DIY/Lo-Fi

FRESH CUTS: On “Goosebumps,” Gregory Uhlmann Stretches Time

photo credit: Jacob Boll

L.A.-based art-folk auteur Gregory Uhlmann (guitarist and vocalist with local act Fell Runner) has today released “Goosebumps,” an atmospheric one-off single—following up on his Neighborhood Watch album of last July—on Topshelf Records.

 

The art-folk track begins humbly with a simple muted acoustic drum fill, announcing the entry of two strummed nylon-string guitars and an hypnotic, elliptic bass line. The atmosphere of the recording is warm and open, quickly inviting the listener into its center.

Uhlmann’s voice is alternately deeply resonant and choir-boy pure, with a bit of breathiness, especially during the chorus, where his voice fades into a deep ocean of reverb on a single syllable. The addition of a gooey, tremoloed synth about halfway through the song changes the flavor but does so tastefully, as does the entrance of plucked instruments, pitched somewhere between mallets and a ticking clock, along with oceanic synth pads that resemble a school of shimmering sea creatures.

By the time the swelling single-note guitar lines double Uhlmann’s vocal melody and a lone, perfectly-timed cymbal crash signals the conclusion of the song, the listener has been taken on a unique aural journey, where contrasting timbres that shouldn’t fit well together still somehow manage to do so. Gabe Hernandez

   

VIDEO: On “Monochrome,” Runnner Sets Faded Memories To Music

photo credit: Nell Sherman & Silken Weinberg

Runnner is the project of native Angeleño songwriter Noah Weinman. He’s recently released a music video for “Monochrome,” the latest single from his upcoming debut album for Run For Cover Records, Always Repeating, released July 16th.

The track fades in with fingerpicked acoustic guitar and banjo, with what sound like reversed electric guitar lines, all swelling into a beautiful, abstract mix, before drums kick in to establish a vaguely rollicking shuffle, dropping out to allow Weinman’s plaintive, double-tracked vocals space to enter. He sings with masterful restraint while the guitars and banjo provide delicate rhythmic emphasis on his lyrics. The music and vocals slowly build in emotional intensity, along with volume, squeezing every possible bit of pathos out of the highly personal lyrics.

“Although this isn’t the oldest song in the batch,” begins Weinman, “this feels like the first Runnner song…It’s about nuance and memory, and how hard it can be to remember something in all its color and detail. Part of me fights against that and tries to remember everything, but part of me also resigns to it.” The video was created by Weinman with the help of Helen Ballentine.

Runnner will celebrate the release of Always Repeating with two L.A.-area shows: a sold-out show July 22nd at Baader house, and a December 3rd gig at the Lodge Room in Highland Park. Gabe Hernandez

   

VIDEO: “Retreat” Finds Dzang Soundscaping The Climate Crisis

photo courtesy of artist's bandcamp page

Dzang is the project of L.A.-based electronic producer Adam Gunther, who has released “Retreat,” the lead single from his forthcoming EP Glacial Erratic, due out July 23rd on Bandcamp, along with an accompanying music video.

The moody, downtempo instrumental track begins with ominous FM-synth bells tolling over a subtle bed of digital noise and bleeping, before a soft, swollen bass enters along with a drum pattern that resembles a ticking clock with a seizure. Gradually, sparse upper-octave synth notes and insular, beautiful synth pads enter your ears, with the entire soundscape splitting the difference between serene grooving and cautious searching. The late addition of the metallic shuffling of chains to the rhythm lends extra weight to the track, before it fades out with the same fateful bells from the beginning. Are they a warning? Or are they simply mourning?

Gunter explains that the track was meant to convey the feeling of California’s climate crisis and the need to escape. The accompanying music video “shows a talismanic bird flying through scenes of climate disruption only to arrive at an urban core, unable to escape humanity’s influence.” It’s a chilling but mesmerizing visual paired with music that is just as good at provoking deep thought about our global predicament as it is for blissing out on a late-night highway drive. Gabe Hernandez

   

DIY/Lo-Fi

Time: 
07:00
Band name: 
Melt Mars
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/meltmarss
Venue name: 
FTG
Band email: 
   

VIDEO: In “Burning The Ground,” Justus Proffit Keeps The Candle Burning

image courtesy of the artist 

Bar/None Records Artist Justus Proffit has released “Burning The Ground,” a single from his upcoming sophomore album, Speedstar, coming out August 20th, along with an accompanying music video, and his low-key indie folk-rock vibes are formidable.

The track opens with lazily-strummed acoustic guitar sharing space with gently chorused lead guitar lines. A placid bass faithfully hits the root note, establishing a solid rhythmic foundation. The tom-forward drum kit begin to tumble dizzily during the chorus, giving the song an added sense of dimension and avoiding the possibility of sounding repetitive. Meanwhile, Proffit’s lead vocal mirrors the laconic lyrics in his offhand delivery, as if you were listening to him in a chair across the bed from which he’s performing. The package as a whole is as meditative as it is catchy. 

As a whole, the track gives off strong Elliott Smith vibes, combined with a bit of the stoned effortlessness of Kurt Vile. The video, meanwhile, finds Proffit alternately ambling around a cemetery in daylight, relaxing in a very candle-lit bath tub, and dripping red wax over glass heads and religious statuettes. Shot with a VHS look, its amateur look evokes the visual work of alternative artists from the 80s and 90s, and subtly fills in the more gloomy blanks of the music. Hopefully the album will similarly ride the line between depression and dynamism. Gabe Hernandez