Aurganic - Broken Stems - The Patient - Janileigh Cohen - Verandan

Aurganic - Meander.

Background - We had 20 songs written for this release but only 9 made the cut. The making and production of this album took over 2 years to complete. A lot of parts were re-recorded, songs' structures changed, and ideas scrapped. The lack of deadlines helped us find new sounds and experiment with production. This album was completely self-produced. It also marks the first time we handled our own mastering. 

Aurganic is a window into a collaborative thought and emotion of two individuals who dedicate most of their time to the craft of music and sound creation. Separated by distance and connected by technology Aurganic was one of the original online collaboration projects to appear last decade. Rooted in friendship, the project proved its longevity with four independent releases to date.

Aurganic is an experimental electronic/alternative studio project of two long-time friends Michael Kossov and Leo Pisaq. Originally high school classmates, they were members in a number of local punk rock bands until life and distanceseparated them for a number of years. They reconnected musically in 2010 finding a lot of common ground. This time it was electronica, art rock and jazz that dominated the ideas. The reunited duo recorded instrumental sessions in New York and worked on their completion via internet resulting in a self-titled EP. They soon discovered how well they complimented each other with Leo's strong production skills and Mike's compositional ideas.

In September 2017 Aurganic came back with the third full length release "Distant Echoes & Close Encounters". Joey Aguirre was recruited to handle drums and Michael laid all the vocals on the record. The album was completely self-produced giving unlimited creative and production freedom. While overall songwriting is similar to Deviations, post rock and synth rock influences permeate this record from its beginning to an end. Website here, Facebook here.

Of the nine songs that make up 'Distant Echoes & Close Encounters' I chose 'Meander' to feature as I think it is pretty representative of the quality and feel of the album. Both vocals and music are fresh and imaginative, something that remains constant across the collection.


Broken Stems - Rest Assured.

Background - Broken Stems, a San Diego band formed in 2011 was on the verge of collapse just 7 months ago. Their bass player had just quit, their drummer had to move back to Vermont for the spring and summer and their lead singer was about to have a baby, which historically doesn’t blend well with a touring rock band. This was a crucial point that many bands face and ultimately why life can get the better of those childhood rockstar dreams.

The three remaining members decided to get together just for fun to jam out in their old practice space and see what happened. They expected very little to come of it, more of a “let’s have some beers” kind of a practice. But something magical happened on that night. Brad Sweet (keyboards) set up his bass amp to really crank the bass notes on the keys and Jesse Gawlik (guitar/singer) turned up his octave peddle to fill in the low end from his guitar. They didn’t really know how things would sound without a bass player.

They started playing and magic happened, within the night they wrote the song “Rest Assured”. More of a reassurance to themselves that things would work out in the end; have faith in what you’re doing because we’re heading for blues skies. 

That was in the spring of 2017, a lot has happened in just a few months and the world right now more than ever could use some reassurance. The calming words sitting over roaring electric guitar solos that collapse into moody dynamic verses sets a classic tone of rock and roll. 

This is the first single the trio has released together of 5 new songs they recorded in Joshua Tree in a cabin that a friend let them use. The recording was self-produced and recorded by the band and surely lays a foundation of things to come for the San Diego blue-rock band. Website here.

Broken Stems conjure up some potent blues rock with 'Rest Assured'. With passionate vocals and swaggering musicianship from a trio who clearly love playing, the track has a live feel to it, and a very fine one, at that.


The Patient - Extension 9.

Background - Elephant 6's Robert Schneider & W. Cullen Hart are The Patient. There comes a time in one’s day to day existence where you egg a friend to get something done. Such is the case with The Patient. 

Started as a collaboration between co-founders of the Elephant Six Recording Company, Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo) and W. Cullen Hart (The Olivia Tremor Control), they’ve recorded for almost 20 years with nothing to show for it. This release changes that. Chunklet’s A&R staff challenged Robert to finish but one song and “Extension Nine” is the finished product. 

Recorded in Athens inside a geodisic dome, “Extension Nine” is more Talking Heads than Syd Barrett, accidental more than deliberate. Hart is on guitar and sound effects, Robert on vocals, Ben Mize on drums and multi-instrumentalist/luthier/wizard Scott Baxendale on guitar, Mellotron and all sorts of whirring noises. All recorded at Scott’s studio in Athens. This is their first release.

When it was suggested that The Patient do a split single with Robert Schneider’s favorite Atlanta band, Breathers, everything came into place quite quickly.

Beautiful swirling psychedelic vibes are there from the opening chords of 'Extension 9'. The songs fabulous drum lead reprise and what follows makes the song something very special.


Janileigh Cohen - Sister.

Background - Bolton folk singer-songwriter Janileigh Cohen released her new single Sister on 29th September through Funnel Music. “Janileigh is a star in the old fashioned sense of the word. It’s in her blood. She comes straight from the heart and stole mine as soon as I heard her sing” - Beth Orton.

Janileigh is an artist whose voice truly does all of the talking. Vocally and lyrically miles ahead of her young years, she writes on both piano and guitar, with a stunningly emotive voice and a sound influenced by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Her lyrics tell a personal story; exposing the joy, disillusionment, confusion and romance of life.

Following her previously self-released EP As a Child and cover of Blues Run The Game, which featured on the US TV drama This Is Us and has over 100,00 plays on Spotify, new single Sister is an ode to family. A stripped back and beautifully raw track with an intimate piano intro, the song delicately builds to a chorus full of honest emotion. As Janileigh says, “it’s a very personal song written for my sister, so she knows that I'm always there for her even if I'm far away from home.”

Janileigh has honed her craft busking in her Northern hometown and around Europe, along with performing at open-mic nights, and is a must-see live. Website here, Facebook here.

Gracious and sensitive 'Sister' is beauty in musical form. Janileigh Cohen's vocals are as Beth Orton put it above "star quality". The song complete with a simple musical arrangement allows the melodic vocals to stand out even further. I try to avoid writing this to often however Janileigh Cohen is definitely one to watch out for in the months to come.


Verandan - Follow The Money.

Background - Just prior to the release of their debut s/t EP, Verandan share another taste with 'Follow The Money'. Verandan's debut EP is released via Soliti on the 9th October. The EP will be available via Digital services and Ltd. edition cassette.

The themes of the track are set in a possible near future reality; 'Follow The Money' discusses what it means to people and communities when they become entirely redundant as commercial opportunities and monetary institutions move elsewhere. Feeling conned and left behind by the neoliberalist project, while at the same time feeling as if one  should have known better – the implication here being ”there's nothing here, follow the money”.

Verandan is a new project by Ville Hopponen, who has previously played in different bands throughout the years; Cats On Fire, The New Tigers, Pöllöt and Le Futur Pompiste. Aiding and abetting Ville on his new adventure are a magnificent supporting cast; Aleksi Peltonen (Puunhalaaja, Henna Emilia & Houreet), Aki Pohjankyrö (Black Twig, LOVE SPORT), Kaarlo Stauffer (Black Twig) and Sampo Seppänen (Sofa Pets, Kynnet). Verandan were formed in late 2015 around songs written by Hopponen. Facebook here.

We featured 'Short Dream' from the forthcoming EP earlier this month and 'Follow The Money' is another welcome share prior to the release. Last time I stated "each song is as good as the featured track & from a personal perspective sometimes better" I will allow you to decide if I feel this is a better track, it's all a matter of perspective & personal taste, & this piece tastes real good.