The most important element of Warpaint's second, self-titled album is space. The hauntingly lovely sounds that comprise its 12 songs are punctuated by a distinct absence of sound, one that elevates the band's music to a new place of depth and emotional poignancy. For the Los Angeles rock band crafting a second album offered an opportunity to expand the ethereal, hypnotic songs on their 2010 debut The Fool and to mirror their extensive live experience on a recording while allowing for the inclusion of more room.
The group, formed in 2004 by Kokal, Wayman and Lindberg, toured on The Fool for two and half years, solidifying the bond between the musicians over the course of numerous performances around the world. The new album represents Mozgawa's first full collaboration with Warpaint since she jointed shortly before the band recorded The Fool in late 2009, something that augmented the experience this time for everyone involved. The initial work on Warpaint began at a house in Joshua Tree in March of 2012, where the four musicians decamped to write and demo early ideas for the new songs. There was no immediate vision or goal, instead the band wanted to create a meditative place in which to channel inspiration.
"We could come from any direction we wanted," Kokal says. "Here we'd been playing the same songs over and over again on tour and being in Joshua Tree it was like a dam was released and all this water started flowing out. Recording and writing this album, we really started to play and interact with each other in a new kind of way. It was the natural next level of getting to know each other and discover our album. I think the element of space became kind of a band member, and we were very conscious of not trying to fill in every silent moment anymore."
The musicians spent a month in Joshua Tree before returning to Los Angeles, where they continued to write and demo before going into the studio with Flood in January of 2013. The producer, the only person on the band's producer wishlist, joined the group at Five Star Studios in Echo Park for six weeks. The band was drawn to Flood's ability to balance the lo-fi aesthetic of a raw demo with hi-fi production, a sensibility they hoped to embrace when recording the new tracks. In fact, several of the demo pieces made their way onto the final tracks on Warpaint.
"I could hear in Flood's work with PJ Harvey that he was comfortable with having a demo-type feeling to the music sometimes but able to translate that on to a greater level of professional sound," Wayman says. "He's got so much experience under his belt and he's really talented at creating things, making them sound big and luscious. We used a lot of mood-enhancing atmospheric stuff, like synths and electronic drums. We all love hip-hop and trip-hop, which is really mood and rhythm based. That influenced us here."
"We wanted to make a sexy record," Lindberg adds. "Something a little more minimal than The Fool. We had so much to express – and still do – but have learned the magic of less is more and truly went in with that frame of mind. We were more mindful and wanted to make room for one another."
The resulting album, self-titled because this it the truest expression of Warpaint to date, is vast and beautiful, collecting lush, compelling songs that embody otherworldly tones and hushed pauses. There is a hazy sense of abstraction that pervades, leaving each song lingering as the next begins. "Hi," which Kokal calls "a really beautiful and dark twist to a very conventional songwriting structure," shimmers with sparse emotional verve while "Keep It Healthy" explores a meditative groove. "Love Is To Die," a number that emerged almost directly from a jam session, balances soaring melodies with ambient beats. The album finds all four musicians playing in tandem, and indeed much of the album was recorded live in the studio. It merges disparate influences and sensibilities while eventually landing on a cohesive – and unexpected – thematic thread.
"Without sounding trite, the subliminal theme of the album is love," Mozgawa says. "It's a record that meditates on different forms of love in a poetic manner. This wasn't a preconceived theme – it's just one powerful prevalent thread."
The musicians have found a cohesion between this new album, The Fool and their 2009 EP Exquisite Corpse, a sort of evolving symbiosis that always comes back to the strong connection between the four players. The album art, created by Chris Cunningham, reflects the collaborative strength and inherent friendship heard in the songs. Cunningham, who is married to Lindberg, is presently working on a multimedia documentary about the group, which he started while the band was in Joshua Tree last year.
"We came up with the idea of making a long short film, a mixture of the kinks and quirks of Warpaint and his kinky and quirky brain and ideas," Lindberg says. "It is going to be a medley of things. Chris is such a mindful and respectful guy. It's been so wonderful to have someone with such impeccable taste and an endless amount of creativity witness all stages of this record."
Ultimately Warpaint reveals the next stage of evolution for the group, a truly collaborative effort that showcases both musical growth and a startling depth of friendship. "We thought about this collection of songs like, this is us," Wayman says. "This is an expression of who we are."
Emily Kokal – vocals/guitars/keyboards
Theresa Wayman –vocals/guitars/keyboards
Jenny Lee Lindberg – bass/guitars/vocals
Stella Mozgawa – drums/guitars/vocals
SWIMM makes music with the concepts of weightlessness and fluidity as the common elements in their genre-blurred sound. Deciding against the status quo of practicing apathy, SWIMM pours every bit of themselves into their music. They recently moved from Florida to LA and have been throwing DIY shows that have built a reputation for ending in sweaty, mylar twirling dance parties.
American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, born July 30, 1981 in Elko, Nevada, USA.
deafmute + Emily Kokal
Deafmute // [def-myoot] noun // 1. A collaboration of circumstance; four autonomous individuals locked in a cellar, stumbling through the darkness, communicating with chords, tempo, meter, and melody. 2. A concept of sound that isn't heard, but felt. 3. A form of communication that relies on feel, intuition, heart, and mind, while alienating all other senses. 4. Music that speaks volumes, despite the decibel; a sensation that is without definition. 5. Individuals communicating through various musical arrangements. 6. A group of compositions that rely on closed eyes, basement doors; a vacuum of over-lapping influences.
Based out of New Haven, CT, Deafmute is currently working on a collection of songs, soon to be released on all digital mediums and hopefully, if there is enough demand, package a full length EP. For now, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the upcoming release of their most recent singles, "Sleep No More" and "Night After".
Vocals, Guitar / Craig William
Drums / Nick Zacarelli
Bass, Vocals / Rob Scucci
Guitar / Jimmy Ryan
Gardens & Villa
Gardens & Villa is the project of five college friends from Santa Barbara, formed following the collapse of a noisier post-punk band and a hitch-hiking journey up the west coast. Members Chris Lynch, Adam Rasmussen, Levi Hayden, Shane McKillop began playing in earnest as Gardens & Villa in 2008. The name is pulled from the location of their house on Villa Street, and the property's lovely garden to which they tend. The music they make is very much connected to coastal city they call home — the stoney bike rides, dance parties, a scene free of judgment. The band refers to this Santa Barbara feeling as "coco vibes." For two weeks in the summer of 2010, the band camped behind visionary and now-labelmate Richard Swift's Oregon studio. No shower, no kitchen, but all the magic you could ask for. After taking a band oath to always play all parts live — a la Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense — the band added member Dusty Ineman to supremely execute the live incarnation of the band.
R.U.G.B.Y.W.I.L.D means “Regardless, U Gotta Be Yourself Whether I Live or Die,” an acronym that 24-year-old Rugby Wild came up with as a means to make his name represent him a little better. Hailing from the avenues of Newark and New York City, Rugby is rising fast on the West Coast hip-hop scene, and he’s the kind of artist who was born into his chosen profession by being focused, innovative, and driven. Rugby pulls from his own streetwise stories to create high-energy songs with powerful rhymes.
“I bring originality. So many artists are trying to make money off of what’s already proven to sell, but you can be original and still get noticed. In this day and age it’s ridiculous to think you have to do what everybody else does. I think my job right now is to be a collage, to show the industry that we don’t all have to do the same thing.” - Rugby Wild
FACIAL makes the noise that cuts like a chainsaw through the thick buildup of residue in your mind, left behind by years of dealing with the dull banality of life. They take the dead parts of your brain killed by mundane repetition and blasts it away with a pressure hose, while the low end rattles all the barnacles off your body and pounds you the way you are always afraid to ask for. Sweet melodies interchange with primal screaming as you fluctuate between comfort and discomfort, horror and jubilation, familiarity and utter confusion.
FACIAL aren’t always making sense. In fact, they have been known to not make sense at all. It makes perfect sense considering the difficulty of true communication. This is due to the subjective nature of reality, lack of attention due to mass distraction, and the fact that anything anybody does can be taken out of context and framed to be perceived in any which way you want! These are just a few factors, so imagine trying to boil down a live, complex organism, such as a band, to a concise couple of paragraphs, using words! what a difficult task!
Who wants to read anyways! What could somebody read about a band that would even peak their interest? A cute story? Their musical references and antecedents? Perhaps some affiliation with a more well-known artist? Maybe we are completely bored with words now and they have lost all actual meaning, and only the right combination of emojis will titillate interest anymore?
If FACIAL were to be represented only by emojis, it would probably be: The guy with sunglasses on, Upside-down smiley guy, and The guy with x’s for eyes. bored to death.
Devendra Banhart (DJ Set)
Devendra Banhart exploded on the international music scene in 2002 quickly winning a coterie of devoted fans as well as an unusually hefty amount of critical kudos right from the outset. His latest release is What Will We Be, recorded in a sleepy Northern California town throughout the Spring of 2009 co-produced by Devendra and Paul Butler (from UK outfit Band Of Bees). The international media's acclaim and the size of his audience both at home and abroad earned by his debut Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit was impressive to begin with and has increased dramatically with each subsequent release. What Will We Be is his label debut for Warner Brothers Records.
The basic recording line-up was Devendra on vocals and guitar; Noah Georgeson (producer of Banhart's last two albums, Little Joy, Bert Jansch and Joanna Newsome) on guitar and backing vocals, Greg Rogove (Priestbird) on drums and backing vocals; Luckey Remington (The Pleased) on bass and vocals and Rodrigo Amarante (Los Hermanos, Little Joy) on guitar and backing vocals. All the musicians involved played a part in arranging the songs recorded. Devendra and company took up residence in a private home, North of San Francisco, and set up a recording studio in it.
What Will We Be has a sunny, breezy feel with performances that evoke warm, lazy afternoons spent with good friends. The album is dominated by powerfully melodic, mid-tempo numbers played with relaxed expertise. But there's also ambitious stylistic range displayed with the inclusion of evanescent ballads like "Meet Me At Lookout Point," the epic riff-rocker "Rats" sprightly R&B flavored groovers on "Baby," and the sultry Latin-flavored stunner "Brindo," the Roxy-inspired "16th & Valencia, Roxy Music" among other pleasant surprises.
This is the second album Devendra's recorded with the same crew of players and all involved sound thoroughly comfortable, familiar and in synch with one another. It's accomplished, focused and straightforwardly handsome. Where Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon sounded like Devendra and friends brainstorming, sharing off-beat ideas and licks, What Will We Be sees them first and foremost addressing the particular needs of each individual composition. The vocal arrangements are noticeably more intricate yet crystalline with lush harmonies running through many of these numbers. The instrumental performances are still relaxed but very much on target
Devendra Banhart was born in 1981 in Houston, TX, moving with his parents to live in Caracas, Venezuela with his mother's family. The family relocated to Encinal Canyon in California during his teenage years and he first began to play music and learned English. Devendra then moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute (he left before earning his degree). His first musical performance was at the wedding of Jerry Elvis and Bob The Crippled Comic. Leaving San Francisco he globe-hopped over the next few years to Los Angeles, then Paris, back to San Francisco, on to Los Angeles, New York City and then back to the greater Los Angeles area where he currently resides.
He began making waves in underground music circles in 2002 with his debut album Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit . The album was compiled by Young God Records owner Michael Gira from a voluminous collection of audio Post-It notes of songs Devendra had accumulated whilst hoboing around the world, recorded on sundry answering machines and a cassette machine borrowed from his good friend Noah Georgeson. Over the next few years, he recorded a series of ground-breaking albums supported by international touring that earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim the world over. Past releases include Rejoicing In The Hands, Nino Rojo, Cripple Crow and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. During this period, Banhart appeared on the covers of The Fader, Signal To Noise, Arthur Magazine, Paper, Harp, Guitar World Acoustic, both the German and Japanese editions of Rolling Stone among others, been featured in the American edition of Rolling Stone (several times), Vanity Fair, GQ, Spin, Filter, The Believer, Blender, Sunday New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Washington Post, Mojo, the Village Voice and Under The Radar, Magnet and many, many more as well as received countless ecstatic CD and live reviews.
In addition to touring clubs and theaters Devendra's appeared at large, prestigious music festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including America's Coachella (in 2006 and 2009), and Bonnaroo. He's curated his own mini-festival at Los Angeles' El Cid club, "Hypnorituals and Mesmemusical Miracles Hanging in the Sky: 5 Nights of Soleros and Bandoleros." and was a guest curator in 2006 for the All of Tomorrows Parties festival in London delivering a line-up that featured Bat for Lashes, Jandek, Vetiver, Metallic Falcons, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot performing with Whizz Jones. In 2007 Devendra headlined the "Welcome To Dreamland" bill at New York's Carnegie Hall, a bill hand-picked by ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne that boasted acts from Devendra's extended musical family: Vetiver, Vashti Bunyan and CocoRosie.
Besides making his own albums, Banhart has recorded a wealth of material exclusively for tribute albums, compilations and benefit collections. He has collaborated with Beck on the title track of Todd Solonz's latest film Life During Wartime. At the request of Noel Gallagher, he and his regular bandmates recorded a remix of "Get Off Your High Horse Lady" from the latest Oasis album. This remix was featured on the Oasis website and released via iTunes in the UK. Devendra had previously contributed his rendition of Oasis' "Don't Look Back In Anger" to the Guilt By Association collection.
In recent years, his music has started appearing in films with increasing frequency. "Cristobal" with Gael Garcia Bernal joining Devendra on vocals appeared in the Gael-directed Deficit. His version of the traditional Mexican folk song "Lindo Cihuatlan" was used in Rudo Y Cursi starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. Devendra himself acts in a scene from Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist which utilized his song "Lover."
In tandem with his musical accomplishments Banhart is also an accomplished and renowned artist. His distinctive, minutely inked, often enigmatic drawings have appeared in galleries all over the world. In 2006, Devendra's artwork was featured in the annual Art Basel Contemporary Art Fair in Miami, FL where he also played a headlining set. Banhart's art was featured in a solo show alongside French master Paul Klee at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art the following year. 2008 saw his work exhibited as part of the "It's Not Only Rock 'N Roll" show mounted at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels alongside the contributions from Yoko Ono, Brian Eno, and David Byrne. He's also had gallery shows at the prestigious Mazzoli Gallery in Modena, Italy and in the CANADA gallery in lower Manhattan. Devendra's artwork has graced the covers of most of his full length releases.
Devendra Banhart has emerged as one of the most fascinating, unpredictable and inspiring artists of his generation and with What Will We Be he continues to surprise and delight an ever-increasing audience of fans and critics alike.
The Entire Universe (DJ Set)
The Entire Universe is Jeffertitti of the mighty Corners—and of Jeffertitti’s Nile and lots of legit sidemanning gigs, too—creating an entire universe of his own on a record so solo he played everything himself. The result is this sparkling little single, equal parts Bowie glam, Barrett psychedelica and Bomp!-y garage wave revival delivered with confidence, power and an irresistible hook. And now Jeffertitti has turned the Entire Universe into an entire band with the addition of Evan Snyder and Eric Lodwick - L.A. Record
Sego (DJ Set)
Sego's Spencer Petersen and Thomas Carroll were both birthed in the burgeoning Provo, Utah music scene. However, finding inspiration in the dissonance that the towering structures and bustling city offers over the mountains and relative quiet of Provo, both relocated to an old pasta factory in downtown LA. Through various projects together, both founding members uncovered their distinct sound: lazy, grungy guitars with digital overlays and (refreshingly) honest lyrics. The band’s debut album surprises with angular guitars, complex arrangements and musings from an 80’s kid contemplating the void left from the misguided hope of our youth.
David Orlando (DJ Set)
Los Angeles-based DJ/promoter/graphic designer/drummer. One of the founders of LA reggae night Dub Club (2), also involved with the LA parties Punky Reggae Party and Dr. Who.