mp3 premiere: "Haze" - Grace Joyner & "Two Left Feet" - Gold Light


Two of our favorite artists, Grace Joyner and Gold Light came together for a limited split tape as part of their upcoming joint tour. If you're not lucky enough to grab one of the 25 copies during their tour (dates below), we have the stream. "Haze" features Joyner's signature syrupy soprano, with a patchwork backing of instrumentals provided by her Casiotone, and Gold Light's Joe Chang joins in to add a dose of coziness. "Two Left Feet" bolsters up the guitar, with Chang's tale of stumbling through life, hoping to follow a dream, softly unfolding before Joyner's appearance. Together the tape is like walking under a cloudless sky on a cool fall day, the leaves gently falling, unveiling the magic of a season's change. In other words - it's perfect. You can read more about the tape's creation below.

JOE (Gold Light): We did a little joint tour back in July, and after our last show in Nashville, we were sitting outside talking and I think we were all on the same page about wanting to do another tour, (because that one went so well, it felt like there was something magical hanging over it) and more specifically Grace and I talked about collaborating more musically on things together. 

GRACE: We shared a backing band when we first toured with Gold Light in July, and it was obvious early on that we all got along seamlessly. I think we both picked up along the way that working together more and branching out could be really cool & rewarding. I had some shows come up that my band couldn't make so I asked Joe if he wanted to play with me just the two of us. It is different than what I am used to doing, but I think it is a nice variation. Collaborating with someone when you are used to going it alone can be a bit scary at first and we are both pretty shy, but it works. 

JOE: Grace already had the song "Haze" and brought her Casiotone over to practice it one time, and I mentioned I didn't really have a song yet, and wasn't really feeling what I was doing on Guitar. So she let me borrow her Casiotone, and that night I sat down, put a slow rock beat on the drum machine, and just started playing those chords and "Two Left Feet" came about really quickly. I think I kind of wrote it intentionally to be a song that Grace and Gold could perform together, it kind of blends both our styles.

GRACE: You think maybe my Casio has a little magic? I think so. 

JOE: Then we got together for just a few hours one afternoon and I dusted off my old cassette 4-Track I hadn't used in quite some time. It was intentionally done quickly and lo-fi, with the idea it'd just be her and I doing everything on it, and that we'd keep it simple/just to 4 tracks. I think we did each song twice, and liked the second takes better. It was fun. Hopefully we'll get to do more together in the future.

GRACE: The tape was Joe's idea. I had never done one before and I wasn't really sure what to expect. It was a lovely and peaceful afternoon, and I am glad we have a recording of it to share. Very much looking forward to round two tour with Joe & the gang. 

mp3 premiere: "FFFA" - Tyler Daniel Bean

Photo: Lauren Mazzotta

Photo: Lauren Mazzotta

Tyler Daniel Bean came out on the other side of an extensive battle with depression with an album. On Days Soon To Pass out 11/18 through Skeletal Lightning and Tor Johnson Records is a culmination of poems, and the intimacy of this period is elegantly reflected in the latest single "FFFA". Amidst a story of questioning his presence ("what the hell am I doing here?) Bean avoids phone calls, commitment and a day job that fills him with dread. It's a battle against his fears, against the darkness that threatens to swallow him whole and the smallest glimmer of hope shines in warm acoustics and drums. It's a single of resilience and fighting for yourself and the answers you so desperately seek from life. As the album's accompanying press explains:

"To understand this record is to look at its dark, dense surface matter, and see beyond it to the beacon that is love; it is to recognize that functioning in the face of fear is to strive to be fully human; it is finding a way to truly say I want to live, even recognizing the relentlessness of the battle."

mp3: "Telepathic Mind" - Bruiser Queen


Bruiser Queen's "Telepathic Mind" is exactly the kind of irresistible surf rock needed to dance away the blues of fall. The single is part of a 7" set to be released at the end of the month with Certified PR Records. With sunny keyboard lines, raging vocals and just a dash of fuzz, "Telepathic Mind," is wistful and assured. It's what you need when you wanna daydream of packing up your car and heading for the coast with your gal pals.

mp3: "Reversed" - Rue

words: Molly Yacyshyn

“Now it’s clear to me, things I thought I couldn’t see.” Rue gives us “Reversed”, a song that tells a story of self-growth and growth away from people who formerly meant a lot to you.  Listening is both cathartic and painful with lyrics like the above that hit too close to home at points. “I hope you’re smiling because I couldn’t curse this space we share presently” echoes in a mantra-like fashion, a thought said to yourself as you’re trying to believe something you know to be true, yet doesn’t feel right. The song moves into the repeating of “we used to breathe the same air,” the inflection of the vocals getting louder, conveying pain in facing a new reality that’s so different from the past. The smooth bass line paired with a simple guitar line lightens up the heartbreaking lyrics making for a lovable combination of twee and punk.

album: 'Til You're Mine - Dog Party


words: Luke Dowker

While sisters Lucy and Gwen Giles aka Dog Party both remain under the age of 21, 'Til You're Mine is their fourth full-length record. This accomplishment is deemed all the more impressive when coupled with the knowledge that the sisters only started calling themselves Dog Party just under ten years ago. With those numbers, Dog Party can claim the unbelievable, simultaneous honor of being one of the longest-running 'new guard' bands on the Asian Man Records roster as well one of the label's youngest.

The band’s NorCal origins have prompted comparisons to the sound of Lookout! Records' golden age, but the Giles sisters owe equal sonic debt to the pleasant ugliness of Bleach as to, say, Pansy Division and early-stage Rancid. The songs on ‘Til You’re Mine are straightforward and the tempos never dip below ‘you can skate to this’ pace, with the vocal drawls on “Oh You Know” and several other cuts bringing to mind the ferocity of L7 and Hole. 

The thick and distorted chocolate shell that coats ‘Til You’re Mine (“What Do I Want” and “Enough”) doesn’t capture the whole of Dog Party’s appeal, though. Their quick’n’dirty earworms channel melodic SoCal punk of the early ‘80s, the histrionics of Fueled By Ramen’s best releases, and everything in between. 

There are moments when the duo sound like true masters of their craft. You could easily mistake the guitar line that inaugurates the album's title track for classic X or even the first few seconds of of Dillinger Four's Versus God. The sister split vocal duties, deploying their melodies with expertise. A cheeky irreverent spirit like that of the Descendents never wanes for the 26-minute duration of the record and that inspiration comes screaming to life on the 21-second closer, "Caffeine."

Glossing over ‘Til You’re Mine would be a mistake. This is a batch of songs that rewards multiple listens. The midpoint of the record is the mostly-instrumental “Lay Back!!!,” a minute and a half of surf rock majesty doctored to sound like a Sonic Youth noise section. Before that we’re bestowed with confections like “Round ‘n’ Round” and “The Look;” the latter boasts a scraped-up, instantly memorable hook and guitar riff.

But the best song on ‘Til You’re Mine is the second-to-last one, the album’s spiritual closer. “O Brave New World” is a candid love song with a tinge of unease. It’s tight, with sweet and simple harmonies that pack a punch. Punk rock needs new architects and though it may seem a daunting task Dog Party seems more than up to the task.

The Grey Estates Podcast: Emilyn Brodsky

Emilyn Brodsky shares what's behind her magical music in episode 20!!! of The Grey Estates Podcast. Her latest release, Digestion, out on Dead Stare Records is totally inspired and you'll find out about what she went through for this release, and in life. It's a very intimate and beautiful conversation and we're so lucky to have spoken with her. 

As always, subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play and leave us reviews!

album of the week: Beyond the Fleeting Gales - Crying


words: Jordan Gorsuch

New York’s Crying made their start by fusing unlikely elements of twee pop and chiptune into a polished, and endlessly entertaining collection of songs on their double EP Get Olde / Second Wind. Their latest album abandons the overt Gameboy-style synth melodies for raucous guitars and warbling synths that fuel one of 2016’s most colorful albums. Beyond the Fleeting Gales channels 70s-prog-rock in title and spirit, utilizing the era’s proclivity for overt and gnarly guitar leads while maintaining modern pop-sensibilities. The cheese-factor of their primary influences for the record are thankfully turned down – making for an album that is equal parts gleefully fun, and earnestly revealing.

“Well and Spring” is the album’s first window into the more delicate, subtle energy that Crying has captured with their metamorphosis. It’s a departure from the arena-sized power pop that precedes it, dripping with atmosphere and moody bass lines. “Close every one, lest you should spend your whole life searching for them,” lead singer Elaiza Santos hauntingly sings over the brooding soundscape swirling beneath. A running motif on the album is the idea of shutting out the past at all costs; history will chew you up with a continuous refrain of the best and worst aspects of your life. Crying is moving past their previous releases, searching for a path forward, not basking in halcyon days.

This trend of attempting to move forward continues on “A Sudden Gust,” a boisterous counterpart to its partner track. “So, I began to walk and soon discovered, I had recovered steps I’d already made and the bridge let me advance in the offering of a new chance,” Santos sings as sweet synths shuffle over distorted-staccato guitar lines. This deus-ex-machina in the form of the bridge returns with the imagery of a door in the sweetly schizophrenic cut, “There Was a Door.” Santos settles into a flow reminiscent to rapping as she details a precarious situation: “Will he look? Must I always come and go in distress? I forget – I can’t escape behind the shape of my chest.” Piano flourishes blend with operatic guitar leads and grandiose drums as the song bounces from multiple set pieces and instrumental cues. The narrator compares their self to a body of water, wishing to feel free of judgment and hostility. “Just when I thought I had run into a standstill…How suddenly there was a door!” Santos exclaims as a last-minute glimmer of hope transforms into a thrilling guitar-led climax.

For every jolt of unhindered instrumental magnificence (the rousing “Patriot”) there is a fiery and infectious pop-rock classic (the untouchable single “Revive”) or an enigmatic, minor-key ballad (“Children of the Wind”). Crying’s new album is successful because the trio are not afraid to play with different styles that stand in contrast to their bread n’ butter pop-sensibilities. A plethora of moods, sonic textures, and vocal styles culminate in one of the most fulfilling listening experiences of the year. For all the sonic diversity, there is an undercurrent of lyrical content that seems to suggest a mythical tale of sorts. It certainly has the tappings of a myth: angelic figures, mystical bodies of water, godly warnings, and redemptive conclusions. The subject of water itself crops up on almost every song – water is cleansing, pure, and ever-shifting. The band leapt into an unknown expanse of dark water and came out the other side reborn.

Toon Tunes: Gene Belcher

curated by Naked Giants

Gene Belcher is a party starter and maintainer. I thought of what songs speak to his inner creative animal spirit. I think this playlist gives him the right amount of introspection and self confidence that his character had as a wacky middle schooler.


mp3 premiere: "I Think I Love You"(Waxahatchee cover) - Boyscout Thriller


words: Marissa Lorusso

You know how Brian Eno said that while The Velvet Underground and Nico’s self-titled album didn’t exactly reach the top of the charts, everyone who bought a copy started a band? That’s kind of what happened with Mary Stankard, a Long Island-based booker and musician, when she first heard Waxahatchee (album sales notwithstanding). And after meeting other musicians both online and IRL, she realized many of these friends felt similarly passionate about — and inspired by — the bands of Katie and Allison Crutchfield (namely, Waxahatchee, Swearin’, and P.S. Eliot). Now, Stankard has compiled a compilation of covers of songs from the Crutchfield sisters’ various musical projects, called “Long Island Ladies #1.”

The compilation — named after Stankard’s booking collective — will be released October 31, and features contributions from Flower Housewife, Tall Friend, Dump Him, Judy Chong, and others. Stankard says the idea for the compilation came to her while booking the Up Yours festival at SUNY Purchase — inspired, in part, by some conversations with Jaclyn Walsh, of the band Dump Him and the booking collectives Eternal Slumber Party and Gender Meltdown. After the exhausting, overwhelming process of booking the fest was over, Stankard says she thought to herself: “I want to keep working with these people. I want to keep collaborating. And why not collaborate with artists that are held so dearly in everybody's hearts?” So she asked friends (and folks from the internet) to send her Crutchfield covers, and the process snowballed from there.

Stankard discovered Waxahatchee’s music through her brother. After she saw a Tegan and Sara show, her brother casually mentioned that his friends — Katie and Allison Crutchfield — had just opened for them. That piqued her interest. “I was like ‘... What. The Hell,’” she laughs. Hearing their music, Stankard says, inspired her to start playing music, too. Now, Stankard says, she appreciates their music even more because of the Crutchfields’ outspokenness on issues that matter to them. “They're very present online,” she says, “and they kind of utilize opportunities when they're literally given a mic to speak on — or to sing through — to speak out against things like scene sexism and rape culture.” Stankard says that witnessing the Crutchfields speaking out was new to her (though she recognizes that “obviously people have done it before”). 

Some songs on the compilation — like Judy Chong’s cover of Waxahatchee’s “Blue Pt. II” — reflect the same essence of the original tracks; Judy Chong’s cover, like the original, is sparse, intimate and beautiful. Others, such as Boyscout Thriller’s version of “I Think I Love You” — premiering here ahead of the compilation’s release — are quite different. “I almost cried! It’s so good,” Stankard says of the Boyscout Thriller cover. The original, from Waxahatchee’s American Weekend, is scratchy and minimal, with vocals that hardly reach about a whisper. Boycott Thriller’s cover feels just as personal and moody, but is interspersed with melodic electric guitar riffs that ratchet up the song’s heartbroken energy.

Overall, Long Island Ladies #1 is a reminder of how the music scenes in which Waxahatchee, Swearin’ and P.S. Eliot find themselves can be a collaborative ecosystem of sorts between musicians and fans. The project feels like a communal effort to celebrate the artists that remind us why we love — and make — music in the first place. 

mp3: "Bats" - Rackett


Gritty, right down to the group howls, RACKETT makes one helluva punch on their single, "Bats". It's one in a collection of forthcoming debut tracks and as evident by their Facebook page, the gals aren't exactly slowing down. "Bats" is a barreling tune to make their mark, with blazing guitars and percussion supporting a tale of the creepy and crawly that come out after the sun goes down.