We’ve got an exciting new release out today: trans femme activist Evan Greer just dropped her new single “Last iPhone,” a singalong anti-fascist anthem for the end times featuring Chris #2 of Anti-Flag, streaming everywhere today.
Support independent music and activism by grabbing it on our Bandcamp!
Evan Greer’s pronouns are she/her/they/them. That’s also the name of her new album, the first studio recording she’s released in a decade, which drops April 5 on Don Giovanni Records. Produced by Taina Asili and Gaetano Vaccaro, the songs range from indie-punk anthems about fighting fascism to bluegrassy genderqueer love ballads, and feature guest artists like Chris #2 of Anti-Flag, Bonfire Madigan, and bell’s roar. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello calls Evan “a heck of a guitar player,” but she’s perhaps better known as an activist. She’s been on the frontlines of some of the most notable grassroots victories of the last decade, from defending net neutrality to helping free Chelsea Manning to to pressuring SXSW to drop a “deportation clause” from its artist contract. When she’s not parenting, leading singalongs in a crowded basement, or organizing a queer dance party, Evan writes regularly for The Guardian, Washington Post, TIME, and Newsweek.
Formed in Cleveland, OH by producer/activist Ra Washington, Mourning [A] BLKstar is a multi-generational, gender and genre non-conforming amalgam of Black Culture dedicated to servicing the stories and songs of the apocalyptic diaspora.
In keeping with the pace that the collective that is M[A]B set since 2016, Washington presented a series of song sketches during the summer of 2018 -- one per week -- while the group practiced and toured their debut records, BLK Musak (Glue Moon Records, 2016) and The Possible (2017). The result, Reckoning, will be released on April 6th, 2019 in collaboration with Don Giovanni Records.
Reckoning represents a deep dive into the M[A]B vaults -- a dizzying array of styles, big boy reverb, the heat transversing through love won and love lost, and the tensions that go with living in a world that is increasingly hostile to POC futures and wholly locked in on its disgusting treatment of the poor.
Led by producer RA Washington, Mourning [A] BLKstar features a trio of dynamic singers—James Longs, LaToya Kent, and Kyle Kidd—and an indeterminate number of musicians. The ensemble traffics in a gritty strain of DIY Afrofuturist soul music, balancing hip-hop production techniques with lo-fi experimentation that bathes sultry grooves in darkness, either in scratchy samples or washed-out synth tones.
Out March, 29th on Don Giovanni Records, The Big Freeze is the long-awaited fifth album by New York-based songwriter Laura Stevenson.
gravity is strong enough, at the end of time our universe will
collapse, pulling all of existence back down to infinitesimal size, like
before the Big Bang. But if expansion outpaces gravity, eventually the
universe will be cold and empty--all light, heat, and connection will be
gone. That possibility is called The Big Freeze.
Recorded in her childhood home during the dead of winter, The Big Freeze
represents a pivotal step for Stevenson. Despite her pedigree in the
punk and indie rock scenes, and the occasional inclusion of a backing
band (like the sprightly, C86-inspired pop track “Dermatillomania”), for
the first time on record Stevenson’s voice and guitar are in clear and
highlighted focus. It is a natural aesthetic choice for the musician,
who has often toured as a solo act and who pulls influence from the
great American songbook, and a choice that plays to the core strength
and organic beauty of her writing. And though it is easily the darkest
and most emotionally-devastating album of Stevenson’s career, it is also
without a doubt her most powerful.
Stevenson builds on her own
private worlds with choruses of multi-tracked voices, swarms of cellos,
French horns and violins; orchestration that blooms and swells
throughout each intimate performance. Exploring thematic ideas of
distance and misconnection; worlds pulling apart, aching loneliness, and
attempts to drive out hibernating dormant demons.
opening track Stevenson’s voice insists the listener “lay back with arms
out, all-in, unfeeling,” to allow themselves to sink into a flood of
instrumental sound that thrums between dissonance and resolution. From
waves crashing in an abandoned waterpark on the haunting “Value Inn”, to
the last leaves trembling before winter sets in on “Rattle At Will”, a
creeping sense of isolation and anxious beauty surrounds every song. And
yet there is also warmth, and hope. The album’s third track “Living
Room, NY” tells of an intercontinental love and longing which seems to
have the strength to thrive despite even the most trying and impossible
of circumstances. Across ten tracks, the listener will travel through
the cold night, following after a small but powerful flame burning from
the other side.
Stevenson is a songwriter whose strengths have gone unsung for far too long, but The Big Freeze
is likely to change that. At times you will be reminded of
classic songwriters from both the mainstream and the fringe, whether
it’s Jason Molina, Judee Sill, Harry Nilsson or Dolly Parton. But always
you will be reminded of the power of the human voice (and a single
guitar) to invoke the universe. Or in this case, it’s end. LAURA STEVENSON ON TOUR
2.7 – Gainesville, FL @ Changeville Festival 2.9 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (sold out) 3.14 – Austin, TX @ SXSW 5.3 – Washington DC @ Black Cat 5.12 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge 5.14 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore 5.15 – Seattle, WA @ Vera Project 5.17 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill 5.18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre 5.22 – Boston, MA @ Sinclair 5.23 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA 5.24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade 5.25 – Burlington, VT @ Arts Riot 5.29 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen 5.30 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme 6.3 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry 6.5– Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater 6.6 – Madison, WI @ Memorial Union Terrace / University of Wisconsin
Out November 23rd on Don Giovanni Records, Magnetic Memory is a new full-length by NYC-based composer, producer, and performer Hprizm (aka High Priest, aka Kyle Austin).
A founding member of Anti-Pop Consortium, Prizm has consistently challenged the boundaries of hip-hop, collaborating and performing alongside a diverse cast of creative musicians, including Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, and Vijay Iyer.
Composed and recorded throughout last year, Magnetic Memory is guided by Prizm’s desire to reconnect with a more traditional approach to sampling. That is to say, sampling as a primary element of composition. “History has moved on from seeing sound art as compositional,” he explains. “I wanted to re-embrace that. I thought there was more to say.”
In constructing Magnetic Memory’s rhythms and atmospheres, Prizm chose to work within the technological constraints of his earliest days as a producer. “Not a lot of gear,” says Prizm. “To make it more basement.”
“At my point of entry, you couldn’t do long-form sampling. You had to make something out of 9-12 seconds,” he explains. “Thus, the focus is not on adapting hooks from identifiable songs, but snatching isolated moments to form the basis of instrumentation.”
It’s not about nostalgia. It’s about applying old constraints to new technology in an effort to reconnect with a voice. Prizm is joined on the LP by New York City-based jazz musicians, James Brandon Lewis, Heru Shabaka, and Shawn Keys.
Common Blah is the debut full-length by Portland, Maine’s Weakened Friends. Founded by songwriter Sonia Sturino, bassist Annie Hoffman, and drummer Cam Jones in 2015, the trio is a low pressure outlet for emotionally volatile music. Engineered and produced by Hoffman and perfected over the last year, the record broadcasts heavy feelings amid screech and feedback with little more than a distortion pedal to clog up the signal chain.
For Sturino, writing in Weakened Friends is more of a physical process than a mental one. “I have to feel the vibration or sound coming out of my body. I need the physicality to do it, to enjoy singing it,” she says. “People probably hear the vocals and think, ‘she just puts on that weird voice,’ but it’s really just what comes out. It’s my body making that sound.”
Many of the songs reckon with deep mid-20s malaise — with the feeling of being young, stuck, and settling for less. “Sometimes, things look good on the outside, but they’re not working. That’s how it used to be for me. I’d hear, ‘You have a really cool job. You live in a cool city. Your band is cool.’ It was ‘Common Blah’ though because I was miserable. I didn’t care. Now, I’m at the other end of the spectrum. People do something that they think they’re supposed to do when it’s not what they should be doing and it doesn’t make them happy. In a lot of ways, this is the first time I’ve found happiness. I wrote the lyrics about the time before that happiness.”
On Common Blah, Weakened Friends use volume — instrumental and emotional — to reassert a sense of control in a time when daily life has slid out of tune. The album also features guest shredding by peer and kindred spirit J Mascis on the song “Hate Mail.” Common Blah will be out on CD, LP, and digital download via Don Giovanni Records on October 19th. The band will tour the US and Europe throughout the fall, including stops at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris and The Fest in Gainesville.
8.30 - Halifax, NS @ The Seahorse Tavern 9.01 - Bar Harbor, ME @ Lompoc 9.13 - Syracuse, NY @ Spark Art Space 9.14 - Waterbury, VT @ Zenbarn 10.12 - Bangor, ME @ Bangor Arts Exchange 10.19 - Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall * 10.20 - Brooklyn, NY @ Trans-Pecos * 10.21 - Richmond, VA @ The Capital Ale House * 10.24 - Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade * 10.25 - Asheville, NC @ Fleetwoods * 10.26 - Atlanta, GA @ Smith's Olde Bar * 10.27 - Gainesville, FL @ THE FEST * 10.30 - Paris, FR @ Pitchfork Music Festival 10.31 - Brighton, UK @ The Hope & Ruin 11.2 - London, UK @ The Old Blue Last 11.8 - Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen * 11.9 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx * 11.10 - Toronto, ON @ The Monarch * 11.11 - Montreal, QB - Casa del Popolo * 11.14 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showroom * 11.15 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott * 11.16 - Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits * 11.17 - Washington, DC @ Songbyrd *