5 Fresh Indie Sounds

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Fairy Bones

“No One Can Suffer Like I Can” 

The alt-glam rockers known as Fairy Bones have been causing quite the stir in the Phoenix music scene since their very inception. Maybe that’s because they have a distinctive sound that’s difficult to cram into any of the niche compartments of the Valley Scene. Or maybe it’s because Chelsey Louise is one of the fiercest frontpeople to grace Phoenix stages. Personally, I think it’s because they keep getting better. Every release is better than the last so every time competitors think they might have stepped up to the playing field, they find they are back in the fairy dust. “No One Can Suffer Like I Can” is the latest installment of self-depreciating rock from the PHX 4-piece. It’s already locking down airtime and this might only be the beginning. Check out the new Fairy Bones’ single below or head here for that digi-download.

El West

“Cuba Gooding Jr.”

Wow. Do I feel like I missed the boat on El West or what? I mean I really feel like schmuck here. We try to tell everyone that good bands often get overlooked in the deluge of music we receive on a daily basis and El West is the perfect example of this unavoidable pitfall of publications. Not every band gets the attention they deserve and El West deserves your attention. Their latest single, “Cuba Gooding Jr.”, is a serious song with a strange name. El West presents pristine musicianship and powerful vocals for a track that could easily take over the airwaves. “Cuba Gooding Jr.” comes to us from the band’s latest EP, Mainstay, which came out earlier this month (6/16). Give the new single from El West a spin below or head here to score your own copy of Mainstay.

Orchin

“I Think I”

There is a dreamlike quality to the soundscape created by Orchin on their new single, “I Think I,” which came out last month. Soft-spoken vocals drift over pensive dreampop that gains momentum as the track progresses without sacrificing that contemplative air. Orchin calls L.A. home but the act will be passing through Phoenix later this month. You can catch Orchin at The Trunk Space on June 30th with Femny, Model/Actriz, James Band, and Sun Hex (more info here). That sounds like a show you should put on your calendar. Until then, give “I Think I” from Orchin a spin below or head here to score your own copy of the single.

The National Parks

“Places”

The Utah indie-folk band known as The National Parks has an easygoing sound certain to lift your spirits. Their latest single “Places” just came out earlier this month and it’s already enjoying repeat listens down at #YabYumHQ. Check out the lyric video for “Places” here or head over to iTunes to get that digi-download of the track for your personal playlists and throw the artists some support. Of course, you can preview the single from The National Parks down below first…

The Happy Fits

“Dirty Imbecile”

This chipper ditty comes to us from New Jersey indie rockers, The Happy Fits, from their 2016 EP, Awfully Apeelin’. Anytime we’re dealing with a cello-driven melody on a song, I’m going to want to see what’s happening and The Happy Fits don’t let us down. Their sound is fresh, fun, and catchy enough to stick with you all through summer. You can preview “Dirty Imbecile” below or head here for the complete EP.

 

5 Stellar Songwriters You Should Know

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Young Mothers

“They Were Right”

After a three-year hiatus, Young Mothers is back with a slinky new sound and the same clever lyricism that initially sparked our musical love affair with the Phoenix band. “They Were Right” deals with the crushing disillusionment that comes with, well, growing up. It fucking sucks but Young Mothers manages to capture that angst with a mix of wry wit and brazen honesty. Songwriter Zach Toporek hits home on more occasions than I have space to recount. I might just tattoo the line, “I got a big fucking problem with all the little things,” on my face to save time with all future conversations. Check out “They Were Right” below… Oh, and hey Young Mothers, glad to hear you’re back.

Jeremy Tuplin

“O Youth!”

Jeremy Tuplin comes to us from London-via-Somerset and you can hear some BritPop influences in his easygoing indie sound. It’s Tuplin’s unique vocal style and thoughtful lyricism that drew me into his new single, “O Youth!”, which will be released as part of his forthcoming debut album, I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut. Combining electronic elements with acoustic instrumentation for an organic sound that will warm away the weariness of your soul. Give “O Youth!” by Jeremy Tuplin a listen below and join me in the wait for the complete LP which is due out this coming September. Or you can head here for your own digi-download of the single.

Angharad Drake

“Baby”

“Baby” is the opening track from Angharad Drake’s 2017 LP, Ghost, which came out in April. This folk artist from Brisbane has an elegant sense of pacing which you can hear on “Baby” in its gentle breath and subtle energy shifts. And, did I mention Drake’s voice? There is a lovely litheness to the vocals on “Baby” that sit well against the haunting melody, reinforcing the ethereal atomsphere. Give “Baby” a listen below or head here to secure your own copy of Ghost, the complete LP, from Angharad Drake.

Emma Guzman

“Last Page”

Ugh, that calm and pensive voice of Emma Guzman burrows straight into the center of my heart. “Last Page” presents Guzman’s brooding songwriting style with the earnest force that defines her work, tempered but powerful. This single comes to us from Emma Guzman’s 2017 LP, Roots, which is available in full here. But, first, settle down with “Last Page” below…

Emay Holmes

“The Deployment Song”

Emay Holmes holds down an interesting day job while penning pensive songs by night. Holmes is a currently serving airman aboard the USS Nimitz and in his new single explores the strain of military life on the personal connections back home. “The Deployment Song” comes to us from Holmes’ forthcoming LP, Deep Down. That’s a release we’ll certainly be keeping watch for. Give the single a spin below…

5 Eclectic Indie Electro Singles You Should Hear

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Yelle

“Interpassion”

If you’re planning a Postmodern rollerskating party this summer, YELLE will provide the playlist. The French Electropop songster creates a lush but breathable sound space for that ultra hip vocal delivery that has marked YELLE’s music thus far: sorta disimpassioned yet super fun in the same breath. But the message is often positive and carries its own passion and “Interpassion” is no different. Give the single a spin below or get your own digi-download here.

Me Not You

“Kill the Noise”

The NY duo of Nikki Taylor and Eric Zeiler is known as Me Not You and together they create the simultaneously grungy and ethereal sound you’ll hear on their single, “Kill the Noise”. There’s a bit of super cool 90s sound mixed into this totally modern indie/electro soundscape that will have you hooked. Gritty instrumentation bolsters the radiant vocal layers on “Kill the Noise”. Listen for yourself below or head here to score the two-single from Me Not You that includes this track as well as their song, “Bulletproof”.

EXES

“Cain”

Prepare to have your heart broken. The L.A. duo known as EXES dives down deep to unearth the raw emotional force of loss for their new single, “Cain”. The electro-dream-pop pairing of Allie McDonald and producer Mike Derenzo bring this personal story of heartache to vibrant life on “Cain”. From McDonald’s celestial vocals to the instrumental support of Derenzo as it moves from embracing to uplifting, “Cain” is powerful and that force won’t diminish on repeated listens. I know. I’ve tried. Give “Cain” from EXES a spin below or head here for the digi-download.

Orchards

“Darling”

The vibrant hook-heavy math-pop of Orchards blasts the listener with an August breeze on that first spin of “Darling”. Intentionally erratic and totally catchy, “Darling” just might the song that stays with you all summer. The Brighton band just wrapped up a tour with PWR BTTM but don’t be disappointed if you missed them live. Hopefully, Orchards will find time to shape out some new shiny new singles on their reprieve from the road. Get your own copy of “Darling” from Orchards here, but you can preview the single below first.

Clean/Cut

“Bring Down the House”

Clean/Cut throws a slick HipHop rhyme over the electro-inspired beat of “Bring Down the House”. This single comes to us from the San Diego duo’s 2017 EP, The Line, which came out in March. “Bring Down the House” has all the charge of a club hit but keeps just enough chill in the atmosphere for a poolside playlist. Check out the single from Clean/Cut below or head here for the full EP. Plenty of bangers in the mix there.

RINNGS

“Cutting the Cloth”

The London-based electro duo known as RINNGS brings together the work of multi-instrumentalists Karl Zine and Nai Jannson. As RINNGS, the pair moved away from traditional instrumentation to create richly textured tracks using only vocals and percussion. RINNGS describes their sound as “expressive alt pop” and that phrase really rings true on their debut single, “Cutting the Cloth”. The pair sample from a variety of sources from sacred choral music and Indian cartoons to the beats of the 1959 Wurlizer Sideman for this layered production. Give “Cutting the Cloth” a listen below or head here to snag your own copy of the track.

Phantom Party: Hundred Skeletons

summer releases 02by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Now I’m not gonna’ beat around the bush here: we at YabYum love Phantom Party.

We named them our Best New Band of 2016 and with good reason: their on-point performance skills and totally unassuming air back up their qualified knack for crafting crisp, summery pop songs.

Hundred Skeletons is the culmination of two years worth of writing, the complete emotional breakdown and restructuring of lead vocalist/guitarist Joshua Capati, and five straight days of recording in early January 2017.

For you see, the music of Phantom Party may seem bright and uplifting — bassist and back-up vocalist Matthew Slusser and drummer Austin Cooper bringing the vision to full effect — but it’s Capati’s lyrics that remind us all that seasonal depression is, in fact, very real and it’s all about how you deal with your personal shit going forward. How to handle your scandal. And sometimes you fail, but it’s about getting up at least one more time than you fall, right?

After the fun instrumental opening of “Sedna”, “Catholic School” goes right for the gusto; high-tempo toms and losing your religion. Personal fav “Elvis” follows suit with one of the best depressing lyrics of all time: “Well I’m down to my last cigarette/Why couldn’t God make me look like Elvis?” And trust me, the entire song is that good.

By the time “Derby Daze” comes on I feel like I’m listening to a Phantom Party’s Greatest Hits record. At 13 tracks, there’s no room for filler here! And, I guess that’s kind of the point. As Joshua states on their Bandcamp page, “Essentially, this was going to be my last thing. I was going to release it, do rock and roll, then die… what would I say if this is the last thing I release?” Better make it good, I guess.

With songs like the Weezer-inspired “Tunnel of Love”, live favorite “Charlie”, and the bitchin’ title track on the last half of the album, Hundred Skeletons simply gets better as it plays along. Recorded by Phantom Party and mixed and mastered by Joshua Capati and Bryce Copple at Joshua’s house in Tempe, I sense the decade(s) long, over-all pattern of young people writing, recording, and releasing their own material isn’t going to go away anytime soon…

Epically closing with “Twenty” and the lines “I’ll get closure when my heart stops beating/I’ll live as if my life has meaning/I’ll drop dead before my demons kill me/I wasn’t planning on being twenty” and “ooo-ooo-ooo”ing with all your hearts content sure is one of my favorite ways to fight back the demons of depression. It seems like the members of Phantom Party think so too.

~

For more Phantom Party, check out their website. With a gang of shows coming up for the band, make sure to catch them at your favorite venue soon!

phantom party shows

7 Feel Good Music Videos

Raye Zaragoza
“Fight for You”

Quinn DeVeaux
“Left This Town”

Jordan Prince
“Sophomore Year”

Pace
“Through Your Fingers”

FELTWORTH
“Forget This Feeling”

Shaheed and DJ Supreme
“Glorious Day”

Life of Dillon
“Focus”

5 Mellow Morning Singles

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Novo Amor

“Colorway” 

For our regular readers, you might already be familiar with the haunting music of Novo Amor. Oftentimes, listeners will find Novo Amor’s celestial vocals and gentle orchestrations create emotional complex dreamscapes for wandering minds in need of soothing. “Colorway” proves no different. This latest track comes to us from Novo Amor’s recently released EP, Bathing Beach, so if you dig the single make sure you delve the full release. But you can always start with “Colorway” from Novo Amor below…

Simple Man

“Freedom of Smile”

This genre-blurring quintet from Highland Park (NJ) known as Simple Man (even though there are four of them)  released their s/t debut earlier this year and “Freedom of Smile” comes to us from that EP. The song kicks off with some gentle alt/indie permutations, but as we move through the track, some other elements begin to sneak their way into the sound, up to and including reggae. The EP was produced by Jeremy McDonald at the Brooklyn-based studio Mason Jar Music. I suggest giving “Freedom of Smile” a spin below and then heading here for the complete EP.

Flora Cash

“California”

Flora Cash brings our only electropop number to this mix, but one that approaches with the ease of a pleasant dream rather than a club-banger. Unlike all those Cali-based bands who write songs about their homestate, Flora Cash calls Stockholm home and approaches our Western neighbor more as a place of mind rather than a physical locale. According to the artists, the song “describes a longing to be free” no matter the rigors in place to achieve an unencumbered existence. Check out “California” below or head here for the digital download!

Cardinal Harbor

“Altar Ego”

Chicago’s Cardinal Harbor takes elements of prog-, indie-, and alt-rock for a unique musical merging on their mellow new single, “Altar Ego”. The track kicks off with some atmospheric harmonies before tethering the sound through some salt-of-the-earth guitars .The song remains dynamic from start to finish but it does so with total fluidity. “Altar Ego” is the opening track from Cardinal Harbor’s EP, Euclid, which is available for preview and purchase here. But you can start with “Altar Ego” below…

Niko Rose

“Ms. Lady”

Oh, the Rose brothers of Cave Creek. So musically talented, so difficult to tell apart… That’s okay. We love them all. Niko, who may or may not be the youngest (who can say?), dropped this lovely little ditty last month. Short, sweet, and totally enchanting, “Ms. Lady” is one of those songs I can put on repeat to embarrassing ends which feels a little lecherous. But, hey, it’s music. Listen to “Ms. Lady” from Niko Rose below…

 

Grace Bolyard: Seasonal Depression

grace bolyard 01by Chris Nunley
Staff Writer

One of the single most important inventions of the modern music era is the Tascam Portastudio. At the time of its conception, it was intended for musicians to record demo versions of songs that would later be fleshed out in a fancy commercial recording studio. But in January of ’82, Bruce Springsteen completely shifted this concept unintentionally with his solo masterpiece Nebraska.

Originally the songs recorded in his Jersey bedroom were to give the E Street Band a direction of where the follow up to The River was headed. The back story to the actual recording process is where the “happy accidents” occurred. Between the inexperience of his engineer trying to set proper levels, to the tape speed being set to it’s slowest, to the dirty uncleaned heads, to Springsteen carrying the cassette in his pocket without the case for weeks. All these small but important details gave the songs a raw, lo-fi, and emotional quality that critics hailed as his most haunting work.

Since the release of Nebraska, the Portastudio has evolved with the times in both size and use, never deviating from the maxim that “less is more”. They truly are the perfect machine to have at the ready when inspiration unknowingly strikes. And if there is only one rule in music to follow, it’s that you answer the call when the muse comes around.

But now, in the era of digital recording, near limitless tracks, and software plug-in effects that spit out products to be scrubbed and shined to a sheen of Borg-like perfection, the fun of limitations and the warm patina of tape hiss are becoming relics of days long gone. Hell, you can record a song on your bloopin’ and bleepin’ smartphone now! Oh the humanity! Where have you gone???

It’s depressing to think about, let alone relive with trips down memory lane. But… what if an artist placed limits on their digital splendor? More organic and less Miracle-Gro? THAT, I believe, is the next evolution in recording technology: binary boundaries.

When Seasonal Depression, the debut release from Grace Bolyard (Darling Sounds) landed on my laptop screen, it was like taking a happy pill to cure my woes of the modern world. Using nothing more than an internal microphone on her Mac, a handful of effects, and GarageBand to edit and arrange, this solo effort encapsulates the “less is more” approach with ease.

Building on a previous article from a fellow staffer, one of the most tedious tasks when recording in a commercial studio is selecting the right microphone for each instrument as well as a singer’s voice. Yes, the process can be arduous at times, and it can suck the creative energy and enthusiasm right out of the building. Whether it was by design or just dealing with the limitations when inspiration struck, the timbre of Bolyard’s voice is brilliantly captured with said internal mic and adds a lo-fi element where analog warmth would normally be heard.

Not to be overshadowed of course is the songwriting. Much more personal and playing out like a soundtrack to a film short (think Kimya Dawson covering the bullet points of Juno in 15 minutes), Seasonal can be heart-wrenching, but definitely not depressing.

The EP starts off with the endearing yet cautious “Strange Love”, an airy track that blows in with a gentleness reminiscent of Leona Naess’ “Lazy Days”. But it’s the following song, “State Fair Halloween”, where Bolyard starts to tug at the heart strings on whether a relationship that has become stagnant (“We’ve spent 5 years together / Are we getting better?”) can withstand the test of time and distance. The lines “Halloween’s my everything, but Thanksgiving is your favorite / I’ll make the green beans still, even though I really hate them” couldn’t be a more perfect sentiment to compromise and the small differences that a couple may have, yet tolerate.

“Tandem BMX” finds our chanteuse crooning tastefully with a hint of eager desperation (“I wanna get extreme with you / I’ll be your queen, your peach ice cream”) in a gem about the dirty deed that’s cleverly woven into a riff from the teen tragedy songs of the early ’60s.

The mark of a good release is when it’s over, you want more but can’t have it. Fittingly short and succinct with closure is the title track of this impressive EP, complete with harmonica embellishments that would make Springsteen weep and curiously optimistic lines of finding solace in the brutal Phoenician summertime. Have you lost your mind Ms. Bolyard???

It may not have been recorded to cassette…allowing the elements to degrade and taint the sound…but Seasonal Depression is a good record. Staying true to the environment in which it was born…warm and gritty, yet emotional and brilliant. This feels and sounds like Arizona, a land where sometimes less is more.

~

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.

New Track Premiere: “West Coast Vibes” by Delafaye

delafaye 01

We’re super excited to host the premiere of Delafaye’s latest single, “West Coast Vibes” from his forthcoming EP, Highlands.

Now, I first heard the music of Andrew Shockley (aka Delafaye) with the artist’s 2016 EP, The Hilltop. His somber style and heart-torn voice immediately caught my attention. Since then, I’ve been trying to keep up with the Lousiville artist’s musical undertakings.

After signing with the London label Street Mission Records, Delafaye was ready to undertake the recording of Highlands which is set for release this coming July.

“West Coast Vibes” comes to us from that release. The single creates a easygoing atmosphere like that chill morning fog that rolls in over coastal California. Peaceful and meditative but not quite as optimistic as a seaside visit in the bright of full daylight. This track is a promising taste of what’s to come from Delafaye.

And, without further ado, here’s the new single from Delafaye… give it a spin while you read the interview below..

YabYum: So, this is the first single from your forthcoming EP, Highlands, which is due out next month and I see you’re teaming up again with Street Mission Records for this release. Just curious how a musician out of Kentucky connected with the London label?

Delafaye: Yeah, always exciting to release new music. It’s funny, I was posting my music on Soundcloud just for something to do. Dani, with Street Mission, somehow came across it and sent me an email asking if I wanted to sign with his new label. I laughed at first because it was hard to believe but it has turned out great and has been really enjoyable.

I also really want to know what led you to choose the moniker “Delafaye” for your music-making?

I chose Delafaye because it was a street that my good friend Kendrik lived off of. We were cruising around one day and I was trying to think of a name that would be original and not terribly corny. I saw the street sign and instantly knew I would use it. We played music over there all of the time so it felt fitting. Since then I’ve tried to incorporate Louisville into all of my music. The Hilltop being where I currently reside and I’m always hanging out in the Highlands.

Where did you record the new EP? And who performs on the recordings (in addition to yourself)? Did other artists kick in their talents?

I recorded the EP in my apartment. I like to do the writing and recordings alone just to push myself as an artist. I see creating music as a getaway from the boring reality of everyday. It’s my favorite hobby and something I will always do. As far as collaborating with other artists, maybe that will happen on the next EP/album.

I was quite taken with The Hilltop which came out in January. January to July is a pretty quick turn around.

Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, I finished up this EP a few weeks ago and I’m working on new material now. I think it’s important, especially as a new artist to get new music out there.

There’s such a calm pensiveness to your songs that immediately captured my interest all those months back when we first heard you. Who are some of the songwriters you draw inspiration from?

I’ve always enjoyed calm music myself; something to take the edge off after a long day. I think I’m inspired everyday by different songwriters. Growing up, the ones who probably really did it for me would be Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and John Lennon. There’s so many but I’d say those were the big ones.

What’s next for Delafaye? Tour plans? Music Videos? Maybe a visit to the London label? Writing more music?

All of the above hopefully. I’m playing with a full band now and we have a nice show coming up opening for San Fermin. Hopefully, this kicks off more shows in the future and possibly a tour. Filmed a couple acoustic videos that should be released soon and I’m always writing music in my spare time.

~

For more Delafaye, check out his SoundCloud page or head here to secure your Pre-Order of his forthcoming album!