All posts by Riff City

The Three O'Clock

The Three O’Clock

The Three O’Clock is an American alternative rock group associated with the Los Angeles 1980s Paisley Underground scene. Lead singer and bassist Michael Quercio is credited with coining the term “Paisley Underground” to describe a subset of the 1980s L.A. music scene which included bands such as Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, Green on Red, and the Bangles.


Mandolin Orange Debut Spotify Singles After 75M+ Streams

Following the release of 2016’s breakout LP, ‘Blindfaller,’ Mandolin Orange have rapidly grown from North Carolinian upstarts into under-sung heroes, selling out tours across the world, serenading the legendary stages of Red Rocks, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk, and the Ryman, and amassing praise from NPR Music, Paste, Vox and more. Today, they release their Spotify Singles, a surprise gift to the fans who have helped the duo earn over 75 million streams.

Inspired by downtown Chapel Hill’s high-rise influx and its impending deforestation, ‘Blindfaller’ standout “Echo” is a poignant match of Mandolin Orange’s socially conscious lyricism and “low-key instrumental heroics” (Vox). Their “angelic harmonies” (NPR Music) are on full-display in “Amsterdam,” however, offering a rich and raw re-imagining of the Gregory Alan Isakov hit.


View More:

Anna Vogelzang

Anna Vogelzang’s “warm, engaging folk-pop” (Relix) has brought her to stages across America for over 10 years. Her melody-driven, multi-instrumental folk-pop has been met with warm reviews and landed her at festivals, conferences, and on bills with some of her heroes, including Sara Bareilles, Gillian Welch, Mirah, Anais Mitchell, Laura Gibson, Wye Oak, Steve Poltz, Mason Jennings, Amanda Palmer, and many more. Her forthcoming 2018 EP features Los Angeles mainstays Jay Bellerose, Adam Levy, &Tyler Chester. Mixed by long-time collaborator Todd Sickafoose, the songs dive into electronic, gritty landscapes that underpin her mystical, “wide expansive sound” (Magnet).

Darren Hanlon

Darren Hanlon

One ambitious yet unorganised Australian. One battered old guitar. One Amtrak pass. Five recording studios. About twenty-seven musical strangers. And six bullet holes. The story of Darren Hanlon’s fifth album proper Where Did You Come From?spans two continents and a whole lot of miles travelled,resulting in his most resplendent musical effort yet, the songs reaching new levels of maturity without ever losing his trademark lyrical charm and twinkling eye.

Recording it involved an unplanned and sometimes perilous lope through the American South, through various cities, towns and recording studios. “For lack of any real purpose I went on an exploratory adventure of the American southern states and the whole thing grew up around me like rogue lantana. I spent about 20 nights sleeping on different Amtrak trains with my jumper rolled up for a pillow.”

Prior to his time in America, Hanlon spent a month in the Australian desert. Whilst sowing the seeds for a batch of new songs in the mining town of Broken Hill – famous as the filming location for Mad Max 2 – he sent some demos to a list of US studios he liked the sound of. By the time he’d flown to Portland, Oregon to begin work, he’d only heard back from one.

Andrija Tokic wrote with positive feedback from his Bomb Shelter studio in Nashville. Having recently garnered great success with the Alabama Shakes, his calendar was pretty full, save for a single session. Hanlon took the long train trip to Nashville, arriving with a kinked neck and notebook full of lyrics, discovering that Tokic had handpicked a backing band and organised a bed in a friend’s basement. “Another songwriter was staying upstairs. Riley Downing, from a folk band called the Deslondes,” Hanlon says. “We spent many nights trading songs and talking. Through him I met a revolving cast of musicians he was friends with. I got a real sense of a scene that was developing across many cities of the South, connected by friendships and a mutual appreciation of traditional roots music.”

This chance encounter was just one wellspring that would feed into the songs that eventually made up Where Did You Come From? And people he’d meet would tell him about other interesting studios in other places, each journey unlocking the next. Leaving from Nashville he did one-off sessions in Memphis, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans and Clarksdale. Sometimes the musicians these studios had on hand had played on hit songs Hanlon had heard since a child.

David Hood and Spooner Oldham sat in on a song in legendary Fame Studios, and Howard Grimes, the 72-year-old long-time Al Greene drummer, backed him up on the Memphis sessions. “Now that was a strange and beautiful collaboration,” Hanlon remembers, “I don’t think Howard had played with anyone as straight and Queensland as me before. He said I was taking him back to school!”

To hear the analogue richness and singular vision resulting in the collection of songs that makeWhere Did You Come From? belies the accidental nature of its process. It’s a cohesive, hopeful and vibrant testament to the joys of travel, the tyranny of distance and the vagaries of love and fate. To know the precariousness of the steps it took to realize only makes it more special and amazing.

“When I hopped off the Amtrak I just walked around and met buskers, tap-dancers, preachers, drunks and drug dealers, all of whom had something worth learning about,” Hanlon tells. “I started having compulsive notions that whoever I met should somehow contribute to the album. Let fate play into it. One guy tried to break into a car I was sitting in and even he ended up playing bass on a song.”

AE3 Alejandro Yeproc 20

Alejandro Escovedo Signs to Riff City Sounds!

Riff City Sounds proudly announces the signing of acclaimed Texas singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo. Currently working on material for his debut anticipated for 2018, Escovedo will headline the Think About the Link 12-city tour beginning January 13, in Austin, TX. A full list of dates is below.

In partnership with Prevent Cancer Foundation®, the Think About the Link® tour will raise awareness of the Foundation’s educational campaign about the connection between certain viruses and cancer, of which Escovedo is a spokesperson. As a hepatitis C survivor, Escovedo hopes to raise awareness about the link between hepatitis C and liver cancer. Each night he will perform his A Man Under the Influence album in its entirety with most of the original musicians featured on the album and a string section. For more information about the Prevent Cancer Foundation®, please visit

With 14 solo albums throughout his illustrious career, Alejandro Escovedo has a rich musical history and future. In a trailblazing career that began with The Nuns, San Francisco’s famed punk innovators in the mid ‘70s, to the Austin-based-based alt-country rock pioneers, Rank & File, to Texas bred darlings, True Believers, through countless all-star collaborations and tribute album appearances and a series of beloved solo albums beginning with 1992’s acclaimed Gravity, Escovedo has earned a surplus of distinctions, including No Depression magazine’s Artist of the Decade Award in 1998, and the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performing in 2006. Previously produced by John Cale, Tony Visconti, and most recently Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey on his last album Burn Something Beautiful.

January 13 – Austin City Limits at Moody Theater – Austin, TX
January 16 – The Hamilton – Washington, DC
January 18-20 – City Winery – New York, NY
January 21 – City Winery – Boston, MA
January 23 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
January 25-27 – City Winery – Chicago, IL
January 28 – The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL
January 30 – City Winery – Atlanta, GA
January 31 – City Winery – Nashville, TN
February 6 – Knuckleheads – Kansas City, MO
February 8 – The Kessler Theater – Dallas, TX
February 9 – The Heights Theater – Houston, TX


Mandolin Orange announces Spring Tour in support of Blindfaller!

Hailed by No Depression as “one of the most talented acts making music today,” North Carolina-based duo Mandolin Orange—Emily Frantz (fiddle/vocals) and Andrew Marlin (mandolin/vocals)—announce spring tour dates in support of their critically acclaimed album, Blindfaller. The tour includes notable appearances at Merlefest, Red Rocks, Bonnaroo, Forecastle, and Pickathon. A full list of dates can be found below.

The duo’s “mesmerizing” (Wild Honey Pie) Blindfaller fall tour drew rave reviews and included 16 sold-out shows in Chicago, Denver, Boston, Nashville, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, NC.

Debuting at #3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart and #7 on Heatseekers, songs from Blindfaller have garnered over 6 million album streams, with 3.5 million streams on Spotify for the single “Wildfire” and 1.2 million for “Hey Stranger.”

No Depression raves, “The voices of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz were seemingly destined to make music and beautiful sounds together in harmony…the music they make is nothing short of perfection.” Their single, “Hard Travelin’,” previously premiered with PopMatters who called the track, “a delightful mix of Americana, bluegrass and country.

Founded in 2009, Mandolin Orange’s 2013 release This Side of Jordan garnered critical acclaim with NPR calling the album “effortless and beautiful.” Their 2015 follow-up, Such Jubilee, garnered further press praise with Rolling Stone including the album in “30 Great Country Albums of 2015 You Probably Didn’t Hear” and NPR’s Folk Alley’s “Best of 2015 Listener’s Poll.” The record was #1 on Magnet’s “Top 10 Indie Roots Albums of 2015” and Paste called it “an album full of blissful moments.”

See full list of dates HERE!


Via App’s ‘Sixth Stitch’ out November 11, 2016 on Break World Records

Via App is Dylan Scheer, a Queens, NY-based electronic producer and performer.
She started hosting and playing shows, as well as releasing cassettes as Via App
in Boston, and from there she moved on to New York in 2014, where she quickly
became an integral part of the city’s experimental electronic scene.

Her early live hardware sets brought her recognition for their often stark modes
of sample manipulation and collage, dynamic narrative compositions, and their
refusal to adhere to any one genre. More recently, her live sets have maintained
a similar sense of precariousness. She works synthesized sounds into polyrhythmic
infectious grooves which veer from edge to breaking point, unpredictably giving
way to either manic frenzy, or complete pause.

Her studio recordings exist, in part, as documentation of her performances and
are all recorded live.

In 2015, she released ‘7 Headed’, a heavily sample-based techno 12″ that met with
critical acclaim, landing her a spot on the top 10 electronic releases of the year in
The Wire, and an artist feature on Resident Advisor.

She has toured Europe and played esteemed festivals such as Moogfest, Sustain-
Release, Rewire, and will play Unsound Festival this October.

‘Sixth Stitch’ is set for release on Break World records on November 11, 2016.