onj. is an instrumental post-rock band that has been playing in and around Asheville, NC for about 4 years now. The four members of onj. are Marklar Klepac and Joel Wolfe on guitar, bassist Sean McAusland, and drummer Dylan Webb. Their first EP, "Opposition," was released at the beginning of 2014.
Over the past 3 years, onj. have been working on material for the new album, "Alone." The album attempts to capture the various feelings of being left alone while dealing with depression, loss, and separation.
The full EP, 'Coping Strategies' just released on & Options (Cassette and digital). It explores erosion of meaning and collective anxiety, and people’s attempts at dealing with those things. People seem to be finding the world an increasingly overwhelming and absurd place. Noticing how they deal with that has been finding its way into my CARES' work.
"I only knew what this EP was about after it was finished. I approach writing with an idea about a sound or a vague feeling or imagery but leave the concepts open ended to try to write in a more abstract and subconscious way. I’m really excited to release something on & Options because I think they're doing something really interesting with the catalog they’re building. The label is Toronto based but a lot of the music they are putting out is from all over the world. There is a really bold mix of ideas from their roster so far and I'm happy to add to it."
"Late Night Mornings" is hotkid's first full-length album as a three piece. Adding bass to their previous guitar/drums duo has allowed for a little more space and freedom in the songwriting and production. Working with producer Adam King (Lowell, Mad Ones) gave them the opportunity to spend time experimenting in the studio. They also incorporated self-recorded elements, giving the album a range that spans from more produced and experimental, to a little more raw and immediate.
Northwest is one of the most promising musical projects in the independent scene. They gained media attention because of their ethereal and cinematic sound, their nostalgic and mysterious image and their diverse blend of influences (from bands like Radiohead and Portishead to composers such as Debussy and Robert Wyatt).
Northwest was formed in 2015 in the UK by multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Ignacio Simón and visual artist, composer and singer Mariuca García-Lomas They gained attention with three home recorded singles (Reflection, Wind and Look At Me) which were released independently and with very little promotion, accompanied by three artistic videos directed by Mariuca García-Lomas herself.
The duo Northwest moved from Spain to the UK and spent half of the year traveling around England and Scotland. Inspired by these trips, they started writing their debut album in 2016. This album has been almost entirely writen and recorded in less than a year while the artistic couple locked themselves in a country house outside of London.
Northwest has managed to create an original and otherwordly atmosphere thanks to their unique blend of experimental jazz rhythms, ethereal and enigmatic layered vocals, classical orchestration, delicate production and nostalgic lyrics. Their upcoming debut album is one of the most awaited and promising projects of the independent music scene.
NAAL is the surrealist, drone/rock project of Chicago native Dave Mantel. Characterized by a sonic journey taken between more traditional instrumental post-rock, and the fringe elements of ambient, noise, drone, and field recordings, NAAL is a project that wanders freely between elements of all of those genres, while juxtaposing their individual elements to create a unique sonic palate.
Formed in 2013 with the release of the debut project titled Wilderlands, NAAL has released 4 EP's, with a debut full-length announced for a 2017 release. Each of the past three releases, 2014’s “Compass” and “Chaos Monsters,” and 2015’s “TIME” EP, charted as best-sellers on Bandcamp. Beyond his recordings, NAAL has begun to bring a live show audio/visual experience that focuses on the mellower side of the project. Long, texturally complex soundscapes are complimented by an ambient visual experience aimed at exploring dark, metaphysical and surrealist themes.
A703 is a slow, intricate walk through several years worth of dark, complicated emotional landscapes, compiled together to create a listening experience that will both relax and challenge the listener. The slow drones and complex textures give voice to both a deep sadness, and a deep hope. Of the new album, Mantel says, “There's an idea in Japanese that has captured me- 'mono no aware'- which is an awareness of the impermanence of everything. But, at the same time, not letting that overwhelm or immobilize you. It's a gentle sadness of things. But that idea of simple awareness is not where I want this story to end... That is the concept for the album.”
The first full length album from NAAL, A703’s soundscapes are charged with the weight of their author's own emotional darkness. This album is unlike NAAL's past releases in both the volume of work, and the compositional and instrumental restraint involved in the process. Leaving behind the more traditional post-rock vibe of the project's previous releases, A703 fully embraces the “drone” side of the so called “drone/rock” genre Mantel has coined.
The slow moving chord structures made up of layers of guitar and synthesizer textures, combined with bits of field recordings taken over the course of some of these aforementioned defining emotional moments, create ambient and droning atmospheres that are at once intricately complex and utterly benign. Although these 7 tracks are, for their author, ultimately about mortality and the fleetingness of the temporal, in the depth of the music, there seems to be a glimmer of light. In the end, Mantel says, the interpretation remains up to the listener, “That's the beautiful thing about making the kind of music I make. I can write something out of the deepest feelings of sadness and pain, and someone can listen to those same lines and feel hope in the middle of that. That's really all I want from this project. Yes, there is sadness, there is death. But I have to believe that there is also life.” A703 releases on June 30th, digitally everywhere and physically at NaalMusic.com
On Saturday, May 20, multi-instrumentalist and lauded bass player Erik Kramer released his debut studio endeavor, an EP entitled ‘Missed the Boat.’ The Brooklyn-based musician has an especially eclectic sound, one that employs the talent of a slew of musicians: saxophone, trombone, viola, trumpet, back-up vocalists - they’re all there. An experimental record through and through, ‘Missed the Boat’ is an indie record quite unlike anything else that’s come across my desk in recent months.
The Great Long Distance is an audible recollection of the first 12 months of a long distance relationship, including the highs and lows and moments in between. It is a journal without words, each of the 12 tracks representing each month respectively. Inspired by the format of NIN's "Ghosts I-IV", the album is a sonic tapestry of different moods and themes, with various recurring motifs and the subtle melding of synthesizer and samples; the result something not quite classical, ambient or electronic - rather, an eclectic blend of the three. For fans of Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and later Ulver