Foxygen : Foxygen is the bi-coastal songwriting duo of Sam France (vocals, Olympia, Wash., 22 years old) and Jonathan Rado (guitar/keyboards, NYC, 22). They are the raw, de-Wes Andersonization of The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Velvets, Bowie, etc. that a whole mess of young people desperately need. They create a sometimes-impressionistic, sometimes-hyper-real portrait of sounds from specific places and times. Yet, it never comes across as anything but absolutely modern music. They bring the manic, freewheeling qualities of an artist like Ariel Pink to those aforementioned influences to make for one of the most refreshing listens of the year. They are the real deal and total savants. Their albums are love letters to vinyl collections. Jagjaguwar is proud to share with you Foxygen's bedroom masterpiece, Take the Kids Off Broadway. The first track, "Abandon my Toys," only gives you two seconds of electronic soundery before acoustic instruments take over along with a vocal that sounds channeled in by a medium. "Why Did I Get Married?" plays like a mournful lounge act until about the two minute mark, when it starts to crash into something else, and a gooey kind of Ray Davies vocal gives way to shouts and barks. After you listen to even a few songs on the album, any attempt to define its genre will start with a discussion and end with a shrug, maybe a "rock and roll?" or a "psychedelic?" And that's how shit needs to be said. More question marks. Less periods. Less declarations. Cause it's only questions that can take us where we need to be, to a place of profound and active ignorance. As a tiny organism adrift on a sea of infinite nuance, ignorance is the only honest state of being. And Take the Kids off Broadway is an album full of question marks. It's time for a motherfucking paradigm shift. Foxygen knows this. Or at least they sound like they do. A hard rain's going to fall. Get ready
NO : Upon releasing their six-song debut EP Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever online for free last fall, Los Angeles’ NO had the city abuzz. Now with a slew of much-talked about performances and local acclaim under their belts, NO will be releasing the EP on 12” vinyl on February 14 through Origami Vinyl. Limited to 500 copies, pre-orders are available now through the Origami Vinyl Online Shop. Local tastemaker Buzzbands LA exclaimed: “Judging from the gravitas in NO’s first single “Stay With Me”…. redemption is but a life-affirming anthem away.” Yvynyl declared: “Bradley Hanan Carter’s vocals seem to fill the bowels of Echo Park, Los Angeles. The deep timbre announces the romantic vision of yearning with conviction in the same fashion of baritone voiced Matt Berninger of The National.”
Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever is currently available as a free download via the band’s website and the lead single “Another Life” is available as an MP3 to post and share. NO will be touring the west coast in February in support of the album. In March they will return to their hometown LA for a month-long Monday night residency at The Echo before heading to Austin for the SXSW Music Festival. All shows are listed below.
The romanticism and desolation of Los Angeles breeds restlessness in its people. It’s a brooding temperament best captured by Echo Park’s NO – a band that feels it in their bones, with the kind of fevered anticipation for something more. Frontman Bradley Hanan Carter’s baritone vocals speak to the tension between the wanting and waiting, waiting for love or for some kind of order or sense to how it all works. Their track, “Stay With Me” is a ballad of calculated pleas one of slow, delicate movements. It’s being in love with someone, and hoping for some kind of stillness in the unpredictability of love. He asks, “Wasn’t there a place for me/inside your heart?” It’s all the words you’d ever want your lover to say, the fantastic notion of running away, the return to youth, when everything was uncomplicated and wonderful.
NO began as a response to the limiting idea behind the word – in an effort to reclaim it and reinterpret it as more than just an antithesis to possibility. These are sing-along songs, hymnal and anthematic; born out of a desire to connect with the greater collective of young people seeking their truth, adventure, love. There are remnants of odes to Bill Callahan, The National, and Arcade Fire—epic, atmospheric drums that pulsate, buttered bass tones, melodic choruses.
It’s not about naivety; it’s about not being calloused by a city of strangeness and strangers. Something the band knows quite well. The band itself is composed of near-veterans, all claiming a vast history with various bands, solo efforts, defunct projects, cities-travelled, loves made and lost. The core of NO first emerged mid 2010 when through a chance meeting at a local breakfast diner, Sean and Bradley started sharing songs they had both been working on. Shortly after Joseph started coming around too, and after many months of creating, and finding Reese and Mike, it seemed there would be no choice not to finish whatever it was they were starting.
NO marvels at the growing pains of a vibrant city, in all of it’s aching limbs and veins that run down dead ends. The interplay between hope and despair weaves itself throughout the collection of six songs in their debut EP Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever a sentiment that suggests that wherever “here” might be, it’s a good place to start.
Vinyl WIlliams: Vinyl Williams…flux of nerves, those in the jagged current of the new-age, teal essences that wander around yours, affecting the psyche - all biology subjectively and objectively, as it is visual, musical, and contextualized only by the individual’s paradoxical associations. Rawly, pop, though dressed like the inner temple, reaching itself cyclically and throughout latent forces, sonic matrices that beneficially affect the participant. Krautgaze, qualities of vastness, repetition, landscape, magic bliss, mysticism, and the unknown.
George Ben Sun aka AM: Celestial Electric finds L.A.-based indie-pop auteur AM and London-based groovemaster/experimentalist Lee pooling their talents to create a unique brand of electro-soul that achieves seamless pop perfection, while mining a startlingly broad array of stylistic influences. The resulting blend of heartfelt, warmly melodic songcraft and vivid, inventive soundscapes underlines the artists' abiding love for all manner of vintage genres, encompassing pop, soul, funk, jazz, Brazilian tropicalia, Turkish psychedelia, and soundtracks and library music from the '60s, '70s and '80s. Celestial Electric's sleek, boundary-pushing approach is reflected on such uplifting tunes as the insightful generational anthem "Dark Into Light," the bittersweetly soulful "City Boy" and the hauntingly intimate "Can't Figure It Out," which merge irresistible melodicism with deeply distinctive grooves. Elsewhere, "The Signal" demonstrates the duo's penchant for exotic, eclectic arrangements, suggesting an '80s Bollywood synth-pop dance party, while the swaggeringly funky instrumental "Callahan" (named in honor of Clint Eastwood's '70s cop anti-hero Dirty Harry) conjures up a bracingly atmospheric vibe a la Lalo Schifrin, while adding a dollop of futuristic electronic melody. The twosome's irresistible pop sensibility also drives their effervescent reading of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' 1974 hit "Jackie Blue". AM & Shawn Lee documented their recording process in Los Angeles and London through photos, emails, and behind the scenes studio videos. Andy Votel, U.K. DJ and tastemaker mixologist of Finders Keepers/B-Music fame, provided the album's cover design and liner notes. The album is now available worldwide.