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  • CITY PAGES feature on DYLAN HICKS

    Tooling through the Triple Rock jukebox with Dylan Hicks

    itemprop

    Dylan HicksWilson Webb

    “Constraints are important,” says Dylan Hicks, mashing down the imaginary buttons on the touchscreen of a digital jukebox at the Triple Rock Social Club.

    This late-model jukebox, unfortunately, offers a lesson in what happens when constraints are tossed out the window. The TouchTunes “interactive entertainment platform”—65,000 of which are located across the U.S.—can summon most any song you can think of. This can lead to what MBA programs call “analysis paralysis,” or at least a strong bout of self-consciousness.

    Hicks is lanky and laconic in a natty collegiate sweater, with longish salt-and-pepper hair hanging over his glasses, but this unstructured universe of infinite choices leaves him a touch flustered. “When there’s a hundred selections or so, you have something to work with. You’re asking, how do I want to present myself? You want to make the best decision...”

    “Right,” I offer. “Within a framework.”

    “Yeah,” he says. “With this, you can just play anything.”

    There’s a knack to selecting tunes on a traditional jukebox, and “A-24,” the lead single from Hicks’ new album, Ad Out, is a valentine to mastering that art. “It’s the best damn jukebox in the county,” Hicks sings in a High Plains drawl. “Got about 1,000 songs so you don’t get bored.”

    Since Hicks is not only a terrific lyricist but also a great writer about music (he was City Pages’ arts editor a little more than a decade ago), I figured it’d be fun to drag him out to a real-life jukebox and get him to punch in a few songs and talk about them.

    TRACK 1: “Clean Up Woman,” Betty Wright (2 credits)

    To narrow our choices, Hicks selects the “Queens of R&B” category, where one of his favorites, Betty Wright’s 1971 hit “Clean Up Woman,” is, through some divine algorithmic intervention, the first song listed. Hicks mashes down a PLAY button that’s as unresponsive as the keys on the crappy ATMs often found at bars, and soon Wright is warning everyone at the T-Rock about the clean-up woman who stole her man’s love.

    “I love a song with a conceit,” Hicks says. “Not every time, but if you can come up with a premise, you can try to enrich that.” And the characters on Ad Out—guys in bars, lovelorn dudes working menial jobs, boyfriends or husbands who may or may not know how good they have it—are often narrating their way through such conceits. When a sad sack charged with a moving violation testifies in court on “Asking for a Friend,” he rhymes “father’s charcoal suit” with “what the English call the boot,” in a manner that’s true to his ironic, deflated sense of his own refinement.

    “They’re beleaguered,” Hicks says of his narrators. “But not defeated.” The cover of Ad Out, appropriately, features a painting of John McEnroe, facedown in the clay at Wimbledon, toward the end of the worst day of his career.

    TRACK 2: “Cruisin’,” Smokey Robinson (2 credits)

    Hicks enters “CRUIS” into the search bar and Smokey Robinson’s 1979 hit is summoned before he can hit the “IN.” “It’s such a seductive song,” Hicks says. “It builds nicely, and it’s dramatic, but there’s no histrionics. And those high notes.” Smokey gets his face on the TouchTunes screen, but Hicks points out that Marv Taplin, the guitarist on the record, may deserve equal billing. “This is my favorite,” he says, as Taplin’s guitar glides beneath Smokey’s croon. “That guitar tone.”

    We get back to the idea of constraints. “That’s why I like rhymes,” he says. “I like the sound of them, but when you use them well, they create meaning—the rhyme scheme influences the verse. When you throw out rhymes”—here he shrugs—“you might as well be dealing with prose.”

    And Hicks knows prose. After a ’90s stint as a witty singer-songwriter, he went on a hiatus from music and embarked on a writing career, first as a critic and journalist, then as the author of two well-received novels.

    “I had a long break from performing,” he says. “But after a few years, I have a better sense for my voice. I have better pitch, and I know precisely my range. I didn’t know then, but I know now: two octaves, a modest baritone range.”

    On Ad Out, Hicks turns what he calls his “limited vocal range” into a superpower. His voice has a conversational quality that allows him to comfortably inhabit each of his characters. In the way his TouchTunes selections cut through the din of the Triple Rock, Hicks floats over Adam Levy’s ’70s R&B-flavored licks, Joe Savage’s pedal steel, Doug Little’s horn arrangements, and his own keyboard, all of which are tidied up and made AM-ready by producer John Munson.

    Hicks describes the sound as “roadhouse cabaret,” but his mix of R&B, country rock, and piano balladry would sound equally at home anywhere the sonic boundaries of the American songbook might unexpectedly bleed together: a backyard barbecue in Tin Pan Alley, or a secret honky-tonk in the basement of Radio City Music Hall.

    TRACK 3: “Slow Hand,” Conway Twitty (2 credits)

    We’ve gone as far as our three dollars will take us, and Conway Twitty’s up last. His gender-inverted 1980 cover of the Pointer Sisters song operates at the border of cosmopolitan country-pop and adult contemporary R&B.

    Hicks points to Twitty as an example of a singer whose vocal range changed over the course of his career, to positive effect. He started out as a country yelper whose voice jumped effortlessly into the higher registers, but by the time of “Slow Hand,” he’d settled into a mellifluous, vaguely seedy baritone croon that suited the spirit Nashville’s mellifluous, vaguely seedy era of sexual liberation.

    “I can’t touch these guys as singers,” he says. “But I hope the songs reflect the influence of these types of country and R&B songs in a way that seems manageable, and in a way that lets me sing like myself.” He grins a crooked grin, and clarifies: “Not loud.”

    Perhaps the most countrified song on the record (“I threw in a little Southern accent on that one”), “A-24” is assertive, but all in fun, the aural equivalent of Hicks’ full-bodied dance in Wilson Webb and Carolyn Swiszcz’s video. (Hicks bops through a cardboard wonderland in white pants and a blue T-shirt, reminding me of what Jack Handey called his “funny cowboy dance” in the “Deep Thoughts” segments on SNL.) It’s a song about stepping out into the commons and staking a claim.

    “You do all this stuff,” Hicks says, talking about performing music and also the act of publicly displaying your taste on a jukebox. “Even if you feel ashamed, there’s some vanity that wants to affirmed. It’s still kind of embarrassing.”

    Hicks continues glancing through the options. “Oh! I love this one.” He mashes down some imaginary key a few times, and the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” kicks in.

    On the right night, in the right bar, this song too could be A-24.

    Dylan Hicks & the Looming Crisis
    With: Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers
    When: 8 p.m. Fri. Oct. 27
    Where: Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge
    Tickets: $12/$15; more info here

     http://www.citypages.com/music/tooling-through-the-triple-rock-jukebox-with-dylan-hicks/452849863

  • '94Broncos - Black Irish Trap-a-Holics release "Come Clean"

    '94Broncos releasing new song in Celebration of O.J. getting parole



    '94 Broncos is Atlanta's asphalt-chewing tricked-out whip of dub-punk trap rock. Zack English (bass) is from Dawonsville; Jack Eggert (guitar/vocals) is from the Northside of Atlanta; and drummer David Pellum II is from Eastside (Atlanta zone's 6 to be exact).    

    Their debut Mixtape "Brazilian Stick-Up" out October 1st is four abrasive but soulful tracks from three moody dudes, cocaine infused and blissed out with a handle of Evan Williams. Jack English has been writing songs with best friend Fooshee for awhile; David was producing rap beats and never saw himself in a band.  

    "I asked a friend to come jam and he couldn't pick me up," David explains, "so Jack ended up picking me up. That was my first time meeting Jack on the way to go jam — I had just got off work and walking to the parking lot to look for a guy I never met before then I heard some guy Yell across the parking lot 'Hey are you David?'"  

    David and Jack would just jam for hours but never listened to other music together. They read Creative Loafing a lot and hit the punk scene to see what the hell was the hype about some bands. But the Atlanta punk scene turned out to be more underground than what people think. They practiced hard to be as tight as Neckbones. So when they got into it, their first show was a packed-out house of action.    

    And they promise on those manic concert thrills. They always have a rapper to try to add diversity to their shows. The mixtape opening cut "Monkey Man" also gets their show jumpin' up and down like the fans are on a trampoline. They tell the rapper "if shit fly don't stop and keep the party going." The rapper is always loved, and '94 Broncos extend the jam and make up songs on the spot, surprising everyone with their freestyling. "People can't believe it," David says. "Some guy was moshing at one our shows and nobody knew the guy but he was rolling around the ground. It reminded me of my granddad's church in Atlanta back in the day when people shouted and were 'filled with the spirit' during a service."   

    '94 Broncos is a reference to the O.J. Simpson escape vehicle that was in the infamous police chase, because while that was taking place Jack was on his way home from the hospital he was born a couple days before the chase.    

    The songs for the Mixtape were written during the making of our third release Acid Wash. All the songs had been recorded at the same time, working fast, and saving these four new ones for fresh vocals.     

    The title Brazilian Stick-Up is based on Ryan Lochte and other U.S. Olympians thrashing a gas station in Brazil and then dealing with it when that country's police showed up. "They lied and said they had been held up at gun point. Privileged Americans found themselves in something they can't get out of. The lesson here is don't lie."     

    Childish and Iggy Pop & the stooges. They all deeply dig Curtis Mayfield, 10cc, Outkast, Pastor Troy, Goodie Mob, Dj Toomp, Baby D, Lil Jon. Kilo Ali is their favorite Atlanta rapper. "We support anybody that comes from ATL. We are on the same team! Fuck that boom bam shit

    INSTAGRAM: @94broncosATL

    TWITTER: @94_broncos 

  • Three Imaginary Girls CD REVIEW: Stealing Sand by Transient Songs

    by  

    Transience. Traveling to escape customary life. Wandering. Vagabond impulses. Songs that were born and created throughout a determination to experience scenes and emotions outside of the routine experience. Sometimes, one must venture outside of familiar cities, states, countries, and climates in order to reflect upon the beauty of an otherwise uneventful daily existence. This is what comes to mind when hearing Stealing Sand, the new album by Seattle quartet, Transient Songs. That said, these kinds of things will likely grasp the listener when hearing their previous releases as well. Stealing Sand is the third full-length release from the band and it might just be their best release yet.

    Transient Songs, in this incarnation, includes Jon Frum, the principal songwriter, on vocals and guitar, Michael Shunk on guitar and keyboards, Dayna Loeffler on bass and Craig Keller on drums. This band gels and clearly has chemistry in both sound and performance. Stealing Sandencapsulates the sound of a band that sounds like they could have been recording their last album together. It is a vital statement that seems like it was hell-bent on being recorded. The songs, and especially Frum’s lyrics, seem to have been cultivated from an estranged perspective outside of himself that yet still comes passionately from within. The vantage point of the listener is thus removed and also extremely intimate. It is beautiful and painful and full of questions that cannot be answered, even after repeated listens.

    “Branches through the Trees” contains vibrato guitars and a stoned, driving melody that is almost hypnotizing, especially considering that it is only four and a half minutes long. “Lost in the Middle” is a kaleidoscopic, beautiful song that sounds like it could have been a classic album track by The Church. “Shoppin’ for Coffins” is perhaps the album’s centerpiece. It is a chilling and surreal song born out of a dream that is full of ghosts, questions, regret, and a general bewilderment of where the line between where reverie and reality intersect. Musically, it is a psychedelic, tight and succinct. “ There is too much uncertainty to fully connect the pieces. In Frum’s words, “The muse is always elusive.”

    “If the Summer Resigns” is reminiscent of Chicago’s criminally unknown melancholy pop outfit, The Chamber Strings. The title track, “Stealing Sand” recalls the breezy, melancholy sound of Transient Songs’ excellent debut, Cave Syndrome. “All Said and Done” includes some truly gorgeous cello and acoustic guitar interplay. It recalls a warm 1960’s sound of The Beatles or The Kinks. Just listen to the moving opening lines, “When it’s all said and done and you’re out of places to run/Chasing other peoples dreams away/You’re out on a limb, spinning your webs again/Did you ever think that luck has led you astray?”

    “Drug Dreams” is the biggest rock number on Stealing Sand and it fucking rocks. This is a classic garage rock song. This one comes from the day that your hangover wears off and all you want to do is start drinking again because being sober again is far more painful than the hangover is. The record closes with “Those Hidden Lakes,” which might be the best song on the album. It is a subtle and sad resignation where the mundane reflection on a day job and drab existence seems to become overwhelming. However, the song ends up being full of hope and an appreciation for all of the unsaid things that one takes for granted. It’s the perfect ending to a record that is heavily involved in a wide spectrum of complex human emotions.

    In short, Stealing Sand is a modern day classic. Transient Songs will be playing The Sunset in Ballard on the 28th of July. Mark your calendar if you want to see some inspired psychedelic rock and roll.

    http://threeimaginarygirls.com/stealing-sand-transient-songs/

  • Carry Illinois' Effortless Talent Makes New Album 'Garage Sale' Endlessly Playable

    ALBUM REVIEW 

    Carry Illinois' Effortless Talent Makes New Album 'Garage Sale' Endlessly Playable

    Carry Illinois - Garage Sale

    ‘Garage Sale,’ the new album from Carry Illinois, is a testament to the human experience. It’s a tour-de-force of emotion and takes you on an emotional journey with the band. For singer/songwriter Lizzy Lehman, losing a bandmate last year was a paralyzing experience, but writing new music gave her hope. 

    She said, “I took some songwriting workshops about using songwriting as truth-telling” and felt a switch in herself. She said that the class made her realize the importance of writing about her genuine experiences because “that’s the stuff that people really connect to.” To draw on the tragedy the band faced, 'Garage Sale' became therapy. 

    Despite the surrounding circumstances, the album became an expression of hope. The songs life you up rather than depress and each one feels like a new experience. The album has so many different influences from vintage college-rock mettle to a little lush AOR that it’s impossible to get bored. Take "Years to Come," which plays midway through the album and catches a current of ringing new-wave guitars, marching choral drums, and Brill Building harmonies: It's a defiant gesture though relatively unadorned.

    By partnering with admired producer John Vanderslice, the band took a raw approach, focusing on emotion and instrumental nuance. Lehman described her experience saying, “I think John, immediately when he heard the music, knew making sure the vocals were right up front and the lyrics could be heard was top priority, and made me super confident recording with him.” 

    But Vanderslice defers credit entirely to the band. He said he mostly tried to stay out of the way and just capture the energy. He even went as far as to say, “The band was so good I didn't want to impose a production style.” 

    With top-tier production, raw emotion, and exciting nuanced tracks, Garage Sale is a memorable album about love and loss. It’s a ode to recovery and moving forward — a true inspirational ballad.

    Album out: May 12

    Rate: 9/10

     

    -- Lou Flesh

    Buy here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/siren-ep/id824269502

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carryillinois

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carryillinois/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/carryillinois

    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/carryillinoisband

    http://nodepression.com/album-review/carry-illinois-effortless-talent-makes-new-album-garage-sale-endlessly-playable

  • Notes From Left of the Dial: Date Night With Brian "Anywhere" video

    Date Night With Brian, "Anywhere"
    Built around the musical muscle of three Seattle punk rock veterans, Date Night With Brian is a bass-less trio that evokes the noise of classic punk and indie rock while wading through a wash of fuzzed-out pop theatrics and rambunctious arrangements. With collected musical histories that extend back well over a decade, the band uses this wealth of experience and innate sense of band-centered dynamism to build a fierce and fiery foundation on which to offer their incendiary wares. Their new self-titled EP is out now on Top Drawer Records and is an apoplectic ride through their communal influences.

    For the video to their new song, "Anywhere," the band opts for a black and white performance piece, which finds them covered head to toe in reel-to-reel tape. The song possesses a fiery punk spirit, the kind that was thought to have died out in the late '70s. They mix in a bit of noisy pop to create a glowing mass of cross-genre pollination, resulting in a sound that doesn't feel beholden to any one set of rhythmic ideas but revels in its brisk dissemination of influences. The band's punk history shines through with their ability to navigate tremendous speeds without losing any sense of musical cohesion—in fact, through this practiced speed, they discover the gooey and reverberating heart of their extensive inspirations.

    http://nooga.com/175904/notes-from-left-of-the-dial-fallow-land-and-more/

  • New Noise Mag: Date Night with Brian CD Review

    Date Night With Brian
    Self-Titled EP
    (Top Drawer Records)

    The bass-less trio, Date Night With Brian, make up for the missing instrument with solid drumming and a brilliant two guitar attack plan. The Seattle group combines a fantastic mix of classic ‘90s alt rocks influences (all the greats like Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Meat Puppets) with infectious hooks that keep the songs with you long after you’ve stopped listening.

    A bit sloppy, but only in the most endearing way, you can practically smell the sweat and hear the clinking of beer bottles as the band rips through this collection of songs. There is an immediacy to everything from the drums and guitars to the shared male/female vocals that gives these songs that much more of a spotlight.

    The 5-track EP is frustrating only in its length; the songs, each as good as the one before it, end all too soon. A full-length album would be greatly appreciated.

    Purchase the album here.

    http://newnoisemagazine.com/review-date-night-brian-self-titled/

  • PASTE MAGAZINE VIDEO PREMIERE: Carry Illinois's 'Electric Charm' is simply touching and beautifully done

     

    When Carry Illinois’ bassist John Winsor took his life in 2016, the remaining members were numbed by their loss. They channeled their emotions the best way musicians know how: the release of a new album “Garage Sale”. The emotional 6-track tackles their loss not with sadness and helplessness, but with hope for their future. 

    by John Vanderslice, the album focuses on the importance of singer Lizzy Lehman’s lyrics and is a stripped-down wonder. Electric Charm is an upbeat bouncy track that comes from a 2-song release called “Electric Charm/Sea Inside”.The video’s colorful animation by Yukai Du is a unique representation of the music through color and morphing from one shape to the next. The result is the best dang thing I have seen in a long time!

    Lizzy states that the song "Electric Charm" began as a way for her to express and work through the pain that she experienced being bullied in high school.  “The only place I truly felt safe and at home was on stage and in the choir room. It wasn't until college that I was able to make friends that I could relate to and be myself around.  I could finally express my true self without the fear of being ridiculed or laughed at. It is only in the last couple years that I have found the strength to reflect on those early years with the confidence of knowing that I have risen above the hurtful words of my youth and find myself living happily.”

    Lizzy chose to have a video made for this song to express the growth in her personal confidence. She also wanted to have a beautiful piece of art that featured the musical talents of their former bass player John Winsor, who tragically took his own life in March 2016. This video is for him.

    When working with Yukai Du of Bliink Studios (Brighton, England) the collaboration came about very naturally. They provided her with the lyrics, the themes of the song, the color palette they preferred, and then gave her free-reign to work her magic.

    I like to give creative folks as much freedom as possible when starting a project and then ask for certain elements to be modified, provide criticism, and express my thoughts as the process happens. The imagery of a solitary person in space, the electric elements of earth, and the colorful abstract shifting shapes tie together the intimate themes of the song while creating a universal feel that people can relate to.”

    The video for "Electric Charm" is an exciting creative step for the band and Lizzy looks forward to diving deeper into more collaborative artistic efforts with future songs.

    This tribute to her friend and band mate is simply touching and beautifully done. It is an honor to listen to these lyrics and support this release. We suggest you check out Carry Illinois’s upcoming release “Garage Sale” which comes out May 12th. It is jam packed with songs that will instantly give you goose bumps.

    Myra Ivy

    http://carryillinoisband.com

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/04/video-premiere-carry-illinoiss-electric-charm-is-simply-touching-and-beautifully-done.html

  • AYRON JONES on ALTERNATIVE PRESS MAGAZINE

    Produced by legendary drummer Barrett Martin, Ayron Jones’ new album sets release date

     By Caitlyn Ralph

    Ayron Jones And The Way will release their new album, Audio Paint Job, June 2 via Sunyata Records.

    It's produced by legendary drummer Barret Martin (Queens Of The Stone Age). Here's what he had to say about the project:

    "Producing Ayron’s new album was a great experience for both of us. I’m an old school producer, but Ayron gave me hope that the next generation of forward-leaning musicians are going to do some great work in the future. Ayron’s ideas are rooted in the same classic forms I grew up with, yet he draws from modern hip hop, R&B, and soul, to create a new kind of Seattle rock that sounds both new and classic at the same time. During the sessions for Audio Paint Job, he learned from me, and I from him, so the album is both classic and future."

    Jones is on vocals, Ehssan Kirimi is on drums and Bob Lovelace is on bass.

    "Audio Paint Job is a title that has multiple meanings for me," Jones says. "It's a story about my mental and spiritual transformation through music."

    The album release show will take place at Seattle's Neptune Theater June 24.

    Jones also sings in the band Levee Walkers, alongside Pearl Jam's Mike McCready and Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan. They have a two song single coming this summer.

    Album art:

    Tracklisting:

    Take Me Away
    Emily
    Its Over When Its Over
    Mr. Jones/Rockstar
    Boys From the Puget Sound
    West Coast Feelin’
    Play Me a Song
    Take Your Time
    Stand Up
    Lay Your Body Down
    Be There With You
    Love is the Answer
    Yesterday 

    http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/produced_by_legendary_drummer_barrett_martin_ayron_jones_new_album_sets_rel

  • RazorCake: Date Night With Brian Review


    Given that my father and uncle are both named Brian and it is my middle name, I convinced myself that I was destined to have an affinity to this band before I knew any more than its title. Then I discovered that one-third of one of my favourite bands, Sicko, was also one-third of DNWB. That person being Ean Hernandez, whose label is also responsible for releasing this record. I was sold from there. The bass-less trio’s songs have a quirky garage pop feel, which manages to offer up hints of Sicko through some of the guitar work and Hernandez’s vocals. Drummer Reba Cowen—who was in Tales From The Birdbath with Hernandez—provides main vocals on the final of the five songs, “Drink the Kool-Aid,” to end on the highest of notes. My attraction is now firmly cemented. –Rich Cocksedge

    http://razorcake.org/date-night-brian-summertime-10/

  • CD REVIEW: Logan Lynn "Adieu"

    CD REVIEW: Logan Lynn "Adieu"

    LOGAN LYNN

    ADIEU

    Former electronic artist, Dandy Warhols protege,

    LGBT activist and human being with many other

    attached labels and titles, Logan Lynn, drops an

    epic album of danceable Electro-Rock Pop gems.

    You’ll find yourself dancing and twirling through

    the house, lip syncing into your hairbrush to his

    bare-bones, no holds barred truth before you even

    have a chance to process the lyrical content. Like a

    pride-parade rock band fronted by a former Christian

    fundie superhero schooled in the finer points

    of Brian Wilson and the aforementioned Dandys

    who has the power-pop potential to become

    something resembling an Indie/Glam Macklemore/

    Owl City hybrid. I can’t stop listening to this. (selfreleased)

    by Chad Wells

    http://ghettoblastermagazine.com

  • SEATTLE WEEKLY : Violin Virtuoso Andrew Joslyn’s Serene Debut LP Was Born of Chaos

    Through a fire, ‘At the Bottom of the Ocean.’

     S

    eattle-based violinist/composer Andrew Joslyn has toured the world on the strength of his playing. He is most definitely a musician. But the prolific artist could easily have been the world’s most accomplished juggler.

    Sitting across a table from him in West Seattle’s cozy Uptown Espresso, plans, words, and ideas tumble out of his mouth at an amazing rate—objectives he seems to keep afloat, bouncing in midair—but they aren’t just wishes, they’re descriptions of the many actual projects he has his hands on.

    Joslyn, who will debut his first full-length record, Awake at the Bottom of the Ocean, on Friday and celebrate it with a concert in conjunction with Seattle Secret Shows on Sat., Feb. 18, also just finished scoring his first feature film, American Violence, starring Bruce Dern and NFL player Rob Gronkowski. “It was such intense work that I got tendinitis in both hands,” says Joslyn, who is also getting married to his fiancée in August. “I was putting in 14- to 16-hour workdays to pull it off. Some parts I had to record 80 times each for the big sound the director was looking for.”

    For many, these professional accomplishments would be enough. But not for Joslyn. He has to keep working, collaborating—hustling the chaos of his life into laser-focused songs, some of which are so packed with swells and sways they almost feel unreal. “I’m a workaholic,” he says, “I’m only happy when I’m working.”

    As a working artist, stress is always part of the job. But stress, confusion, and loss found Joslyn in his private life, too. About two years ago, an apartment fire took almost everything he and his then-girlfriend, singer Suzy Sun, owned—even their cat. “When it rains, it pours,” he says, shaking his head. And after the fire—and subsequent insurance claims and attempts to re-collect their lives—Joslyn and Sun ended their relationship, strained in part by Joslyn’s constant touring with the likes of Macklemore and Dave Bazan.

    But now, perhaps, all this struggle is paying off in terms of clarity and direction—thanks in large part to Awake. “I’ve always been beholden to someone else’s schedule,” says Joslyn of his musical collaborations. “But I owe so much to this record. I don’t know if people are going to like it or not, but during these past few years, I just needed to make it.”

    Awake recalls the virtuosity of baroque pop violinist Andrew Bird and the springs and dives of a Mozart concerto, and brings a curious, self-investigative quality unique to Joslyn. This is evident immediately in the record’s first song, featuring vocalist Will Jordan—one of the many exquisite guest singers, including Adra Boo and Shelby Earl. Jordan sings, raspy and wondering, “We’re all living for that royal grace, that special place, that plastic heaven.” The standout track, though, might be “I Should Have Said Goodbye Before I Met You,” an emotionally remorseful song featuring Sun’s lamenting vocals.

    And while the release of Awake is a point of excitement for Joslyn, his focus, as always, remains on the next ball in the air. “I want to write a new record and have my wedding be the release party,” he grins. “Almost like a music festival where we’ll give the album out to all our attendees. I really want to do that, to make something beautiful.” Out Fri., Feb. 10 via soundcloud.com/Andrew-joslyn-music

    SEATTLE WEEKLY whole article

  • Portland Indie Pop Musician Logan Lynn Releases "Oh, Lucifer" Music Video

    From Logan Lynn's "ADIEU." (2016)
    Written and Produced by Logan Lynn and Gino Mari.
    BUY NOW:  https://loganlynn.bandcamp.com/album/...

    Logan Lynn's "Oh, Lucifer" music video was shot in Portland, Oregon and was produced by Portland Film Works. The video was released as a protest to Donald J. Trump​'s Presidency on Inauguration Day: January 20th, 2017.

    For more, visit http://www.LoganLynnMusic.com

  • DEBUT: ANDREW JOSLYN, “PLASTIC HEAVEN (BUDO REMIX)”

    Plastic Heaven (Budo Remix)” is a revisit from Andrew Joslyn, having previously worked with Budo on the original beat for “Plastic Heaven”. Directed by Garrett Gibbons, and filmed along the Salton Sea in Southern California, the video is all about the plastic lifestyle that used to be. Now a bleak symbol of a once-opulent, destination resort, complete abandon, and rotting carcasses are the new residents.

    Other than Chris Kattan of SNL, that is, having a central feature in the music video. Channeling an ‘Inception’ like the storyline, Chris Kattan is taking in “Plastic Heaven” in the most detached, unconcerned manner possible. That robe really ties that desert together, Chris.

    Andrew Joslyn can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and his full-length album drops worldwide in February.

    http://www.imposemagazine.com/tv/andrew-joslyn-plastic-heaven-remix

  • Blue Skies for Black Hearts does X-Mas

     

    Now that December is just a few hours away, let's break out the Jesus birthday jams. Now in it's 9th volume, XO for the Holidays is a compilation put out by Portland and Detroit based PR firm XO Publicity. This year, XO for the Holidays presents the rocking power pop of Blue Skies for Black Hearts doing a Christmas classic.

    We all miss David Bowie terribly and Bing Crosby's influence is undeniable, so hearing Blue Skies for Black Hearts taking on their 1977 holiday hit "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" brings about a true sense of joy. 

    Frontman Pat Kearns's vocals fittingly encapsulate much of what Bowie and Crosby were serving in their original rendition, but with his own twist of course. His recently released solo record, So Long City, showcases his vocal talents further.

    Listen to all of XO for the Holidays here, and give Blue Skies For Black Hearts' take on "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" below.

    http://portland.thedelimagazine.com/26403/blue-skies-for-black-hearts-does-x-mas

  • Blinded by Sound: We the Wild album review

    "Where do we draw the line, between feeding a habit and having a good time?" ask We the Wild, a young band from Portland. The line is from a song titled "Terrible, Terrible" and it is one of ten tracks on their debut album From the Cities We Fled. The rainy streets of Portland are as hostile to youth as anyplace else, and it is those types of struggles that their lyrics chronicle. But it is the music that makes this self-released disc such a gem. We the Wild have a hardcore background, but they mix in all sorts of other flavors: rock, punk, jazz, mathlete guitars, Cookie Monster vocals, classical piano, everything under the sun you might say. Unlike a lot of other bands, none of this feels gratuitous, everything fits, and everything has its place.

    When I heard that WtW were coming to town recently, I was ready. And so were the touring gremlins, as it turned out. Mechanical problems with their van drastically reduced the tour, but thankfully they made it to Seattle. It was a great show, although being on a bill with three other groups meant a shortened set. And for all the fabled history of Seattle's Central Tavern, the place has never been known for great sound. One of the things I have thought from the beginning about this band is how broad their appeal would be if they were exposed to a wide audience. In a one-person testimonial to this theory, my date (who tends towards classic rock) instantly "got" We the Wild.

    The members of the quintet are: Benjamin Cline - (vocals) Joe Lawson - (drums, vocals), Miles Davenport - (guitar, vocals), Elliot Sikes - (guitar), and Julian Rossetti - (bass). They graciously answered a few questions before the show began, and the first thing I wondered about is how they would describe their music. "We use the term 'post-hardcore' to describe ourselves," answered Miles. It seemed like that was a question he has been asked before, because he soon amended his response, "Actually I should say that we have a very good chord library," he concluded.

    While their roots are hardcore, where WtW really shine is in writing melodies and pop hooks. Their songs are incredibly catchy. This is a group who have refined their music to a point where there is nobody else like them. Even those who profess to hate punk or hardcore should hear From the Cities We Fled, because the contrast between the "abrasive" vocals and guitars with the amazing hooks and riffs they churn out make for a marvelous payoff.

    The songs are about drugs, prostitutes, losing old friends, the clampdown on clubs...you know, the fun stuff. What I did not know until we spoke was that to make this very urban NW album they "got away from it all." They basically went to a cabin in the woods and wrote and rehearsed and wrote and rehearsed until they had it down cold.

    Armed with this knowledge I listened to the disc again and realized that the opening "Still Asunder" actually works as a thumbnail sketch of the entire album. The song opens with the soft sound of raindrops, which harden into the sound of a good old-fashioned typewriter. Then the rhythmic typing is replaced with Lawson's drums as the music gets underway. The woodshedding they did in the cabin is addressed with the raindrops and typewriter, while the "heavy" vocals and guitars are met with equally "friendly" pop hooks at every turn.

    "Exodus and Decay" was the first single, and the following excerpted quote from The Deli Magazine was WtW's way of introducing it: "Exodus and Decay' was written about the alarming state of Portland's local hardcore scene, and the attitude of apathy that locals have taken to our passion for the music we create"

    The very next tune "Ol Boy" is the second single, and this excerpted WtW quote comes from Performer Magazine, "The core message in "Ol' Boy" is about independence and self-worth. People are constantly changing, and not always for the better."

    The record-biz term for opening your CD with your strongest songs is called "front-loading," but that is only if you have a bunch of crap after the first two or three. While the singles are two pretty great tunes, they are not even my favorites. "Roxy, the Cops are Here" is (for now at least). Tied to an irresistible melody, the line "Nothing ever looked so pretty, and nothing ever felt so wrong" has been in my head for a long time. The video for "Roxy" is a low-budget riot, with a mustachioed hooker, some cops, and a couple of Mormons on bicycles - all tangled up in an industrial backlot somewhere. While the video is hilarious, the subject of a prostitute's OD is pretty grim. This type of contrast is a fundamental element of WtW, a constant reminder that they are anything but one-dimensional.

    "Roxy" is an older tune that is rarely played live these days, but they did play my second favorite song, "Terrible, Terrible" (previously quoted). I loved their dead-pan introduction of it at The Central: "Here's another song about drugs." Yes, it is another song about drugs all right, but one with a message that resonates.

    I have listened to From the Cities We Fled many times, and there is one track that I kept skipping because it made me cringe. When I knew that I would be writing about them, I quit skipping "King of Wounds," and finally understood how essential it is. This is their "confessional," for God's sake! Ever since Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," the self-absorbed "narcissistic" ballad is required. And as much as I want to make fun of those songs, or think they are self-serving, I can't. It is youth. It is what you do. From the Cities We Fled would not be the genuine article without "King of Wounds" and that's all there is to it.

    I didn't know what to make of "Hold" the first time I heard it either. It is a solo, acoustic piano piece that seemed almost laughably out of place until I put away my preconceived notions. It is a beautiful interlude, and serves as an excellent introduction to the apocalyptic finale "2001" This song is one of those "all in" songs, with just everything but the proverbial kitchen sink and it is indescribably amazing. Throw in the four horsemen, and you have it all.

    And then it is over. Ten songs in a little over 49 minutes that pulled me out of a really difficult time in my life. The abundance of creativity, and the honesty of the lyrics spoke to a sense of purpose that I had nearly forgotten. This is more an impression than a statement, but in thinking about what a crass and ugly year 2016 was, and comparing that to the feeling I get in listening to We the Wild, these words came to mind: The soul of a true musician never changes hands.

    http://blindedbysound.com/reviews/we-the-wild-from-the-cities-we-fled/