Rare Monk is a Portland, OR based indie rock band. They are gearing up to release their debut full-length album, A Future, in the summer of 2017 -- featuring 10 brand new songs recorded in Portland with Skyler Norwood (Blind Pilot, Horsefeathers, Priory).
In 2015, Rare Monk released their apocalyptic-tinged self-titled EP, produced by Tom McFall (Weezer, Bloc Party, Snow Patrol, R.E.M.). Singles "Warning Pulse" and "California (Will Burn)" received considerable attention form the blogosphere, college radio, and streaming services such as Spotify. This was the follow-up to 2014's widely lauded 7-inch "Splice/Sleep Attack". The boutique record label, B3SCI Records, released both EPs.
In 2016 Rare Monk faced several lineup changes. Their original guitarist and violist left and the once 5-piece became a 4-piece with the addition of lead guitarist and vocalist Hugh Jepson. With the addition of Jepson, Rare Monk started focusing more on writing bigger guitar parts, dueling leads, and beautiful falsetto harmonies. What resulted were ten new songs written and recorded over the course of the last year and a half.
The songs deal with death and agency – our control (both individual and as a species) of how the future will play out. “It’s easy to be deterministic – the world’s a shit show right now and it feels like all we can do is make popcorn – so there’s a lot of grappling and grasping for free will.” The songs are also a lot of fun – big guitar fun – a commitment to giant choruses as a medium to discuss humanity’s doom and how we might prevent it. If there’s a unifying theme to the album, it’s that we have control over the music we make, that band practice is chaos under our control and feedback cures all diseases.
Rare Monk decided to release their debut full-length independently after self producing much of the album, alongside Norwood, having previously worked with him on 2013's "Death By Proxy EP". These tracks represent a sound formed over the course of the last five years, containing some of their most adventurous yet accessible songs to date.
Psychonavigation Records founder, Keith Downey returns with his latest musical offering, Buddha Bowl. Under the guise of No Mask Effect, the prolific Downey has just released his fifth project in under two years through Psychonavigation Records.
The album opens with “Be Good To Us”, a diverse mix of industrial complex beats, electronic and Afro-Caribbean inspired vocal snippets alongside an ear worm of a saxophone groove. On “Siren” the mood shifts with a lush sea of sound drifting from the speakers. A sinister yet tranquil string melody lurks beneath the audio waves, eventually emerging to create a beautiful piece of effortless ambient.
Meanwhile the mysterious bells, chimes and subtle, pulsing rhythm of “Hidden Surprises” takes Downey's long time love of Ambient music to new territory. With chattering electronic beeps and bleeps, celestial vocal samples and an ultrasound inspired bassline that is both intriguing and unexpected.
“Dark Emotion” however, reveals itself to be more enigmatic rather than pessimistic. An eight minute sensatory expedition of obscure samples both organic and electronic, nature sounds, glorious synths spiraling electronic loops are all included in the production. Music for headphones, this track's intricacies can only unfold with repeated listens.
With what is undoubtedly his most accomplished and eclectic collection to date, Buddha Bowl should satisfy long time No Mask Effect fans while exposing his unique sound to many new listeners.
London-based hip-hop act Hyphen's new single "Lost" is a brass-laden fusion of soul, electronica, and trip-hop with an exciting, precise flow .
"I wrote this song on late on a Saturday night after reluctantly saying no to go to a mini reunion my school friends were having," the London-based Hyphen explains. "Trying to manage a full time job and music career simultaneously means cutting out on something, and for me that involves being a lot less social and very single."
"While that sounds a bit miserable, I wrote this song on a night alone, pretty happy about the situation. Watching people's Snapchats about their night outs, which were largely the same as any other night out, made me quite pleased that through music I'd found something to do that was pretty different."
Released on 6/30, Hyphen's "Lost" is the latest single to be taken from his upcoming EP ‘Dance Songs To Die To’.
After touring in New York, London and Delhi, Hyphen is now gearing up for the release of his debut EP ‘Dance Songs to Die To’. Featured on international platforms such as Sofar Sounds, ILUVLIVE and Don’t Flop, the highlight of Hyphen’s year was a sold-out headline show in New York.
Without having a single or EP out, Hyphen has managed to garner over 50,000 views across digital platforms, featured on the same sets that the likes of Ed Sheeran and Bastille have played and is now on board with a team who’ve worked with artists like George the Poet, D’Banj and some of the best up and coming UK talent such as Deanne Chase and Hunter.
illyin pipes have just released their new single and video “Waking Up” from their debut EP Spaces. The track is a nostalgic look at a carefree summer with a dark undertone. They filmed the video while touring in England and it hints at the EP’s theme as a whole.
“I was struggling with a few things while trying to maintain an illusion of positivity and balance. The dichotomy of stability and disorder is present in ‘Waking Up’ as well as the remainder of the EP’s songs, even if that wasn't intentional when we wrote them.” - Jill (vocalist of Illyin Pipes)
“WHIPLASH” is Maya Killtron's third single. It’s from her "Never Dance Alone" project and it encompasses all her memories of summer sounds growing up in Brampton, Ontario. Touches of elastic funk, roller rink dance, new jack swing and candy coated pop stand shoulder to shoulder with the modern electronic production.
"The song comes from the first time I heard Michael Jackson’s PYT. It was in my driveway one July and my Dad let me take our little radio outside while I washed the car. PYT jumped out of the speakers and pretty much changed my ears forever. I never listened to music the same way again. As with my other singles from the Never Dance Alone project - “Bad Decisions” and the title track - I wanted to pay tribute to my influences while making each song my own. When you hear “WHIPLASH”, you feel a memory but you also unmistakably hear Killtron."
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.