Ruby Fray: Grackle
Coming a long way from her debut album, Pith (KLP239), Ruby Fray's upcoming release Grackle (KLP251) blends Americana sweetness with sludgy dissonance. Helmed by Emily Beanblossom, the band teamed up with Pith producder, Ben Hargett, to record the album at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA. Their newest recording preserves the playful jangly genre-bouncing enervation found in their previous work while insisting on a more disciplined approach to songwriting.
The Pine Hill Haints: The Magik Sounds of The Pine Hill Haints
The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints (KLP254), ventures softly into the cool, dark whisper of the haunted south. Short, tight spun rhymes about silver quarters and vampires come from a late evening session in a small pink house in south Alabama, located next to an old Native American mound of shells and bones, recorded at low volume with red eyes and open windows. This is the 4th Halloween dance party long player the haints have cut for K.
Mirah: Changing Light
On her fifth solo album, Mirah breaks it down and builds it back up again with the street smarts that only years behind the wheel of love can inspire. Ready with the maps and driven to the rhythms on the radio dial, Changing Light's ten songs carry us from heartbreak to wholeness and all the places in between.
The Hive Dwellers: Moanin'
On their second album the Hive Dwellers make with a low, wailing expression of sorrow (or suffering). Moanin' [KLP249] is a collection of field recordings made at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. It's a noisy pop runaway freight train that stirs the blues soul rockin' of their debut album Hewn from the Wilderness [KLP241] to a new beat music recipe. The Hive Dwellers' Calvin, Gabriel and Evan have toured across the United States and left a wake of frug and shimmy shines that won't be forgotten any time soon. You beat the tambourine to "Streets of Olympia Town" in Knoxville; stomped the floorboards to "Montgomery Hammer" in Buffalo; knocked a heady bongo to "Baby Be Mine" in Oakland. C'mon, join in Moanin' for a while.
Halo Benders: God Don't Make No Junk (Reissue)
Originally released in 1994 The Halo Benders - God Don't Make No Junk (KLP029) is made available again on vinyl.
Out of the basement rock n' rule that is Dub Narcotic Studio comes the angel noise from the comet's tail. Doug Martsch (Built To Spill, Treepeople visted Olympia from his home in Boise, Idaho, bringing a guitar and other battered ideas. Calvin Johnson sang and played along. Other Boisians in exile like Ralf Youtz (ex Built to Spill, Sone) and Wayne Flower (Treepeople, Violent Green) contributed to the melee. Steve Fisk played some keyboards through ancient amplifers and helped sort out the whole mess at the mixing console. This is interstellar punk/pop overdrive. Bending brainwaves and calling it art. Knocking icicles down, melting angels all over town. Heaven sent with halo bent."...rompingly funky bloke-indie stu with a certain irresistible elasticity." - Time Out
" ...an utterly disarming 33-minute mix of basement jamming, attic inspirations, and rec room sound" - The Stranger
The Shivas: You Make Me Wanna Die b/w Whiteout and So Far Out of Control
The Shivas are Portland's premier surf-rockers and back-ealley dance party rollers, lovers of '60s pop and psychedelia, but players of something modern and mischievous. "You Make Me Wanna Die" makes you feel like you're watching hte kids do the monkey on The Corny Collins Show, hair up in beehives and arms goin' wild. It's a song of love gone way too good or way too bad, but either way you spin it, they got passion. Flip it over for "Whiteout", the ttitle track from their last LP (KLP243) that got left on the cutting room floor but remains the most infectious surf riff you'll hear this decade, featuring a cameo by Calvin Johnson at the 15 second mark. Closer, "So Far Out of Control" sees Jared Molyneux going solo in Dub Narcotic Studios and recording everything himself onto a reel to reel eight track. It's catchier than the flu, but feels way better.
Beat Happening: Black Candy
Hey, Gravedigger. Welcome to Black Candy, the fourth Beat Happening album. Bret, Heather, and Calvin explore the more sinister aspects of life, with an eye towards the relief that can be found in its simpler pleasures. “Melancholy” is a word that has been used to describe this approach, though Black Candy does include many optimistic moments. If you like it black, here’s a blast of playhouse on fire, pajama party and haunted shadow to propel your day. Included on here is the original version of “Cast a Shadow”, covered by Yo La Tengo and Adam Green. Black Candy has been out of print on vinyl for near on a decade, and is being reissued now by K.
Girl Trouble: Hit It Or Quit It
This reissue of Girl Trouble's 1988 debut album, Hit It Or Quit It [KLP229], includes eleven original songs, one Northwest classic ("Steppin' Out" by Paul Revere & The Raiders), and two bonus tracks. To keep the energy level up and the over-production level down, these songs were recorded "live" (using the band's plywood speaker cabinets and a drum set purchased for $70 from the Sears surplus store) with only an occasional added guitar or vocal track. With the minimal pounding of Bon's drums, the steady cool of Dale on bass, the buzzsaw scream from Kahuna's Ouija guitar, and the rabid rock 'n' roll stylings of K.P. Kendall, Girl Trouble continues playing throughout the Northwest, 30-plus years on.
Jeremy Jay: Abandoned Apartments
Jeremy Jay's latest, Abandoned Apartments, feels lived in, familiar, but filled with creaking shadows that go deep into the unknown. A product of several years spent in self-inflicted isolation and at various self-produced recording sessions, it is studied and wiser, culling its synthesizer tones from late-80s goth pop and touching on something darker than anything else Jay's ever made.
Neo Boys: Sooner or Later
In Portland, OR, in 1978, a radical form of artistic expression some refer to as “punk” or “new wave” was beginning to take shape, and at the heart of this legendary movement was the powerful all-girl punk group the Neo Boys. Though they were an active band for just five years (1978-82), teenage sisters Kt (bass) and Kim Kincaid (vocals), Pat Baum (drums) and guitarists Jennifer Labianco and Megan Hengtes forged a place for women in the growing punk rock scene, and redefined gender roles in the 80’s movement of rock and roll. They regularly shared bills with The Wipers, opened for Nico, and played their first show with Television. Calvin Johnson has been working with the band members to track down the missing tapes of their recordings through a rabbit hole of Northwest basements and closets, and after twenty years of effort, the result is Sooner or Later (KLP247). A comprehensive double LP collection of Neo Boys recordings from 1977-1982, including the long out-of-print 1980 7” EP (released on Greg Sage's Trap Records), and 1982 self-released EP Crumbling Myths. Sooner or Later also contains recordings, early demos and live sessions that have never before been available to the public.
Beat Happening: Jamboree
The second Beat Happening album: it rocks killer. It was produced in Ellensburg, Wa. at Albright Productions by Steve Fisk. It was co-produced by Mark Lanegan and Gary Lee Conners of the Screaming Trees. Gary Lee Conners also plays guitar on the song “Midnight A’ Go-Go”. Hailed by many as one of the founding releases of the Crash-Pop genre. Nail it to your turntable and arch your back to the primitive beat.
Jeremy Jay: Sentimental Expressway b/w Later That Night
Lovers Without Borders: Detective and Eddy b/w The Second Most Beautiful Girl In The World and My Harem Shall All Have Hashbrowns
The idea for Lovers Without Borders started at the wedding of LAKE co-founders Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson, a romantically appropriate beginning. Karl Blau was singing and playing sax in the wedding cover-band, and Alex Parrish was taken with the sight of Karl just holding a sax on stage. "It would be so cool to build a band around that image," he thought to himself. Karl Blau, already a prolific and vetted K artist, was totally on board. With the addition of Jessica Bonin and her baby-drum kit, Lovers Without Borders was born. Their much anticipated entry into the International Pop Underground series of 45 rpm 7” singles, “Detective” (IPU142) will see its release on October 1st, 2013.
LAKE: The World is Real
LAKE is storied in collaboration, sonic adventure and an allegiance to exploring the limits of crafting pop songs. They have toured, recorded and allied with some of the most pioneering figures in contemporary independent music: R. Stevie Moore, Karl Blau, and Phil Elverum's Mt. Eerie, to name a few. The World Is Real (KLP246) is LAKE's fourth album for K and fifth overall, (excluding a bevvy of beautiful, more casually released underground cassettes and Eps), a collection of songs adorned with meticulous coloring and both analog and digital orchestration. The songwriting partnership of Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson is the locus of LAKE's creative engine, but members and long time friends Andrew Dorsett, Markly Morrison, and Lindsay Schief are just as represented on The World Is Real. LAKE channels a deeply articulated feeling of discontent and loss on this record, but balances them in tandem with the pop music joys they have so deftly honed for many years. As a lake reveals only is smooth, glossy surface to the world, so does LAKE hold its own, stirring universe beneath its pop exterior.
Jeremy Jay: Covered In Ivy b/w Situations Said
Kendl Winter and the Summer Gold: It Can Be Done!
It Can Be Done! (KLP248) is an album of new beginnings. The past year has seen Kendl Winter leave the successful bluegrass group The Blackberry Bushes to tour the country as a solo act, walking her banjo into dark bars, smoky music halls and packed amphitheaters night after night. It’s also full of intimacy. With a voice that is marvelously unique and bold, and songs that are both classically poetic and rooted deep in her own experience, Kendl draws upon an old-time Americana and bluegrass bent that brings to mind the haunting vocal work of Karen Dalton and Gillian Welch. Her banjo work on the album is striking, showcasing a kind of expertise that comes from years of companionship with a beloved instrument. It Can Be Done! [KLP248] is Kendl’s third release on K, the follow up to her beautiful 2012 landmark The Mechanics of Hovering Flight (KLP238). Recorded by Calvin Johnson at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA, on It Can Be Done! Kendl is backed by The Summer Gold, Austin Cooper, Joe Capoccia and Derek Johnson. Kendl Winter is teaming up with Red Ants Pants this summer, playing their music festival with Merle Haggard, Greg Brown and friends.
Ashley Eriksson: Colours
Ashley Eriksson (darling to many for her work with LAKE) has achieved a status few artists ever know: her song "Island Song" can be hummed by almost any teenager in the United States (a surprising discovery she made while teaching Portland's Rock Camp for Girls last summer). Used as the closing theme for Cartoon Network's cult sensation Adventure Time, "Island Song" has over a million views on Youtube and has generated dozens of cover videos, making Ashley Eriksson the equivalent of a "household name" to the youth of America. Now Ashley Eriksson has recorded Colours [KLP245], her inspired solo debut to be released on K this spring, and a collection of piano pieces, ballads and songs for her fans around the world.