Download “Vessel” the first single off the album now

The second full-length album from Zola Jesus, Conatus, will be released on October 4, 2011 on Sacred Bones Records.

In the last three years, Nika Roza Danilova has gone from being an outsider, experimental teenage noise-maker to a full fledged internationally celebrated electronic pop musician. It was a huge feat to accomplish, and despite her age (young), her geography (mid-western, desolate), her accelerated scholastic requirements (high school and college were completed in three years each) and her diminutive physical size (4”11, 90 lbs) she has triumphed. She has emerged as a figurehead– a self-produced, self-designed, self-taught independent woman. Harper’s Bazaar listed Zola Jesus as one of the most important musicians to know in 2011. Vogue calls her music “powerfully reflective” while The New York Times says “[she] projects a useful fantasy image: definitely from the dark side, but sympathetic.”

Conatus is a huge leap forward in production, instrumentation and song structure. It says it all in the definition of the title: the will to keep on, to move forward. From thumping ballads to electronic glitch, no sound goes unexplored on her new record. It is an icy exploration in refined chaos and controlled madness, an effort to break through capability and access a sonic world that crumbles as it shines.

Track list

01. Swords
02. Avalanche
03. Vessel
04. Hikikomori
05. Ixode
06. Seekir

07. In Your Nature
08. Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake
09. Shivers
10. Skin
11. Collapse

All songs written and performed by Nika Roza Danilova
Produced by Nika Roza Danilova and Brian Foote
*Conatus will be released in Europe by Souterrain Transmissions

press releases reviews

Bowery Beasts – Heavy You EP review

Los Angeles is, to me, not so much a place as an area.  An area of the mind perhaps, because one does not walk it, one sits amongst it in one’s car.  During my brief stint as an EMT there, I imagined what LA might be, imbued it with any fantasy which came to mind, this when I wasn’t so frustrated all I could do was bare my teeth, grip the steering wheel of my ambulance, and listen to the profusion of commercial rock stations which clutter its airwaves.

Bowery Beasts have invested Los Angeles in this way, with their personal fantasy of what it is, and, from listening to their new EP “Heavy You,” I would suggest the Los Angeles of lead singer and writer for the group, Marion Belle, is a combination of Axl Rose, pawn shops, and the sort of summative imagery befitting beer induced make out sessions in Seven Eleven parking lots.

I listened to the five songs on “Heavy You” repeatedly, and was struck most profoundly by the lyrics in the Mellotron (perhaps) infused track “Rock n Roll Queen,” during which I was treated to the rhyme “Mak’n the scene/ with a rock ‘n roll queen” and later the coda “like a roll’n stone.”  I can’t say I met these lyrics with enthusiasm.  The “Heavy You” press release notes they are “hauntingly familiar,” which I think may be a euphemism; you can be the judge of what it might be a euphemism for.

If you like glam metal, or what Bowery Beasts term “blue jean glam,” which sounds like glam metal, you’ll probably enjoy this EP.   Judging by the band photo on the EP, the group, which includes Jordan Wiggins and diversely talented lead guitarist Nick Maybury, has eschewed spandex trousers and rayon scarves for denim, which is a darn smart move.

Bowery Beasts is being excellently produced by Ken Andrews of Failure, and has been highly praised by former Sex Pistols guitarist and KROQ DJ Steve Jones.  They’ve also had a residency at The Silverlake Lounge, and performed at gigs with such bands as Tame Impala and Dungen.  “Heavy You” is due out July 5th, and a full length album, “Friendship,” is planned for the future.


Sara Jarosz – Follow Me Down album review

Sara Jarosz exploded onto the bluegrass and Americana scene in 2009 with her debut LP. Since then she’s been busy getting nominated for Grammys and getting making the rounds between NPR and other independent syndicates.  But now she’s back with her second full length LP Follow Me Down.

The thing that leaps out of the stereo immediately is the almost uncanny resemblance that Jarosz’s voice has to Gillian Welch’s.  That alone is enough to give her cred in certain country music circles. The album is a pretty standard Alt Country album. The fiddles could be pulled from a Nickel Creek record and if the banjo playing sounds familiar it’s because it’s Bela Flek. Yep, this 21 year old has already gotten Bela Flek.  The thing that I personally like about bluegrass is storytelling that the lyricism portrays. There are some really beautiful stories on this album with “My Muse” and “Annabelle Lee.” They can also be sad and almost reminiscent on “Gypsy.”

The best song on the album though without a doubt is the cover of Radiohead’s “The Tourist.”  The contrast of Jarosz’s smoky voice adds something to the song that Thom Yorke didn’t achieve. Her voice really adds to the ora of misery that the original has.  Of course since it’s a bluegrass cover, all the string arrangements that the original have are much more colorful and have an element of twang to them that gives this version of the song its own personality.

This is a very good introduction to people who might have missed Jarsoz’s first album. It’s a record bluegrass and country fans will love, but it is still accessible for people who aren’t too familiar with the genre. I would remember Jarosz’s name, there may be a few more Grammy nods in her future.


Beats Antique Interview

Since 2007, Bay Area jack-of-all-trades band Beats Antique has been tearing its way through to another realm of musical consciousness. The trio — comprised of David Satori, Zoe Jakes, and Tommy Cappel — has garnered fame by infecting bass seekers with world-fusion electronic beats combined with astounding theatrical performances. Heavily influenced by eastern culture, Beats Antique’s infectious tribal basslines provide the backdrop for Zoe’s seductive belly dance routines.


Matthew Good – Lights of Endangered Species album review

Bandleader-turned-solo-artist, Matthew Good has been on the scene for almost 20 years now, and in that time he’s seen his share of both troubling failure and incredible success.  Since the disbanding of his highly successful self-titled group in 2002, Good has released five surprisingly strong solo records, however Lights of Endangered Species, the fifth and most recent, shines above the rest as a dynamic and exciting tour-de-force that far exceeded my expectations.

On this record, Good teamed up with long-time producer, Warne Linvesey and the benefits of the familiarity are starkly evident.  There isn’t a single element that feels out of place, which is surprising considering the vastly dissimilar moods laced effortlessly throughout the album, sometimes alternating four or five times in a single song.  Adding to the melodic and structural variance is the aural fidelity which dances playfully between trashy drum tones and sparkling symphonic and piano segments to create a constantly shifting sonic portrait committed to shattering the listener’s concept of where the song ‘should’ go.  Impeccable examples of this ebb and flow lie in “What if I Can’t See the Stars Mildred” and “Non-Populus.”

While working on his solo career, Good has also become known for his political views and though this release remains relatively neutral on the surface, songs such as “In A Place of Lesser Men” draw reference to socially poignant topics (i.e. apocalyptic theories, etc).  Other ways in which a bit of Good’s history comes to light is in the vocals which, when compared to past releases, seem tired and introspective – more like John Paul White (The Civil Wars) and less like the high-energy Bob Dylan-esque vibe we’ve grown accustomed to.  Furthermore, some of the more subdued tracks such as “How It Goes” and “Set Me On Fire” seem to indicate a possible shift in Good’s music as a whole towards the softer side.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of this man and his music or this is your first time listening, there’s something special about this record that can really only be understood by listening for yourself, and that’s exactly what I suggest you do.

music videos reviews

Shine 2009 – Realism album review

Sami Suova and Mikko Pykari make up Shine 2009. Originally from Helsinki, Finland, Shine 2009 released their debut album “Realism” on May, 3rd, 2011, by way of Cascine and Expo records.

The electronic duo managed to fit many instruments into these nine easy listening 90’s pop tracks and despite the norm, these boys don’t mind a six and a half-minute song.

While this style of music was not what I would consider my personal taste, Realism is really bringing me into a new genre. The EP has flavors of pop, electro, hip-hop, jazz, and more all on one album, something that can be appreciated by listeners of different genres and musicians alike.

As a collection, the smooth sounds of Realism are perfect for a high-fashion runway, a restaurant on the lower east side of New York, or even your daily workout and everyday life.

“Graduation” is a dreamy song with a cool, soft vocal, and a hip-hop influenced track. The song speaks about knowing all the secrets but not giving them away. “So Free” is a catchy jazzy and danceable feel-good song about being happy and free, perhaps the band had truly found it’s place in their music. So Free features the backing vocals of Paula Abdul, Paula’s vocals add another soft and airy element to the song.

“New Rules” features a bridge of the chime rhythm often sampled in hip-hop, made popular in the late 80s by the Run-DMC song “Peter Piper”. Coming from somebody who has never really listened to music of this genre, “Modern Times” and “Naturally” are also noteworthy songs from the album.

Shine 2009 has produced an overall solid debut EP. The band has already made a few music videos for Realism and has live shows scheduled for the near future. They will be playing in their hometown of Helsinki next month, with a group that has had a good amount of success here in America; Chromeo.


Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread album review

Ty Segall is another garage-rock California punk who just released his first full-length release Goodbye Bread. Once a member of The Traditional Fools, Epsilons, Party Fowl, Sic Alps, and The Perverts, he has taken his recording career solo and has displayed much potential in his stand out sphere.

Well, what more do I have to say other than ‘California garage punk’ in order to give an understanding of this guy’s sound? I’ve never been to the coast, but I can get a pretty clear picture of it now; grainy beaches, some lazy looking sky, bikinis, mexican ice cream men, and everyone’s hopped up on some new pop rock or slug acid – am I right? No?

Segall makes his case against stereotypes, however, by compiling tracks that don’t just stagnantly glaze over but charge forward – fully and back again. The track “The Floor” for example charges in with a rustic guitar string tune and backdrop drum bang blower, but it slows back down with Segalls voice, with his characteristic wash-out drool. The song uses this tide riding energy that holds the whole album. At once smooth and steady like in it’s opening “Goodbye Banger”, its also impassioned with a raw energy that can be as dark as a suicide note or as light as an afternoon jam-session.

Indeed one quality I love about this album is how approachable it can be at times. There is more understanding in his lyrics and melodies than in his past works, while his initial spirit of washy, wavy, slobbers of sounds are still intact, this album displays more clarity akin to classic rock and roll artists.


Mad Rad Interview

It’s a fundamental known that popular music has been a driving force in the clubbing scene since the dawn of Madonna’s early reign in the pop world.  Pop music these days is a bit more bass heavy with a little rap influence – a hybrid between R&B, rap, and dance music.  Twenty years ago, hip hop was being played in more secluded venues.  Now every song has elements of hip hop in it.  So to pigeon-hole music into a type of genre would be catatonically lazy and not only that but extremely confiding to the artist.


The Secret Sisters – The Secret Sisters album review

Laura and Lydia Rogers had country music instilled into them from a very young age, they also possess the keen ability to adorably integrate with each other vocally. These two factors, the keen integration and country instillation alike, have made them fierce yet unexpected contenders for underground southern music glory.

This debut, The Secret Sisters, in an odd twist of fate, is their first endeavor in professionally singing together. As it happens only the one sister (Laura) auditioned and was asked on a callback that Lydia attended in support. Eventually their inevitable fate was sealed after it was requested that they sing in unison. Thank the lord Jesus Allah Buddha Spaghetti Monster whatever that these two did professionally cross paths because as a slight disbeliever in modern country music I do believe that this is exactly what country needs.

Despite their moderately frightening label of “new-age country” The Secret Sisters are truly a fresh step in the right direction, using only analog recording equipment in order to stay true to the era’s sound, that era being the 1950’s and 60’s. On tracks like the Carson Parks cover “Something Stupid,” most famously sung by Frank and Nancy Sinatra, the sisters duetted into the same microphone during sessions while their band simultaneously played live. Therefore, upon listening, you truly do feel a sort of sisterly or family-oriented love, genuine and untainted by digital nonsense in a world where artists who never truly met in person are heard disingenuously “harmonizing” on the radio daily.

The Rogers sisters have gained attention from greats like Jack White, who covered Johnny Cash’s “Big River” with them for a special Third Man Records series release that is sadly not on their album. You can still pick up a copy and enjoy great Buck Owens and Nancy Baron covers (“My Heart Skips a Beat,” “I’ve Got a Feeling”) and distinct originals like “Tennessee Me,” a real favorite. “See me by the fire side light, come and see me through the night, Tennessee me through the night.” It’s almost too cute for words, as is the sisters’ demeanor and also the entire album.


Com Truise – Galactic Melt album review

New Jersey’s Seth Haley, or as we now him by another name, Com Truise, spices up the idea of using a synthesizer to create what I would call “uber-modern” music.

What we may know and characterize as 80’s electronica, dance-cave-type music, is what we get from Haley’s latest effort, Galactic Melt. It’s almost as if Haley is trying to help us through a musical transformation—transitioning us through a new synthesizer-focused and computer-based musical phase.

In fact, the follow-up to last year’s Cyanide Sisters, introduces so many different sounds that you’ll have to take a trip down Galactic Melt lane quite a few times to really get the feel of Haley’s direction.

One listen to Futureworld is plainly not enough. It’s impossible to catch the many intricacies Haley weaved through the track. Same goes for Brokendate. This track in particular slows down the pace but definitely doesn’t let down on the complexity and interestingly enough sophistication of this genre of music. Of course, at first listen, many tracks mimic one another. Though, as mentioned before, after a few listens there is just no way you would be able to spot the same tune. Case in point, Glawio and Ether Drift—two tracks that are bound to awaken your musical taste buds.

Just like the clever play-on-words Haley chose Com Truise as his musical altar-ego, Haley’s music is the same. Galactic Melt is a great example of how this artist fuses and forges sounds and beats into elaborate and unusual tracks.