We couldn’t be more pleased to announce that singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Craftwill release his label debut, Dolls of Highland, worldwide April 29th on Sub Pop Records. The twelve track album features singles “Lady of the Ark,” “Eye of the Hurricane,” “Future Midcity Massacre,” and “Black Mary”.
You can listen to lead track “Lady of the Ark” right here, right now.
Billboard says of Kyle Craft and “Lady of the Ark”: “Craft admits his voice sounds a good deal like Bob Dylan’s, and that his muse has come to him many, many times. Still, “Lady of the Ark” hints that Craft’s music is so full of its own weird singularity that he’s on to something far beyond idol worship (see news story Thursday, February 4th).”
Kyle Craft has scheduled a hometown show on Sunday, February 7th at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon. There will be additional tour dates announced shortly.
The album was written, recorded and produced by Craft, mixed by Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel of The Helio Sequence at the Old Jantzen Building in Portland, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.
Dolls of Highland Tracklisting 1. Eye of a Hurricane 2. Balmorhea 3. Berlin 4. Lady of the Ark 5. Gloom Girl 6. Trinidad Beach (Before I Ride) 7. Future Midcity Massacre 8. Black Mary 9. Pentecost 10. Dolls of Highland 11. Jane Beat the Reaper 12. Three Candles
About Kyle Craft: Kyle Craft grew up in a tiny Louisiana town on the banks of the Mississippi, where he spent most of his time catching alligators and rattlesnakes instead of playing football or picking up the guitar. He’s not the born product of a musical family, and bands never came through town–it was only a chance trip to K-Mart that gave him his first album, a David Bowie hits compilation that helped inspire him eventually to channel his innate feral energy into songwriting and rock and roll.
That self-made talent drives every note of Dolls of Highland, Craft’s exhilarating, fearless solo debut. “This album is the dark corner of a bar,” he says. “It’s that feeling at the end of the night when you’re confronted with ‘now what?’”
Craft knows the feeling well–Dolls began to take shape when everything he took for granted was suddenly over, including an eight-year relationship. “All of a sudden I was left with just me for the first time in my adult life,” he says. He decided to get himself and the music he’d been working on far away from the ghosts of his home in Shreveport, Louisiana, to make a new life for himself in Portland, Oregon, living under a friend’s pool table while he demoed new songs and started to tackle his own question about what came next.
Dolls of Highland crashes open with “Eye of a Hurricane,” a whirlwind of ragtime piano and Craft’s dynamic, enthralling vocals. He calls it a “jealous song,” stirred up by the memories of an ill-fated crush and a drama of “weird little connections, a spider web of what the fuck?”
The swinging, resonant “Lady of the Ark” is also tied up in that web, “a very incestuous song,” says Craft. “It’s about these messed up relationships, maybe involving me, maybe revolving around me.” Most of the characters and atmospheres on the album come from in and around Shreveport, where Craft briefly returned while recording the album for an intensely productive reckoning with his past. He stayed in a friend’s laundry room in the Highland neighborhood, where he recorded the whole album in two months on a home studio rig. “I dedicated the album to Shreveport and called it Dolls of Highland for all the girls and ghosts in town who influenced it so strongly.”
Craft eventually returned to Portland where Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel of The Helio Sequence helped refine and mix the album to move it from its DIY beginnings to a more fully realized work. Craft played most of the instruments on the album, but the recorded songs transmit the power of his live performance. “It’s just letting go,” says Craft. “I think it’s just all about feeling it in your chest.”
And then there’s Craft’s unforgettable voice–”I’m fully aware that I have a very abrasive, very loud voice, but Bob Dylan is the one that taught me to embrace that,” says Craft. “I stray away from him from time to time, but always come back. I don’t want to come off as antique, but I also don’t want to be afraid of paying homage to the stuff I’ve always loved.” With those influences as inspiration, Craft’s talent and singular creativity move the conversation into new and unpredictable places.
And no question, this album is very much about moving forward. “After everything fell apart, it didn’t take very long for me to learn who I was and what I should be doing,” says Craft, who is walking out on the other side with Dolls of Highland.
Mass Gothic’s self-titled debut is out tomorrow! The group will kick-off their 2016 headlining tour in support of the album, with a show tonight, Thursday, February 4th in Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda’s. Tour ends on March 19th in Austin at SXSW. Support for the tour (February 4th -25th) will come from fellow NYC band Mazed (Autre Ne Veut affiliates, ex-Bear in Heaven, Zambri). Scroll down for all the dates.
The band recently shared an official video for “Every Night You’ve Got To Save Me”, the iridescent lead single. The exuberant visual, directed by Addison Post (Colleen Green, Solvey), follows group members Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri on a night out in Manhattan (watch it here).
Mass Gothic and tourmates Mazed have also teamed up to release “March of the Cigs” / “Ronette,” a 7” split-single.
Mass Gothic’s “March of the Cigs” is featured on the A-side, and was produced by the band, mixed by Chris Coady, mastered by Greg Calbi. Meanwhile Mazed’s “Ronette” is on the B-side, and was produced by the group, with additional engineering by Rick Kwan, mixing by the group and Josh Ascalon, and mastered by Joe LaPorta.
You can listen to both songs now via Mass Gothic’s Bandcamp page (with Mazed’s “Ronette” also available for download). Listen here.
What people are saying about Mass Gothic:
“Don’t let the name Mass Gothic trick you into thinking the record is a spiral into sadsackism. Each song carries its own weight unreliant and wholly different from the track that came before it, creating a collection of different modes of music and feeling. Songs like “Nice Night” carry an unwavering heaviness and compliment the reflective nature of the lyrics, while the track “Territory” creates a variety of different electronic textures that all stay dancy and catchy. The record is a trip into a variety of different vibes and reasons to listen to music, forming into a wholly memorable and engaging listen. It warps what you think pop, rock, and punk can do when bleeding into each other, one song to the next.” - Noisey
“The four-minute clip follows Heroux as he wanders Chinatown, the East Village, and SoHo, karaoke mic in hand, lip-syncing to the track and going nowhere in particular. Along for the ride are his bandmate (and wife) Jessica Zambri, some random passerby, a few cab drivers, and Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman…The laid-back feel of the video matches the content (if not the upbeat sound) of the song, which covers Heroux’s feelings of alienation and depression when he was making music that didn’t resonate within. Mass Gothic is an honest record, and its lead single needed an honest video where Heroux could exhale and act naturally” [“Every Night You’ve…” video] - Village Voice
“Noel Heroux started off working alone on a four-track, and after nine years and mild success with his old band, dance-rockers Hooray for Earth, he’s gone back to the way he used to do things. This became a necessity, really — a way of dealing with his depression — but the results capture something quintessential about the emotional experience at hand: There are definite highs, and there are definite lows on his self-titled debut as Mass Gothic for Sub Pop. Sometimes Heroux, who’s accompanied at turns by his wife Jessica Zambri, sounds like he’s trying to kick down the doors of his own brain with the sheer force of distorted riffs and heavy echoes and sharp turns. Other times, he’s just trying to shake off the bad stuff with a dance party where the playlist’s almost exclusively synth-pop.” [ 20 Artists You need To Know in 2016] - Vulture
“Tracks such as the exhilarating “Nice Night” - layered stinging distortion - offer a cathartic energy that’s it’s hard not to be pulled in by. Other highlights include the crisp modern doo-wop of “Every Night You’ve Got To Save Me” and the pulsating digital clatter of “Want To Bad”. The sound of a man finding freedom, it’s an impressive reincarnation.” - Q Magazine
Tour Dates Feb. 04 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s* Feb. 05 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop* Feb. 06 - Chicago, IL - Schuba’s Tavern* Feb. 08 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry* Feb. 11 - Boise, ID – Neurolux* Feb. 12 - Seattle, WA - Columbia City Theatre* Feb. 13 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar* Feb. 14- San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop* Feb. 16 - Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg* Feb. 18 - Denver, CO - Lost Lake* Feb. 19 - Kansas City, MO - Riot Room* Feb. 21 - Louisville, KY – Zanzabar* Feb. 22 - Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub* Feb. 23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Café* Feb. 25 - Allston, MA - Great Scott* Feb. 26 - Providence, RI - Columbus Theatre* Feb. 27 - Brooklyn, NY – Palisades* Mar. 10 - Washington, DC - Black Cat Mar. 12 - Savannah, GA - Savannah Stopover Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 17 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 18 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 19 - Austin, TX – SXSW *w/ Mazed
What is the Sub Pop Podcast and why did we make it? Furthermore, you may be asking yourself, “What is this ‘Sub’ ‘Pop’ the narrator of this press release keeps throwing at me?!?” You have questions, we have answers. We also have questions. (But we asked ours to the guests of the Sub Pop Podcast. That’s where you and we differ.)
Firstly: Sub Pop Records is the premier medium-sized, Seattle-based record label, and has been (in existence) since 1988. This is what people refer to as “pre-Internet.”
And then secondly: We are herewith launching The Sub Pop Podcast, where you can hear the stories from inside, outside, and adjacent to Sub Pop, straight from the source. You’ll get conversations with our artists, people who work at/with/around Sub Pop, and anyone else willing or gullible enough to talk to us. And don’t forget our sibling label Hardly Art. They get props, too.
Here’s why a podcast. It’s time to tell the Sub Pop story in our own way. But we realize the Sub Pop story is a fractally diverging, untamed thing that can’t properly be approached from just one viewpoint or in a strictly linear fashion. Everyone we’ve ever been involved with has their own “Sub Pop story,” and that’s how we’re choosing to tell it: through the people in our past, present, and maybe even future. The podcast is the perfect vehicle to try to contain this sprawl in a (we think) entertaining way. And just like Sub Pop itself, the podcast will certainly change as it grows(“certainly”because, on the 1 to 10 “we know what we’re doing” scale, we’re currently registering at about 2, *maybe* 2.5).
And let’s get this straight: When we say “we” are making a podcast (and we’ve been saying that a lot), we mean actual real people who really actually work at Sub Pop Records are making it. It’s produced and hosted by Alissa Atkins (long-time and indispensable Sub Pop employee) and Arwen Nicks (recently hired, no less indispensable). We even constructed a “studio” in a broom closet out of discarded blankets, secondhand burlap, and maybe a microphone or two. So you know we’re serious.
Here are the key facts on the ground: we’re releasing the first TWO episodes today, and until around the beginning of April 2016 we’re releasing a new episode every Wednesday. Once that process is finished we’re going to get a second season together and start this whole process over again.
So Pitted’s previously announced tour schedule for 2016 spans February 19th in Seattle at Everyday Music and now ends March 20th in Austin for SXSW. Highlights include: February 25th in San Francisco at Noise Pop (at Brick & Mortar Music Hall with The Thermals); and a European tour March 4th-12th. (See dates below.)
Sub Pop will release neo on CD / LP / DL worldwide on February 19th, 2016. The album, featuring the highlights “rot in hell”, “holding the void”, and “feed me”, was co-produced & mixed by So Pitted & Dylan Wall and recorded at The Old Fire House, Media Lab, Spruce Haus, the band’s practice space and Tastefully Loud in Seattle. neo was also engineered by Wall at Tastefully Loud and mastered by Eric Boulanger at The Bakery in Los Angeles.
So Pitted’s neo is now available for preorder from Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and Google Play. LP preorders of neo through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser”edition on white vinyl. There will also be a time-limited edition T-shirt, hand-bleached by So Pitted, that will be available only during pre-order; also available with LP and CD bundles (during pre-order only).
More about So Pitted’s neo: These eleven tracks are lean and snarling rebukes, torch songs not in the traditional, unrequited-love sense, but songs thatwilltorch your fucking house down. Screams and howls overtake chants and muttering, equal parts dejection, rejection, and convection, the hot, muggy air circling continuously. It’s fuzzy, angular, throbbing, and pounding, and still, ingrained in the songs by their makers, breathes that catchy quality present in so much of the music they love. Songs like “holding the void,” “rot in hell,” and “woe” crash over and over, turning under themselves like waves, but as the measures tick off, the dog-eared melodies and familiar themes begin to reveal (read more at Sub Pop).
[Photo Credit: Sarah Cass]
What “they” have said about So Pitted:
“Ragged, nonlinear, a little dangerous, “rot in hell” was one of the first tracks So Pitted wrote together, and the video is funny and surreal, featuring a friend of the band playing various band members. It feels like being at home at a basement show, ready to hit your head on a low ceiling bringing your amp down the stairs, buzzing with a little bit of nausea and excitement. It burns with the urgency of the music you need to make or you’ll crumple, music you’d be making whether other people heard it or not.” [“rot in hell”] - Impose
“Maddeningly loud, loosely formed, disgusting like a romantic weekend trip down the local sewers.” - DIY
“Snotty, snarling and belligerent.” - Uncut
“It’s grimy and tormented all right, but intent on subverting the many adolescent cliches and connotations that come with grunge.” [“rot in hell”] -The Guardian
“…A raucous, inspiring noise, the buzzsaw melody is matched to wailing feedback - imagine Bikini Kill set against early Mary Chain and you’d probably be in the same ballpark.” [‘rot in hell”] - Clash Music
“…making a name for themselves with a sneery, warped, post-apocalyptic punk sound and wild stage show.” - Brooklyn Vegan
“It’s early in the year to make this sort of claim, but we can say with confidence that in ten months’ time you’ll be looking back on neoas one of 2016’s best debuts, by some distance.” - The Skinny
“So Pitted’s set called to mind Metz, Minutemen, Big Black, Pere Ubu, and Nirvana at their wildest” - FLOOD
“So Pitted are poised to start a riot that’s very much their own.” -Record Collector
“[A] Seattle trio who are basically unmatched in terms of sheer gonzo ingenuity. Live, the band combines anarchic heaps of guitar and childish melodies with plodding, sludgy rhythms. They understand just how powerful their live show is, too” - Portland Mercury
“What’s special and unique about So Pitted is that they not only clench to the demonic punk downpour and logger-heavy rock of the Northwest, but also to the nihilistic musical cannibalism of San Francisco weirdos Chrome and late-’90s San Diego artcore groups like the VSS and the Gravity Records camp. There’s a caustic demo quality to their sound that’s alien and distorted, liquidated to move units at the Gross Out. It’s not only thorny, horny, and repulsive, but angular, tangled and mangled.” - The Stranger
Tour Dates Feb. 19 - Seattle, WA - Everyday Music Feb. 25 - San Francisco, CA - Noise Pop / Brick & Mortar Music Hall* Mar. 04 - Paris, FR - La Mecanique Ondulatoire Mar. 05 - Amsterdam, NL - Butcher’s Tears Mar. 07 - London, UK - Shacklewell Arms Mar. 08 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Games Room Mar. 09 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store Mar. 10 - Lille, UK - La Peniche Mar. 11 -Brussells, BE - Homeplugged Mar. 12 - Berlin, DE - West Germany Mar. 15 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 17 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 18 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 19 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 20 - Austin, TX - SXSW * w/ The Thermals
“Sour Silk” is the newest standout track from New Misery, Cullen Omori’s forthcoming Sub Pop debut coming out on March 18th.
Stereogum had this to say of the track, “Though Omori’s vocals prevail in the forefront of this single, perhaps its most impressive aspect is a backdrop where every component is defined yet bleeds into each other seamlessly. Throughout the entire song, a number of ever-varying guitar parts pan across the plain of his composition, each with its own unique but cohesive sound. Omori constantly adds and subtracts sounds, maintaining his hook without allowing it to go stale. And as soon as you think you’ve pegged his song as smooth and almost psychedelic, Omori adds crunchier, rock-inspired guitar tones plus a goddamn trumpet.
“Remember the scene in Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off where Eddie pretty much combines his entire kitchen in a blender and ends up with a purple sauce that’s somehow delicious? “Sour Silk” is the combination of sounds you weren’t sure could be mixed, blended into a song that sounds both effortless and endlessly faceted (see premiere Tuesday, February 2nd).”
Omori began working on solo material in early 2014 which has now fully materialized as New Misery, a collection of 11 songs building upon his own musical past while reaching towards the future of what guitar rock could be. His songs marry dark yet blissful pop with vocal melodies and hooks that are at once immediate yet demand to be heard again and again.
Omori’s previously announced 4-week spring tour in support of New Misery starts March 24th in Chicago, IL at Lincoln Hall and currently ends April 24th in Toronto, ON at the Horseshoe Tavern. Preceding the tour is a string of midwestern dates this week, beginning February 3rd in Indianapolis at The Hi Fi through February 5th in Champaign, IL at The Accord. Additionally, Cullen will appear at the 2016 edition of SXSW in Austin, Texas. (See dates below.)
[Photo Credit: Alexa Lopez]
More on Cullen Omori:
“I had this overwhelming feeling that perhaps the apex of my life both as a musician and as an individual would be relegated to five years in my late teens/early 20s,” says Cullen Omori, who was launched into the music industry when the Smith Westerns, who started in high school in Chicago, became fast-rising indie stars. “This fear really forced me to work hard as to not see the Smith Westerns as an end but as a point along a bigger trajectory.”
While New Misery grew out of a difficult personal and professional time for Omori, he says the title reflects “not so much the distress that comes with failure, but the troubles and complexities that come with any type of success. No matter what you get you’re going to want more, you’re going to want something different. That’s the catch.”
The title track is a dreamy, resonant reflection on these feelings, but is also a guidepost for Omori’s musical evolution. “The song starts slow and then builds with two solos,” he says. “There’s the guitar solo which is very much a Smith Westerns thing. The next solo is on the keyboard, which is a shift to a lot of what I’m trying to do.” Synths play a much larger role in Omori’s new music than in the Smith Westerns’ guitar-fueled rock, as do a wide range of influences including Roxy Music, INXS, Spiritualized, Wilco, Garbage, Hall & Oates, Kate Bush, U2, and Sparks. There’s also a more deliberate pop streak, inspired by the top-40 radio that would play while Omori worked at a medical supply company cleaning stretchers and wheelchairs.
“There is so much dirt in hospitals and fuzz and lint and dried blood on these things. We’d clean them down, which in a way is kind of therapeutic, and listen to the radio. Then we’d go back to Adam’s (Adam Gil, current live band member) house and record demos for what was to become the skeleton of New Misery. I can’t sit down and say I’m going to write a Sam Smith or an Adele song or whatever. The closest I can get to that is making like this weird hybrid of what I think is a pop song.” The strongest example of this is the new wave-tinged single “Cinnamon,” which Omori describes as “dark pop–it’s poppy, it’s fast, but it also has all the colors and tones that are kind of dark. It’s self-deprecating, which was kind of where I was at emotionally. That, you know, I could have this poppy song or whatever but I don’t think I’m a pop star. I’m closer to thinking I’m a piece of shit than I am a pop star (read more at Sub Pop).
New Misery will be available worldwide on CD / LP / DL/ CASS through Sub Pop Records on March 18th, and is now available for pre-order through Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Bandcamp. LP pre-orders though megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser” edition on clear vinyl with black, white and gold swirls (while supplies last).
The album was recorded by Shane Stoneback (Sleigh Bells, Fucked Up, and Vampire Weekend) at the now defunct Treefort Studios, and was mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, and Bjork) at The Lodge.
What people are saying about Cullen Omori:
“Shimmering beauty” [“Cinnamon”/ “New Music of the Day”] - NME
“It’s bittersweet, blissful pop with an ’80s hue - vocal melodies and hooks that are at once immediate yet demand to be heard again and again. Job well done, Cullen.” [“Cinnamon”] - The 405
“Led by dreamy, glimmering guitars, it takes Smith Westerns’ knack for a poppy hook to the next level.” [“Cinnamon”] -Consequence of Sound
Feb. 03 - Indianapolis, IN - The Hi-Fi Feb. 04 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club Feb. 05 - Champaign, IL - The Accord Mar. 14 - Columbia, MO - Rose Music Hall Mar. 15 - Norman, OK - Opolis Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 17 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 18 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 19- Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 20 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 24 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall Mar. 25 - Madison, WI - High Noon Mar. 26 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry Mar. 28 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge Mar. 29 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge Mar. 30 - Boise, ID - Neurolux Apr. 01 - Seattle, WA - Barboza Apr. 02 - Vancouver, BC - Fortune Sound Club Apr. 03 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Apr. 05 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent Apr. 07 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom Apr. 08 - San Diego, CA - Casbah Apr. 09 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar Apr. 11 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Jr Apr. 12 - Dallas, TX - Prophet Bar Apr. 13 - Houston, TX - Raven Tower Apr. 15 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl Apr. 16 - Nashville, TN - High Watt Apr. 17 - Columbus, OH - The Basement Apr. 18 - DC, Washington - DC9 Apr. 19 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle Apr. 21 - Boston, MA - Great Scott Apr. 22 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom Apr. 23 - Montreal, QC - Le Divan Orange Apr. 24 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern