For this Guest Mix, we welcome the felte label + four of their bands (Chasms, Odonis Odonis, Ritual House and House of Heaven) to curate a Winter label mix ahead of a Felte tour run that kicks off tonight in San Diego at Soda Bar.
Jarod Gibson of Odonis Odonis
Ritual Howls - “Scatter the Scars”
I first heard this song when Jeff (owner of the Felte label) was DJing a show Sky (of Chasms) set up for us in Oakland. Go ahead and try to escape the dark groove on this one. You can't.
Au.Ra - “Pulse”
This track hits a sweet spot between the dark and cool Felte aesthetic and UK Garage oddly enough (check out that bass). When that chorus sweeps in, wow. The simple vocal melody sits perfectly in a wash of lush, noisey atmosphere. Yes please.
Paul Bancell of Ritual Howls
Chasms - “Beyond Flesh”
This song rules! It takes me to that wonderful place only the greatest guitar tones can, places I save for the guitars of The Mission and Sisters. The vocals remind me of my favorite teenage pastime: Enya + Hallucinogens.
ERAAS - “At Heart”
I love the weight of this song. It just feels like a song people do some heavy shit to. Fall in/out of love, disgust/humiliate themselves, become violent, panic in suffocating fear. It’s drama, and I love drama in music, not life.
Keven Tecon of Houses Of Heaven
Odonis Odonis - “Eraser”
Eraser feels like the arc of a perfect evening out. You're with some friends at the club, things get increasingly chaotic, then sirens show up so it's time to go.
Public Memory - “Zig Zag”
This track captures the momentary feeling between waking and sleep. The repetitive groove and distant, weaving vocals are simply hypnotic.
Sky Madden of Chasms
Houses of Heaven - "Black Waves"
Kickoff track "Black Waves" for San Francisco's Houses of Heaven debut release Remnant is and was everything I wanted it to be after growing up in the mid 2000s watching frontman Keven Tecon and longtime collaborator Justin Anastasi grow inside all of my favorite Bay Area projects that both songwriters either played in or curated such as Veil Veil Vanish, Wax Idols, The Soft Moon and underground dance parties like the infamous Warm Leatherette. To come of age as a new musician and spend my most difficult adult years hovering over Anastasi's pedal board taking pictures of it on a flip phone and hoping to get in a word with Tecon after the performance, "Black Waves" comes as something of a full grown sonic expression between the two seasoned artists and friends with Tecon on production/vox/guitar and Anastasi on bass.
Tecon explains that lyrically "Black Waves" explores patterns of depression, "like being overtaken by these waves and going under." Tecon subtly relates this phenomenon to the Everyman but also to those struggling to live and survive in the depths of San Francisco, a place marred by inverted industrialism, class tension and social warfare.
I fall to the waves
And blur in haze
So warm and numb
In neon slum
So warm and numb
Sextile - "AVC"
On the utterly timely sophomore release Albeit Living from foundational Felte band SEXTILE, comes "AVC," a mean, intrepidly slow-moving industrial burner, unafraid of its own ambition. It's one part Throbbing Gristle, one part SPK, one part Broken English Club and three parts signature SEXTILE. All four members shine democratically through in their purest of forms, Brady Keehn vocalizing the deranged and sensually dissatisfied epitome of the human existence with delay-verbed words, Eddy Wueben full of wild, spontaneous MS 10 freak frequencies and drummer Melissa Scaduto playing a goddamn actual crowbar with metal. It's genius and not necessarily for songwriting sake.
The inclusion of "AVC" on Albeit Living as the record's closer recalls one of the happiest accidents in recent underground Los Angeles / NYC music culture and art history. The aforementioned allusion points to the infamous clandestine intersection of noise and techno that occurred when in 2012, seminal American techno producer Silent Servant released the most important record of the decade "Negative Fascination" on revered the harsh black noise label Hospital Productions. This was an irreversibly important music moment. The convergence of noise and techno change the sound and scope of both worlds forever. "AVC" unintentionally nods at this passage or at the very least dares to walk in these prodigal shoes. Just think, Sextile, a discomfited dance punk band leaning on Iggy Pop and DAF releases more than a hint of a proper industrial track that could be straight up electro. The cultural benefits of being able to look outside oneself in this era of bankrupt mediocrity in the world of independent music is priceless- and rare. And Sextile did it with "AVC," intentioned or not.
Little known fact: A.V.C. stands for "A Viable Commercial." "A Viable Commercial is the would-be name of Sextile's frontman, Brady Keehn's solo effort. Lucky for us he had the gall to bring his idea for this sound to his band and flesh it out to its fullest and most bold embodiment of genre blurring by a group of people all skilled and from different corners of the music universe. The courage to fuse an impulsive idea about a sound that lies outside your band's pre-existing pallet is exactly the thing that propels the post-modern music forward. In the past, even the greatest minds behind dark and progressive electronic rock music resorted to beginning side projects all their own in an effort to experiment with a differing sound but at the cost of leaving their main project stale and without risk or experimentation; see Maynard Keenan Jones' A Perfect Circle counterpart to Tool and Depeche Mode's bankrupt Martin Gore solo efforts.
Playing "AVC" while DJing inside an illegal building during feeding time for the frenzied and hungry 3AM dancers will be a great move for years and years to come, from Los Angeles to Berlin and back again.
Jeff Owens, owner of Felte
Gold Class - “Furlong”
Danny Venzin from Nite Fields (another Felte act) shared Gold Class’ first ever self-released double side single, “Michael/Gone,” thinking I’d be into it and he was correct. It hit a lot of reference buttons for me such as post-hardcore, post-punk and melodic punk. Adam Curley’s powerful lungs and Evan Purdey’s guitars initially stood out when I first heard this band, but the more you listen, the drums of Mark Hewitt (no longer with the band though he is the drums you hear on their two felte full length releases) and Jon Shub’s tight drumming have a unique feel of their own that stand out to me big time. “Furlong” is a track that always floors me when I listen to everyone’s parts come together so naturally. The last 30 seconds highlights the stunning effect Adam’s lyrics will have for years to come.
PVT - “New Spirit”
Now here’s a project that excels at doing something new each time they write a new record. They’ve confused and confounded is the most ambitious of ways and I have such massive respect for boundary pushing projects such as PVT. “New Spirit” is as straightforward of song as you can get from PVT, but it still has so many musical influences within it. I love the rhythm and lyrically how they take politics head on and have made politics a part of their artistic world. They blend prog (gulp), new age, electronics, rock and everything in between and make it work.
Ashley Shadow - “In Shadows”
What a powerful voice. Ashley had literally been in the shadows as a backing vocalist on records by Bonnie Prince Billy, Pink Mountaintop and The Cave Singers. I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with such a strong songwriter. The weight of this one gets me every time. I think musically it’s not as obvious a choice for the label, but to me, it fits a dimension of what we’re trying to accomplish with the label. My tastes are quite eclectic and want that to be conveyed through the artists we work with.
Soviet Soviet - “No Lesson”
The most immediate songwriting in a traditional bass, guitar, drums setup on the roster and catchy as hell.
Autobahn - “Torment”
Newest signing from Leeds, UK that’s packed with krautrock leaning post-punk, flourishes of a string section and female vocals sung in French on this particular track. I’m attracted to the bands that push the idea of what genre they tend to get lumped into and Autobahn have pushed to do that.
Nite Fields - “Winter’s Gone”
This song glides in slowly, but surely. This is a song I always run to in the catalog and sets a mood that you can get lost in.
11.29 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar *
11.30 Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon *
12.02 Modesto, CA @ The Shire Community Space *
12.03 San Francisco, CA - Swedish American Hall *
12.06 Portland,OR @ Lovecraft Bar #
12.07 Seattle, WA @ Timbre Room #
12.08 Vancouver, BC @ The Waldorf #
~ Felte presents: Ritual Howls, Odonis Odonis
* Felte presents: Chasms, Odonis Odonis, Houses of Heaven
# Felte presents: Odonis Odonis, Chasms