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Nobody's Watching (Pre-Order)Steady Holiday is an appropriate name for an artist whose music feels like the soundtrack to your fondest memory. Or your deepest heartbreak. Or the dream sequence from a David Lynch film. There's a nostalgia present in Dre Babinski's songwriting that leaves you longing for the familiarity of a bygone era - just not one you can necessarily pin down.
After years growing up playing in bands around Los Angeles, Dre recently began writing and recording for herself - on her own, in secret, developing a body of work about hidden desire itself. Establishing a sound defined by her featherlight voice floating above sweeping strings, her 2016 debut Under the Influence led to opening for artists like Mitski, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Whereas the first record took us on a trip through the deeply personal, Dre's sophomore album Nobody's Watching zooms way out. What began as a concept record about two archetypal crooks developed into an exploration of universal themes like greed, fear and self-interest; the ugly and troubling edges of human nature. It's a good time for that.
Dre worked with producer Gus Seyffert (Roger Waters, Beck) to create a sound that echoes the narrative told on Nobody's Watching. From the sunny and observant to the dark and critical, the tone ranges from levity to paranoia through layers of analog synths and chilling strings played by Dre herself. There are moments of cinematic intensity reminiscent of a James Bond score, yet the subtle tape hiss and creaking chairs remind us that this is an album made by people. It is warm, and it breathes, the same way the human touch can both soothe and suffocate.
Nobody's Watching is the natural next step for Dre and Steady Holiday, a project that builds worlds we wish to escape to or from. It's an examination of the inner narratives we all share but keep in the shadows, where the characters may not always be likable, but they do what they can to survive - like we all do.1. Flying Colors
3. Who's Gonna Stop Us
4. Nobody's Watching
5. All Aboard
6. Love and Pressure
7. Eastern Comfort
8. Trapping Season
9. Exit Song
10. Desperate Times$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
FORGETWhile writing FORGET, Xiu Xiu released the lauded Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, collaborated with Mitski on a song for an upcoming John Cameron Mitchell film, and scored an experimental reworking of the Mozart opera, The Magic Flute. All of this frantic, external activity lead to a softly damaged dreaminess and broadened intent that has not been heard before in other Xiu Xiu works.Standout track, "Wondering" is one of the catchiest boogie pop gems in the Xiu Xiu catalog, but like much of FORGET, it still bears an underlying tension that manifests differently in each piece. FORGET was produced by John Congleton (Blondie, Sigur Ros), Greg Saunier of Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu's own Angela Seo.1. The Call
2. Queen of the Losers
4. Get Up
5. Hay Choco Bananas
6. Jenny GoGo
7. At Last, At Last
10. Faith, Torn Apart$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
NumunJohanna Warren is a songwriter based Portland, Oregon. Her new album, nmn, will be released worldwide on Team Love Records May 19, 2015. In Johanna's words, "This album is dedicated to the moon: by honoring her phases, I am restoring balance to my body and making peace with the cycles of all natural things; and to the divine feminine: by collectively cultivating her, may we restore balance to our world. Although Warren has lent her vocal talents to artists like Natalie Merchant and Iron & Wine, she identifies primarily as a songwriter. An intuitively self-taught guitarist, she channels powerful songs in weird time signatures and melancholic open tunings, weaving adept finger-picking with acrobatic vocal lines and carefully crafted poetry, in reverence of her patron songwriting saints Elliott Smith, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. God has his plans, but I've got mine, and little good will come to those who stand in line" - Johanna Warren, Noise. Approaching music as a potent healing modality, Warren cultivates and honors the physically healing properties of sound and the spiritually healing powers of artistic expression. One cold winter evening in the waning weeks of 2014, Johanna and her touring partner Mitski (Double Double Whammy) passed through the Team Love gallery space in New Paltz, NY. Johanna invited the crowd to sit down on the gallery floor for her set. She requested the lights be dimmed as she lit a white candle and burned some sage. With only the candlelight to illuminate her face and separate her from the audience, she opened herself to a crowd that was swiftly transformed from unsure and vaguely uncomfortable to enraptured and mesmerized. These moments are the signature of Johanna's live performances, in which she consciously strives to provide listeners with a portal to an alternate realm in which healing can occur. Sound and light, scent, physical space, and the web of subtle energies created by a room full of human bodies are all elements of the universe that Johanna controls and shapes. She performs the same delicate manipulations within the world of nmn, an oceanic voyage from dark to light and back that is rich in sensual language, riveting self-reflective candor and surreal sonic landscapes (created entirely with acoustic instruments and found objects played by Johanna and her engineer Bella Blasko in an empty apartment unit). However, despite stepping into the role of High Priestess for the sake of creating art and facilitating group experiences, she warns us not to attach to any divisive illusions: You say I emanate some strange magnetic power, but don't be drawn to me-I may be here today, but soon black moss will cover over my dead body. Whether singing about her own mortality (Black Moss), updating the tedium of the party that Patti Smith first told us about (This Is Why) or daring one to imagine a world that transcends our notions of "the duality of wrong and right" (True Colors), Johanna Warren is a songwriter of daring vision. Her forthcoming album nmn flies into timeless space, focusing our gaze deep into the vastness of the heavens.1. Black Moon
3. True Colors
6. Less Traveled
7. Pin Oaks
8. This is Why
9. Found I Lost
10. The Wheel$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now