Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk: Saturday
We’re not sure how factual their band name is – but we like it. What we like even more is their music – the way it moves, flows and builds with an effortless momentum and dream-like quality. The group’s second album, _Think Tone_, is released on July 9th via Fire Talk Record. http://dlvr.it/3PRFDR
Terror Bird: All This Time
Vancouver-based gloomy synth-pop artist Nikki Nevver is a self-described bedroom musician. Though her first two full-lengths contain some studio production and live drums, _All This Time_ ditched such luxuries for some glassy, 80s-influenced goth-pop production that ultimately sounds dry and suitably lo-fi.
Her press release hints at “major shifts in her personal life,” and she mentions in a recent interview her divorce from ex-member Jeremiah Haywood—who played drums and helped record 2011s _Human Culture_. Although she has developed as a songwriter through relentless recording, she decided to tackle the recording process on her own.
Her emotional voice has more clarity here than her previous work, with lyrics that are personal, haunting, and refreshingly human. The piano, drums, and analog synth strings meanwhile dominate the instrumentation – their DIY production adds an effective weariness to the record.
Nevver is a compelling singer and writer, who overcame changes in her personal life while releasing three albums in three years, and recently beginning her fourth European tour. That is remarkable considering how many small label bedroom artists would collapse under similar circumstances.
-Justin Strazdas- http://dlvr.it/3PPzrW
Jagwar Ma: Man I Need
Great piece of animation from Jagwar Ma here – this is the duo’s second single and will feature on their debut record, _Howlin_, which is released June 10th on Marathon Artists. http://dlvr.it/3PKZhq
Mount Kimbie: Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
Mount Kimbie’s forthcoming album, _Cold Spring FaultLess Youth_, was a previous RECORD OF THE DAY around these parts. It’s released next week via Warp – but you need wait no longer to hear its infectious tones as NPR are streaming it right now purely for your listening pleasure. http://dlvr.it/3PGt4q
Islet: Triangulation Station
We’ve missed Islet and their own unique brand of leftfield mayhemic Pop. This track is out in the form of a limited 12″ single and download via Shape Records label on 10th June. It is also gonna feature on the band’s forthcoming record, _Released By The Movement_, which out later in the year. Welcome back Islet! http://dlvr.it/3PGHW2
MIKAL CRONIN – INTERVIEW
Mikal Cronin just returned with a new record, _MCII_, which, in his words, is a set of aggressive pop music. The San Fran based Mikal certainly has a knack for spinning insanely catchy hooks within his sun-kissed and thrashed out productions. We called him up to talk about the record, San Francisco and his unique form of neurotic pop.
Bowlegs: Where was the album recorded?
Mikal: It was recorded in San Francisco by Eric Bauer at the Bauer mansion down in Chinatown. It’s a great area to record. There is a nice, scuzzy vibe everywhere you turn.
Bowlegs: Were you the sole instrumentalist on the album or did you have a full studio band?
Mikal: It was mostly me. My friend Charlie came in for some drum tracks. Ty Segall played a couple guitar solos. And my friend, Dylan, played all the strings on the album. Adding strings was a huge deal to me. I have always wanted to work with string arrangements. She’s now a part of my live set.
Bowlegs: Where did the decision to clean up the sound come from?
Mikal: It was kind of natural. I’ve always wanted to record a project the best I possibly could. The process of the album began kind of punky and scuzzy but as it started to progress, the songs started to take on more of a pop sound and lyrics were really starting to tell a story. So, it was natural to want to put these methodical arrangements through a cleaner production sound. The equipment and technology was also more up to date and more advanced this time around. I didn’t want it pristine and too clean but I did want the arrangements to be tight and to be heard.
Bowlegs: Where there any classic pop albums that influenced this new album?
Mikal: A lot of the arrangements of _Ziggy_-era David Bowie. Then, I had caught wind of Bill Fay and I went back and checked out all of his records. As far as a pop sound goes, they were a big influence on the record.
Bowlegs: There seems to be a narrative about growth and changes in the album, what were some of the life changes that occurred between the albums? Anything notable?
Mikal: Well, there was a huge move to San Francisco. I graduated and started to tour full time. The most drastic changes were being uprooted from home and hitting the road. So, there were a lot of feelings stemming from not being grounded because of the move and the extensive touring. This was about the time that music really took over my life and my solo project became a full time gig.
Bowlegs: So, you graduated from college?
Mikal: Yeah, I studied music at Cal Arts after jumping around for quite a while. After graduation, I moved from north L.A. to San Francisco.
Bowlegs: Why the move to San Francisco?
Mikal: A lot of my musical friends have been making a huge migration to up there for a while now and it’s always been a plan of mine to follow after school. There’s a huge music scene there that really pushes you to produce as much as you can. It’s not a place for a lazy musician.
Bowlegs: Describe the moment you wanted to make music?
Mikal: I’ve always played music when I was a kid. I was a student of music. But, around 18 or 19, I just stopped. Life was miserable and music was not a priority, so I just stopped all together. Then, I moved back home and started playing with people that were still there. I really had to step away from music to realize that that’s what I wanted to be doing.
Bowlegs: If you had to place a genre title on your music, what would it be?
Mikal: (laughs) Um, well, I’ve actually thought about this and I think it’s aggressive pop music. Going into recording, I knew that I really wanted the sound to be very powerful and that I wanted to make a loud statement.
Bowlegs: It does have a little more stomp than the last album…
Mikal: I feel the same way. I think I really nailed what I want to convey in this album. More than the last album, for sure.
Bowlegs: Who were your song writing influences on writing for this album?
Mikal: I would say, Bowie…um…McCartney. To be perfectly honest, Kurt Cobain was and always is a huge influence on my writing. Cobain was so obsessed with the Beatles and trying to chase those perfect pop melodies.
Bowlegs: I was doing a little bit of research on this music site, and it said that one of your main priorities was that you need to relate and connect with the audience. Why is this so important to you and your music?
Mikal: Well, I don’t know if I agree with that statement, but it is really valuable to me to do that. My main goal is to be honest and to keep my experiences universal so that someone out there can connect to what I’m doing. It’s a great feeling to connect but I think making straight forward and honest songs should come first and the rest will follow.
Bowlegs: Do you think your solo project will remain pretty straight-forward and aggressive or will you start to lean towards “experimentation”?
Mikal: It’s all pretty wide open right now. I’m just trying to chase what gets me excited. Right now, it’s aggressive pop melodies that get me stoked. This project, with my name attached to it, is THE outlet. I don’t have any obligation to writing for a specific style right now. I don’t know, maybe I’ll just start writing 100% piano ballads (laughs)…
Bowlegs: Why not? That last song on the album is killer.
Is the songwriting process a very organic practice or is it filled with a lot of self criticism and editing?
Mikal: Definitely, a big self-critic. There is a lot of self doubt when writing songs. My friends can attest to my minor bouts of depression when creating. It’s hard for me to sit down and force something to come out. I definitely struggle and pay close attention to details. Lyrically, I struggle the most. It’s hard to convey what I want to say. I’m a mess when I’m trying to write new songs. Definitely not effortless but when it comes it flows pretty quickly.
Bowlegs: Do you think San FranciSco is a great city for you to write and create?
Mikal: There are a lot of inspirational musicians that have a strong work ethic, specifically, Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall. They produce multiple albums a year and they definitely light a fire under your ass. It’s an interesting city. There are some many diverse people jam packed into a small space so inspiration is around every corner.
Bowlegs: Lets talk about the main ideas of the new album. What are the overall themes of this album?
Mikal: It’s all about contradiction. I’m very two-sided about everything going on in life. A lot of push and pull when it comes to dealing with my emotions. I feel musically it’s very confused as well with the quiet moments and the loud aggressive moments. It’s ver pop neurotic.
Bowlegs: Were you inspired by any visual artists or any literary works? Is there anything outside of music that inspires your work?
Mikal: Reading a great book always sparks something inside me. I love how a great author can work with language. I’ve been reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut lately. He is just a fun writer. He can mix funny with very dark subjects. I like the contrast of playfulness and darkness. I think you can kind of hear that in some of my lyrics and music.
Bowlegs: What are the plans for 2013 and this album?
Mikal: A lot of traveling and trying the spread the good word of Mikal Cronin. It’s hard to tour and write but I am excited about starting a new record. Not sure what direction I’ll take on the next outing but I’m open to anything.
Bowlegs: Are there any collaborative projects set in stone?
Mikal: As far as collaboration, there is nothing on the horizon. I’ve been lucky to tour with Ty, but now it’s good to focus on my own stuff. Trying to tighten up the live sound and the band before we head back into the studio.
Bowlegs: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Mikal: I don’t know. At Cal Arts I made soundtracks for short film projects. I’ve always wanted to come back to working with music and film. Working with music and film. Working with animators would be great as well as some literary authors. Not sure. Maybe I’ll do a hip-hop project.
Bowlegs: Who are some of your guitar heros?
Mikal: Well, piano is my primary instrument. I didn’t start playing guitar until the age of 18 or 19. I grew up playing piano and saxophone most of the time and I didn’t do much writing. I think I was just tired of not being able to structure a song with those instruments so I was drawn to guitar. So, I really lack guitar idols.
Bowlegs: How about, Cobain, maybe…
Mikal: Yeah, that was my first introduction to rock when I was 10. The first album I got was In Utero and then Nevermind and then I quickly bought all the rest after that.
Bowlegs: We are currently in the anything-goes era of indie rock and pop music. So, why make a straight forward power-pop album such as _MCII_?
Mikal: Unfortunately, I think guitar based rock is under-represented these days. We’re the minority right now. There is some cool stuff going on in indie music but it’s rare to see a powerful classic, traditional set up with guitars, bass and drums. Really, this is all I know how to do and this is the best way to get my ideas out. This is what I grew up doing and this is what excites me. I’m gonna stay honest to myself and try not to force anything. I’m like doing whatever I want…like, putting a piano ballad on a garage rock album.
-Interview by Christopher Perez- http://dlvr.it/3P8pzW
Sean Nicholas Savage: Other Life
Montreal based musician Sean Nicholas Savage is back with his new (and ninth in four years!!) album _Other Life_, and this time round he, of the upper lip plumage, is taking the smooth RnB highway.
With lyrics and vocals definitely the main focus of the record, _Other Life _opens with _She Looks Like You_ and the kind of early hours fondness for melancholy associated with The Blue Nile, if The Blue Nile were fronted by Cyndi Lauper that is. “And these days I feel like I’m somebody else, who looks just like me, but he’s not me” he self-analyzes.
First single _Lonely Woman_ sees Savage in full on seduction mode, slowly making advances “Hey girl it’s me the one who wants, to give you everything”, “You could go to bed with your freedom but it’ll make you a lonely woman.” he croons with desire. While _More Than I Love Myself_ resonates with laid bare emotions “What a painful routine we live in”.
_Other Life _is, for the most part, delightfully charming, with the exception perhaps of _It’s Real_, which takes a turn for the forbidding, albeit with a hint of Cocteau Twins otherworldliness. Nonetheless, the album continues along a confessional, candid vein backed by sugar sweet synths and soft, padded beats and includes two tracks from previous release _Flamingo_.
Interestingly, _You Changed Me _and closing track _Chin Chin_ are among the most memorable elements of the record. That is not a slight on this album, but I do wonder if Savage’s brand of ironic, heartfelt pop will be received with the same fervour this time around.
-Sharon Watters- http://dlvr.it/3P8Yx8
Teardrop Factory: Stolen Skull (Bowlegs Premiere)
Teardrop Factory are the latest addition to the Faux Discx family – and like pretty much everything else in that family they are fucking great. Their debut EP, _Topshop_, is out on the 27th May – and just in case you need any more convincing on this band’s quality there’s a free track from the EP after these live dates:
Saturday 18th May in Brighton at the Westhill Hall w/ Vision Fortune, Lab Coast, Stuart Warwick + Cold Pumas
Monday 27th May in Brighton at Prince Albert w/ His Clancyness & The Soft Walls http://dlvr.it/3NY7yP
Wildeflower: Nothing Happens
There’s a real wistful and nostalgic vibe to this track from Wildeflower – and this home-made video diary is the prefect companion. The group is in fact singer/songwriter Max Kinghorn-Mills – and his style is refreshing and strangely infectious. There’s a new EP, _Harbour & Good Company,_ ready to drop next month via Stella Mortos. http://dlvr.it/3NNj5D
Emily Wells: Darlin’
Texan artist Emily Wells released her debut, Mama, last year in the US and now the record has been picked up by Partisan and getting a deserved re-release. This track is a warped slice of Alt-Folk that balances the organic with the hypnotic and surreal – nice. http://dlvr.it/3NNXFv