Monday, June 20, 2016
Matt Bennett turns pain of his parent’s divorce into debut album where each song is based on the Robin Williams films he loved growing up.
Just-released “Terminal Cases” includes “Fisher King,” “Jumanji,” single “Hook Pt. 1,” “Doubtfire,” feat. sax solo by Angelo Moore of Fishbone.
Matt Bennett as photographed by Robyn Von Swank
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Hear “Hook Pt. 1” from “Terminal Cases” by Matt Bennett, one of the most slimed people in Nickelodeon history.
“Suggests that the lessons of Lou Reed’s Berlin did not go unnoticed: the lyrics are simple and affecting, lovely but tinged with regret, and the electric guitars are graceful and melodic… except for when they explode into Velvet Underground/My Bloody Valentine violence, and Bennett’s voice takes on a desperate edge. Dark beauty indeed.”
Matt visits the Zach Sang Show to perform “Jumanji” and “Hook Pt. 1,” and discuss his years as a co-star of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” series.
“I first got the idea for Terminal Cases one afternoon while watching the movie ‘Jumanji,’ Matt Bennett recalls of the beginning of what would become his debut album Terminal Cases, a collection of ten songs, each titled after, and based on, the films of Robin Williams. “I wrote a song based around it that told the story of a man revisiting his childhood home and not recognizing any of his surroundings. I decided to structure the project around the album Berlin by Lou Reed,” Bennett explains. “I had been fascinated by Berlin since I was in high school, especially the song ‘The Kids.’
Bennett then spent the next year watching and re-watching Robin Williams films, writing and re-writing. And in his viewings he noticed that in Williams’ movies, there is often a character named Jack (see: “Jack,” “Hook,” “Fisher King”), and that the films often deal with aging – either too slowly, too quickly, or with the reticence of a man child to “grow up.” They also often dealt with divorce.
“That last realization came at a crucial time for me,” Bennett explains. “My parents had just announced their plans to divorce.” Around the same time, Bennett’s dream job, as a co-star of four years on the Nickelodeon series “Victorious,” ended. “With no job and very little structure to my days, my life seemed directionless,” he recalls. Bennett worked on Terminal Cases every night for nearly two years with the intention of somehow getting it into Robin Williams’ hands, and he had most of it written when the legendary actor unexpectedly and tragically passed in 2014.
“There’s no way I can release this album now,” Bennett thought. “It’s dark and strange and completely wrong.” Bennett sat on the material for much of the following year. “But there was something in these songs that lingered with me,” he recalls. “I needed to get them out of my head, and completing this album has been very therapeutic for me. It was a great experiment to write these songs, to record them, and now to release them.”
Terminal Cases by Matt Bennett is out now. Matt Bennett is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
Matt Bennett is a comedic actor and musician best known as a co-star of the Nickelodeon series “Victorious” and recently seen in the award-winning film festival hit, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” He recently appeared as a guest star on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory” and can also be found hosting his monthly variety show “This Show Is Your Show” at The Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles.
Matt Bennett – Terminal Cases
(Fanatic Records – Out Now)
07. Hook Pt. 2
09. What Dreams May Come
10. Garp (Terminal Cases)
Matt Bennett Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion
Friday, June 17, 2016
Steel Cranes takes “slo-mo heaviness of a 2,000-pound pendulum” to dynamic new places on self-produced second album, arriving Aug. 5th.
Oakland-based band’s evolution of “raw, relentless power” displayed on 2013 debut shows on new “Pretty” single; Hear it now via SF Weekly.
Steel Cranes (L-R): Amanda Schukle, Tracy Shapiro. Photo credit: Russ Wright.
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Hear “Pretty” from Tango, the upcoming second album from Oakland-based band, Steel Cranes via SF Weekly
“Rollicking drums and bass collide with salacious guitar licks... It’s almost hard to believe that the song was created by a duo.” – SF Weekly
Described by MTV as possessing “the slo-mo heaviness of a 2,000-pound pendulum,” Oakland-based band, Steel Cranes – Tracy Shapiro (vocals, guitar) and Amanda Schukle (drums, bass, guitar, keys) – is offering up an evolution of that sound on its upcoming new album Tango (Aug. 5th, Mister White Tights Records.)
Tango is a more dynamic take on the “grit” and “raw, relentless power” that MAGNET and Bitch respectively called out in their 2013 coverage of Ouroboros, the debut Steel Cranes album. With a vision for the sound of Tango that was more expansive, Shapiro and Schukle were initially stalled when considering the logistics of accomplishing these time-consuming sonic refinements in a studio environment. It soon became clear that the best option was to record and mix the record themselves.
“Amanda has been recording her own music for years, and she began obsessively learning more about recording and mixing,” Shapiro remembers. “As soon as we decided to do everything ourselves, the control freaks in us were unleashed!”
This education ultimately yielded the more passionate and layered version of the Steel Cranes sound that is heard on Tango. Once freed from the confines of creative deadlines and traditional studio environments, Shapiro and Schukle took full advantage of their new work paradigm.
“We wanted time and space to let ourselves stretch in new ways,” Shapiro says. “In ways that don’t come easy when you’re aware of how much it costs to spend three hours experimenting with the fucked-up tones on your old Casio keyboard.”
Most of all, a year versus five days meant more of everything that made the first Steel Cranes album special.
Schukle continues, “We’d been playing some of these songs live for a while and we heard more in them. More texture. More nuance. More melody. More guitar tones. Definitely bass. With each song, we were careful to record the guitars in a way that left plenty of space for additional instruments. Tango has a lot more of a post-punk vibe, definitely some grunge, maybe a little classic rock, and also some generally weird shit that I’m not sure how to describe. But it is also more beautiful.”
The first single from Tango is “Pretty,” recently premiered via SF Weekly.
“‘Pretty’ is personal and impersonal,” Shapiro says of the tune. “It’s born from a period where I felt surrounded by betrayal in my life, and in the lives of people close to me. I was thinking a lot about the visible and invisible forces constantly at play, informing people’s choices and behavior. Part of why I love writing songs is that they offer some sort of resolution for that which can’t be resolved.”
Tango by Steel Cranes arrives on August 5th, 2016. Tracy Shapiro and Amanda Schukle are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
(Mister White Tights Records)
Aug. 5th, 2016
3. Today is the Day
7. Take Me Down
8. What Am I Doing Here
9. The Poet
Steel Cranes Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Cotton Mather sets July 29th as release date of critically revered Austin-based band’s first all-new album in 15 years.
Comprised of 11 songs, “Death of The Cool” is part of ongoing 64-song collection representing I Ching’s 64 hexagrams.
Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather as photographed by Valerie Fremin.
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Stream two songs from Cotton Mather’s Death of The Cool now! Hear “The Book of Too Late Changes” via Texas Monthly and “Child Bride” via KUTX, Austin.
Listen and learn more by visiting ichingsongs.com to hear four additional tracks not found on Death of The Cool, including “The Cotton Mather Pledge” (based on I Ching hexagram #13: Seeking Harmony), and to read commentaries on each track by Robert Harrison.
“Kontiki gave me something to shoot for.” – Britt Daniel of Spoon on Cotton Mather
It didn’t take 15 years for Cotton Mather’s Austin-based main man, Robert Harrison to write the 64 songs (64 songs!) that comprise his latest musical vision: one song for each hexagram (or reading) of the I Ching. That’s actually the amount of time that has passed since the last full-length album of new Cotton Mather songs was released. With so much new material on deck, it seems like Harrison is making up the difference.
Half a dozen tracks from this treasure trove of new tunes have already been posted one-by-one in “real time and real weather” as Harrison describes this creative process, and now the first of an eventual four albums that will ultimately contain much of the entire song cycle, has been announced.
Arriving on July 29th, the eleven-track Death of The Cool contains another nine of Harrison’s pure pop meditations on Chinese philosophy, along with the two currently available tracks that initially announced the project – “The Book of Too Late Changes” (based on I Ching hexagram #24: The Return) and “Child Bride” (based on #4: Youthful Folly.)
15 songs deep into revealing such an ambitious undertaking to the public, Harrison reflects, “These are my reactions in song to illuminations from the I Ching about life unfolding. Some of the songs directly reference the text and others use the readings as a starting point. Until I started this project, it had never before occurred to me to seek counsel with respect to songwriting, but after I turned to the I Ching for artistic guidance on several occasions with nice results, I thought ‘Why not go for the whole cycle?’”
Harrison’s commentaries about each of the songs can be found at the website for the project, ichingsongs.com.
“Each song’s commentary at ichingsongs.com reflects how a translator traditionally shares thoughts on the reading,” Harrison says. “However, I will limit my commentary to the readings themselves, and let the songs enjoy a free-range lifestyle.”
For anyone thinking that 64 songs written around a single theme can’t possibly maintain a standard of quality, then welcome to the unlikely world of Cotton Mather. Founded by Robert Harrison in Austin in the early 1990’s, the band initially had an experimental sound, but soon evolved into a guitar-driven pop group defined by accessible melodies, strong vocal harmonies and lyrical wit. Cotton Mather released its debut album Cotton Is King in 1994, but it was the follow-up album Kontiki, famously recorded on four-track cassette, that drew praise from critics and rock-stars alike.
Uncut Magazine gave Kontiki five stars calling the record “music to smile yourself to death to.” Mojo said the songs were “brought to life with daring vitality,” and in its own five-star review, The Guardian called Kontiki “a bewildering, dizzy thrill.” On our shores, the bounce back of influence from across the pond was finally felt with Britt Daniel of Spoon being just one artist to say “Kontiki gave me something to shoot for.”
Death of The Cool, the first of four anticipated albums comprising Robert Harrison and Cotton Mather’s endeavor to write and record 64 songs for each of the I Ching’s 64 hexagrams is set for release on July 29th, 2016 via The Star Apple Kingdom. Four additional non-album tracks can be heard now via ichingsongs.com with additional non-album tracks forthcoming.
Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
Death of The Cool
(The Star Apple Kingdom)
July 29th, 2016
02. Close To The Sun
03. The Middle of Nowhere
04. Candy Lilac
05. Life of The Liar
06. The Land of Flowers
07. Never Be It
08. Queen of Swords
09. Waters Raging
11. The End of DeWitt Finley
Cotton Mather Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion