“What would it sound like if Beth Orton embraced electronic music again, as she did in 1996 when she established herself with her first album, Trailer Park? Based on “1973,” from her upcoming album Kidsticks, the answer is “completely different.” Twenty years ago, the electronic squibs and whooshes drizzled a hip icing over Orton’s singer-songwriter fare. By contrast, this new production from F*ck Buttons’ Andrew Hung is an adorably catchy pop song from the first beat. The only nostalgic thing about it is the words; Orton sings about the titular year — when, for the record, she was 3. At less than three minutes long, you won’t be able to resist playing it twice.” - NPR
“Lead single “Moon” was extremely promising, and the subsequent “1973” is even better. It’s a bouncing, burbling synthetic pop track that traces the line from Stereolab to Hot Chip, with a hard-hitting electronic beat and keyboards that gleam like the sun reflecting off polished chrome.” - Stereogum
Beth Orton has been one of the most unique and beguiling voices in music for the past two decades. Her “folktronica” sound, mixing elements of folk and electronica, has re-emerged as she began experimenting with a series of electronic loops that would eventually come together in this career-redefining new album, Kidsticks.
Co-produced by Beth and Andrew Hung (F*ck Buttons), Kidsticks reframes Beth’s unmistakable voice inside ten pure, audacious, playful and kinetic songs. A resolutely focused album, it represents a rare chance to hear an established artist get plugged in and completely rework the songwriting process with wide-eyed, open-minded glee.
Kidsticks is the follow up to Sugaring Season (2012), described by Pitchfork as “ten songs of sweet resilience delivered by a voice of seemingly effortless expression”.
CLIQUE is PJ, Brandon, Tom, and Travis. CLIQUE has been making regular music for regular people since Summer 2014.
Burden Piece was produced by Travis Arterburn at The Headroom in Philadelphia,PA over 8 days in November, 2015 and perfectly hits that spot in the middle of your chest with warm showers of twinkling guitar, calming vocals and languid riffs throughout.
"[Top Field has] the familiar half-gloomy feel that CLIQUE have warmed us up for—alternating brightness with grit—and it also feels strikingly mature, a good sign for what’s to come." - Impose Magazine
"Philly’s Clique signed to Topshelf Records not long ago, and they’ll release their new album Burden Piece on May 27 via the label (pre-order). We’re premiering the video for “Worth,” which is lo-fi-ish slacker rock that sounds right out of the early ’90s." - Brooklyn Vegan
RIYL: TTNG, Into It. Over It., Hop Along
TRY: #2, 1, 9
"Her voice is wiry and candid, backed by arrangements that roll along the folk-country borderline.” – New York Times
“The reconnaissance missions into desire and reconciliation that fill this album show Patterson examining the minutiae of her own responses; her melodies jump and scatter, her voice pulling at the meanings her verses put forth, as she hones in on those moments when the heart falls apart and reassembles itself.” - NPR Music
“defiant and witty” –The Guardian
“It's pop with a smidge of punk. Pop with claws." – Noisey
“…Esme Patterson has written a gorgeous new batch of songs that encourages all of us—but most especially ladies—to flush the silly, contrived notions of love and men right out of their systems.” – Paste
“…enthralled from the beginning.” – KEXP
“Dearly Departed,” her hit collaboration with Shakey Graves led to millions of streams, sold out shows nationwide, as well as performances on Conan and The Late Show With David Letterman.
"Musically, The Party is just as robustly realized. After last year's superb bedroom-produced album The Bearer Of Bad News — for which Shauf initially drafted as many as 100 songs — The Party's narrative framework lends focus and restraint to his prolific writing." - NPR: First Listen
He’s a sad-sack Saskatchewanian songwriter who grew up in a tiny town (pop. 919) off the Trans-Canada Highway somewhere between Swift Current and Moose Jaw. His breakthrough album was called Bearer of Bad News. But don’t feel bad for ANDY SHAUF. Social invitations have been pouring in from Jeff Tweedy, Nick Hornby and Low (for whom he opened two U.S. tours in 2015). Now the self-produced multi-instrumentalist and master of subtlety is ready to invite everyone to The Party, his fourth album and first for Anti-.
The Party is a series of character sketches, ostensibly set at a specific gathering. It’s not exactly a concept record or a John Hughes script for a Robert Altman film, but writing it was definitely a way for Shauf to get out of his own head. The Party will spawn no hangover regrets for its creator, even if its characters have more than a few. On it, awkward characters show up “Early to the Party,” dance in the living room (“Martha Sways”), and either reveal life-changing secrets (“To You”) or try their hardest to reveal nothing at all (“The Magician”). Fuzzed-out guitars collide with string sections and dreamy synths, all draped over delicate piano, acoustic guitars and rainy-day drums. Oh, and clarinet. On Bearer of Bad News, Shauf started out with 100 songs and whittled it down to 11. This time, with a clearer vision and narrative construct in mind, he focused on 15 and cut it to 10. Brevity is key: these vignettes are rooted in classic pop songwriting, with shades of the Shins, Belle and Sebastian and Grandaddy seeping into Shauf’s modern arrangements.
“Blooming sonics...”- CMJPremiere “The World Will Go On Without You”
"Precious Life", produced with drummer Joey Waronker (Beck, Yeasayer, Atoms For Peace), is the new album title from L.A. songwriter AM. With Waronker behind the drums and the board and with AM doing just about everything else on synths, bass, and guitar, the two carefully craft a record that is honest and emotional, yet dreamily swings and pulses.
The album title track “Precious Life” delivers a bare, soulful guitar driven track rotating the question, “Who are you, with your precious life?” “The Move” glides along on an analog wave of minimal synth stylings with light tight soul underneath...a last ditch effort at romance for a jaded bachelor. Instrumental cuts like “Aqua Velva” soar with Nashville tunings, consumer model keyboards, banjo and organ. The drumming is raw, a treat for fans of Waronker’s playing and “Precious Life” captures sonically what it’s title suggests. The record is intimate, up close...even the groovers. Music made for the headphones...the big ones that is.
RIYL: AM & Shawn Lee, Caribou, Fujiya & Miyagi, Gardens & Villa, Junior Boys
TRY: #2, 3, 6, 11