Raj Sabhlok is a San Fran based musician who’s now currently getting a Masters degree in Beatles studies in Liverpool. Let’s poise a second to appreciate how awesome that is. Once you’re done with that, check out the two psych-pop tunes below to get a nice taste of Raj’s upcoming debut. The album was born from tragedy and Raj’s overcoming it. Read below for more details.
Following the sudden passing of his parents, Raj Sabhlok, the mastermind behind Raj and the 100’s, traded in his house for a small RV and left his hometown to hit the roads of the United States. In a two year journey of exploration and daily hikes in the American wilderness; Raj wrote approximately 300 songs. Upon the completion of a period that could be described as a songwriting pilgrimage, Raj found himself at Tiny Telephone, (John Vanderslice’s all analog recording studio) having recorded 50 songs within the span of 10 days. Encouraged by the energy of that immensely productive session, Raj and his bandmates thought it would be fun to challenge themselves to record 100 songs in only 20 days. Following that was a recording frenzy in the vein of Raj’s writing process, in which Raj and the 100’s; consisting of two members of John Vanderslice’s touring band and full time engineers at Tiny Telephone, and Jason Slota from Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, recorded 250 songs, all analog and cut live to tape with minimal overdubs, within the span of a couple months.
I was lucky enough to catch a solo set by Kevin Morby last Tuesday. I had traveled in that morning and was beat. I was gloriously tired as he sang a bunch of tunes of the excellent Singing Saw with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. He then hopped behind the piano for Destroyer and it was magical. I had no idea that he was releasing a new album.
But here we are, Morby just announced City Music via the fine folks at Dead Oceans. Here’s a little more on the album via the PR Team – His fourth album, City Music works as a counterpart to Morby’s acclaimed 2016 release Singing Saw, an autobiographical set that reflected the solitude and landscape in which it was recorded. Saw was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.”
And now follows City Music, the yang to its yin, the heads to its tails. It is a collection crafted using the other side of its creator’s brain, the jumping off point perhaps best once again encapsulated by an image. “Here, Lou Reed and Patti Smith stare out at the listener,” explains Morby. “Stretched out on a living room floor they are somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes.” It finds Morby exploring similar themes of solitude, but this time framed by a window of an uptown apartment that looks down upon an international urban landscape “exposed like a giant bleeding wound.”
Bonny Doon are a quartet of Detroit musicians born from the city’s punk scene. Started as a duo by principal songwriters, Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo; they were joined by the rhythm section of drummer Jake Kmiecik and bassist Joshua Brooks. After trying to keep their music in the punk genre, the band realized it wasn’t working and slowly drifted into a alt-country state reminiscent of the best of Pavement’s twangy ventures.
Like Nap Eyes, their tunes never get overly worked up in nature; relying on the casual observations to be the focal point of their intelligent lyrics. The songs are mostly sing from the perspective of twenty-somethings finding their place in this crazy world. The album opens with Relieved and opening lyrics. Now, you’re one year older / do you feel any different / its hard to tell. The track languidly looks at the dilemma of; “shit, I’m an adult now. What now?
What Time Is It In Portland sees Colombo pining after a love that moved away, all the while letting life just pass his by. Nothing earth-shattering but it should connect with anybody who’s ever been in that position. I See You is so easy-going and brilliant. A drunk birthday boy sitting by himself trading texts with his mom. The reading of the emojis is so understated; it is just brilliant.
All in all, this is a phenomenal debut. Keep an eye on these boys.
The question being asked is Can you deal with women making music? Bleached follows up 2016′s acclaimed Welcome To The Worms. For whatever reason, I didn’t connect with that release when it came out. So when they announced his EP, it was met with very little fanfare on my part. Well, it is connecting now. The EP is outstanding and I’ve been making amends with Welcome To The Worms.
The LA based punk band rocks and to that point, the title track of EP deals with that. They were tired of being pigeon-holed or labeled due to them being fronted by females. As someone who spent a good chunk of the day watching the ladies rock at the She Shreds party at SXSW, I could care less who’s fronting the band; as long as it’s good. And this is excellent. So my answer is yes, I can deal.
I caught one of their many sets down in Austin and it was fantastic. Day was on the cusp of turning to night, I had a few cocktails in me and the amps were turned up loud.
Just caught an earlier flight to Austin and plan on popping over to the She Shreds party featuring a number of female related artists. One that I’m really psyched to to see is Diet Cig, a band renowned for their live set. Diet Cig is Alex Luciano (guitar and vocals) and Noah Bowman (drums). The [...]
Photo Credit: Misho Antandze Valley Queen is a four-piece out of LA that play a very pleasing brand of California twang. Fronted by Natalie Carol, the outfit just released their debut EP and will be down at SXSW. I plan on taking in their set at The San Jose this Friday with a tummy full [...]
Alynda Lee Segarra looks inward to her heritage and knocks it out of the park. Segarra, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, decided to dig into her roots for inspiration. As Segarra was digging into the punk scene on the Lowe East side in her teens and hopping trains before landing in New Orleans [...]
Photo by David McClister Banditos, the six-piece hailing from Birmingham (now Nashville) are back with their sophomore release on Bloodshot. Upon released of Their debut , I remarked that it, “embodied everything the reason HearYa started up 10 years ago.” The lead single, Fine Fine Day, sees them living up to those lofty words. Check [...]
Benjamin Booker’s debut was an absolute powerhouse of an album. Seeing him live will leave your jaw on the floor. He is force of nature both in his guitar playing and his vocals. His sophomore album will be out on 6/2 via the fine folks at ATO. He’ll be down at SXSW. If you have [...]
I first caught wind of Chastity Belt two year ago at SXSW. Stumbled across a set at Cheer Up Charlies as I was walking out of catching a set by Hinda. They’ve got a new album coming out in June via the fine folks at Hardly Art. Check out the video, an excellent homage to [...]