To celebrate 30 years of releasing somewhat well-regarded records, CDs and tapes, Sub Pop Records is hosting an entirely FREE event we’ve taken to calling SPF30. Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party (with entertainment), will be held Saturday, August 11th, 2018 along incredibly scenic Alki Ave. in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle (see West Seattle Blog January 12th).
Seattle’s Alki Beach boasts some of the most awesome territorial (city/water/mountain) views the city has to offer, along with the occasional whale sighting, a somewhat diminutive replica of the Statue of Liberty, and some of the best local businesses to boot. We are stoked (and not a little surprised) that the city cleared the permits.
SPF30 is altogether FREE and will have… Bands! A record fair-type event! A host of local nonprofit organizations! Food! Booze! (The food and beer and wine and soda or whatever, you will have to pay for! These parts are not free!) Good times and opportunities to embarrass yourself and those who’d always hoped for better for you! Plus, bands!
Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party (with entertainment) at Alki Beach
On March 30th, New York four-piece Frankie Cosmos will release their Sub Pop debut, Vessel. This 18-track opus finds bandleader Greta Kline’s distinctive songwriting voice enriched by the musical sensibilities of her bandmates– bassist/vocalist David Maine, keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Martin and drummer Luke Pyenson, who each played a role shaping the sound of the new record.
On the album’s first single “Jesse,” Kline works through feeling out of place, and trying to be more psychically in touch with herself. [Stop-motion animated visuals for this first track were expertly made by Ariel Noltimier Strauss.] One of the early songs from Vessel that the band arranged, “Jesse” was tied together musically by the melodic and agile lead guitar playing of Alex Bailey, who later joined Frankie Cosmos full-time on bass.
To record Vessel, Frankie Cosmos traveled back up to Binghamton, New York to work with Hunter Davidsohn, the producer and studio engineer who helped craft the sound for Zentropy and Next Thing, at his studio Business District Recording. The band spent 3 days upstate live-tracking drums, bass, and guitars, as well as vocals, favoring the spontaneity of reel-to-reel tape over the meticulous perfectionism caused by recording digitally. Several songs are instrumental first or second-takes, highlighting a newfound collective energy felt by the band’s four members after months of touring, practicing, and arranging together.
For the next phase, Davidsohn joined the band in Brooklyn to record harmonies, keyboards, and other overdubs with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader of Ava Luna at their studio, Gravesend Recordings. As Frankie Cosmos started testing out new songs for Vessel on the road, the band invited members from their fellow touring bands to join them on stage to sing or play parts on tracks like “Being Alive” and “Jesse.” Once in the studio, the band decided to invite those same friends and more to contribute parts to the final recorded versions: Alex Bailey (formerly of Warehouse, who has replaced David Maine as a permanent member of the live band), Vishal Narang (of Airhead DC), and singer/songwriter Anna McClellan. After a total of 6 days of recording followed by group mixing sessions, Davidsohn put the finishing touches on the album back upstate and eventually sent the completed album to Josh Bonati to be mastered.
Pre-orders for Vessel are available now through Sub Pop right over here. LP pre-orders through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on blue vinyl (while supplies last).
Vessel Tracklisting: 1. Caramelize 2. Apathy 3. As Often as I Can 4. This Stuff 5. Jesse 6. Duet 7. Accommodate 8. I’m Fried 9. Hereby 10. Ballad of R & J 11. Ur Up 12. Being Alive 13. Bus Bus Train Train 14. My Phone 15. Cafeteria 16. The End 17. Same Thing 18. Vessel
Frankie Cosmos Tour Dates
The band will embark on a US tour in support of Vessel on April 5th in Boulder, CO with stops in Santa Fe, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Berkeley, Seattle and Portland. Support on these shows will come from Lomelda, Ian Sweet and SOAR. Additional dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tour Dates: Apr. 05 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theater * Apr. 06 - Colorado Springs, CO - Black Sheep * Apr. 07 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf * Apr. 09 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom * Apr. 10 - San Diego, CA - Quartyard % Apr. 11 - Los Angeles, CA - Regent Theatre % Apr. 12 - Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room % Apr. 13 - Fresno, CA - Strummers % Apr. 14 - Berkeley, CA - UC Theatre % Apr. 17 - Seattle, WA - Neumos % Apr. 18 - Olympia, WA - Capitol Theater % Apr. 20 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom %
New York native songwriter and composer Greta Kline has shared a bounty of her innermost thoughts and experiences from the past six years through the almost inconceivable number of songs she has released since 2011. Like many of her peers, Kline’s prolific creative output was initially born out of an era where bedroom recording and self-releasing became more possible than ever through the advent of the internet. But as she’s grown as a writer and performer, playing to larger audiences and devising more complex albums, Kline has shifted from an artist who’s made strides despite limitations, to an artist whose impact can be seen across modern independent music. Her newest record, Vessel, which will be out spring 2018 through Sub Pop Records, is the 52nd release from Kline and the third studio album by her indie-pop outfit Frankie Cosmos. On it, Kline explores all of the changes that have come in her life as a result of the music she has shared with the world for the past half-decade, as well as the parts of her life that have remained irrevocable.
Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full band album, Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene in 2014. For Vessel the band’s line up comprises of guitarist/singer Greta Kline, bassist/vocalist David Maine, keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Martin, and drummer Luke Pyenson, who each contributed their own musical sensibilities to help shape the sound of the new record, both on their principal instruments and others. In between tours supporting their last album, Next Thing, Kline brought new songs to the band’s rehearsals, and together the members collectively participated in turning them into full-band arrangements. As a result, the album’s staggering 18 tracks implement a range of instrumentations and recording methods unheard of on the albums preceding it, while still maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting.
The album’s opening track, “Caramelize,” serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love which reoccur throughout the record. The song strings together a scope of musical motifs and showcases the intense dynamics in both Kline’s lyrics and the band’s performance that continue on the tracks that follow. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, what’s really changed on the new record is Kline’s nuanced point of view and her desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. In the album’s first single “Jesse,” Kline grapples with the startling personal epiphanies in life that stem from dreams and subconscious realizations. On another single, “Apathy,” Kline confronts her own insecurities around personal change and feeling distant from the people she once had a close relationship with. Then later on the album “Accommodate,” deals with the complexity of being in a community that would rather turn its nose to a problem than hold its members accountable. “Being Alive” stands out as one of the few old Bandcamp-era Frankie Cosmos songs the band reworked for Vessel, and shows the rhythm section quickly shifting between fast and slow tempos as Kline ponders the minutia of existence. Kline’s dissonant lyrics are paired with the band’s driving, jangly grooves creating several moments on the album where the bandmates’ chemistry playing together is brought to the forefront.
Vessel’s run time is exactly double the length of Frankie Cosmos’ breakout record, Zentropy, and serves as enormous leap forward in the band’s catalog. But ultimately, the album’s unique sensibility, esoteric narratives, and reveling energy, allow it to exist as just another distinctive chapter in Kline’s ongoing musical autobiography. Through Vessel, Kline provides the listener with a spectrum of disparate anecdotes, observations, and affirmations and then tasks them with arranging the pieces in a way that they can make their own sense of. Typically albums by artists at a similar stage in their career are written with the weight of knowing that someone is on the other end listening. Yet, despite bringing attention to her audience in direct references, Kline and the rest of Frankie Cosmos have passionately written Vessel with a clarity not muddled by the fear of meeting anyone’s expectation.
“Together, they’ve produced eerie, mesmerizing soundscapes —an alluring tease at what they’re capable of.”— Cool Hunting
“Over whisking wind and a krautrock pulse infested by rattlesnakes, Cross and Meiburg dreamily intone a story about escaping from a sealed room. [‘Relay Runner’ is] truly lovely.” — Stereogum
“Immediately engrossing” – GoldFlakePaint
“Sounds like three musicians wildly in love.” – Monster Children
“A manifestation of brilliant musical minds in organic workspaces” – The Line of Best Fit
Loma, the new project comprised of Jonathan Meiburg, best known as the singer of Shearwater, and Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of Cross Record, will release their self-titled debut album on February 16th via Sub Pop. The band just extended their first North American tour into May (find dates below).
A product of a joint pilgrimage around the globe by fellow touring musicians, Loma is a beautifully detailed and emotionally rich album “full of mystery and wonder” (NPR Music). After presenting the lead single, “Black Willow,” Loma now shared “Relay Runner” and have now followed up with the video, directed by Allison Beondé and Cross.
As Cross describes it, “This song is about transitioning from one state to another… specifically from the feeling of being boxed in and trapped to the feeling of freedom and liberation. It is about the ongoing drive to attain that movement. I think of the ‘relay’ as the endless series of versions of yourself that each hand off to the next version of yourself. Beyond that, I wanted to express unbridled joy–for being alive, for moving my body, for being able to build myself a human dog agility course from supplies I bought at the Home Depot.”
In creating Loma, the trio convened in a house in the Texas hill country over a few months during a strangely charged time. When they began recording, Cross and Duszynski were a married couple, but their relationship ended during the sessions—an atmosphere Meiburg found both challenging and inspiring—and the isolated house became the album’s muse. Except for Cross’s translucent voice in the foreground, there were no assigned roles on the album; each member of the trio played every instrument as needed. This feeling of freedom let buried energies find expression. Cross wrung catharsis from Meiburg’s lyrics and melodies, while Duszynski immersed himself in the engineering and mixing.
Loma is available for preorder from Sub Pop right here. North American preorders of the limited Loser edition from megamart.subpop.com will be available on clear vinyl with red and black swirlies (while supplies last). A new T-shirt design will also be available.
Honky-tonk rocker “Exile Rag” is the new single from Kyle Craft’s Full Circle Nightmare, his forthcoming second album which will be available in stores February 2nd, 2018.
While working on a weed farm in Northern California, Craft coined the term “Exile Rag” for the tunes he’d pick out on the guitar while everyone slept. Back in Portland, he developed feelings for a woman, that in the end weren’t reciprocated. He’d sit alone in the farm’s workroom, dreaming of his life back in the city and asking himself, “What if?”
When he belts out the line “By the time that her door’s closing, and you feel like you’re imposing on that brand new boyfriend she has, she’ll be rolling in new love and you’ll be singing on the Exile Rag,” the song’s feeling of unrequited love is captured perfectly.
The Line of Best Fit had this to say: “A charming bluegrass number full to the brim with twangs, slides and that famous Southern charm. It is much like it’s creator; cheery, self-assured, a bit bizarre, slightly comedic, and utterly genius (see premiere January 9th).”
Kyle Craft has also scheduled headlining tour dates for the spring of 2018 in support of Full Circle Nightmare. The tour dates span March 5th in San Francisco at Cafe Du Nord through April 4th in Chicago at Schubas. The tour will have stops in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin (SXSW), Shreveport, Nashville, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Allston, Burlington, Toronto, and Columbus.
Preceding the tour, Craft has scheduled two Pacific Northwest week of release shows including Seattle’s Tractor Tavern on February 1st and Portland’s Doug Fir on February 2nd. Feb. 01 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern Feb. 02 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Mar. 05 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord Mar. 07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Morroccan Lounge Mar. 08 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah Mar. 12 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 13 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 14 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 15 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - SXSW Mar. 17 - Shreveport, LA - Red River District Mar. 21 - Nashville, TN - The Basement Mar. 22 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
Mar. 23 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle Mar. 24 - Washington, DC - Pearl Street Warehouse Mar. 26 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle Mar. 27 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right Mar. 28 - Allston, MA - Great Scott Mar. 30 - South Burlington, VT - Higher Ground Showcase Lounge Apr. 02 - Toronto, ON - Smiling Buddha Apr. 03 - Columbus, OH - The Basement Apr. 04 - Chicago, Il - Schubas
Full Circle Nightmare was produced by Chris Funk (of the Decemberists), with mixing by Trevor Spencer (Father John Misty) and Benjamin Weikel and Brandon Summers (of The Helio Sequence). The album is the follow up to Dolls of Highland, his acclaimed debut.
Full Circle Nightmare is available for preorder now from Sub Pop (and select independent retailers) right over here. Customers who pre-order the LP version of Full Circle Nightmare from megamart.subpop.comwill receive the album on Loser Edition Maroon w/Black Swirl colored vinyl, while supplies last.
“When Kyle Craft’s heart breaks, it shoots glitter and confetti—by the time he hits the chorus, the song has erupted into a tempest of sassy brass, swirling organs, and hip-swiveling boogie.” [“Heartbreak Junky”] - Pitchfork
While in Paris during his European tour supporting the album, Chad and his backing band the Bleach Wipes performed a rooftop session for French website MOWNO. The band played stripped down versions of Light Information standouts “Host Body” and “Static Shape.”
VanGaalen also premiered the previously unreleased “Dust on Dust (Dog Walking Jammer)” single through Adult Swim, a driving instrumental which arrived earlier today, and caps off their year-long ‘Singles Program.’ The appropriately-titled “jammer” is representative of his more electronic and instrumental work that doesn’t always make it to his solo albums [listen here].
“Dust on Dust (Dog Walking Jammer)” isn’t VanGaalen’s first collaboration with the network. VanGaalen is also an amazing visual artist, having contributed both his animation and music to Adult Swim’s “Dream Corp LLC” — where he helped design the robot character T.E.R.R.Y, as well as composing the bizarre and memorable score.
And on the final leg of his recent Light Information tour, Chad stopped by CBC Q for a chat with show host Tom Power. The two talked about the new album, as well as Chad’s multifaceted life as an animator and visual artist. Chad and the Bleach Wipes also knocked out a few tunes from Light Information. The performance airs December 21st on CBC.
Chad VanGaalen and the Bleach Wipes have scheduled new, Canadian dates for 2018 in support of Light Information, which begin January 19th in Winnipeg at The Good Will and end January 27th in Edmonton at the Starlite Room. The tour comes on the heels of his successful, 50-date international tour for 2017, which saw performances in Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and France.
2018 Tour Dates Jan. 19 - Winnipeg , MB - The Good Will * Jan. 20 - Saskatoon, SK - Winterruption! Festival * Jan. 25 - Calgary, AB - Commonwealth Bar and Stage * Jan. 26 - Red Deer, AB - Bo’s Bar * Jan. 27 - Edmonton, AB - The Starlite Room * *w/ Mauno