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SOAK
Before We Forgot How To Dream
Rough Trade
ADDS 6/2/15
DIGITAL ONLY

SOAK is 18-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson, and Before We Forgot How To Dream is her debut for Rough Trade. Named One To Watch for 2015 via the likes of iTunes, Spotify and the BBC Sound Poll, the album is a highly anticipated coming-of-age record in more ways than one.

Produced alongside Tommy Mclauglin from Villagers following a stint on CHVRCHES’ singles label, SOAK’s debut album is in part a vivid soundtrack to the rollercoaster of adolescence. There are those songs of lost innocence, with the Beach-House-influenced “B a nobody” depicting her brother’s crisis at the end of University and “Shuvels” (complete with the startling opening lyric, “I’ve got a ghost / And she’s haunting me”) also capturing this uncertainty of what comes next in life.

Ultimately, though, Before We Forgot How To Dream tackles those bigger struggles which become no clearer with age, and the compassion that arrives as a result: or as an aptly-tiled instrumental interlude puts it, ‘if everyone is someone – noone is everyone.” “Sea Creatures”, then, is a beautiful encouragement to a friend going through a hard time, whilst the tender but timeless “Blud” acts as a striking snapshot of a relationship in distress. It was actually written before SOAK’s parents separated – they also managed her whilst in full-time work for two years - after Bridie lay on the floor in an attempt to listen in on an argument. “Ultimately it’s saying that we’re a family who should stick together, even if we’re not.”

On its surface, Before We Forgot How To Dream may initially appear nostalgic – romantic, even - towards a more innocent time. But despite the tumultuous tone, which actually lingers beneath the record, there is still a persistently uplifting element to SOAK’s music. “People grow up and nobody believes in Magic anymore, or you’re told to lower your expectations and that certain behaviour isn’t appropriate. This album is definitely about that time when you believed a bit more in things.” You’d venture that belief will take SOAK further yet in her career, though ultimately her debut album seems to explore those joys and fears we take with us through life, from adolescence into adulthood – but simply get a little better at hiding.


RIYL: Cat Power, Daughter, Laura Marling, Karen O
TRY: #2, 3, 5

Download full album here:
http://www.piratepirate.com/wp/downloads/

More Info Here:
http://www.soakmusic.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/Soak0fficial
https://twitter.com/soakofficial



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Alexa Melo
Alexa Melo
Self-Released
ADDS 6/2/15
DIGITAL ONLY

“At their most direct, Melo’s songs recall some of the strongest voices of the 1990s (and, currently, artists like Meg Myers), but her palette extends beyond mere angsty-anthems.” – Buzzbands.LA

“...she’s got a dark pop vibe, but more dusty guitars than trendy cold electronica.” – The Deli Magazine

“...a cross between P.J. Harvey and Annie Lennox in terms of sound, although more sultry.” – The Revue

Garnering early support on tastemaker hometown stations including KROQ & KCSN Los Angeles!

Massachusetts-born Alexa Melo is only 20, but the singer-guitarist sounds like she’s been through the wars. And she has, in a manner. Signed to a major label as a precocious teen, Melo was passed from producer to producer to producer before finding a sonic ally in Christian James Hand (who produced The Mowgli’s). Now “emancipated” from her label deal, Melo will release her self-titled debut June 2, and it’s a far cry from the straight-up pop her handlers envisioned when they signed her. At their most direct, Melo’s songs recall some of the strongest voices of the 1990s (and, currently, artists like Meg Myers), but her palette extends beyond mere angsty-anthems. Much of the album, which began with Melo’s own ProTools recordings, reflects her stated influences of Radiohead, Bjork, Portishead, Jack White and Pink Floyd, and her guitar-playing abilities, as well as her vocal stylings, live up to her sonic ambitions. A highlight is the song “Bleach,” which has its roots (so to speak) in one music executive’s infatuation with wanting Melo to change her hair color. “The brainwashing and manipulating that occurs in the media and entertainment business and how easily your true colors can fade if it successfully breaks down your spirit,” she says. “It’s about mustering up the courage to not conform and pave your own way.”


RIYL: Meg Myers, P.J. Harvey, Annie Lennox
DIRTY: #3, 7
TRY: #1, 2, 4

Download full album here:
http://www.piratepirate.com/wp/downloads/

More Info Here:
http://www.alexamelo.com
https://www.facebook.com/alexamelo
https://twitter.com/alexamelo
https://instagram.com/alexa_melo/



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AM & Shawn Lee
Outlines
AM Sounds
ADDS 6/2/15
DIGITAL ONLY

The transatlantic duo AM & Shawn Lee continue their journey forward via the past on their new album Outlines, digging heavily into obscure soul, sound library and soundtracks for inspiration and re-imagine them through a pop lens. AM & Shawn Lee focus heavily on synthesizers, but still keep the core organic, with live drums and bass and of course placing a heavy importance on groove. Sonically Outlines tips it's hat to other synthesized soul productions such as The System or The Blackbyrds .

The first single "Persuasion" sets up the album perfectly with a revolving, atmospheric synth pattern suddenly interrupted by a deep funk groove peppered with staccato vocal stylings. "Cold Tears", a heartbreaking tale of a friend's false imprisonment, flows over galloping funk and sinister synths. "Again and Again", perhaps the epitome of sparse groove, is a perfect mid-tempo cruiser and a clear nod to AM's past tour mates AIR, while "Nightshine" delivers demented aerobic pop...picture Olivia Newton John's "Physical" set to a John Carpenter film.

The album title Outlines plays on a double meaning. On the one hand the record sounds like a "trace", giving no more than necessary to the production...the essentials. Lyrically, there is an undercurrent of an all too familiar modern struggle...the failure to communicate. We're only giving each other shorthand… “the outlines.”

AM & Shawn Lee's musical and artistic chemistry is very obvious especially since they have never recorded in the same room together. The duo trade tracks between London and Los Angeles until they feel the songs are complete. The process is ego-less, and both AM and Shawn Lee play nearly every instrument on the record.

Outlines is by far AM & Shawn Lee's favorite recording to date. Minimalist, future soul re-worked for today, but never forgetting what came before. Above all the music just soars. …Like hang gliding into a summer sunset.

AM & Shawn Lee released their debut album, Celestial Electric, to worldwide praise at Q, Word, Uncut, Mojo, Magik, Roliing Stone France, Radio Nova, Under The Radar, Nylon and more.

Stay tuned for USA/European tour dates for AM & Shawn Lee, coming soon!


RIYL: Metronomy, Hot Chip, Chromeo, Cut Copy
TRY: #1, 2, 6, 7

Download full album here:
http://www.piratepirate.com/wp/downloads/

More Info Here:
http://www.amsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/am
https://www.facebook.com/amandshawnlee
https://amsounds.bandcamp.com



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Trails and Ways
Pathology
Barsuk
ADDS 5/26/15
DIGITAL ONLY

The sound of Oakland, CA’s Trails and Ways is a fascinating mix of the melancholy of bossa nova, the fearlessness of basement indie rock, driving grooves from the end of disco, and the slick shine of radio pop. Their songs never shy away from personal and political heavy-lifting, but this is some of the most compelling pop music we’ve heard in some time. Call it what you will; hearing it is like stumbling into the warmth of an intimate dance party among smart and thoughtful friends.

The band’s four members (Hannah and Keith on guitar, Ian on drums, and Emma on bass) cast off from the co-op houses at UC Berkeley in the depths of the great recession. They headed to live as far afield as Ceará in Brazil and Galicia in Spain before reuniting in Oakland to start the DIY bedroom recording project that became Trails and Ways. When the friends first sent out their early track “Nunca” to a few blogs the zeitgeist must have been blowing through Oakland, and they were staggered by a sudden rush of attention: 70,000 plays in a single day — something rarely seen from an unsigned artist.

This surge of popularity galvanized the band, and wary of becoming another flash-in-the-pan blog sensation they set out with determination to refine their art and take advantage of the unexpected groundswell of support. They quickly got to work crafting a powerful live show, quit their day jobs, ran two national tours, and played festival stages at Outside Lands, Capitol Hill Block Party, and Firefly.

Pathology, their debut LP, was recorded at home in Oakland in 2014, amid the unrelenting crawl of the California drought and the surge of tech-company capital in the Bay Area. The album is a work of multiple hands, multiple hearts, and multiple voices — vibrant, emotional, political, and personal.


RIYL: Best Coast, Chvrches, Phantogram, Purity Ring, Stars, CSS
TRY: #1, 2, 3, 6, 10

Download full album here:
http://www.piratepirate.com/wp/downloads/

More Info Here:
http://hiketrailsandways.tumblr.com
https://www.facebook.com/TRAILSANDWAYS
https://twitter.com/TRAILSANDWAYS
https://instagram.com/trailsandways



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Blis.
Starting Fires In My Parents House
Sargent House
ADDS 5/26/15
DIGITAL ONLY

“Even though Blis. is pretty young, the Atlanta four-piece is already drawing comparisons to some of indie rock’s biggest names. Though it’s quick to namecheck Weatherbox and American Football, the band has had other heavy-hitters like Modest Mouse and Silversun Pickups lobbed at it as well.” - The A.V. Club

Starting Fires In My Parents House is the upcoming EP from Blis., an Atlanta trio that likes the flout the rules of spelling and punctuation. Single “Floating Somewhere High And Above” is a hard-charging emo track with smart less-is-more guitar riffs and vocals that remind me of a cross between Isaac Brock and the dude from Silversun Pickups. The song seems to be waging an internal war between rhythmic and harmonic bombast, and everybody wins.” - Stereogum

"Floating Somewhere High and Above" is a splenetic airing out of the cognitive dissonance that occurs when one's perception is completely opposed to the reality that others offer. Maybe you can relate: the narrator here feels like sh*t, but where others see a hangover, this guy is convinced that getting f*cked up is the only solution. Blis. externalize his inner monologue, as guitars clash, fire and sting like faulty synapses and frayed nerve endings; "Floating" is the sound of someone inflicting their own pain to counter depression as a last-ditch grasp of control. It's potent stuff if you can identify with Blis.—mad as hell while knowing you're probably gonna keep takin' it.” - Pitchfork


RIYL: American Football, Modest Mouse, Foals, Cursive
DIRTY: #1, 2
TRY: #3, 4

Download full album here:
http://www.piratepirate.com/wp/downloads/

More Info Here:
http://sargenthouse.com/blis
http://www.facebook.com/blismusic
http://twitter.com/blisatl
https://blismusic.bandcamp.com