Saturday Specials: The Mantles - Limbo Sanctuary - Clara Lofaro

The Mantles - Doorframe.

Everything you could possibly need to know - Bay Area garage-pop band The Mantles announce their latest musical offering, 'All Odds End.' The new album will be released via Slumberland Records on October 16.

What makes the Mantles the Mantles? Maybe it's the idiosyncratic motion and energy of Michael Olivares' vocals, the way they alternately stroll and hop assuredly over the music. Or maybe it's the band's sound itself, familiar and classic yet increasingly distinctive, and growing-with acoustic texture; keyboard hooks and licks; and resonant and representative drumbeats-to its deepest, warmest, fullest, and most colorful on their third album, All Odds End (out October 16th on Slumberland Records), a record that is quintessentially Mantles from the sheer sonic splendour and elation-and biting words-of the album-opening "Island" on through to the final harmony of "Stay."

The album exits with "Stay," so you can loop right back and listen to it all over again, and live for a bit within songs that capture those heightened moments when you (and Olivares' lyrical portraiture often favours a perceptive "you" over a needy. greedy "I") are at the threshold of change. It's right there in the snapshot-vivid lyrics of "Doorframe": "Ooh nothing like standing in a doorframe all day." While it's tempting to see these transitional vignettes-marked by characters who are simultaneously coming and going-as reflective of day-to-day tumult in contemporary Bay Area, Olivares brushes off the idea: "We would have written the same songs even if we weren't here." 

Still, the theme even extends to the making of All Odds End. The band reunited with Jason Quever, song-smith of Papercuts, and master of vintage audio production who recorded The Mantles' much loved early single, "Don't Lie".  Quever had all his boxes packed for a move to L.A. while recording and mixing the album, with his equipment his only belongings out of storage. The situation meant an already attentive, sound-romancing producer had an even more heightened focus on the song's ingredients, and appreciation of how they form a greater whole. It spills right off of the layered "Island," which grows as it goes along, motored and punctuated by the playfully assured interplay between Olivares's vocals and Virginia Weatherby's steadily propulsive, detailed (yes, that is a Vibraslap) drumming. It's apparent in the stark, bracing "Lately," where acoustic guitar has the sharp-to-blind beauty of morning sunlight.

For this album Olivares, Weatherby, and lead guitarist Justin Loney were joined by Matt Bullimore on bass, a New Zealand native and member of Oakland's Legs, and Carly Putnam on keyboard. These two new members energise the band into exploring territory that ranges from the staccato bursts and messy wisdom of "Police My Love" (which draws from a crazy variety of lyrical inspirations), to the country lilt of "Undelivered," to the casually anthemic SF-to-LA tilt of "Best Sides."People move, bands fall apart, cities change, but the Mantles abide and grow stronger, embodying their many-faceted name-planetary core-deep; incandescent; enveloping-a bit more with each new day, year, song and album. The Mantles are more and more the Mantles, and listening with dedication is like getting gifts. All Odds End, but the group continues to bloom.

Warm sounding with every instrument blending to provide a breezy pleasant 'late summer' sound. Add Michael Olivares voice and the whole song is a real special treat.


Limbo Sanctuary - Lost.

Background - Hailing from New South Wales’ Southern Highlands, Limbo Sanctuary is a three piece Indie band. The band formed after classmates, Nina Therese and Austin Harris met up with Sydney based musician James Phipps in late 2013. The wide range of musical influences amongst the three musicians provides a blend of modern indie tones with a classic folk rock platform. 

With comparisons drawn to musicians as varied as Sarah Blasko, PJ Harvey, Bon Iver and Of Monsters and Men, it’s no surprise that Limbo Sanctuary have attracted a crowd everywhere they’ve been. After some notable gigs in 2014 at venues like Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory, Metro and Factory Theatre, the band has recently spent some time honing their sound, writing and recording and are set for a big end to 2015. 

“At the time that I wrote ‘Lost’, I was listening to a lot of vocal melody based music like Crowded House, You Am I and The Cure. I wrote the song as a nod to what it is like to deal depression and anxiety, and that feeling that you can never get back to something that you enjoy. Once the framework of the song was built, the whole band came together to put their individual touches into the song and what came out of it was something that we all contributed to and something that we are all proud of.” - James from Limbo Sanctuary. .“Lost” will be released 18th of September 2015.

A beautiful song that has just about everything going for it. Enchanting vocals and as mentioned above an indie come folk rock feel, that just charms me through and through.


Clara Lofaro - Other Side.

Background - Toronto born, Brooklyn based, Clara Lofaro, began singing in a local community church. Realising her abilities for harmonies and composing at an early age, Clara continued to study and perform music throughout her formative and high school years before accepting a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Clara Lofaro is a singer/songwriter who performs throughout the world with her band and as a Solo Artist. She is well sought after by her contemporaries to collaborate on their respective projects and her song catalogue has provided television, film and commercials with over 50 song placements spanning many musical formats. When Vanity Fair Napkins was searching for a theme song for their “Wipe On A Smile” National Commercial Campaign, they chose Lofaro's single "Just Smile" (from her Self Titled LP).

Clara Lofaro’s current EP release Other Side (Sept 2015) follows her 2014 “Air Lift Me” EP release, which includes the Billboard Club Hit "Born To Love You”. Lofaro has performed alongside Stevie Nicks, Edwin McCain, Kimberly Locke, and Jeffrey Gaines and was the featured vocalist in the Disney Super Bowl commercial "When You Wish Upon a Star" featuring MVP players of the NFL team.

Clara Lofaro is the winner of 6 Toronto Music Awards and has had numerous nominations in both the U.S. and Canada. She has also been awarded first place, triumphing over 300 bands during Toronto's Indie week, a competition to find the city's best unsigned talent.

The opening piano bars reminded me of Regina Spektor, see that as a positive. Then everything changes and a country rock feel with Clara's distinctive vocals and bags of energy happens. Mainstream sounding, with that certain 'extra' that makes it stand out in a crowd.