Artists

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Eli Paperboy Reed

Eli “Paperboy” Reed is a survivor. He was one of the first of the new wave of singers and songwriters to embrace unabashedly soulful music and he has been tearing up stages all over the world with his heart-stopping falsetto screams for close to a decade with no plans to slow down. From humble musical beginnings growing up outside of Boston, at 18 Reed moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi and cut his teeth playing and singing in juke joints all over the Delta. From there he took the well-trod path to Chicago where he spent a year as minister of music the Southside church of Soul legend Mitty Collier.

Soon after returning to Boston, he was bit by the songwriting bug and released his first full length, “Roll with You” in 2008. Reed’s combination of powerful soulful vocals coupled with his strong pop sensibility as a songwriter made people all over the world stand up and take notice. Soon there were calls coming in from everywhere; television shows in the UK, festivals in Australia, and a jaw-dropping schedule of national and international tour dates. Major record labels came calling, deals were signed and Reed’s star kept rising, now with the help of song placements in major movies, television shows and commercials.

In 2016, after some much-needed time off from the road, Reed returned to the studio to cut “My Way Home” (Yep Roc – 2016); an album that is at once back-to-basics and startlingly current. Reed has improbably become an elder statesman of the genre, and he’s begun seeing new artists who are taking inspiration from his unique sound. A sound that, over everything else, prizes feeling, energy, and, yes, Soul.

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Birds + Arrows

Southwest rock duo Birds and Arrows are Andrea and Pete Connolly. The band was formed in Chapel Hill, NC in 2007 and that year, went on to release two critically acclaimed EPs, “Self-titled” and “Woodgrain Heart”. Over the past 10 years Birds and Arrows have released 4 full length records, “Starmaker” in 2008 (recorded by Andrea herself and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange), “We’re Gonna Run” in 2009 (produced and recorded by Nick Peterson of Horseback), “Coyotes” 2013 and “Edge of Everything” 2015 (both recorded and mixed by Chris Stamey of The dB’s). During that time, they also released a holiday EP “Holiday Forever” from which, songs have been featured on compilations with Wilco, Big Star, Yo La Tengo, Whiskeytown and more…

After many years spent as an integral part the NC triangle music scene, the band recently relocated to the southwest.

Moving to the Arizona desert has been more than just a drastic change of scenery for Birds and Arrows, it’s turned out to be a radical change in vision and in attitude. Having outgrown the skin of their quiet NC folk beginnings, the desert has given them the space and freedom to finally shed the honeymoon sweetness of their past. Birds and Arrows’ brand new album “Arbitrary Magic” is the band’s first full length release since relocating to the magical land of Tucson, AZ. This new, wildly energetic group of songs allows listeners to experience first hand, Birds and Arrows’ transformation from love lorn folk duo, to hard hitting, rock and roll bad assery.

“Arbitrary Magic” was produced and recorded by Gabriel Sullivan of Xixa and Giant Sand. Gabe’s creative vision is distinctly Tucson, having honed his skills at Wave Lab Studio before founding his own creative space Dust and Stone Studios.

The magnificent fire of Birds and Arrows’ new album”Arbitrary Magic” is like a blazing Phoenix and from it’s ashes, rock and roll is re-born.

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.

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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.”

theoldceremony

The Old Ceremony

Django Haskins of Durham, NC’s The Old Ceremony wants to cut the crap. He has no more patience for idealized love songs that seep into your blood like sugary cereal, leaving you tired and empty. In fact, he finds them harmful. With his band’s new album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide, their first for Yep Roc Records, Haskins’ artistic awakening reaches full flower. More than any of their past records, Fairytales coheres around a central theme: of awakening to the world as it is and learning to see the beauty in its harshness. Meditations on love (“Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide,” “The Royal We,” “Day That I Was Born,”), politics (“Sink or Swim”), and scientific progress (“Star by Star”) all return to this central theme, as does the haunting “Beebe, Arkansas,” based on the bizarre phenomenon of 5000 blackbirds dropping dead on a small town overnight two years in a row. It is an album of late night reckonings, punctuated by hopeful blasts of sunshine. And for lovers of classic songcraft, it is a gold mine.

The past two years has seen Haskins singing, playing, and MC’ing a tribute to Big Star’s Third album, in which Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and legendary producer Chris Stamey are joined by members of REM, the Replacements, Posies, Wilco, Yo La Tengo, labelmate Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten, even Ray Davies of the Kinks. Performing with many of his heroes in New York, Austin, Barcelona, and London has brought Haskins’ distinctive baritone and rakish sense of humor to new audiences, and it has given him a chance to pay back some old debts. “Alex Chilton’s music has always been a powerful influence on my writing,” Haskins admits. “Getting to sing his songs and perform with so many people I admire has been both a learning experience and an incredible rush. The fact is, everyone on that show owes a debt to Alex, and Alex owed a debt to a bunch of earlier soul and Brit-invasion artists. It’s an unbroken chain of cheerful thievery and gratitude.”

The Old Ceremony began as an atmosphere as much as a band. Songwriter Django Haskins had amassed a raft of songs that just didn’t fit within the confines of the various Costello-esque rock outfits which he had led for years in New York and then in North Carolina. These darker songs required a more nuanced touch, a cinematic approach, in short, a certain atmosphere. They demanded sounds that couldn’t be found in most rock clubs. He created the Old Ceremony to bring them to life, and soon, it became a thriving organism and his exclusive focus. The band garnered early comparisons to Tom Waits, Serge Gainsbourg, Nick Cave, and Leonard Cohen (from whose album the band took its name). Early shows took the shape of events, where fans could come and dip a toe into the dark, continental atmosphere spun out by these songs. Years and many tours later, The Old Ceremony has long since pared down to a core of five members, covering bass, guitar, drums, violin, organ, vibes, and keys, but the focus remains squarely on Haskins’ songcraft and the cinematic textures the band brings to it.

With their new album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide, these textures arrive with unusual clarity. Haskins’ focus may partially be the result of his other recent pursuits: he has spent much of his downtime in the past two years working on two non-fiction book manuscripts, excerpts of which have been published in respected literary and culture blogs and weekly arts newspapers. At first glance the two projects, a biography of Haskins’ Titanic survivor great-grandfather; and a sprawling tour memoir/urban history tract that tries to make sense of four cities that TOC frequents; may seem completely unconnected to Haskins’ songwriting career, but in fact, they all deal with similar themes. “I’m interested in the uses of mythology, whether it be a family mythology or a city’s mythology, and how it can obscure reality in harmful ways,” Haskins says. Thus, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide is the product of a tireless, obsessive search. Comparisons to fellow-travelers of dark, cinematic meditations like Cohen or Waits are no longer necessary, for The Old Ceremony has forged its own distinctive sound to accompany Haskins’ songs. It is the sound of seeking: for new textures, for hidden corners of experience, for a flash of truth in an otherwise confusing world.

The band consists of Django Haskins (voice/guitar), Mark Simonsen (vibraphone, organ), Gabriele Pelli (violin/keys), Dan Hall (drums), and Jeff Crawford (bass). They tour extensively in the US, Canada, and Europe and have performed with CAKE, Avett Brothers, Chuck Berry, Mountain Goats, and others. Their songs have appeared in numerous films, including Push, I Do and I Don’t, Leading Ladies, Familiar Strangers, and Elephant Sighs (for which they also composed the score). Their fifth album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide comes out August 21st on Yep Roc Records.

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Cheyenne Marie Mize

Whimsical, haunting, dreamlike music that eschews the traditional formulae, Cheyenne Marie Mize presents a rainbow of juxtapositions. The New York Times described her 2010 debut, Before Lately, as “sweet without being cloying, weary without hopelessness,” noting the vast space between notes, yet lack of air.

Before Lately was a slow-burning, introspective, meditative affair. Her follow-up EP, We Don’t Need (out Jan. 24, 2012 on Yep Roc) offers an expansion of the sonic palette she’s established – with more dynamic moods, instrumentation, and experimentation. Using only a dense array of percussion, the opener “Wishing Well” nods to both classic R&B flavors and adventurous modern pop. A somber funeral march provides the backbeat of “Don’t Call Me Beautiful” before Cheyenne showcases her upbeat troubadour chops within the resplendent piano swing of “Going Under.” “Keep It” and “It Lingers” conjures a bombastic form of classic college radio songwriting. Instrumental album closer “Back Around” goes full desert chamber rock – monolithic walls of cavernous sound fill the backdrop behind spacey vocal samples and cinematic strings.

Mize wants listeners to know that “the songs on We Don’t Need are meant to be digested individually more than as continuous parts of a complete whole. Each has its own character and will likely be enjoyed in different mental states. As a whole, We Don’t Need is surely eclectic, but each part gives a little taste of the things to come…”

Indeed, We Don’t Need does not fit easily into a box. The record does work as a whole, though, thanks to the constant winding its way through this varied landscape. Lending a cohesion to this sonic kaleidoscope is a voice that Daytrotter described as “a tone that allows you to stretch your head back to that last great and true love that you experienced – the best form of it that ever came your way – and feel as if it never left.”

Mize introduced herself internationally on the 10″ release Among the Gold with Bonnie “Prince” Billy – an inventive take on a variety of late 19th century American parlor music handpicked by Mize and Oldham. She continued her alliance with Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore as a major player in the Dear Companion tour supporting their collaborative Sub Pop release in early 2010. After the release of her debut later that year and subsequent performances at South By Southwest, Mize was chosen by NPR as one of their ten “Discoveries at SXSW 2011.”

viaapp

Via App

Via App is an alias of Dylan Scheer, Queens based electronic producer and performer. She started hosting and playing shows, as well as releasing tapes under the moniker in Boston. From there, she moved to New York in 2014 and quickly became part of the city’s experimental electronic scene. Her early live hardware sets got her recognition for their often stark mode of sample manipulation and collage, their 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 samples and her synthesized sounds into polyrhythmic infectious grooves which threaten to break at any moment, unpredictably giving way to 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 received 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, and Rewire, and will play Unsound Festival in October. A Via App track is featured in an Objekt mix and its accompanying 12″ of rarities on Tresor which was released this summer. She will release a 12″ on BANK records this fall and her debut LP, Sixth Stitch is set for release on Break World in November.

Jonathon Wilson

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“Gentle Spirit” is not simply the name of the debut solo album by songwriter/musician/producer, Jonathan Wilson, it represents the ethos of the artist himself.  Warm, supple melodies etched in layers of stringed instruments and willowy organ motifs accompany his earnest, North Carolinian drawl as he tells tales of humane values lost and found.  

   Wilson’s music is steeped equally in the woodsy contours of his Blue Ridge experiences and the atmospheric guitar reveries of Neil Young and Quicksilver Messenger Service.  In fact, “Gentle Spirit,” an expansive double vinyl set, is remarkably evocative of that golden late ‘60s, early ‘70s period when rural and urban sensibilities colluded in producing some of rock’s most imperishable recordings.

    Wilson, a native of Forest City, North Carolina, has been quietly earning a reputation as a musical jack-of-all-trades.  He is adept behind the recording console, possesses a luthier’s knowledge of all things strummed, and maintains the innate ability to conceptualize an instrument essential to providing the right color to a track in need of a defining detail.  Whether working with promising new recording artists like the band Dawes, contemporary artists, such as Erykah Badu and Elvis Costello, or Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Jackson Browne, and Robbie Robertson, Wilson, a tall, slim, long-haired presence, provides direction and support as tasty and soulful as anyone in the business today.

    It should then come as no surprise that Wilson, so resolutely committed to “old school” musical values, began recording “Gentle Spirit” in Los Angeles’s fabled Laurel Canyon.  As a longtime student of  “Canyon culture,” his ideas echo many of an earlier generation as the album embraces a unique blend of folk, country, rock and roll and pop elements, which enduringly create a sense of time and place.

      While writing and recording “Gentle Spirit”, “I was consciously trying to hit, ‘dreary day in the canyon,’ that was the original concept,” admits Wilson.  “That was what it was supposed to be. I feel like I achieved that. But, you have to remember the album took a long time, the tracking was done a while ago, and there’s a distance there that I guess was supposed to happen.  And it’s not hot off the tape machine.  Things transpired. That, to me, is a good thing because there is a perspective on display.  I can be detached; and whether this characteristic does this or that, it doesn’t affect me to the greater good of the album.”

  “I loved living and recording in Laurel Canyon,” he reflects.  “I wasn’t trying to find a sound of yore or duplicate any guitar sounds ala Buffalo Springfield or Crazy Horse. But what ends up happening is that the vocal harmony on the album does have a certain type of a tonality and that indeed is the sound of the canyon.”  

  Wilson was crafting the album between tours, album producer jobs and the never-ending jam sessions that constituted canyon life.  “I was never in conflict or had a self-imposed time table around this album,” offers Jonathan. “Maybe just in the last bit, and only because of scheduling considerations. Time went by and things were cool and I never felt anything was on a back burner because it was all sort of my process.

   “For me, I didn’t find I was best served to go into the studio with a batch of songs I’d just done in the last 30 or 60 days and put them down over 6 days. I was better served by having the material unfold over time,” Wilson reinforces.  

  “The only theme on the album has to do with some of the words of the title track, about the desensitizing that we are exposed to on a daily basis, of all the explosions and car bombs and people in despair,” he underscores. “And these things that come at you so fast that you don’t have time to really concentrate on them and give them the reverence and respect they deserve. The album talks about taking some time to, you know, give humanity some kind of reverence-laden soundtrack.      

  “I play a lot of different instruments on my own recordings.  For “Gentle Spirit,” I used a Hofner bass. I played a 1969 Gibson ES 345 a lot, especially when I wanted the guitar tone to cut. It’s the same guitar used by Freddie King. It has a very aggressive kind of bite.“

“I drafted in some friends throughout the recording that allowed me to concentrate on the guitar and vocals. I assembled a band with guys like Otto Hauser for basic tracking that created a certain energy that I couldn’t have produced on my own.  I also brought in specific people for certain songs,” Wilson explains.  “Gary Louris, the singer from The Jayhawks, singer Andy Cabic and drummer Otto Hauser, of the band Vetiver, and pedal steel player Josh Grange all played on the record. Adam McDougal, a good friend of mine who plays Hammond organ with the Black Crowes, drummer Brian Geltner, legendary bassist Gerald Johnson, keyboardist Barry Goldberg and Gary Mallaber, former drummer with the Steve Miller Band and Van Morrison, were all involved, too.”

  “The title track ‘Gentle Spirit’ is the first tune on the album.  I was searching for some sort of positive theme somewhere out there in the abyss and for it to enter the ears and maybe the heart of someone listening.  And it’s just a positive energy to start out the album, a sonic welcome.

   Wilson also included one of his oldest compositions, “Valley of the Silver Moon.”  “It’s a tune about the modern music world not understanding what I have to offer as an artist and the struggle this created.”

  The influence of North Carolina resonates throughout the album.  “Can We Really Party Today?” is a song that talks about the Carolinas and the South. And on “The Ballad of the Pines,” on which I did some harmonies with Chris Robinson, who is a Georgia boy, I was talking about the majestic pines of the South.  As this song, and the others too, unfolded, I found comfort in being able to hear the South despite being out here in California, ‘cause when you’re there, you’re so immersed you don’t realize the effect.”

  “Gentle Spirit” features all original Wilson compositions with the exception of his “psyched out” rendition of Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Way I Feel.”  “It spoke to me,” relates Wilson.  “He’s talking about a kind of weightlessness, and the need for patience which is what I’m all about and ‘Gentle Spirit’ is all about.”

    After leaving Laurel Canyon, Wilson relocated to the Echo Park section of L.A., home to a lively mix of Latin Americans, Bohemians and expressive youth.  It is in his new recording studio, Five Star Studio, where Wilson finished tracking and mixing “Gentle Spirit.  

   “Gentle Spirit” was produced by Wilson.  “I recorded everything to analog tape which I’ve always done; it’s not something I’m trying to do as a boutique kind of hip thing. Analog simply captures things better and it takes the edges off.  It creates a beauty much like film.  I have a console that was built in 1972 and used to belong to Shelter Records.  That’s a big part of the sound for the album.”   

  Given the popular culture’s preoccupation with all things digital, “Gentle Spirit” draws a line in the proverbial sand; the album was conceived for vinyl.  “I would say vinyl is the only real tangible format that contains meaningful value and the only one you can sell to me that retains any value. And to me, that’s on both sides of the table, the consumer and the artist. Even as a record collector I’ve always been vinyl driven.  With vinyl, this is when the record sounds the best and when it comes alive.  To me, this project and the album represent many things tangible and even more things intangible, those that can only be felt.”

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Elysia Crampton

Elysia Crampton is a Bolivian-American musician, writer, and abolitionist.

She began making music under the moniker E+E (“Y-[and]-Y” -spanish for “And & And”), collaborating for years with like-minded friends from around the world such as Chino Amobi, Dj Why Be, and Lexxi (musician and founder of the infamous Endless events in London), gaining a devout following within experimental music and coining a unique style out of the resources available to her. Now performing under her given name, she has developed her musical approach into one that is intricately composed, and refined in sound design, while carrying the legacy of her earlier work.

Ongoing themes of spirituality and transformation have made Elysia’s music resonate with audiences around the world. Navigating historical erasure, Her work also explores the adoption of sonic dialects across the Americas and how they shape the way different communities hear not just sounds but frequencies.

In 2015, Elysia released her debut album, American Drift to critical acclaim. Philip Sherburne of Pitchfork stated that the album “helped define the sound of experimental electronic music in 2015.”

Elysia has performed and worked closely with artists like Timur Si Qin, Juliana Huxtable, and Total Freedom (Ashland Mines), and has collaborated with contemporaries such as Kelela.

Her upcoming sophomore release, Elysia Crampton presents: Demon City (with Chino Amobi, Why Be, Rabit, & Lexxi), is a narrative album that works as an epic poem, existing as an official document of the Severo style. The album will be released by Break World Records on July 22, 2016.