On February 24th, 2023 Bria will release her follow up EP Cuntry Covers Vol. 2 on LP/CD/DSPs. This six-song EP features the standout covers “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” (Paula Cole), Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) (Loretta Lynn), “When You Know Why You’re Happy” (Mary Margaret O’Hara) and “I Dream A Highway” (Gillian Welch).
“Physical space and environment have greatly informed each iteration of Cuntry Covers” shares Bria Salmena. “With Vol. 1 we had acres of beautiful farmland in summer to explore. With Vol. 2 we had a small apartment in Toronto during the dark winter months that created a kind of claustrophobic creative energy.”
Bria originally heard the lead cover song, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” (Paula Cole) when she was seven on the Women & Songs compilation that was released in 1997. She shares “the song stuck with me – I found Cole’s delivery to be both brooding and chilling. The lyrics all together are confused; discovery, disillusionment, despair. I wanted to make it even more dystopian by turning it into a dreamy dance track. This track became the first song to inspire the “Homage” approach to these covers, embracing the spirit of experimentation. We wanted to stretch this song as far as it would go while honoring the elements of it that make it memorable.” You can watch the official video which was directed by Lunakhods. You can watch the video here.
Bio: As its name suggested, the intimate and sultry Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 was always going to have a follow-up. Led by the brooding vocals of Bria Salmena, Cuntry Covers Vol. 2 is every bit as potent as its predecessor whose noir-inflected alternative country-rock stood in sharp contrast to the singer’s commanding delivery as leader of post-punk revivalists FRIGS. Debuting the project in 2021, the languid, reverb-drenched Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 saw her artfully collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Duncan Hay Jennings and reimagining a carefully picked collection of Americana anthems.
Vol. 2 pushes the envelope further and harder. Encompassing feverish takes on tracks by Gillian Welch, Paula Cole, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Robert Lester Folsom, Glenn Campbell – by way of Nick Cave – and the late, great Loretta Lynn, Bria’s deliciously dark approach shimmers through these six startling songs.
Created during a break from Salmena and Jennings’ work in Orville Peck’s world-conquering backing band, Vol. 2 was recorded directly after Peck’s second album and Bria’s US tour supporting Wolf Alice. Embracing contrast, the sunny circumstances in which Vol. 1 was made were flipped on their head. Instead of a bucolic barn in the Canadian countryside, they recorded the new tracks in chilly Toronto, huddled together in their tiny makeshift home studio, with Jennings at the controls. “There’s a lot of chaotic energy to it, because it’s us cramped in a space where we’re all also working and living during the dead of winter,” explains Salmena, who also enlisted the help of local Toronto musicians Lucas Savatti (FRIGS), Simone Baril (US Girls, The Highest Order, Darlene Shrugg, Partner), Andrew Manktelow, and frequent collaborator Jaime Rae McCuaig.
The intention behind the songs was different this time around too. While Vol. 1 was Bria’s attempt at subverting country music’s conservative roots and primarily white and heterosexual agenda, here the emphasis was on experimentation. The duo purposely split the two sides of the EP, with the A-side acting as more of an homage to the tracks covered, and the B-sides interpretations taking on a more traditional route with the source material. “We wanted to mess with things,” she says. And while Vol. 2 might be less personal, it’s just as idiosyncratic, with half of the reversions staying truthful to the originals and others taken to a different universe entirely.
The opening trio of tracks triumphs at the latter. A double dose of nostalgia can be found in a pumping, synth-led 1990s dance version of “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” originally by US songwriter Paula Cole. Bria’s hypnotic vocals then lead a woozy version of Canadian icon Mary Margaret O’Hara’s jazz ballad “When You Know Why You’re Happy”. “It’s uplifting but there’s also a darkness and somberness to it that really resonated with me,” she says. “I wanted to explore that.” Most innovative of all is their take on Loretta Lynn’s groundbreaking “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”. Recorded before the iconic artist’s recent death, Bria’s punky version drills into the fiery confidence of the song, which topped the country charts in 1967. About marital rape, it was chosen by Bria because of Lynn’s unapologetic approach to such a highly charged subject matter.
Co-producers Salmena and Jennings are more faithful on the flipside. Nick Cave’s doomy version of “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” – which featured on The Bad Seeds’ 1986 covers album Kicking Against The Pricks – is rendered in fittingly apocalyptic style. “We liked the history of the song and we were attracted to Cave’s dark and brooding version. We felt we could honor that well,” she explains. Gillian Welch’s meditative “I Dream A Highway” is similarly mournful, and “See You Later, I’m Gone”, originally by 1970s folk singer Robert Lester Folsom, sees a moment of hopefulness spring from the gothic gloom that precedes it.
Building on the tried-and-true/bold-and-new duality of Cuntry Covers’ first offering, Vol. 2 delivers a deeper dive into the duo’s brilliant alchemy of traditional and contemporary reinterpretations. But it’s the added experimental flourishes, from dizzying electronica and pulsing bass to sax-driven soul, that takes Bria’s new EP into previously uncharted territory, signalling a thrilling new step in this adventurous artist’s evolution.
What people are saying about Bria: “It’s an other-worldly take on the Karen Dalton standard…” [“Green Rocky Road”] - Clash
“Where Dalton’s original is quite lo-fi and scratchy, Bria have added some fidelity and warmth to it through golden-strummed guitars and a lackadaisical but precise beat.” [“Green Rocky Road”] - Beats Per Minute
“Salmena’s raspy tinged voice provides a depth of longing and fractured tenderness on her cover of Karen Dalton’s track, “Green Rocky Road.’” [“Green Rocky Road”] - Ears to Feed
“The band’s version should will win over any Jennings fans, or fans of old country.” [“Dreaming My Dreams Of You”] - Northern Transmissions
“Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 seamlessly drifts between classic country references and a new perspective of reimagining what country could sound like” - Tonitruale
Bria Cuntry Covers Vol. 2
Track Listing: 1. Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? 2. When You Know Why You’re Happy 3. Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) 4. By The Time I Get to Phoenix 5. I Dream A Highway 6. See You Later, I’m Gone
Released in conjunction with the start of National Native American Heritage Month, you can listen to Ya Tseen ft Samantha Crain’s cover of the Little Wings song “Look At What The Light Did Now.” This cover was originally recorded for season 2 episode 4 of the critically acclaimed FX/Hulu television show, Reservation Dog and follows the group’s 2021 debut record, Indian Yard.
Frontman, Nicholas Galanin shares, “My friend Sterlin Harjo, the creator of the acclaimed FX series Reservation Dogs, invited Samantha and I to cover Little Wings classic song ‘Look at What The Light Did Now’ for an episode in season 2. This was a high honor to contribute to one of what I would consider the best episodes of streaming television being made today. It’s tough to capture love and Indigenous mourning, though I feel as if this episode did so in an elegant and powerful way.”
Starting today, Oct. 28th you can now listen to The Eleventh Hour: Songs for Climate Justice. This digital-only charity compilation features previously unreleased music from Moby, Fake Fruit, Frankie Cosmos, Sonny & The Sunsets, Cloud Nothings, Ya Tseen, and more (See below for a full track listing.) Funds collected from this compilation will directly benefit Climate Emergency Fund, a (501c:3) that supports nonviolent, disruptive climate activism.
The Eleventh Hour: Songs for Climate Justice was curated by filmmaker Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up, The Big Short, Vice) and podcaster/producer Matt Dwyer (Conversations with Dwyer & Painting With John ) Adam McKay shares about the project: “This is a frightening moment we’re living through. The climate is warming at an increasingly dangerous pace and Governments and Businesses seem hell-bent on ignoring the problem. And it’s at exactly moments like this when we need inspired artists to interpret, express and F.S.U. Add in the fact that all of the proceeds go to the Climate Emergency Fund and support international civil disobedience and this is one hell of a good trouble-making album.
Play it loud. Play it soft. Play it while occupying an oil CEO’s office. They won’t like this album and would rather you play Rod Stewart’s Christmas album. (God bless Rod Stewart) The climate activists thank you for lending your ears and any and all possible support.
1. Fake Fruit - Over Ice
2. Death Valley Girls - Black Is Red and Blue 3. Cloud Nothings - Friend Array 4. Kathleen - Going In Reverse 5. Ya Tseen - Gliding Through The Atmosphere 6. Deerhoof - Cigars All Around 7. Frankie Cosmos - Table 8. White Denim - Magic 9. Sonny & The Sunsets - Another Thing That Makes No Sense 10. Guerilla Toss - Heathen Money 11. Shannon Lay - Song of Morning 12. Little Wings - New Autumn Pillow 13. Mamalarky - Green Earth 14. Mudhoney - Black Wire 15. Moby - Luckiest
Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering stars in a horrific love story in the official video for “Grapevine,” her epic new road ballad from And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow. Beauty meets the beast in this visual tale which features a car crash, a humanoid with glowing red eyes, and a haunted grapevine graveyard. Who is this ominous figure, and what does it want with Natalie? Watch and find out in the “Grapevine” video, directed by Actual Objects.
Upon its release earlier this month, “Grapevine” earned praise from the likes of Stereogum, who called it, ‘“A lush, swirling folk-rock song — a slow build that sounds pretty majestic even as it begins its climb.” Brooklyn Vegan adds that “Grapevine” is “a gorgeous song cut from the same ’70s-meets-now cloth that Weyes Blood does so well.” Beats Per Minute offers this, “While listening to Mering sing in her unbelievably rich and dulcet voice over simple acoustic strums and subtly gorgeous synth and string augmentations, you can imagine her speeding away in a convertible, her hair billowing in the wind, a look of determination on her face.”
Weyes Blood’s “In Holy Flux Tour,” a headlining international touring run for late winter and Spring of 2023 in support of And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, begins on Saturday, January 28th in Berlin at Festsaal Kreuzberg and currently runs through Saturday, April 2nd in Tulsa at Cain’s Ballroom. Due to popular demand, Weyes Blood’s Tuesday, March 7th performance in Montreal has moved from the Corona Theatre to MTELUS. All previously purchased tickets will be honored at the new venue. For up-to-date information on tickets, please visit WeyesBlood.com/tour.
December 2022 Thu. Dec. 08 - Los Angeles, CA - The Theatre at Ace Hotel [SOLD OUT] Fri. Dec. 09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Theatre at Ace Hotel [SOLD OUT]
In Holy Flux Tour 2023 UK/Europe Sat.Jan. 28 - Berlin, DE - Festsaal Kreuzberg Mon. Jan. 30 - Stockholm, SE - Berns Tue. Jan. 31 - Oslo, NO - Rockefeller Wed. Feb. 01 - Copenhagen, DK - VEGA Fri. Feb. 03 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche Sat. Feb. 04 - Paris, FR - Le Trianon Sun. Feb. 05 - Brussels, BE - Botanique - Orangerie Mon. Feb. 06 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso Wed. Feb.08 - London, UK - Roundhouse Thu. Feb. 09 - Bristol, UK - SWX Fri. Feb. 10 - Glasgow, UK - QMU Sun. Feb. 12- Dublin, IE - Vicar Street Mon. Feb. 13 - Manchester, UK - O2 Ritz Tue. Feb. 14 - Brighton, UK - CHALK
North America Wed. Feb. 22 - Nashville, TN - Brooklyn Bowl Thu. Feb. 23 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse Fri. Feb. 24 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel Sat. Feb. 25 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle [SOLD OUT] Mon. Feb. 27 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club [SOLD OUT] Tue. Feb. 28 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer Fri. Mar. 03 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel [SOLD OUT] Sat. Mar. 04 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel [SOLD OUT] Sun. Mar. 05 - Boston, MA - Roadrunner Tue. Mar. 07 - Montreal, QC - MTELUS Wed. Mar. 08 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall Thu. Mar. 09 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall Fri. Mar. 10 - Detroit, MI - El Club [SOLD OUT] Sat. Mar. 11 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre Mon. Mar. 13 - Milwaukee, WI - The Pabst Theater Tue. Mar. 14 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue Wed. Mar. 15 - Des Moines, IA - Wooly’s Fri. Mar. 17 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre Sat. Mar. 18 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot Sun. Mar. 19 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory Concert House Tue. Mar. 21 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom Wed. Mar. 22 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox at The Market [SOLD OUT] Thu. Mar. 23 - Portland, OR - McMenamins Crystal Ballroom Sat. Mar. 25 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Ballroom [SOLD OUT] Sun. Mar. 26 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Ballroom Tue. Mar. 28 - Phoenix, AZ - The Van Buren Wed. Mar. 29 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf Fri. Mar. 31 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater Sat. Apr. 01 - Dallas, TX - Studio at The Factory Sun. Apr. 02 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom
Weyes Blood’s And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, her astonishing new album, will be available on CD/LP/CS/DSPs Friday, November 18th, 2022. and can be preordered now from Sub Pop. The album’s ten tracks were written by Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering, with album production from Mering along with Jonathan Rado on all songs except for “A Given Thing,” produced by Mering and Rodaidh McDonald. And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow was mixed by Kenny Gilmore at 101 Studio, mastered by Emily Lazar and Chris Allgood at The Lodge, and features guest appearances from Meg Duffy, Daniel Lopatin, and Mary Lattimore.
Weyes Blood’s And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, her astonishing new album, will be available on CD/LP/CS/DSPs Friday, November 18th, 2022. and can be preordered now from Sub Pop. The album’s ten tracks were written by Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering, with album production from Mering along with Jonathan Rado on all songs except for “A Given Thing,” produced by Mering and Rodaidh McDonald. And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow was mixed by Kenny Gilmore at 101 Studio, and mastered by Emily Lazar and Chris Allgood at The Lodge, and features guest appearances from Meg Duffy, Daniel Lopatin, and Mary Lattimore.
The album is her follow-up to the acclaimed Titanic Rising, the first album of three in a special trilogy. Where Titanic was an observation of doom to come, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: a search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos (spoiler alert: the next one will be about “hope”).
Weyes Blood And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Tracklist 1. It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody 2. Children of the Empire 3. Grapevine 4. God Turn Me Into a Flower 5. Hearts Aglow 6. And in the Darkness 7. Twin Flame 8. In Holy Flux 9. The Worst Is Done 10. A Given Thing
King Tuff, the project of Kyle Thomas, announces his long-awaited new album Smalltown Stardust, with a video for its lead single and title track “Smalltown Stardust.” The album is available for pre-order now and due January 27th via Sub Pop.
Smalltown Stardust, which was co-produced and largely co-written with SASAMI, is “an album about love and nature and youth,” Thomas explains. Much like its lead single, the album is an ode to the cherished moments of inspiration and the small towns in which they are formed. Thomas pulled from his nostalgia for where he grew up, where he first nurtured his songwriting impulses, bouncing ideas off other like-minded artists. It’s a spiritual, tender and ultimately joyous record that might come as a shock to those with only a passing knowledge of the artist’s back catalog.
“The truth is I never really wanted to leave my little town in Vermont. I knew it was something I had to do in order to actually pursue a career as a musician, but I loved my life there, and I cried and cried the day I left on a Greyhound bus for LA in 2011,” says Thomas. “In some alternate dimension there’s a version of me still living there, still hanging on the stoop, drawing pictures in the coffeeshop, walking the railroad tracks that run along the river… but alas, in this here dimension, I’m nothing but a townie without a town! ‘Smalltown Stardust’ is a song about keeping that little place and all its strange magic with me wherever I go. It’s a portal that I can access when I need inspiration, or when the city feels too big and hot and I need to mentally escape into some dark woods. It’s a place I found myself going to often in the last few years while I was writing this record, stuck in scorched and crispy ol’ Los Angeles, so it felt fitting as an album title as well as the first song to release into the world. Enjoy!”
At its core, Smalltown Stardust showcases Thomas’s desire to commune with nature on a spiritual level. Images of the natural world, from blizzards to green mountains to cloudy days, fill the songs and create a setting unmistakably far away from Los Angeles, where Thomas resides with SASAMI and Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy. “I consider nature to be my religion,” he expounds, and Smalltown Stardust is nothing if not a spiritual exploration. If the first King Tuff record was content to merely state Thomas was no longer dead, Smalltown Stardust is a paean to what that life means. A statement of belief and a hymnal to the magic still to behold all around us.
Additionally King Tuff has announced a 2023 North American tour that kicks off March 1st in San Diego, CA and wraps April 7th at Joshua Tree, CA with a show at Pappy and Harriets. Tour highlights include shows in Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn, NY and Chicago, IL. Tickets will be available on Friday October 28th at 10 am local time. All dates below.
March 15 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Upstairs
March 17 Nashville, TN @ The Basement East
March 18 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
March 19 Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
March 21 Washington, DC @ DC9
March 22 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
March 23 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
March 24 Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere Hall
March 25 Brattleboro, VT @ The Stone Church
March 28 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
March 29 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
March 31 Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle
April 1 Minneapolis, MN @ The Turf Club
April 3 Kansas City, MO0 @ The Record Bar
April 5 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
April 6 Phoenix, AZC @ The Rebel Lounge
April 7 Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s
There are times in our life when we feel magic in the air. When new love arrives, or we find ourselves lost in a moment of creation with others who share our vision. A sense that: this is who I want to be. This is what I want to share.
It’s a fleeting feeling and one that Kyle Thomas, the singer-songwriter who records and performs as King Tuff, found himself longing for in the spring of 2020.
But knowing he couldn’t simply recreate this time in his life at will, Thomas—who hails from Brattleboro, Vermont—set out to write a love letter to those cherished moments of inspiration and to the small town that formed him. The one where he first nurtured his songwriting impulses, bouncing ideas off other like-minded artists. The kind of place where the changing of the seasons always delivered a sense of perspective and fresh artistic inspiration. Where he felt a deeper connection with nature and sense of community that had once been so close at hand.
“I wanted to make an album to remind myself that life is magical,” he reflects.
While so much of Smalltown Stardust invokes idealized traces and places of Thomas’s past, the album’s recording process made his communal vision a reality. Thomas’s Los Angeles home in 2020 formed a micro-scene of sorts, with housemates Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) and Sasami Ashworth recording their own heralded albums (2021’s Fun House and 2022’s Squeeze, respectively) at the same time. A shared spirit dominated an era spent largely on the premises, with Thomas serving as engineer and contributor to both records, and Ashworth working as co-producer on Smalltown Stardust. Thomas describes the time with a fitting metaphor: “I’ve always thrived around other people making things. You want to bloom with each other.” Ashworth’s contributions are vital to the album: she co-wrote a majority of the record and contributed vocals, arrangements, and instrumentation to each song. As Thomas notes, “I tried to follow her vision a lot. It helps to open your world to collaborators. You always get something completely different than you would have expected.”