One of the weirdest things humans do is to classify half of all humans as niche. As though womens shit isnt real shit-as though menses and horses and being internet-harassed arent as interesting as beer-farts and monster trucks and doing the harassing. Thats why Tacocat is radical: not because a female-driven band is some baffling novelty, but because theyre a group making art about experiences in which gender is both foregrounded and neutralized. This isnt lady stuff, its people stuff. Its normal. Its nothing and everything. Its life.
The four actual best friends-Emily Nokes (vocals, tambourine), Eric Randall (guitar), Lelah Maupin (drums), and Bree McKenna (bass)-came together in their teens and early baby twenties and coalesced into a band eight years ago, and you can feel that theyve built both their lives, and their sound, together. Hanging out with Tacocat and listening to Tacocat are remarkably similar experiences, like the best party youve ever been to, where, instead of jostling for social position, everyone just wants to eat candy and talk about Sassy Magazine, sci-fi, cultural dynamic shifts, and bad experiences with men.
Tacocats third studio album, Lost Time (an X-Files reference, doy), is their first with producer Erik Blood. I would describe him generally as a beautiful wizard, Nokes said, who, in our opinion, took the album to the next level. Wizard level. Bloods sounds are wide and expansive, bringing a fullness to the bands familiar sparkling snarl. The Tacocat of Lost Time are triumphantly youthful but also plainspoken and wise, as catchy as they are substantive. Men Explain Things to Me eviscerates male condescension with sarcastic surf guitar. On The Internet, they swat away trolls with an imperiousness so satisfying you want to transmogrify it into a sheetcake and devour it: Your place is so low/Human mosquito.
One of feminisms biggest hurdles has always been that it isnt allowed to be fun. Tacocat gives that notion precisely the credence that it deserves, ignoring it altogether and making fun, funny, unselfconscious pop songs about the shit theyre genuinely obsessing or groaning over: Plan B, night swimming, high school horse girls (they know the different breeds of all their favorite steeds!), the bridge-and-tunnel bros who turn their neighborhood into a toilet every weekend. And, eight years in, Tacocat have built something bigger than themselves. Theyve fostered a feminist punk scene in Seattle so fertile its going national and rendering the notion of the girl band even more laughable than it already was. There are no girl bands in Seattle anymore. There are just bands and everyone else. Women, Nokes jokes. Theyre just like us!
Honeysuckle is a progressive folk act that blends older influences and traditional instrumentation with modern effects and inspiration. Comprised of Holly McGarry, Benjamin Burns, and Chris Bloniarz, the trio can frequently be found performing in the Boston area and surrounding cities in the Northeast, playing alongside bands like Drive-By Truckers, The Ballroom Thieves, Boy & Bear, Sam Moss, The Western Den, The Novel Ideas, Shook Twins, John Craigie, Grey Season, Damn Tall Buildings and others. In 2015, Honeysuckle performed at Newport Folk Festival, was chosen as a Converse Rubber Tracks artist, and was nominated for Best Folk Artist of the Year, and Best Americana Artist of the Year at the annual Boston Music Awards. In 2016 the group played Lollapalooza on the Pepsi Stage as well as CMJ in New York City.They have also been nominated again for the categories Best Americana and Best Folk Artist at the 2016 Boston Music Awards, as well as new nominations, Americana/Roots Act Of The Year and Album Of The Year for Red Line Roots' 2016 Big Reds. As a recipient of Club Passim's Iguana Music Grant, Honeysuckle recently released a new full-length album on March 24th, 2016 to a sold out crowd at Club Passim. Also available is their debut EP, "Arrows," released on April 29th, 2015
When they first formed in 2011, LA-based band Run River North dubbed themselves Monsters Calling Home. Eight years later, the trio of Alex Hwang (guitar/vocals), Daniel Chae (guitar/vocals) and Sally Kang (keys/vocals) have returned to the name this time as the title of their upcoming EP, Monsters Calling Home: Part One, out in May 2019.
A celebratory effort ushering in a new era for the band, after having recently evolved from a sextet to a trio, Monsters Calling Home: Part One is about finding hope in transition, discovering your voice in a sea of doubt, and deciding to dance despite sadness. Its learning to trust your own voice regardless of whatever's happening outside of you, Chae says.
Since the departure of three founding band members in 2016, Run River North have fought to reclaim their identity and their sound. With that came a reckoning: The trio were steadfast on returning to their roots and rebranding again as Monsters Calling Home as a way to separate themselves from the personnel changes. Instead, the EPs title and the music within it became the vehicle to move past the anger and hurt feelings. Having to go through three breakups, it was a shitty time, Hwang says. I just stopped wanting to write songs that were angry. Its a good emotion to go through but if thats what youre left with thats not a healthy place to be. The songs on the EP are more representative of how do you find hope and how do you find joy even if you have a right to feel angry. How can you find a reason to dance even when everyone is telling you its not the right time to dance?
Not just an Asian-American band or a group that relies on a set sonic formula, the EP continues to expand upon the bands prior folk-leaning backbone. On lead single Hands Up, the band is at their most bombastic. The result of a co-writing collaboration with Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi of Grouplove the duos first of such sessions Hands Up pairs an earworm-y chorus with a front-and-center guitar melody, a second voice among Hwangs lead bellow. Overall, the group utilizes more drum programming, dreamy synth, and dynamic production a more expansive sonic palette.
Monsters Calling Home: Part One is bookended by brother-sister songs Casina and Casino. A song with roots in the bands days as a six-piece, Casino was written as the groups former members began to phase out. A wistful and rustic intro builds into a walloping chorus: Im stuck in this casino / not much left for me. Its a song which serves as catharsis when reckoning with the forces that hold us down, a song inspired by Hwangs mothers cancer diagnosis. At the time it was this big middle finger to cancer or anything you felt was giving an absolute statement to peoples lives, he says.
Casina, on the other hand, was borne out of a late-night studio session between Chae, Kang and their producer, Miro Markie. Aiming to re-work Casino, they handed me a microphone and they were like, Try singing, Kang remembers. Her take on the songs chorus added an air of whimsy balancing Hwangs belt. The pair ping-pong verses and lines, creating a push-pull of dizzying tension. I think this may be the first song that we dont have a lead vocalist in a song, Chae says. When Sally wrote her part on this song it was the first time we thought this might be something. Thats the moment I can point to that was really exciting for this EP. Its a linchpin for this EP.
With the energy of Casina and Kang finding her voice in mind, Run River North move forward as a true collaborative effort unthwarted by ego and pretense. No longer held back by fear or discontent, Run River North persevered through pain and came out on the other side victorious wearing a newfound confidence. It became about who is in the band, Hwang says, and now it feels like Sally, Daniel, and me being very comfortable in our own skin.
Anyone familiar with the Americana music scene knows this Upstate, New York-based band has cut their teeth on a killer live show. With a never ending tour schedule and a steady buzz they have built a very solid underground fan base. "The game has been live shows and nose to the ground since the beginning.", says guitarist/songwriter Dan Forsyth.
As well as a devout following and a sizable discography, the band's hard work has also been a huge part of the inspiration for their music. The songs and arrangements have grown out of time spent on the road, growing closer, learning with and from each other and weathering the up's and down's of the journey together. "We have a truly special bond creatively and personally. It's the driving force behind the music.", violinist/songwriter Claire Byrne adds.
It is with this bond, patience, determination and an undying, mutual love and respect for music, the road, and their friendship, they have approached their latest offering, Tree of Shade.
"I'm struck by the gratitude that making music with my best friends/my other family brings", says guitarist/songwriter Joe Kollar. "Even our producer (Simone Felice) and the engineer (Pete Hanlon) became brothers in this process. Laying out some of your most intimate moments and showing the rawest version of yourself is both scary and exhilarating but more importantly it reminds you why you chose music as the vehicle. It's the '66 Corvette that will always take me back to the beauty and power of a group of people setting out to make something together".
Their first album with a major producer, Tree of Shade is a testament to the essence of a song. Working along side Felice, The band found themselves stripping things back way more than they normally would.
"Simone was all about finding the essence of the song and doing our best to bring it out without distorting it or taking the arrangement too far".
The album is slated to be released on April 5. The first single, Lay Like You Do, will be released February 22. This was one of those songs that came out faster than I could write it down and seemed sort of like plucking an apple off a tree, songwriter and guitarist Dan Forsyth says of the song. The melody and chorus came out of a dream and when I woke up, I wrote the rest real fast".
The band has also announced new tour dates throughout the Midwest and West Coast in support. Additional tour dates on the East Coast will be announced shortly, including album release shows in the bands native upstate New York.
As music fans were only ever given fragments of lives well lived, and we scrabble vicariously through them. Skinny Lister, though, have really given us as much as they can since 2009, passing the growing flagon of their experiences with every album and tour. Theyve led an endless parade gathering fans old and new, from the respected folk circuit to the riotous Download Festival, igniting pogoing mosh-pits at each. Over the past ten years theyve travelled from rain-soaked London to the vast arteries of the USA, upgrading from narrow boat to Salty Dog Cruise, played huge tours across Europe and North America with Frank Turner, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly as well as headlining themselves across festivals, sweatboxes and ever-larger venues.
After three albums taking confident steps into an ever larger world, their fourth offering, The Story Is... (produced and mixed by Barny Barnicott Arctic Monkeys, The Enemy, The Temper Trap) takes the tales of the everyday, the minutiae of our lives, and turns them into potent pop that rings oh so true.
The stories have been getting more and more personal as the albums have gone on, says Daniel Heptinstall (vocals, guitar, lead songwriter) It always helps when you sing a song for it to have some truth. Theyre the words that get sung back to us the loudest. This sentiment is running through the latest album like diesel. Lorna sings on the hyped-up My Life, My Architecture that all this is my achievement, all cracks have life in between them, I live this adventure. Dan even sings about turning blood into diamonds, crafting his own happenings into the last few years of classic Skinny Lister songs on Any Resemblance To Actual Persons, Living Or Dead, Is Purely Coincidental. Using storytelling truths, Skinny Listers anthology of experiences is being told and retold every night, with every spin of a record or stream of a song. Their world expands as their songs are shared.
The Story Is finds fables in vastly contrasting true stories. Of an arsonist setting fire to the flat below Dans (Artist Arsonist), of the sheer annoyance felt when accidentally filling a diesel van with unleaded (Diesel Vehicle) - both songs laced with insight into everyones feelings. Even when the songs are outside of the bands personal experience, they are still inspired by close connections. 38 Minutes came from a friends Facebook post about receiving the Hawaiian ballistic missile alert in early 2018, while Stop & Breathe is a plea to everyone to take time out when they can, based on a good friend talking after a friend sadly departed due to suicide.
Musically, the band has also scoured volumes of texture and tone. Though songs like Rattle & Roar and Sometimes So It Goes will be familiar to anyone whos loved the bands three previous albums, Forge & Flagon, Down on Deptford Broadway and The Devil, the Heart & the Fight, the band has explored a lexicon of their tastes. The Shining takes on Blondies new wave disco, giving Lorna Thomas (vocals) the spotlight. Lorna takes the reins on two of the most energising songs My Life, My Architecture and My Distraction and brings her unmistakable vitality to the album. 38 Minutes spins like a top with the urgency of an impending doom, backing ooohs like sirens, and an electric pace as if theyre outrunning the clock. Theyve turned every melodic instinct up and, along with the hooks and lyrical reality Dan has drawn, its a deep dip into the encyclopaedic sound of which the band are capable.
The first album was very rooted in the folk tradition, says Dan. But when we wrote Down on Deptford Broadway, we were doing songs like Trouble on Oxford Street and Cathy and we felt at the time we were straying too far from our folk roots. Now at a show theyre some of the highlights of a set. In that vein, the new songs move even further away from their folk origins while crossing into new territory for the band. But you will be bouncing to the spring loaded My Distraction, clapping along with the Jam-like Cause for Chorus or skanking to the ska-jangle of Second Amendment by the next time you see them they are potent bursts of melodic adrenaline.
And so the torrent of touring continues for Skinny Lister in 2019, leading cross-continental parties of willing devotees, audiences getting larger as people from all walks of life and several generations young and old, children and parents sing, dance and cheer. These songs, stories and passionate live performances, charm and thrill a huge spectrum of gig-goers from the folk aficionado and the indie experts to the riff-addled metal fans and the furious punk kids.
The Story Is this time, that Skinny Lister are opening their lives up more than ever before, allowing us all in and giving everyone a space to express sheer joy, relate hard to the lines that strike a chord in us, and throw ourselves into living with abandon and hope, with happiness and excitement, with stories enough to fill several lifetimes.
Since 2013, THE VINDYS have become one of the most sought after, premier bands in the Northeast Ohio area with their unique blend of pop, jazz, and rock. They have been described as a vibrant slice of vintage pop theatre. (Music Connection Magazine) and slinky, sultry, and jazzy (Guy DAstolfo, The Vindicator). Through the incorporation of multiple genres into one cohesive sound, The Vindys have the ability to appeal to a wide audience. Their versatility and incomparable style is one of the many reasons why The Vindys are a rarity amongst other groups. Their professional sound, as well as alluring stage presence and magnetic charisma, is supported by the bands background and expertise in music performance, education, and production.
Personnel include Jackie Popovec on lead vocals and guitar, John Anthony on guitar and harmony vocals, Ed Davis on drums and harmony vocals, Scott Boyer on bass, and Rick Deak on guitar and harmony vocals. All are classically trained musicians from the distinguished schools of Capital University Conservatory of Music, Dana School of Music, Slippery Rock University, and Mike Curb College of Music. The Vindys combine their skills and experiences resulting in a depth and maturity in their music that is intricate, yet relatable.
Because they are a Youngstown-based band, The Vindys are passionate about representing Youngstown as a place where the music scene is thriving. Their name pays homage to their roots by drawing influence from Youngstowns daily newspaper, The Vindicator. Brad Savage, program director of The Summit 91.3 FM, explains, To me, they really personify Youngstown and northeast Ohio. Theyve got depth and substance and are instantly likable. Their songs get stuck in your head after one listen. The band frequents live music venues in Northeast Ohio and were featured live performers at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The House of Blues, Beachland Ballroom & Tavern, Youngstown State University, Kent State University, Walsh University, Federal Frenzy, Vex Fest, and Revive Music and Arts Festival.
Additionally, The Vindys have shared the stage with nationally recognized solo acts and groups such as Hunter Hayes, Marty Stuart, The Drive-By Truckers, Reeve Carney, The Clarks, Welshly Arms, and Judah & the Lion. Their single Too Long was named Number 2 on The Summit FMs Top 33 Local Songs of 2017. Additionally, their album Keep Going was featured as one of Canton Repository reporter Dan Kanes top 10 albums of 2017.
From the front porches, alleys, and rivers of Richmond, Virginia, comes Andy Jenkins carrying a crisp, newly cut album, Sweet Bunch. Hatched in the tradition of Southern cultureunhurried in his art, unworried by external demands, yet weirdly ahead of the curve by the time he arrivesAndy is a distinctive and joyously idiosyncratic songwriting talent developed for years in obscurity. Sweet Bunch springs into the world fully-formed, the work of a confident, timeless as well as contemporary singer-songwriter, offering beautiful and basic melodies with lyrics exploring the fluidity between the banal and the sublime. His work feels natural, complete within itself, untrained musically but adherent to its own forms and intricate in its own ways. Spring peepers line the path; the author feeds her peacocks strutting among vines and ruins; a photographer waits for the right light and color in frame. Each song presents a rich, new tableau of sound, glowing worlds to discover, rooted in an unnamed sense of place.
Andy could have found no better seedbed for this sensibility to flower than Spacebomb, a label known for offering high musicianship outside of the predictabilities of New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Produced by Matthew E. White, Sweet Bunch was recorded in three magical days of flow-state, the drums, bass, keys, and guitars all live and nothing to regret. The source of this musical surety lies above all with Jenkins songwritingnatural and effortless as the glide of a swan or sailboatmatched in spirit and strength by the sweet bunch in the studio. The Spacebomb crew ran hard into midnight with a few ringers along for the ride, and a very full chorus of voices shining bright behind Andys relaxed, self-assured singing, gently insistent as it dips and soars at every measure. Contentment in life and patience with craft is announced, almost as credo, on the opening track Hazel Woods:
Man, I would love to finish the book but I still have pages and pages of lines. Time sends out a withering look, but I pay it no mind. God, its a drag to figure it out, but what else can I do? Nothing whatever, but to read for my pleasure, as the light passes through
Jenkins sends his warm words buoyed on cool streams of melody, to tell the greater world that Virginia has become, once again, a musical frontier. He sits at a crossroads of modernism, sensitivity and decision, with the expansiveness and musical drawl of Big Star, the bounce of Warren Zevon, and the curly, perfectly-carved melodies of Kevin Ayers. His lyrics have a tendency to stick in the mind, not straightforward storytelling, but always delivering a kind of payoff or reward. Their surrealism, closer to the origin of that term, sees the world in dualities, layered images and dreams. On the topic of love, he is soul-bearing yet light, focused outward, singing conversationally as if from driver to passenger remarking on the passing views. In a way, all of his songs are outdoor songs. Each paints a wide and wild landscape, the mood of a sun setting on a damn good day spent among friends and favored creatures. Sitting high on the hog, like a bump on a log, getting lost in the goodness of the earth.
J.S. Ondara offers a unique take on the American dream on Tales of America, his debut album. Ondara grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, listening to American alt-rock and making up his own songs for as long as he can remember. After discovering the music of Bob Dylan, he moved to Minneapolis in 2013 to pursue a career in music. There he began making his way in the local music scene, continually writing songs about what he saw, felt and experienced in a place far different from home.From a stockpile he says is hundreds of songs deep, Ondara chose 11 for Tales of America. Theyre captivating tunes built around acoustic guitars and adorned with subtle full-band accompaniment for an openhearted folk-rock feel. He sings in a strong, tuneful voice well-suited to the gorgeous melancholy he expresses on the wistfully lovelorn Torch Song, or his steadfast infatuation on Television Girl. Ondara sings rueful lyrics in an anguished tone on Saying Goodbye, and leaves plenty of room for interpretation on American Dream, the first single.I knew I wanted a song called American Dream on the record, but I didnt have that song, Ondara says with a laugh. I couldnt find it. I wrote like twenty songs called American Dream before I found the one that ended up being the record. His persistence is evident throughout Tales of America, which is indeed a classic American tale. Its the story, told in song, of an immigrant seeking a new life, who dedicates himself to achieving his vision through hard work and determination.
56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203 (In Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side)