ABRA is an outlier. Moving around with her missionary parents, she was born in New York and raised in South London, before eventually landing in Atlanta. Like her upbringing, ABRA’s music isn’t specific to a place, a time, or a sound. Instead, it’s a blend of influences, informed -- but not defined -- by its surroundings. Utilizing different components of Miami Freestyle and electro-funk 808’s topped with her own airy R&B-tinged vocals, ABRA’s voice and sounds are familiar, but uniquely contemporary.
Every note on the Princess EP, out July 15th on True Panther Sounds, is written, produced, and performed by ABRA - often in the solitude of her bedroom closet. As an introverted youth, she dug into the internet to find community and inspiration. Then, as now, she found inspiration in unique juxtapositions, as seen in her early acoustic covers of Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame and 2 Chainz that she posted on Youtube. Those videos eventually led her to a new community, Awful Records. The Awful crew -- a collective of friends, artists and collaborators creating their own hypercolor, DIY version of Atlanta’s burgeoning weirdo-rap movement -- embraced her fully. Even within the rap-oriented Awful crew she is an iconoclast: for her own productions, she avoids the conventional sounds of Atlanta trap in favor of drums and synthesizers reminiscent of 1980's pop.
While still featuring on various Awful Records artists’ music, her own music and image is sacrosanct. She conceives her own videos and acts as art director for all packaging and photo shoots. Princess is a portal into her self-contained universe and it shines with a profound confidence. After a year spent alternating between the mania of worldwide touring and self-imposed recording isolation, Princess is a bold new step for an artist who is growing more accomplished day by day. Never compromising on her vision or artistic process, she has molded her surroundings into her strict aesthetic and vision. No longer a lone outlier, she is a leader and lightning rod for a world of fellow outsiders. ABRA is a true PRINCESS in a monarchy of her own creation.
Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 2000, Kodie was raised by his biological mother’s adopted sister and her husband, who moved to Houston when he was two. There, Kodie grew up with jazz and soul blaring through the house. As a teenager, he discovered rappers Future, Young Thug and Lil Yachty alongside Houston legends like Lil Flip – and channeled his influences into his first beats on Fruity Loops. By high school, he was dropping a song a day on SoundCloud. He began throwing biweekly DIY shows with HVN, growing his fanbase locally and online.
For the 20-year-old rapper-producer, putting words together is an art form based in the Texas lineage of flexing and freestyling. “When you grow up on that shit, it just gets embedded in your skin,” BBY Kodie explains. “It's like putting the ugliest words on the most beautiful beats.”
Albums like 2018’s Kodie Kardashian and 2019’s Vogue marked gradual steps away from the innocent charm of his earlier songs towards a more polished artistic vision that coalesces on his forthcoming mixtape. Naming Kodie one of the best new artists, Pigeons & Planes said, “the budding talent operates on a high-octane field of his own, confident as hell and raring to bring the world to Houston.
Black Orange Juice
Together, Ossie, Paul Black and Tilz are Black Orange Juice, exciting new faces in the ever-fertile and innovative forefront of UK dance music.
The faultless beats come courtesy of Ossie (Hyperdub, 20/20 Vision), one of the most talked-about breaking UK producers, this time exposing classic Chicago house and disco influences, as well as his own trademark visionary flare for twisted, broken LDN R&B. The propulsive kicks and goose-bump synths provide a backdrop for his best friends’ Paul Black and Tilz to take centre stage as two distinctive new UK soul voices. They arrive on an unstoppable musical mission with the ‘3 Started Alone‘ EP for the formidable and diverse NYC label family that is True Panther Sounds (King Krule, Girls, Delorean, Hyetal, Glasser), four cuts of relentlessly hook-laden, beat-driven brilliance and a stirring emotional directness, equally at home on club subs or headphones.
The sound of BOJ is rooted in a lifetime of music together, the sound of three childhood comrades that have grown up as a creative unit. From classic shy first steps harmonizing in the halls of their Roman Catholic comprehensive in East Ham, to after-school sessions fawning over their dad’s Marvin, Luther and Chic vinyls, to maiden clubbing voyages together at house nights with DJing older cousins, the boys began to flex their musical muscles as one. “We were those three kids that were just into music at school, it’s literally all we cared about. So that’s what we did every day,” remembers Ossie.
With some of the most respected labels around clambering to release Ossie’s own unique dance concoctions, he quickly recruited Paul Black and Tilz as the featured voices laying down the hooks for the club smashes that would make his name, including the likes of the massive ‘Supercali’ for 20/20 Vision, and ‘Set The Tone’ and ‘Ignore’ for Hyperdub.
With the ‘3 Started Alone’ EP, the scene is now set for Black Orange Juice to fully step into the spotlight together. “Whether it’s disco, house, funky, garage, or something else, through our parents, uncles, cousins, and now ourselves, all three of us have grown up learning the history of dance music, and even hearing it created, as scenes came and went,” explains Tilz. “So this has become our dream, we’ve always wanted to make people want to move, and to move people. But more than anytime in my life, there’s something in the air right now.” Here here…
Greetings from Mateo is the only True Panther release from former Rainbow Bridges member Adam Croce under the name Broken Strings. The album packs a wallop and provides an entirely new perspective on the surf rock genre in the mid 2000s. As the album unfolds and Adam, wide-eyed, surveys the beautiful, terrible surreality of millennial California, the music likewise ripples out from its scuzz-pop center to encompass elements of archetypal West Coast styles like surf, folk, grunge (the slamming Which Witch out-Nirvanas Nirvana with both its gnarly riffage and its psychedelic angst).
There's a quiet softness to Celeste that makes you feel instantly relaxed by her presence. Her voice has that natural ease that seems to just escape her throat, but contains so much detail, so many stories, such complex personal histories.
Celeste grew up in Brighton but she was born in Los Angeles. Her mother is from Dagenham, and her father is from Jamaica, and both of them wound up wherever the wind would blow. Her granddad was the one who'd expose her to music. “The first singer I remember hearing was Aretha Franklin,” she recalls, offering details of hearing a cassette in her granddad's old Jaguar. “He could tell I liked it and played 24 more of her songs."
After moving to Brighton, she found herself struck by the compulsory church hymns, even though she wasn't religious. The seeds were being sowed but it wasn't until Celeste was in her mid-teens that she started basing life decisions upon her love for music, deliberating over university versus pursuing a career as an artist. Her time at college had been testy and coincided with her dad's death. She stopped turning up to class, she stopped hanging out with her friends. She wouldn't leave the house. She nearly got kicked out of school. After she plodded through that difficult year she felt a new sense of purpose, and a strong desire to use the opportunity of college as a means for self-discovery.
At the age of 18 she'd befriended a group of young talented local boys. They'd meet up at “Sean's house” and gather around a tiny bedroom with their instruments, playing soul, funk and jazz. Celeste would sing. She'd never performed for people before. They'd rehearse covers of Sly And The Family Stone, The Clash, The Specials, The Moody Blues, Alice Coltrane, Janice Joplin, Thelonius Monk and Ray Charles, turning each other on to classic discoveries. Eventually she began to write original material with the boys.
“The more time I spent playing music with my friends and doing shows the more I wanted to do it as a career,” she says. Her first show was a heady cocktail of nerves and adrenaline. “The feeling overpowers you,” she laughs. “It seemed to work for me. It gave me a hunger.” Without any industry nous or contacts she just did what came naturally to her. “I had an instinct towards what I should do to get where I wanted to be.”
“I understand my sound and how I want me to be perceived as an artist. Realising that making music isn't just about singing, it's about having something to say,” she says now. The journey was long but there was always a little light whenever things got too dark. The music she's making and releasing now feels rooted in pain.
Cloud Nothings is the brainchild of Dylan Baldi, a Cleveland, Ohio native who was still in his teens when the buzz about his music started. On early releases such as 2011's self-titled debut album, the project was a one-man band specializing in lo-fi punk-pop. Once Baldi recruited other members to give his music more heft, as on 2012's Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings came into its own, and the band mastered its mix of hardcore intensity and deceptively sweet melodies on later albums including 2018's Last Building Burning.
“I don’t like aging,” says Los Angeles based artist Deborah’s Child. She sounds stern. Blunt.Almost defiant. “I realize I need to embrace my years and make the most of it, but it alsoreminds me of all the stuff I have yet to accomplish. I haven’t yet lived the life I want to live.”Born in Orlando, FL, the artist born Brooke Danaher says that while she enjoyed her childhood,and that “Orlando was a good place to raise children,” she always possessed a desire toescape. After applying to multiple fashion high schools in an attempt to relocate, she eventuallybegan experimenting with music as a senior. Danaher admits that as a child she poured overofferings from Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and others amidst the pop canon, but thatas a teenager she ventured off to indie acts like Vampire Weekend and Sufjan Stevens.At the age of eighteen, she moved to Los Angeles with her sister and father, officially decidingto pursue music full time. What began with merely cold, fruitless emails eventually morphed intoa creative relationship with a producer by the name of Miles who was actually helping Danaher’ssister craft a project at the time.“She is the creative energy,” Miles says. “Even if I have a lot of ideas and input, the corepersonality and where everything ends up going comes out of her.”The two teamed up to release Deborah’s Child’s first official EP titled Look, Maw! A Baby Deer!,a five track, 15 minute force whose title might be a bit misleading. On the EP’s rebellious leadsingle, titled “Margaret’s Hymn” the artist paints pictures of drug-fueled teenage angst, speedingthrough punk-rap highs and lows, and her self-directed DIY video only adds to the song’smadness. Danaher’s vocals shift from rap bars to lonely musings on another standout,“Tsuname”, with the artist jaded by promises of fairytale love. Each track offers a quasi-fictionallook through her artistic lens, providing her with the escape she has often strived for.“My songs are an outlet for me, they’re an attempt to get back my sense of self. I mean, I’m notangry, but I make angry music sometimes,” she laughs. “But when I’m on a song that’s where Iactually feel something.” And while her inaugural EP provided a brief peek into her artistic M.O., she says that she hasgrown in her mentality towards her creative process.“There’s definitely that same attitude there with the next project. But I realize now that I canderive pleasure from so many different types of songs,” she reveals. “I used to question everynew track that I would make, but now I have learned to allow my songs to stand individually, andI’m proud of that.”
Delorean have stuck together. They started the band as teenagers in the Basque Country town of Zarautz in Spain, informed by a love of hi-hat-frenzied dance music, then moved to Barcelona, where they fully embraced carefree Mediterranean club music on their celebrated 2010 LP, Subiza. After touring heavily in support of Subiza the band built their own studio in their adopted hometown of Barcelona – looking for a semblance of normalcy to record their follow-up, Apar. However, a failed relationship, a national financial crisis and an embrace of a more sophisticated relationship to sound recording and songwriting push the stories and dynamics of this album to a deeper more complex place. Lead singer, lyricist and bassist Ekhi Lopeteg calls Apar simply their “big production album”, but through his articulate lens, the record’s emotional undercurrent, and the band’s mastery of luxurious, coast-of-Spain beats, Apar is something altogether more illuminating.
Delorean toured for nearly three years after releasing Subiza, so when the band – Lopetegi, Guillermo Astrain (guitar), Unai Lazcano (keyboards) and Igor Escudeo (drums) – settled back home in Barcelona it should be no surprise they set out to make their lives as normal as possible. For some much needed structure and control, they built a private studio in El Poblenou, an industrial neighbourhood that borders the Mediterranean Sea. “It was a really normal life”, Lopetegi says of their time writing and recording Apar. “We needed that after three years of touring. The studio really looks like a working place, and it feels like it too. Even our working times were more normal: we’d wake up, go to work, have a lunch break, keep working and meet up with friends after”.
Outside of the serenity of the studio however, life was not so normal. A breakup serves as a foundation for reflection on the madness of unconditional commitment. “There are a lot of ‘you’s’ in the lyrics” explains Lopetegi, “but I didn’t try to write a plain narrative of what happened”. The lyrics explore the contradiction between being a finite person and feeling compelled to pledge infinite, unconditional love – or friendship, or persistence, or even allegiance to the other. The global financial crisis has hammered Delorean’s home of Spain, leaving nearly a quarter of the population unemployed while Apar was being recorded. In this light, the album’s story of the impermanence of love undergoes a subtle torque, so the record can also be seen to examine the changing nature of not just love, but hope. Like abiding lovers, people persevere and stand firm while something they thought was strong and true erodes around them. Perhaps betraying Lopetegi’s schooling in philosophy, his songwriting begins with a specific, deeply personal event – a breakup – then expands to reach out to anyone.
For Apar the band set on a musical journey to get to the core of their songwriting. Leaving behind the ornate and layered production of Subiza, the chopped up female vocal samples have been replaced by actual singers and the bare minimum of instrumentation is all that remains to support them. This measured approach that the band embraced for Apar is what waning relationships sometimes need in order to survive.
The album’s poignant cover art unites the universal breakup story of Apar – the title, a Basque term referring to froth or foam – and the album’s refined analog production. Inspired by graveyard crosses built by the Basque artist Jorge Oteiza, it depicts two wooden crosses, connected together as if grasping arms in an unconditional embrace, that have been thrown into the sea of Cap the Creus, a Northern Spanish region known for its hard wind and dangerous crags. Yet the crosses – though their very form symbolises death – hold on to each other. “Death shall have no dominion” as Lopetegi sings on ‘Dominion’, quoting the poet Dylan Thomas. They’re afloat for now, connected now, real, ever on the move. Amid turbulence, Delorean have bonded tight too, and with Apar the band has made the most powerful, dynamic, and moving album of their career.
DJ Spoko was born Marvin Ramalepe, raised in the rural town of Tzaneen in northern South Africa, where he says “there was no first or third class—all the same.” He started producing on a PC at age 12, after moving with his brother Kelly Rams Ramalepe to Atteridgeville, a 99%-black township outside the mostly white city of Pretoria – to find their father. They lived in an area called Ghost Town, near Atteridgeville’s cemetery, where as the neighborhood’s premiere producer, young Spoko earned the nickname Ghost. The title of his new Ghost Town EP—Spoko’s first release in the West, via True Panther—neatly bundles both the man and the place, and serves as an introduction to the raw sound of Bacardi House, the genre he invented that now rules over the clubs of Atteridgeville.
Bacardi House has been fermenting for a decade. For three years in the early 2000s, DJ Spoko traveled 40 miles south to Soweto, where he studied sound engineering in the studio of Nozinja, creator of the hyper-speed, hip-shaking Shangaan Electro style. After, when Spoko built his own studio back home, he took a producer named DJ Mujava under his wing, leading to Spoko’s great but uncredited triumph, as the percussion mastermind behind Mujava’s Bacardi House indebted “Township Funk.” His sound consumed the township, passed around on numerous full-length cassette releases with names like Grave Yard Session, The All C’Ing I, and Tombs & Graves. On Ghost Town, Spoko pushes that sound’s simple yet ear-worming “space” synths, raw kicks and punishing military snares even further.
Ghost Town is party music, sure, but there’s a stern and harsh reality, too. Guest vocals by Spoko’s Ghetto Boyz Entertainment crew address the warnings of forefathers, the violence of township life, and the rural world Spoko left behind. It’s the electrified sound of a country boy taking over his township. And next, maybe, the world.
Ebhoni may be the type to keep to herself, however she is not one to keep quiet. From her eye catching style to her impeccably outspoken vocals, the Toronto native, whose singles include
the 2018 hit “Opps” is using her voice for more than just great music.
Working since the age of 11 to showcase her deep infatuation with performing and creating music, Ebhoni has matured into a refined vocalist with an eclectic musical style. Embracing her rhythmic range with songs like the Caribbean-tinged “TGM (Tech Gyal Man)” and the pop- infused ethereal sounds of “Street Lights,” Ebhoni has taken her appreciation for good music and flipped it into the kinds of powerhouse performances that have landed her on opening stages for today’s biggest acts, including Teyana Taylor and Doja Cat.
Guided by the West Indian culture that dominated her upbringing, Ebhoni has turned her natural way of life into the musical choices that keep her listeners coming back for more and more. Making it a point to help amplify the voices of marginalized peoples with her burgeoning global platform, Ebhoni has also broken out of her once shy shell to speak up for not only herself, but also for those who are all too often silenced. Saying the things that most people are afraid to share, Ebhoni’s continuous stream of consciousness has lent to her vision of what a Black woman can do when she has the agency to act as she pleases and a loyal team that remains excited to support her. And with time, the world will undoubtedly see how positively transformative this kind of power can be.
On September 13th, 2011, San Francisco’s Girls will release their second album Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Two years after their debut (Album), and one year after the follow-up EP (Broken Dreams Club) it is the natural, third entry in Girls’ recorded trinity, and features their most accomplished recordings to date.
Album was a sketch of the life Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White lived in San Francisco; a messy bedroom broadcast to the world. Broken Dreams Club blasted their home-studio ideas into widescreen projection and served as a crucial stepping stone to newfound studio fidelity. Both releases demonstrated that behind the noise of a backstory loud enough to swallow most bands, stood two true rock craftsmen and traditionalists. Girls employ the whole palette of pop music to convey their own intimate and troubled visions, just as classic songwriters have done before them.
For Father, Son, Holy Ghost the band holed up in a basement recording studio located in San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district, where the din of daytime street life forced Christopher to record his vocals during quiet nights, whispering his own stories alongside those of the city’s. Girls deliberately chose to avoid the sterile confines of a traditional studio. Instead they settled on an eclectic environment full of warmth, history, an array of instruments and esoteric recording gear from each of the last five decades. “It was basically 4 concrete walls, a total mess- but it was perfect! I was looking for an environment, not a studio”, says White, “There was no way to avoid the sound of the room, it was all concrete. We wanted a room that was going to sound different…the way Sun Records studio, or Muscle Shoals had their own inherent sound. We put mics under toilets, in old cabinets, and what we got was this huge, open sound. ”
Father, Son, Holy Ghost juxtaposes the pain and beauty, hope and misery, which lie at the heart of gospel music. According to Owens, “the title does come from a religious place, but it’s more about acknowledging the fact that music does have a spiritual quality you can’t put your finger on.” The 3-piece gospel choir that accompanies the band on seven of Father, Son, Holy Ghost’s 11 tracks echoes that sentiment. “Some of the earliest songs we learn are happy and joyous, which is why we sing when we are sad, in a sort of effort to get back to that place of happiness…” says Owens. Christopher’s earliest experiences with music were playing religious songs in the street; here, he elevates his songs to a sacred place — not church but the rock’n’roll songbook, assembled with the toolkit (paper, pen, guitar) of a true believer.
Girls are fearless traditionalists, savants, and provocateurs- everything we suspected they were two years ago – and more. “I’m still all the same,” Owens says. “I still don’t get it and I still know, I have to do it. I still love the songs and writing songs.” So long as he doesn’t fall out of love, Girls will be forever worth listening to.
Interiors, Cameron Mesirow’s second full-length release as Glasser, is a more considered, confident, and much more sharply personal album than its predecessor. It’s central themes are love and anxiety and the structural constraints of both in the landscape of one’s life. In the three years since Cameron released her breakout debut “Ring”, she toured around the world (with Jónsi of Sigur Rós, The XX, Delorean, among others) and left her California home for New York. Along the way, she discovered a new partner in producer Van Rivers (Fever Ray, Blonde Redhead) whose background in techno production added expansive spacial elements to her music that reflect both the looming, condensed architecture of Glasser’s new adopted home as well as the intricate internal worlds she conjures in on her own.
The tension between interior and exterior space fills the album. In architect Rem Koolhaas’ book Delirious New York, which Mesirow credits as an inspiration, the author suggests that New York’s massive, stoic-faced buildings are monuments rife with secrets. Interiors is Cameron’s attempt to exorcise and address some of those metropolitan secrets. “I thought a lot about the physical impositions in my life, and about the fluid emotional boundaries in my relationships,” Mesirow says. “There’s no limit to what can be said about these structures. I can’t help but live and work in them, exploring their many folds.” On “Landscape” Cameron explores the limitations of symbiosis in a romantic relationship. “Exposure” characterizes the alienation of life in an ever-changing metropolis as a “modern trouble” that no one feels responsible for but all complacently contribute to. A trio of shorter songs called “Windows” punctuate the production and feature some of the most experimental sections of music- windows being where the inside and outside nearly meet, providing partial glimpses of scenes from other worlds, but preventing contact. There is urgency pervasive throughout the record, both simultaneously to gain access to feelings or people as well as wanting to be released from them.
The instrumentation of the album is a mixture of synthetic and organic sounds, real strings, reeds and drums combined with programmed ones, a purposeful coupling of natural enemies. “I like music where you’re not thinking about what a specific instrument is,” she says. “An instrument-less quality. It doesn’t come from a band, but from a whisper in the wind.” As on Ring there are sounds used for unlikely purposes; vocals used as percussive accents, or melodic themes assembled from environmental sounds. The song “Design” illustrates this with Cameron’s own pitched-down vocals serving as a writhing bass line in the frantic depiction of lust. The Glasser we find on Interiors is smoother and smokier, more confident and defined against an increasingly stoic electronic music backdrop. The effect is a paragon of sonic architecture–a soundspace that’s packed tight but never feels crowded.
Glasser has always valued a visual component to compliment the music. For Interiors Cameron worked with artist Jonathan Turner, a member of performance art group Yemenwed. Jonathan’s futuristic work establishes the visual palate for all the album’s visuals – all of the artwork, videos, and photos are the result of Cameron and Jonathan’s collaboration.
Music has always followed Grace Ives - she was raised in New York City by creative parents (her dad is a cinematographer and her mother worked in music), and when she was younger, she was inspired by the sounds of Brittany Spears and Rihanna. A brief stint at MICA in Baltimore and a three year study at SUNY Purchase led to Grace starting to perform, slowly winning over a crowd that has only grown more insatiable. Most recently, Ives opened for Remi Wolf, bringing her infectious songs to a new audience.
Hunx and His Punx
Hunx and His Punx is the homoerotic vision of San Francisco-based performer/personality Hunx, aka Seth Bogart. Carrying the banner of his gay sisters (Rob Halford, Little Richard, Freddy Mercury). Hunx is proving himself a legendary child in his own right, charming gays and squares alike with his live shows and candor. The music pays homage to his varied influences (The Ronettes, The Ramones, Al Pacino’s “Cruising”), Hunx’s unique style defies genre and serves up equal helpings of 60′s girl group, bubblegum pop, and new wave with all of the hallmarks of the Bay Area garage rock scene Seth emerged from.
The seeds for Hunx and His Punx were planted when Seth’s friend Nobunny, wrote a batch of songs with the intention of starting a Runaways-esque band made up of high school girls. “That’s why all those songs are about boys and stuff,” Hunx says. “But then, he was, like, too creepy or something and couldn’t find any girls.” Seth moved on, adding his own songs and lyrics to the collection. While the songs carry their own weight, Seth’s voice is the star. His voice is awesome- a nasally seductive combination of a whine and a croon that colors the Gay Singles’ vivid stories.
“Gay Singles” compiles all 5 of his sold-out singles released between 2008 and 2009 with a bonus track. The initial singles were released, and quickly disappeared to the vacuum chamber of eBay speculation. The first pressing of the LP is also now gone into a similar collector’s wormhole. We’re now proud to share a full and widely available release of “Gay Singles” with the world. It’s about time.
Hyetal returns with his second album ‘Modern Worship’, released 20th May on True Panther Sounds.
After making his name with a series of off kilter dance floor releases and collaborative projects – mutant boogie outfit Velour (with Julio Bashmore), and a joint release with Punch Drunk boss Peverelist, Hyetal released his debut album ‘Broadcast’ in 2011. A step into the unknown for the producer, the album fused influences as broad as dream pop, cult synth scores, Minnesota funk and modern hip hop production into song structures optimised for headphone listening over dance music conventions.
‘Modern Worship’ continues the journey further down the rabbit hole, as a selection of begged, borrowed and stolen analogue equipment rubs up against breathy digital synthesis and sound design. The results are twisted electronic pop songs and soundscapes, with knowing nods to dancefloors across the ages. Percussively a more refined and aggressive record to Broadcast, break-neck drum machines informed by post punk experimentalists and hip hop micro genres are set against melodies conceived from daydreams of childhood nostalgia and imagined futuristic vistas.
The record retains elements of the dreamlike soundtrack qualities of its predecessor, with fantasized visuals being key to it’s inception. As Hyetal explains ‘When I’m working on the tracks I imagine the visuals that could accompany it. To me Broadcast was mainly glass and metal, large structures, the reverberant sounds of an empty city, most of it set at night. This one felt more like a view of that city from the surrounding dessert obscured by a red fog, with some day trips to the coast line’.
In parts a collaborative record, three songs were co-written with singer & sonic experimentalist Gwilym Gold, while two reintroduce long time contributor Alison Garner of Invada signed shoegaze band The Fauns: ‘Working with Gwilym increased the scope of the album, with ‘Left’ and ‘Four Walls’ he rewrote what I thought were finished tracks. I then deconstructed the original parts to fit his new arrangements, sometimes writing more on top’.
As a whole Modern Worship is a deeply immersive, cohesive listen from start to finish, showing Hyetal’s natural ease with the album format. An artist who continues to impress and excite in equal measure, Hyetal proves with ‘Modern Worship’ that he is one of the most innovative producers working in UK electronic music today.
Isabelle Brown is an old soul trapped in the body of a fearless fifteen-year-old. Her story thus far is not that of your typical precocious teen star-in-waiting: hard graft, grit and vulnerability, those core values of true Soul music, underpin her powerhouse vocals. Inspired by the rich emotions of Nina Simone and the force-of-nature energy of Tina Turner, her mature perspective and deep found artistry is reminiscent of the old-school R&B influences found in A Tribe Called Quest.
The singer-songwriter's curious and refreshing contemporary twist on these classic sounds is explored across her first mixtape 'Only Having A Laugh,' released in February 2018.
Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang
“We speak one language now,” says Sierra Leonian singer Janka Nabay of the band he calls the “Bubu Gang,” an eclectic group of New York-based musicians who fell in love with Janka’s frenetic style of “bubu” dance music following the 2010 release of the Bubu King EP on True Panther Sounds. In the year and a half since their first show, the band has started infusing bubu music with a broader range of stylistic influences, and Janka has evolved into an inspired band-leader and MC in the tradition of James Brown and Fela Kuti.
The new sounds draw as much from Janka’s indigenous bubu as they do from the sunny energy of Ghanaian highlife, the extended improvisations of 70s Miles Davis, the hypnotic rhythms of classic Afro-beat and the swirling shredding guitars of 60s and 70s psychedelia. True Panther Sounds is proud to debut the very first ensemble recordings made by “Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang” as a limited-edition 3-track 12″/cdep on March 20th. The band also recently signed to David Byrne’s label Luaka Bop and will release their first full-length this June.
Jonah Mutono has been making music for years, but one thing has always been conspicuously missing from his releases: his real name. He went by the pseudonym Kidepo—after a region of Uganda, the country of his ancestry, and his recent on-and-off home— even while the songs could not be more intimate.
Jonah's done much of his writing, producing and recording in the most DIY of ways, with a laptop and a mic in the quiet of his own home. Sometimes he would even create inside his closet for the sound quality. His first song, “Reds” appeared hidden in plain sight, a slice of stripped down soul on a Soundcloud adorned with just a photo of a stuffed dog. The description read simply: ‘Music’. Kidepo didn’t do interviews, didn’t play shows, and didn’t post selfies. “I hid my identity,” he says plainly. “I didn’t want to show anyone what I was making. It hasn’t really felt like I’m really doing this music thing yet.” The years since, Jonah has opened the faucet to a steady drip of new Kidepo releases, from his EP Reunion in 2015 to the single “Be A Man (Get in the Cold Shower)” in 2018.
Jonah’s childhood was mobile, spreading across London, Philadelphia, Kenya, and Uganda. As his family moved from place- to-place, he was sent from home-schooling to boarding schools. Finally, as his UK visa expired, he was deported from the UK, making a formative move back to Uganda. In the midst of this upheaval, Jonah overcame personal, familial, religious and political anxiety and accepted himself.
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Kelsey Lu left home at 18 to study cello. Now based in New York, she has collaborated with, and contributed to albums from, many of her peers including Blood Orange, Kelela, Wet and Organized Noize.
The EP’s title comes from its unique recording process—Kelsey Lu recorded live in a single take at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with her cello, her voice and her loop pedal.
As King Krule, 18 year old south-east London based singer/producer/songwriter Archy Marshall has quietly and stealthily crafted a reputation for himself as one of the most raw and startling voices of a new generation. With his unexpectedly deep and mournful baritone tracing fissures of disappointment and social disorientation to devastating effect, Marshall has harnessed the inchoate frustration and fury of youth and translated it into a series of brilliant singles released on the likes of True Panther Sounds and Rinse over the past few years.
Now comes 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, his first full-length on True Panther Sounds/XL Recordings, and with it, the much anticipated unveiling of the full scope and scale of Marshall’s vision. Over the course of 14 tracks, Marshall’s passions and confusions are rubbed raw and laid bare, the only connective tissue throughout it all being one of searing lyrical clarity paired with a confounding musical deftness which utterly belies his tender years. From the opening clarion call of “Easy, Easy” it is abundantly clear that this is a breathtakingly bold and arresting sonic worldview, as his songs, produced by Marshall along with Rodaidh McDonald (The XX, Savages), open up to become a loose knit meditation on regret and discontent, loss of faith and renewal of hope, and optimism in the face of desperation.
Eschewing much of his previously released material, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon firmly yet soundly rejects any notion of contemporary trends or peers to occupy its very own unique place on the music landscape, oscillating gently between the classic 50′s soul of Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley to the minimal, avant-garde experimentation of Penguin Café Orchestra, to even the electronic smog and dub textures of Marshall’s beloved Rinse FM. This is a record where the nakedly bluesy stomp of the likes of “A Lizard State” and “Easy, Easy” sit effortlessly next to the low-end frequency and shimmering beats of “Neptune Estate” and “Will I Come,” after all. It is reflective as much of Marshall’s own eclectic tastes as it is of the frenetic pulse and rhythm of the city around him, particularly the rapidly changing south-east areas in which he grew up. There is a genuine grittiness and world weariness ingrained here, as exemplified so succinctly when Marshall sings, “Hate…runs through my blood” on the stunning “Out Getting Ribs,” the track which started all the fuss.
All these esoteric textures and fidgety, off-kilter rhythms make perfect sense as an album however, especially when you consider that incredible voice. Whether he is singing ruefully of youthful disaffection and “the heat of my own treason” (“Ceiling”) or spitting out venomous lines like “I’m not going to crack like you cracked…I don’t want to be trapped in the black of your heart” over the jittery “A Lizard State,” its clear that something which marks Marshall out is his stunning ability to turn intense emotional peaks and troughs into spectacular pieces of artful, atmospheric and anthemic balladeering.
Some of the imagery is disturbing to be sure (as on the closer “Bathed in Grey” where he offhandedly murmurs that he “there was blood…found a body in the dark”) but the songs are also imbued with genuine heart as well, as epitomised on his heart rending update of “Out Getting Ribs.” Taken as a whole, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is the sound of a young man growing up – not for nothing is this album being released, unconventionally enough, on a Saturday, which also marks Marshall’s 19th birthday – and attempting to grapple with the realities of the world he inhabits, an unsparing dissection of the social decay that has begun to set in around him – and a fascinating, brutal journey it is too.
London-based Lauren Auder is a 21 year old singer who’s baroquely orchestrated pop songs implore a Classical lens to contemporary themes of millennial discontent via Christian allegory and pagan symbolism. Christian allegory intermingles with topics of millennial despondency, interpersonal relationships and identity. Fusing the classical with the post-rock and popular song structure, Auder paints vivid musical portraits situated in a novel medium between Lorde and the Divine Comedy.
Growing up in Albi, a Southwestern French town built around the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Cecilia, Lauren found community online, becoming involved with a vibrant underground community of rappers and noise musicians that included a teenage slowthai, Oklou and Lord Pusswhip. Honing an early musical craft, Lauren began lending experimental beats and spectral vocals to songs by artists such as Jeshi and slowthai. The resultant interpretations of hip-hop, post-rock and noise gave rise to the expansive sonic palette of Lauren’s debut EP Who Carry’s You, a deeply intimate, classically endowed five track suite that owes equally to Scott Walker, Lana Del Rey, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and DJ Shadow.
Traveling to new dimensions is certainly an appealing prospect, but, sometimes, the most poignant experiences in life are the ones that happen every day. Walking through the city at night. Staring at billowing clouds on your desktop. Lazily floating in a pool alone. Using drugs or sex as a form of easy escape. Transcendence can be achieved through limited means, something it’s taken Lemonade years to realize, during which time the trio of Callan Clendenin, Ben Steidel, and Alex Pasternak has managed to move across the country and completely reinvent its sound.
Formed in San Francisco, Lemonade initially crafted visceral, psychedelic, and vaguely tropical rave journeys that touched upon dozens of the group’s influences (Liquid Liquid, Sons of a Loop Da Loop Era, Digital Mystikz) without sounding particularly like any of them. Early shows offered otherworldy, mind-bending experiences that drew a loyal MDMA-crazed local following. The phenomenon only intensified after the release of the band’s self-titled debut LP in 2008 and subsequent move to New York.
That mostly improvised, ecstatic collection of “agile, hedonistic pop music” (as called by Radio 1′s Mary Anne Hobbes) earned praise from the indie and dance communities alike. Pitchfork wrote, “it vividly replicates that first sensation of losing yourself in a peak-hour, strobe-lit reverie, where the communal act of dancing teeters between liberation and disorientation.”
2010 saw the band’s second release, Pure Moods, an effort by Lemonade to steer their schizophrenic palate through pop waters. Combining warped old-school rave, R&B, grime, a variety of global rhythms, and other styles too numerous to list, the record was an important stepping stone for a group that was only beginning to discover the emotional potency of out-and-out pop songwriting.
Now, more than two years later, that transformation is complete, as Diver documents Lemonade operating as a focused unit, one that’s more interested in speaking to your heart than blowing your mind. Traces of the group’s disparate musical interests still populate the record, but make no mistake, Diver is a bold and sensual electronic pop record.
Diver swims ecstatically in every thing from the melodies of early 90′s R&B, UK 2-step Garage, Balearic house and NY freestyle to ’80s pop-rock nostalgia, wispy new age, boy-band innocence, and synth-driven Euro-trance. The production, assisted by Fisherspooner collaborator Le Chev, is exceptionally crisp. Diver also contains some of most easily digestible music Lemonade has ever produced, yet it is anything but shallow. Callan’s lyrics now look inward, to his attempts to hold on to redemptive love and romance in a cybernetic, information-rich world.
Clendenin says, “I felt that after the explosion of internet music, all the insular scenes that inspired me now lacked necessary isolation, like tribes discovered deep in the Amazon, exposed to the modern world and now horribly addicted to Pepsi. I began to look back on what I have truly loved throughout my life musically and tried to synthesize it all, from classic R&B to avant electronic artists to the most epic techno, and tried to put it together as my ideas about music collapsed upon me. I think that all I really needed to have faith in music was good songwriting with real emotion, which is what we tried to do with this album.”
“Neptune,” the album’s first single, shows where Lemonade’s collective head is at; Clendenin’s vocals—are front and center, intertwining with airy, new age-referencing melodies as the he spins a lover’s lament. Diver has its share of wistful tunes: “Eye Drops” gets sentimental with a ghostly R&B vocal loop and a meditative piano, while the expansive “Vivid” bathes his introspective voice in glowing synths and chime melodies.
That said, Diver isn’t a dour affair. Its songs may be thoughtful, but many of them are downright jubilant. Album opener “Infinite Style” celebrates with a bright cascade of keyboards, “Whitecaps” adds a funky electronic bassline and steel-drum samples to the mix, the exceptionally glossy “Sinead” hints at Balearic ’90s rave sounds, and “Big Changes” stuffs the grandiose flourish of big-room festival trance into a helplessly infectious pop song.
Perhaps the album’s most personal track, “Softkiss” closes the album with what sounds like an updated boy-band anthem full of ringing chords and lovelorn lyrics. It’s a far cry from the cacophony that once dominated Lemonade’s discography, but it’s also infinitely more powerful.
LiL JaBBA is a 23 year old Australian-born, Brooklyn-based producer, with intricate productions that range from baroque footwork to murky swamp dirges.
His tracks tell tales, exhibiting a refreshing disregard for convention in the name of intricacy and mutation. Rapid hi-hats morph into slow triplets; faint animal calls transform into cracking snares. Atmospheres ebb and flow like brushstrokes. Its no wonder, as Jabba is a gifted oil painter who approaches production much like painting; bold, expressive and fresh. One can think of Jabba’s tracks as accompaniments to his artwork, as they seem to take a deeper meaning when contrasted against one of his huge murky paintings. Jabba cares deeply about pushing music into new and uncharted territories, and with a painter’s mind and grotto composer’s mentality, it will be exciting to see how Jabba grows and continues to push boundaries in the years ahead.
“You rep for the ends, now it’s time for the ends to let you go.” So begins the sample on “First Mark,” the epic opener on Lil Silva’s new Mabel EP, out August 5th on True Panther in the US and August 4th on Good Years internationally.
It’s an apt statement as he faces 2014, having gone from the Macabre Unit grime crew in Bedford to the key producer on one of the biggest US pop albums of the year.
But Lil Silva, real name TJ Carter, has always been inventive and evolving as a DJ and producer. He exploded onto the nascent UK Underground scene with “Seasons” in 2008, which evolved into the machine funk of Night Skanker for Night Slugs in 2010. By 2012’s Patience EP on Good Years he started to discover a new tender future sound. Collaborating with Sampha, who he shares his endless new ideas and sketches, they produced “Salient Sarah.” It gave him a newfound boldness to move things on.
Now, still only 24 years old, he’s stepped up as songwriter and vocalist with the Mabel EP featuring two tracks with BANKS. His writing relationship with the Los Angeles-based pop-star has only gotten stronger since she sent him the track that became last year’s “Work,” having shaped her sound from the start and as one of the main producers on her forthcoming debut record, Goddess.
The EP, recorded and finished between studios at his home in Bedford, London and Los Angeles, highlights this exciting, ongoing transformation. His voice is warm and rich on a bruised slow jam duet about seeing a woman with the wrong man (“Right For You ft. BANKS”) and in the strong stick-in-your-brain-for-months melody of “Don’t You Love ft BANKS.” On the EP’s title track, the old familiar Lil Silva is there in the weighty thuds and tinny kick, but the fluid R&B hook shows the new one is in control.
Mabel is the artistic unfolding of a unique British producer. Both reppin’ his ends and gliding into uncharted waters.
London O’Connor is a New York based self-produced songwriter from suburban Souther California. His debut album, titled O∆, was created entirely from his backpack while living between apartments in NY. O∆ is based on the suburban upbringing he ed to NY from. Initially released on Soundcloud, the album garnered him international critical acclaim, which led to him traveling play shows the UK, France and New York (as part of MoMA’s PS1 concert series) and perform on BBC’s Radio1 within months of its release.
London O’Connor’s work is honest, inventive and spatial, ranging from expansive ambient renderings of his travels to more turbulent, focused pop statements about the un- rest of domestic American life. True Panther Sounds will re-release a remastered version of O∆.
The city of Memphis is a magic place. Drive through the thick, sweet air, past crumbling neighborhoods shaded by dense trees, past BBQ joints jetting savory grease into the air, and the sense of history – hard times, heartache, sweat, joy, creativity and pride — seeps from the sidewalk cracks of the River City. It’s impossible to roam the city without running across markers of Memphis’s musical heritage – Sun Records, Stax Records, Hi Records, and now Goner Records; Jerry Lee Lewis, Alex Chilton, Elvis Presley, the Oblivians, Jay Reatard and Rufus Thomas. Though many genres coexist, the music of Memphis is honest, robust, colorful – and, yes, fun – often made by rebellious, larger-than life musicians. This is the Memphis where Magic Kids were born.
With Memphis, their debut LP, Magic Kids have crafted a heartfelt record that lives up to this tradition of iconoclastic, joyful music-making. Fragments of sounds are taken from memories of influences, the sounds that stuck since childhood and which they treat with reverence. Recorded at Doug Easley’s studio by Shane Stonebeck (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) the album utilizes a array of musicians and friends playing oboes, strings, horns, 808′s and synths. The resulting sound is a handcrafted take on the way great orchestrators like Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and Jeff Lynne could take the smallest piece of pop sincerity and translate it into a song bursting with life.
Like many of their Memphis forebears, their energy and enthusiasm aren’t from ignorance of life’s difficulties but in spite of, and to a certain extent in direct defiance to, them. Memphis’ songs are unapologetically joyful, unrestrained in their celebration, and fearless in their expression. Live, they are a contagious cacophony: Five band members, numerous guitars, violins, horns, keyboards, all screaming joyfully and melting even the hardest audiences.
As a whole, Memphis exists both within and beyond our era. Its sweeping and epic production might bring to mind E.L.O.’s shimmering strings, Lou Christie’s animated falsetto, Belle & Sebastian’s intimacy, the Del-Phonics’ heartbreaking harmonies, Big Star’s bleeding-heart openness and Langley School of Music’s bubbly joy. Still, rather than wistfully looking back to the past as something long gone, the record borrows its pleasures to create something new and important. The record is an immediate, incredibly accessible and idiosyncratic harbinger of a new Memphis, and a new group of pop wizards who wave its banner.
MC Bin Laden
MC Bin Laden , aka 23 year old Jefferson Christian dos Santos Lima, is the reigning ruler of São Paulo’s Baile Funk scene. Born in the impoverished Vila Progresso neighborhood of easternmost São Paulo, Jefferson began rapping as a teenager, mostly on youtube. His life changed in 2014 when he released “Bin Laden Não Morreu,” a breakout track heard throughout the fluxo street parties of Brazil’s favelas.
MC Bin Laden performs Funk Proibidão, a contemporary version of the reigning archetypal sound of the favelas, Funk Carioca. While early incarnations of the Funk Carioca sound were rooted in Miami Bass, Proibidão is a striking and skeletal reduction. Beats composed of beatboxed vocal samples, and industrial sounds that bang and rattle alongside lyrics more concerned with describing the harsh realities of Brazil’s favelas than with booty-shaking.
MC Bin Laden’s breakout single, “Bololo Haha,” distilled the palate even further, utilizing a bombastic combination of motorcycle revs, barking dogs, and cocking artillery sounds. The aggressive result, coupled with a dynamic video showcasing MC Bin Laden’s brash style, won him notoriety in the streets of São Paulo, in addition to the support of international dj’s and producers drawn to his progressive and deconstructed club music. His vocals, which favor percussive phonetic delivery to complex lyricism are sometimes funny, sometimes grim, and always convey the often complex and contradictory truths of life in favela.
In 2016, MC Bin Laden's single “TáTranquilo, Tá Favorável” became a breakout his of Brazilian Carnivàle. Its video, which featured him shirtless, jubilantly prancing around the beach, launched him to an entirely new level of prominence, garnering hundreds of millions of Youtube views, festival bookings, daytime talk show appearances, and more. The É Grau EP marks the first time that some of MC Bin Laden’s biggest tracks (hugely popular in Brazil, but still relatively underground around the world) and seldom-heard rarities alike will be available on vinyl.
San Francisco’s Morning Benders kicked off 2010 with a 7″ for True Panther. Limited to 500 copies “Promises” is taken from the bands first record for Rough Trade “Big Echo” and is accompanied by “Oh Annie” on the flip side.
Its definitely not just a song for the summer, its a lazy walk in the park, and one you will want to walk over and over again.
Marylou Mayniel - aka Oklou - is a French producer, vocalist, and composer currently based in London. Growing up in the countryside of Western France, Mayniel was first exposed to music via a classical education for piano and cello. She subsequently learned to produce electronic music which allowed her to discover a new digital world of artists fusing visceral production with their own unique voices. After moving to Paris three years ago, she founded her radio/DJ crew TGAF and began performing her first live shows under the name Oklou. Through a series of online releases, mixtapes and collaborations with the likes of Rodaidh Mcdonald, Kelela, the XX, Sampha, Sega Bodega, Krampf, and more, Oklou has cemented herself in the modern European electronic underground.
Pictured in cutesy facepaint and thrift-store wigs, like some some slumber-party version of Animal Collective, the band is described as a "slacker-pop duo" from Olympia who write "big fuzzy songs" in the style of Daniel Johnston. The band's first single, Big Wave Rider, while a fairly straightforward, Times New Viking-style paean to surfing, hints at a deeper sensibility at work, and the diligent music fan might just be moved to do a little digging.
Real Estate just put out the excellent album Days on Domino Records. We’re very proud to have worked with them on releasing the (now sold out) Out of Tune/Reservoir single the previous year. Thanks guys!
Road To Shaanxi
Road To Shaanxi is a project from a producer who, for now, wishes to withhold his identity – drawing focus away from the club whilst retaining the language of dance music he creates brightly cinematic work, much indebted to the UK electronic music tradition.
Dark Red is the second full-length album from Shlohmo, aka 25 year-old Los Angeles native Henry Laufer. The record is an uncanny marriage of his ever-evolving, richly textured sound with shades of ’90s IDM, R&B, cassette-tape Jungle, and, in an unexpected turn, sludge metal. “It sounds like if Electric Wizard tried to make an R&B record,” he says, “or Boards of Canada meets Burzum by the River Styx.”
Shlohmo’s music thus far exists in the poles between the subtly textured tracks of Bad Vibes and the booming sinister synths and hi-hats of his production work and remixes (such as his split EP with Jeremih, Banks’ “Brain”, remixes for Drake + The Weeknd). Dark Red utilizes Shlohmo’s existing palate but also mines the noises and imperfections inherent in analog production and naturally damaged sounds. Side-stepping current trends that lean towards pristine, computer-generated production, Dark Red explores natural distortion, fuzz and noise as compositional tools, intentionally distressing sounds to echo the feeling of the icy menace and emotional charge found on early black metal tapes. The result is a deeply personal listen, Shlohmo’s boldest statement yet.
24 year-old MC slowthai is rapidly becoming notorious as the rarest of commodities: an authentic voice in an increasingly gentrified world. His music offers, as the Guardian puts it “A middle finger to crumbling modern Britain and its toxic politics, while simultaneously offering a glimmer of hope.”
slowthai’s debut album Nothing Great About Britain — largely recorded in early 2018 in East London, with Kwes Darko producing — serves up a succession of candid snapshots of British life. Drugs, disaffection, depression and the threat of violence all loom in Ty’s visceral verses, but so too does hope, love and defiance. Standing alongside righteous anger and hard truths, it’s Ty’s willingness to appear vulnerable that makes him such a compelling storyteller, and this debut a vital cultural document, a testament to the healing power of music. As Ty himself explains, “Music to me is the biggest connector of people. It don’t matter what social circle you’re from, it bonds people across divides. And that’s why I do music: to bridge the gap and bring people together.”
At a glance, Standing Nudes don’t seem too terribly different from the other ’70s-influenced groups in town. Classic rock-quartet lineup—check. Requisite scruffy haircuts—got it. Riffs, simple lyrics, by-the-book drum fills—it’s all there. Yet somehow, in a local landscape littered with bands that you can “get” in one song (or less), Standing Nudes’ live sets are impossible to walk out on.
As with other divine things, good rock music is in the details. Molly Shea’s almost impassive vocals rise and fall melodically, sometimes achieving a soft rasp; her and Jason Maartens Klauber’s guitars drape over the bones of the songs with comfortably familiar slack. If the band rarely strikes out with raw power, its tunes take unexpected, almost stealthy turns away from the ordinary.
Another incredible single from San Francisco’s Tamaryn. Shades of Siouxie Sioux, Cocteau Twins production, This Mortal Coil and Kate Bush. Haunting production and beautiful vocals.
Tanlines — singer/guitarist Eric Emm and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Cohen will release their sophomore album, Highlights, on May 19th, 2015. Produced by the band and Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, Highlights began in a basement in Pittsburgh and ended in a church in Brooklyn. It trades world music sounds (as heard through YouTube) for a more alive, realized approach, the result of Emm and Cohen wanting to break from their ‘two guys, one screen’ writing style. The transition came suddenly: when they sat down to write Highlights in Emm’s childhood home in Pittsburgh, their computer blew up, quite literally, “with a burst of sparks and clouds of smoke. Whatever had just happened felt like some kind of omen,” says Emm.
Stranded without the samples and sounds that had previously defined their musical palette, they spent the rest of the week in Pittsburgh writing songs the old-fashioned way with a guitar and drums. They found themselves falling back on facility they’d gained with their instruments over the previous two years of touring, and an alternative, simpler process evolved, one that set the tone for Highlights immediately.
Influenced by their time spent on the road touring Mixed Emotions , primarily in the States, they reached for the sounds of 90’s New York hip-hop drums, Detroit techno synths, and lots and lots of guitars. The results of which would lead them to call this their ‘American album’, “though it may only sound that way to us,” says Emm. Instead, let’s just call Highlights “the album where things started making more sense.” Whereas before the band had wandered their way through foreign musical landscapes and the existential ‘what am I doing with my life’ wasteland of post-youth, Highlights finds the band settled and at home, comfortable in their own skin.
Indeed, one listen to Highlights shows this change in subject matter has brought Tanlines to a more evolved, sophisticated place. Themes of love and desire replace questions of the unknown. Partnerships are celebrated while relationships grow and change and give way to safe-distance reflections on the past without the trappings of nostalgia.
Between working in Los Angeles with producer Patrick Ford , and their hometown of New York City with Chris Taylor , they eventually settled on the ten songs that make up the album. Taylor brought them to record in a 100 year-old church; the unfamiliar settings and Taylor’s energy and enthusiasm pushed the band to new heights. Most noticeable are Emm’s powerful vocals, broadcast from the balcony of the empty church, and thankfully, captured warmly and beautifully by Taylor across the whole album.
In many ways, the resulting music feels like a renaissance for a band that began in 2008 as a one-off remix project. The upbeat dancefloorready
Tanlines lives on in songs like driving set opener “Pieces”, the dream-inspired “Slipping Away” , and the seductive “Bad Situations”, but the colors and emotional range of the album go much deeper than ever before, with Emm’s vocals and lyrics, at once personal and observational, taking center stage on songs like “Running Still” and “Invisible Ways .
Ariel, the new EP from Taragana Pyjarama aka Nick Kold Ericksen is…. a suite of 5am trance breakdowns capturing those moments when the sun is almost coming up, the clarity just before and just after something truly epic crystallized eternally in vignettes presented in a sequence – a series of tracks ecstatic on their own but transcendent together. Intrumental EP opener ‘Givers’ builds to the point of rapture, while title track ‘Ariel’ promises “I will do all it takes, I will be here all the way,” over icy, undulating synthwork. ‘Ber’ is an exercise in subtlety, a soft beat peppered with icy flourishes.
Taragana Pyjarama takes the major chord ecstasy of progressive house and strips it of ornament with barely any drums, no drops and no resolutions – arpeggiated melodies and simple vocal features, including a stand-out turn from rising young New Zealander Lontalius on ‘Buchla’. The record closes with ‘Together’, a distorted voice drawing in and blanketing the listener before evaporating into the ether.
“I have always tried to push myself with each release,” Erickson reveals, “but this is the first time I feel like I’ve succeeded. I’ve had to sorta force out an unnatural way for me of writing music, which at times has felt almost like a break up or something. Something I had to get through and had to do, to feel better about it. It’s a new start in a way. I’m just getting comfortable with my music and learning from this, but at the same time everything seems so much clearer now.”
While students at Oberlin College, Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi connected over a shared love of classic house and techno records that prompted them to make, “some kind of dance music that wasn’t just emulating what we were hearing.” The duo formed their music organically, improvising over loops that eventually materialized into full-fledged compositions. Rather than relying on triggering loops, or quantization, Teengirl Fantasy’s music has always been performed and composed live, resulting in a form of discourse between the band and their instruments. The result is a-typical for electronic dance music- colorful, maximalist textures and tones that move along with a driving rhythm yet still retain a distinctly human and emotional core.
In the fall of 2010, True Panther Sounds and Merok released Teengirl Fantasy’s debut LP, 7AM. Titled after the, “confused, dreamy, half-awake, half-asleep state that one experiences after staying up all night partying,” 7AM was critically praised for its creative use of samples and experimentation. The album made numerous year-end lists including FACT, Pitchfork, XLR8R and established the pair as electronic visionaries.
On their sophomore LP, Tracer, Teengirl Fantasy cuts through some of the haze of their earlier recordings to create their most compositionally sophisticated work yet. “It’s more focused, far-reaching and it takes more risks.” Unlike 7AM, Tracer is completely sample-free and features an array of vocalists including Panda Bear, Romanthony (of Daft Punk’s “One More Time” fame), Laurel Halo, and newcomer Kelela. For the songs with vocalists, their approach is, “a wacked version of the pop format.” The album is sonically maximal and symphonic, with heavily layered songs containing multiple elements. “The editing is more painstaking- there’s more crafting to the songs,” says the duo. Although Tracer touches on an array of genres such as techno, pop, R&B, and house, it simulates a cohesive journey.
Tracer will be released August 21 by True Panther Sounds in North America in conjunction with R&S in Asia, Australia and Europe.
TINT is the banner name for the omniversal sonic explorations by guitarist and tonemaker Zane Morris. My New Murex will be TINT‘s opening statement, a three-track 12″ for True Panther that incorporates Morris’s wide embrace of counterpointing musical traditions and disparate compositional techniques. Unlike many avant and new-ageist forays into instrumental music, it’s evident from the start (cue opener “Nine Notes”) that TINT achieves endpoint bliss not through through melodic meandering, but through careful playing, technical tinkering and handcrafted tuneful intervention. In this way, My New Murex is a musical experience above all else.
Zane Morris was born in Los Angeles in 1986, raised in Arizona, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at the age of 12, where he would become classically trained on the trumpet, and a deft guitar player through tenures in several of the area’s DIY hardcore groups. Developing the TINT project early on through self-released CD-Rs in the late naughts, Morris moved from blown out finger-picked folk pieces to increasingly electronic forms of melodic development and auditory exploration of dub and minimal music. Though the building blocks of influence and instrumentation may evolve, the destination remains disruptive, unfamiliar, uncharted.
My New Murex appears with three compositions: “Nine Notes”, originally composed as a live soundtrack for a 2012 screening of the 1902 experimental film Seeing New York by Yacht by Frederick Armitage & A.E. Weed, “Even Everlys”, a hall-of-mirrors collage of sustained vocals serves as a simultaneous paean and deconstruction to American folk music, and finally the closer “Double Dribble”- the record’s definitive out-there moment, a gorgeous pentatonic improvisation over a single-note pulsing loop. My New Murex was recorded in Morris’s former residences in SF & LA, and then put to tape at Guacho’s Electronics with Facundo Bermudez in Los Angeles. As Zane Morris recently re-located TINT‘s operating base to New York, expect to see performances by TINT in tandem with Julia Crockett & Group, a New York-based movement group with whom Morris has collaborated, and other solo performances planned in New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.
After 13 years in New York, the 26-year-old singer-songwriter Tobias did what so many artists do when the sensory overload of city life becomes too much. Seeking out greener, quieter pastures in which to write new music, Tobias booked it to Denton, Texas, a smaller city with a long and rich musical history, once home to Roy Orbison and Nora Jones. “13 years in New York was giving me brain worms,” Tobias recalled. On Two Birds, their label debut and second full-length album, the creative benefits of this newfound proximity to nature are abundant, culminating in a visionary and compulsively listenable record that lays honest, insightful lyrics against a lush backdrop of harsh metals and rhythmic folk. It’s no wonder friends who got to listen to the music during its inception said it reminded them of the first album they ever bought. The record is a kind of mission statement, intimate and inspired, borne of seclusion and intense contemplation: of youth, of reinvention, of the self, and even of quantum physics. It whispers in your ear, and then it howls.
“I’m stumbling out of my house into the river bed,” Tobias sings, embracing earthly delights in lyrics that flow like a stream of consciousness, or a stream itself. Though the threads of Tobias’ past as an experimental producer crafting beats in New York’s underground rap scene are woven throughout the project, Two Birds was their first opportunity to record music with band and outside producers, allowing Tobias to sharpen their own creative process and focus more deliberately on storytelling and composition. The sounds are warm and expansive; the lyrics are brooding and astute, capturing a youthful sense of wonder and disillusionment. “What’s that thing that makes you a person?” Tobias ponders in the opening line of “Remember,” a cozy acoustic highlight. In moments throughout the album, their concerns are no less than cosmic—while writing, Tobias was fascinated by the double-slit experiment, one of the enduring mysteries of physics. But the music is grounded, a ballad of candor and creativity, generated from what Tobias calls “the worst period of my life.” A spirited follow-up to Thread, Tobias’s 2020 debut, Two Birds announces a singer-songwriter in bloom, reveling in the haunts and thrills of the natural world.
Tobias Jesso Jr.
We are really besides ourselves with pride and joy to announce that True Panther Sounds will be releasing the debut album from Tobias Jesso Jr. March 17th, 2015. Want to tell you about it, but thought it’d be best for Tobias for put it into his own words…
In 2008 I moved to LA to play backup bass for a Pop singer. That job didn’t work out, but I ended staying in LA for four years. I returned to North Vancouver because my mother had been diagnosed with cancer (she’s better now). I wrote most of the songs on my album Goon about my time spent in LA. It was a reflection that included, like the most popular of love clichés, a tough break up.
In my haste returning to Vancouver, I had left all my instruments in a storage locker in LA. My sister had moved out and left her piano at my parent’s house, an instrument I had yet to explore. The first song I wrote on that piano was ‘Just A Dream.’ It was also one of my first attempts at singing. I have yet come to terms with my singing voice, but at the time I was left with no other option.
I recorded the demo, and then did a few more. Afterwards I sent the demos to JR White [Girls], someone who had produced one of my favorite records of the past few years (and was also signed to True Panther, the label I’m currently on). Soon after, he asked me to come down to San Francisco to record an album. After a series of visa issues and border complications, I finally met him and spent the next few months jumping from San Francisco to Los Angeles, recording in studios and bedrooms with friends.
After all that was said and done, I got offered to have a few more of my songs produced by Patrick Carney [The Black Keys] in Nashville, and Ariel Rechstaid in Los Angeles. I owe the sound of the record to the great effort of everyone involved, the producers and musicians doing and playing things I couldn’t and treating the production with the same reverence I treat my songwriting.
The writing will always be the most important to me; the production, playing and singing I am still figuring out. I still play a bit of guitar, but I’m mostly sticking to the piano these days.
- TJJR. December 2014
Forwards ever, backwards never. In a perfect world, those four words would tell you everything you need to know about Sacramento thrash-punk juggernaut Trash Talk. But in a perfect world, these four furious scions of guitar-wrought destruction wouldn’t exist. Lee, Garrett, Spencer and Sam are fueled by our ugly world, and they give it back in spades. The Trash Talk live grind is a notorious thing — an anarchic, energetic and often painful paean to otherwise oppressed angst that’s unsurprisingly found footing all over the world, from the U.S. to Europe, to Australia and Japan. And in between that nearly ceaseless touring, the band’s matched its on-the-road fervor with an impressive collection of recorded brutality, from 2009′s “East of Eden” single featuring vocals from hardcore icon Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Off!), to last year’s ragged full-length masterpiece Eyes & Nines, to their recent split 7-inch with Wavves.
On, Awake, the brand new 7-inch EP for True Panther Sounds, Trash Talk continue to bodily propel their sound down the gnarled, grime-swathed path they’ve hewn for themselves. The aptly named opener “Awake” careens through the gate in a hail of shred. “Slander” squeals, stacks, smashes and releases in one minute flat, while “Blind Evolution” seems epic at over two, progressing from rapid thrash to a grungy, halftime sludge. Then, in comes “Burn Alive,” tailor-made to elicit air punches (be aware of your surroundings when you drop the needle), with its screeched out anti-wisdom: “The good die young, but the great survive.” Finally, “Gimme Shelter” brings things to a punishing, pummeling close and it all happens so quickly, so feverishly that the listener’s left beaten, bruised and ears bleeding with no real sense of what just happened. Which is, of course, how Trash Talk likes it. Forwards ever, backwards never.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra (U.M.O.) was conceived as a home recording project by Ruban Nielson after spending years playing and touring in an award-winning New Zealand punk band (of the legendary Flying Nun label). The band broke up after re-locating to Portland, OR and Ruban was ready to move away from his nomadic past. His recordings as U.M.O., mainly created for his personal amusement, have now taken on a life of their own.
Ruban’s vision of creating “junkshop record collector pop” culminated in the creation of sprawling Beatles-esque guitar melodies over hammered out break-beats, spliced with an individual touch of gentle weirdness. The results deliver a surprisingly unified fusion of several influential elements – classic psychedelic rock, Krautrock rhythms and proto-hip hop beats – all coalescing to create a cohesive album.
Though the songs were never intended to be performed live, the last six months has seen the project gather pace behind a wave of critical acclaim. A sold-out limited edition EP lead Ruban to construct a live band consisting of skilled producer Jake Portrait on bass and a brilliant teenage drummer named Julien Ehrlich.
This album will be released by Fat Possum in North America and Spunk in Australia/NZ.
- ABRA /
- Black Orange Juice /
- BLISS SIGNAL /
- Broken Strings /
- Celeste /
- Cloud Nothings /
- Deborah’s Child /
- Delorean /
- DJ Spoko /
- Ebhoni /
- Girls /
- Glasser /
- Hunx and His Punx /
- Hyetal /
- Isabelle Brown /
- Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang /
- Jonah Mutono /
- Kelsey Lu /
- King Krule /
- Lemonade /
- LiL JaBBA /
- Lil Silva /
- London O’Connor /
- Magic Kids /
- MC Bin Laden /
- Morning Benders /
- Rainbow Bridge /
- Real Estate /
- Road To Shaanxi /
- Shlohmo /
- slowthai /
- Standing Nudes /
- Tamaryn /
- Tanlines /
- Taragana Pyjarama /
- Teengirl Fantasy /
- Tint /
- Trash Talk /
- Ty Segall /
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra /