Yumi Zouma – Keep It Close To Me

Yumi-Zouma-Yoncalla-1-1

Yumi Zouma released their first full length May 27,  which marks the first time the international group has recorded together in one room. Although the band members call different metropolises — Auckland, Paris and New York — their home, they’ve managed to produce two EP’s in the last few years from across the globe. It’s obvious on their debut, Yoncalla, however, that working together directly has helped the synthpop act to hone their unique music stylings and reconcile their overall sound.

Elaborating in a press release, guitarist Charlie Ryder said: “Yumi Zouma has always been an exercise in refining ideas and collaborating, but this was the first time we weren’t limited or protected by distance. With Yoncalla, the process was different, and it can be scary to present raw ideas to your friends — but it’s also incredible to see songs evolve through the sparks of inspiration that bounce between people in the same room.”

The breezy lead single “Keep It Close To Me” is probably the most accessible track the group has put out to date. Check it out below and if you’re in the DC area, be sure to catch them live at DC9 June 8 with support from Color Palette.

Young Magic – Lucien

unnamed (6)

New York experimental-pop duo Young Magic, comprised of Melati Malay and Isaac Emmanuel are getting ready to drop their new album Still Life as they head out on tour to support Yeasayer. Inspired by the native culture of Malay’s birthplace of Indonesia, the new record is a cultural tribute to the singer’s roots. Take for example the LP’s lead single “Lucien” — the video for which was based on the Balinese holiday known as Nyepi.

In Malay’s words: “There is a day called Nyepi or ‘Day of Silence’ where no one leaves the house because it’s believed bad spirits fly over the island. They burn effigies of their monsters (Ogoh Ogoh) and then everyone hides indoors for 24 hours. It’s incredible, the streets are completely empty. I’m not sure if these ghosts still follow me in New York, but making ‘Lucien’ was my way to make an effigy of my own Ogoh Ogoh, and then burn it to the ground.”

Symbolic, to say the least. Still Life will be out May 13 on Carpark Records, and is available for pre-order here. If you’re planning on seeing Yeasayer at 9:30 Club May 16, make sure you get there early enough to see Young Magic cast their incantations in person.

DC LIVE: Maryjo Mattea / The Thermals / Vetiver

Maryjo

So many great live shows in DC every week it’s hard to keep track; thus we’re starting a new segment in which we highlight some noteworthy upcoming acts — both local and national — that you won’t want to miss.

First up in this new series we’re calling DC Live is our very own Maryjo Mattea, the folk-pop-punk-rock songstress and local fixture on the DC circuit. Mattea performs regularly in the District on any given night of the week with any of her many bands, which currently include synthpop collective Color Palette and the Beatles tribute act Doctor Robert and Penny Lane. This Thursday, April 28 she’ll be performing with A Pile of Dudes at Songbyrd Music House in celebration of the release of her new solo EP, Four Minute Symphonies. Listen to the sultry new single and torch track “Getting Over You,” replete with a sliding guitar solo from DC blues rocker Jonny Grave below.

Next up, Portland punk act The Thermals are currently on tour in support of their seventh album, We Disappear. With a solid fan base, the trio have been going strong for over a decade and continue to please fans with their signature lo-fi and distortion effects. The LP — out on Saddle Creek was produced by their longtime collaborator Chris Walla (formerly of Death Cab For Cutie). Hear the new track”My Heart Went Cold” below and catch them playing Black Cat April 30.

Longtime folk rockers Vetiver put out a new record last year called Complete Strangers and released on Easy Sound. The San Francisco-based outlet fronted by Andy Cabic exude an accessible affability on their sixth full-length, the follow up to 2011’s The Errant Charm. Check out their breezy, new Jack Johnson-esque track “Current Carry” below.

Vetiver will be playing The Hamilton on May 4.

Holy Fuck – Xed Eyes

unnamed (4)

Even after a six year hiatus, Holy Fuck is not a name that can soon be forgotten. The Canadian electronica outfit has announced a surprise new record, Congrats, scheduled to drop on Innovative Leisure May 27. Previewing a track on Zane Lowe this week, “Xed Eyes” is a bold and dark indie dance-rock number that cuts to the pith of what makes the experimental act so appealing. They’ve also announced a slew of North American tour dates this summer, which you can eye below while you listen to the single. Lou Reed once said they were the best band he’d seen at SXSW, so you won’t want to miss their electric live set. DC brethren can catch their performance at DC9 July 21.

2016 Tour Dates:
June 4: Toronto, ON – Field Trip at Historic Fort York
June 12: San Diego, CA – Casbah
June 13: Los Angeles, CA – Club Bahia
June 14: San Francisco, CA – The Independent
June 16: Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
June 17: Vancouver, BC – Levitation Festival at Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park
June 18: Seattle, WA – Crocodile
July 14: Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
July 15: Detroit, MI – Shelter
July 16: Ottawa, ON – RBC Ottawa Bluesfest at LeBreton Flats
July 18: Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
July 19: Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
July 20: New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
July 21: Washington, D.C. – DC9
July 22: Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Sadd

Laura Gibson – Empire Builder

unnamed (9)

If you’ve ever wondered how the popular NPR Tiny Desk Concert series came to be, you may be surprised to learn that the origins actually began at a SXSW show in 2008, when NPR Music’s Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson made a futile attempt to see a performance by singer-songwriter Laura Gibson.

After a frustrating experience trying to hear Ms. Gibson’s subdued vocals over a noisy crowd, Thompson mentioned to the singer post-show in jest that she should just come play at their desks. Three weeks later, the “joke” became a reality and Gibson showed up at NPR, ready to impart her folk-like melodies in person. Now eight years and hundreds of performances later, the series is still going strong and Gibson has the distinction of being the first artist to ever traverse the tiny desk.

This Saturday, as Gibson plans to drop her fourth record, Empire Builder tomorrow April 1 via Barsuk Records, she will once again bring her supple sounds to the DMV as she’s set to play Iota Cafe. Gibson’s been through a lot lately, having packed up all her things from Portland to move to New York for grad school, only to have her East Village apartment burned down last year. While she lost everything, the tragic event certainly provided ample fodder for storytelling and growth as a songwriter. Hear the new album’s title track, along with older effort “Where Have All Your Good Words Gone” via Spotify below.

If you’re in the DC area, we encourage you to check out the show at Iota this weekend. Who knows, maybe Boilen and Thompson will make an appearance (just try to keep your noise levels in check, please).

Upcoming US Tour Dates:
Fri: April 1 – Raleigh, NC – Kings Barcade
Sat: April 2 – Arlington, VA – Iota Club & Cafe
Sun: April 3 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
Wed: April 6 – Portsmouth, NH 3S Art Space
Fri: April 8 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
Sat: April 9 – New York City, NY – Joe’s Pub
Thu: Apr 14 – Portland, OR – The Old Church
Fri: Apr 15 – Seattle, WA – Fremont Abbey

Prince Rama – Bahia

prince-rama

Brooklyn’s sister psych duo Prince Rama began writing their forthcoming record, Xtreme Now while living on a black metal commune in Vȫrmsi, a remote island off the coast of Estonia. There, according to a press release, Taraka Larson had a near-death experience inside an ancient Viking ruin which sparked a recurring sense of time-schizophrenia — or the physical sensation of existing in multiple time periods simultaneously. Through this out-of-body experience, Taraka and her sister Nimai conceived of a futuristic, new adventure genre for their album they’re coining as “extreme sports.” Did we mention their journey was also fueled by Monster Energy drink?

Regardless of what you make of Taraka’s prophetic vision, there can be no doubt of the ensuing creativity that came of the duo’s exploits. With the help of acclaimed dance producer Alex Epton (Björk, Panda Bear, The Kills), the Larson sisters have created a fearless record that “celebrates the ephemerality of life, dancing just at the edge of death’s gilded smile.” The LP’s first single “Bahia” (below), recalls the Italo-disco beats of Giorgio Moroder with its emphatic flourishes and eminently danceable melodies.

Xtreme Now is out March 4 on DC label Carpark Records, accompanied by their record release show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. The following day they’ll be performing at Comet Ping Pong in the District, a seemingly perfect venue for their vision to come to life.

Prince Rama 2015 Tour Dates:

March 4th – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right
March 5th – Washington, DC – Comet Ping Pong
March 6th – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
March 9th Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
March 10th – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
March 11th – Savannah, GA – Savannah Stopover – Club One
March 12th – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
March 13th – New Orleans, LA – Siberia
March 22nd – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
March 24th – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
March 25th – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
March 26th – Costa Mesa, CA – The Wayfarer
March 29th – Los Angeles, CA – Resident
March 30th – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
April 1st – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
April 2nd – Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt
April 3rd – Seattle, WA – Barboza
April 7th – Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry
April 8th – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s
April 11th – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar
April 12th – Toronto, ON – The Garrison
April 13th – Montreal, QC – Casa Del Popolo
April 14th – Allston, MA – Great Scott
April 15th – Philadelphia, PA – Ortileb’s Lounge

Deep Sea Diver – Secrets

secrets-album-cover

As a former touring member of Beck and The Shins, Jessica Dobson has obviously cultivated a sharp sense of craft with her adept guitar skills and formidable vocals. Dobson’s current project, a Seattle-based quartet called Deep Sea Diver released their sophomore effort, Secrets February 19 via the band’s own label High Beam Records.

The record’s title track is a six-minute long exploration in experimental indie, blooming from a bedrock of shuffling bass and tropical-like percussion into a tranquil interlude, eventually swelling into an all-out anthemic pop-rock banger. Stream “Secrets” below.

Deep Sea Diver is currently on tour supporting Radiation City, with whom they’ll be stopping at DC9 February 9 — so pick up tickets to see these two standout bands today.

Radiation City – Milky White

Pbw1

So much of what we love about music has to do with the mood that it evokes. Suffice it to say then that if you’re nostalgic for the bossa nova soundscapes popularized in the ’60s, Portland’s Radiation City needs to be added to your rotation stat. The group, whose new record Synesthetica drops tomorrow draw their musical aesthetic from the girl groups of the early ’60s and the plush production style of the legendary Phil Spector (The Ronettes, The Crystals). This gives their music a timeless, retro feel while also invoking more modern influences such as Fiona Apple. Preview the album by streaming the LP’s second single and superbly sultry tune “Milky White,” along with older but equally compelling effort “Find It Of Use.”

Radiation City will embark on tour in the support of the album this month, stopping at DC9 February 29. Synesthetica is out February 12 via Polyvinyl.

Radiation City Tour Dates:

02/16 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop *
02/17 LA, CA @ Echo *
02/19 San Diego, CA @ Casbah *
02/20 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
02/21 El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow [LATE SHOW]*
02/23 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight *
02/24 Dallas, TX @ Three Links *
02/25 Austin, TX @ Sidewinder *
02/27 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl *
02/29 Washington, DC @ DC9 *
03/1 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle *
03/3 Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade *
03/4 Boston, MA @ Great Scott *
03/5 Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo *
03/6 Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel *
03/8 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland *
03/9 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean *
03/11 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *
03/12 Fargo, ND @ Aquarium *
03/14 Missoula, MT @ Stage 112 *
03/15 Spokane, WA @ Bartlett *
03/16 Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
03/17 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore *
03/19 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios [EARLY AA]
03/19 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios [LATE 21+]

* = w/ Deep Sea Diver

Field Music – Disappointed

fieldmusic-disapp-640x640

Friday, February 5 marked the release of UK group Field Music‘s sixth full-length, Commontime. On the energetic new LP brothers Peter and David Brewis recall late ’70s acts such as Steely Dan, with their jazzy, earnest and effulgent tunes that feel like a warm throwback to another era. Highlight of the record has to be “Disappointed,” a punchy, inspiriting song that deals with managing expectations in a relationship and navigating inevitable conflict for an ultimately worthy outcome — something that’s “as close to perfect as we were wishing for,” sings David hopefully. Listen to “Disappointed” below.

Field Music will be a making a short North American tour this spring, kicking off in the District’s DC9 March 24.

FIELD MUSIC – 2016 TOUR DATES
3/24 – Washington, DC – DC9
3/25 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
3/26 – New York, NY – Rough Trade
3/27 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
3/29 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile
3/30 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
4/01 – San Francisco, CA – Independent
4/02 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy

[CCP Interview]: Young Galaxy on Making Connections through Myspace, Being Influenced by Bowie, and Subverting Expectations of Live Shows

unnamed

Montreal-based synthpop act Young Galaxy have been busy the last decade, generating an impressive amount of work and creative output that has manifested in the form of five albums, including their latest, Falsework. Originally formed by Stephen Ramsay and his spouse Catherine McCandless, the group has since evolved into a four-piece that continues to push themselves artistically. Even with two kids now in the picture, the constraints of family life hasn’t stopped the group from moving full speed ahead.

The quartet has just set out on tour in support of the new album, which is sure to be a spectacular affair as the band enlisted the help of Adam Hummell — whose production credits include Madonna‘s Super Bowl Halftime performance and Miley Cyrus‘ Bangrz Tour — to help them design a music-triggered light show for the set. Their live show will also feature dancers from Montreal’s Street Parade, all in an attempt to challenge people’s expectations of small club shows — which we for one can’t wait to witness at their Black Cat show tonight in DC.

In advance of the show, we spoke with Stephen about his time touring with Stars, Catherine overcoming stage fright, meeting their producer Dan Lissvik through Myspace, being influenced by unconventional acts like David Bowie, and of course their adorable, record-loving children.

Where to begin…you have a breadth of work and we’re loving the new album, Falsework. For new, prospective listeners though, could you tell the story of how you got started, and where your name comes from?

The origin of the name is cringeworthy. It was my (Stephen’s) first hotmail account name. I randomly opened an astronomy book to a page and put my finger down… that was the phrase I hit.

The story started in Vancouver with me in University and working a day job, writing and recording late into the night. I was recording demos — one of the great offshoots of having a computer for school was that I could also record music on it, and this was in the early days of being able to simulate a full band…it definitely allowed me the ability to flesh out my ideas a lot more than previously. I wanted Catherine to sing but she was too shy to even sing with me in the room, which is why I feature more heavily as the lead singer in the early recordings. Anyway, I had just befriended Torquil from Stars, who I played the demos to. On the strength of them, he offered me a job as the touring member of his band as long as we moved to Montreal. Once we had done that, I toured with Stars for a year and a half, and got to know their label, Arts & Crafts. In my downtime between tours, Catherine and I began recording with Jace and Olga from The Besnard Lakes at their studio, Breakglass. Catherine began to warm up to the idea of singing in public more at this point, thanks in large part to the friendship we had with Jace and Olga who were wonderful to record with. Once we had about five songs recorded, we played them for Arts & Crafts and they agreed to sign us before we’d even played a show. It all happened rather quickly and fortuitously — we were in the right place at the right time.Where did you draw your inspiration for the new album?

We felt it was a logical continuation of the previous two with Dan Lissvik, an end to a trilogy as it were. I was listening to a lot of minimal dance and electronic music — and given our mandate of making the songs more sparse and energized over the previous albums with Dan, we tried to stay that course with Falsework. I had also come into a windfall of analog synths quite by accident, so my entire workflow changed with this new gear. It became way more process based, more about patterns and arrangements and rhythms than ever. The beauty of analog electronic gear is it’s very quirky and has real personality. The challenge is to harness that personality using your personal sensibilities. It’s harder than it seems…so as a result we were very in the moment — we let the machines shape the overall sound of the record.

How do you think your sound has evolved over the years?

We started in a much more traditional rock formation — in retrospect I think we were working out our early influences, or our original idea of what kind of band we wanted to be in when we first started dreaming of being in bands…I think I imagined it should be like a gang — a lot of my favourite bands growing up were that way, like The Stone Roses, The Verve, The Happy Mondays…but over time I realized we’d never really be that way, that by virtue of the band being centered around a couple it would be very different. With Catherine involved, we realized our band would always have a very feminine energy at the heart of it. Our influences eventually gravitated away from those more male, rock-oriented models to more androgynous, less conventional ones… acts like Bowie, The Knife, New Order — they all challenged preconceptions of whom bands should be comprised of — they flipped stereotypes back on themselves. So it stands to reason that as the band’s personality shifted, so too did its sound and its influences.

What is your writing process like, and how did you first become connected with producer Dan Lissvik?

As I mentioned, it’s very process based now. It started with me more or less just being emo with a guitar into a 4-track recorder… I haven’t written a song on a guitar in years now, it seems. It’s changed a lot, it’s a bank of synths and drum machines talking to each other these days. If I want to go acoustic, then I start with drums or bass. Rarely guitar now though.

We became connected to Dan through Myspace believe it our not. His band Studio was kind of ending at the time we contacted him, and I think he was looking for something different to cleanse his palette with. It was a matter of good timing. He had expressed his interest in finding new collaborators to his girlfriend, and apparently we messaged him the next day or something. So we both kind of took it as a sign.

We understand that you have two young kids at home. How has parenting shifted the dynamics of the band?

We were really worried that our kids would somehow cramp the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of the band in some way. But it turns out our kids take the edge off the crustier moments in the van; they’re sweet and naive and make everyone smile for the most part. But then we haven’t toured with both of them yet. That starts tomorrow… maybe you should re-ask this question in a week, haha!

They seem to love the music — our oldest is four and wants us to play our records to him before he sleeps, it’s pretty adorable. Our youngest dances constantly… music stops him in his tracks. He’s a chip off the old block.

What song do you feel most connected to or enjoy performing?

Right now, I’m loving “The Night Wants Us To Be Free” — playing it is super fun — it grooves and gets me into a playful mindset when I’m playing it. If I’m worried or have a furrowed brow before that, it’s gone by the time we’re playing that song.

What artists are you listening to right now? All-time favorite?

As you can imagine, we just went through another obsessive Bowie phase. He is the greatest pop star of all time with the greatest breadth of output, hands down.

The trailer for the tour looks super intriguing. Can you elaborate a bit about what you’re trying to achieve with your live show? (We can’t wait to see it!)
 

We’re trying to cheat the game with this show. Bands like us aren’t supposed to have production values or choreography. We wanted to prove that a band that doesn’t make a lot of money can put on an amazing show. These days commerce gets to dictate people’s perceptions of what is good, cutting edge or exciting in the live setting. Somehow we manage to put a show together that subverts that expectation — we want people to see it and have their jaw hanging on the floor by the time it’s over.

View the Falsework tour trailer below, find Young Galaxy’s 2016 tour dates on their website — and as a bonus check out their amazing modern cover of Madonna’s “Open Your Heart.”