The new Calvin Johnson album A Wonderful Beast [KLP269] is an experiment in sound. Using the theory "Rock'n'roll Will Never Die" as a starting point, Calvin entered the Audio Eagle Studio in Nashville, TN. Working closely with Producer Patrick Carney and Chief Engineer Marc Whitmore, the team tested the resiliency of such time honored materials as the electric guitar, modular synthesizer and trap drum kit, combining them in various ratios with elements like musical chords A, C and Dm. The results are a Frankenstein's monster of an album, A Wonderful Beast. Michelle Branch, who score many hits in the early double-0 decade as a solo artist and as a member of the Wreckers and lives next door to Audio Eagle, provides back-up harmony vocals on three songs. Following in the tradition of such Brill Building songwriting teams as Leiber-Stoller, Greenwich-Barry and Goffin-King, all the songs on A Wonderful Beast are a collaboration between Calvin Johnson and Patrick Carney. Carney, best known for his work as a member of the Akron, OH powerhouse The Black Keys, established Audio Eagle to further exactly this type of rock'n'roll workshoping, allowing the music and songwriting of NOW to rocket launched into the FUTURE.
C Average emerged onto the Olympia independent rock scene in 1996, pummeling the senses of onlookers. For over two decades, their sonic onslaught of medieval riffs and crazed pounding drums has commanded the stage and stereo. Among the universe's great mysteries is how a mere two-piece could generate such a powerful, magical noise. Many have also wondered what C Average could create, if they combined forces with other powerful wizards. Triumphantly, we wonder no more, with the addition of Olivia Love (lead vocals) and John Boyce (bass). Creating a larger canvas and a more magnificently and elaborately illustrated soundscape, C Average embark on a voyage through the stars and beyond. Passage requires only a willingness to unlock your imagination. To simply call "III" a "Space Rock Opera" would be a disservice. With methodical and refined songwriting, C Average compose a dynamic body of music that leaves the listener discovering something new with each spin. Like a secret scroll, hidden messages are decoded and deciphered.
"American Nudism or Gabriel Gutierrez is the former front person of Lysol. Done with starving on tour in the American underground he has settled in Olympia where he can bathe in synthesized chocolate syrup." "too much change in too short a time. Can you tell what’s real or unreal? Science fiction becomes future truisms "Vroomvroom" says the philosopher Change is a cop And he's an action machine."3 tracks 45RPM
Understanding, Mirah's 6th full length solo record, is a conscientious return to her early unconventional recording process - an embrace of spirited imperfection and rawness inclusive of rough first takes, natural room sounds, and a fair amount of broken equipment. Bathed in the sparkles of disco ball light, Mirah recorded demos with vocals, guitar, organ, and percussion in a former army barracks gymnasium at The Headlands Center for the Arts, where she spent four weeks as an artist in residence.
Once home in Brooklyn, Mirah teamed up with her frequent co-producer Eli Crews (tUnE-yArDs, The Julie Ruin, Son Lux) and invited Deerhoof's Greg Saunier to join them in the studio. The collaboration sparked new textures and ideas. Building on top of Mirah's vibrant original tracks, they used midi to transform a marimba into a distorted farfisa melody, drastically lowered the pitch of vocals until they morphed into sub-bass lines, and added layers of distinct timbres from Crews' extensive vintage synth collection, a mellotron, and an 80's era Soviet drum machine.
Written and recorded in a time of political and personal upheaval - family illness and the death of a dear friend - Mirah (one of the best lyricists of our indie rock generation) uses her sharp intellect, empathy, and a measure of levity to shine a light on the world around us and the ways of our own hearts, showing us that understanding is what we all need a little more of.
Understanding is the third release on Mirah's own imprint, Absolute Magnitude Recordings.
Vinyl-only instrumental and dub raw. You may need a special tool to carve a deeper groove in your turntable or jukebox in order to play this rhythm method by Dub Narcotic Sound System. Makes your nose bleed. On beyond stomp. Lopsided version galore.
The Rhythm Record Vol. One Echoes from the Scene Control Room [KLP045] album was recorded at many of the same 1994-'95 Dub Narcotic Studio sessions as the Dub Narcotic Sound System debut Boot Party [KLP049], with many of the same participants. It's an all-instrumental affair, heavily dominated by Calvin Johnson's trademark melodica (which is still being deployed throughout his contemporary Selector Dub Narcotic experiments). Featured players include members of Dub Narcotic Sound System and other K combos of the time like Wandering Lucy and Kicking Giant, augmented by Olympia residents and visitors from as far away as New York City and Tokyo, Japan.
This album was originally released in 1995; it has been unavailable since 1999. Recently remastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering it has a fresh, echoplasmic sheen of bass and drum beat rhyme. Although still vinyl-only, there will be a digital version of the album available for download or streaming through the usual suspects.
Sundial began as a special project Mirah was asked to do for the BRIC Arts/Media House in Brooklyn in 2016. She immediately contacted longtime friend and collaborator Jherek Bishoff to work on creating string arrangements for some of her songs for this special performance. Following the project the two decided to tour the songs with a string quartet. Never one to do things in the normal order, it was only after the shows were over that it dawned on Mirah to make a record of all this beautiful stuff. With the exception of "Sundial" each of these songs has appeared on a previous recordings, now with new breath breathed into them by the unique and varied arrangements. The 7 song e.p. is being released as a limited edition 12" clear vinyl record.
Young Pioneers - Dusting off their spurs, poised to release their long awaited debut LP High Again on K. Veterans of the NW underground, Young Pioneers formed in Olympia's nascent punk scene during the early '80s. They've not lost their gift as masters of the dark art of post-punk pop psychedelia, welding wicked melody into pop hooks. They beat a mean tambourine. Leather jackets and a pompadour; studs and eye make up; Young Pioneers have created a massive sound layering the guitar organ drumbeat.
Two lovers entwined in grief, having a party.It's a cool party,There's streamers thereMichel Gaubert is thereHate rock minimalism In a loving gaze"I'm always teetering on the edge"No drug metaphorsNo call backsFrankie has been so depressedWilliam Eggleston sends you a birthday cardIts 2016 all your idols are dead.Buy a new record.This one is 9 tracks 33rpm
The debut album by Selector Dub Narcotic is an exercise in ecstatic genre-smashing, blending and up-ending. Calvin Johnson of the K label and such Olympia combos as Dub Narcotic Sound System, Beat Happening, Halo Benders and most recently The Hive Dwellers has been working under the nom de plume Selector Dub Narcotic since founding the Dub Narcotic Studio in 1993. This Party Is just Getting Started is a collaboration with NW hip hop producer Smoke M2D6, who first began working with K producing the All Your Friend's Friends [KLP255] compilation. As a member of the Oldominion crew Smoke M2D6 has produced almost every major hip hop artist in Washington and Oregon. This Party Is just Getting Started began with the song "All for the Sake of Rhymin'" (which samples K artist Mahjongg) and snowballed into an entire album of dance pop garage soul with Calvin's trademark melodica wafting overall.
in dust we trust.never never nver ner nr going to dieskip rest repeatdoesmoving past an edgemake us undead?driven by a mechanical beastpast the chaos of rockconstrainted past volition underworld on loopdance game on lockbloodless brechtian bopnever never never never going to die
"I've done everything myself. Every sound is mine, every synthesizer, every melody, every beat," says Isabel Fernandez Reviriego, who is releasing Adieu Or Die under her pseudonym, Aries. It isn't simply notable anymore that someone is their own band, overdubbing over and over, but in the case of Aries, we have music that is so thickly and sturdily constructed, through layer upon meticulous layer, it becomes not just a marvel of sound, but one of craft.
Aries' music is densely melodic, like echoes of the American west coast in the 1960s coming through the Spanish radio waves. On "En el Oceano" her voice twists around itself like a stick of Twizzlers licorice. Amidst all the synthesizers, drum machines, buzzes and whirrs, the most prominent, playful, melancholy, important piece pasting everything together is Reviriego's voice, light and dancing in circles around every song. On Adieu Or Die, she says, "someone disintegrates, while the world disintegrates around him or her." But there is something beautiful in the way things fall apart, in the way that things die. Aries lives in that nook, comfortable and warm.
Silas Blak is a unique force in Seattle's hip-hop scene, spitting complex bars about subjects that rappers seldom approach, let alone attack head-on. Known for his work in formative Pacific Northwest groups Blak Stax, Silent Lambs Project, & Blind Council, Blak remains a valued member of the region's hip-hop community. Since teaming up with Cabin Games Records in 2014, the veteran MC has wasted no time in unleashing a barrage of new material. Blak's work at the 'Cabin' began with the weekly-song series titled #BlakFriday, which has garnered praise from national blogs such as The Source, Okayplayer, School of Hip-Hop, and many more. "This mixtape is my first solo in a minute. The playing field has changed but the craft stays the same and I wanted to evolve without making up shit or co-opting the struggle," Blak said in reference to #BlakFriday, which will be released as a two-part mixtape during summer 2015. Editorials (War Tunes) is the title of Silas Blak's first full studio album with Cabin Games, and will be released on October 30th, 2015. The album will feature Blak's signature energy, lyricism and style over the crisp productions of Cabin Games in-house Producer Kjell Nelson.
Better to light a match.Than fear the dark.Burning the negativeSoftly.Lye in your wounds and allow spiritual drifting.How do you pronounce Nietzsche?What is the Mise En Scene of two Olympia drifters dusting their wayThrough experimental pop ballads without forgetting to add rave beats?They wrote me something on a cocktail napkin. something about lipstick and hard cuts (?).A treatise if you could read it. 11 Tracks. 33RPM.
Created in 2010 by vocalist/guitarist Jem Marie as a solo project, the Ghost Ease evolved into a Portland, OR-based three-piece with the addition of drummer Nsayi Matingou in 2012 and bassist Laurence Vidal in 2014. The Ghost Ease's woozy and vivid self-titled debut was released on Talking Helps in 2013 before the trio partnered with Cabin Games for the powerful/seething Quit Yer Job EP (May 2015) and upcoming Steve Fisk-recorded full-length - aptly titled RAW - due out September 2015. RAW is simultaneously heavy and ethereal like an amethyst raincloud. The 10 tracks ebb and flow from softened layers of melody to frenetic shreds of distortion. Matingou's drumming moves nimbly while Vidal's bass ensures the album's swirling moments crash comfortably into the angular grunge freakouts. The dreamy intensity of Marie's guitar sounds are neatly woven around her voice. Her lilting cadence casts the album's moods like spells. From the tuneful crusher "PJM" to the swelling of "Gemini Rise" and the majestic piano of "Bye, Love," RAW embodies its name.
Angelo Spencer's third album is his most danceable work so far. Written and recorded in ChambÃ©ry, France, in the heart of the Alps over the course of a week in February 2014.
With the help of old friends and amazing musicians Luc Detraz (Imperial Tiger Orchestra) and Karol Skonitcki (Super Fedor), Love In The Morning (KLP256) is a short, precise, and undeniably groovy love affair! With repurposed autotune and raw, uncompressed sound recorded by Djan (the man behind the Larsen Records sound), the album is minimal yet so full.
Mike Kunka taking the extremes of godheadSilo to another level: two basses, still no guitar. A provocative collaboration with Zach Sally and Danny Sasaki that rages into quieter moments and then spreads wide. Cinematic textures. Colorful bruises.
"In my book, one of the sharpest young intellectuals we have out there." - Dr. Michael Eric Dyson
ISSKOOTSIK (Before Here Was Here) is the debut album from author, activist, attorney, and Native American spoken-word artist Gyasi Ross. A forceful collection ranging from historical facts to dreams of love and death and loathing, featuring Slug of ATMOSPHERE, Abiodun Oyewole of THE LAST POETS, and Northwest Independent music legend STEVE FISK, as well as traditional Native American performances from NAKOA HEAVYRUNNER and SACRED WATER.
Gyasi comes from both the Blackfeet and Suquamish Indian Nations and has gained visibility nationally through frequent network television appearances and regular contributions to Huffington Post, Gawker, Deadspin and Indian Country Today.
ALL YOUR FRIEND'S FRIENDS is a seminal Northwest Hip-Hop compilation album produced entirely off of samples pulled from the K catalogue. Featuring over 30 of the most unique MCs from the region including members of mega-crews Oldominion and the Sandpeople, the album also introduces a host of hidden talent from OLYMPIA, WA - K's sonic stomping ground.
Recorded at K's own Dub Narcotic Studios, The Shivas' fourth LP will have you on your feet. With all of the fierce energy and body shakin' that The Shivas are known for, You Know What To Do (KLP252) encapsulates that, and much more. Recorded and mixed on tape by Calvin Johnson, it is an apt follow-up to WHITEOUT (KLP242), and features the title track of The Shivas, "You Make Me Wanna Die 7" EP" (IPU143) released last April. Amongst the 13 tracks of the album, you can glance the many faces of the The Shivas' musical style. From the blistering heat of tracks like "Old Lightning Rod" to the cool groove of "Ride On", the record also touches down into the slower tempos on tracks such as the deeply psychedelic "Let It Happen To You". This is The Shivas record we have all been waiting for, so don't hesitate, you know what to do.
Coming a long way from her debut album, Pith (KLP239), Ruby Fray's upcoming release Grackle (KLP251) blends Americana sweetness with sludgy dissonance. Helmed by Emily Beanblossom, the band teamed up with Pith producder, Ben Hargett, to record the album at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA. Their newest recording preserves the playful jangly genre-bouncing enervation found in their previous work while insisting on a more disciplined approach to songwriting.
The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints (KLP254), ventures softly into the cool, dark whisper of the haunted south. Short, tight spun rhymes about silver quarters and vampires come from a late evening session in a small pink house in south Alabama, located next to an old Native American mound of shells and bones, recorded at low volume with red eyes and open windows. This is the 4th Halloween dance party long player the haints have cut for K.
On her fifth solo album, Mirah breaks it down and builds it back up again with the street smarts that only years behind the wheel of love can inspire. Ready with the maps and driven to the rhythms on the radio dial, Changing Light's ten songs carry us from heartbreak to wholeness and all the places in between.
On their second album the Hive Dwellers make with a low, wailing expression of sorrow (or suffering). Moanin' [KLP249] is a collection of field recordings made at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. It's a noisy pop runaway freight train that stirs the blues soul rockin' of their debut album Hewn from the Wilderness [KLP241] to a new beat music recipe. The Hive Dwellers' Calvin, Gabriel and Evan have toured across the United States and left a wake of frug and shimmy shines that won't be forgotten any time soon. You beat the tambourine to "Streets of Olympia Town" in Knoxville; stomped the floorboards to "Montgomery Hammer" in Buffalo; knocked a heady bongo to "Baby Be Mine" in Oakland. C'mon, join in Moanin' for a while.
Originally released in 1994 The Halo Benders - God Don't Make No Junk (KLP029) is made available again on vinyl.
Out of the basement rock n' rule that is Dub Narcotic Studio comes the angel noise from the comet's tail. Doug Martsch (Built To Spill, Treepeople visted Olympia from his home in Boise, Idaho, bringing a guitar and other battered ideas. Calvin Johnson sang and played along. Other Boisians in exile like Ralf Youtz (ex Built to Spill, Sone) and Wayne Flower (Treepeople, Violent Green) contributed to the melee. Steve Fisk played some keyboards through ancient amplifers and helped sort out the whole mess at the mixing console. This is interstellar punk/pop overdrive. Bending brainwaves and calling it art. Knocking icicles down, melting angels all over town. Heaven sent with halo bent."...rompingly funky bloke-indie stu with a certain irresistible elasticity." - Time Out
" ...an utterly disarming 33-minute mix of basement jamming, attic inspirations, and rec room sound" - The Stranger