Author page: Ayden Eilmus

Women in Music: What We Can Learn from Hop Along

Hop Along is a part of the conversation. This past year saw the takeover of indie by women, and Frances Quinlan is another prime example of this. Her band’s most recent release, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, has consistently ranked across many major music publications’ best of 2018 lists, including the likes of NPR, Billboard, and Rolling Stone. Rightfully so, as the group’s third record is their most powerful yet. Quinlan’s unique style of world-building storytelling shifts to the forefront on this album, a necessary move given the extent and consequent of the issues she works hard to tackle and contextualize here. The line ‘strange to be shaped by such strange men’ appears on multiple tracks and is repeated like a mantra across the record, a tactic that is intentionally unavoidable and jarring (especially when put to words by Quinlan’s hair-raising voice). This powerful motif unites the project around a common theme of social reflection and reconciliation— one that is about as 2018 as you can get.

Lala Lala Opens Up about Latest Album in WRVU Interview

Back on September 26th, myself and WRVU’s station manager Morgan Levy had the opportunity to sit down with Lillie West of Lala Lala before her gig opening for Mothers at the 5 Spot. In the parking lot across the street from the venue we talked about the band’s history, writing process, tour life, and anticipated upcoming album The Lamb, which has since been released. Her first LP, Sleepyhead, was put out on Bandcamp back in 2016 in what she considers to be a moment of “boredom.” You wouldn’t guess this by listening to the record, however, as its sound is anything but monotonous. 

Sunflower Bean’s Twentytwo in Blue, Reviewed

Sunflower Bean turned heads with their first full length album Human Ceremony, released back in 2016. Their debut’s breadth and urgency was illustrious of the band’s burgeoning appetite for a life beyond New York City’s DIY scene, and was ultimately successful in helping them realize the musician’s cliched dream of making it out of one’s hometown. After putting out music for only a year prior, the record was an impressive start for bassist and singer Julia Cumming, guitarist Nick Kivlen, and drummer Jacob Faber. The Brooklyn based trio were young and ambitious then— as they still are now, although their energy has become undeniably more harnessed— and these characteristics were central to Human Ceremony’s sound and thesis. The album was appropriately all over the place musically, with tracks ranging in style from shoegaze to surf rock to psych pop, and influences like the Velvet Underground and Black Sabbath obvious (in some cases on the same songs). Now, Sunflower Bean is back and more polished than ever on their sophomore release Twentytwo in Blue.

Don’t Underestimate Snail Mail

Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan is one of indie rock’s most promising young talents. 2016’s Habit EP, written while she was only an impressive fifteen years old, shocked critics with its depth and eloquence. The project tackled adolescence with the kind of careful reflection one would expect from someone sufficiently distanced from the melancholic woes of high school— except Jordan wrote it while she was still right there in the midst of it all. Habit beautifully chronicled youthful turmoil from inside the belly of the beast and did so successfully enough to land Snail Mail in-studio gigs with both Tiny Desk Concert and Audiotree Live, as well as a record deal with Matador. It’s clear that Jordan has a knack for putting the ineffable to words, and in combination with her excellent guitar skills and intricate style (she was taught by Mary Timony of Helium, Ex Hex, and Wildflag) it’s hard to imagine a future where she isn’t at the forefront of the lo-fi scene.

Courtney Barnett is as Unapologetic as Ever on New Single ‘Nameless, Faceless’

(“Nameless, Faceless” music video still, from Youtube)

Subtlety has never been Courtney Barnett’s thing. So far, that’s been to her advantage. Native to Melbourne and on the rapid rise to fame since the 2015 release of her debut LP Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Barnett has made a name for herself through witty, avant-garde lyricism and garagey guitar riffs. Her previous work resonates with a sort of comfortable honesty, regardless of the first-glance mundanity of the everyday occurrences she so often addresses. This past October’s Kurt Vile collab album Lotta Sea Lice saw the further development of this knack, and quietly allowed Barnett to temporarily side step the anxieties of following up Sometimes I Sit and Think’s success. Now ready to tackle those fears head on, her second full length solo project, Tell Me How You Really Feel, will be released May 18th on Mom+Pop, Marathon Artists, and Barnett’s own Milk! Records. In tandem with this announcement, first single “Nameless, Faceless,” as well as an accompanying music video, were put out ahead of the upcoming album. 

Shakey Graves Releases The Sleep EP Ahead of Upcoming Album

Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known by stage name Shakey Graves, has long since been an Austin icon. A self-proclaimed ‘Texas gentleman,’ his prophetic lyrics and unapologetic DIY sound have earned his catalog regard as one of folk-rock’s greats. His signature suitcase kick drum, perfectly homemade and casual, epitomizes the distinctive one-man band style of his past recordings and live performances. Undeniably, Rose-Garcia has come a long way from those early days of Bandcamp releases and solo shows. The 2014 drop of album And the War Came marked the beginning of his transition to a more polished sound and filled out live set, of which  he shared his thoughts on while opening for City and Colour in June of 2016. “There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help from your friends,” he explained. Although the recent re-release of The Donor Blues and Nobody’s Fool EPs one summer later seemed to indicate a potential return to his earlier bedroom style, upcoming record Can’t Wake Up suggests the contrary.