M A S S E S - "GOING UNDER"
Drawing on their obsession to 40 years of rock, and paying homage to propulsive punk precursors, M A S S E S ties deep sonic roots together to form a strikingly singular sound. Instrumentally similar to a darkened Metric, and pushing danceable elements a la Coldplay, this band opens endless possibilities as to where each song might take the listener. Formed in Chicago in 2015, the five-piece band features Mike Jansen on vocals, guitarists Markham Jenkins and Edgar Quintanilla, Jonathan Walker on bass, and drummer Jon Lewchenko. Within M A S S E S, members rest their main instruments to delve into a collection of sampled and synthesized elements, unleashing tracks that traverse decades of genre diversity, delivering something eerily familiar and completely new. It’s all there in the band’s first single “Going Under.” Recorded with LA-based producer Steven Solomon in the legendary David Hodges’ studio, “Going Under” issues a direct challenge to anyone even attempting to remain sitting still.
ISKA DHAAF - "LOST"
In 2011 Nathan Quiroga (Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna) and Benjamin Verdoes (Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) left their respective Seattle-based projects behind and began collaboration on Iska Dhaaf. The band was quickly embraced for their engaging live shows, and for creating the sound of a full band by way of two people. Together as songwriters they have steadily explored production, instrumentation, and an ever-expanding narrative voice. After the release of their debut, Even the Sun Will Burn, they toured across North America, Western Europe, relocated to New York, and most recently wrote and performed in Paris and Berlin. Their upcoming album, The Wanting Creature, sees the duo emerging as producers, experimenters and genre-bending artists. The new songs show an ongoing devotion to lyrical depth and composition, and the album more fully utilizes their diverse musical backgrounds. Nearly five years in, they will surprise with their innovations-taking risks one would hope to see in a sophomore album. The second single from Iska Dhaaf’s forthcoming record is a hook-filled anthem for the disconnected. The beat gallops, the bass pulses, and the synth line and chorus will be permanently embedded in your brain. The composition clearly shows Quiroga and Verdoes’ leap into the electronic realm. Verdoes builds a warm blanket of harmonies around Quiroga's melodic hooks. Musically and lyrically the song describes a darkness with which most of us dance. By the emergence of the final chorus we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
RON GALLO - "KILL THE MEDICINE MAN"
Ron Gallo is a rock n’ roll trio lead by a tall, big-haired weirdo of the same name. As the former frontman of Toy Soldiers, Gallo spent a decade as a fixture in the burgeoning Philadelphia music scene. Now solo, Gallo is completing his second full-length record Heavy Meta. Embracing his love for fuzz, psych, garage, and early punk, Heavy Meta is a stark contrast to the "Harry Nilsson-meets-Father John Misty" sound of the previous record RONNY. After undergoing a shattering year of love, loss, purging, and a musical reinvention, Gallo sought a change of scenery and a fresh start. Drawn to the rock n' roll music currently being made by his friends in back alleys of Tennessee's "Music City," Gallo and his very own record label American Diamond Recordings relocated to the Bordeaux neighborhood of Nashville on a memorable New Years Day 2016. Throughout his career, Toy Soldiers and solo combined, Gallo has released three full length records and three EPs working with various small independent labels in Philadelphia and New York City. He has shared the stage with legends such as Dr. Dog, Deer Tick, The Walkmen, J. Roddy Walston, among others. On stage, Gallo is a force to be reckoned with. He is a true showman with a knack for grabbing the audience's attention and leaving them in awe. He sings his ass off and thinks it's important to laugh at yourself. Ron Gallo shares his new single "Kill The Medicine Man," a testament to the powers of facing your demons without influence from a variety of vices or escapism.
MORLY - "PLUCKY"
Fresh off the heels of making her debut at SXSW 2016 - appearing at The FADER FORT, Hype Hotel's Crack in the Road showcase, Portals SXSW showcase and more - Morly unveils her new pulsating, low-fi track "Plucky" via The FADER. Produced by Morly, "Plucky" centers around a minimal, yet captivating rhythmic tempo that flows effortlessly with her elegant vocals. The song is featured on the forthcoming EP Something More Holy, (out April 8th on Cascine. The FADER expressed, "Like Wet and Lapsley, Morly fuses singer-songwriter tropes - the lone voice, plaintive melodies - with slinky, up-to-date pop production." Morly explains, "'Plucky' is a song about courage, and not taking things too seriously. It's a rare one where the groove came first."
WOLFIE'S JUST FINE - "I FORGOT"
Indie-rock band Wolfie's Just Fine premiere their new track "I Forgot," featuring minimal instrumentation and powerful harmonies that simultaneously evoke memories of the past and encourage forgetting them all together. The track is off the band's debut album I Remembered but Then I Forgot available April 8th via Normal Guy Records. Without the punchlines, but with the same sort of punchy lyrics and catchy hooks that Jon Lajoie's fans have to come expect, Wolfie's Just Fine introduces a new-yet-familiar side of the Montreal-born artist. In the debut album from Wolfie's Just Fine, Lajoie's raw vocal ability and his penchant for weaving together harmony-heavy melodies with nostalgic sensibilities positions him in a unique world between alternative and indie folk. Lajoie is a Canadian comedian, actor, and musician best known for his role as Taco in the FXX series The League, as well as his YouTube persona "Everyday Normal Guy." Wolfie's Just Fine is the first endeavor to showcase his music independent of the comedy.
TODD LEWIS KRAMER - "I WANT YOUR LOVE"
Americana folk singer-songwriter Todd Lewis Kramer is thrilled to announce the release of his debut album, Fairground, which will be released on May 13th. Kramer has unveiled his new love ballad, “I Want Your Love,” where Kramer says, “Sometimes someone comes along and just stops you in your tracks and sort of realigns your existence, basically. That's what ‘I Want Your Love’ is about - being so head over heels for someone that you just need to let them know." Fairground was produced by Jeremy Siegel (Kendra Morris, That Handsome Devil) and Sam Merrick (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Toots and the Maytals). The LP is a collection of Kramer’s deeply personal stories told with raw, tremulous vocals with songs about being in love, getting hurt, longing for someone and self-reflection. Kramer has been writing all his life and searching to find who he is as a musician. This record symbolizes his songwriting career up to this point, which results into his captivating, intimate connection with his audience.
WHITNEY - "GOLDEN DAYS"
Ascendant Chicago band Whitney has announced their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, due out June 3rd on Secretly Canadian. This follows on the heels of recent inescapable single “No Woman,” the new single "Golden Days," and a much talked about SXSW trip. Light Upon The Lake marks the culmination of a short, but incredibly intense, creative period for the band. Formed from the core of guitarist Max Kakacek (ex-Smith Westerns) and singing drummer Julien Ehrlich (ex-Unknown Mortal Orchestra), the band is something bigger, something visionary, something neither of them could have accomplished alone. Whitney was born from a series of laidback early-morning songwriting sessions during one of the harshest winters in Chicago history, after Ehrlich and Kakacek reconnected. The duo wrote frankly about the break-ups they were enduring and the breakdowns they were trying to avoid. Each served as the other’s most brutal critic and most sympathetic confessor, a sounding board for the hard truths that were finding their way into new songs like the aforementioned “No Woman.” Whilst they demoed and toured the new songs, they became more aware of the perfect imperfections of the songs, and needing to strike the right balance, they eventually made the trek out to California, where they recorded with Foxygen frontman and longtime friend, Jonathan Rado. Ehrlich and Kakacek emerge as imaginative and insightful songwriting partners, impressive in their scope and restraint as they mold classic rock lyricism into new and personal shapes without sound revivalist or retro.
TREVOR SENSOR - "PACING THE CAGE"
Trevor Sensor has unveiled the video for his new single, “Pacing The Cage,” from his debut EP, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, out March 25th on Jagjaguwar. When asked about the track, which is a cover of a Bruce Coburn song, Sensor commented, “I think, basically, it’s one of the greatest songs ever written. I immediately identified with it as soon as I heard the line, ‘Sometimes you feel like you live too long, days drip slowly on the page.’” On his debut EP, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, the Illinois-born 22-year-old singer-songwriter’s distinctive burr of a voice sounds aged decades beyond his years, and the rest of Sensor’s music follows suit, with timeless-sounding melodies and a sense of songwriting that exudes maturity while still feeling fresh.
A DEAD FOREST INDEX - "MYTH RETRACED"
A Dead Forest Index has shared the second cut from their debut album In All That Drifts From Summit Down, out April 29th on Sargent House. “Myth Retraced” features guitar contributions from Gemma Thompson of Savages, resulting in a song that is both intense and beautiful. Comprised of brothers Adam and Sam Sherry, the group crafts ethereal and intensely intimate compositions that defy trends and labeling, instead shaping an aural experience as organic as it is unpredictable. Forsaking instrumental complexity in favor of richly dense vocals and an otherwise minimal palette, the band evokes heaviness with the atmosphere they create rather than through blunt force. Teaming-up with Sargent House on the heels of a recent European tour supporting label-mate Chelsea Wolfe, A Dead Forest Index are poised to introduce their sound to a global audience in 2016. A Dead Forest Index was initially the solo project of Adam Sherry, begun in 2008. By 2010, it had evolved into a collaboration with Sam Sherry supplying percussive depth to his brother’s distinctively hymnal approach to vocals, itself characterized by cyclical harmonies and experiments with drone. Untethered by place, they’ve spent the past few years developing their sound, touring extensively between 2012 and 2014, and issuing the EPs Antique and Cast of Lines in the process. A Dead Forest Index epitomize the possibilities of the modern age. Weaving threads of disparate influence from around the world into a captivating tapestry, the duo exemplify their own transience, producing mature, wholly inspired work unbound by time or place.
TIM HEIDECKER - "IN GLENDALE"
Tim Heidecker announced his solo album, In Glendale, which will be released on May 20th via Rado Records, the brand new Jagjaguwar imprint from Foxygen's Jonathan Rado. For the last decade, Heidecker has proven to be one of our cult-comedy greats with his Adult Swim series "Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" and "Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories." Behind those empty, unflinching dada-comedy bot eyes, there's a real man with all the regular feels. He resides on a hill in Glendale, California up to his armpits in diapers, bills, his mortgage, in the workaday life of a writer. It's this pedestrian side of his life from which Heidecker pulls the fodder for the aptly titled In Glendale, his first earnest collection of songwriting under his full name. It's a post-normcore delight of exuberant bar rock, morning after parlor ballads and tragicomic folk novelties. And, of course, because we are talking about a comedic legend in the making, humor remains core to this album, be it a deadpan domestic observation or that feeling that you're on the outside of an inside joke. But then, you get the feeling that's right where Heidecker wants you. Fans of Warren Zevon, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, and Biff Rose should sit up and listen. There's a new wry outlook on life in Los Angeles, and this one ain't afraid to pick up some dog shit.