Songs from the Reading Room: koleżanka

koleżanka 00koleżanka (Kristina Moore joined by Arky and Winter Calkins) joined us at the Reading Room and shared these lovely songs with all in attendance, which now includes all of you as well. Both tracks will appear on their much anticipated debut album Vessel, which is due out in June. But before that, catch them live on Tuesday May 16 when they open for Silver Ships at the Trunk Space.

In the meantime, allow their experimental/electronic/noise pop to wash over you and succumb to its beauty. Check out both koleżanka videos below.

koleżanka
“Flyfishing/Snow Cone Summer”

koleżanka
“Pageant”

The Noise Floor: Carrier Hotel

carrier hotel 01

by Chris Nunley
Staff Writer

One of the biggest deterrents I believe that keeps noise music from reaching a wider audience is fear. Fear of the unknown and grounded by chaos: “noise” as a genre follows no rules.

Tracing its primordial roots back to the Dada movement of the 1920’s, it rejects any basic assumption of musical composition and screams with an emphatic loop of wailing feedback “FUCK YOU! I’M DOING WHAT I WANT!”

But what gets lost in this rebellious declaration is the actual purpose of noise music. Noise, like an onion, is about textures. From the dry outer skin to the fleshy moist center, a listener must be willing to peel back all layers slowly and consume each one in small bites.

The greatest example of this fear is Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. When RCA demanded a follow up release to the Top 10 success of Sally Can’t Dance, Reed went back into the studio and recorded a path-clearing masterpiece. A double album of modulated feedback, many believe that this was an attempt of fulfilling his contractual obligation with the label. And boy was it roundly rejected by the masses, to the point where the album was sent packing from the shelves mere weeks after its release. While Billy Altman of Rolling Stone declared that it was “nothing more than ear-wrecking electronic sludge”, Lester Bangs decreed that it was “the greatest record ever made in the history of the human eardrum”. Some may argue that MMM is the cornerstone to both heavy metal and industrial music.

Since 2011, I’ve enjoyed the work produced by Atlanta electronic sound junkie Ryan Taylor (Tay0, Eldorado Omega). Over the years, he has carefully woven beautiful synthetic layers over sharply produced drum track breaks and gradually progressed to drone. This progression has been like peeling back the layers of his own onion. Although it may not be the fleshiest bit, the collaboration project Carrier Hotel with fellow musician Zachary Hollback is definitely rich in crunchy textures.

Using a perfect recipe of tape loops, feedback, drones, static and the occasional off-meter break beat, these southern gents make tastefully accessible onion soup with their debut, 2016​.​1. Plus given Taylor’s background in production, it came as no surprise that 2016​.​1 is as dynamic as it is inspiring.

Although the album was released in January 2016, it’s been one of those that I’ve had to nibble on slowly. Not too soft, not too harsh, 2016.1 might very well be one of the best noise albums to help the unconverted lose their fear of a misunderstood movement.

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chris nunley 000Chris Nunley began writing for YabYum in the Summer of 2015 and his latest series The Noise Floor seeks to explore the outer limits of sound. When he’s not popping in for a local show or taking road trips, he devotes his creative energy to his evolving electronic music project, Sliide.

7 Singles for a Mellow Morning

mellow 000Daniel Trakell

“Paradise”

Hey Melbourne, I think someone needs to hug Daniel Trakell. Or maybe several someones. “Paradise” is the most beautifully depressing, elusively suicidal thing I’ve heard since Elliott Smith’s posthumously released New Moon – I can’t stop listening and it breaks my heart every single time I hear it. There is a sublime peace at the core of “Paradise” that is carried in Trakell’s voice. The artist sought a “deliberately funereal feel” and I guess it was a success. I want this song played at my funeral. The complete EP, which shares its name with this single, comes out on March 24th. Before that happens, listen to “Paradise” below so you can share in the anticipation.

Candy Cigarettes

“Stockholm”

The Portland indie act known as Candy Cigarettes released this single earlier this year and I’ve amassed quite a few listens since then. “Stockholm” kicks of with an indie-folk sound before moving into more dream pop terrain and back again. The song presents a strange sense of isolation or, maybe not so strange, considering Candy Cigarettes is the solo effort of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Lane Mueller. As you move through “Stockholm” it will probably surprise you when you remember that this track is the creation of only one artist. This song isn’t quite as brooding as others, but it is no less meditative. Check out “Stockholm” from Candy Cigarettes below…

Willetta

“Books”

Willetta released a collection songs earlier this month, and if you haven’t already taken a swim through the cool, murky waters of Frisson, you should. “Books”, the middle child of this three-track, proved my favorite, and for more than just the personal obvious affinity for its title and narrative. On this single, Anna shares both a gravitas weight and gossamer lightness which her voice is capable of in full splendor. Implementing both aspects helps give to shape the emotionally complex soundscapes that define Willetta’s drone-folk sound. This song, like others from Willetta, present more of a thinkpiece rather than a traditional “single” so plan on repeat listens. Sink into “Books” below and then check out Frisson (available here). 

Timid, the Brave

“Alice”

I don’t know what I found most compelling about this new single from Ontario’s Timid, the Brave: the understated beauty of the music or the emotional depth of the lyrics. Tim Selles, the musician behind Timid, the Brave, wrote the song “Alice” after his grandmother passed away. According to the artist, “Alice” is “a song about love and life and death, and finding a way to fight through the varying levels of devastation that we all experience.” That seems like a hefty order to fill, but Timid, the Brave does just that with such grace you won’t even notice the sorrow that’s carved out a chink in your chest. At least, not immediately. This track comes to us from the album Firesale which Timid, the Brave released on Feb. 24th through Other Songs, an independent label based out of Ontario.

 Jesse Jo Stark

“Driftwood”

L.A. lass Jesse Jo Stark might be a relative newcomer on the scene, but she’s been locking down new fans fast with her single, “Driftwood”. Stark’s voice clambers from brooding depths to uplifting heights with the easy grace of a mountain goat. There is something earthy and authentic that one might not expect from the likes of a longtime La La Land resident. Rather than going for the glitz, Stark keeps it simple and honest as she delves the seemingly aimless intentions of love. Stark co-wrote “Driftwood” with Jonathan Rice who you might know from his work with Jenny Lewis. Rice also produced the single. I’m certainly hoping this song only marks the beginning for Jesse Jo Stark and more tracks follow soon. Until then, give “Driftwood” a spin below…

The Elephants

“I Can Feel You”

This indie-rock duo from the Ukraine crafts out a dreamy but melancholy sound on “I Can Feel You”. The instrumentation on this single has an ethereal air that is met with muted vocals. Nothing grating or jarring will abscond your sense of inner peace as you float on the gentle waters of “I Can Feel You”. This single comes to us from The Elephants’ 10-track LP, Colors, which is available here. Give “I Can Feel You” a spin below and  follow up the full release.

Skin & Bones

“Lightless Star”

We dig the roots rock music of Skin & Bones and first featured them back in November last year. And now, the Cali-duo is back with a new number. “Lightless Star” still has that blues-rock feel that drives the band’s sound, but this single is a little more mellow and a little more passionate. I guess one should expect as much from a song somewhat inspired by the poem “For the Anniversary of My Death” by W.S. Merwin [see here]. Give “Lightless Star” a listen below…

The Songbird Award: Karima Walker

karima 000The only thing that competes with Karima Walker’s stunning song construction is her heart-stirring voice. Walker unveiled Hands in Our Names, recorded at Five Thirteen Recording, back in June and the limited edition cassette already sold out.

Senior editor Carly Schorman wrote of the album, “Combining elements of drone and folk, Walker crafts layers of sound that can have an eerie effect on the listener, like a half-remembered dream or half-forgotten lover.” And, of Walker’s vocal layers, she wrote, “the juxtaposition of Walker’s ethereal voice against the rough, occasionally grating (gently grating, never overly-grating) effects, creates an interesting aural relationship – one that I could spend hours entrenched in.”

Hands in Our Names is experimental and beautiful in the same breath. Karima Walker’s entrancing voice lends itself to the minimal production in such a way as to give it substance beyond its structure. If you haven’t done so already, spend some time with Hands in Our Names by Karima Walker below…

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Original review of Hands In Our Names by Karima Walker

Previous Songbird Award Winners:

2015: Anamieke of Treasurefruit
2014: Laura Kepner-Adney
2013: Ann Seletos & Lonna Kelly of Cherie Cherie
2012: Kristina Moore

For the Record: Hands In Our Names by Karima Walker

karima walkerby Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Tucson’s Karima Walker recently released a hauntingly beautiful album, Hands in Our Names. Combining elements of drone and folk, Walker crafts layers of sound that can have an eerie effect on the listener, like a half-remembered dream or half-forgotten lover.

There is a strong push toward minimalism on the album that I love. And, the juxtaposition of Walker’s ethereal voice against the rough, occasionally grating (gently grating, never overly-grating) effects, creates an interesting aural relationship – one that I could spend hours entrenched in. Thankfully, Hands in Our Names has twelve rich tracks in which to submerge your ears.

Karima Walker was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to discuss the album, her upcoming tour, and what’s next for her musically.

YabYum: I love the way you so seamlessly fuse drone and folk. I would imagine you have a disparate group of influences. What are some of the musicians you listen to? Or some traditions you draw on for your own work?

Karima Walker: Thank you! I was listening to Linda Perphacs, Bill Callahan, John Luther Adams, Eliane Radigue, and Will Oldham’s album from a few years ago, Wolfroy Goes to Town. That one has been swimming around in my head for a while. Masters of fullness and quietness. Then last year I saw Holly Herndon and that changed my life. I have spent a fair amount of time in the Americana/folk tradition but in moving back to Tucson a few years ago, I was re-exposed to metal a little bit. I joined Human Behavior last year, that project has been great for getting weird. I also am responding to a singer-songwriter tradition.

I see you came up to the Valley to record your new project at 513 Recording. What led you to that choice?

I first recorded at 513 with the Wanda Junes a couple years ago. I loved working with Catherine and Dominic, so I came back.

Can you tell me a little bit about the construction of this album? Did you enter the studio with a clear idea of what the song (or album) would ultimately sound like or was the process a little more organic within the studio setting?

I had the album almost completely assembled when I came in, but it was on all these different planes: paper, tapes arranged or stacked in the sequence I desired, [or] in Ableton, as one huge session. I knew I’d want to add some things or possibly re-record some pieces in the studio, but I had a good sense of what I wanted going into it.

kwalkerYou’ve worked with a number of musical projects out of Tucson. Would you mind naming some endeavors where people might have heard your work before?

I’ve been in Human Behavior for about a year and a half now, I was in the Wanda Junes for about 2 years, I sang a little on Ohioan’s most recent album, as well as Jesse Allen’s project, Bitters McAllen.

I hear you’re heading out on tour. Would you mind giving me the rundown on that? How many cities in how many days? Have you toured before – either with bands or for your solo work?

Yes, I’ve toured before- solo and with other bands, most extensively with Human Behavior. I was out for 30 days solo last spring and this year I figured I could do longer, so I started on June 30th and will finish at the end of August. I book for everyday, knowing that shows will fall through and if everything I’m working on right now comes through, that will be about 45 shows in 60 days? Whew!

What musicians helped you with the album?

Dominic Armstrong played drums on a couple songs and Adam Frumhoff played trombone on some too.

What’s next for you? Are you planning on taking a break after tour? Or are you always working on new songs?

A break of sorts! I’ll hopefully have found a place to live and resettle in Tucson. As much as I love touring, after a big push to get this record out and shared, I’m already missing the work of writing.

I am doing just about all of it on my own, and each piece, writing and gathering, recording & arranging, art concepts, determining and directing the physicality of the record, tour, publishing – each step is really different and so it’s kind of like having a garden that’s just the right size. Once one muscle gets tired, hopefully it’s time to move on to the next piece of work.

I think the new stuff may come easier than this last record! This album is still very much alive for me, and I believe that is proving to be inspiring for how I move forward.