Canada) here.
August 14th, 2014 , by John Beeler
IMPOSE debuted a new song from the forthcoming Helado Negro album. It’s called “Ojos Que No Ven.” Here’s what IMPOSE wrote about the song:
Mysterious and yearning, it’s filled with lusty calls that whisper “ámame” (“love me”) and is a desirous dweller that simmers with sticky synths and tropical-leaning percussion.
Double Youth is available in CD, LP, and digital. You can even preorder it in a special VIP handmade edition, limited to just 100 worldwide. Preorder it here.
Be sure to check out the latest video to “I Krill You” here.
August 10th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Thanks to Stereogum for premiering the video to “Tell Them Memphis,” the latest from Castanet’s impending full length Decimation Blues. The video, directed by Sam Hamilton, is a slow, revealing single shot of a forested street as two skateboarders come over the hill. Stereogum’s Chris DeVille describes the song as “eerie and alluring, like a stranger’s comforting hand on your shoulder.”
This is one of our favorite songs on the whole album.
Of “Tell Them Memphis,” he wrote, “simply beautiful, proof that the power of a song is all a true musician really needs.”
Decimation Blues is available next week. You can reserve your copy of the limited edition marbled blue LP here.
Lyrics to “Tell Them Memphis:”
Take the rest, (believe I’ve) had my fill
Take it down to where the boys are laying still
Can’t figure where to go
Can’t say just how much it shows
But I can say that surely if I stay
That you would only bear the worst
The awful brunt of what the others might say
And wouldn’t that bear quite a thirst
Can’t figure what’s to become
When it’s hard enough to say just what we done
So if I don’t see you before you see them
Do give my best to those giving friends
And tell them ‘Memphis’
Though I am down the road a little ways
August 5th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Mozart’s Sister debut full-length, Being, is out now. It’s what you’ve been waiting for. File under “dirtpop.”
Line of the Best Fit reviewed Being and wrote, “Sure, she’s quirky and she plays synth – but Caila Thompson-Hannant is most definitely not some Manic Pixie Dream Girl kind of creature. She’s got a sampler and the voice of cabaret diva but, most of all, she’s got a hell of a lot of chuztpah.”
Last week, the Montreal Gazette interviewed Caila Thompson-Hannant of Mozart’s Sister:
Being comfortable as a solo artist, she continued, involves “managing a way to be happy with what you’ve done. To stick by it even if it’s not what other people want you to do. When you can feel confident with what you’ve done, that’s when people will come around and want to be a part of it. There’s a lot at stake — I can’t up and leave myself.”
Read the interview here.
Mozart’s Sister is touring Canada with PS I Love You in September. Tourdates here.
You can order the album here.
August 4th, 2014 , by John Beeler
Lily & Madeleine’s goal is to release an album-a-year for three years — a rare feat when the trend among singer-songwriters is to space albums by half-decades. So far, they’re on track: Fumes, the duo’s second LP, will be released October 28, 2014, 366 days after last year’s Lily & Madeleine.The sophomore album is a leap forward for the duo, a mature sentiment of two gifted young artists who have launched from their hometown onto the world stage with speed and grace.
When Indianapolis sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz first started making music together, it didn’t cross their minds that they could make a living at it. Although they now find themselves in an acclaimed full-fledged career, what got them here has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with the spirit.
“The music will always be first,” says Lily. Indeed, Lily & Madeleine’s artistic souls are obvious to anyone who has heard their recordings. From the beginning, the sisters’ calling card has been the breathtaking and intuitive union of their voices.
NPR’s All Songs Considered debuted “The Wolf is Free,” our first listen from the fall-bound album. It’s a wispy, ethereal, haunting song, a perfect summer track for that moment when the day turns to dark and the shadows start to loom among the trees. NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson, who’s heard the full record, praises, “This record has a little more of a kick to it…it’s fuller and more produced and more fleshed out…this whole record is zippier. I am excited about it.” Hear it on NPR here, or above.