Empath announce new album “Visitor”, share new single

Photo by Marie Lin

Empath have announced their new album Visitor, set to be released on February 11th via Fat Possum. Pre-order here. The announcement comes alongside warmly intoxicating and dance-floor worthy new single “Diamond Eyelids” and accompanying bare-it-all music video directed by Halle Ballard.

Speaking about the new single singer Catherine Elicson said:

This song was written in a stream of consciousness from a few pieced together memories I had. One of coming downstairs at my house one morning and unexpectedly finding a friend who lives on the other side of the country asleep on the couch, and the other memory was of when a friend used to travel from Chicago an hour and a half to the suburbs to work full time at a low paying Americorps job. Collaging memories in a way that created an emotional narrative about reaching for a fleeting moment of connection and familiarity.

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Talking about the new album a press release said:

On Visitor, Empath sought to one-up the range of sounds heard on their previous album. During what he calls West Philly Christmas (the week undergrads at UPenn move out and leave piles of high-quality garbage out on the street) Randall Coon recovered a suitcase organ with a sound bank from a Jamiroquai record preset on it, which he later played on the album, in addition to running samples on Ableton and acquiring a brand new synth; Jem Shanahan, who plays a ‘90s children’s keyboard, had Portrait filter it in such a way that it sounded “less childlike”; Catherine Elicson’s vocals, buried deep in the mix on Active Listening: Night on Earth, take center stage; and Garrett Koloski’s drums are as capacious as they might be in a live set.

“Our approach to songwriting, and what we constantly try to improve upon, is finding the meeting ground between all of our distinct points of view and ideas we are trying to achieve sonically and conceptually,” Elicson says. “We never want to be tied down to one type of song or sound, and we love all kinds of improvisational music. We try to fit everything we love into each song, and hopefully produce something new and exciting through that process of synthesis.” 

Visitor attempts to fill space, both physical and psychic, visible and invisible. The album’s cover was photographed by Andrew Emond, who captures the interiors of abandoned buildings. “The spaces look lived in and altered by humans but no humans are present,” Elicson reflects. “The songs are similar in the sense that they talk about the ‘space’ between people. They’re not about specific people per se, but they illustrate the feelings people leave between each other, these subjective experiences. You can think of Visitor as a soundtrack to the memories and feelings that remain in places people have left behind.” 

Tracklisting:

1. Genius of Evil
2. Born 100 Times
3. Diamond Eyelids
4. Passing Stangers
5. Corner of Surprise
6. House + Universe
7. Elvis Comeback Special
8. 80s
9. V
10. Bell
11. Paradise

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Hovvdy share two new singles “Junior Day League” and “Around Again”

Photo by Adam Alonzo

Austin, Texas-based duo Hovvdy have today shared two new singles “Junior Day League” and “Around Again” alongside accompanying music videos directed by Hayden Hubner and Adam Alonzo respectively. The new singles follow on from “True Love”, the title track from their upcoming album True Love, set to be released on October 1st via Grand Jury.

Hovvdy continue the build up to their upcoming album with two slices of lo-fi pie. The simplicity of the sound that they capture is their greatest asset. Like a mid-summers sun, the warmness of the tracks radiates at every corner with flashes of nostalgia shining through the slow passing clouds. These tracks are best in enjoyed in moments of quiet contemplation, allowing you to embrace the beauty of the world around you.

Of the tracks Will Taylor says

Around Again lyrically shifts between big reflections and small memories. The simplicity of the music and words really helped define this song for me. I’m thankful to have had help from Charlie and Andrew expanding and finishing it.

Junior Day League is about being in a daze on a fast day in a new town. Falling enamored with the people you’re with and the setting you’re in. Letting things move around you, rather than trying to control them.

Listen to the new singles below!

Subculture – ACiiiD DRIPPED FLYING BUTT€R GUNS EP Review

Twisted Hearts Records – 2021

Haifa-born, London-raised producer Subculture aka Edan Feldman-Vazan returns with the follow up to 2019’s debut album I Dream Of Everything. Inspired by the turmoil of lockdown ACiiiD DRIPPED FLYING BUTT€R GUNS EP sought to turn his production talents to create a portrait of escapism from the real world. Coming in the form of the ACiiiD DRIPPED FLYING BUTT€R GUNS EP that plays like a mellowed out psychedelic burst of subtle despair amongst beauty.

Opening with the spacey and psychedelic tinged “Tornados”, woozy beats and lo-fi guitars aplenty, Subculture creates the type of soundscapes that are best appreciated late at night on the train home. As Hak Baker’s vocals crash in, the song transitions to invoke that sense of blissful melancholy that can be found with the likes of Gorillaz Plastic Beach. It feels like a wash of nostalgia thrown over you, the voices of the past circling around your head.

The pace is quickly increased on the title track however as the acid tab kicks in. Through seething horns and highly filtered guitars Subculture displays his dexterity in sound manipulation. There may not be as much depth of emotion as the rest of the EP, but it acts as a place-marker for the way Subculture crafts moods into sounds. To speak as the kids do, it’s certainly a vibe.

And to complete the full cycle of this trip, third track “Saving Grace” feels like the comedown after the wild ride. Lo-fi distorted textures and pianos create the kind of a melancholia that can be found starting out the window on a sunny summers eve after an afternoon spent with friends. It’s that perfect blend of sadness after joy that Subculture captures. As Edwin Arzu’s laidback verses of longing for someone roll along you can’t help but feel nostalgic for a love that you never had.

This EP stands as a dexterous journey through the mind of Subculture and the soundscapes that he inhabits. Crafting distorted worlds of his own inspired by the distorted world around him.

Subculture shares new single “Tornados” featuring Hak Baker

Photo by Harvey Williams-Fairley

Subculture has today shared new single “Tornados”, featuring Hak Baker. This is the first single from the UK Producer’s new EP ACiiiD DRIPPED FLYING BUTT€R GUNS set to be released on June 25th via Twisted Hearts Records. Over woozy beats and lo-fi guitars Subculture creates the type of soundscapes that are best appreciated late at night on the train home. As Baker’s vocals crash in the song transitions to invoke that sense of blissful melancholy that can be found with the likes of Gorrillaz.

Speaking on the new single Subculture said:

“Passing a year of living in lockdown, I began to notice the four walls confining me paled in significance to the universe I’d visit every night after dark. ‘Tornados’ is about the fantastical wonders and places we journey to every night when we go to sleep. I brought in my good friend and incredible artist Hak Baker to help me get there. Sonically I wanted the world to feel colourful and magical – like a John Lennon record but produced in 2021” 

Listen to the new single below!

Clever Girls – Constellations Album Review

Egghunt Records – 2021

Vermont based indie quartet Clever Girls return with the follow up to 2018’s Luck and there’s certainly been a long wait for its arrival. Originally writing began before the band even released their 2018 debut, surrounded by months of tiresome touring supporting their debut. Then releasing the first single “Remember Pluto” back in 2019 and now nearly a year and a half later they have delivered the finished product.

One of the biggest themes of this album is lead singer Diane Jean’s journey of self discovery and questioning their identity, something that eventually lead to them coming out as queer and gender-nonconforming person. On “Stonewall” they sing “I don’t feel as good as you” as they question their role within relationships as someone whose assigned to female at birth. You can hear the despair and longing in their voice, Jean has even said that they recorded the vocal take in one go in a sleeping bag. It’s that realisation that the relationship you’re in isn’t equally weighted from both parts, but the roots of the problem lie deeper in the way you are raised. This lack of worth within a relationship returns on closer “Fried” as Jean sings “Wanted to seem like I’d picked up my pride, turn down the bed and switch off the lights, go down on you anyway” over woozy melancholic piano chords. Sharing this intimate moment as to them it feels as though it’s become a necessity rather than an actual desire. “You exist in a place that I never did, And i’ve never forgiven” they repeat on the chorus, further emphasising the disparity.

This sense of isolation is fully realised on “Baby Blue”, as although the guitar riff may sound hopeful and uplifting it’s juxtaposed with a journal of Jean’s solitary. “I’ve been standing on the corner, I’ve been sitting at home, I’ve been pacing the floor boards and spending too much time alone” they sing. Although this track was written nearly 3 years ago, the message seems even more relevant now. On “Saturn” however Jean is taking a look at the ways she can change her life. “You keep me falling, meet me in the middle” Jean repeats on the first half of the song, showing how they feel tied down to their current situation. Come the second half Jean is being reborn, moving forward and upward as they sing “Spit me back up, i’m a killer”. Taking the reins and finding a new lease of life.

From the opening moments of this album you realise that although Jeans’ vocals are often tender and intimate, the soundscape that backs them has a tendency to burst out into full blown rage at any moment, mostly when you least expect it. On “Come Clean” the song starts with an uneasy drum beat and gentle guitars. Then around the 1:20 mark the song explodes into a wall of cacophonous sounds, as if the inner emotion that Jean is feeling is trying to burst out. This trope is explored many times on the album, like on “Womxn” where the track builds through creepy and sleazy chords and melodies until it detonates into its epic ending of chaos and controlled erraticism.

This tendency to move into this heavier sound however does leave the album becoming somewhat stale at points and almost lacking in textural depth. Jeans’ vocals are the guiding force through the journey that this album takes you on, however at many points they almost become unintelligible. The band may have been trying to tap into more of a lo-fi aesthetic at these points but it comes at the cost of any memorable moments. Like on “Baby Blue” the sound becomes so blown out and full towards the latter half of the track that everything feels like it’s being submerged in a muddy mix of contrasting ideas. It does lead into the atmospheric and dream like title track “Constellations” that adds a bit more sonic range to the album but it’s all too short and sweet; a fleeting glimpse of something more.

That being said this is certainly an enjoyable listen and showcases the bands potential for dynamic songwriting, and will surely be exciting in a live scenario. The storytelling is intimate and Jean’s voice acts as a comforting companion through this journey of self exploration.