EP

GRAPELL: SULTRY SOUL OF SWEDEN
October 10, 2016 8:22 am

Have you heard Love Chamber, the sexy (and sax-y) EP from Swedish duo Grapell? If your answer is no, scroll down a couple paragraphs and click play on that Spotify list. If your answer is yes, you (or your girlfriend) are probably already pregnant. Congratulations, and please don’t contact us for child support payments.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS shared some transatlantic correspondence with magic men Emil Erstrand and Nils Nygårdh, to find out how Love Chamber came to be.

You recently released your Love Chamber EP. What can you tell us about its creation?

Emil: We wanted the EP to have a real thread and to feel coherent, so all of the songs were written and recorded in a relatively short period of time. We used the same approach for all the songs and I think our vision was clearer this time compared to before. We also tried to keep things simple, to see the songs for what they are: quite straightforward love songs.

Is there anything you learned during the production of the EP that you wish you had known going into it?

Nils: One song got lost on the way due some technical problems, so we ended up not using that one. We couldn’t bother to record it again. But it did give us space for another track.

Emil: Since we do everything ourselves we learn things all the time. I hope and think we are getting better at what we’re doing with every release.

Do you have any music videos coming out for any of your new songs?

Emil: Yes, we do! We’ve got a really sweet video for our song Some Places coming out really soon. It’s directed and produced by the great Johan Stolpe.

How much input do you have on the creation of something like that?

Nils: This time we had an pretty clear idea about what we wanted the song to “look like”. So we gave the director our ideas of the setup from the start. And then he created his vision from that.

Can you explain the significance of using a photo of politician Gerda Antti for the cover of “Some Places”?

Emil: There really is no certain significance…We just like the picture of Gerda, especially combined with the picture of Walter (which is the cover of Arrow). I think they’ve got a really good vibe and an almost iconic feel. Alongside each other, the portraits somehow capture what the EP is about. Also, the pictures were taken by my grandfather.

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What are your favorite places in Stockholm for seeing live music?

Emil: I really don’t know. I don’t feel like there are too many obvious venues for live music in Stockholm these days. And very soon one of the better ones, called Debaser Medis, is closing. I do like a place called Cirkus – it would be really nice to play there in the future!

Nils: I recently found a new place actually. Its in the basement of the Scala Theatre and its called Lönnkrogen. Its a small venue and a feel of going back to the nightclubs in the 20s.

Are there any bands in Stockholm you feel deserve more attention?

Nils: Sonjagon is a Swedish band that had a lot of influence on us. The don’t play so much anymore unfortunately, once a year maybe. But their music is out there and should be listened to. Especially the debut album Arches.

Emil: Yes, and all of the bands signed to Strangers Candy of course.

 

To hear more of this amazing Swedish band, follow them on Facebook here,

ORTHY DANCES INTO THE HEART
August 8, 2016 12:08 pm

Ian Orth is an Austin, TX songwriter and producer. His dance project Orthy is a perfect example of the wide variation of music coming out of Austin. Besides the more well known acts such as Spoon, Okkervil River or Explosions in the Sky there is another side to the Austin music scene that Orthy well represents.

The project was inspired by a combination of events. A weekly dance party hosted by Orth in Austin went by the name of Learning Secrets. This was an event that Orth and others would host to try and introduce people that were typically fans of rock music to the electronic dance music scene. They would bring in the best DJs around to try to expose the crowd to a night of good vibes and stellar beats. Orth had been writing music for a good period of time, but never felt the urge to share the music with anyone.

That all changed when he met his soon to be wife. Orth said in an interview, “…Then I fell in love with my fiancée, and I know it’s kind of cliché or easy to say, but I just started writing all of these songs and all of it sort of started coming out.” After that, the music had to go somewhere. It came out in the form of Orthy’s first EP in 2011 called Suenos. The three tracks on the EP have a very organic feel to them, as far as electronic music goes. There’s a bedroom production quality to the tunes that is undeniably attractive. The track “City Girl” is a standout cut.

Orthy came back in 2014 with another EP called E.M.I.L.Y that garnered the band a little bit of critical success. They were featured on NPR’s World Cafe later that same year. Most recently, in 2015, the act released yet another EP titled Listen to Her Heart after the Tom Petty classic. Orth reworked the Petty song into a slow pulsing electronic groove. The EP also contains remixes of a few tracks that appeared on 2014’s E.M.I.L.Y.

Orthy will be playing at the Sound on Sound festival in Sherwood Forest outside of Austin with a killer lineup featuring Courtney Barnett, Run the Jewels and Phantogram to name just a few. Keep an eye out for Orthy in the future as they have to be poised to release a full length record at some point.

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: GRACE JOYNER, CHARLESTON’S WOOZY FOLK SONGSTRESS
August 5, 2016 12:45 pm

Grace Joyner, the Ashville-via-Charleston electronic-folk songstress is our August Artist of the Month. Hers is a story of reckless abandon, picking yourself up when you’re down, and chasing the dream to the end of the earth (which so far is a distance that spans from the Carolina coast to the outskirts of Kentucky). Nonetheless, Joyner’s voyage wouldn’t have even been possible if it weren’t for the pack of boundlessly collaborative strays known as Hearts & Plugs.  We’re going to talk about them too, but first, let me lure you in with a little bit of old fashioned dialogue:

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 “Yoooo, Joe!”
“Oh, what’s up Zimmerman?”
“So…you know Johnnie?”
“Yeah man, me and Johnnie are real tight.”
“Dude, you should come out this Friday”
“Word, yeah”
“Let me text Dan”
“Dan?”
“Yeah, you know, Jenkin’s friend”
“Oh, he’s friends with Jordan too I think”

If you’re an aspiring musician you’ve been part of that ‘crew’ before. You know exactly what I’m talking about.  That group of friends that think they’re going to start a band, travel across the country in a minivan, and upend our entire social infrastructure. Maybe you meet in a basement, or perhaps a front porch.  There’s no formal membership, no secret handshake. While you’re far from new age cult status, certain vestiges of hippy culture might seep in occasionally. Countless students have formed similar cadres. Why? Because they want to live in the moment. Be a part of the bonfire jam sessions that catapult musical revolutions. Discover new forms of sonic expression and collectively explore the universe together to make sense of its stellar enormity.

The thing is, occasionally, one of these slacker collectives actually sees it through to the other side. Occasionally, hipsters mobilize. Word spreads and they start to pick up steam. They score gigs, sell out local venues, generate revenue, invest in better equipment, chip in for a recording studio, and before you know it, are a permanent fixture in the local music landscape.

Hearts & Plugs is one of these collectives.  Based in sun-scorched Charleston, South Carolina, Hearts & Plugs is a burgeoning music label built around an intimate nexus of friends that were probably jamming on someone’s porch not too long ago.  They’ve since amassed a steady following thanks to a robust roster of folk-centric indie pop acts oozing with creative juices.

Front and center of the operation is founder and director Dan McCurry. He brings with him a breadth of business savvy accumulated from past business experiences; both the ups and the downs. The label started out of necessity when his own band, Run Dan Run, needed a new home to record their sophomore album.  As such, they recorded Normal in 2011, Hearts & Plugs first official release. Hearts & Plugs’ in-house recording studio is operated by Wolfgang Zimmerman, who also plays the drums for Brave Baby. The sleek psych-pop outlet is also one of the label’s rising stars, having garnered critical praise for their sophomore release Electric Friends—think Arcade Fire in scope, sonically akin to Tame Impala, with a rugged southern twang. Other noteworthy members include alt-country rockers SUSTO, and doo-wop post-punkers Gold Light, and many more. Almost every act on the Hearts & Plugs team is a collaborative affair of interspersing band members.  At some point while contributing backing harmonies, Grace Joyner joined the mix.

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It didn’t take long for Grace Joyner’s woozy yet robust vocal palate to get noticed.  Her first solo recording came in the form of Young Fools—fleeting and vulnerable songs culled from emotional pangs of successes, failures, trials, tribulations, ambition, and regret.  Exemplified by tracks such as “Be Good” and “Young Thing”, the EP effectively captures Joyner’s essence, drawing comparisons to other strong female voices such as Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey.

Two years of relentless gigging and creative musing, Joyner was ready to record her debut full-length album.  Maybe Sometimes in C is a vibrantly colored folk symphony that showcases both Grace’s impressive vocals coated in an immersive synth backdrop.  Maybe Sometimes in C allowed Grace further opportunities to hit the road and expand her reach, recently touring through the Carolinas and Kentucky with Gold Light in support of their album Visions.

I got the chance to ask Grace Joyner a few questions about her recent creative pursuits, about living in Charleston and collaborating with Hearts & Plugs, and what’s next on the docket.  Check it out:

Q: You’re a Charleston gal, a city which–although certainly known for being a great travel destination—it’s also a city with a jam-packed music scene, does Charleston feel underrated to you at all?

A: The Charleston music scene has been rapidly growing in the last couple years thanks to Dan and Hearts & Plugs, along with some amazing venues, such as The Royal American. Throughout that growing process, I believe it has been getting the recognition it deserves. There are a lot of amazing musicians there, and we have all been working together to get Charleston on the map for music. I really think it is starting to get there.

Q: Speaking of, it would be hard to find a group of musicians more passionate about and gunning harder for a music scene than Hearts and Plugs.  How’s it been working with them?

A: It has been truly inspiring to see Hearts & plugs develop into what it is now. It is such an example of what a good idea can become if you combine it with hard work. Dan is an amazing visionary and I am very thankful to be a part of what him & Megan are doing.

Q: I’m try to pin down the Charleston music vibe—there are lots of artists, lots of musicians, so it’s impossible to boil it down completely—but what’s separating Charleston from another large music scene in the vicinity, like say, Asheville or Carrboro?  

A: Something about the Charleston music scene that I think is very special is the sense of community. We really are a family. We all collaborate all the time and are constantly supporting one another. Some of us have known each other for nearly a decade. We have maintained such a comfortable creative space, and I think that is what sets us apart.

Q: Speaking of Asheville, you were recently on the road with you were recently on the road with Gold Light, they seem like a fun crowd—and it looks like you hit up some cool places—how was that tour overall?

A: The tour was magical. Joe, from Gold Light, contacted me a couple months ago with the idea of collaborating and doing a short run together. I don’t think either of us were expecting it to go so smoothly and seem so natural. The band we had with us were such a great group of people and at almost every spot we hit we had these serendipitous moments. Everything fell into place on that tour, and we are about to start working on another one with the same group. Hopefully the details will be worked out in the next couple weeks.

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Q: I didn’t realize the album cover for Maybe Something in C was a cropped photo of you in a bathtub filled with some kind of dark blue liquid–what was the story behind that photo?  Who took it?

A: So that was an idea I had, and we just kind of went with it to be honest. My roommate Keex took the photo in my bathroom. We used a blue bath bomb to get the coloring. I just thought the image was interesting. My bathroom has this mundane vibe to it, and I thought adding a romantic contrast would turn out well.

Q: So is Maybe Sometimes in C, actually in the key of C?  Or are you riffing off of a completely different reference and I’m just completely missing it?

A: No you are pretty much on point. There was a running joke with my producer, Wolfgang Zimmerman, about how often songs are in C. It is easy for me to write in that key, so he was always teasing me about changing it up. Of course they are not all in C, but it is a reference to that. Also there is a line in the first track, “I’m not crazy, or maybe sometimes…” It has to do with recognizing value even when there are faults.

Q: I saw an Instagram pic of Hug O’ War, were you a big Shel Silverstein fan growing up?  Has his poetry snuck itself into your lyrics at all?

A: I LOVE Shel Silverstein. Hmm…that is a good question though. I think I resonate with a lot of themes he plays around with, but I can’t pinpoint any direct lyric references. My favorite poem of his is “The Perfect High.”

Q: There’s another pic of The Velvet Underground performed by ET Anderson & Grace Joyner?  Seriously?  That’s the coolest thing ever!  

A: That was an awesome night. ET Anderson let me join in for a Velvet Underground cover set for an event as Nico. I was honored. It was so fun.

Q: I saw you also posted a Tina meme, are you a big fan of Bob’s burgers?  Is there a particular burger joint in Charleston we should be aware of?

A: Wow I am so impressed. You have done so much research. I am a fan of Bob’s Burgers, but to be honest I don’t eat a lot of burgers… I will say Moe’s Crosstown has amazing brunch & I hear they have great burgers so that is what I am going to go with for this question.

Q: I’m a North Carolina guy myself–I was glad to see your allegiance to the Carolina Panthers, did you enjoy watching them kick ass last year?  Are you excited for the season to kick off again?

A: My family is from North Carolina so I grew up a fan of the Panthers. Watching them kick ass last season was so fun. Cam is such a babe. I am sure we will kill it this season.

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Q: Last one—this is all you—what’s up next for Grace Joyner?  Any new projects on the horizon?  Cool collaborations?  Hitting up the recording studio anytime soon?  When’s your next show?  When are people not from below the Mason Dixon line going to see Grace Joyner live?

A: We have a little run in Columbia & Charleston the weekend of 8.19-8.20. Then we have some other Carolina shows coming up in the next couple months. Currently about to start planning another tour with Gold Light for the Fall & we are working on extending our reach! I haven’t had a whole lot of writing inspiration until recently. So many ideas are rolling around in my head & I am just about ready to start working through them. I expect a good amount of new songs on the horizon, and soon after that it will be in the works to get them out.

Hearts & Plugs is an excellent source of fresh musical discovery, and even though I’ve listened through more than a handful of their artists this week, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.  They’ve put a lot of work into honing their craft. More importantly though, their label is a guiding light post for the bold, the artistically curious, poetically odd, and all around atypical.  We’re eager for more!

Until next time, check out the label’s awesome spread of merch as well as their Summer Essentials playlist, below!

HUXLEE: ALTERNATIVE POP FOLK MAGIC
June 23, 2016 5:13 pm

Caitlin Notey is a LA native, 23 and the lead singer of alternative/folk band Huxlee. She describes Huxlee’s sound saying, “If Alabama Shakes, Bonnie Raitt and Fiona Apple had a little sister with an undying love of N*SYNC.” Yes, the description is accurate and Huxlee’s sound sends shivers down the spine.

Huxlee consists of Caitlin and her five best friends: Carey Singer (guitar), Mac Sinise (drumers), Nick Chuba (programming/banjo), Joe Scolari (bass) and AJ Novak (percussion). The band met while pursuing USC’s Popular Music program. Caitlin says her band, “Masterfully interprets my jumbled artistic impulses and help to create an expanded and fuller sound than what I could ever imagine.”

They released their first EP Bloom in 2013 containing hits Olivia, Crooked Tree, Isn’t/Anything and more. In July of 2015 they released their second EP Teammate. This EP, just as the last, does not disappoint. Aftertaste, 22,Teammate and If I Don’t Get on TV are a compilation of gritty, pop folk magic!

It’s safe to say they are going to be around for awhile and will only be getting bigger and bigger. For tour dates and to hear their most recent EP, click here.

SCHOOL ’94 EXPLORES NEW DIRECTIONS IN “BOUND” EP
June 10, 2016 12:35 pm

The music of Swedish 4-piece band School ’94 builds an ethereal soundscape, incorporating driving pop-rhythms and cascading synth, characteristic of classic indie/dream pop. That said, the music doesn’t leave you with a shoegazed wall-of-sound sensation. 

The tonalities are crisp, and the transitions are easy to follow. You almost find yourself waiting for the music to reach an apex, and when the sonic wave breaks, you settle back into the song and Alice Botéus’s propulsive vocals. 

School ’94 hails from Gothenburg, Sweden and is a part of Luxury Records. On Jun. 8th of this year the band released Bound, a six track EP, which includes the popular single “Common Sense.” If purchased through Bandcamp, you receive unlimited streaming of the EP through the Bandcamp App, as well as the option for a quality download in MP3 and FLAC file formats. 

Listening to “Bound,” it’s clear that the band has evolved from their 2014 EP Like You, which is rooted in more characteristically indie, subdued melodies that leave you with a sensation similar to bands like The Drums. Even so, this initial sound behooves School ’94 in the early part of their progression as a band.

In Bound, especially in the EP’s title-track, School ’94 embraces the rock element in their music, drawing on heavy-hitting riffs and a sound that flits around the edges of garage rock bands like Fuzz

Still definitely rooted in indie origins, School ’94 is exploring the edges of the dream pop and alt-rock genres. Their sound is buoyant and refreshing in a realm that many bands get stuck in a rut of repetition and imitation.

School ’94 provides a contrast with the more spirited tracks on the EP with songs like “We Turned Out To Be Lovers,” which emphasizes mellow, bass-centric tones. The sweeping vocals and gentle melodies pick you up and carry you through the song, as if the music is preparing you to dive into the next track. 

“Bound” just feels natural, like the band is giving us an insight into their world, rather than forcing out a particular style of music. 

The EP is available online where you can also buy a 12’’ heavy sided vinyl that contains both the “Bound” EP (side A), and the “Like You” EP (side B).

GO LOCO FOR HEYROCCO
June 8, 2016 5:36 pm

Do you ever just need a shot of some straight-up rock? Something new that fills your need for strong guitar, fast drums and a slick bass? Heyrocco comes from South Carolina with tons of energy and gumption. With songs like “Yeah and “Elsewhere,” they will fill your cup to the brim with attitude. Nathan (Nate) Merli leads with vocals and guitar, Christopher Cool struts the bass and Tanner (Taco) Cooper keeps it together with the drums. Their new EP Waiting On Cool is a breath of fresh air that brings the listener to rock that sounds straight from 1990.

Heyrocco is ATYPICALSOUNDS’ Artist of the Month and in honor of that we got an awesome interview with Taco:

Can you tell me a little about the band?

I met Nate in 6th grade, he was playing guitar and we would play together and go skateboarding, your average bad boy stuff for 6th graders. We met Cool in high school and played blues with him and a girl named Sarah, but we parted ways with her and started up Heyrocco.

How was it different playing in Europe compared to the States?

Its weird, one of the biggest differences was the hospitality from the venues. We’d show up and have an apartment or room for us, [they’d] feed us and [offer] free drinks. They really just tried to make us feel welcome, it was really cool even though we were pretty small.

What is your secret formula for creating music?

Keeping in constant inspiration. If we sit around in the house too long it shows in our music. [When] we are on tour or visiting a place, meeting new people or anything exciting, that is the fuel for our music. We also do the fresh ears, trying to cleanse the palate with ATL Trap music and really hardcore hip-hop.

What is the song that best represents your band?

(Chuckles) That would be a different answer from everyone. I’ll check with them and let you know. I would say “Slice of Life.” It started with trust and it is about trust. I think it represents us and what we’re going to be doing.

*Christopher Cool’s: “Perfect World

*Nathan Merli’s: “It hasn’t been written yet.”

Was there anything that inspired Waiting On Cool specifically?

It wasn’t a person or band. It was an area. We spent two months out in Venice Beach recording a lot of music. It was mostly being in that area and listening to West Coast music, whether it be hip-hop or grunge. That is what really influenced the EP.

You guys have a very specific style, do you try and keep it that way? Or are you open to different stuff?

We just write a lot of songs, there are a lot of outliers on the albums, but there are way more weird ones that we keep in the garage. It gets pretty crazy and weird. We like to try to release a lot of different music, we like bands that have a large variety. I don’t like picking up an album where every track is pretty much the same four chords.

Would you ever consider making a B-Sides Album?

Oh yeah! It’s going to happen for sure. It’s just a matter of time.

Has Heyrocco’s growing fame affected how you write or the band in general?

Overall, it has given us confidence in our writing. With that support we can write new stuff without real hesitation.

13263672_1131803193508394_6257844899282959215_nWhat are you listening to now?

A lot of 2Pac and Miles Davis. Oh, and this band called Rehab, they have this hilarious song called the “Bartender Song.”

Do you see the band moving into different styles in the future?

There’s no way to say exactly. We are going to start recording LP two next month, and are super excited about that. Maybe not a new sound, but new instruments and new arrangements of music. The next one won’t be your standard album, it’s gonna be a lot more experimental.

A lot of focus on tones, I think that the next album will represent the band and what it will be from there on out.

Any new instruments that you’re excited for?

I got Conga drums! They are great, and adding them to any song just makes it funkier, which is awesome.

What are some albums or bands that are essential for rock enthusiasts?

Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement, and Jimi Hendrix, all of his work. If you haven’t listened to his stuff, you need to right now.

As a band, is there anything that you want your fans to walk away with?

Out of everything, we want them to walk away with positive inspiration.

 

Now I need to brush up on my Hendrix, but we were grateful for his time…Heyrocco just got home from a 16-hour drive from Chicago.

After finishing up a European Tour last year, Heyrocco are working on some shows but focusing mostly on recording and hanging out at the beach. Waiting on Cool is a fantastic blend of quick and powerful anthems and slow, thoughtful pieces. I particularly love the slower songs like “Slice of Life.” They have a certain depth that is really hard to achieve for most bands but for Heyrocco, it comes with ease.
Check out their new EP and look out for their new LP hopefully coming out later this year. Listen to it on their site, and check out their other amazing songs like “Mom Jeans” and “Melt” and you’ll have new music to rock out to for the month.

JOHAN ANGERGÅRD: SWEDEN’S INDIE-POP MASTERMIND
February 5, 2016 9:46 am

You know that unique feeling of gratification you get when you discover a new sound?  It’s an impulsive need, an addiction.  I’m constantly searching for that next infectious dose. Thankfully the freakishly endless Internet universe never ceases to deliver new sonic pathways.

Sweden’s bustling independent music scene is as robust as it gets.

Johan Angergård is the founder of Stockholm-based Labrador Records.  He’s a DJ, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer.  His career spans back to the early 90’s and his prolificacy is profound, having been a key component of several noteworthy bands including Acid House Kings, Club 8, Pallers, and The Legends.

Labrador specializes in a particular brand of indie-pop classified as “twee”.  Quaint, naive, cute. There’s a distinct nostalgic nod to early 80’s indie-pop bands like The Smiths and the cheerful innocence 60’s rock. But that’s where any easily drawn comparisons end.

Labrador is first and foremost, an electronic music label with a sleek,  distinctly Scandinavian twist, an off-the-cuff repertoire of bright, audacious, and irony-tinged pop.  Labrador’s sonic pallet encompasses the so-called “balearic Sound”, popularized in Ibiza night clubs in the early 90”s. A notable manifestation of Labrador’s nuanced grooves can be heard on the The Radio Dept.’s highly acclaimed 2010 record Clinging to a Scheme.   These influences are the glue that make Angergård’s vision come to life.

If you’re in need of some new tunes, Labrador’s SoundCloud is a vault of music worth excavating.  It’s crammed to the brim with singles, EPs, remixes, and playlists that encapsulate Labrador’s touchingly off-kilter world.  It feels like an exhibit curated by Angergård himself, which I suppose, is part of what makes indie labels like Labrador great.

According to Labrador’s Facebook page the label is gearing up for an exciting year with “something like a handful of new artists” releasing music.  In the meantime, his own band Club 8 released their 9th full-length album Pleasure.  The leading single, “Late Nights“, is a sleek synth-pop that defines both where Angergård comes from and also where he intends to take us next.

KAPTAN: GLITTER, NOT QUITE GOLD
January 6, 2016 3:44 pm

When Andres Gaos moved from Seattle to Nashville, he brought his “Shimmery Indie Pop” with him. If you want proof, just listen to Kaptan’s five song EP, Sprinter.

If there is one thing Kaptan has done perfectly, it’s their genre declaration. The EP really shimmers all the way through. While it is certainly not dull, it also doesn’t really shine.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Kaptan is at its best when it’s shimmery sound lands somewhere in between. Take the first track, “Way Out.” It starts with a bouncy guitar riff and tacky percussion. Enter the bright synths. What could lead into an overdone, The 1975-esque (you can see how I feel about their new stuff here…) verse, instead offers a pleasant male-female vocal duo. This keeps the song from getting overblown—the energy of the band keeps us bouncing forward, while the vocals let us lay back in the grass on a sunny day.

This juxtaposition is best exemplified on the third song, “Everything.” Again, the energy and brightness of the synths and the guitars keep the song going in a positive direction. When Gaos comes in to the chorus singing calmly “Everything is all right,” you believe him. How could everything not be all right when this music is so pleasant and he is obviously sure that that it will be?

Unfortunately, two of the other three songs sound pretty much just like those two I mentioned, except they are not as successful. For Kaptan’s formula to work, each ingredient needs to be perfectly measured. “Anywhere We Go” comes in a bit over-spiced, and “Let Go” a bit bland. The EP ends on an outlier, “Closer Now.” The first time I heard it I assumed Spotify had started playing a remix of one of their songs. The half-time electro R&B jam feels like it’s out of Kaptan’s wheelhouse. Like trying to use the ingredients of one recipe to make a completely different dish.

Sprinter by Kaptan shows some serious promise. Gaos certainly has an ear for catchy pop melodies. The trick will be figuring out how to make Kaptan’s songs stand apart without getting repetitive.

THE GLORY OF GOOD MORNING
November 29, 2015 11:28 pm

Melbourne band Good Morning has returned to Australia after 11 performances at their first CMJ and positive reviews from publications including Spin and NME. ATYPICAL SOUNDS had the pleasure of welcoming them to New York during that time, and you can read our interview with them here.

Now, the band is settling back in at home, and getting ready to release their Glory EP in February 2016. We were given a sneak preview of the album, and will do our best to convey its sound to you. It’ll be like you’re right here with us.

The album opens with “Overslept”, a lo-fi track that makes you feel like a pack of crayons on a hot radiator. Singer Stefan Blair certainly sounds sleepy in his delivery of the lyrics, “I overslept today/ What in the world/ What in the world/ What in the world should I say?” It’s the type of song that makes you want to stay in bed a little while longer while listening.

The EP gives the impression of following Blair and bandmate Liam Parsons through a lazy day during a hot, Australian summer. The timing of the release will be great for the band’s fans at home, since February falls during summertime in the southern hemisphere. For the rest of their fans, who will inevitably be freezing their asses off during this time, the album sounds like a chilled-out vacation in a much warmer climate.

“Cab Deg” is the band’s first single to be released from the EP. It’s the most “indie” album on the track, featuring extended vocal harmonies and a poppier sound. However, Blair and Parsons quickly bring the listener back down to reality during “To Be Won”. Played predominantly on acoustic guitar, it can be a challenge to decipher Blair’s softly-sung vocals, leaving the track up to interpretation over whether the song is sad or tastefully subdued. Either way it’s beautiful, making “To Be Won” the second single due to be released from the EP.

Between the first 3 and last 3 songs, the sound changes, like the guys have had some coffee. Overall, there’s less distortion and these tracks sound cleaner and more produced than the previous ones; “Give Me Something To Do” features some fancy saxophone but maintains the vocal harmonies of “Cab Deg”. However, the track goes in a new direction with spoken lyrics towards the end of the song that sound like they could be the slightest bit influenced by Lou Reed’s Street Hassle.

“The Great Start”, the penultimate track, carries through the psychedelic feel of the EP, but adds an airier, more atmospheric sound that blends well with Blair’s sleepy vocal style. By the time “In The Way” begins to play, I can’t imagine the listener is anything but blissed out, and this track prolongs that feeling all the way to the end of the EP. “I’m so sorry/ I get caught up…” is repeated through the track, but it’s never quite clear what Blair and Parsons are apologizing for. It doesn’t matter; it’s another beautiful song on the EP. Finally, it dissolves into a swirling puddle of sound before picking up and giving us one more “I’m so sorry…” and gently letting us go.

ARTIST OF THE MONTH:  JULIEN BAKER
November 10, 2015 4:25 am

The first time I heard Julien Baker, it felt like someone ripped my heart out of my chest.

“I rejoice and complain.  Lift my voice.”

Her words are like a tiny knife across your heart and before you know it, Sprainked Ankle is telling too many stories that resonate with you and your broken soul.

Julien hails from Murfreesboro, Tennessee where she played in the Memphis based band, Forrister.

Baker finds herself in good company when she declares, “Wish I could write songs about anything other than death.”  Death, love, heart break, despair, awakenings, God, these are all things that Julien Baker touches on in her songs and in a way it makes you feel a little less alone.

This record possesses all of the things that I love musically rolled into one.  Elements of Folk, Country, Soul, Gospel all combined  with her haunting lyrics create songs that are filled with pain and beauty. Her voice at times fades and then soars with a chilling raspiness on moments that you would least expect it.  Each song becomes an unexpected emotional journey.

“I can’t think of anyone, anyone else,” she howls on “Something,” and I believe every word of it.

“I just left the park, you like swallowed me up
Choking you times, and kicking up dust
Asking aloud why you’re leaving
But the pavement won’t answer me
I just let the silence swallow me up
The ring in my ears tastes like blood
Asking aloud why you’re leaving
But the pavement won’t answer me”.

Julien Baker

I can’t wait to see what is next for this powerful lady. Regardless of where her music goes from here, this record is a testimony to Julien Baker’s artistry and talent.

Sprained Ankle is out now on 6131 Records.