screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Dangerbird Records

Sea Wolf’s Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke

A wondrous and magical gift for their fans

Sea Wolf's Alex Brown Church - photo by Mia Kirby

Sea Wolf's Alex Brown Church - photo by Mia Kirby

Just released from Los Angeles’ own Sea Wolf is the most eloquent and breathlessly beautiful of thank yous. Song Spells, No. 1: Cedarsmoke is a softly spoken, delicately woven, intimate and deeply personal masterpiece. They experimented with a faster, experimental approach to recording which has resulted in a simply gorgeous waking dream that feels like you’re sitting in a friend’s living room with the band gathered round playing for everyone. I’m tempted to say that every album from this point forth should be recorded in this way. This is rich acoustic and subtle electronic music elegantly intertwined but simply captured, with Alex Brown Church’s warm guitar tones and vocals front and center, accentuated perfectly by the music. Strings, percussion, acoustic guitar and voice all blend organically, interwoven in the magic of what feels like and probably is a live full band recording. That is not to say it’s simplistic, anything but, though the layering of instruments is very cleanly presented with each melody distinctly clear and shining brightly.

This lovely work is the first in a series of limited edition albums that are being made available on Spotify and other streaming services and on the band’s website as a pay-what-you-want download. Fans were able to contribute early on to a Kickstarter campaign for various “rewards” that included physical copies in a limited edition (500) vinyl or CD release. Church plans to continue these very special releases, which he’ll record between official album releases. For Song Spells, fellow band members Joey Ficken, Lisa Fendelander and Scott Leahy contributed, recording in Church’s home studio. He did all the recording, mixing and production himself. All I can say is… bands take note!

Their previous albums are Leaves In The River, White Water, White Bloom and Old World Romance — all consistently stunning. Of the new album, Church explains, “The word ‘spell’ can refer to a magical spell or a period of time. I wrote and recorded it in a four-month period to force myself to go with first instincts and let go of the need to get things perfect. It was done for fun, with no commercial expectations from a label, something to share with our fans until we make our next ‘official’ album. We’re basically giving it away as a thank you to the people that have supported us.” Nice.

Sea Wolf will spend the rest of this year working on their next official album, with a month-long break in the fall for a European tour. However, for those fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles (yes, I say that a lot on this blog), they’ll be performing as a 3-piece at a very special show on Wednesday, July 23, at The Sayers Club. Also on the bill is Rare Times and White Rainbow. The show is sponsored by Red Bull Sound Select and KCRW. RSVP for $3 tickets.

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Silversun Pickups release The Singles Collection with a *live streamed* performance at Aemoeba Records TONIGHT at 6pm PST (9pm EST)

Big Silversun Pickups news today! It’s the official release of The Singles Collection, a vinyl boxed set that features all their “hit” singles on six 7″ vinyl records. It includes their new song “Cannibal” (see official video below) and “Devil’s Cup,” from the 2009 Swoon album sessions.

To commemorate this event, they Brian and Nikki will be performing an acoustic set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood tonight (February 25) at 6pm PST. It will apparently be STREAMED LIVE, so check it out! (that’s 9pm for the East Coast).

The Singles Collection

The “Cannibal”/”Devil’s Cup” disc is pressed on silver colored vinyl. The Vinyl Box Bundle with extras ($65) includes an autographed vinyl box set, custom 7″ vinyl adapter, exclusive T-shirt, 11×17″ poster and instant mp3 download of “Cannibal.” The vinyl box with just the music, adapter and download is $45. You can also download The Singles Collection on iTunes.

1. Kissing Families
2. Lazy Eye
3. Well Thought Out Twinkles
4. Little Lover’s So Polite
5. Panic Switch
6. Substitution
7. The Royal We
8. Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)
9. The Pit
10. Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)
11. Cannibal
12. Devil’s Cup [VINYL EXCLUSIVE]

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Introducing… Broadheds (catch ’em while you can)

Hey all. Here’s a scrappy and charming little outfit from California called Broadheds who released their debut (and only?) album back in April. It’s all about nervous energy and angst, from a distinguished group of gentlemen giving full rein to their “inner teenage boy.” On guitar and vocals is Peter Walker, formerly of The Eulogies and also co-founder of that highly esteemed Eastside L.A. label Dangerbird Records, which I’ve been meaning to profile for years and will be doing so shortly. Along with Walker, Broadheds boasts an all-star lineup — drummer Denny Weston, Jr. (The Kooks, Earlimart), bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Beck, Nine Inch Nails) and sax player James King (Fitz and the Tantrums). The fifth member of the band is visual artist Mark Todd, whose artwork is featured in a 64-page book that accompanies their album. Mark’s artistic vision was also an important part of the recording process.

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They’ve only intended to perform a handful of live shows, so if you’re in or around San Francisco on July 10 and you like what you hear, you’d best get yourself to Cafe du Nord while you’ve got the chance! Walker is apparently already writing again and thinking about his next project.

“Nothing is easy, nothing that I care about.” Indeed.

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Sea Wolf returns to Boston (Saturday night at Church)

Sea Wolf with Hey Marseilles
at Church of Boston
Saturday, October 20, 2012
EARLY SHOW – Doors at 6pm | 21+
$12 advance; $15 at the door

If I wasn’t going to be out of town, I would very likely be at Church Saturday night to welcome back to town Alex Brown Church and Sea Wolf, one of my L.A. faves. Seattle’s Hey Marseilles, with their charming string-based orchestral old-timey folk, makes for a marvelous pairing. This will be a really lovely evening.

Alex Brown Church of Sea Wolf

Alex Brown Church of Sea Wolf

Earlier in the year, Sea Wolf released their third full-length on Dangerbird Records, Old World Romance. It’s an aptly titled release. The music is warm, flowing, timeless, and yes, very romantic. Just beautiful. If you like what you hear, you’ll definitely want to see them in this intimate setting. Last time I saw them, it was a few years ago supporting The Album Leaf at the Paradise.

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Happy Silversun Pickups Day in Boston!

photo by Autumn De Wilde

photo by Autumn De Wilde

Silversun Pickups Acoustic Performance & Autograph Signing
TODAY! – Wednesday, June 6th @ 6:30 PM
Newbury Comics, Faneuil Hall – Boston, MA location

We welcome the Silver Lake-based band, Silversun Pickups, who are in Boston today doing some promotional stuff to celebrate their wonderful new album, Neck Of The Woods on Dangerbird Records (my review is ‘coming soon’ over at Ryan’s Smashing Life). There were two competitions (Radio 929 and WFNX) for acoustic appearances, and at 6:30pm, Brian and Nikki will be over at Newbury Comics (Faneuil Hall store) for an acoustic set and signing. The Newbury Comics folks will be handing out wristbands starting at 10am, so if you want to catch it, I strongly recommend that you head over as early as possible, since it’s limited to the first 200 people. No word on any proper shows in the area; so far, only a handful of festival dates are mentioned on their site.

Check out their recent appearance on David Letterman…

(thanks to IdolXfactor2)

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Show Preview: Everest, Minus The Bear ~ Wilbur Theatre, Boston MA ~ Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Everest, Minus The Bear
at the Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
(8pm show – buy tickets)

Everest (photo by Zoran Orlic), Minus The Bear (photo by Erin Tate)

Everest (photo by Zoran Orlic), Minus The Bear (photo by Erin Tate)

Continuing the theme of really great L.A. bands to pass through Boston this Spring, Everest will be performing along with Seattle’s Minus The Bear Wednesday night at the Wilbur Theatre, just ahead of the release of their second album, On Approach.

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Division Day, Bad Veins, and Static of the Gods at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston, Sept. 18, 2009


I wasn’t familiar with O’Brien’s Pub, which is a rather low-key establishment (maybe a lit up sign at night would help) located at the corner of Harvard Ave. and Cambridge Street in Allston. I was surprised and impressed to find an actual, decent-sized stage in the corner, with professional lighting and good sound. I see now that O’Brien’s is a serious rock venue. I assumed it was “just a bar” when I first heard that Division Day were playing there, and from the outside, one wouldn’t think otherwise. Well, it is a neighborhood bar, but it also regularly books local and national rock acts.

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