elvis depressedly stares straight into the void and airs their own blunt perceptions about it through their music, but it’s never been the band’s intentions to bring you down even if it says so right there in their name. Mathew Lee Cothran of Coma Cinema and Delaney Mills — alongside a revolving cast of friends and collaborators — have been taking the monoculture’s obsession with a dystopian world and turning it into their own wry joke in their homespun quarters of South Carolina from the very beginning. Since 2011, EPs and singles built with a bare necessity of instruments and production tools have recorded a memory box of self-healing guitar-pop laced with an Ambien trance, but with Cothran quitting his day job and resettling in Asheville, NC with Mills after the release of 2013’s Holo Pleasures to focus his efforts on their latest full-length new alhambra, an increased currency in time has resulted in elvis depressedly’s most definitive listen yet.
In many ways, new alhambra is an auditory homage to what has shaped lead singer Mathew Lee Cothran’s life. Its title, as any hardcore pro-wrestling fan will recognize, credits the Philadelphia arena that birthed its most legendary and extreme version of it, and the use of samples from wrestling shows serve as a reference to his upbringing. The album was characteristically made with outdated equipment and limited by only one microphone, with Mike “Dr. Vink” Roberts playing an essential role on bass that enrichens the rockier resonations in comparison to elvis depressedly’s previous releases. Cothran and Delaney were constantly on the move during the recording process thanks to their new found career freedom, but none of it takes away from new alhambra fully texturized shift toward brightly melancholic noise-pop inspired by Cothran’s favorite unsung heroes such as Waterboys, Prefab Sprout and Emperor X, and in more conventional instances, Elliott Smith and Mac DeMarco.
“There was a lot of uncertainty and I quit a job that I had had for 3 years but hated, and reacreativeadult.phplly kind of put it all on the line to make a record I really wanted to make. It was all a big risk,” says Cothran. That much is evident in the album’s centerpiece “Rock ‘N Roll” where his tongue quips at creativity’s value in the face of a greater stability. elvis depressedly may have gone for broke with their lives to make new alhambra the album it is, but their decision to do so proves to be well worth the end result, self-deprecatory pains and all.
Eskimeaux is the recording project of songwriter and producer Gabrielle Smith. Smith started using the moniker in 2007, releasing experimental and noise albums through 2010, and developing the sound over the years into the realm of more structured songwriting (2011’s Two Mountains), EDM (2012’s Eskimeaux), and more recently, as evident in her new album, O.K., beat-driven and poetic bedroom pop. Eskimeaux is a founding member of The Epoch, a Brooklyn-based songwriting and art collective.
The recording process of Eskimeaux’s newest release, O.K., began with Smith alone in her bedroom, demoing out dozens of songs written over the course of two years. After recording over thirty demos, eleven of the songs were developed, embellished and arranged into a formal LP. After the backbone of the album was established, Smith brought in Jack Greenleaf of Sharpless to coproduce and polish the record. Greenleaf helped mix and produce the album, and spent countless hours adding arrangements, warming vocals, and making dramatic drops out of silences. O.K. features vocal cameos from all of the members of The Epoch, including Lago Lucia, Dave Benton and Mitski Miyawaki, as well as arrangement contributions from Henry Crawford and LVL UP’s Nick Corbo.
Eskimeaux performs live as a four-piece, Gabrielle Smith (vocals and guitar) is supported by Epoch members Oliver Kalb (synthesizer), Felix Walworth (drums), and Jack Greenleaf (bass). The live band replaces the subtleties of the record with a more driving, dynamic approach to the songs. Eskimeaux will be touring the U.S. throughout 2015 in support of O.K., out May 12th on Double Double Whammy.
Mitski warmly recalls a quote from sculptor El Anatsui, “Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up.”
With this nerve exposed lyrically, and having dived into her new beginning, Mitski chooses her 2014 breakthrough album Bury Me at Makeout Creek to explore uncharted sonic territory, trading in large string arrangements for guitar and bass. While studying composition at SUNY Purchase’s music conservatory, she previously recorded music with a full orchestra. However as college graduation inched closer, Mitski moved away from the concert hall and into the campus’ active DIY scene. Upon relocating to New York following graduation, she entered stages at Death By Audio, Silent Barn, and Bed Stuy basements, entrenching her songs of love, fear, lust, and brilliant clarity into entirely sympathetic ears.
Since releasing Bury Me at Makeout Creek in November 2014 via Brooklyn-based label Double Double Whammy, Mitski has received international acclaim for her distinct, arresting sound and profoundly reflective lyrics. Pitchfork applauded the release as “inventive and resourceful,” while Rolling Stone celebrated her “deep-cutting lyrics.” NME said of Bury Me, “it’s a record that doesn’t tug at your heart-strings as much as it mercilessly pounds at them, taking to your emotions like a lead pipe to a piñata.” She has also received widespread attention for her “cathartic” live shows as dubbed by The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica.
“I was so young when I behaved 25,” Mitski sings on “First Love / Late Spring,” “yet now I find I’ve grown into a tall child.” This veritable thesis speaks to sentiments of the poetry and beauty of struggling up the hill to adulthood. Mitski follows El Anatsui’s humbling advice, cathartically revealing snapshots from her adventures in youth, and the empowerment found in sharing these stories with others. In 2015 Mitski is poised to continue delivering her particular flavor of soul-baring rock, and tour throughout North America and beyond.
New Boise locals.