Press Releases From January 2021: Here Are The Artists
Balmorhea, SWIMM, Lake Street Dive, JP Saxe, Nicole Marxen, Annika Wells, Patriarchy, NEFFEX, Justin Nozuka, glaive are among the press releases from January.
Balmorhea – ‘Rose in Abstract’: A melancholic slow-burn and sparse orchestration by minimalist group Balmorhea, an ambient and evocative soundscape with quiet and reflective sceneries drawing inspiration from classical music and experimental acoustic folk. This is the first single of the band’s upcoming album, ‘The Wind,’ out on April 9 via Deutsche Grammophon. ‘The Wind’ comprises a dozen tracks inspired variously by meditations on the natural world and its fragility, an ancient tale about a saint who carried the wind to an airless French valley, and thoughts of climate activist Greta Thunberg crossing the Atlantic. Balmorhea features Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller on piano for the first time, as well as friend Nils Frahm on pipe organ, horn player Morris Kliphuis (Stargaze Collective), cellist Clarice Jensen and singer Lisa Morgenstern. ‘If there is a character in our story, this is where she might make a realization that things are changing,’ Lowe says.
SWIMM – ‘You Never Fake it’: LA-based psych-pop group SWIMM teamed up with Lauren Ruth Ward for this intimate ballad with sensual textures, lush synthesizers, and entrancing rhythmic parts. It’s an interesting and multi-layered piece with a real story that SWIMM detailed: ‘The story of ‘You Never Fake It’ was actually birthed out of one rainy night in Manhattan I had a few years ago but when I hear this song it brings me back to the first couple weeks of quarantine. It was actually very stormy during that time so the air outside was ripe with panic and urban drainage, while inside my warehouse… mostly panic, ganja and sweatpants. Turns out productivity can really blossom when you’re not sneaking into the ballroom bathrooms of East LA snorting Cayenne pepper with strangers for a head rush. This new allotment of focus time let me dive into the production of this one… This is gonna sound a little Indigo-child dream-catcher vibe but I kept hearing ‘Kim’, the somewhat illusory character of the song, in my head when I was recording and wanted to somehow capture the spirit of her and have it feel analogous to the way you can kind of capture a memory in a song. So I texted my best bud and bandmate of our side project Aging Actress, Lauren Ruth Ward, and asked her to sing some words into her phone and text them back. I didn’t give her the tempo or key, which was really silly of me now that I think about it but somehow what she did just worked perfectly. I guess it helps that she is the best singer on the damn planet. Eventually, I asked her to sing on the bridge and kinda go for it for the end of the song. In an odd sense, I have some weird nostalgia for those first few weeks. And I don’t mean that in any disrespect to those that were sick or hurting. It’s just that I really escaped to and lived in that song for that time and through the beauty of art or whatever, that place became more real to me than the terrifying state of things.’
Lake Street Dive – ‘Nobody’s Stopping You Now’: A new single of the band’s upcoming album, ‘Obviously,’ set for release on March 12 via Nonesuch Records and produced by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mike Elizondo who is best known as a songwriting collaborator for Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent and has also served as a record producer for Fiona Apple, Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood, and 21 Pilots, among others. Rachael Price’s crystalline vocals shine during this heartfelt production for a strings-and-piano ballad with a vintage ABBA quality. The song works as a letter of encouragement from Price to her teenage-self and was co-written with bassist Bridget Kearney. Price explains: ‘You’re trying to express your anxieties, your feelings, your sadness, your happiness, all of these things—your authentic state of being in a song. But you’re also trying to create something people will listen to over and over again. That’s the unique fun thing about music, putting these messages into three and a half minute snippets, dropping whatever truth we can, and hoping it’s the type of thing that people want to ruminate on.’
JP Saxe, Maren Morris – ‘Line by Line’: Grammy-winning artist Maren Morris and Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist JP Saxe have teamed up for this new song (and video), a stripped-down electro-pop song with heartfelt vocals and a chorus with an ethereal quality. ‘I have always loved being contemplative of the artist vs. muse relationship in songs,’ Maren says. ‘‘Line by Line’ acts as a promise that I’ll never be done writing about my muse in this life because he can’t be summed up in one song. Writing that day with JP was the most fluid, inspiring session. He’s a lyrical faucet. He threw out the line ‘immortalizing my sincerity’ and it blew my mind. I think all in all, we wrote the whole song in an hour and immediately recorded it.’ ‘My first thought about this song is that it’s surreal I get to be sharing it with one of my favorite artists ever,’ Saxe says. ‘Regarding what it’s about…as songwriters, we spend a lot of our lives trying to bottle up a feeling into a song, and often, the biggest feelings, the best ones… the complicated, detailed, messy, incredible ones… just aren’t going to fit. ‘Line by Line’ is our recognition of that… of how one song just isn’t enough to capture it all, but how we’re just going to keep writing, futilely and lovingly, anyway.’
Nicole Marxen – ‘Tether’: A dark and haunting track with a doom core and a grandiose metal-inspired scenery, soaring into a cathartic development. Music and video are the work of Dallas-based musician and visual artist Nicole Marxen, known as one of the shiny dark innovators behind acclaimed avant-garde pop band Midnight Opera. She makes her captivating solo debut with EP ‘Tether,’ a meditation on the grieving process, after the sudden passing of her mother. ‘I used to think that my life wasn’t worth writing about,’ says Marxen. ‘I hid behind the characters I created, the haven of the stage, the armor of costume. My art was elaborate escapism.’ ‘in many ways, it was a crucial first step in my own grieving process and self-discovery as a songwriter. Being so rooted in showmanship, I hadn’t explored such vulnerability in my work before.’ She elaborates ‘when I began to shift my efforts inward, I found that my truth very much needed to be expressed. The song serves as a reminder to hold space for myself.’
Annika Wells – ‘Fuck Being Sober’: A light pop song with Annika’s wasted youth vocals above palm-muted acoustic guitar, the track is said to be ‘an encouraging message to seize the day and live life to the fullest.’ About the song’s inspiration, she recalls, ‘I was with my extended family when my aunt said, ‘I know you’re doing this music thing for fun, but when are you going to get a real job and start taking your life seriously?’ When I got back to L.A., I thought, ‘Fuck the nine-to-five idea of what we’re supposed to do with our lives’. I hate that! I took this angsty energy and made a song about having fun with my friends and going against the status quo.’ After penning tracks for The Jonas Brothers, PRETTYMUCH, BTS, and Steve Aoki, to name a few, the song (and DIY video) marks this unapologetic, unfiltered new voice’s official major-label debut, officially signing to Vol. 1 and Epic Records.
Patriarchy – ‘I Don’t Want to Die’: A creepy industrial texture for this blend of goth synth post-punk and techno-pop number habited by some weird sexual energy. Remixed by Geneva Jacuzzi, this is the second single off the upcoming ‘Reverse Circumcision’ REMIX LP, out January 29th on Dero Arcade, and the visuals for this one are as weird and raw as the song itself. Geneva Jacuzzi is described as a ‘perfect fit for the rebirth of the track,’ and other remixers on the project include Nitzer Ebb, ADULT, Light Asylum, Front Line Assembly, and more. Patriarchy is a surprising collaboration between the ‘Predator Romantic’ aka Actually Huizenga, an LA-Based multidisciplinary artist/ filmmaker, and Andrew Means (3Teeth multi-instrumentalist). Throughout the pandemic, Actually Huizenga has delved into a safely-distanced blossoming of creative connection with some of her favorite fellow artists and friends. By sharing her stems, the songs have grown into something exciting and magical, taking on a new life within this polarizing time of sickness and enlightenment, confusion, and change.
NEFFEX – ‘Time’: A passionate hip hop track delivered above a smooth orchestration, alternating with melancholic vocals suddenly breaking the aggressive tempo several times. NEFFEX is a Southern California duo with Bryce Savage on vocals and Cameron Wales on guitar and turntables. Their story started in 2017 when they decided to release an original song every Wednesday at 9 am for 100 weeks. While sharing their music, royalty-free, with hundreds of YouTube channels, influencers, and blogs, their popularity exploded and by the end of 2018, they had released over 110 originals, a collection of genre-shattering sonic spaces mixing guitar-driven pop, alternative, electronic, and hip-hop, that have amounted more than 1.5 billion streams. ‘Time’ comes with a black and white video.
Justin Nozuka – ‘Summer Night o8’: A tender, soulful, R&B-inspired song driven by Justin Nozuka’s sweet and emotional vocals soaring above a sensual and summer-love romantic ballad with a vintage vibe. You can watch the Julia Hendrickson-directed video here. Detailing the background of ‘summer night o8,’ Nozuka says: ‘This song was written in August of 2019. It was a beautiful summer day and my friend Mitch and I made plans to make some music. We took a healthy dose of psilocybin and went to the park. This big storm cloud kept approaching and we were ready to be under it, but it seemed to never arrive. Mitch went up to my spot to grab his things as he was gonna get going. As he left the storm finally arrived and I lay under it, the rain poured down heavy. I then had this urge to write and ran back, saw Mitch just as he was leaving, and asked ‘yo, let’s jam?’. He was absolutely down and we came back up to my spot, he sat on the keys, I grabbed my guitar and the song pretty much wrote itself. I had just started seeing someone during this time, and the song was an expression of my experience. Just a real classic and effortless connection, feel-good summer love, honestly. We hit up another friend of ours who’s a great drummer/artist (Alex from BBNG), we got together at his studio shortly after this. When we got there, Alex handed me a beautiful Gretsch, put it through a Binson delay, set up a vintage pencil mic for my vocal, and he sat down at the CS-60. We ran two takes and the 2nd take was the vocal/guitar/CS-60 you hear on the track now. Eventually got more players and sounds at Marquee Sound Studio.’
glaive, ericdoa – ‘cloak n dagger’: A new single from emerging singer, songwriter and producer glaive and rapper ericdoa. The hyperpop hyper-saturated track is described as the next step in the emo lineage with a series of unapologetic ‘fuck you’ above a very buoyant soundscape. Is this a new sound? is this the sound of the future of pop? I am not a fan but glaive’s songs have already been included in many playlists: The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica included it among his top tracks of the year. The song was released to celebrate his 16th birthday and comes with a video, made in a single day, like the song, and this is glaive’s first new music this year and follows his debut EP, ‘Cypress Grove.’