A dazzling effort of songwriting and vocal delivery by a rising California star, Mike Isberto’s More in Love is a collection of love songs and ballads that exercise the theme of facing the world head on, no longer running from the demons of the past or life’s challenges. A fresh new talent from California, his influences stem from greats such as Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Bob Marley and Otis Redding.
A beautiful, endearing work, Isberto does a fantastic job of leading his band of backing musicians, inspiring them to play to their highest level. An album of great songwriting flair, you’ll find soul and folk intermixed amongst standout tracks like “Truth North,” the piano gem “Lullaby Rain,” and the edgy, appealing swing of “So Lost” (complete with compelling drums and angelic cymbals).
The drums are riveting, the piano recorded in lovely fashion, the vocals drip like honey. The acoustic guitars are the backbone of the record, helping to make each song’s structure perfection. “Perfect Day” is a dreamy, feel-good love song. It’s a piece of work that spells beauty lyrically, touching on themes ranging from summer nights, the rain, movie scenes, and stargazing.
Overall, this is a great album to reflect on, meditate to, and take a summer nap to; it’s also a gorgeously recorded and produced record to savor and enjoy as the holidays draw near.
Mike Isberto More in Love
(Self-released) Recorded & Mixed by Mike Isberto, Jordan De Guzman and Chad Manalo Recorded at the JD Workshop in Loma Linda, CA Mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio in Cornwall, NY www.mikeisberto.com
“Energized, experimental chamber pop with summer-vocals and shimmering guitars”
Cambridge, MA’s Friendly People tapped twenty musicians to record Shake. The result edges the quartet closer to the experimental horizon, more Dirty Projectors than Vampire Weekend, yet both influences can are heard.
The strength of Shake lies in the use of complex instrumentation, which rhythmically swirls and folds melodies around ambushing instrumentation and tempo changes (“Here We Are” and “Maps”).
The difficulty in writing big songs lies in honing succinctness. Most songs on Shake clock in over five minutes. Certainly, some could dive in sooner, but the extraordinary variance and melodic character rises above any residual self-aggrandizing; the songs are catchy.
Stylishly employed guitars, banjo, percussion and horns are scattered throughout Shake, baring the specter of Americana roots while the band surveys the edges of pop and experimental genres. Singer Pat McCusker approximates Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) in his boyish lyrical interplay with fiery heaves of instrumentation, uniting and bridging the rambling background. “Branches” showcases one of the album’s strongest songs, which initially tugs the heels of bedroom folk, slowly throbbing into a dazzling arch of acoustic and electric guitars, pounding rhythms and warm harmonic embers. Shake offers a blissful crunch of pop-listenability and furtive experimental tinkering, resulting in surprising cohesiveness.
Friendly People Shake
(Self-Released) Produced & Engineered by Friendly People Recorded at the Record Company and The Friendly House by Friendly People Mixed at The Friendly House by Mitchell Stewart and Andrew Sarlo Mastered at Peerless Mastering by Jeff Lipton www.friendlypeoplemusic.com
The ripples of the reverb sway back and forth like the tides. This is surf music, an American tradition passed down to us from Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello’s bandstand romps on the beach. But the bikinis and Wayfarers have a darker tint today, shaded by the towering redwoods and scattered driftwood on the shores. There’s no suntan to be spoken of; it’s much too cloudy. Frankie and Annette might have to throw on an extra layer if it gets any darker.
Traditionally, surf rock isn’t a genre laden with realism. It’s escapist at its core, an urge to run, not walk, board in hand to get away to the beach for a while. But in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll be a little harder pressed to find every day so sunny.
That’s where Seattle surf quartet La Luz comes into play. While the name translates to “the light,” the band’s debut full-length It’s Alive veers ironically into the darker side of surf, dropping expressive, damaged vocals over frenetically paced psychedelia.
“It’s not just like sunny California pop,” says the band’s lead singer and guitarist Shana Cleveland. “I think of surf music as having a gothic vibe to it. The surf rock I like to listen to the most is Link Wray and Dick Dale and stuff like that. It seems like it always has a darker side than, like, the Beach Boys.”
Supplementing Cleveland’s tenacious guitar hooks and blackened lyrical tone is a full-on assault of all-female vocal harmonies, drawing a haunting, lo-fidelity alternative to the glossy style of ’60s girl-group pop.
While the marriage of raging surf rock and glistening girl group could drown in overproduction, the band’s lo-fi attitude carries over into the recording process, a nod to Cleveland’s passion for cassette-tape aesthetics and the grimy garage style of artists like Shannon and the Clams, The Shivas and Ty Segall.
“When I was first writing the music for this band, [for] the first few songs that we played I was mostly inspired by stuff that was on cassette tapes,” Cleveland says. “It makes a lot of sense that we use kind of a lo-fi kind of recording because a lot of stuff I was listening to at the time I was hearing on cassette, so it was all kind of gritty and lo-fi.”
The band recorded It’s Alive, out now on Sub Pop’s sister label Hardly Art, in the same place as 2012’s Damp Face EP: a trailer park bedroom on the outskirts of Seattle. But Cleveland says the band was sure to take more care with the full-length to hammer out the particulars.
“We recorded the EP in a day and kind of mixed it in one more day,” Cleveland explains. “[We] just blew through it as fast as we could, just to have some tracks recorded. We went back over a couple weeks and did overdubs and spent a lot of time so we could have it mixed as we wanted.”
That wasn’t the only change that La Luz undertook, however. Although It’s Alive shares a few tracks in common with the group’s earlier EP, the band added Alice Sandahl’s organ chops to its lineup in an effort to round out the surf vibe of the record.
“When I heard the EP I thought, ‘Holy shit, I love this shit and I need to be a part of this shit.’ I really loved hanging out with them and it’s been a magical experience,” Sandahl says.
Despite Sandahl’s reckless abandon en route to joining La Luz, the project has been years in the making. Cleveland and drummer Marian Li Pino had played the Seattle scene in K Records’ garage outfit The Curious Mystery, so when Cleveland set out to assemble an all-female band, Li Pino was a natural choice.
“I really liked the way we worked together, so when she asked me I was totally down,” Li Pino says. “It seemed like it would be really fun to play in this band, too.”
The addition of bassist Abbey Blackwell took more legwork, but once approached she was game.
“Shana was just looking for girl bass players and I kind of almost knew her,” Blackwell says to the laughter of her bandmates. “I’d heard her music before and I thought she was super cool so I was like ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll hang out with you guys and play music.’ ”
The creative process for La Luz has followed suit, with Cleveland handling songwriting duties before presenting ideas to the band for arranging.
“It ends up changing or evolving based on what people think makes sense,” Cleveland says. “I don’t have a hard or fast idea of how the song’s gonna go. We definitely have a lot of collaboration.”
One of the most crucial steps for the band, especially given its girl-group aesthetic, is combining sultry vocal harmonies to the instrumental backbone of its surf sound.
“Those are two of my favorite things to hear in music,” Cleveland says. “I have a feeling that backup vocals are coming back.”
Cleveland’s affinity for tender harmonies layers distinctively against the band’s aggressive, guitar-driven surf backbone. But she enjoys the dynamic, the druggy haze of the band’s beach buzz, allowing her lyrics to shine between her ripping guitar solos. Suddenly, La Luz has carved out a unique style no Dick Dale or Diana Ross can lay claim to.
“I think there’s only benefits to having our own unique sound,” Cleveland says. “I feel like it’s pretty accessible music. It’s the kind of music that appeals to a lot of different kinds of people.”
After the band’s album release, the ladies will take to the road to open for psych-pop legends Of Montreal, turning their Pacific Northwest brand of goth-surf into a coast-to-coast wave. Blackwell describes the sudden rise in notoriety as something of a surprise. “I don’t think any one of us expected it to become this successful,” she says. “I had no idea what I was getting into, so how could I know?”
It’s more than likely a school night. A light glows from a room in Sacramento. A microphone plugged into a karaoke machine hangs from the rafters of a teenage bedroom. Toiling below the mic, two pre-teen punk rock hopefuls sit in front of their instruments and begin picking through notes, forming what will be the first song of their catalogue. It’s 2007, and the members of Dog Party are 11 and 9 years old.
Sisters Gwen and Lucy formed the band out of a love for ’70s and ’80s punk music. Encouraged by their parents, they quickly blazed a trail most independent musicians would envy. Since 2007, the group has released two full-length records and is preparing to release their third (Lost Control) with the help of Mike Park and Asian Man Records. The girls have merch, a record deal, and they’ve just completed yet another national tour. Side note: they still tour with their parents. And yes at 17, Gwendolyn has just gotten her driver’s license, but points out she wont be able to legally drive her bandmate/sister until she is 18, due to California state law.
The interesting thing about Dog Party is that they’re incredibly well behaved. Although it’s interesting on paper, the 17-year-old with the guitar and the record deal is surprisingly normal. Dog Party likes playing shows, but goes so far as in our interview to point out that, “During the school year we try not to play too many shows during the week. We just played a show last night (Thursday) and it was really tough! I had an essay that I had to work on the entire time, and even missed our friend’s band, who I really wanted to see. We just have to really manage our time.”
Their latest effort, Lost Control, is incredibly accomplished. Their sound lies somewhere between The Runaways and Best Coast (emphasis lying arguably on the latter, somewhat unintentionally). Their new record was recorded on tape, a process the girls prefer over digital, as recording to tape is, as they put it, “more genuine, more raw and full of energy.” This begs the question: What garage band do you know that’s made it through three records? Better question, what 15-year-old has an opinion on tape vs. digital that they can actually back up via a catalogue?
This isn’t meant to be patronizing, either. A quick jog around the Internet exposes interview after interview of the same question regarding school, boys, age, parents etc. Dog Party basically answers the same ‘Top 5’ questions worldwide. No wonder they have a publicist. I imagine at this point answers can simply be copied and pasted. Their story begs another question: How important is age in music these days? Was Dog Party arguably too young at its inception? Do they often feel patronized due to it? They’re also both female and in the punk scene, and although we’d like to think that was all cleared up by Ms. Hanna (Kathleen) back in the ’90s, is still mostly a major issue.
The girls address the topic with ease. “We choose not to really look at age or gender in relation to the bands we listen to or the shows we play, but I guess it could affect some people before they actually get to know us.” Age or gender apparently does not factor into Dog Party’s universe. They are without interest and can’t be bothered by either supposed hardship. The only downside they care to mention is, “It limits the venues we can play and we occasionally miss out on [performing live] with some really cool bands because of it.”
We’re at a stalemate. Dog Party is either so incredibly positive that they float above any and all conflict, or they are the most media-savvy teenagers in public school. They are normal, happy kids. They live normal lives and probably eat dinner every night with their family. But they have a publicist, which is what makes this feel different. They aren’t prodigies or musical masterminds. Their worth is built upon their relationship as a team. Their value is as a band; Dog Party is indie-rock’s most successful (literal) garage band.
They don’t hang out with people their age. They go on tour with musicians like Kepi Ghoulie (a punk scene staple for 20 years). Their first show was opening for Agent Orange. Dog Party goes home and does their homework, but the bands they open up for are the same age as their parents, and maybe that’s the real lynchpin here; Dog Party is two young ladies with incredibly supportive parents. Maybe at the end of the day this isn’t about talent or luck, but about a support system built around the creativity of two young people.
As their label owner Mike Park points out, “You don’t see many parents who are at every show helping sell merch and just being there to support instead of trying to show the world their kid is the next superstar. Everyone is humble and understands the punk ethics involved in this DIY endeavor.” Maybe what we really need are for the parents of these two bright young musicians to write a book on how to help kids blossom artistically. There aren’t a lot of kids out their who have three records under their belt, but there also aren’t many parents who would let their kid hop in a tour van at 17 and haul ass around the planet. This is a “chicken or the egg” scenario that should really be given some thought.
Gwen and Lucy are positive about their musical future. When asked about their upcoming plans, their only goal is “to have as much fun as possible! Make good records!” In some ways talking to Dog Party feels like talking to the incredibly positive sheltered kid in your math class. Except Dog Party isn’t sheltered by a social construct or an overly protective patriarch. They are held boldly in the arms of a music scene and network of people who’ve chosen to foster and encourage two kids with big ideas (and killer punk songs, to boot). Does Dog Party have more records than the average garage band because they are exceptional? Or is this a shining example of what two kids are capable of when we empower them to blaze their own trail?
Ben Kweller is the real deal. Authentic. You probably already know all about the “indie darling” legend. This piece is not about Ben’s music, which is fantastic. It’s about the process that has allowed him to do it for 20 years (and counting). It’s also about a musician taking control of his artistic and business future with the intention of doing great work, purely from the soul. That’s what we all really want, isn’t it?
Ben is one of us, and more. He’s been there, done that. He’s played to only a bartender and his girlfriend, and he’s also toured the world many times. He’s been signed as a teen, gone solo before he could buy a drink, became an indie star before it was cool, did Brooklyn before it was cool, got signed again, had music in movies, got dropped from a label, built a studio, produced other artists, and is now acting in movies – all while maintaining a relationship that now includes two children. Seriously, no matter where you are in your career, he’s been there, and knows the struggle you are going through as an artist making their way through this business – because he still is, too.
And now, add to his resume: Music Mogul. Ben Kweller has fully launched his very own label, The Noise Company. He tapped fellow Austinite, Kevin Wommack (Playing in Traffic Records) to run the label, and expanded the staff to include the terrific Emmy Black (formerly of Bar None Records) and Mary Jurey (formerly of New West Records). This is no vanity label though; with distribution through Warner’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) and an eye for publishing revenue, they are ready for success. In addition to Ben’s latest release, Go Fly A Kite, the label recently signed indie band Wild Child, which recently won two Austin Music Awards. Wild Child’s first release for the label, TheRunaround, is out now and was produced by Kweller.
I had a chance to chat with Ben over a few days about the new label, life off the road, artistry in general, and what advice he would give to artists in the game today. We laughed a lot, and even sang some Hall and Oates together! He provides some great insight into what’s working…
So, you’re off the road, in Austin with the family now; how’s life going?
Great, we’re getting the kids back into school, and there’s swimming lessons going on. Weekends are like holidays! It’s really a cool time.
But, as always, you are actually really busy, right? Fully launching the label, adding management. Plus: signing, producing, and now releasing the Wild Child’s new release. That’s a lot. How is the transition going?
It’s a really cool and exciting time for me. For the last five years, I’ve been managing my own affairs: publicity, booking, tour planning, catering, etc. Ha! It’s been a great experience and education. I’ve met a bunch of cool people and built a ton of personal relationships. But there’s a lot I want to do. I want to see The Noise Company grow, and I wanted to produce more. I like being creative, but I can’t run a record label AND produce, and record, play shows, and whatever else. I want a record label, but I don’t want to run it. I shouldn’t.
Enter Kevin Wommack (new head of The Noise Company and manager). It seems like he is the glue that is going to hold this all together.
Yeah, Kevin is the man. He was just the right fit. He’s been around longer than I have and gets it. To trust my career and business to someone is a big deal. There’s something about working with people who have toured and are songwriters, like Kevin. You know that they know, without having to go into why. That’s cool.
Why start your own and not just take a new deal with an established label?
In 2013, every musician is the C.E.O. of his or her own career. You can’t just be a slacker artist anymore. The bands coming up in the ’90s were the last generation to not care about ‘points’ or publishing, and just let it be ‘taken care of.’ There’s not as much money to go around these days, so you can’t rely on a bunch of people to do everything for you, but you do need a team. That’s what we’re trying to do with The Noise Company.
You’re producing a lot more; will that continue with acts that your label signs?
This (The Runaround) is my fourth. I have to say that Roger Greenwald, my first producer, taught me everything I know about the art of recording and production. I am so lucky to have worked with him. Of course, as a label, I have that romantic idea of a Berry Gordy operation – obviously that’s the shit! But I am busy as an artist, too, and that’s got to be the priority. When it comes up and the stars align, I will put everything on hold for the right one, but my fans are the priority.
How did working with Wild Child come about?
Candice Digby is really the one responsible for us working together. She turned me on to their first self-released record. I liked it and then I saw them live, and loved it. Then they started sending me demos and the songs were almost done. I pushed them to change a little here and there, and we just decided to do the full producing thing. I’m a diplomatic producer. It sucks if a producer walks in and says, ‘This chorus sucks, go rewrite it!’ It’s their album and they have to live with it. Make music you believe in, and don’t give a fuck what others think about it. They seemed to agree with that.
Sounds like it was a good match. How was it different than recording and producing yourself?
It was special because not every album has a definite first single, and ‘Crazy Bird’ is the first single on this record. Hands-down, everybody knows it. That is totally different than my records.
How should independent bands approach live shows now?
I am still a true believer in one fan at a time; but there’s a trick to it. I don’t recommend just touring for touring’s sake. I think even better results come from opening for people as much as possible to get in front of their fans. When I was in NYC and went solo, I made Freak Out, It’s Ben Kweller. I got pretty lucky because Jeff Tweedy, Juliana Hatfield, and others heard it. I didn’t headline for two years. I just kept opening up for people and tried to win their fans over. Once you’re in, become friends with booker at the venue. Also, have a mailing list, it is still so important.
What do you think about musicians on social media?
Again, it’s all about authenticity. I have good friends, like Conor Oberst, and he doesn’t do Twitter or Facebook at all; he won’t touch the stuff. And that’s cool. And then there are some people that tweet about everything like John Mayer used to. Both are fine as long as you are being yourself. I talk about politics sometimes. There’s a time and place for everything, but if you believe in it, share it – even if it’s cookies you made, you know? Part of being an artist is how you perceive the world around you.
Are you on the YouTube bandwagon? Have you seen that songs with videos do better at shows, or on radio?
Yes, I love video. I think everyone loves video. I’ve always loved home movies. YouTube is fun as hell. As far as reactions, there are certain videos that really stick with the fans. I have a song called ‘Fight’ – in the video the kids are pumping their fist to the beat, and now the kids do that to the song when I’m playing it live. That’s pretty cool. I even know it’s coming, so I can kind of control how they respond.
Is radio dead? Should bands focus on streamers like Spotify etc., or does a traditional college radio campaign still make sense?
Definitely get on all the digital stuff you can. You do still have to spend a bunch of money to get in front of program directors. That’s just the deal. But, I am also still a big believer in radio. I never had a ton of it, but enough of it to see it can make a big difference over time. It can still be a place for the more alternative, ‘left of center’ stuff. It’s also about priorities. If I only had $2,000, I’d bypass the radio stuff, print some t-shirts for fans and make sure to have van that’s ready to go. Live performances are the quickest way to get your music to people. It’s amazing how radio follows that.
So now as a big label ‘suit…’ (Ha! Ha!) How does a band get your attention? Should they do a demo, wait until they can finish a recording to license, or just send a live video?
Every step of the way that you move closer to a finished product is a good thing. I like more of a collaborative A&R approach. Wild Child did a self-released thing, and they developed a great following here in town [Austin]. Then they played me some demos of new songs, and I knew I wanted to help produce. It’s a process. What’s the vision? Do people dig it? Can I see where it can go? As a producer, I love a demo so I can have input on the final output. But a finished release is cool, too. The best way to get my attention is to make compelling art, and always have new stuff being worked on. We’re always looking, and if a record comes along that we love, we’ll get into it. We get submissions from fans and we have music meetings and listen to stuff. I’m looking for people where music is your only option in life. If that’s the case, you are probably already building a following, writing, and recording. Those are the people I want to hear.
IF YOU’RE SIGNED TO A LABEL, THE MONEY YOU EARN FROM RECORD SALES doesn’t flow directly from your supporters to your pocket like it did in the early days. A majority of your income now flows from your fans to an online or brick and mortar store, through your label, then down to you and your bandmates. At the basic record label level – gross profits are accounted, overhead and out-of-pocket recouped, with the net allocated according to your royalty rate. While a check will come to you in the mail, you’ll never get to watch the sausage being made. Can you trust the person signing your checks and is there a way to know if you’re being ripped off? This month’s Legal Pad looks at label contracts, accounting, and getting what you’ve earned.
When You’ll Get Paid: You will only begin to see royalty payments once your label has recouped the money it spent out of pocket to record, manufacture, and promote your album. That said, you should begin to see royalty statements almost immediately. Most labels will send royalty statements twice per year, conducting accounting within 90 days after the end of June and December, with statements issued after the books are complete.
In the event that you feel as though your record label hasn’t paid you what you deserve, you want the ability to check the records. The review of your label to determine whether it is paying the proper amount of royalties and complying with relevant provisions of your contract is called an audit. Whether major label or indie, an audit provision is a staple of any good record contract. If you don’t have a stipulation in the contract that gives you this authority to audit, your ability to do so becomes much more difficult (but more on that later).
Audit Provision: If you’re signing a record label contract, it is recommend that you have an attorney review and negotiate the agreement on your behalf. As an example, here is a sample audit provision:
“Label will maintain books and records which report the sales of Records, on which royalties are payable to you. You may, but not more than once a year, at your own expense, examine those books and records, as provided in this paragraph only. You may make those examinations only for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of the statements sent to you. All such examinations shall be in accordance with GAAP* procedures and regulations. You may make such an examination for a particular statement only once, and only within one (1) year after the date when Label is required to send you that statement.”
Read this provision closely – you’ll see that, while giving you the right to audit, the provision is still highly restrictive (i.e. limits audits to once per year and only for one year after statements are issued). Whenever you can, broaden the scope of your audit provision. Labels will add as many limiting provisions as possible, making sure they have the right to determine when, where and how the audit takes place, and requiring any accountant examining the books to sign a letter of confidentiality. Further, as in the example above, labels will require that an auditor be paid from the band’s pocket (discouraging audits that allow payment on a contingency of the audit proceeds). A flat fee audit can be incredibly expensive and cost prohibitive. There’s no mystery behind why this provision is included – the label is discouraging your ability to audit by making it too expensive to do so.
* GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principals, and is the general framework accounting in any given jurisdiction. In the event that you want a review of your label’s books, hire a certified public accountant (CPA) to handle your audit (and preferably one with knowledge or the record industry).
The Audit: Audits are commonplace in the recording industry and can take anywhere from a day to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the numbers and records involved. Generally, accounting issues at record labels can be the result of (1) human error; (2) errors based upon company procedure; and (3) misinterpretation of your record agreement. A fourth category – unscrupulous business practices – is typically less of an issue, but always one to look out for. While most major artists will audit their label at least once – if not several times – over the course of a contract, it is less common for smaller labels. That said, you should have no hesitation in the event you feel an audit is required. Big business or small, each label should maintain detailed records of all income, overhead, and disbursements.
If you choose to audit your label, make sure to abide by the timelines and guidelines set forth in your contract. Failure to do so can render any errors void. In the event that you don’t have an audit provision in your contract, have a letter written to your label requesting an audit and specifying the time and place of the review. If you get no response, send a follow up. In the event that your label is unwilling to allow an audit, you may have to bring a legal proceeding against your label for the ability to inspect its books.
Adam Barnosky is a Boston-based attorney and writer. For industry trends, legal updates, or to request an upcoming LegalPad topic, find him on Twitter @adambarnosky.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this column is general legal information only and should not be taken as a comprehensive guide to copyright law. Consult your attorney for all specific considerations.
“Interesting take on punk that takes you right back to the good ol’ days”
Hailing from Pennsylvania, Stardog Champion’s new album, Exhale, is neither short on guitar nor drums, which is a recipe that will have you head banging and ready to mosh in no time. Don’t let that fool you, though.
Exhale is an emotionally-charged album saturated with passion. This balance between great guitar riffs and emotion creates a fantastically orchestrated record that’s slightly addictive, but not bad for your health.
Stardog Champion was formed in 2011 after a dispute between Aaron Fink, a former Breaking Benjamin member, and their lead singer Benjamin Burnley. Upon breaking away from the band, Fink reunited with former Lifer member (a band with whom he started his career) Nick Coyle. Fink and Coyle began Stardog Champion, picking up Josh Karis, former drummer of Leroy Justice, along the way.
This loud, aggressive rock is nothing to pass up. With the history of the band in mind, let yourself enjoy this new take on some of your favorite sounds that were brought to you by these members in another time.
Stardog Champion Exhale
(Self-released) Produced & Mixed by Neal Avron Engineered by Erich Talaba Mastered by Ted Jenson at Sterling Sound, NYC www.StardogChampion.com
In this month’s “My Favorite Axe” column, we highlighted Jonathan Pretus (pictured below) of The Breton Sound out of New Orleans. Today we’re happy to premiere their new video for the track ”Standing on the Edge of the World.”
On top of all this excitement, the band has also just released a limited-run vinyl of their latest, Maps, and has been added to this year’s Voodoo lineup.
The newest release from Milwaukee’s Elusive Parallelograms, Fragments, is a raw, energetic representation of the band’s DIY spirit and approach to producing records. Opening with “Lucidity,” a sub-90 second song, it is immediately clear that this act is something different and they’re not afraid to embrace it.
The EP dives into EP’s more traditional style with “Helium,” a dancing, driving track that features tasteful guitar licks and vocalist Andrew Foys’ powerful lyrics. “Semantics” stands out the second the track kicks in with its powerful intro and killer bass line. The energy that comes from “Semantics” perfectly embodies the band’s attitude towards the DIY approach and the conscious decision to not use big-name producers.
The non-traditional harmonies and the layered, raw sound from most of Fragments’ tracks are what set them apart from the perfect, clean, beat-mapped and heavily produced sound of most mainstream acts today. “8-Bit” and “Street Legal” sit together perfectly, leading to “Absolution,” a powerful song in 3/4 time that closes the EP on an energetic and lasting note.
Elusive Parallelograms have gone through multiple lineup changes since their start and claim that the music calls all the shots. Their DIY method of writing and recording in their self-built studio in Milwaukee’s Bayview neighborhood has definitely brought them places they might never have seen on the traditional route.
Engineered by Andrew Foys & Elusive Parallelograms
Mixed by Shane Olivo & Elusive Parallelograms
Mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering