LP: Lost on You [album review]

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Lost on You dropped in May and I’ve probably memorized the lyrics on the LP from LP in their in entirety. In fact, this album is so good that even this review was only supposed to be 250 words – I COULD NOT BE CONTAINED.

LP’s unique sound comes from fusing elements of hardscrabble Americana with a modern pop sensibility, but it’s that voice that really will sell you on the brand before your mind has time to wrap itself around the subtle breaking of genre boundaries.

Frankly, her voice is flat-out fierce: pitch perfect and powerful. There’s something earthy and emotional in the timbre of her voice that tears you right down to the heartstrings. And, while she’s had quite the raging success in Europe since the May release of her new album, Lost on You, Americans have yet to catch on. Big fucking surprise. Listen, ‘Murika, I know you’re having a rough year, but get it together, already.

The album opens with “Muddy Waters” – setting a pensive tone. LP moves from pensive to playful on Lost on You, from joy to hurt; this album is an expansive expression of a really difficult year.

The title track reveals a bit of the backstory. Even though “Lost on You” comes in third in placement on the album, it serves as the crux for the album, or, at least, the impetus behind its creation. LP was coming out of one relationship and moving into a new one (ahem, with YabYum darling Lauren Ruth Ward). Lost on You provided her the space to transmogrify that trying emotional time into a collection of songs that will hit home with anyone whose been through the romantic ringer.

LP gained footing in the music industry by writing songs for other performers. Perhaps, you’ve heard this banger from Rihanna? Yep, that was LP. On Lost on You, you can hear some of those pop permutations a bit more clearly on tracks like “When We’re High” and “Up Against Me”

Ugh, this album is solid from start to finish. Every track is distinctive and maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to choose a favorite. I mean, that whistle on “Other People” before LP comes in with a falsetto hits me like a punch every time I hear it. But, truthfully, it’s probably “Tightrope” that holds my heart of hearts because it served as my very first introduction to the artist. And the song is also fucking amazing. In fact, I’m going to stick the video at the bottom of the article because it’s the internet and the single is just that good.

From the anthemic “Strange” to the somber closer, “Long Way to Go to Die”, Lost on You runs the gamut: despondent to inspired to resigned. This is one of those albums I expect to see on those Best Of lists come the end of the year… and not just in Europe!  You can score your own copy of Lost on You from LP here. Do it. Do it now.

 

5 Radio-Ready Singles

radio-ready singles 00

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Indigo Husk

“Goes Around Comes Around”

This lofi indie act from across the pond has a touch of The Strokes on their rowdy new single, “Goes Around Comes Around”, and I love it. Indigo Husk comes to us from Londontown rather than NYC and maybe that’s what gives this single the Britpop club bounce that really makes it catchy. The instrumentation pushes towards chaos without ever collapsing into it which only adds to the overall energy. I would like to add that 75% of this four-piece is named Joe. Not that that has any bearing on the music, but you needed to know. Check out “Goes Around Comes Around” from Indigo Husk below and then get your own damn copy here.

Sam Frankl

“Gold Rush”

Sam Frankl is a man of many talents. In addition to being a published poet and former editor of Le Cool London, Frankl now has his sights set music making. Working with producer Rob Brinkman to bring some gritty texturing to support Frankl’s lithe vocal stylings, “Gold Rush” has a cool vibe that’s perfect for summer heat as it dares to ask the question, “Are you goddamn crazy?” Check out “Gold Rush” from Sam Frankl below or head here to score your own copy of the track.

De Joie

“Oslo”

This sweeping indie-folk single from singer-songwriter De Joie could easily take over the airwaves with its uplifting sound. Although originally from Florida, De Joie has spent a considerable amount of time living and traveling in Western Europe which you might glean from the French moniker or the Norweigan city referenced in the title. De Joie is French of “Of Joy” and you can hear that joyous vivacity in “Oslo”, but the vocals maintain a calm and reassuring reserve. This single comes to us from De Joie’s new EP, August, which came out in late June (like two weeks ago). You can give “Oslo” a listen below, but I suggest heading here for the complete EP.

Rotana

“Over You”

Maybe you remember Rotana’s aggressive single, “Daddy”, which we featured earlier this year? [see here] On this latest single, the Saudi Arabian singer you’ll still find the fusion of electro pop with Rotana’s own sultry style. “Over You” moves from sensual to sassy as Rotana laments the One that she just can’t seem to let go of. Now based in L.A., Rotana just might break big here in the States. Give “Over You” a listen below or head here to secure your own copy of the single.

Lucian

“Do My Thing”

This new single from Lucian combines chill and catchy for slick summer jam. Featuring the vocal stylings of Philosofie, “Do My Thing” stays tempered on the instrumental end despite the sass in the lyrics. I suggest jamming this single when you’re getting ready for a night out. It will give you add just the right amount of Fuck-Off to your attitude to enable a drama-free zone. Get your mellow on with Lucian’s “Do My Thing” and then head here to add the track to your personal collection.

5 Club-Ready POP Singles

Whissell

“Legs Crossed”

Whissell doesn’t really deliver the sound we’d expect from a Nashville act, but we’re digging her pensive brand of power pop. “Legs Crossed” combines bourbon-smooth vocals and radio-ready production that will turn your relational rage into a #GrrrlPower moment. Communication is the best means to a healthy romance and Whissell is here to remind us that sometimes you just gotta hash that shit out with a real convo. Give “Legs Crossed” from Whissell a listen below or head here for your own download of the single.

CASPR

“Crazy”

CASPR takes one part brooding electropop, one part lithe vocals, and two heaping spoonfuls of slick sass on his new dance single, “Crazy”. The L.A.-based singer-songwriter teamed up with producer Danen Reed for a club-ready hit that you’ll want to save those serious moves for. I’m talking the slow moves that require as much face as hips. Take “Crazy” for a spin below and then head here to score that digi-download.

W I N C H E S T E R

“Throw It Down”

Coming from the indie/electro side of the pop spectrum, we have W I N C H E S T E R and their new single, “Throw It Down”. Despite the annoying spacing of their band name, we’re definitely down with the luminous energy and vibrant sounds of this Toronto duo. Bandmates Lauren Austin and Monty de Luna share vocal responsibilities with matched radiance. Take “Throw It Down” for a spin below or head here to add the single to your summer jam playlist.

Whethan

“Love Gang”

Whethan’s latest single features the sultry vocal stylings of Charli XCX for a club-ready banger. Whethan is the moniker of Chicago’s Ethan Snoreck creates some stylish beats even if the lyrics are a little confusing at times (see lyric video here). I think the important message to take away is that love is good. Sometimes a little pop-inspired incoherence can really make for a stellar singalong song. Score that digi-download here, but you can preview “Love Gang” from Whethan below first…

Neo Noir

“When I Was Young”

The “LA based Future Music collective” known as Neo Noir combines the talents of Bradley Allan and Greg Ogan, but they invited vocalist Brooke Williams to join them on their new single, “When I Was Young”. Neo Noir throws in some future bass permutations into their soundscape on this single which was released through the Trap Nations label Lowly Palace back in April.  Give the single a listen below or head here for the digi-download.

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.

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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

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.

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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 Super Fun Summer Music Videos

Paper Foxes
“Indica Feels”

Maïa Vidal
“Mama (Told Me So Again)”

Wyves
“PUPPYCAT”

Scattered Melodies
“Trying to Find Me”

Drop Legs
“Lizzy”

The Sink or Swim
“Arizona”

Jawni Doo Dat
“Joleene”

7 Rad Music Videos to Turn Your Living Room into a Dance Club

Shy FX
“We Just Don’t Care”

Oceana
“Can’t Stop Thinking About You”

MisterWives
“Machine”

Osvaldorio
“Spend the Whole Night”

Le Galaxie
“Pleasure”

Doctor
“Only You”

Velvet Winter
“Crystal Heart”

The Noise Floor: Wild Holiday

wild holiday 01by Chris Nunley
Staff Writer

Call me a crotchety old man, but I long for the days of how music was released before the almighty EP.

I mean I get it, attention spans aren’t what they used to be thanks to glorious technology. The way music is produced and distributed for the consumer massive has become more dizzying than the heady days of Chip Kelly coaching the “Quack Attack” offense. (“We’re gonna get up to the line and just run a play! JUST run a play! GO-GO-GO!”) Yeeeeaaahhhh… the toxic side effect of this trend is that a lot of sludge gets released into the world.

This is sort of the case with Wild Holiday’s two EP’s I Was Abducted Last Night and Television Diary. Had someone burned these 9 songs between the two releases onto one CD and given it to me, I would’ve just assumed it was all from one album. And they should be in my opinion. There’s a grainy cohesiveness within the body of work that would pass as a full length record. I guess I’m just annoyed that I had to click on two separate links to listen… yes, I’m being crotchety.

Starting with IWALN, this batch of songs hauntingly reminds me of why I’m thankful I live in the 602 and not the 206 anymore. The dank chiptune charm of “I Took Acid At A Friend’s House” and lo-fi indie “Thinking About My Funeral” sound like what happens when vitamin D deficiency sets in and you’re looking out to overcast skies from your overpriced bedroom window.

“Everyday Is The Worst Day of My Life” could very well be an ode to coffee and its effects during the work week, while “Video Games In The Attic” makes for the perfect transition to the follow-up EP.

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Television Diary was more interesting to me thanks to the noisy and dark “Graveyard I, II, & III” tracks. Truth be told, they kinda pissed me off that they were so short because they had the potential to evolve into more expansive compositions. But…not my circus, not my fleas.

The gloomy yet beautiful “Basement Song” is the most clean sounding, giving us the chance to really hear the tortured vocals of the project’s lone member, Alec West.

The surfer-esque “Planetary Expedition” drowns out the doom and gloom with fuzzy guitars and saturated drums, as our protagonist rides the crest of psychedelic wave “searching to get high”.

Although I wish these two EP’s would be one LP, this is solid work from the Memphis-to-Phoenix transplant. The variation in volume, texture and distortion with all the tracks has a nice Julie Ruin feel. It’s what folk-y bedroom lo-fi should sound like, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now hurry up and make another record! Just get to the studio and make another record! GO-GO-GO!

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Check out Wild Holiday on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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