Alex Bloom – One More Shot

Going on a teeny tiny bit of information, I don’t have many details to relate to you. But I will say this…
Once in a while a song drifts by you and you could just listen to it all day. You sort of wish you had written it. But you are happy it exists regardless of penmanship credits. I dig this song. Thank you Alex Bloom. You done Good!

Full album out on December 8th

The Blue Room album release show will be at Hotel Cafe on Wednesday, Dec 6.

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Last Chance to “Go See It” – Father John Misty – Oct. 5 – The Observatory North Park

There are still tickets available to go see Father John Misty this Thursday night at the The Observatory North Park. We highly recommend seizing the opportunity. The Friday night show at The Observatory is sold out and tickets are going fast for Thursday.  This is a great venue to see one of the most talked about live shows of the year. 

When Father John Misty kicked off his international tour in support of his astute new album, Pure Comedy, Monofesto offered the Top 5 reasons the FJM live show is a must see experience. All these reasons hold true, but we became strikingly aware that we missed one huge element: THE INCREDIBLE BACKING BAND. The shows have been complete with deep horn and string sections bringing the rich orchestrations from the past two albums to life. Check out this recent live stream below to see just how BIG these reflective folk rock genre bending ballads can sound with the current stage line-up:

 

Ground Patrol’s DRIFT

Art As Catharsis are proud to announce the first single from DRIFT, the debut album from the New York / Sydney duo Ground Patrol.

How to explain the sound of Ground Patrol?

With just two members, this group has managed to take the trance-like repetition of Dawn Of Midi and the spatial-sonic exploration of The Necks to new levels.

Their debut album consists of four improvised pieces, each beginning with a short musical theme which loops upon itself, but never perfectly. These unbalanced or slightly out of phase loops work with and against one another, generating a kinetic charge that brings the theme to life. The theme begins to transform, surging forward with ever-more energy, and morphing into unexpected new forms with all the random beauty of organic evolution. Within a piece their sound might shift rapidly from raw and heavy blocks of sound to subdued, trance-like polyrhythmic meditations.

Like Battles on a heroic dose of LSD, Ground Patrol transforms what would be inert musical cells into an ever-blooming fractal. Their process is a deliberate reaction against music that is overly mathematical, careful, or precious. The duo eschew order for flow, embracing chance and randomness with an approach that relies on the dialogue and spontaneity of live performance, and is rooted in the physicality and response of their instruments.

This trans-continental duo is comprised of New York-based guitarist Kyle Sanna and Sydney-based drummer Alon Ilsar. Kyle is deeply immersed in New York’s improvised music scene, and has performed with virtuosos like Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile, and in venues like Bach House in Eisenach, the Sultan of Oman’s Royal Opera House, and Carnegie Hall.

Alon Ilsar has been a member of a multiple, vital Australian experimental acts, including the experimental pop group Gauche, avant-garde metal band Darth Vegas, and electronic future-jazz trio The Sticks. More recently, he has collaborated with the Neshamah Dance Company and Trevor Dunn.

ground patrol drift

Metz Release “Strange Peace”

IMG_0347“Strange Peace” is the third full-length release by Canadian noise rockers Metz, an album which is as much classic Metz as it is a progressive dive into new and uncharted musical waters for the band.

The new album opens with the heavy-hitting “Mess of Wires” which leaves listeners with precious little time to take a decent breath before the sonic explosion begins. “Strange Peace” is riddled with the fast-paced heavy hitters we’ve come to expect from the band, though several are others are slightly less typical. Songs such as “Cellophane”, and “Dig a Hole” are a bit more melodic and, dare I say, poppy with vocals seemingly channeling Jello Biafra. Other songs like “Sink” are a dramatic change from what we are used to hearing from the trio as it is much more slow-paced and quiet with the chiming harmonics of the bass guitar being the predominate riff. Very Sonic Youth and very cool.

Nirvana and the Pixies come to mind at times throughout the album, which is not surprising since, like Metz with “Strange Peace,” both bands have at one time been recorded by the one and only Steve Albini who carries such claims to fame as “In Utero” and “Surfer Rosa.”

The final track, “Raw Materials” is the album’s magnum opus clocking in at almost six minutes long (close to twice the length of the average Metz song.) The track is multi-tiered with many sonic ups and downs proving the band has progressed enormously since their 2012 debut.

Strange Peace will appease both the worst of rock critics and the best of Metz fans as it is an extraordinary effort from a band who remains in its own unique musical realm.

Metz – Cellophane. New Video. New Album

Toronto’s Metz is finally releasing their new album “Strange Peace” on September 22. I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Steve Albini is at the helm recording this one. It’s gonna be good! In the meantime, get your “twilight zone” on with their trippy new video. I believe it might be near impossible to not draw comparisons to raw early Nirvana. But of course that isn’t a bad thing at all. Enjoy!

Monofesto’s San Diego Spotlight: Redwoods’ Birdy Bardot Shakes it Up Again

The latest offering from The Redwoods Music, Birdy Bardot II, has San Diego buzzing once again. Monofesto seized upon the opportunity of the new release to team up with local photographer Kristy Walker to cover the record release party show at the Casbah last month.  In addition to an album review, we were also able to interview Birdy bandmates Matt Molarius and Daniel Schraer. Check out all parts of this special “San Diego Spotlight” feature below, and be sure to check out the Redwoods Swapmeet & Greet this Sunday 7/30 at Allegory and the next Redwoods Review on August 6th at Coronado’s Bay Resort.

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Show Review: Birdy Bardot Record Release Party – Casbah – 6/23/17

A thrilling intensity filled the Casbah when Birdy Bardot and band took to the stage last month and unleashed their new material during the record release party for Birdy Bardot II. It was a festive night for the Redwoods and the SoCal music scene, as Birdy was supported by the revival of San Diego favorites The Heavy Guilt, Los Angeles indie rockers The Dead Ships, and label mates Dani Bell and the Tarantist.  Everyone was in high spirits and the band was anxious to celebrate their efforts and share the results with the Casbah crowd, who were primed to graciously receive. As mentioned, Monofesto was lucky to team up with local photographer Kristy Walker who not only shared her knack for capturing the fabulous ladies of the Redwoods and especially Birdy’s increasingly dynamic stage presence but also chronicled the frenetic flow of the night perfectly (check out Walker’s photo slideshow of the night below). 

 

There was no doubt that even in this talent rich evening, the star of the night was Birdy herself. From start to finish, she demanded that every eye in the house was fixed on center stage. Early in the set, when she ripped into the new album’s featured single “Fortune”, it felt like an arrival for Ms. Bardot, rising to a new echelon as a performer. Consistently animated since her days fronting San Diego’s New Kinetics and The Rosalyns, Birdy was now in complete control of the stage and crowd, matching her ferociously beautiful roars with sudden bursts of bodily force.  

The band was happy to pick up on her momentum and bring their own personalized heightened antics to the performance. Oft-touted as a San Diego all-star line-up, each section proved worthy of the billing. Dillon Casey and Matt Molarius  (guitars) ripped powerfully but more impressively filled every sonic space with tight fills, evenly balanced and partnered. Jake Najor on the drums was resoundingly awe-inspiring in his exacting perfection, and Jason Littlefield was equal to demonstrating his tight professionalism on bass. Daniel Schraer  (keys) was fluid and nuanced in his accompaniment. Of course, Alfred Howard held it all together neatly with his bag of rhythmical tricks (his theremin-inspired manipulation of radio static on his old boombox a particular treat to behold) and limitless passion, seemingly picking up and channeling every rhythmic turn and beat through him simultaneously.  

Birdy had the material from the new album noticeably surging, but she also brought a new welcomed edge to the self-titled freshman album cuts. The crowd was animated throughout, including a captivated crew of young San Diego men lining the front of the stage. Whether looking for a footing to climb the precariously tight Casbah sound rigging or whipping her head back to assault the looming ceiling, Birdy brought infectious life to every word and note. The night capping encore opened with a patient but building rendition of “Right Back” (Bardot II’s closing track) that highlighted Schraer’s moving ability to float Birdy’s vocals out over the heads of the crowd and into the night. They then returned to the first album to close the night with fire. 

Ensuring that the high intensity never faltered was Redwoods ringleader and local legend in the making, Howard. Howard was especially demonstrative this evening in his percussive and explorative sound display,  keeping the Birdy set pumping. Impressive considering his workload for the evening. By the time he took the stage with Birdy he was already on his 4th set of the night, as he not only opened the night bringing his longtime project The Heavy Guilt back to the scene but also bolting from main stage to the back Casbah lounge stage to fill every possible space with raucous rhythms with two Dani Bell and the Tarantist masked-sets between main stage sets. 

Dani Bell and the Tarantist: photo by Kristy Walker

Dani Bell and the Tarantist: photo by Kristy Walker

Dani Bell played their role beautifully, supporting their label mate by keeping the night fresh and alive at every turn. They turned on the spectacle and magic with the flip of a switch like the seasoned and confident act they have worked to become over the past years. The stage connection between Bell and Howard is inescapable and somewhat enigmatic but nevertheless seamless at this point.  

Eric Canoza and Howard of The Heavy Guilt

Eric Canoza and Howard of The Heavy Guilt: photo by Kristy Walker

The Heavy Guilt opened the night with obvious excitement to be performing together and to be presenting new material. Eric Canoza and Howard are joined with a fresh and talented new line-up; Austin Burns (guitar) Aaron Hook (bass), and Peter Williams (drums). Canoza’s voice continues to melt wonderfully into the screaming wall of sound, creating an uplifting urgency. It was great to see the addition of Burns, fully showcasing his instrumental skills this time around, as North County San Diego has long enjoyed his vocal talents with the likes of Second Cousins

Austin Burns : photo by Kristy Walker

Austin Burns : photo by Kristy Walker

Additionally, the Dead Ships definitely gave the night a boost with their poppy reverb laden grooves delivered with metal fierceness. The professional commitment to their sound and performance was evident, making them a fun band to experience in San Diego as they continue to play and spread their name along the West Coast.

The Dead Ships: photo by Kristy Walker

The Dead Ships: photo by Kristy Walker

One last striking thing about the evening was the civility effectively balanced with the raging power and emotion of the music and gathering.  Part of Birdy Bardot and the Redwood’s appeal is undoubtably the talent housed in such a polite, gracious, and approachable group of musicians and the lovely, well-intentioned people they attract around them. 

We Recommend: Birdy Bardot II Lands with a Roar

tempbirdy2_t350The new Birdy Bardot album released by the Redwoods Music, Birdy Bardot II, brings an equal amount of swagger as its self-titled predecessor, but this time around there is an even more biting edge and diversity to the music. As mentioned openly by the band, this second album was a collaborative effort built around Birdy’s wide range and abilities, and the result is a sweeping tour of styles and moods. Giving each member a chance to truly infuse the group with their own unique creative touches effectively unleashed fresh energy into each track.  

The common denominator remains Birdy’s sultry smooth vocals that turn in a flash to razor sharp, biting roars, and the group has found even more opportunities to showcase this moving effect. “Wake Me up with Fire” is one that will have you hitting replay just to hear her reach the maxed out vocal levels as her belting of “fire” will test the threshold of your car speakers or earbuds (tempting you to preorder the vinyl to really see what the recording is made of).

Equally cohesive and important is the masterfully penned lyrics of Alfred Howard (resident Redwoods lyricist, percussionist, and founding father). His musings and offerings move from empowering oneself in the face of an ambiguous future, voicing the scorned and wounded, celebrating personal awakenings, to wandering through the isolation and anxieties of lost time and purpose. 

Of course the featured single “Fortune” is a great representation of the increased power behind the Birdy Bardot sound, but it is really only a single piece of the intricate emotional journey that is the album. The first 3 tracks burst out of the gate with unbridled confidence, but tracks like “Slowly Know Me”, “Take This All Away” and “Through the Dark” are haunting contributions that take you back into the recesses of your own latent desires and quandaries. Thankfully, “Right Back” closes the experience with melodic and thematic comfort to wrap us up in resignation with who we ultimately are and with all that we have dared to let ourselves experience.

Having tested out the album for several weeks now, we definitely advise taking it in from start to finish, as mining the collaborative efforts for the naturally unifying threads is an enjoyable process, and each track features a unique blend of composition and performance that relies on rotating talents and abilities. Let’s hope this creative process serves as a model for more aspiring artists seeking the right formula for collaboration to be lifted up as well as lift up their bandmates. 

 

Interview: Redwoods’ Musicians Matt Molarius and Daniel Schraer Talk New Birdy Bardot Album

Monofesto reached out to the talented Redwoods’ musicians behind the Birdy Bardot II album to find out a little more about the new release. Long-time, respected San Diego artists Matt Molarius (guitar) and Daniel Schraer (keyboard) provided some insight into how the new album came together and what it is like to create within The Redwoods Music endeavor.

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photo by Kristy Walker

Molarius, frontman of San Diego’s iconic Transfer has stepped away from center stage to co-start and run The Redwoods Music, spending more time producing and managing, but his participation in the Birdy project has given him a chance to continue to write and also focus on perfecting his guitar chops. Both in the studio and on stage his contributions are a driving force behind the stomp and swagger that brings a welcomed edge to the music.

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photo by Kristy Walker

Resident keyboardist for the Redwoods, Schraer is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who has worked with numerous bands and projects around San Diego and Los Angeles. Studying music at UCLA, he has also been involved in film and television project scores. His work on the album is evident, as the keys are featured heavily on several tracks and provide a “vintage cool” tone throughout.

Monofesto: It’s been mentioned that Birdy Bardot II is probably the most collaborative Redwoods album to date.”  Bringing this type of communal spirit to the creative process is commendable. What do you see is the greatest reward or benefit in taking on such a collective project? 

Matt: I feel like it’s far more personal for everyone when they are able to put their creative stamp on the music. At the same time, it’s also very unifying to complete an album where everyone has a meaningful contribution and you can look around and say, “Check out what WE did. It rules.” All the players in this band are a force in their own right, so I feel like it really enhances the final outcome of the album when the spotlight moves around a bit.

Daniel: I think when everyone is on board with the general vibe of the band great things can happen. Everyone in the group is on the same page in terms of musical taste, so when we bring ideas to the table they tend to work together to make something even better. 

photo by Kristy Walker, courtesy of The Redwoods

photo by Kristy Walker

MF: Concurrently, what are the biggest challenges that arise in working within such a large collaboration?

Daniel: There’s a lot of people in the band, which can create a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type of scenario. If there’s too many ideas kicking around it can make it really difficult to move forward with a song. Luckily everyone knows when to contribute and when to step back, so we usually avoid that problem.

Matt:  Scheduling is a challenge. Everyone hustles, and to get several people with revolving time slots of availability in the same room at once can be tough. Fortunately, everyone involved is committed and this project is a top priority for all the players so it tends to always work itself out.

MF: With so many diverse contributions, was there an attempt to create a unifying theme, feeling or tone for the album? 

Matt:  I wouldn’t say that there was any specific theme or direction that we were trying to laser in on but I will say that we wanted something that would highlight what Birdy does best. In that, there were several ways we could go and ideas we could explore in developing these songs as she has a pretty vast range within her vocal approach. The album more presented itself rather than us having a detailed roadmap. Heavy riffs and some over the edge moments, some sludgy mid-tempo, dark colors as well as preserving some space and letting some fragility be exposed. It just kind of came together and took on its own shape…we just tried to stay out of the way.

Daniel: We just wanted to create something that is tasteful, layered, and kick ass. Birdy has a very distinct style, so as long as it fits her voice and vibe, it works.

MF: Can you talk a little bit about the production process for the album and how creative decisions were ultimately shared along the way?

Matt:  We always demo ideas out and shoot them back and forth for refinement. Once we have a skeleton, we get the right tempos and hit the studio for drums and bass. Then the layers of guitar, keys, percussive ideas, weird sounds are added before finalizing the song with the vocals. Everyone gets a listen to the rough mixes for any additional notes before we send off to our mix man, Jordan Andreen. 

Daniel: I wouldn’t say all creative decisions were shared, but everyone came in and did their part. Some songs we worked out as a band and played live for a while before finally recording, while others began as a small demo with maybe Jake, Alfred and whoever wrote the music. Then we would flesh out the demo and figure out what parts to add. 

photo by Kristy Walker

photo by Kristy Walker

MF: For each of you, what song(s) do you have the most fun playing on this album? What makes these songs enjoyable to perform for you?

Daniel: “Fortune” might be the most fun song for me to play, although “Take It All Away” and “Had My Doubts” are great too. Its fun to show off a bit during “Fortune” and I love the way the keyboard parts fit with the rest of the music on those other two. 

Matt:  I like playing several of the songs on this album. I particularly enjoy the more ripping tunes as they are loud and dynamic and you get to lose yourself a little more in the performance. “Fortune,” “Had My Doubts,” “Only Need You to Love Me”. That’s the rush that gets to be addictive in this process. The collective energy created by the crew when we’re all in the moment and tearing it out together.  I also enjoy playing Black Mirror as it’s a fun acoustic guitar Travis Picking song that’s a little out of character for the record but somehow fits just right.

photo by Kristy Walker

photo by Kristy Walker

MF: What other take-aways do you have from the experience of making this album? 

Matt: I feel like we got to be a little more experimental with this album and let go of some inhibitions musically. Which is such a liberating process but doesn’t always produce results that you might expect. In that spontaneity, I feel like another side of player’s sensibilities are revealed. And in this case, they all blended together in such a cool and interesting way. I don’t think we could have planned where we would end up but I couldn’t be more pleased by where we landed.

MF: Thanks to both of you for the insight into the creative process over at the Redwoods. 

Watch New Chad VanGaalen Video for “Pine and Cover”

The Calgary mastermind is at it again with more artistically bending visuals and sounds.

From Sub Pop:

In Chad VanGaalen’s new animated video for “Pine and Clover” [watch here], a shapeshifter is born with the inability to form memories. It transforms into whatever creature or object it senses to be closest to it in the moment, but cannot remember what it was previously. It seems to have no sense of self, whatsoever. Or as VanGaalen humorously theorizes it: “This is what humans will end up being, or possibly have been.” 

Created by VanGaalen, the “Pine and Clover” video is a combination of hand drawn drawn animation (cell animation), claymation, and paperless 2D animation. As the singer describes it:  “The style and economy of the animation is governed by my ability to sit in a chair and draw for as long as I possibly can without being distracted by my beautiful vegetable garden. Because of the garden and its beauty, I have been inspired to make most of the environments similar to what I see in the garden, so needless to say there is a lot of lettuce.”

Chad VanGaalen’s “Pine and Clover” is one of the highlights off of Light Information,  the creative polymath’s sixth album. The album will be available on CD / LP / DL / CS on September, 8th in Canada via Flemish Eye and the rest of the world through Sub Pop.