The first thing you notice about Smooth Sailing, Mike Pace and the Child Actors' new LP, is that it gleams. Picture a studio stuffed with synth whizzes, session bassists, forty or fifty world-class audio engineers. Picture some label accountant rubbing his temples, grilling a Child Actor over some outrageous line item ("ten thousand dollars for 'vibe maintenance??'). Picture, of course, the man himself, Mike Pace: stomping around in a speedo and bathrobe, refusing sleep, verbally abusing children, sinking periodically into morose funks, instantaneously emerging from those funks with gnomic yet emotionally lucid career highlights like this album's "Troubleshooting," etc.
The reality is, in its way, even more outlandish. In the years since Pace adopted his Child Actors moniker and released Best Boy, he's had no fewer than two children, acquired a mortgage, and settled fully into a consuming job in production music. Smooth Sailing, then, was written and recorded in the cracks of a full and meaningful life: in those minutes or hours most of us use to watch bad TV, or stare blankly into the middle distance. And yet in terms of scope and lushness of sound, and in the way it updates and personalizes a whole slew of classic rock reference points, it stands with the best of War on Drugs or Father John Misty. Like those guys, Pace is first and foremost a nerd, the good kind: someone who cares passionately and unpretentiously about something most people never think about, specifically progressive rock and big-tent singer-songwriter stuff from the 1970s, and puts that care to productive artistic use.
On some level Smooth Sailing is its own classic rock radio station, diverse enough to appeal to a whole jammed freeway's worth of commuters. Some might prefer the Randy Newman/10cc-style "Senior Statesman" (one of Pace's full-fledged story songs, which some enterprising movie producer should option ASAP), others the perfect power-pop of "Blaster" (think Sugar, or Matthew Sweet). Undoubtedly some will cry right there in their cars to "Disconnected Heart," a ballad so beautiful you could picture a Xanax-addicted SoundCloud rapper sampling it. I personally love "Americana Manhasset"—a pink-sunset ambient-instrumental track which harkens back to at least four imagined pasts, only one of which I lived through. (Credit goes as well to Matt LeMay, the producer/multi-instrumentalist who embellished, shaped and mixed each of the songs on Smooth Sailing.)
If you've ever listened to Pace's music you know this already, but just to be clear: this is no kind of bloodless genre exercise. As always with Pace, the cherished albums are all mixed up with the memories of those cherished albums, and with the memories those albums soundtracked, so that the result—filtered through Pace's well-established interest in nostalgia, time's passing, etc.—is on the one hand new and idiosyncratically Pace-imprinted and, on the other, familiar and comforting and kind of pleasantly sad—pop sad.
This stuff might not sound much like Mike's last band, Oxford Collapse—possibly New York's last great indie rock band, before the whole operation shipped over to Philadelphia—but it definitely feels like Oxford Collapse, because all of Pace's songs yearn in this totally unique way. And as ever these songs are set in places built for yearning: beach towns, high school hallways, commuter trains. The yearning has something to do with growing up, with putting away childish things. A song like "Escape the Noise," with lyrics about giving up on guitars and "ragged nights," has a ton of parallels in Pace's discography, but this one's his best—for many reasons, but especially because we now know for sure that he doesn't actually mean it—that he'll be writing about this stuff for a long while to come. - Daniel Kolitz
"The self-titled full length follows our first singles which were released last year to overwhelming support and acclaim. Noisey dubbed our debut track as "Sophisti-Pop" and NY Magazine's Vulture said it is "just so right". We've been lucky enough to have continued praise from additional tastemakers such as DIY, The Line of Best Fit, and The 405 among others. The support for the first two singles sent them both into the top ten of the HypeMachine charts. We're keeping the momentum going with the release of our debut album.
Our album has the obsessive intimacy of bedroom recordings while aspiring to the west-coast pop/R&B of the late 70s and early 80s. This sound came out of necessity for us. We began collaborating from our apartment studios in Toronto in the spring of 2016; Nick had recently parted ways with his long-term girlfriend and Dan suffered a concussion that confined him to a room for a year. As a natural progression, we started exploring themes of emotional alienation and fear of intimacy."
"Blank Frames" is the second EP from industrial/Electronic duo Chelsey and the Noise. Hayward, CA (US) based duo Chelsey and the Noise find their strength in contradictions. Pairing heavy synths and distorted guitars with catchy melodies and heartfelt vocals to create a sound both intense and playful. The instrumentation is chaotic yet controlled, pierced by moments of atmospheric vulnerability in an attempt to find beauty among the mayhem. This dichotomy is pushed further by the themes explored in their latest release Blank Frames. An album as much about the pain of loss as it is about the exultation in starting over. Lyrically teetering between self-confidence and self-doubt while ultimately finding the strength to rebuild what was destroyed. Though it’s easy to find the darkness in this music, the album is ultimately a work of optimism and a celebration of human resilience.
Mr E Bear is located in a cave in Scotland. Influenced by the noises around him he began to construct songs in search of the perfect “hit.” The locals became wise to this and became audibly hooked. Now, Mr E Bear is taking this practice online to become a worldwide audio dealer. Unworried about conforming to genres, writing about whatever subject matter he sees fit – anything can (and will) happen. Stay tuned and prepare to sing along.
Ingvar is a one man band, born in Athens, Greece. Drawing from swedish influences Ingvar creates topographies of atmosphere and ambience. It started in 2010, stealing time from the main occupation which is architecture. It started with 1 ep and 1 album and the second ep came in 2016 called Human Nature. Since then, Ingvar now resides in Stockholm, pursuing the creation of a second album.
The project 'Human Nature' tries to discover what human deeply means. Drawing inspiration from philosophy and sociology, every song takes on an attribute of human nature.
Human nature is to be conscious and to desire. We are rational and social creatures, but we become who we are in society. We construct a self by bridging doubt by faith— in ourselves (aesthetic self); in others (ethical self) or in God (religious self), but this is only artificial and an illusion. Being in harmony with the environment and with all species is the core of the human nature. The human is always in between choices. Always having doubts whether to choose right or not. In truth, whatever you choose, you will have done the right choice. Dealing with the outcome, whatever that is, is what makes you stronger as a human.
The human is clinging to hold on to situations for various reasons. Learning to let go when that is needed, is what makes us better as a human. Being humble and conscious to our existence, we become a medium of energy and contemplate together with the world around us. Connect with the world and we become wiser as a human. From stardust we have come and to stardust we will return. The very essence of the human nature is that of the universe. Be one with the universe and you shall become consistent as a human. The very substance of human nature is love. We all come from the same source, treat everyone as your own and we become kinder as a human.Believe or do not believe is a trivial matter. To some, god is a higher power, to others the soil that feeds them. Whether you believe or not, the only important thing is to find and be true to yourself and we become complete as a human.
A combination of retro aesthetics, enduring lyrics and alt-rock grit.
The best music happens when artists refuse to remain stuck in their own comfort zones and creative boxes. Whenever this happens, they are free to give full range to their vision, and they can really come up with something that’s groundbreaking and personable. This is certainly the case here with Tommy Red and his brand new EP release, “I Wanna Be Exploited.”
Marva Von Theo is an Electropop / Synthwave duo formed in 2016 by the Athens-based singer-songwriter Marva Voulgari and the Vienna-based composer-producer Theo Foinidis.
Their Debut Album “Dream within a Dream” was released early in 2018. The 12 songs on their Album, lean towards an electronic sound that incorporates a variety of influences ranging from the music of the 80’s until today. Darkwave sounds, Jazz harmonies, Rock and Dance drum beats resonate together and mature into something darkly romantic.