The Hundred in the Hands
The Hundred In The Hands' self-titled debut quickly established them as one of the most compelling new acts of the last few years. After touring that album across the globe, the duo consisting of Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman, returned to their dimly-lit New York studio to work on their mesmerizing follow-up, RED NIGHT, due out June 12th via Warp Records. RED NIGHT is a self-produced meditation on separation and reunion, love nearly lost and the long night back to it; a chronicle of late-hour pining awash in digital glow and urban buzzing.
Album opener "Empty Stations" begins with a haunting string arrangement that is overtaken by a propulsive rhythm and Eleanore's spellbinding vocal turns. "Come With Me" guitar stabs, icy keyboard, and polyrhythm underscore the lyrical siren's call. The heart broken vocal on "Faded" wraps itself around the spiraling bell and fragile arrangements to devastating effect. The goth RnB monster "Stay the Night" is a tale of yearning with a seductive slowed-down groove. The vast soundscapes of "Lead In The Light" start out sparse and build to an otherworldly climax and then back down again.
"From the start there was a darkness that was coming out both lyrically and sonically, the songs were all heartbreak and fear of losing something special, trying to find that better light."
RED NIGHT is an opportunity to enter the winding tunnels of The Hundred in the Hands' nocturnal city where time stretches, tempos drop, and guitars plunge rumbling and throbbing out against denser and denser vocals as the story unfolds. The band's boundary-pushing sound is unafraid to marry minimalism and abstraction with big melodies. They have recently been playing some of the new material to rapturous audiences at big events including a Vice party in LA at the end of February with Odd Future and Kid Cudi as well as the most recent Creators Project event in San Francisco with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, James Murphy, and Squarepusher. On RED NIGHT, The Hundred in the Hands have created an inimitable world that is sure to be one of this year's standouts.
One AM Radio
The One AM Radio is a project based in Los Angeles, where the sun hasn’t completely thawed its New England roots. Songwriter and producer Hrishikesh Hirway makes music about the feeling you get while driving home, fast, late at night, through half-empty streets.
The project began in New England, where Hrishikesh was studying design and photography at Yale. With a borrowed guitar, a 4-track, and a drum machine, he made cassettes for his friends and his sister to fall asleep to—instrumental lullabies mixed with staticky murmurs of talk radio.
Hirway started writing lyrics and singing over his music, and began performing, using what he’d written on the label on the first cassette — “The One AM Radio” — as a moniker.
Ted Leo gave Hrishikesh his real start and his first release, after the two played a show together, inviting him to come record in Boston at Radium City, Ted’s home recording studio. Those recordings were released as a split 7-inch with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.
Because of Hrishikesh’s musical roots, The One AM Radio became an unlikely part of the DIY hardcore scene, playing and touring alongside screamy punk bands in sweaty basements. The homemade recordings were released in the form of EPs and 7”s on a variety of hardcore labels, as well as Hirway’s own DIY imprint, Translucence.
By the time 2004’s A Name Writ In Water was released, people outside of the hardcore community had started to take notice. Pitchfork reviewed the album glowingly, giving it an 8.1 rating, noting “Hirway’s prose is peppered with imagistic bits of landscape. His compositions simply feel colossal…the maps he draws are beautiful.” Time Out New York deemed it one of the top ten albums of the year, and called the “dream mix of vocals, guitars, synths, violins, and ambient beats…both lush and thoughtful.”
That year, between touring and working odd jobs and freelancing as a designer, Hirway began a nomadic lifestyle, criss-crossing the country in his car, with his belongings limited to what could fit in his trunk. He eventually left the US to spend time in his parents’ home country of India, and began writing and recording what would become the album This Too Will Pass while living in Mumbai.
Hirway found himself back in Los Angeles, where he had once lived briefly, but long enough to fall in and collaborate with the likes of Daedelus and the dublab crew, the online radio collective at the heart of the LA experimental electronic scene. This time, shedding the wanderlust that had guided him for so long, he decided to try and make the city his home.
There, he made the acquaintance of the folks at Dangerbird Records, who signed him to release This Too Will Pass.
Los Angeles proved to be a fertile and fortuitous home base for Hirway, as a place where he could continue his unique aesthetic among a collection of luminaries who were like-minded if not exactly like-sounding. He remixed tracks for Jimmy Tamborello (of Dntel and the Postal Service) and LA beat-scene breakout star Baths, who had been a longtime fan of The One AM Radio. (The three acts later toured together, nationally, in August 2011, under the name The Soft Alarm Tour.)
Hrishikesh started making Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread during sleepless nights. Tony Hoffer, who has produced albums for Beck, Phoenix, Belle and Sebastian, and Air, ended up hearing demos of some of the early songs and reached out to get involved with the recording. Hoffer took an the role of an advisor, and Hirway would send him his hand-crafted organic electronic songs. Hoffer eventually became the executive producer and mixer for the record.
For Hirway, the new LP is about living on the fumes of dreams and hopes, which also happen to be what the plastic city of Los Angeles is built on, and what it is constantly confirming—and betraying. At one point, Hrishikesh’s idea was to make a dance record, and now, he admits, that’s not really how it turned out. But the album does make you want to move, to run, to get in the car and drive fast through the empty city in the middle of the night — to remember how tenuous the hold is on all the things you have, and want, and long for.
Superhumanoids (DJ Set)
SUPERHUMANOIDS - POP FROM SPACE
Words by Chris Zeigler
L.A.’s Superhumanoids are actually more supernatural, and not just because of their songs, which float along like ghosts while vocalist Sarah Chernoff sings things like, “Time won’t wait for either of us.”
They’ve also got an unearthly command of the powers necessary to put together a beautiful little pop song—economy, diversity, spontaneity and of course heart, if you were wondering. Their newest “Too Young For Love” single displays both boundless love for and limitless knowledge of all the different ways to sing something sad, stretching from delightfully outré melodic flourishes right out of a Siouxsie and the Banshees single to pixel-dripping digitized rhythm tracks that’d give any
subwoofer a work out. Companion track “Geri” bounces off that space-y Moog-y left-field pop sound the Rentals perfected on “Friends of P,” and if you wanna hear how they make sure less is more, you can examine the way they dissolve the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” into primordial soup. When people talk about “dream pop,” this is the exact thing they hope they fall asleep with.
The more you prowl through their discography, which is currently a stack of EPs and singles pointing the way to their just-about-out debut full-length Exhibitionists, the more you’ll discover. Really, there’s a whole world in there—from the harmonies all the way to the horizon line where everything just melts into a white light. So go toward the light.
Trust us on this one.