Monday, July 18, 2016

Austin based pop powerhouse, Cotton Mather to release first all-new album in 15 years as part of massive 64-track I Ching inspired project.

“If that isn’t the best record I’ve heard in ten years, then I don’t know what is.” – Noel Gallagher of Oasis in 1997 on Cotton Mather’s “Kontiki”

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Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather as photographed by Valerie Fremin.

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 Hear “Life of The Liar” from Death of The Cool by Cotton Mather at The Big Takeover or via the links below!



Austin!  See Cotton Mather live at Waterloo Records on Sept. 8th, 2016

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Stream three songs from Cotton Mather’s Death of The Cool, and a total of 13 songs from the I Ching project now!

Hear “Life of The Liar” via The Big Takeover, “Child Bride” via NPR-affiliate, KUTX, and “The Book of Too Late Changes” via Texas Monthly. Listen and learn more by visiting ichingsongs.com to hear TEN additional tracks not found on Death of The Cool, and to read commentaries on each track by Robert Harrison.

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 “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.

Thirteen 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 several albums that will ultimately contain much of the entire song cycle, has been announced. 

Arriving on July 29th (with a limited white vinyl edition scheduled for Sept. 9th), the eleven-track Death of The Cool contains another nine of Harrison’s pure pop meditations on Chinese philosophy.

Along with the album’s three currently available tracks – “The Book of Too Late Changes” (based on I Ching hexagram #24: The Return), “Child Bride” (based on #4: Youthful Folly), and “Life of The Liar” (based on #6: Contention), Death of The Cool brings the total number of I Ching songs available to 21, representing approximately one third of what will eventually be released.

21 songs deep into revealing such an ambitious undertaking, 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.”

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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 several 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 (limited edition white vinyl on Sept. 9th) via The Star Apple Kingdom.  Ten 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.

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Cotton Mather
Death of The Cool
(The Star Apple Kingdom)
July 29th, 2016
  

Track Listing:

01. The Book of Too Late Changes (STREAM | MP3)
02. Close To The Sun
03. The Middle of Nowhere
04. Candy Lilac
05. Life of The Liar (STREAM | MP3)
06. The Land of Flowers
07. Never Be It
08. Queen of Swords
09. Waters Raging
10. Child Bride (STREAM | MP3)
11. The End of DeWitt Finley

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Cotton Mather Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Steel Cranes uses Tinder to cast co-star of new “Pretty” music video; Announces six-week tour launching August 4th.

Hear latest single “Today Is The Day” from Oakland-based band’s second album now. “Tango” arrives August 5th.

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Steel Cranes (L-R): Amanda Schukle, Tracy Shapiro. Photo credit: Russ Wright.

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Hear “Pretty” from Tango by Steel Cranes via SF Weekly. See the video at PureVolume or via the links below!


[STREAM]: https://soundcloud.com/fanaticpro/steel-cranes-pretty

[MP3]: http://www.fanaticpromotion.com/projects/steelcranes-tango/mp3/steelcranes-pretty.mp3

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[VIDEO]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdkL88CIes4

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“Rollicking drums and bass collide with salacious guitar licks.” – SF Weekly

“The video for ​​’Pretty’ was partially inspired and brought to life courtesy of Tinder,” says Tracy Shapiro (vocals, guitar), one half of the Oakland-based band, Steel Cranes, which also includes Amanda Schukle (drums, bass, guitar, keys.) “We created a profile saying I was in town shooting a music video,” Shapiro continues. “I put a few band photos on it, wrote that I was looking for someone to play my boyfriend in a video, and within a few hours, we found our future guest star. He came over to Amanda’s house the next day and shot every scene in one take.”


Described by MTV as possessing “the slo-mo heaviness of a 2,000-pound pendulum,” Oakland-based band, Steel Cranes is offering up an evolution of that sound on its upcoming new album Tango (August 5th, Mister White Tights Records.) Steel Cranes will launch a six-week tour in support of Tango in Tucson, AZ on August 4th. See below for a full itinerary with additional dates to be announced.

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 spent recording Ouroboros) meant more of everything that made the first Steel Cranes album special.

Tango by Steel Cranes arrives on August 5th, 2016. The latest single from Tango is “Today Is The Day,” recently premiered via Verbicide. Tracy Shapiro and Amanda Schukle are available for interviews.  Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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Steel Cranes – On Tour

08/04 Tucson, AZ @ Flycatcher
08/05 Phoenix, AZ @ Rips Bar
08/06 Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar & Grill
08/07 San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar
08/09 San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Donut Co.
08/10 Fresno, CA @ Dynamite Vinyl
08/12 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
08/13 Oakland, CA @ The Golden Bull
08/14 Pacifica, CA @ Winters Tavern
08/16 Ashland, OR @ Club 66
08/17 Eugene, OR @ The Boreal
08/18 Portland, OR @ World Famous Kenton Club
08/19 Seattle, WA @ Blue Moon Tavern
08/20 Olympia, WA @ McCoy’s Tavern
08/21 Tacoma, WA @ Real Art Tacoma
08/22 Boise, ID @ High Note Cafe
08/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
08/26 Denver, CO @ Lion’s Lair
08/27 Omaha, NE @ Barley Street Tavern
08/28 Lincoln, NE @ Vega
08/30 Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
08/31 Minneapolis, MN @ Amsterdam Bar
09/02 La Crosse, WI @ Root Note
09/03 Madison, WI @ BOS Meadery
09/06 Milwaukee, WI @ Linneman’s
09/07 Chicago, IL @ Township
09/08 Bloomington, IN @ The Back Door
09/09 Evansville, IN @ PG
09/10 St. Louis, MO @ Schlafly’s Tap Room
09/11 Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin
09/12 Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Saloon
09/14 Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s Beer Store
09/15 Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar
09/16 Albuquerque, NM @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge
09/17 Santa Fe, NM @ Boxcar

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Steel Cranes
Tango
(Mister White Tights Records)
August 5th, 2016
  

Track Listing:

1. Ebb
2. Pretty (STREAM | MP3 | VIDEO)
3. Today Is The Day (STREAM | MP3)
4. Her
5. Sandglass
6. Happy
7. Take Me Down
8. What Am I Doing Here
9. The Poet

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Steel Cranes Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion


Monday, July 11, 2016

Straight outta Rahway: J Hacha De Zola enlists Tom Waits collaborators Ralph Carney, David Coulter for inspired new album, arriving Aug. 12th

For his second full-length of 2016, artist travels with “Fat Kat” band to boiler room in Portland, OR to create Beefheart, Barrett, Zappa-inspired freak-out.

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J Hacha De Zola as photographed by Miguel Peralta

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Hear “Bubble Gum” from the upcoming new album (the second of 2016!) by J Hacha De Zola, out Aug. 12th




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“The kind of alluring character found in old children’s books.” – UTNE


J Hacha De Zola has managed to actually “escape from Fat Kat City,” (the title of his early 2016 debut album), leaving Rahway, New Jersey and the shadow of the maximum security prison that literally loomed over him while recording that record, and venturing across the country to a tiny studio built in an old boiler room in Portland, Oregon.

It’s here that he was joined by the rest of the “Fat Kat” band, as well as some legendary players in the form of Ralph Carney and David Coulter, to record Hacha De Zola’s second full-length album of 2016, Picaro Obscuro, arriving on August 12th. The single “Bubble Gum” can be heard now via Northern Transmissions here.

Influences on the sound of Picaro Obscuro according to Hacha De Zola include: Perez Prado, Captain Beefheart, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Danil Kharms, Arthur Rimbaud, Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Syd Barrett.

“He’s like a codeine cough syrup dream on the train to Zurich,” is how legendary sax man Carney describes Hacha De Zola. Carney, who made his bones with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The B-52s, They Might Be Giants, and Frank Black (and who is also the uncle of The Black Keys co-founder, Patrick Carney), makes his tenor and baritone horns an omnipresent force on Picaro Obscuro.

Multi-instrumentalist Coulter is everywhere, as well.  Coulter, who has recorded, performed and toured with artists as diverse as Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet, Yoko Ono, and Beck among many other notables, shares a common compatriot with Carney in Waits.

Carney performed on the Waits album The Black Rider, a collection of the songs from the theater piece of the same name for which Coulter served as Associate Musical Director.

T​he first single from Picaro Obscuro is “Bubble Gum,” which Hacha De Zola describes as “a song about distractions, escapism, confusion, and detaching from reality in pursuit of confections. The world might be burning while we’re caught up in our trivialities. Ultimately, it’s not a criticism; it’s just an observation, as I’m right in it, too.”

Picaro Obscuro, the second album (and second of 2016) by J Hacha De Zola arrives on August 12th, 2016. Hacha De Zola is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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J Hacha De Zola
Picaro Obscuro
Aug. 12th, 2016


Track Listing:

01. A Curious Thing
02. Bad Fiction
03. Bubble Gum (STREAM | MP3)
04. In Curtains
05. Falling Out of Chairs
06. Picaro Obscuro
07. Black Water
08. Taking Names
09. On Your Own
10. Dead End Street
11. Tears of Summer

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J Hacha De Zola Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion