"Useful Solitude" is the phrase Kevin Krauter uses to describe Toss Up, his upcoming full-length debut on Bayonet Records - both the conditions in which it was created and the prevailing theme of these nine iridescent indie-pop songs. In between tours the Indiana musician spent long hours in his basement, guitars and vintage keyboards his only company, and tested out ideas, explored new sonic avenues, savored new sounds, and taught himself how to play a few instruments.
'Toss Up' builds on the sonic worlds of Krauter's first releases, conveying a similar mood with a greater array of instruments and influences. An insightful songwri'er with a lyrical style that is both economical and evocative, Krauter crafts unique soundscapes that scramble a range of influences - '60s flower pop, ‘70s easy listening, '80s New Wave, '90s alt-radio, '00s indie rock. The secret tension on Toss Up, the engine that drives these songs: melody propelled by rhythm, melancholy fended off by the exuberance of simply creating art.
'Tape Recorder' is the second album from Nashville's Lionlimb, the project of Stewart Bronaugh and Joshua Jaeger. The record is a collection of six tracks written by Bronaugh after their second European tour in the fall of 2016, primarily on piano in Columbia University practice rooms. After having collaborated with a friend who played cello, the Bronaugh and Jaeger began expanding into scoring music for violins and bass clarinet. Having been the first time he scored music by hand, Bronaugh looked to 70's minimalist composers for research. After recording the entire album live, the resulting six tracks of 'Tape Recorder' are reflective, soulful, and based around the themes of love, loss, heartache, friends, and family. Bronaugh recalls an incident that inspired the album's title track, 'Tape Recorder,' from his youth when a friend of his collapsed during gym class and went into a 2 week-long coma due to a heart condition. His teacher told everyone to make cassette tapes of themselves singing songs to help him wake up. This ended up being one of the experiences that inspired Bronaugh to continue writing music as a means of connecting, healing, and having hope. On the flip side, songs like 'Clover' on the album also deal with some of the struggles that come with writing music, such as experiencing self-doubt, isolation, obsession, and competition. The minimal, bare-bones live recording of the album and collaborative orchestration of the music give 'Tape Recorder' a deeply personal and tangible beauty.
The long-awaited return of Brooklyn's Beach Fossils, Somersault showcases a band in bloom. Charting into new musical territory with a refined songwriting style, it's an album that captures flashes of life in New York grounded in personal experience.
As the band's first release on Dustin Payseur's new label Bayonet Records, which he co-owns with wife Kate Garcia - the group made the most of their newfound independence, investing ample time in expanding its range both musically and lyrically. While Payseur handled the bulk of the songwriting duties in the past, Somersault is a true collaboration between the founding member and bandmates, Jack Doyle Smith and Tommy Davidson. Augmented with more complex instrumentation, including string arrangements, piano, harpsichord, flute, and sax, the new songs offer multi-layered pop guided by sharp, poignant, and honest lyrics.
Orchestral pop gem "Saint Ivy" shines with plucked strings, buoyant basslines and a propulsive, wayward, guitar. "Tangerine", a driving, tightly wound melody, rushes forward and briefly leaves the ground due to the gossamer guest vocals of Slowdive's Rachel Goswell. The cloudy, wistful "Social Jetlag," bustling with samples of crowded streets, features the type of candid, off-the-cuff lyrics that make the entire effort immediately illuminating.
Somersault evokes the laid-back mood of a warm, breezy city night, the air crackling with humidity and excitement. These songs pulse and pull, capturing a blend of promise and heartache. It's beautiful and layered, a refined, sweeping creation that threads together numerous styles, textures, and themes into a refreshing, singular vision.
Collection of self-recorded covers of songs by Frankie Cosmo's friends.
Warehouse is a five piece band from Atlanta, GA. The band formed while many of its members were attending school for various useless degrees. Taking inspiration from the 1980's Athens, GA scene (Pylon, R.E.M., The B-52's) and having a mutual taste for bands like Stereolab and Abstract Expressionist visual art, they quickly took on a post-punk style characterized by the spidery and interlocking guitar riffs of Alex Bailey and Ben Jackson, filled by the effortless drums of Doug Bleichner and the agile racing bass riffs of Josh Hughes. The full and textural sound provides a unique body for vocals, added by Elaine Edenfield, whose lyrics can be described as sidewinding and oblique, oscillating quickly between melodicism and contrary roughness, using vocals as more of a physical tool of expression than as a glossy harmony to the sound. Warehouse can be described as breathlessly fast-paced, conveying a deep sense of desired intensity and emotionality.
Warehouse's first album Tesseract was self-released in 2014 and later re-released under Bayonet Records. Their new album super low is more concise continuation of Tesseract, while still carrying the prior album's organic and wildly sprawling nature. Largely written in a notorious punk house that was torn down to build a parking garage, the album was finished in a new environment: across from a food mart called super low. The title connotes stark change, but it also hints at the additional psychological undertones of the album's meaning, to move down into more darkly subconscious and deeply endogenous areas of yourself in order to work through them and out. Also contrastingly literal, it denotes Warehouse's self-evident, uncontrived and rough-around-the-edges nature.
From Los Angeles-based artist Lucas Nathan, Jerry Paper is a highly caricatured, stranger, and less-categorizable representation of his Self - fulfilling his need for a subversive outlet and catharsis, in general. Jerry's songs thematically deal with matters of loneliness, transcendence, war mongering and existential contemplations, all delivered with subtle humor.
The latest full-length from Jerry Paper is Toon Time Raw! sees itself as a a continuation of Nathan's of amoebic mission. Whereas his previous seven albums featured him alone - with his synthesizer, drum machine, and the occasional guitar - this new record features backing instrumentation from Easy Feeling Unlimited, a jazz band who have asked to remain anonymous. Though the synth sax has been traded for real brass, it's still the same Jerry songwriting.
Toon Time Raw! is a metamorphosis of Jerry's style that nonetheless retains his characteristic wit and sentimentality. Musically, the album fills the space somewhere between jazz-rock, sophisti-pop, and psychedelia. Lyrically, the album follows a cast of anthropomorphic animals navigating their cartoon reality, facing "the quotidian aches and pains of being a Being." Can you imagine if Martin Heidegger created Looney Tunes? Jerry already did.
Greta Kline's musical output as Frankie Cosmos exemplifies the generation of musicians born out of online self-releasing. Kline initially built a reputation with her prolific catalog of bedroom recordings and as a performer and advocate of New York's All Ages DIY scene. The beauty in Kline's writing does not lie within immense statements and large gestures, but instead can be found in her ability to examine situations and relationships with heartbreaking sincerity. In 2014 Kline released her first studio album, Zentropy. Within months of its release, Zentropy became one of the most critically acclaimed independent albums of the year and was named New York Magazine's #1 Pop album of 2014.
In 2015 Kline signed to Bayonet Records, immediately releasing an EP where she experimented with writing in an electronic setting. The EP Fit Me In was well received and garnered a Best New Track from Pitchfork. Kline then began recording her next album appropriately titled, Next Thing. Like Zentropy, Kline approached Next Thing by fleshing out several old home recordings, and by writing half of the album from scratch. Next Thing explores new emotional and instrumental territory for Kline, and is slated for release April 1st on Bayonet Records.
'Shoo' is the debut album from Lionlimb, the project of songwriter Stewart Bronaugh and drummer Joshua Jaeger. The record is a collection of songs Bronaugh wrote between 2012 and 2015 while living in Chicago, San Francisco, and Nashville. After returning from an Australian tour playing guitar and drums in Angel Olsen's band, Lionlimb began recording 'Shoo' in 2015 with Robin Eaton. Bronaugh and Jaeger started by tracking live drums and piano, and then for weeks Bronaugh filled up reel after reel, layering compulsively over their recordings. In the spring, Bronaugh and Eaton began the task of peeling away the layers. The resulting sessions proved to be a departure from the duo's previous recordings with a shift toward jazz, rock andsoul with the addition of saxophone and Fender rhodes. The album's influences can be traced back to Miles Davis' 'On the Corner', Jack London, Schumann, Elliott Smith, and Jackson Pollock.
NYC native Greta Kline began writing songs under the pseudonym Frankie Cosmos in late 2011. Kline's songs are short and melodic, each poetically telling her story. Her songwriting is inspired in part by Arthur Russell, Connie Converse and poet Frank O'Hara.
Unstoppably prolific, Kline began self-releasing a steady stream of home recorded albums on Bandcamp. In 2013, Kline began to focus more on performing and recording with the help of her newly formed 4 piece band. Kline's years of songwriting and production culminated in the recording of her first studio album Zentropy, released in 2014. Her debut was met with critical acclaim, gaining her a Rising feature from Pitchfork and ranking as the #1 album of the year by New York Magazine.
Frankie Cosmos' upcoming EP, Fit Me In, is a one-off experiment in "fitting" Kline's songwriting into an electronic sound, characteristic of current pop culture. The EP is a collaboration with Aaron Maine of Porches, who produced the songs using mostly electronic equipment in place of the live band instrumentation. Frankie Cosmos' forthcoming album will be the first made with all four current band members and is slated for release from Bayonet Records in 2015.
Laced was formed in Brooklyn, NY by Dustin Payseur (Beach Fossils), Ian Judd (Couple Skate Records), and Ryan Naideau (Warthog, Nude Beach) in late 2013. Combining moments of dissonance with intricate melodies, Laced draws from the ethos of jazz, hardcore punk and psychedelic music to create an aggressive yet harmonious sound. In the summer of 2015, Laced hooked up with friend Mac DeMarco to produce of their self-titled debut EP at his home studio on the beach, Jizz Jazz. The EP is slated for release October 30, 2015 on Payseur's own Bayonet Records.
Lionlimb is Nashville native Stewart Bronaugh's recently resurrected project. Originally started in 2010, the project was put on hold as Bronaugh worked as a day laborer in Chicago and San Francisco before making his return to the Midwest. It was then that he began collaborating with drummer and so-called "intuitive dogmatist" Joshua Jaeger. Shortly thereafter, the two joined Angel Olsen's backing band both on tour and on her seismic Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014). The recent revival of Lionlimb exhibits a thematic shift which includes jazz elements and Bowie-esque guitar arrangements, complemented by Bronaugh's effortless vocals. With Jaeger on drums and production by Nashville's Robin Eaton, the upcoming Turnstile EP will be Lionlimb's first official release, out on Bayonet this September.
Red Sea is a group raised in the sugar-coated bubble heartlands of Northern Metropolitan Atlanta. After an extended period of musical experimentationwith other various groups and by virtue of agreeing aesthetic values, social and geographic proximity, the current members, Kyle, Mick, Patrick and Stephen coalesced circa 2009. As of late, their influences are said to have stemmed from tropicalia, funk, classical and gamelan music. Red Sea's latest EP, In The Salon, showcases its taste through a bricolage of pop tracks, all of which were recorded live with electric guitars, synthesizers, bass and drums. The boys sing words that humor auto-suggestive techniques over synthi-mutant ballads & fragmented rhythms which emulate the digitally contrived worlds of sound that they create.
Brought together by their elementary school band, Ben Jackson and Alex Bailey ended up swapping their trombones for guitar. After playing together throughout high school, the two parted ways when Alex went to study in San Francisco and Ben stayed in their native Atlanta, befriending vocalist Elaine Edenfield and drummer Doug Bleichner along the way. The adolescent bandmates were later reunited at a house party. Warehouse is the result.
Now joined by bassist Josh Hughes, of Stevie Dinner, the five-piece band finds its inspirations in Brazil's Bossa Nova and Tropicalia movements. Warehouse even received a shout-out from Bradford Cox, of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound, in his "Best of 2013" list for Pitchfork. Their debut album Tesseract is a slight departure from some of their earlier new wave material, and highlights more classic rock elements, matched by Elaine's guttural vocals.