Past Releases

Spring Summer "T.E.A.R.S."

On her new album T.E.A.R.S, San Francisco-based artist Spring Summer looks back on pivotal moments in her near and distant past: minor heartaches and shattering disappointments, life-altering tragedy and the pure euphoria of emergent love. But the 10-song project also marks a monumental leap forward after years of creative stasis for the North Carolina-born singer/songwriter otherwise known as Jennifer Furches. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist who spent much of the aughts playing with artists like Cass McCombs, Coconut Records, and Ben Lee, she’d devoted the following decade to raising her three young children, but soon felt inescapably compelled to make music again. “I was missing it so much, in a way that was making me kind of crazy,” she recalls. It wasn’t until Furches culled through a decade of quick demos she’d made when the kids were sleeping that she realized she’d actually been recording tons of music over the years. “I started collecting those pieces and building them up into songs, and it slowly led me back to a huge part of myself I thought was lost.”

T.E.A.R.S transforms that vast reserve of song sketches into a lavishly orchestrated body of work, mainly recorded in her part-time home of Los Angeles and in close collaboration with her producer, Jenny lee Lindberg (Warpaint). “It was so inspiring to watch Jen take these little folk songs I’d written and try out all her ideas until they’d taken on a life of their own—it felt like some sort of magic was happening,” Furches notes. Lindberg adds, “It was my first time producing a project that wasn’t mine. There’s nothing like collaborating with your best friends—only this time I was on the other side. I saw and heard things from a completely different perspective. We broke new ground with one another, both out of our comfort zone trying to break the mold and discover new ways to express, and having a gosh darn blast doing it, which was a very sweet relief.” Furches, who often recorded on her own when family obligations kept her from trekking down to Los Angeles, also recruited her longtime Coconut Records collaborator Jason Schwartzman to help shape the album’s mercurial form of indie-rock; he played drums on all but two songs and co-produced a few others. Rooted in the refined musicality she first honed by playing ‘70s folk and rock songs on guitar with her father growing up, the result is a dazzling showcase for Furches’ raw yet eloquent songwriting, and her captivating, dulcet voice.

T.E.A.R.S is an album informed by midlife reflection, and takes its title from its majestic closing track. “I’d refer to it as the ‘Take ‘Em and Run’ song and abbreviate that to ‘T.E.A.R.S’ on the setlist,” Furches explains. “The sentiment behind it was ‘Everything’s falling apart, so just try to find the good moments and run with them,’ which felt very much in line with this record.” To that end, the album opens on the heavy-hearted but resolute “Mountaineer,” which imbues a certain sublime poetry into her statement of self-preservation (“I am tough as nails, I am a mountaineer/I will climb these jagged peaks and leave the valleys for you, dear”). “There’s a running theme on the album of losing yourself in another person, and this song is about the push-and-pull between the feeling of ‘I would do anything for you’ and ‘I can’t do anything for you, I need to be strong and do things for me,’” she says. It’s one of many tracks featuring Schwartzman on drums, and achieves a dreamy grandeur in its final moments when its kinetic rhythms collide with a luminous swell of Juno-60 synth lines, played by engineer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Sonnefeld.

“It’s Always Been You,” one of the most effervescent tracks on T.E.A.R.S, unfolds in cascading guitar tones as Furches’ profoundly tender vocal performance infuses an element of Cure-inspired new-wave romanticism into an unbridled expression of affection. “I usually don’t know how to write anything but breakup songs, even if I’m not going through a breakup,” she says. “That one’s a rare love song, which came together after I’d been working on the record a while and started to feel a sense of freedom I hadn’t experienced in so long.” Produced and co-written with James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins, “Show Yourself Out,” meanwhile, slips into a much darker mood, taking on a dizzying velocity thanks to its galloping bassline and wildly frenetic drumming. “The song came from learning about a helpline The New York Times had set up for exhausted parents during the pandemic,” says Furches. “I listened to some of the calls and they were so desperate—mostly mothers but some fathers, wailing in this primal way—and I channeled some of that feeling into the song.” And on “Small Town,” with its gorgeously sprawling guitar work and rhythmic bursts of unearthly vocals, Spring Summer presents a cinematic portrait of fractured connection and emotional inertia. “It started with reminiscing about home and high school and old relationships, but it’s also about how Los Angeles can feel like such a small town sometimes,” she explains.

Furches’s return to music has coincided with the revitalization of her career as a script supervisor for major feature films and commercials, a confluence of events she regards as a highly transformational period in her life. “Juggling three kids, making a movie, and finishing a record all at the same time was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but it’s already been so rewarding to share this part of me with my family,” she says. “When I came home from a trip to LA during that time, my daughter raced over to show me a song she had written. Music has become something we can do together—before that the kids didn’t even know I played music! The stress and guilt I felt when things got hectic faded when I realized I was showing my kids how important it is—for all the reasons—to pursue their own dreams.”

Chromatic PR

Cathedral Ceilings "Summer of Misguided Dynamite"

There’s something magical about the way music can make you feel. Certain styles and bands are what I call funk-proof. No matter where my mind, body, or soul are, I am ready and willing to escape into whatever they are willing to provide. Cathedral Ceilings are at the top of that list now due to their excellent (and wonderfully titled) Summer of Misguided Dynamite. They honestly sound like a Jersey punk band trying their hand at DC post-hardcore and California pop-punk at the same time, which makes for a record overflowing with great hooks and guitarwork. It also helps immensely that Summer of Misguided Dynamite feels like a band of best friends having one or two (too many) and shooting the shit about the state of the world.  

Ralphie Malanga guitarist and vocalist expands on that notion:

“I think you can make an argument that almost every record is a plea to stay sane in crazy times! Priorities have definitely changed in my life, and I’m sure in (the rest of the bands’) lives as well. None of us are in our 20s or 30s anymore. Those problems seem trivial now. There are a couple of politically themed songs on this record, but it was impossible not to get political, as the January 6 insurrection was happening when I was writing the lyrics. At the same time, the whimsical nature of rock ‘n’ roll took its course, balancing out any heavy lamenting with self-deprecation and silly word stew. Turn on, tune in, drop out. Veni,vidi,vici. I got 99 problems, but the band’s not one.”

New Noise Magazine

HAAi "Baby, We’re Ascending"

There’s rarely a dull moment in HAAi’s high-octane techno because Teneil Throssell is a master of the quick cut. Sometimes she attacks her music with surgical precision, carving out breathtaking pockets of silence before slamming the beat back. At others, she works with a field medic’s intensity, slashing diagonally across mangled breakbeats, then suturing the wound with an overdriven blast of bass. But for all its frequent change-ups, HAAi’s music never suffers from a short attention span. Channeling the hypnotic, tunnel-vision effects of classic Underworld, vintage drum’n’bass, and the early-’00s output of labels like Border Community and Kompakt, it’s a sound as heady as it is physical. Throssell works like a film editor, piecing together stray threads into a form that is cinematic in scope; her cuts always contribute to an overarching sense of continuity.

Born in Australia and based in London, HAAi has been developing her brand of peak-time drama on singles and EPs over the past five years, but her debut album is her most ambitious attempt yet to spin the energy of the rave into something bigger, something that transcends the club without turning its back on it. Pocked with interruptions, trap doors, and fractals, the maze-like shape that it assumes over the course of its hour-long running time replicates the labyrinthine dimensions of an unfamiliar nightclub—its corridors and cul-de-sacs and darkrooms, its moments of exhilaration interlaced with descents into doubt or panic.

Throssell cut her teeth making bangers, and Baby, We’re Ascending hardly lacks for moments of intensity. The very first track is a kitchen blender overflowing with liquefied bits of industrial-strength techno. “Pigeon Barron,” which follows, evokes fellow Mute affiliate Daniel Avery’s dystopian euphoria in concussive drums and vertiginous synth glissandi. And “Purple Jelly Disc” is a white-knuckled rollercoaster that leads from a cavernous techno dungeon to a sunrise beach rave.

But the prevailing mood is ambivalent, the atmospheres frequently murky. The epic “Biggest Mood Ever” uses the voice of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor to wonderfully contrasting effect, distorted breakbeats tearing through pastel dream pop like shrapnel through a field of daisies. “I’ve Been Thinking a Lot Lately” drapes pitched-down breaks in gloomy piano reminiscent of the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds, an enveloping fusion that recalls an all too short-lived strain of depressive drum’n’bass that emerged toward the end of the 1990s. And “FM,” a highlight, covers a sullen techno rhythm in Burialesque grit and fog; with a mixdown that tilts dangerously toward the bassy end of the spectrum, it’s boomy yet weirdly distant, like a heaving dancefloor heard through warehouse walls.

More than any individual standout tracks, what’s most compelling is the album’s journey. Beginning with the sound of a tape being slotted into a cassette deck, Baby, We’re Ascending unrolls like a unified suite, and the interstitials—like “Louder Always Better,” a minute-long stretch of elastic sound design followed by 40 seconds of punishing techno—are often as gripping as the anthems. The way individual songs morph makes them often feel like passages snipped out of a DJ mix. There’s a knowing sense of humor to these twists and turns, too: “This concludes Side 1,” intones a robotic voice at the album’s midpoint.

Vocals play a prominent role in roughly half of the album’s songs, and while they sometimes work—UK trans activist Kai-Isaiah Jamal’s spoken-word poetry cuts powerfully through the moody “Human Sound”—they sometimes feel like Throssell is straining slightly for gravitas, pasting emotion on top of tracks that communicate plenty of it on their own. On “Bodies of Water,” her voice doesn’t quite gel with the woozy synths surrounding her; she’s more convincing on the title track, a Jon Hopkins collaboration that replicates the heart-in-mouth feel of raving at its most ecstatic. She’s good on the closing “Tardigrade,” too: The lyrics don’t necessarily scan very meaningfully, but the sound of her voice adds a Beach House-like airiness to the song, which balances gauzy dream pop with Yeezus-grade industrial drums. That mix of opposites is textbook HAAi, and so is the twist that follows: In the song’s final seconds, a gentle fade-out gives way to a three-second burst of drums that’s completely unconnected from anything that has come before, and ends as abruptly as it appeared. In this most cinematic of records, it seems only fitting that Throssell should leave us with a cliffhanger.


Mono "My Story, The Buraku Story (An Original Soundtrack) (Rough Trade Publishing)"

My Story, The Buraku Story is a new feature-length documentary film that explores the discrimination against a group of people – commonly called “the burakumin” – who were classed into lowly groups and segregated from the rest of Japanese society. This discrimination is not by race or ethnicity, but rather by place of residence and bloodline, and has existed for centuries – albeit very rarely acknowledged or discussed in Japan. When director Yusaku Mitsuwaka imagined the exemplary score for such a culturally sensitive and significant subject, he idealized MONO to help tell this story through their legendarily cinematic music.

Following their recent experiments with electronic textures infused into their trademark dynamic rock compositions, My Story, The Buraku Story finds MONO at their most understated and elegiac. The songs that make up My Story, The Buraku Story are largely built around piano, strings, synths, and choral vocal loops. As one might expect from MONO, the arrangements are masterworks of understated execution with oversized emotional resonance. By far MONO’s most delicate album, it is a fitting document of the band’s first-ever full-length film soundtrack.