Ondara, Secret Machines, Pony Girl, Belief, Milan McAlevey, and Golden Dawn Arkestra are among these press releases for August.
Ondara – “A Nocturnal Heresy”: A catchy punchy folk-rock tune sang with a stunning velvety high croon. Watch the music video here. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ondara grew up in Nairobi, Kenya listening to American alt-rock and making up his own songs for as long as he can remember. At an early age, he fell in love with the music of Bob Dylan and was granted a visa through the immigration lottery system. He chose Minneapolis as his home to pursue a career as a singer and songwriter with Dylan in mind. He began making his way in the local music scene, continually writing songs about what he saw, felt, and experienced in a place far different from home. “A Nocturnal Heresy” is from his forthcoming third studio album, “Spanish Villager No: 3, “which is set for release on September 16 via Verve Forecast. The song follows the release of “An Alien In Minneapolis,” the first track to be released from the new album. The namesake is The Spanish Villager: a mysterious man with a potent message who has proven to be a versatile guy: he’s the subject of a short story Ondara wrote and turned into a graphic novel, and now a new album. The album is produced by Ondara and Mike Viola (Jenny Lewis, Dan Wilson) with contributions from Taylor Goldsmith and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes, Sebastian Steinberg, Tim Kuhl, and Jeremy Stacey. The new collection of songs features a much more full, electric sound. In celebration of the new music, Ondara will soon embark on his run of headline fall dates in North America and Europe. Kicking off on September 9 in Chicago, the new headline tour includes performances at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre, and Nashville’s Exit/In.
Secret Machines – “Dreaming of Dreaming”: An industrial feel for a track filled with hard pounding drums, droning Krautrock textures, and electronics whose harshness and noise/chaos are just appeased by the brightness of the vocals. Secret Machines were born out of Dallas, with the first incarnation consisting of Brandon on vocals, bass, and keys, Benjamin Curtis on guitar, and Garza on drums. After two well-received EPs, the band signed to Reprise and dropped their first full-length, “Now Here Is Nowhere,” in 2004, which began their legacy as critical darlings. 2006 brought what many consider their masterpiece, “Ten Silver Drops,” which won them further critic love and the attention of David Bowie, who became a serious fan and mentor of sorts. In 2007, Benjamin left the band to work full time with School of Seven Bells, but Curtis and Garza charged ahead with their self-titled 2008 LP, with Phil Karnats on guitar. The iconic NYC rock band has returned with a new double EP featuring a reissue of their “Dreaming of Dreaming” EP (originally released in 2009) and an EP of new content entitled “Day 21.” The new release includes “Day 21” (off the latter) and “Dreaming of Dreaming (Mavrogeorgis and Sclavunos version)” which was recorded/engineered by Jim Sclavunos, drummer/percussionist for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Jim Sclavunos said of Secret Machines and their recent collaboration: “Secret Machines were one of the absolute coolest live bands from this wonderful era of the NY scene. Getting to work with them in the studio was a thrill & a downright pleasure.” Stay tuned for more new music from Secret Machines later this year.
Pony Girl – “Enny One Wil Love You”: A surprising and artsy indie pop composition with many facets elegantly mixing hypnotic electronics, lush synths, and sweet vocals. The result can be strange, but it is exploratory and original. This is the second single off Ottawa-Hull-based indie-rock band Pony Girl’s forthcoming LP, “Enny One Wil Love You,” due October 14 via Paper Bag Records. The band wrote: “‘Enny One Wil Love You’ sounds like a dizzying video game that you’re not sure how to win. While the words actually come from a child’s drawing we saw on tour, it also struck us as the perfect backhanded compliment for false prophets. ‘Anyone will LOVE you’ for their charisma, yet ‘ANYONE will love you’ despite their bullshit. Community doubt only benefits their toxicity, so you better pick a side. The only thing worse than doubt is indifference.” On the track’s accompanying video, director Shiyi Li wrote the following synopsis: “A woman wakes up on an empty bed, there is a piece missing in her memory and she can’t recall how she ended up in this room. There is a memory puzzle on her wrist, she has to find the lost piece in a hyper-reality world. She puts on VR goggles, enters the virtual space, and looks for the lost piece. She finally finds it and puts the lost piece where it belongs. Suddenly, she wakes up again in the same bed and in the same room. Two giants look over many rooms in different dimensional spaces, they raise a hand to close the girl’s window. The different worlds are loosely based on the stages of grief. They are almost like trials that our character needs to pass. The character has literally lost a piece of herself and the only place she will find it is within herself.”
Belief – “Dreams”: A hypnotic electronic dance track with an experimental approach accompanied by a strange and humorous music video, directed by Maxim Kelly. This is the new track from Belief, the experimental dance music project of Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint, Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett) and Boom Bip. Their self-titled debut album was just released on Lex Records. “This album was a long haul due to the lost years of the pandemic but the extra time gave us space to reflect on many of the live recording sessions and embellish on our favorites,” says Boom Bip. “Stella and I have hours of music recorded and choosing what we wanted to release for this album was challenging in the best way. It’s wild to think back on our beginning at Absolutely’s film studio to various studios and spaces throughout the years. I can hear the influence of each place in the music. It’s a journey of sound, which hopefully means there is something on there for everyone.” “It’s been a long time coming but I’m immensely proud of the record we made together,” says Mozgawa. “It was a truly free and joyous process finding our collaborative voice—switching roles and chasing those limitless and strange sounds that we’re attracted to. I hope it brings people joy.” “Dreams is a track that really stands out on the record,” says Boom Bip. “Its mood was a happy accident while experimenting with alternative tunings on the Prophet 06 synth. Once we heard it, we didn’t want to go back. Drum machines may have no soul but when you have Stella Mozgawa tracking live hi-hats and snare over one, you sure do.”
Milan McAlevey – “Me & the Griz”: A melancholic song with delicate acoustic guitar and Milan McAlevey ‘s vulnerable vocals. This is a song from his lost 2008 debut record entitled “Admiral of the State of Maine,” out now via Fortune Tellers. The record is a gem of folky, acoustic bliss, recorded 15 years ago, begun in Maine, and eventually recorded in Brooklyn with producer Walter Martin (of The Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf. Speaking on his newly unearthed record, McAlevey wrote: “’Admiral of the State of Maine’ is a collection of songs I began writing in the fall of 2007. I was living in a small town in midcoast Maine where I could spend most of my time writing. The songs were by and large reflections on my youth spent in New England. I would demo the songs on cassette, which I’d send in batches to my friend Walter Martin (The Walkmen) in Brooklyn. Eventually, we enlisted the help of our other old friend, Nick Stumpf, and recorded for five days at a small studio in DUMBO in April 2008. I always had a feeling the resulting record was special, but back then I didn’t have the means or inclination to find its audience. I moved on with my life, but I’ve been holding onto these songs like a secret for the past 15 years, so it’s a relief to finally be getting them out there.” Speaking on “Me & the Griz, “McAlevey continued: “‘Me and the Griz’ is a song about finding my way as a young teenager among the lawless milieu that I gravitated toward growing up in rural New Hampshire. The Griz was a cool older guy who took me under his wing and schooled me in the ways of backwoods latter-day hippiedom. By the time you get to the end, it’s also become a song about outgrowing those kinds of social environments.”
Golden Dawn Arkestra – “Golden Limousine”: A funky disco track installing an infectious dancefloor with a retro flair for a very funky discotheque. This is a track from Austin-based band Golden Dawn Arkestra’s upcoming album, “The Gold Album,” set for a release on August 12 in partnership with Spaceflight Records, Eye in the Sky, and Terrorbird Media. Golden Dawn Arkestra have also announced a free record release show in Austin at Stubb’s on August 12. The band will also be performing on August 19 at Psycho Las Vegas and announced two festival performances in Quebec. “The Gold Album” came together in a time of change, from COVID shifts, to band personnel transitions and the death of a close loved one. The result is a dynamic auditory journey – peaks and valleys, a good and bad trip, which has been so aptly complemented with visuals from director Ben Blanchard. Followers of the Arkestra know the theatrical experience – adorned instrumentalists blend with dancers shimmering, together in garments reminiscent of the intergalactic kingdoms of yore. “The Gold Album” will also be part of a limited edition NFT collection, in partnership with Vezt and Melos, offering fans the opportunity to invest and share in royalties of the album’s streaming income.
I was happier because I knew I was happy
a snapshot of big hits and high tides, mostly high tides.
There is just a lot to love
the sound seemed to erupt from every side of the room
still on top
“danceable music for the end of days”
contracts its world in Nashisms
let’s take what we are offered
It’s the music, stupid