In retrospect, Twin Shadow/George Lewis Jr. always belonged on a major label, though this wasn’t obvious at the time of his 2010 new-wave-revival debut, Forget. On Forget, retro guitars and a lo-fi drum machine kept Twin Shadow grounded in New Order’s more restrained brand of new wave instead of something flashier. Also like a New Order single, nearly every song on Forget reached for lasting vocal melodies. Songs like “At My Heels” and “Slow” were slick ‘80s style exercises in part, but the striking vocalist and memorable choruses left the lasting impression. Twin Shadow’s next album Confess (2012) honed in on these features and jettisoned potential distractions. While some missed the relative subtlety of Forget, this kind of pop music can benefit from directness. The intoxicating “This isn’t loooooove” on “Run My Heart”, “Five Seconds” with its “can’t get to your heart…”, “Golden Light”: Confess blew relationship feelings into massive proportion. If Forget is the Breakfast Club kids developing meaningful ‘80s connections, Confess is John Cusack in your yard with a boombox.
Last Thursday, WRVU hosted Kishi Bashi for an in-studio performance ahead of his Cannery Ballroom show that evening. The acclaimed chamber pop solo artist, real name K Ishibashi, played three stripped-down songs from his 2014 album Lighght: “Bittersweet Genesis for Him AND Her”, “Q&A”, and “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!”. You can check out the three-song performance below via RVU Records.
Early-career mixtapes are often exciting event releases with production quality indistinguishable from a studio album. Think Acid Rap, The Weeknd’s remarkable 2011 mixtape trilogy, or Drake’s own So Far Gone. Once the major label contract is signed, however, “mixtape” doesn’t really connote high-quality, important work. One can argue mixtapes are rawer versions of more calibrated studio releases, but it’s hard to shake the nagging thought that mixtape tracks weren’t good enough to hold over for the album. Often when it comes to mixtapes, only the most dedicated fans need apply. So what’s this mean for If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late?
On Friday January 24, DJ Ben Fensterheim hosted bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band in the WRVU studio. Check out the full interview and in-studio performance at our Bandcamp and embedded below. The group played a concert that evening at Marathon Music Works. Their upcoming album Black Sheep is completed, and will be released in 2015.
For more on Yonder Mountain String Band, check out their website.