After their humble beginnings at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, Dear Nora has stuck around for the long haul. The band has been producing its own brand of subdued folk-pop since 1999. In 2008, they disbanded. With the re-release of Mountain Rock last year, the fans latched back on and interest in Dear Nora was once again apparent.Ahead of their show on 3/2 at Park Church Co-Op, singer & guitaristKaty Davidson, also of Key Losers and Lloyd & Michael, shared a playlist of songs with AdHoc spanning her career as a musician.
"I made this playlist because I want to share a collection of my songs that are potentially lesser-known but are some of my personal favorites," Katie told AdHoc. "I’m including some stream-of-consciousness notes about each song—things that occur to me as I listen to them. I haven’t heard some of these songs in many, many years. All three of my bands are represented here."
Chuck Johnson is a Bay Area-based guitarist who has built up an impressive body of solo work over the last decade, moving from one quality label to the next: Three Lobed, Scissor Tail, Trouble In Mind. Refining and re-defining his approach to the guitar with each subsequent release culminated in last year’s Basalms. Showcasing Johnson’s mastery of the pedal steel, the record is a sustained work of soothing deep listening.
Will Taylor and Charlie Martin met through mutual friends in the Austin music scene in 2014. They clicked automatically, sharing a fondness for the lo-fi sonics of home recordings and a common background in percussion. Soon after, they began recording no-frills, dreamy bedroom-pop on their iPhones, and released their first EP and cassette, ep, in December 2014.
Though they both grew up in Dallas, the band cites Austin—with its slow pace, expansive living spaces, and supportive community—as an inspiration. The hushed, fuzzy sounds on Cranberry, their second album, emit a feeling of intimate familiarity, the feeling of being at home.
Cranberry is out February 9 via Double Double Whammy. Ahead of their sold out album release show at Baby’s All Right tonight February 16, we talked with the band about recording on iPhones, taking up new instruments, and wanting to become a “shredder.”
AdHoc: How did Hovvdy begin?
Will Taylor: We met through mutual friends playing music in Austin. We hadn’t met until midway through 2014, and when we did, we decided that we’d meet up and hang out, and pretty quickly we shared songs that we had been working on at that time. We aligned stylistically and recorded some songs together. From there, continuing it felt like the right thing to do. It’s fun still.
Brendon Avalos, the bassist and vocalist of Brooklyn rock band B Boys, has given us a present with solo effort Gift Wrap. “Either Way,” the first single from his upcoming full-length, Losing Count, is a no wave gem. The percussion is gleaming, a shimmery metallic base for the blanket of synths and vocals he weaves overtop. He chants the chorus like it's a mantra, the repetition reflecting the song's inward-looking gaze: "Self-reflection, dissent is normal."
“The song is about trying to understand yourself better through meditation," Avalos told AdHoc via email. "I took some drugs that messed with my head, so I started meditation as more of a restorative thing, and then kept pursuing it because it really helped with some other anxiety-related problems I was experiencing. This song in particular is more of an ode to how meditation was really helping me through some stuff at the time.”
San Francisco's The Family Crest is not your run-of-the-mill indie rock band. With seven core musicians, and several hundred "Extended Family" members who have contributed to their music, the group likes to take the unconventional route in their music-making. Take, for example, their new video for “Never Gonna Stop,” a track from their forthcoming The War: Act I. Stitching together over ten comedic sketches, which range from a parody of The Joy of Painting to a reenactment of Godzilla, it encapsulates the ridiculousness of daytime television.
Liam McCormck, founder, as well as vocals and lead guitar, of The Family Crest, told via email AdHoc that making the video was a "very DIY process," with the band collectively creating "about 25 different individual stations." "It took a lot of production creativity, from figuring out convertible rentals to digging through our closets for costumes," he wrote. "We had a lot of fun with it. It put many of us out of our comfort zones, which is always a good thing in the end." McCormick says that his overall goal for the video was to convey feeling "of someone flipping through channels on TV, seemingly endlessly, with all of us playing out various tableaux."
"It all started in on a 1AM phone call, as things usually do, where Liam told me that Laura had an amazing idea of putting John in a leotard and having him teach a workout class, '80s style," the video's director, Keith Lancaster, told AdHoc. "John is basically the designated cartoon character of the bunch. We thought it would be even better to make something as if you’re flipping through channels on the TV, and he is the main character in everything that pops up. But then we got the rest of the band involved, and it became something way more collaborative and fun. I’m still kind of surprised that we pulled it off in such a short amount of time and it [came] out nearly identical to how it was in my head. It’s really fun to see the personalities of everybody shine through."
Philly natives (and Eagles fans) Dark Blue are gearing up for their next seven-inch release, out February 23rd on 12XU. The A-side, “Fight to Love," feels like a dark cloud after a drought, a much-needed cleansing. Over a steady beat and melodic fuzz, Singer and guitarist John Sharkey narrates a tricky love/hate relationship with a gentrifying Philadelphia. Toward the end, the underlying wash of guitars gives way to a beautiful acoustic rendition of the tune, picking back up and reiterating the song's central message: “You shouldn’t have come here.”
“Philadelphia is a great city but it’s being overrun by developers with tax abatements and snobs from the outer suburbs," Sharkey told AdHoc via email. "This song is a direct response to all the muppets who move from what might as well be Iowa and complain when we have a parade for the city’s most beloved sports team because their kids (I mean dogs) won’t be able to get to get to yoga. GO BIRDS!” This reflection on their hometown's current state is an apropos look at the way the things we love change as they grow and morph. Even as our homes begin to change and our old haunts disappear, we still have a love for where we came from.
New York City-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Miles Francis has collaborated with the likes of Sharon Jones and Tunde Adebimpe. Now, he's branching out on his own, filtering his training as an Afrobeat percussionist into his electropop-leaning debut album, Swimmers. To celebrate his recent three-date residency at C’mon Everybody, we talked about mentorship, David Bowie, and the responsibilities that come with being an artist.
AdHoc: How did Miles Francis come about?
Miles Francis: It's something that I've done my whole life. Most young musicians get swept up in whatever opportunities come to them. And I was very fortunate to be swept up with Antibalas and Will Butler and a bunch of artists I've collaborated with over the years.
[Miles Francis] came about as a result of the different collaborations and phases of my career so far all sort of coming to a head. At a certain point, I had to basically get all these ideas out. It just made sense for me to do it alone, because that's sort of where I'm most at home. It was just time for me to pursue myself.
The members of Brooklyn-based indie outfit Barrie hail, variously, from Baltimore, Boston, São Paulo, London, and Upstate New York, but they met at Greenpoint's The Lot Radio, where half of the band worked. Despite their geographical differences, they create a cohesive sound on "Canyons," their psychedelic, bass-heavy new single. On the heels of the release of "Canyons," we caught up with the band and discussed Tinder, their writing process, and their upcoming show at Baby's All Right on February 8 with NADINE and Lexie. You can listen to their new single, "Canyons," below.
AdHoc: You’re all from very different places: England, Brazil, and the East Coast. How did you all meet?
Barrie: We all met though the Lot Radio in Greenpoint, through our friend Joe Van Moyland. He actually had the idea for the band and connected us all.
Portland-based Haley Heynderickx has been making waves with her spirited musings on self reflection, religion, and growth. Her new single, "Worth It," explores the difficulties of defining oneself in the shadow of other's expectations. The ways in which the song unwinds itself, with a faster tempo in a dramatic buildup, is reminiscent of the triumphant feeling of overcoming those anxieties. Over winding guitar riffs, she sings, "Maybe I've, maybe I've been selfish/ Or maybe I've, maybe I've been selfless / Maybe I've, maybe I've been worthless, or / Maybe I've, maybe I've been worth it."
Over email, she told AdHoc a little bit about the song's origin story. "I was living in a house with six women at the time and attempting to pursue music as more than a bedroom act," she wrote. "In this, I was struggling to find confidence and purpose in it. Writing 'Worth It' was a cathartic release at the time, just allowing myself to take up space and make as much noise as I could in our basement without driving my roommates too crazy. After several weeks, this song got carved out. It has been through a lot and it means something new to me each time I hear it. (Unfortunately, not a Missy Elliot cover.)"