Aimee Man, Wild Heart Club, Pretty Awkward, Kramer, Kings Elliot, Rubber Band Gun, and Drakulas are among these press releases for November.
Aimee Man – “I See You”: There is definitively something in Aimee Mann’s compositions you cannot miss; is it the warmth of the strings, or the delicate melody on keys or her fine-tuned-cello voice? It’s the whole package and she is probably one of the greatest songwriters of her generation, consistently writing cleverly crafted songs with an emotional impact. “I See You” is the last track from her new album, “Queens of The Summer Hotel,” release on November 5 via her own SuperEgo Records. In the song, the narrator reassures a girl who struggles to keep despair at bay, letting her know that she’s not alone. The song concludes with Mann singing, “There is a girl over a cliff, trying to break her fall—I see you!” In 2018, Mann agreed to write songs for a stage adaptation of Girl, Interrupted, Susannah Kaysen’s memoir about her psychiatric hospitalization in the late 1960s, and the resulting music comes together in “Queens of The Summer Hotel.” The album explores themes of self-harm, depression, and suicide, material that Mann understood well, having had her own struggles with mental illness, however, the album was written more quickly than any of Mann’s previous records.
Wild Heart Club – “Arcade Back In Manitou”: A dream-pop-inspired track with an upbeat tempo and a glittery atmosphere. This is the title track from Nashville-based outfit Wild Heart Club’s debut LP, due out November 12th. The song is about revisiting a place full of happy memories after the end of a relationship: “I wrote the chorus when I was about to board a flight,” recalls frontwoman and creative force Kristen Castro. “My ex loved everything Colorado because she’s from there – one of my favorite moments was running from the rain in downtown Manitou Springs and finding cover at this penny arcade. I didn’t really think of that memory a lot so I was surprised when the idea came about,” she says. “The way Dolores O’Riordan sang was a huge inspiration to me, I wanted to write a song the way ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries made me feel. I also just love how she’s not saying any words in the chorus of that song, just singing a sort of obscure melody that makes the song – that’s where the ‘Oohs’ in ‘Arcade’ came from,” she adds of the track, which features an electrified solo from Castro that gives listeners a little taste of her prodigious guitar skills.
Pretty Awkward -“HANG OUT”: A fun and playful song filled with percussion and choir-like vocal harmonies, growing into a giant hooky chorus. The band has also shared a live video performance of a stripped version of the track, which is also a homage to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks via EarWig’s own Red Room in Seattle, Washington. On the sessions, frontman Austin Held said: “‘HANG OUT’ is easily one of the most fun songs to play. We’re always stoked to see how audiences react to this song in a live setting. After having not been able to play shows or tour much this last year and a half due to the pandemic, it feels like the song has taken on a whole new identity. With three of us living in the PNW and one living in SoCal, it’s awesome when we can get into a room together and play ‘HANG OUT’ for just ourselves. Naturally, we jumped at the idea of getting into a beautiful studio in Seattle to film a live performance of the tune and we love how it turned out!” Speaking on the stripped version, he continued: “Traditionally, when a band has a stripped version of a song, it mostly means an acoustic or sort of Kumbaya version of whatever song they’re playing. We wanted to take it up a notch and do our best to represent our songs as closely as we could to their true form. ‘HANG OUT’ is one of our favorite songs to play and in this alternate medium, we feel it takes on a different vibe. We were able to get into an amazing recording studio in Seattle called, Earwig Studios and upon visiting for the first time, we were enamored with a room that they have that has a very cool “win Peaks vibe to it and decided it would be the perfect spot to film a couple of songs with a 360 camera. We always love finding new ways to be creative with our songs and especially finding ways to do it in new environments.”
Kramer – “The Crying”: An atmospheric and intriguing song with a whisper-like echo for vocals, background noises, and melancholic chords over mysterious sonic layers. This is a new track from the upcoming album of bassist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Kramer. “And the Wind Blew it All Away,” his first solo LP of completely original material since 1998, is due on December 3 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings. On the single, Kramer said: “I’m not at all sure of where this one came from. The pandemic? Yet another failed collaboration (the most recent one of so very many, after three decades of working alone)? Repeated estrangements from my daughter, each new one lasting longer than the previous one? Or is it the cumulative weights of all three? We give up on Love when we imagine that Love has given up on us, or purposefully failed us, or forsaken us in its cruelty. As humans, Tears are our most common and most blinding recourse. The sound of them falling rings like a mote of fire around a bell; ‘This is what you get for trying; crying till the crying sets you free.’” On the LP itself, Kramer said: “A terrifying wind is coming. I recorded this LP as I wondered, through sound and song, if I’ll ever collaborate on making music with another artist by my side again, or live to see another New Year’s Eve, or ever hear my daughter’s voice again, or ever Love again. Time will darken it. It always does. Do I really want to be the last man standing, in a wind like this one?”
Kings Elliot – “Call Me a Dreamer”: Emotive vocals à la Billie Eilish with lush harmonies and sweeping orchestration for a poignant song with a powerful hook. This is a new track from rising London-based artist Kings Elliot’s forthcoming EP, “Chaos In My Court,” set for release on December 1 via Verve Forecast/Interscope. An advocate for mental health who has long struggled with her own – Elliot has been diagnosed with borderline personality and anxiety disorders – she explores this and speaks openly about her battle through her music, even releasing accidentally filmed footage of herself having a panic attack. She explains, “after two months of thinking that I was better and that I didn’t need any support, I ended up feeling worse than ever. Writing it helped me process my emotional instability. The rollercoaster I am constantly on that I don’t know how to get off.” “Chaos has been ever-present in my life,” Elliot explains. “I’ve never known how to function differently. The songs on this EP form a world I’ve always dreamed of creating for my own escape, and now anyone who needs it can join me there too.” The song comes with a video.
Rubber Band Gun – “My Time”: An upbeat and driving power-pop number with a sort of confident Billy Joel vibe throughout the track – or could it be Bruce Springsteen? This is a song from “Cashes Out,“ the new LP of Rubber Band Gun (the project of producer, engineer, and multi-talented performer, Kevin Basko) out on November 18 via Earth Libraries. The album was produced and engineered by RADO (Weyes Blood, The Killers), was backed by members of Foxygen, The Lemon Twigs, and Jackie Cohen, and it comes with a 28-minute video for the entire LP, filled with amazing imagery. “From the start of recording “Cashes Out,” I wanted a unique visual talent to accompany the sounds we were making,” said Basko. “Ben Montez has an incredible eye and ear for collaboration and he really brought the Vegas dream to life. With a combination of found stock footage, intimate practical shots, and absurd animation, he has built a neon world and story around the themes and characters explored in this record. Each song/video can live in its own world and feel coherent on its own, but when played together as a whole, Ben has created a film that pushes those boundaries and shows the viewer a side of RBG that they’ve never seen before.” As many of the albums in Basko’s big year carried unified themes, “Cashes Out” was written with the express idea that it would be Basko’s big leap into the conventionality of the music business. That said, rather than streamline or simplify for that pop approach, the record retains the multiplicity of ideas and tones that run through the Rubber Band Gun catalog. After opening with an introspective piano, “My Time” erupts in a spray of ‘70s neon, and the album never looks back.
Drakulas – “Dark Black”: A guitars-on-all-cylinders song with a driving tempo and an ‘80s-theme melodic theme. Drakulas, an art-rock band from Austin, TX, is a sonic marriage of proto-punk, garage, 1980’s synth, and new wave with lyrical content to match. This is a song from their new full-length album, “Terminal Amusements,” produced by Stuart Sikes (The White Stripes, Rocket From The Crypt) and released on Dine Alone Records. Speaking of the video for “Dark Black,” frontman Mike Wiebe said: “’Dark Black’ was partially shot with Russian lenses on a pre-glastnost camera. With nods to the early short films of Kalvakec from the early Factory scene, the video captures the esoterica of the song’s subject matter: a drug-addled megalomaniacal videographer trying to play analog in a digital world. Directed by TV’s Daniel during various levels of quarantine in an uncertain world, it was one of the few enjoyable things that happened during the pandemic.” “Terminal Amusements” exists in a fictionalized, late-Seventies metropolis soundtracked by drugs, pornography, video games, nightclubs, art movements and a little bit of an occult esoterica to spare. Musically, the album evokes everyone from the Dead Boys to The Dickies and recalls a time when punk and new wave skirted a blurred sonic line.
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