June 8, 2014
Today's Hotness: Samira Winter, The Bilinda Butchers, Kittyhawk
>> We noted here in our electronic pages last fall the departure from Boston to the west coast of dream-pop luminary Samira Winter. In the intervening months she has kept busy, putting together a new band, germinating new demos and executing fairly regular gigs in and around Los Angeles and, more recently, up the coast. A trip early this year went south to Ms. Winter's native South America, where she played a handful of shows and, somehow, managed to find enough time in Curitaba, Brazil, to record a superlative, short set of sparkling music, which will soon be released on cassette by LA's Lollipop Records. The collection, Ms. Winter's first solo release, is titled Tudo Azul, which (the Internet tells us) literally translates to "all blue," but figuratively means something more like "everything's cool" to Brazilians. The title certainly jibes with the EP's sunshiney, carefree vibe, which is readily accessed despite the fact that three of the four songs on Tudo Azul are sung in Portuguese. The title track leads with a descending melody that hints at the first tune on Ms. Winter's band Winter's debut EP Daydreaming, which we wrote about here in January 2013. "Tudo Azul" soon reveals itself via a lightly syncopated rhythm and hand percussion, embedded keyboard tones and organ, and tidy vocal arrangements. And, of course, pretty guitars. Every song is a winner, but opener "Eu E Eu" brings the most sizzle, with its snappier tempo, crashing cymbals and overdriven guitar in the verse. The sessions for the EP were produced by a fellow named Rodrigo Lemos and engineered by Lucas Pereira, who we mention by name here because, really, these are presently the only two names we know in Brazilian indie rock. Tudo Azul is available in a bundle that includes a limited edition CD, t-shirt, and "surprise goody." If you hate waiting and/or surprises, the EP is also presently available as a free download via Bandcamp, at least ahead of the cassette release on Lollipop. The label issued a cassette version of the aforementioned Daydreaming EP late last year; it is now sold out. Ms. Winter's music is a delight and with each successive release her rise seems all the more inexorable. So why not like now the thing that everyone else will be liking two years from now?
>> Mere days ago we made a sidelong reference to San Francisco dream-pop act The Bilinda Butchers, and now, as if on cue, we've got new music from the trio. It's spirited new tune "Edo Method" is anchored by fuzz bass and sharp rhythm tracks, which serve as a sturdy foundation for a percolating guitar melody and yearning vocals. The song is our first taste of the act's forthcoming debut full-length Heaven, which will be issued by Orchid Tapes July 15. Despite the name of the label, Heaven will be available domestically as an LP pressed to white vinyl in a limited edition of 250 pieces; every 50th order (so, you know, 50, 100, etc.) will received a bonus in the form of a test pressing of the collection. Fastcut Records will release a CD version of Heaven as well as a 7" in Japan. Heaven is a concept record concerning the diary documenting the tragic life of a woman living in late-Edo period Japan. It's unclear whether the conceit of the album is fictional, and you can read more about it here, but it sounds like everyone dies in the end, and it doesn't get much more real than that, eh? BOOM. Blew your mind, didn't we? Despite that downer, "Edo Method" is a tremendous, emotionally affecting and feedback-spangled jam, and one that abides by the adventurous pop aesthetic of the band of The Bilinda Butchers' namesake, which if you don't know, is My Bloody Valentine. We previously wrote about The Bilinda Butchers and their excellent single "The Lover's Suicide!" (whose B-side featured a cover of Rocketship's "Love So Estranged"( right here in April 2013. Pre-order Heaven from Orchid Tapes right here, and stream "Edo Method" via the Soundcloud embed below. The Bilinda Butchers have two dates booked around the release of the LP, July 17 at The Chapel in San Franciso and July 20 at The Echo in Los Angeles, and we're going to go ahead and assume that these are release shows, so plan accordingly.
>> Can we make an entire Hotness blurb based on the flimsy premise that one band is not a different band? Well, let's see. If there is a moral to the story, we suppose it is that if you cover the hits of Thompson Twins you are probably going to get our attention. Such was the case with a band called Kitty Hawk, who not only take their name from a place at which we vacationed in the late '70s, but who also covered Thompson Twins' "If You Were Here" for the 2005 American Laundromat Records compilation High School Reunion: A Tribute To Those Great '80s Films. The comp notably features former Blake Babies/Lemonheads guy John P. Strohm, Matthew Sweet and Frank Black, among others. But that's not the point of this blog post. The point of this blog post is we were very surprised to see last week that emo powerhouse Count Your Luck Stars Records had signed a band called Kittyhawk. And we thought to ourselves, "nah, couldn't be..." And it turns out we were right. The two-words-and-a-space Kitty Hawk eventually changed their name to Kitty Karlyle and we will now let them gracefully slink away from this blog post. The one-word-no-space Kittyhawk, it turns out, is actually something of a supergroup based in Chicago fronted by sometime Into It. Over It. collaborator Kate Grube; the quartet also features members of leading hitmakers of the day Dowsing, Joie De Vivre and Pet Symmetry. More importantly, Kittyhawk is fucking awesome. Its songs from a four-way split with Droughts, Frameworks and Prawn released in late 2013 tout big guitars and ample application of glorious feedback and guitar chords that just hang there in silence and lead lines that spiral around the terrifically poignant narratives put by Ms. Gruber. Count Your Luck Stars will release Kittyhawk's full-length debut Hello, Again Oct. 14th, which seems like a terribly long time to wait. That said, there is a whole lot of back catalog in the form of split singles and an EP to tide you over, all of which you can listen to at the foursomes Bandcamp dojo right here. Better still, for local folks anyway, is that you -- YES YOU -- can see Kittyhawk this coming Wednesday night at Roggie's. That's called serendipity, FOOL! Stream the amazing tunes "The Daily Dodger" and "Food Fight" below, and then get thee to Roggie's midweek to be rocked most steadfastly.