Peter Matthew Bauer, Addison Grace, Paul Maroon & Jenny Lin, Bellamia, Powder Pink & Sweet, Adam Melchor, and BenBen are the artists among these press releases for November.
Peter Matthew Bauer – “Skulls”: An organ-buzzing track with pounding drums, a tasteful guitar part, and a pretty melody sung with hazy-youthful vocals. This is a song from “Flowers,” Peter Matthew Bauer’s third solo album recently released via Fortune Tellers. Founder of NYC art rock band the Walkmen, Bauer released the record in partnership with his old bandmate Matt Barrick. He wrote: “I had stopped writing music for a few years when I started this album. I don’t know what drew me back in but, for the first time in a long time, it felt really joyous to be locked in a room by myself writing songs. I’m out here promoting this now and hoping people hear it again but, I think when I started out, I’d abandoned all of that hope and it felt so liberating. I was just able to make music without any care about the outside world. I was able to sustain that for a long time. This record started with the image of a mountain cult. It was informed by several strangers writings on conspiracism and accelerationism, and my own life growing up in a Catskills ashram, and an open guitar tuning I can’t escape that is D-G-D-G-C-D. And by Frank Ocean’s cover of ‘Moon River,’ and later by the guitar playing of Mdou Moctar. And mostly by this record by Peter One A\and Jess Sah Bi, this country rock record from the Cote D’Ivoire that showed how country rock could be magical and joyous and strange. It was also inspired by the same fear that‘s rising in each and all of us. That this is not a good time at all for us or for our children. That a strange force is rising, and we are all trying to make sense of it. I was trying to create a personal universe to express that feeling, and to have that fear dissolve as I created it.” To further celebrate the album release, Matt Costa directed a series of live video renderings of tracks taken off the new record, performed by Pete and his band the Quitters (Henri Cash, Tim Franco, Charlie Anastasis, Maxx Morando, Nick Stumpf, and Marisa Brown) at 64 Sound. Here is a live video for “Skulls.”
Addison Grace -“Pretty Girl”: Smoky vocals over a floating and melancholic melody, progressively fleshing up to an explosive level. The song shows a darker, heavier side of Grace with lines like “You’re so perfectly sweet / but it’s tasting bitter / Cause I know to you / I’ll always be a pretty girl / Like I knew that this would happen.” It’s a track that explores identity and perception where Grace ultimately realizes choosing oneself is most fulfilling, rewarding, and essential for their own well-being. Explaining the track’s meaning, Grace shares, “‘Pretty Girl’ is a journey about loving someone who you know will never see you as ‘you.’ It’s the struggle of them being ‘perfect’–they’re exactly who and what you want but also knowing it can never be because they’ll never love or accept who you really are. It’s accepting that fact for the sake of your own self-preservation.” Its accompanying video, shot on film and directed by Sydney Ostrander, is a nostalgia-tinged, dream-like visual that finds Grace in a garden surrounded by greenery that often towers over them. With the video, Grace shares they set out to, “emphasize the message of self-preservation and happiness–choosing yourself over loving someone who can’t. We shot on film to create that “memory” feel and it shows me “saving” a snail from a pink dollhouse and building it a home in the garden instead. I think art is always up to the viewer to decide what it means but I will say the underlying queer message was very intentional.” This is a song from “Things That Are Bad For Me,” the new EP released by the Salt Lake City-based musician this month.
Paul Maroon (The Walkmen) & Jenny Lin – “El Raval”: These spiraling and virtuosic keys for a minute and a half are part of “13 Short Piano Pieces,” an album just released by composer Paul Maroon — best known as a member of the critically acclaimed rock band The Walkmen — and concert pianist Jenny Lin — a frequent Phillip Glass collaborator. “El Raval” was named after the Barcelona neighborhood, and speaking on the track, Paul wrote: “‘El Raval’ is maybe the filthiest place I’ve ever lived. And I’ve lived in Philadelphia. It’s been a rough part of Barcelona for 800 years, the original leper colony right outside the medieval city walls. This piece is my reflection of it. It’s also a ton of fun and a place I miss.” “13 Short Piano Pieces” was recorded at the historic Sear Sound in New York by Michael Harris (Lana Del Rey, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend) using old techniques, old microphones, and tape machines. Whereas most contemporary piano is recorded to sound the same for the whole collection, Michael brought a different recording approach to each piece. It was mastered by Christopher Colbert at National Freedom. The two acclaimed musicians teamed up to deliver an ominous feeling. It is pessimistic about the world in which it was created and pessimistic about the future while drawing influences from the piano etudes of Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg’s string quartets, as well as the playing of Ernesto Lecuona and Emahoy Tsequé-Maryam Guèbrou.
Bellamia – “Tired Of It”: Honeyed and dreamy vocals slowly progress over a soothing atmospheric soundscape made of wobbling keys and soft beats. The song is part of a new 4-track EP, “Tired Of It,” released via Justin Raisen’s Planet Paulie Music. The 19-year-old rising singer also crafted a music video for the EP’s focus track, “Tired Of It.” Speaking on it, she wrote: “‘Tired Of It’ encapsulates the feeling of going through a one-sided relationship, where the effort and love you give isn’t received by the other person.” This new release showcases her unique perspective on what it looks and feels like to grow up in Los Angeles during these current tumultuous times. Bellamia inherited her imaginative, poetic spirit from three generations of family musicians before her. She grew up dead-center in music production via her dad’s music studio nestled in LA’s artistic pocket of Highland Park. At age 6, she started naturally playing chord progressions and harmonizing with her dad and was quickly composing her own music. Time and fate brought Bellamia and indie’s super producer standout, Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Angel Olson, Yves Tumor) together, and with his “know factor,” he was able to elevate her gift and create a new, refreshing sound. Bellamia is currently honing her craft with a music scholarship at university while continuing her artistic journey.
Powder Pink & Sweet – “Blue Sunshine”: A hypnotic sound for a shoegazing track exploring themes of dream pop, tainted by the nostalgia of the ‘80s. Involved in the Los Angeles music scene for many years, Cris Verso established Powder Pink & Sweet soon after the passing of her mother. The project became an outlet of expression for Verso, who comes from an artistic background and musical household. “After my mom died in 2015, I mustered up the courage to develop it and become more serious,” Verso says. Playing with a stylistically eclectic cast of musicians in prior years, ranging from ska/reggae (The Cover-Ups, The Twi-Lites, Hi Fever) to punk (The Stalkings), to a local shoegaze post-punk band (The Sleeping Car). Verso marks the next step in her musical career with Powder Pink & Sweet, a natural stylistic output considering her long-time love for ‘80s post-punk and new wave. “Blue Sunshine” is the band’s debut single in 2016; this is the remastered version part of “Little Stories,” their first collection of songs. These are seven songs that evoke everything from the light and playful whimsy of “Blue Sunshine,” to the atmospheric and ominous-sounding “Secret Garden.” Verso says of this collection “These songs represent the struggle to balance hope and positivity with an undercurrent of melancholia and heartache.”
Adam Melchor – “Cry”: Calming and emotional vocals crooning over a gently plucked acoustic guitar and swirls of rich and layered sounds. Featuring Grammy-nominated producer and artist Alexander 23, “Cry” is a song from Melchor’s debut album, “Here Goes Nothing!” released last month via Warner Records. He also shared this live recording of the song. Co-produced by Melchor and Henry Kwapis (Benny Blanco, Dijon), the record features additional contributions from Charlie Puth, Lennon Stella, Emily Warren, and Andrew Sarlo. “Here Goes Nothing!” also features Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) on the track “Let Me Know When.” Earlier this year Melchor performed with Post Malone on “Saturday Night Live,” where he sang backing vocals, and recently completed a 30-date headlining tour across the country. Melchor’s songwriting accolades include co-writes on Ashe’s “Taylor,” The Chainsmokers’ “In Too Deep,” Alexander 23’s “Loving You Gets Hard” and Allison Ponthier’s “Faking My Own Death.” He has also collaborated with Briston Maroney, Lennon Stella, ELIO, Madeline The Person, and more. Melchor will embark on an extensive headline tour starting January 2023,
BenBen – “Algorithmia”: An art-rock track inspired as much by classic rock as grunge while offering angular guitar riffs, soaring vocals, and a crashing ending. This is the title track of the new EP by Brooklyn-based animator, producer, and self-described “gnome rocker” Ben Wigler, who makes music under his art-rock project moniker BenBen. Wigler wrote: “Do neural networks listen to simulated rock bands? ‘Algorithmia’ is a weird progressive grunge rock song inspired in part by seeing the massive global success of a band that sounds exactly like Led Zeppelin (but won’t admit it)… In the age of algorithmic curation, how do artists navigate the temptation to change what we make to fit neatly into a box the algorithms will accept? Algorithms have dictated what we see and hear for years, and recently, they’ve learned to produce art content on their own. With algorithms already warping artistic production through the feedback loops of streaming and social media, what will happen to human-generated music when the same algorithmic distribution channels will be also capable of writing the songs?” The accompanying video, completely AI-generated, has already been making the rounds of the film festival circuit, premiering in Denver at the Supernova Digital Animation Festival (September 2022), winning “Most Original Music Video” at the Grand Rapids Film Festival (September 2022), and heading to the Boundless Film Festival (October 2022) in London and the HB Film Festival (October 2022) in Glasgow, where it is nominated for Best Music Video. Wigler helped pioneer 21st-century indie rock with under-the-radar bands Arizona and New Beard, performing live and in the studio with artists like Band of Horses, Samantha Crain, and Indigo Girls. Wigler’s last LP was mixed by legendary Dungen frontman Gustav Ejstes. Best known for an unforgettable high tenor voice and infectious melodies, BenBen crafts riff-driven music with a golden heartbeat–-living creatures and invitations to adventure in other worlds.
Has Brit rock ever been worse?
essence de 2023
A very percussive song
the mixes his producer Daniel Lanois didn’t like
her best since “Milionària”
dip yourself deep in sonic hellaciousness and disquiet
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1982 (Volume 14, Number 7)
“If you’re black you have to play a certain type of music”
“I can’t think of a better way to spend my 90th birthday”
What better gift for a Baby Boomer loved one?
caught the world’s attention