Dreams, Driving, and Getting High Inspired Suzanne Vallie on Debut LP ‘Love Lives Where Rules Die’

Photo Credit: Magdalena Wosinska

Big Sur, California-based singer, songwriter, and poet Suzanne Vallie routinely enters an empty black space in her dreams, where she floats around and finds inspiration. During one particular trip to this abyss, she heard a voice commanding her, “I’m going to give you a song. It’s a very important song. Are you listening to me?”

“It was insisting that I pay attention,” she remembers. “And then the voice just started singing, ‘High with you, high with you, ah, get high with you.'” She woke with a start and immediately recorded the melody and lyrics on her phone. Soon after that, she and her band followed through on this voice’s instructions. They worked out a bridge and chorus for the song, and Vallie improvised the other verses as they played it. The result of their work is a Beatles-esque ode to substance-assisted good times with friends, “High With You.” “The song’s mostly about friendship and feeling elevated, and also when you trust someone so much you can eat mushrooms with them,” she says.

They performed “High With You,” among other songs, at Hickey Fest, a music festival in Northern California, where producer Rob Shelton was attending. Shelton had planned on catching Vallie’s set but ended up missing it. Then, later on, people were passing a guitar around a campfire, and Vallie started performing the song there. As everyone sang along to the chorus, more and more people joined the circle, including Shelton.

“High With You” indeed proved to be an important song, because Shelton reached out to Vallie after that, and they ended up working together on her debut album, Love Lives Where Rules Die. Soon after, Vallie also met Jenny Mason, who funded the album and gave her a deal through her label Native Cat Recordings. Native Cat dissolved before the record had the chance to come out, so she ended up releasing the 11-song LP via her friend Kacey Johansing’s label Night Bloom Records.

The record deal was a light in the dark for Vallie, who had just gone through a difficult breakup and was hopping between friends’ places, working odd jobs. “I just had all kinds of crazy feelings, feelings I had never had before, certain feelings I didn’t know could be in the same room together,” she remembers.

This mish-mosh of emotions managed to converge at Dreamland Recording, a hundred-year-old church that doubles as a studio in upstate New York, where the album was recorded. Mason wanted to capture the essence of Vallie’s live performances, so the album was recorded using old-fashioned live-tracking, which was a fun process for Vallie. “It’s so exciting when we get the take — we get to the end of the song and everyone’s quiet for a second and they’re like, ‘I think that’s the take,'” she remembers.

Vallie suffers from mild narcolepsy, which oddly seems to flare up when she gets excited, and she actually experienced a narcoleptic episode during the recording of the album. Somehow, she continued singing and playing the Wurlitzer piano when she drifted off to sleep in the studio. “I kind of blacked out, but I woke up still performing, and we finished the song, and we kept the tape,” she says, declining to reveal which song it was. “I think only I can kind of hear this little part where I can tell when I was asleep.”

Somehow, the fact that Vallie recorded the album partially while asleep seems perfectly fitting when you listen to it. Folk melodies, airy vocals, and influences ranging from shoegaze to country to ’60s soul create a mellow sound that seems to belong in the backdrop of a movie dream sequence. This dreamlike sound is also in keeping with the way the album was first conceived, not to mention the name of the studio.

The vivid natural imagery in the music has the same effect, painting otherworldly scenes. In the first track, the angelic “Ocean Cliff Drive,” Vallie sings about driving down Highway 1 between the mountains and the ocean on the California coast: “Honey, I can’t see the road ahead of me/But I’m coming.” The video was filmed further south, in Huntington Beach, but captures the same feeling, with Vallie driving and playing with dogs in the sand.

She also released a video for another single off the album, “Love Letter,” a whimsical country ditty featuring biting lyrics like “You’re tall on a horse/Short on the floor.” For the video, a neighbor of hers brought her horses down, and Vallie rode and played with them. “We had to social distance, but I could get close to the horses, so that was all right,” she remembers.

The album also includes songs like “Morro Bay,” a fast-paced, danceable account of “mid-westerners in Cali,” and the title track “Love Lives Where Rules Die,” where Vallie sings against baritone guitar about receiving support from friends after her breakup.

Vallie grew up in South Dakota and Minnesota, then moved to California and wrote lyrics for the band The Range of Light Wildnerness before launching her solo project. She’s currently working on a video for “High With You,” along with another record full of new songs, and we’ll undoubtedly hear more creative work from her as she pays further visits to the dark space in her dreams.

Follow Suzanne Vallie on Bandcamp for ongoing updates.

PLAYING DETROIT: Sarkis Mixes Motown and Funk with L.A Sunshine on ‘Tangerine’

Gabe Smith has wandered far from his small hometown of Waterford, Michigan, but hasn’t forgotten the role that his neighboring city of Detroit had in shaping him as an artist and songwriter. After moving to LA in 2014, Smith spent two-and-a-half years touring on the John Lennon Educational Tour bus, helping students write/record original music and videos. Landing back in L.A earlier this year, Smith started working at Shangri La Studios in Malibu and recording his debut LP, Tangerine, under the name SarkisThe record is an amalgamation of Smith’s roots in the Motown sound, time spent traveling the country, and the glimmer of L.A. sunshine that seems to rub off on all ye who enter there.

While Smith says a small part of the album was written during his time on the Lennon bus, the majority was written and produced at Shangri La studios, with the help of his writing partner Tyler Bean and other friends that work at the studio. “I had a lot of guys playing on it and helping me record it and write it,” says Smith. “It was a cool collection of people from all over making music… that was kind of a whole other layer of creativity that I hadn’t had in any of my music before.”

This collaborative effort resulted in a sound that blends funk, hip-hop and soul. One of the most obvious funk elements is the presence of consistently strong bass lines throughout the record. “I played a lot of bass this year,” says Smith. “I’ve never considered myself a bass player but now I wish that I was a dope bass player – those (musicians) are the legends of funk.” Smith cites meeting Bootsy Collins last year as one of his most transformative musical experiences. “That changed my whole perspective of funk music,” Smith says. “He even listened to some of my music and that was a big moment for me – he is definitely a life-altering person to meet.”

Funky bass lines, bright vocals, and different musical textures characterize Tangerine, and keep it feeling bright and optimistic, even on “Messed Up,” a song about the disenchanting state of the world. “I always try and remain positive, so I try to put that into the music too,” says Smith. “The music itself is upbeat and trying to make people dance and feel good. Even on a song that’s saying ‘the world is messed up,’ I still want to have a positive twist on it.”

Smith also cites Stevie Wonder, Mac Miller, Ice Cube and NWA as influences on this record. He says he didn’t really start listening to West Coast hip-hop until he first moved to L.A. “The year after I moved to LA was when that movie [Straight Outta Compton] came out,” says Smith. “We saw Ice Cube at an IHOP or something and I was like, ‘oh my god.’ That was when I started listening to that music.”  

Smith’s recent hip-hop influence is obvious on the record’s kick-heavy, bombastic track “Dreamland” and on “Messed Up,” when he makes his first foray into rapping. “I think I wrote that right after Mac Miller died,” says Smith. “I listened to Mac Miller in high school and he was at the studio a couple months before he passed away… I was kind of feeling sad and he was doing this fast rapping thing on one of his songs, so I tried to do it on one of mine and I was like – I guess that sounds okay?”

While Smith takes cues from the artists he lists as inspirations, his music serves more as an homage than an imitation, putting a unique twist on funk and hip-hop and making it his own. For those enduring the blistering cold this winter, Tangerine serves as a light at the end of what can feel like a never-ending tunnel. And for people residing in sunshine-y states, it’s a reminder to appreciate what you have and try not to take life so seriously. You can stream Tangerine exclusively here today, and listen to it everywhere this Friday, December 15th.

Sarkis will hold a listening party for Tangerine at The Dessert Oasis (1220 Griswald St, Detroit, MI, 48226) on Friday, December 15. The party is free and open to the public. 


INTERVIEW: Taylor Grey on Debut LP Space Case

California dreamer Taylor Grey may not be old enough to legally drink yet, but she is more mature and graceful than anyone I ever went to college with. She selflessly helped raise money for victims of the recent hurricanes by reaching out through her social media channels. And she’s also super smart – a neuroscience major at Stanford University – coming off her mini-radio tour just in time for the beginning of the fall semester.

Grey released her debut LP Space Case earlier this summer with notable executive producer Josh Abraham (P!NK, Kelly Clarkson). The album has a likeable mix of pop, electronic, and a smidgen of country. Its first single, “Never Woulda Letcha” was catchy, cute, and embodied those young, first feelings of having an unrequited crush, while the title track, though deceptively playful-sounding, tells her story of craving unexpected undertakings beyond just of chasing boys. Her latest single “Miami” is one of the album’s most mature, featuring Spencer Kane and oozing Flume vibes.

It’s Grey’s ultimate goal to advocate for women everywhere. In an interview with Audiofemme, we quickly learned that her message goes beyond living it up at college frat parties or making through the occasional all-nighter — she wants listeners to find beauty in themselves, inside and out. Check out her album below, and read on to find out why she refers to her sound as “space pop.”

AF: “Never Woulda Letcha” is so catchy and sweet. I like how your feelings were circulating around this guy that broke your heart, rather than the song bringing down the “other” girl. To go through heartache is really tough, especially in a situation like this. What advice can you give girls that are going through a similar situation?

TG: It’s a hard lesson in life to learn. There’s no way to make someone love you, or make someone like you. I think the important thing is taking stride in realizing your worst is not defined by whether or not someone has romantic feelings for you. It’s unfortunate to not have your feelings reciprocated and [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][to] feel heartbroken. [These are] totally normal feelings. But at the end of the day, you have to realize you’re worth more than someone’s opinion [of you]… even though if their opinion means a lot. If you’re friends with the person that you secretly like, then… you know, still have that relationship in your life, one way or another!

AF: Definitely. Don’t let it consume you. A hard lesson to learn so young. So, Space Case is such a gem. Is it inspired by a specific event? Or did it spring from this stage in your life?

TG: Thank you!  It’s actually not inspired by a specific event. It’s like when I talk about in the stories, from third person. It talks about this girl who has big dreams, kind of “space cases” [that] aren’t necessarily realized by other people. Her head’s in the clouds. Someone with big dreams trying to actualize them. It’s almost like an alter ego I want to be – I want to be more of this carefree space case. I feel like everyone has a part of themselves that would rather be on Mars. And part of the reason I chose it as the title was that I love the words. Although I write a ton about boys, love, and heartbreak, it’s not what the songs are all about. It’s about [being an] individual. I really wanted that to summarize my body of work. When it all comes down to it… be yourself, be true to who you are. Accept it!

AF: You’ve said you want to be an advocate for girls everywhere, to help them love themselves. What does that mean to you and how did you decide to make that your mission?

TG: I love being an advocate for self-love, because it’s something really challenging. I would have loved to hear it from someone, especially from the music world, because I was always questioning from such a young age. I’m still learning, and growing, and learning how to love myself.  It’s important for young girls to know that it’s not black and white. There are ways to learn and grow. There are some days that I wake up, and I feel amazing… and others, I look in the mirror and I’m like, ugh, no, not today. And it’s okay to not love yourself everyday. I wish I had had that voice telling me that as long as you’re trying, and you’re your own biggest fan, at the end of the day, you’ll feel fine. So, I want to be that voice for girls my age, and younger girls, to [help them] realize that there are others going through this process with them. There are people on this journey with them. It’s not this unattainable thing, self love.

AF: You have a great relationship with your producers. Can you talk about the guidance your team provided?

TG: As a team, we have a lot of trust. I came to them [Josh Abraham and Nico Stadi] with my songs, then it was time to really create sound and melodic structure behind it. They put a lot of trust in me and my message, and in turn, I trusted them with production aspects. I think the goal, what we strived for, was to create a good sound – tracks for the radio, [but with] artistic and different angles. They have been super supportive. We made an album with every song sounding different. Some songs have an alternative vibe, some have a country vibe… and they were like, this is you, all of these songs are different facets of you.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

EP REVIEW: Lee Triffon “Different Sun”


Welp, 2016 has been hellish, and we officially all need 200 percent more chill in our lives. And Tel Aviv-born, LA-based Lee Triffon is here to bring us those much-needed laid-back vibes in the form of her new EP Different Sun.

The album begins with Triffon’s wispy vocals projecting an ominous and slightly mysterious energy in her titular opening track. The music ebbs and flows with her airy voice, carrying you on a cushy cloud of low-key electronica. It transitions into her popular single “Mirrors in the Sand” from there. In this track, the songstress stretches her range a bit more, telling a heartfelt tale using raspy vocals alongside a slow synthy backing. The midpoint of the EP sees “Silver Bullet Gun,” which is a more unique style from the previous two tracks, deviating into a more pronounced and ambitious song than her other two–it reaches out and grabs you, holding you captive to its enchanting sound. Although slow, it’s repetitive tracking makes it so the song reverberates around your head. The next song, “Caves,” is a bit faster than the others at times, and has an urgent yet unsettled feel to it. It further complements Triffon’s mysteriousness, a quality which is palpable in all the songs on Different Sun. “Caves” is the last glimpse of sunlight on a particularly brisk winter evening, making it seasonally appropriate, but also a great way to end out an album. The last track is an orchestral version of “Mirrors in the Sand,” which is a more magical and theatrical spin on the original single.

Take a listen to Different Sun below, and maybe it’ll help you feel a bit more reinvigorated for the coming year.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Snow Angel “Trampoline of Emotion”

snow angel

Thank fucking goddess it’s Friday. It’s been a hellish month, yet rising above the heated political climate are women helping women. California-based Snow Angel are here to sprinkle their magic into the girl power fire with their latest single “Trampoline of Emotion,” off their upcoming first full-length out this fall. Celebrating the importance of friendship, and crucially, the complicated truth of being yourself, “Trampoline of Emotion” is an anthem for anyone who needs a reminder that they are powerful.

“‘Trampoline of Emotion’ jumps with introspective joy into the realm of the emotional self,” says front-woman Gabby La La. “As human beings, we experience intense extremes which are in our nature to feel. Insecurity, pain, loss, love, compassion, defeat… no one is perfect, but that’s exactly what makes being human so unique – those sparks seem to hold all of the power in the universe!”

The whimsical and catchy dose of self-love features the five women in a variety of Snapchat-ready scenarios that will have you dialing up your besties ready to finally get out of the post-election fetal position, and accept that things are difficult right now, but the most important action is to take care of yourself and your friends. “I wanted this song to express acceptance of these fluctuations within myself and others. It’s OK to be moody, or freak out!” says Gabby, who also plays the upright electric sitar. “It’s all part of what makes finding balance so difficult and so rewarding. As a community and in our case, a band, it is important to be there for one another and act as a guide in leading each other down the yellow brick road and back to that place that feels like home.”

Watch “Trampoline of Emotion” below, and try to have some fun tonight.



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Photo by Ty Watkins

Following the release of last year’s energetic single “Silver Streets”,  Thomas Killian McPhillips VII, Derek Tramont, and Ryan Colt Levy of BRAEVES zealously uprooted themselves from the familiarity of New York to explore how the band could flourish with a little change in scenery.

“When the prospect of moving to LA came up,” said Tramont, “It was a lightning bolt that hit us so hard, we just picked up and drove across the country together, practically no questions asked.”

And “Bitter Sea” makes it clear: California sun sure suits them well.

Equal parts love letter and break-up song, the track illustrates a bittersweet goodbye to a personified New York City.

“We were kind of at odds with the New York music scene, partly because we have been living and playing in New York all our lives,” recounts Tramont. “It could have been Chicago, London, or Portland.  I’m sure you would grow tired of your hometown; that’s just natural.  But we felt a bit of a disconnect. Whether it was some of the bands we played with, the venues, or the real lack of a music ‘scene,’ something just felt like it was holding us back from truly expressing ourselves.”

It’s a new kind of relationship they’re developing with LA, as the band “really needed something that would make us feel like we were growing and not just stagnating…something drastic needed to change to get us to the place we want to be.” But while BRAEVES may be based on the West Coast now, lyrics such as, “And the more my body tells me I’m entranced/The deeper in your quicksand I’ll descend” show that even if you leave New York, it never quite leaves you.

Recorded at Red Rockets Glare with Raymond Richards (known for his work with Local Natives, whom the band often cite as a key influence), “Bitter Sea” illustrates a fresh vivacity and prowess that were never lacking in older songs, but rather, have been elegantly refined. It has BRAEVES sounding refreshed without straying from the soulful and shimmering echoes that define their ethereal sound, and it has us eager for their forthcoming sophomore EP.

Stream the track below, and if you’re on the West Coast, catch them live, where you certainly won’t be disappointed.  Plus, you might just be lucky enough to hear even more new songs:

July 16 – Chinatown Summer Nights – LA
July 21 – Molly Malone’s – LA


VIDEO REVIEW: Lana Del Rey “Freak”


The flower princess of pop nihilism, Lana Del Rey, returned this week with another installment of her haunting visual diaries with the video for “Freak” from 2015’s Honeymoon, featuring none other than the sensual prince of sardonicism Father John Misty. Lana leads us on a disturbingly enchanting 11-minute trip through her dizzying rose tinted world where the word “baby” is seductive currency.

Allegedly inspired by Josh Tillman’s (Father John Misty) own acid trip at a Taylor Swift concert, “Freak” reads as a modern day Charles Manson/Jim Jones-esque hallucinational tale complete with Kool-Aid and airy angel followers donning sandy blonde hair and wispy white clothes. The video opens with Tillman manically waving a large walking stick into the air at a California sky as Lady Lana leads him to a sandy overlook. It would be safe to assume that Tillman is the cult leader, with his Manson beard, but it is revealed to us that it is actually Lana who calls the shots as she places a square of acid on his tongue. It is from this point that we find ourselves with Lana, alone, in what is presumably her cabin lair paired with juxtaposing flashes of her and Tillman tripping through the hills. Eventually, we are shown the ethereal gaggle of disciples draped over a tranced out Tillman. Lana, all the while, is sloppily drinking her own ritualistic Kool-Aid concoction of beguilement.

“Freak” trails off into silence as Tillman dips Lana in a twisted waltz engulfed by white light and smoke fading into heavenly ether. Enter Debussy’s 1905 “Clair de Lune” as the cast is entangled with each other underwater in a baptismal dance that challenges death and rebirth, with a paramount acuteness to the push and pull relationship between the possessed and the possessor.

Could this video be artistic coding for Lana’s recently troubled encounters with fandom? Possibly. But more than likely “Freak” is a call to, well, freaks, and when our velveteen temptress coos: “Baby, if you wanna leave/come to California/be a freak like me, too,” I can’t help but think this video is simply meant as a captivating heretic anthem for the dazed and suffused.

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LIVE REVIEW: Cardiknox @ Baby’s All Right


Thursday, January 14 saw Cardiknox opening for The Knocks at Baby’s All Right, making for a poptastic, dance-worthy night. They took the stage with an energy that didn’t leave until the last song was done, and I have a feeling it probably followed them to the merch table, too.

The show had a mixture of the old with an emphasis on the new as their upcoming album, Portrait, just became available for pre-order. This show was the first of Cardiknox’s tour with The Knocks, and it looks like it’s going to be a pretty successful tour if Thursday was any indication.

Frontwoman Lonnie Angle bounced around the stage as Thomas Dutton jammed out next to her. She hit some impressive falsetto notes, and Dutton made sure to follow up with equally impressive riffs. When they played their latest single, “Into the Night,” the crowd lost their minds, jumping to rival Angle’s enthusiasm. They certainly gave everyone there plenty of reason to dance, so it only made sense to react appropriately. There’s not enough concerts that make getting down and boogying into a priority, and Cardiknox are proof enough that we need more of it.


Until you can catch them on tour, listen to “Doors” below.

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All photos by Nicole Ortiz for AudioFemme.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

ALBUM REVIEW: The Great Escape “The Great Escape”

The Great Escape, Los Angeles, 10.10.2013__DSC2833

the great escape

I have spent my last few years trying to dissect New York City. And while I was learning that a train schedule isn’t as accurate as it ought to be, I was engulfed in the music culture that the city is notoriously known for. The sheer amount of bands that come out of New York is incredible, so massive that there are hundreds of venues to house and nurture them. And out of all the underground venues and bands that have made up our unique music culture, it holds that familiar city feel. New York is grungy, rebellious, and an intelligent mind of its own.

I wouldn’t trade my home for anywhere else, but like so many quarter-century beings, I’ve had those East to West coast feelings. What is music like in a place where the sun shines more than Rockefeller’s Christmas tree, where shoes are optional, and surfing is more common than sledding? I imagine it’s exactly how The Great Escape feels like. Was their name intentional?

The trio, formed in LA, features incredibly talented artists. The self-produced band is made of Malte Hagemeister playing the guitar, Kristian Nord on drums, and Amie Miriello as their strong female songstress.

Amie has a colossal voice that makes unpolished vocals sound badass. She can go perfectly along with the album’s varied themed tracks. “The Secret Song” is definitely one of the more soothing tracks with a small country feel, her voice honeyed. Then she can take on a 1930’s swing club with “I Want It All.” “We play with fire ‘cuz we can take the heat,” she softly croons. Amie sounds sultry whether with a horn section or raucous for Malte’s wigging and Kristian’s goddamn feels for percussion. She harmoniously belts in “It’s Getting Better” against power-driven guitars and punchy drumming. And my favorite song on the album, “Put It On Ice” effects sound like an early Flea bass solo. The track that really made me feel the excitement of heading to California was “Let’s Go.” The beginning starts off with a calming ambience, the realization that you’re leaving- but then jump-starts into what could be my packing then driving through the countryside montage music.

Now, I’m not trying to start the cheesy ‘pack-your-bags-going-to-Cali’ gig, but their debut self-titled album literally makes me feel like it. Listening gave me the confidence in seeking those sun-showers you hear so much about in the West coast. Their style is ambitious, but genuinely so. Every song is a completely raw look into what rock was like before bands just wanted to sell records, and look too cool while doing it. While they remind me of similar styles to the likes of The Black Keys and Janis Joplin, they’ve created a new style I haven’t seen on the current music grid- combining the classic sounds with contemporary flair.

Not to be mistaken for Iggy Azalea’s “The Great Escape Tour,” the LA triad have many outlets to reach out. Maybe we can get them to come to New York. We could probably also see their eyes open, unlike all their press-released photos. More importantly, we could show them what we’re made of.

The album is a half century packed into a 33 minute digital download. You also can stream their complete album below.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Cold Beat “Over Me”


As far as I’m concerned, Hannah Lew–though she plays the bass–is first and foremost a vocal magician. Admittedly that’s because of her work with Grass Widow, the wondrously spooky San Francisco female trio that operates as a kind of tapestry, weaving all three of its members voices together. The result? A cloud of effortlessly harmonized soprano that rises up over post-punkish, surfer-rockish, guitar jangling. The voices are so effervescent that the harmony they make is weightless, and they’re so firmly interlocked that they sound like one big instrument.

They aren’t, though. Lew, who has been writing songs both on her own and with Grass Widow for years, began performing as Cold Beat in 2013 in order to develop on independent voice to run alongside her collaborative one. The full-length Cold Beat debut Over Me, while not quite our first taste of what Lew sounds like solo–she put out a two-song EP called Worms last November–is the first chance we’ve had to see her experiment with her full range as a songwriter.

While she was making it, Lew envisioned Over Me as a catharsis album tinged with paranoia. “Mirror,” the first single to be released, represents Cold Beat at the height of its over caffeinated anxiety, and the blood-letting doesn’t stop with high-energy freak outs. “Abandon,” coming squarely in the middle of the record, plunges us down low to new depths of bleak self-loathing, and then dissolves mid-track into an understated and moody instrumental breakdown. It’s worth noting, by the way, that while the album is unmistakably trauma-centric, I’m extrapolating each track’s particulars from the way the music sounds, not what the words are saying. Cold Beat’s lyrics, like Grass Widow’s, are often difficult to understand, beyond being ominous.

In fact, maybe the blurry lyrics have something to do with the sense of distance you can hear in Lew’s voice. She’s constantly far off on the horizon; she’s aloof in the most punk rock possible way. She soars like a flying superhero across the convulsing, repetitive music beneath her. Her voice is ethereal but bloodless, and about halfway through this album, it occurs to me that the lack of three voices on Over Me translates to a subtle lack of humanness. The aesthetic is aces, after all. The contrast of a faraway voice over a cleverly collaged mashup of retro and DIY sounds, the vague sense of anguish–all fantastically rendered.. The problem lies in that, though both vocals and music are compelling, one is forever floating above the other. Put more plainly: I like Over Me for its loveliness, but it doesn’t hook me by the guts.

Over Me is out on July 8th on Hannah Lew’s own label Crime On The Moon. Preorder your copy here! Check out the subtly bizarre video for “Mirror” below:

Cold Beat – Mirror from Renny McCauley on Vimeo.

ALBUM REVIEW: Morgan Delt “Morgan Delt”

“I think we’ve become stuck in time and everything is going to happen all at once from now on,” Morgan Delt has commented, regarding the resurgence of sixties and seventies influences in the impressive amount of psychedelic- music coming out today. It’s an interesting phenomenon, one that gets more prevalent all the time–new music sounding like it’s from an old decade–and it’s not just one era new music is channeling, it’s all of them: eighties and nineties throwbacks occur almost as often as sixties and seventies throwbacks do. What makes Delt’s self-titled debut, out yesterday on Trouble In Mind Records, interesting isn’t his carefree-Californian psych-rocker theme, it’s the way he goes about making that theme happen in the music.

At the very beginning of last year, Delt released a 6-track cassette called Psychic Death Hole. Being on the short side, it didn’t do anywhere near justice to Delt’s potential for scope, but it did do a pretty good job of convincing everyone who listened to it that he could do sixties psych-pop. The familial resemblance was blandly straightforward, though, like Delt had copy and pasted straight out of the Unknown Mortal Orchestra songbook. This isn’t to imply that the music had no imagination of its own, just that it wore its influence on its sleeve very conventionally. No one could have extrapolated anything about psychedelic music from hearing Psychic Death Hole that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Morgan Delt was finally released yesterday, after a couple of track teasers that left the AudioFemmes of wintry New York salivating for a sunnier climate (here and here). It’s an intricate album, very colorful and intelligently orchestrated. There’s plenty on here to recall the sixties, too, although many of the bells, whistles and ambient noise that turn up between those smoky hooks come off surprisingly futuristic. Time collapses, and musical memories aren’t presented in terms of narrative or chronology. Instead, Delt rips up all his idols into confetti, tosses them in the air, and makes it rain. The resulting mosaic is what he knits together out of the snippets.

Delt’s method of picking and choosing–with a greater fidelity to his own project than to any of the influences he cites–suggests self-portraiture: he’s tying the album together based near-solely on his own vision, despite the genre turf he treads. There’s certainly enough space on this album–unlike the preceding cassette–to get a long look at its creator. “Morgan Delt’s debut LP expands on [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Psychic Death Hole‘s] tracks and brings forth a fully realized glimpse into the California native’s twisted brain,” reads the album notes. If that’s true, I don’t think Delt’s brain is all that twisted–it’s a whimsical album with a lot of color, but is overall pretty lighthearted. And the textures on this album–the crisp instrumentals on “Mr. Carbon Copy,” the melty smear of vocals on “Sad Sad Trip”–are delightful to listen to.

It’s interesting, though, to think that self-portraiture emerges out of a lack of alignment with chronological history–that, having liberated his songwriting of narrative continuity, Delt could create a collage that, taken altogether, approximates the inside of his brain. I’m not totally sold on this theory. The album may not be memoir,  but at the very least, Morgan Delt is a fully-realized glimpse of something.

What do you think? You can buy Morgan Delt’s self-titled album here, and listen to “Obstacle Eyes” below