Washington

BRIANA MARELA: SWEET ELECTRO LULLABIES
August 15, 2016 9:43 am

 

Briana Marela makes moody, ethereal music. Layered vocals pierce through rhythmic ambiance, washy and compressed, like an ice queen in a steel canyon. Marela self-released two albums before getting signed by Jagjaguwar records, who sent her to Reykjavik, Iceland to work with Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers. The result is All Around Us, a collection of emotionally charged, heavily processed, ambient electro-crooning that put me right to sleep upon my first listen.

And of course I mean that in the best possible way. I was quite content to doze off to her dulcet love songs, whisked away by the aforementioned ice queen to slumber in peace atop her steely canyon of sound. I picture myself melting in a vat of butter, only the butter is covered in ice crystals and I’m made entirely of liquid nitrogen, which is poisonous when consumed so don’t even think about it. Excellent music to nap to, or to study to or to do anything mindless that can be accompanied by ambient music. Not great for long car rides or roller coasters or to be playing from an ice cream truck. But hey, that’s just me.

Briana Marela continues to live in Seattle and perform throughout the Pacific Northwest.

10 TECH CITIES TO LOOK OUT FOR
June 29, 2016 6:28 pm

As a writer I always looked down on articles that focused on lists, I always thought it was lazy to do that. To base your writing around an arbitrary numeric countdown of biased information that is grounded in data that is not fully sound was just against my journalistic integrity. Without further ado, here is my countdown of the top ten tech-driven cities in the US of A.

Many know about California’s Silicon Valley that is synonymous with tech, it even has a show with its namesake, centered around Tech. But tech culture thrives elsewhere as well.

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AUSTIN, TX

Austin has been an up and coming mecca when it comes to all things music and tech recently. Hosting SXSW which has previewed everything from games to television shows, Austin is a city to look out for. It is one that was featured in over 5 “Top 10” articles and good reason to be. The city is the host to 3M, AMD, Apple, AT&T, Dell, Evernote, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Nvidia, and PayPal. An article on the city dons it “Silicon Hills”.

BOSTON, MA

Boston is slowly becoming much more than just its odd accents and rampant Catholicism. The city has started this initiative to get tech companies to come over by starting their Innovation District, which aims to be a tech friendly environment for up and coming start-ups. Boston’s innovation district aims to make this once great, dangerous city into a thriving economic tech powerhouse.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Minneapolis is another one of these unexpected cities. Whenever I think Minnesota, I think of Fargo; a cold, accent heavy (again) city. Now, if you haven’t noticed, I get most of my point of references from television or movies, but for Minneapolis, there is a lot more than meets the ear. The city is a host to its “Twin Cities Startup Week.” think Fashion Week, but with actual importance. It is a way to advocate for tech in a city that is very much in the tech game.

ATLANTA, GA

Yesterday, the white house announced that it would fund two different grants. Both of which would total a 7.7 million dollar teaching program in Atlanta. One of these initiatives is set to train youth and young adults in Atlanta in all things tech. The program, aptly titled, ATL Tech Hire will enable kids to learn coding. A step into building a more tech savvy city.

washington-dc-skyline-photoWASHINGTON, DC

Washington DC has been called by many, the Silicon Valley of the east. It is the host to the Dulles Technology Corridor, a cluster in DC that contains many tech businesses. Washington DC can easily become not only the capitol of the country, but the tech capitol as well.

 

RALEIGH DURHAM, NC

For those of you who have never heard of Raleigh, you have some real research to do. Raleigh is home to companies such as Cisco, IBM, The Research Triangle, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Red Hat and many others. The city is a hub of tech in the southeast region of this country and it is a force to be reckoned with.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

San Francisco is close enough to Silicon Valley to almost have been skipped out on my list, but it is distinct enough to not have been. San Fransisco’s tech culture is so evolved that it has affected real estateenough to give the city national attention. Zenefits and Dropbox are just two of the many unicorns that have led this city’s housing crisis on its in.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Seattle’s tech status can be summed up by the fact that Google is giving a third of a million in grants to the city, in order to bring Wi-Fi to low income residents and parks across the city. Seattle might become the first in its kind with city wide Wi-Fi. Seattle is also the home to T-Mobile, Boeing, F5 Networks, Qumulo, Redfin, Extrahop Networks, Socrata and Avvo to name a few.

NEW YORK, NY

My city, of course it is an up and coming tech city. With Tesla moving into our backyard, and it being home to ATYPICAL SOUNDS, a music meets tech magazine, New York has in the past few years to bring more tech jobs into the city. With Google and Amazon here, who knows what is next for the greatest city in the world.

BALTIMORE, MARYLANDseason 2 silicon valley

When you walk through the garden, you better watch your back since Baltimore has rounded out our list. Baltimore has come a long way since its crime-addled days of The Wire and has since shown potential to be a tech powerhouse. CUNY students will recognize one of Baltimore’s over 200 tech companies, Blackboard. The city is also rolling out IBM’s P-Tech education program that partners high school kids with mentors in the hopes of getting them more involved in IT.

Which cities will continue to rise to power in tech advancement? And which ones do you think will join this list? Tweet us @AtypicalBeasts!

DEEP SEA DIVER SHARES THEIR SECRETS
April 12, 2016 1:13 pm

Though the band Deep Sea Diver has only been around for a few years, writer and multi-instrumentalist Jessica Dobson has been on the scene for much longer. Signed to Atlantic Records at 19, Dobson recorded two albums that were ultimately shelved before moving on to collaborating with bands including The Shins, Beck, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Older and wiser, Dobson then went on to form Deep Sea Diver, with this past February seeing the release of their second LP, Secrets.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS had the privilege of speaking with Dobson to get her take on the new album, touring, and life as a seasoned musician.

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Photo by Brian S. Snider

Congratulations on your album release! Are there any new songs that you’re especially fond of playing live?

JD: Thank you! I really love playing “Wide Awake,” “Notice Me” and “Body on the Tracks” because I get to really step out on guitar on those ones and I think the fans really love that. There a lot of sweet guitar solos and pedals to play around with. It makes it even more exciting for me to do something different every night, especially with “Wide Awake.”

When you tour, how do you prepare to hit the road? What do you do to pass the time while traveling?

We basically start rehearsing about a month ahead and try to get the songs so deeply ingrained in our muscle memory so that by the time we hit the road, we feel totally free playing the songs. Its all about energy and vibe for us at shows, so we want to be emotionally as present as possible, not worried about whether or not we are ready to play the songs. In the van, its easy to tune out and go on your phone for hours on end, I try to read a few books at a time, and keep a journal about whatever I’m experiencing on the road and at shows.

Do you have any places you look forward to visiting when you tour?

New York is always a highlight for us. There’s a distinct energy in the city and we always see it as an adventure when we get to bounce around the different boroughs and eat the best food and stay out way too late.

Seattle might still be best known as the birthplace of the grunge movement. Has any of that culture remained popular in Seattle? Has it come back since the resurgence in popularity of 90s music?

Thankfully grunge has not made another comeback yet, but I think that music business people in Seattle wish that there was another resurgence of a scene that popular (insert $ signs). The music scene in Seattle is thankfully much more broad now and hopefully it will continue on that trajectory.

You’ve been a part of the music industry for about 10 years. What advice can you give to someone looking to break into the field? What do you think the biggest misconception about the industry is?

Music business is basically 99% smoke and mirrors and if you elevate the business end above the creative end, you will most likely be sorely disappointed. There is absolutely zero stability in the music industry and sometimes good art gets noticed, sometimes it doesn’t. You have to do everything you can to keep creating from an honest place and make the best art you possibly can. That is much more fulfilling than trying to pander to music business people and to fleeting musical trends.

What’s it like working with your spouse? Is it difficult to leave the workday behind once you get home?

Yeah its almost impossible to stop our minds from thinking about new songs, record label plans (we started a record label, High Beam Records) and what the next step is for Deep Sea Diver. We fight about silly things like who’s chorus ideas are better, but when we aren’t being immature, it’s the most fun to create with the person you love most.

Are you working on anything with The Shins at the moment?

Nope! I had to give Deep Sea Diver my full attention in order to get this new record out and to promote it as much as possible. I believe they are working on some new songs and I can’t wait to hear what comes of it!

You’ve also worked with Beck. Do you feel more pressure to perform well when you’re working on your own projects, or other people’s?

Performing live is one of my favorite aspects about being a musician and I treat any project or show like its the last thing I’ll ever do. I love the kind of healthy “pressure” that comes with performing, and it causes me to keep pushing my limits live. With that said, if a show of Deep Sea Diver’s gets a bad review or goes poorly, yeah, it stings a bit more because we wrote these songs and they are much more personal to us.

Is there anything you’d like your fans to know before listening to your new album?

If you can tell me who I’m singing about in the song “Secrets” I’ll somehow find a million dollars to give you.

GOODBYE HEART: RESTLESS NIGHTS
March 2, 2016 10:52 pm

Seattle is home to the space needle, kick ass scenery, hipsters (c’mon we all know it’s true) and the up-and-coming dream pop duo Goodbye Heart. Friends Sam Ford and Nila K Leigh started their musical journey in New York City and decided to mix their musical tastes together. Using electronic percussion, synthy upbeats and velvety vocals they created their E.P Restless Nights in 2014.

Sam and Nila have said that their influences range from “The Cure to Johnny Jewel to Nas” and they describe themselves as, “Drawing inspiration from lush, textural movie soundtracks and their native New York City hip-hop roots.” Their EP tracks include “Just Kids,” “Don’t Slow Down,” “Seconal,” “Wish” and “How to Make Friends in a New Town.” Each track will simultaneously trap you in a surreal indie film that you stumbled upon and force a jam sesh in your car. To hear Goodbye Heart’s E.P check them out on sound cloud here.

You Should Know About Expert Alterations
August 12, 2015 2:56 pm

Expert Alterations just released their first EP in June, and already they’ve seen positive reviews from publications like Noisey, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, and Impose Magazine. Their sound has been described as “C-86 style indie pop with scratchy, jangly guitars, lead-like bass lines and a sleepy vocal style.” I’ll save you the trouble of trying to decipher that quote, and just tell you that Expert Alterations is pretty damn good.

The Baltimore trio, comprised of singer and guitarist Patrick Teal, bass player Alan Everhart, and drummer Paul Krolian, will be touring through the end of August, with support from Literature, Hard Left, and Mercury Girls. ATYPICAL SOUNDS was lucky to catch up with Patrick as he prepares to hit the road.

Expert_Alterations_Credit_Megan_Lloyd

You’ve toured quite a bit this year. Was it difficult for you to put the rest of your lives aside to do it? Did you need to give up any day jobs?

PT: All of our bosses are in bands that tour so they are very understanding. Alan has done even more touring, he plays bass in Wildhoney.

You’re getting ready to tour with Literature next month. Have you worked with them before? Is it a challenge to tour so closely with a band you may only just be getting to know?

PT: We played a handful of shows with Literature last year right when their LP on Slumberland came out. We get to see Kevin [Attics] up in Philadelphia every so often and got to stay at Nate [Cardaci’s] house in Austin this past January while we were on tour. It’s always a bit awkward at first, but being in such close quarters you get close rather quickly. None of us knew The Flatmates when we played a few dates together last year- by day two it was like we had known each other for ages.

Do any of you get motion sickness? What are you most/least anticipating on this tour?

PT: Getting out of town is always pleasant. Just happy to spend some days with some of the best people we know. They’re the absolute best band to see live. I do not think there is anything the three of us “aren’t looking forward to.” It is just nice to break the monotony of everyday life. We all have pretty decent stomachs when it comes to that, I don’t think there are many windy roads where we are going.

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Which of your songs do you think sounds best played live? Which is your favorite to play live?

PT: They all sound remarkable live. “Dear Thomas” will always hold a sweet spot in our hearts. Paul really likes to play “A Bell” from our first EP.

Over the last 6 months, you’ve steadily begun to gain more recognition. Have there been any differences in how you work with a band? What about working with your record labels? 

PT: Differences, no. We are still very committed to making new friends and keeping in touch with a lot of the bands we’ve met and played with both in Baltimore and on the road. Working with Slumberland and Kanine has been nothing but enjoyable. Mike, Lio and Kay are really sweet and supportive. I mean it isn’t difficult to work with anyone when you share the same goal and that is putting out good records.

How did you get involved with this year’s Popfest? Were you familiar with the festival before you got involved with it?

PT: Paul and Patrick went three years ago. We toured with The Flatmates who were one of the headliners last year. We met Maz [Alhadid, producer of Popfest] last year, and this year he invited us to play. Lovely guy.

How do you feel about the pizza in New York, compared with the pizza in Baltimore?

PT: That’s like comparing apples to garbage. The large apple’s pizza surpasses Baltimore’s.

Great answer! So, your EP was released on both vinyl and cassette. What benefits do you see in each of these formats, versus just releasing a digital download or CD?

PT: All formats are pretty great. We are not purists that think vinyl and tape necessarily sound better and warmer and what have you. People just seem to be fond of the vinyl and tape formats. Paul still buys CDs. “It is 2015.”

Do you have any new music in the works? What are your plans for the autumn?

PT: Split 7” with Literature should be out early September. That’ll be on Square of Opposition Records. Our first LP will be released October 30th on Brooklyn’s own Kanine Records. Plans… rake some leaves, carve a pumpkin, tour a bunch.

literature_expert_alterations_tour_poster

Expert Alterations will be performing with Hard Left and Mercury Girls on 8/12 at Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, PA.

Expert Alterations will be performing with Literature on the following dates:

8/19 Black Cat – Washington, DC

8/19 Black Cat – Washington, DC

8/20 Cake Shop – New York, NY

8/21 Shea Stadium – Brooklyn, NY

8/23 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD