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Trace Mountains release autotune-heavy single “Where It Goes”

One of the positives to come from the split of beloved-indie rock band LVL Up in 2018 was the beginning of Dave Benton’s solo project Trace Mountains. While some elements of LVL Up could be found on Trace Mountains’ debut album A Partner to Lean On—lo-fi production, understated vocals, and a subtle taste for pop hooks—for the most part it ventured into new territory. Tender acoustic guitar, bedroom production, and light electronics made Trace Mountains a different but equally exciting project. The band’s newest single, “Where It Goes” opens with the same gentle charm of that debut but moves into a more heavily electronic territory only briefly explored on the album. With a minimal arrangement ruled by bass and an 808 drum beat, Benton sings of a childhood friend and the death of her father in a nostalgia-glazed whisper. It’s a soft but worthy addition to the Trace Mountain catalog that opens up the field for an even more eclectic sophomore album. – Cameron Carr

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Mothica, Evangelia, Miette Hope play Elsewhere 03.22 for Women's History Month

On March 22, Cat Call, an organization dedicated to creating a platform for positive feminist change, is presenting a Women’s History Month Showcase at Elsewhere that will feature three fantastic independent artists from the NYC area! Evangelia, Mothica, and Miette Hope will all play separate sets starting at 7 pm. The event is aimed at sending a message of unity to all hard working women in honor of Women’s History Month. We had time to sit down with the three leading ladies and asked them a few questions about this upcoming progressive event which is sure to be a great time. Don't forget to check out Evangelia's upcoming music video "Always On Mine" due out March 21st.

Each of you makes your distinct music, but share inclinations for the electro-pop sound. Can you talk a little about what it has been like to carve out your own space in that genre?

M: I wasn’t aware of electronic-centric music before I moved to New York and started posting my songs on Soundcloud. Soundcloud opened up the world of dance music, and collaborations are how I got my start writing songs that would eventually lead to my sound now. I still love a loud sub bass and sampled elements, but incorporating analog instruments is so vital to the “heart” of my songs.

E: I started writing music in my room with just a guitar and my voice because that was all I knew. Collaborating with producers opened the door to experimenting in the studio with blending electronic and organic sounds. Currently, I am exploring writing music inspired by instruments/rhythms/melodies from Greece and paying homage to my heritage (you’ll see some of it at the show!).

MH: I was raised in a small mountain town and started in the folk/bluegrass scene. I used to be super against electronic production but going to school for music connected me with producers that shared my passion for live instruments and organic sounds. I started to get more into jazz and RnB when I was in school and found a way to combine electronic production with groove-based live band tracking while including elements of my folk roots.

 What is most exciting for you about getting to do this show?

M: The last show I played was in December, and it was the first time I performed songs off of the Ashes EP. It was also one of the first shows I’ve ever performed entirely sober. This show is another opportunity for me to prove to myself that I can have a good time on stage without substances because I’ll be surrounded by friends not only on stage but in the crowd.

E: I am so proud to be on a bill with Mothica and Miette and to be partnering with Cat Call, an organization rooted in the responsibility to challenge gender norms through entertainment and media. We are friends and fans of each other’s work, and we celebrate each other at this show. Our mission is to lift each other, spread the love for music, and empower women to go for their dreams.

MH: I am so honored to share the stage with these two badass female musicians. We are all independent artists that can lean on each other and lift each other in a climate where it’s easy for women to get competitive or petty. The truth is that we need each other now more than ever to change the narrative and pave the way for all independent female artists—Cat Call.

Many (we included) have said that in the last five to ten years women have taken over the indie scene, delivering on average better material and even more successful records than male fronted artists. Do you believe this is true, and, if you do, how do you explain it?

M: Indie music was so male-dominated even when I was in high school, and I think the political climate of combatting bullshit stigmas that have been in place for so many years is why the shift has been so empowering for women. I’m not well versed on the statistics of women selling more records than male artists, but I think it all comes down to authenticity in songwriting and women tend to be in tune with their emotions (no pun intended!)

E: I think women in music are seen and heard today more than ever before because of the internet age--we feel more empowered, and people have more access to us. Women are delivering beautiful, creative, and innovative material that is worth the world’s attention.

MH: Yes, I do think that women are starting to rise in the ranks and a lot of that probably has to do with the shift in the social construct of how women are viewed and treated. With technological developments like streaming platforms and social media, it’s much easier for listeners to access the artists they want to hear rather than the artists they are merely exposed to. It’s easier than it ever has been to pursue a career as an independent artist, which means that we are moving beyond the label structure that has dominated the industry for so long. Taking into account that most major labels are run by males it only makes sense that women have more room to succeed independently.

Who are other emerging women artists in your musical circle that you think deserve more attention?

M: Of my personal friend circle, I recommend listening to Kiah Victoria, Exes, EZI, Moonzz, and Echos!

E: A few fantastic NYC based artists in my friend circle that you should check out are Skyler Cocco (she is a producer as well!), Lenii, Sara Sommerer, and Harriet Manice, Camille Trust, Enisa, Pearla!

MH: Agnes Azria, Dani Murcia, Sophie Marks, Hailey Knox, Autumn Jones, Maddie Jay

Who are your biggest inspirations in the music industry?

M: My influences are all over the place, but a few current ones are Julia Michaels, Florence & The Machine, Elohim, Sampha, Shlohmo, James Blake, and Metric

E: I have so many influences! But to narrow it down for my current creative space I would say Julia Michaels for her unwavering lyrical honesty, Maggie Rogers for her effortless grace in blending organic and inorganic elements, and Rosalia for the majestic infusion of her traditional flamenco roots in her modern music. I have also been following Donna Missal and admire how she is paving the way for women in the industry to be unapologetically themselves.

MH: Here are a few inspiring female artists that I draw influence from. Lauryn Hill, Jasmine Sullivan, Maggie Rogers, Phoebe Bridgers, Hiatus Kaiyote,

NYC has this reputation of having room for everybody and being progressive, but that often isn’t always an accurate reflection of what’s going on. Do you feel like there’s less misogyny in the NYC music scene than other scenes you’ve each been involved in?

M: New York is the only music scene I’ve ever been a part of so I’m not sure what it’s like everywhere else… I’ve experienced sexism and inappropriate behavior here in NYC, but there are shitty people in every geographical location.

E: I have encountered a couple of uncomfortable situations, but for the most part, I have to say that I am lucky to be surrounded by supportive men and women in the scene. I do get excited when I meet women in music though because there’s not as many of us, so there’s a comradery that comes with it. This show is another opportunity to create space in NYC to celebrate women in the arts.

MH: Living in New York has been an incredible experience, and I have met so many wonderful women who are doing their thing with confidence and grace. Organizations like Cat Call are helping to create a space for female musicians to feel seen AND heard, we are honored to be partnering with them on this show to celebrate Women’s History Month.

What advice would you give to young women also trying to navigate the music scene?

M: I think there’s pressure on women to do everything to be taken seriously in the conversation of “female artists.” Yes, I produce music, but I also see no weakness in taking songs to more experienced producers, no matter their gender. The ultimate strength is vulnerability. Ask for help when you need it. I’ve gotten so many opportunities by not being stubborn and fierce, but by being curious and open-minded.

E: Believe in yourself. Be willing to learn along the way and try new things. Ask for help/advice when you need it. Collaboration is key. Network, network, network! Go and support your friend’s shows--what goes around comes around.

MH: Don’t settle for any opportunity. Know your worth and advocate for yourself and your vision at any cost.

header image: 
sites/upload-files/imagecache/review_image/3ladies.jpg
author: 
Rene Cobar
Subtitle (brief and awesome): 
Women's History Month Showcase set to rock (in a soft way)
Excerpt (short interesting quote from the Q&A): 
"The ultimate strength is vulnerability"




Rae Isla searches for a new home on "American Paradise"

Despite hailing from Brooklyn, Rae Isla sounds completely stratified in the atmosphere above our country on “American Paradise.” Hovering between painful longing and bitter condemnation, this airy pop star stretches the gossamer of her sounds to a tense and passionate apex. Mournful guitars wane in and out of view while distinctly boom-bap drums ground the track to reality described as full of opposing ideas that make this world simultaneously inhospitable yet a necessary home to inhabit. Rae Isla sidesteps the clichés with earnest declarations of longing for a home she recognizes as flawed, and these honest moments are carried to a painful, celestial finish that finds peace when soaring above the land. -Tucker Pennington





Looms' "Eclipse" is an ode to emotional paralysis - live at Berlin 3.28

It’s hard not bask in the languid world of “Eclipse,” the first single off dream punk act Looms’ new record The Way Up. Written after a summer tour and a break up, frontman Sharif Mekawy’s lyrics about “wishing the moon would make it dark” embody a passive paralysis, the feeling of watching the hours tick by, a stupor from the reception of unexpected and unpleasant news. Looms’ interweaving guitars bolster this vibe, its impressive sundrenched noodling a sonic representation of the frustration that lies just below the surface. And while the Brooklyn four piece may have chosen to name this track after a solar eclipse, it feels just like a lazy afternoon in how it encapsulates the boring-to-death moments in between the events that define our lives. Give it a listen below, and catch Looms at Berlin on March 28th alongside Color Tongue, Monoculture, and Huh. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt), Photo by Liz Maney





Dina Maccabee's new music is a balancing act, plays Owl Music Parlor 4.6

Dina Maccabee’s forthcoming record The Sharpening Machine is a balancing act; Maccabee juggles inclinations towards melodic singing and experimental vocal expression, while simultaneously modulating between instrumental textures both acoustic and electronic. While it can be initially perplexing to discern her overall vision, it is out of these contrasts that she creates a tension wherein shifts in structure and sound deliver a satisfying build and release. Recent single “Could You Be Right” serves as a testament to the record’s dynamic nature, changing from stumbling synth lines and a wandering vocal melody to an indie-pop, almost baroque-like march during the song’s chorus (and then back again). It’s a peak behind the curtain to Maccabee’s uniquely singular vision which will drop in full on April 5th - stream it below, and be sure to catch her at The Owl Music Parlor on April 6th with Kaethe Hostetter and Out of Sight of Land. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt)

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