The Nude Party - D’Ambrosia - Smaller Hearts - The Rishis - The National Honor Society
The Nude Party returns with Rides On via New West Records. The 13-song set was produced by The Nude Party and mixed by Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby). Rides On is the anticipated follow up to their 2020 LP Midnight Manor which debuted at #1 on the Alternative New Artists Album chart. Met with critical acclaim, American Songwriter said in their 4/5 Star review, “The sextet’s combination, some may say collision, of blues, swamp, and twang are once again dragged into the garage, dusted with Todd Rundgren’s pop dust and energized with a ragged but right bluster.” No Depression said “Rides On is The Nude Party’s steadiest collection yet, thoughtful and wide-ranging, cohesive and tight” while Glide Magazine exclaimed “The Nude Party deliver their strongest work to date with the free-flowing Rides On.”
Rides On, the band confidently says, is their best record. It’s also the most homegrown and the most organic record they have created to date. Unlike their first two albums, they decided to produce Rides On themselves. Tired of paying for studio time and being rushed, they used the funds they’d saved and spent a year building a studio space out of a barn in upstate NY. When the band met the Tampa-based engineer Matthew Horner, they discovered they had the opposite problems: Matthew had a collection of incredible gear with no studio and The Nude Party had a great new studio with no gear.
So they invited him to move his equipment up to the Catskills to record an album together. They methodically worked at their own pace. Out were the sessions lasting a strict handful of days. In were impromptu writing moments and picking every sound as they went along. The relaxed atmosphere of the sessions, and arriving with only loosely structured material, allowed the band to thrive in the studio. It also unleashed a diverse sonic texture compared to their previous releases. The lack of pressure allowed them to record over 20 songs, including some that dabbled in electro-pop and stripped-down country before settling on the final 13 tracks.
The band recently released the video for the album’s title track, the singular “Ride On.” Shot entirely on Kodak 16mm film, the “Ride On” video was filmed at their barn in upstate NY. Sonically, the song is reminiscent of Sticky Fingers-era Stones, but its lyrics are mini-vignettes where Magee sings about persevering through adversity. Five of their songs are also featured in the new season of the Netflix hit series Outer Banks, including the brand new song “Sold Out of Love.”
D’Ambrosia - Sweet Maybe
D’Ambrosia returns with “Sweet Maybe,” an upbeat new song of love in limbo. “‘Sweet Maybe’ is meant to convey the experience of a reluctance to commit, in our current culture of dating apps, casual hook-ups and on-again off-again relationships,” said vocalist Kim D’Ambrogi (she/her). “This song is from the perspective of the recipient of that ‘sweet maybe,’ with the tenuous balance between the hope and frustration of what that word represents. It can be enough to keep us holding on but not enough to feel fulfilled.”
“Makin’ it easy / Then watchin’ me yearn,” sings D’Ambrogi, in smoke-sculpted vocals located where country conventions meet classic rock; reflecting on the moment when ‘maybe’ begins tipping the scales: ‘together or apart?’.
Coupling a rocky edge with a tongue-and-cheek, yet vulnerable narrative, the single alludes to the experience of floating between a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ by that fateful little hook of a word, ‘Maybe.’
Halifax duo Smaller Hearts began as a game. Kristina Parlee and Ron Bates tore up pieces of paper, and on each they wrote a word that could describe a song: slow, fast, quiet, loud, odd time signature, with or without certain instruments, et cetera. Through three albums, these “instructions” distilled into a catchy synth-pop laced with just enough experimentation and discord to keep things interesting.
“Belts and Braces” is about coming to the realization that too much careful planning can actually be counterproductive. There’s an intentional urgency in the bass line; the keyboard part sounds like an alarm, to mirror the anxiety of overthinking. Then, the song comes to a decisive and confident conclusion.
This is the second single in advance of their fourth LP, Rock and Roll Was Here To Stay, which will be released on April 21 via Noyes Records. Embracing nostalgia even as it refutes it, the harmonies soar while synthesizers collide with guitar feedback. Smaller Hearts continue to evolve with a set of songs that are better than ever.
======================================================================The Rishis - Holiday.
The Rishis splits time between Athens and Atlanta, Georgia and features Max Schneider (son of Robert Schneider and Hilarie Brastet of the Apples in stereo / High Water Marks) as well John Fernandes (Circulatory System / Olivia Tremor Control).The main songwriters in the Rishis are Sofie Lute and Ranjan Avasthi. August Moon is a healing album. If feeling stressed put this album on and put on the headphones and seriously let it wash over you. RIYL: Vashti Bunyan, Devandra Banhart, and Sybille Baier.
The Rishis duo of Ranjan Avasthi and Sofie Lute hail from Athens/Atlanta, and Tacoma. They are set to release their new album, August Moon, on April 20th, 2023, via Cloud Recordings. Though the duo has been together for nearly a decade, August Moon is their long-awaited debut. The rishis are also the newest band to proudly bear the Elephant 6 logo, with many active members of the E6 collective rotating through the band's roster.
Musically speaking, August Moon is an album of gentle, lush, psychedelic songs with a hint of hazy, folk-rock. It isn't hard to imagine the rishis wandering around the subcontinent playing their songs with their friends, and everyone having a grand old time high on some lovely tea. It's hard to avoid singing along to songs like "Holiday" and "Jetstream", thanks to their catchy melodies. But August Moon isn't all folk-rock; "Holi" and "Just Between You and Me" are moody rockers that give Avasthi's songwriting muscle and make for delightful listening. Also worth noting is the Lute-sung "Make Me Love You", a country-rock ballad that will make your eyes shine. And let's not forget the closing song, "Uttar Pradesh", a tribute to Avasthi's Indian ancestral roots.
======================================================================The National Honor Society - As She Slips Away.
Like the rest of the world, Seattle indiepop band The National Honor Society found themselves facing the problem of isolation. Pre-pandemic, they recorded their debut album, 2020s To All The Glory We Never Had, which was well-received. So what to do for the follow-up, when the world is forced into isolation?
"This was a new process for everyone in the band as it was the first time any of us had recorded an album remotely," says frontman Coulter Leslie. "Having always historically gone to studios, there was the fear that maybe that unique studio magic or energy wouldn't be there, but what we found was that the unlimited time we had to record our parts really allowed us to explore ideas and to go in different directions that we might have, had the clock had been ticking. So I think that's why you'll hear a little more adventure in this record as compared to our first."
Thus was born To All The Distance Between Us, released April 10th via Shelflife/Discos de Kirlian/Subjangle Records, an album that carries on the band’s formula of dreamy pop and rock. Fans who fell in love with their gentle, Ocean Blue-style melodies will be happy to hear songs such as "As She Slips Away" and "Remember The Good Times," both gentle numbers that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on their debut album.
But the real reward comes from the results of the aforementioned experimenting. "Control" is a frenetic rocker with an XTC-minded urgency that wouldn’t sound out of place on current modern rock radio. "It’s Killing Me" gives Franz Ferdinand a run for their money, while "The Trigger" is a driving shoegaze inspired rocker that is relentless in its beat. Then there’s lead single "In Your Eyes," which is supple and lush in its harmonies and its gentle melody, a fine love song perfectly fit for the spring crush mixtape you know you want to make.