Monday, February 27, 2017

Start The Presses: Legendary Final Vinyl machines that pressed iconic records by Bob Marley, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Toots and The Maytals, come back to life at Miami’s SunPress Vinyl.

Record distributor, MonoStereo Distribution, forms strategic partnership with SunPress, Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer, Vlado Meller, Truphonic Recording Studios, and music marketing agency, Fanatic Promotion, to offer robust line of artist and label services.

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Billboard has announced the formation of Miami-based record pressing facility, SunPress Vinyl, housed in the former Final Vinyl factory, founded in the 1970s by reggae pioneer Joe Gibbs, and later home to his world-renowned reggae label, Studio One. The Final Vinyl plant issued classic works by Bob Marley, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Toots and The Maytals, and Miami’s notorious 2 Live Crew.

Principals at SunPress Vinyl, include  Dan Yashiv, a recording engineer who has worked acts from Pet Shop Boys to Britney Spears, and film producer Stephen Hays, along with Dan Pelson, former Executive Vice President of Sony Music.

Benji Rogers of direct-to-fan music platform PledgeMusic is also on board as an advisor, and long-time vinyl pressing veteran, Chris Moss, will oversee the demanding quality control standards of these legacy machines. To that end, Headley Haslam, the man who pressed every record during the Gibbs and Studio One years on this equipment, is now back at his post.

SunPress is also proud to announce, in an added nod to its historic roots, that it has entered into a partnership with Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong International, which will press its own catalog and third party releases at SunPress.

And before the gears even begin to turn on new product at SunPress, legendary Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer, Vlado Meller will have done his part to bring superior vinyl masters through the door.

Long Island, NY and Charleston, SC-based record distributor MonoStereo Distribution, via its relationship with Meller’s Vlado Meller Mastering, which operates out of Charleston’s world-class Truphonic Recording studio, will offer Meller’s services as the go-to vinyl mastering option for all SunPress Vinyl clients.

Meller’s career has spanned 40-plus years, and includes work with diverse A-list artists such as Prince, Johnny Cash, Celine Dion, Harry Connick Jr., Andrea Bocelli, Metallica, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and many more.

Monostereo, an independent one-stop and distributor co-owned and managed by New York-native, and current Charleston resident, Mike Gomez, specializes in the wholesale distribution of vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray, Turntables, and music accessories. Family-owned and operated since 1974, MonoStereo began as a small chain of record stores on Long Island, New York, and as an additional part of Monostereo’s 2017 plans, Gomez, along with his brother in-law and business partner, Jeffrey Berg, will renovate and re-open the flagship store, Record Stop in 2017.

Gomez comments, “By partnering with Vlado Meller, we’re working with someone who truly understands how to prepare albums for vinyl, a nearly lost art. He is an undisputed ‘master of mastering’ and we’re thrilled to have him as an extended member of our team.”

In addition to SunPress Vinyl and Vlado Meller Mastering’s services, MonoStereo will provide Label Services options for its group of distributed artists and labels via strategic partnerships with independent marketing agencies. The first of these relationships is with New York-based, Fanatic Promotion.

Fanatic was established by Josh Bloom in 1997 to build fan-to-fan connections between artists and the media. For over 20 years, Fanatic has continued to help launch careers through the strategic advocacy of creative talent. Artists represented during Fanatic’s history include The Avett Brothers, The Decemberists, Steve Earle, My Morning Jacket, and Sufjan Stevens.

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Participating Company Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion

Friday, February 24, 2017

San Francisco-based 20 Minute Loop celebrates 20 years of music-making with “Songs Praising The Mutant Race,” its first album in eight years, out today.

Two voices “born to sing together” spotlight vocals on stripped-down catalog faves. SEE “Mercury Vapor” via BLURT, HEAR new song “Giftgas” via Atwood.

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20 Minute Loop (L-R): Kelly Atkins, Greg Giles. Photo credit: Teresa Miller.

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20 Minute Loop – In The Press

“Beautifully morose pop with catchy melodies and tight harmonies.” — NPR / All Songs Considered

“Pop songsmiths of the highest caliber, adept at crafting idea-packed tracks that are clever, catchy and wholly engaging.” — The Bay Bridged

“One of the more refreshing musical experiences I’ve had in months and months.” — Pitchfork

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Hear the brand-new 20 Minute Loop song “Giftgas” via Atwood Magazine or the links below!



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See the “delightfully twisted” video for “Mercury Vapor” via BLURT or the link below!



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20 Minute Loop album + poster art by Sara Lautman (The New Yorker, The Believer, The Pitchfork Review)

Twenty years of 20 Minute Loop is celebrated today with the release of Songs Praising The Mutant Race, the San Francisco-based band’s first album in over eight years, an achievement marked not only by gray hair, ringing ears and creaky knees, but a shit-ton of songs, stories and shows.

The album features stripped-down re-workings of favorites from the band’s catalog – check out the video for longtime favorite “Mercury Vapor” via BLURT, as well as one brand-new song “Giftgas,” which addresses the Holocaust in the context of a pop song with masterful creativity, sensitivity, and reverence. Atwood Magazine has premiered the track along with an extensive editorial discussing its meaning.

Formed by Greg Giles (vocals, guitar) in 1997, and joined by Kelly Atkins (vocals, keyboards, flute) shortly thereafter, the core duo of 20 Minute Loop follows-up the release of five albums, with this, their sixth, and arguably most passionate, recording yet.  The seemingly permanent shelving of 20 Minute Loop due to impossible scheduling, newborn children, and brain-rotting graduate studies, has now given way to Songs Praising The Mutant Race, which offers up stripped down and reinvented versions of ten favorites from the 20 Minute Loop catalog, one cover song, and one never-before-released tune. The record proves that bands may die, but songs don’t. The collection breathes with both the wisdom of age, and renewal.

Inspired by the reactions of longtime fans at a series of intimate house concerts that 20 Minute Loop performed upon initially reforming in 2014, Songs Praising The Mutant Race finds the group recording as a trio in very similar circumstances: live in the room at Ninth Street Opus studios in Berkeley.

In re-imagining, re-arranging, ironing out, and stitching this material back together, the band wanted the songs to shine without being burdened by too much production. Here we have the songs and singers laid bare, accompanied by overdubs from mostly acoustic instruments, including viola, trumpet, flute, accordion, wineglass organ, and more.  The result is a perfect depiction of the vibe from one of the living room concerts that inspired the record, with the band’s visceral lyrics and accompanying tempos taking on a woozy, syrupy overtone that makes these songs feel fresh. Sonically, these new versions focus on the vocal interplay between Giles and Atkins, who sound more like they were born to sing together than ever before.

“Singing with Greg has been the single most important musical relationship of my life,” Atkins explains. “It truly feels like ‘coming home’ for me. The nimble instinct that you have after singing with someone for 20 years is a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.”

That special vocal combination is especially affecting on the album’s opening number and first single “Mercury Vapor,” about which Atkins explains, “The re-do of this song includes Caitlin Tabancay Austin adding a third harmony, which absolutely brings the song to life. It’s frenetic, neurotic and makes me feel like I have a nervous tic every time I sing it – but in a good way.”

As a band that came about and went away in the age of the Compact Disc, 20 Minute Loop is very excited for Songs Praising The Mutant Race to be its first album issued on vinyl, and they are doing it with style. In addition to the usual formats, fans can purchase a beautiful vinyl edition of the album with a jacket illustrated by Sara Lautman, whose work has previously appeared in The New Yorker, The Believer, The Pitchfork Review, The Awl, and other publications.

Songs Praising The Mutant Race by 20 Minute Loop is out now. Members of 20 Minute Loop are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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20 Minute Loop
Songs Praising The Human Race
(S/R) – Out Now
  

Track Listing:

01. Mercury Vapor (STREAM | MP3 | VIDEO)
02. English As A Second Language
03. Empire
04. Giftgas (STREAM | MP3)
05. Elephant
06. Hell In A Handbasket
07. Parking Lot
08. Drowning
09. Aquarium
10. Carlos The Jackal
11. Windsor McKay
12. Never My Love

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20 Minute Loop Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion


Monday, February 20, 2017

Tabah begins ascending beyond Minneapolis-based buzz with upcoming release of debut album “Symmetry Somewhere,” out March 17th.

Band to launch support tour at Daytrotter Downs festival on March 3rd. New “transportive” single “Curtain Call” streaming now via Impose.

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Tabah (L-R): Andrew Seitz, Murphy Janssen, Cecelia Erholtz, Charlie Bruber, Jeff Ley. Photo credit: Peter Jamus.

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Hear “Curtain Call” by Tabah from Symmetry Somewhere now via Impose or 89.3 The Current!




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“A mystically groovy sound. A tribal sense of belonging.” — Minneapolis City Pages

The five-piece Minneapolis-based band Tabah is often called out in the local press about its vocalist, Cecelia Erholtz. The word “Earthy” gets used a lot, and while not inaccurate, it leans into a place that is smaller than what is actually required to describe her. As a matter of fact, Erholtz’s “Earthy” vocals communicate something more universal than what could be attributed to any one planet. They could be “Jupitery,” or “Saturny,” and even Heavenly on Tabah’s debut album Symmetry Somewhere, scheduled for release on March 17th, 2017.

Erholtz’s powerful voice – she also contributes on guitar – needs a powerful band to support it. Grounded, if you will. Earthy? Tribal. It comes in the form of the adept playing of her classically-trained bandmates, Jeff Ley (guitar/vocals), Charlie Bruber (bass/vocals), Andrew Seitz (keyboards, vocals), and Murphy Janssen (drums/percussion.)
Together – and Tabah’s musicians really do sound like they are playing together – the band takes this music to a unique place where psych-heaviness and ethereal-wisp combine in a way that hasn’t necessarily been heard like this before. Consider this: Symmetry Somewhere is a head-bobbing, mind-bender of an album that was recorded in Nashville, and could pass for folk in its quieter moments, but is still loud enough to piss off neighbors by blowing off their doors.

Recorded live to tape, with minimal overdubs, the band worked tirelessly during the day at Welcome To 1979 Studios, and then retired to a cattle ranch just outside of Nashville where they would meet at a gazebo near a frog pond. That place soon became a temple where the five would find themselves reflecting, releasing, and crafting closely amongst relaxed moonlight, soft mornings and Southern thunderstorms.

“We became so close on that trip that it sometimes feels like we’re still there,” Bruber recalls. Perhaps Symmetry Somewhere is the sound of trust and distrust combined then, a document of the band’s evolution from five into one. “A balancing act of destruction and perseverance,” as Bruber terms it.

At the end of the day, however, Tabah is pragmatic when it comes to this, encouraging listener interpretations rather than trying to define them. Describing Tabah as a “blank and meaningless canvas,” Bruber continues, saying, “We are eternally grateful for the ways people have perceived us so far, and we believe that this album will finally allow listeners to get a sense of what we are really going for in our music.”

So far, it’s made a lot of sense for the Minneapolis NPR-affiliate, 89.3 The Current, which has consistently supported Tabah since the band’s first EP release in 2015, giving the single heavy rotation and naming it one of the best local tracks of the year. The resultant sell-out crowds at Tabah’s hometown venue, the famed 7th Street Entry, have only further cemented the group as a must-see live act in the city; a mystifying, haunting, soulful experience that will now go national with the release of the new album, and tour to follow.

The first single from Symmetry Somewhere is “Curtain Call,” an ironic choice for a beginning, but one that has actually been a part of the band’s set since the start. An earlier version of the song appeared on Tabah’s debut EP, but owing to the five-headed monster (or many-armed Buddha?) that is Tabah, the song has become something else over time.
Indeed, Janssen explains that “‘Curtain Call’ grew along with us.  Shorter, meatier, yet still lush, it now evokes a beginning that can only come from something else’s end.”
Bruber concurs, giving the song the credit for helping the band become what it is today.

“The reaction we received for that song in our early days of playing Minneapolis gave us the confidence to grow,” he says. “In some ways, ‘Curtain Call’ was the boost we needed for us to feel like we were doing something special.”

Now that Symmetry Somewhere is completed, the members of Tabah continue to seek – personally and also professionally – through their visceral ability to connect in meaningful ways with their rapidly expanding audience. Now they have the tangible result of this pursuit. The new album is already in their hands and ears, and soon, in yours. As for what can’t yet be physically grasped, it’s still waiting for us to discover. It might be Earthy. It’s definitely out there.

The debut album Symmetry Somewhere by Tabah is scheduled for release on March 17th, 2017, preceded by the single “Curtain Call,” streaming now. See Tabah on tour this spring. Members of Tabah are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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Tabah – On Tour

3/03/2017: Davenport, IA @ Daytrotter Downs Festival | Tickets
3/04/2017: Saint Paul, MN @ The Turf Club (Album Release Show)
3/05/2017: Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
3/06/2017: Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
3/07/2017: Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
3/08/2017: Wichita, KS @ Barleycorn’s
3/09/2017: Norman, OK @ The Red Brick Bar
3/13/2017: Austin, TX @ Cheers Shot Bar Rooftop (SXSW)
3/13/2017: Austin, TX @ The Thirsty Nickel
3/15/2017: Austin, TX @ Handlebar
3/16/2017: Austin, TX @ Cherrywood Coffehouse (SXSW)
3/18/2017: New Orleans, LA @ DMac's
3/19/2017: Jackson, MS @ Soul Wired Cafe
3/21/2017: Jackson, MS @ Offbeat
3/24/2017: Nashville, TN @ The 5 Spot (Album Release Show)

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Tabah
Symmetry Somewhere
(S/R)
March 17th, 2017
  

Track Listing:

01. Lucid State
02. Curtain Call (STREAM | MP3)
03. Closer To Colder
04. Bloom
05. Noble
06. The Hive
07. Spine
08. Kuker
09. False Balance
10. TWC
11. Celebrate
12. Villain
13. Central Why?
14. Myth

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Tabah Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion


Thursday, February 9, 2017

The March Divide announces series of 80’s covers, with art featuring Jared Putnam “wearing” each covered artist’s iconic, era-compliant hairstyle.

Prolific San Antonio-based songwriter currently working on follow-up to “Bribing Jace,” his fourth EP, in addition to three LPs, in three years.

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 Jared Putnam of The March Divide channels Robert Smith of The Cure.  Photo: John Glover. Art: Krist Krueger.

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The March Divide launches a series of 80’s cover songs with “Closedown” by The Cure. Hear it via Verbicide or the links below!




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The March Divide – In The Press

“Impressively hooky.” — American Songwriter

“Catchy hooks and memorable lines.” — Innocent Words

“A lovely surprise.” — Independent Clauses

“His work is uniformly intimate and thoroughly emotional.” — Nooga

Big Star-informed, strummy acoustic reverie.” — BLURT

“Completely clever.” — Performer

“Gifted with a serious set of pipes.” — The Aquarian

“Quality pop at its best.” — Popdose

“All about lyrics and melodies.” — Babysue

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“I have an ongoing project, to record every song off of Disintegration.” – Jared Putnam, The March Divide

San Antonio-based songwriter, Jared Putnam, leader of the sometimes more, but usually one-man pop-rock band, The March Divide, is a prolific songwriter (three albums and four EPs worth over the last few years), but he’s also a studio hound, in general, who loves to be there recording.

As Putnam preps songs for a new album, he has been having some fun recording cover versions of songs that have inspired him, some that are beloved hits, and some that are both. Most of all, they are songs he grew up with.

“I feel like these are the songs that introduced me to music, around the age that I started to care,” he says.

Working with engineer Mike Major (At The Drive-In, Coheed and Cambria), who also plays keys on the majority of the tracks and has been working with Putnam for years, was a comfortable environment in which to have a good time with these tunes.

Artists including The Cure, The Bangles, Willie Nelson, Culture Club, and ‘Til Tuesday get a treatment from Putnam that isn’t ironic, but truly interpretive in the best way, as he takes his style and applies it with the thoughtful touch that makes it clear why we love these songs, and why he does, too.

“People might write this off as a rehash, but that honestly didn’t even occur to me until I was finished recording. For me, these songs are endearing. I was a little kid and these songs were on MTV. Everyone loves something about these songs.”

Adding to the fun, graphic designer Krist Krueger has taken Putnam’s image and created “covers for the covers,” with each song accompanied by Warholian art depicting Putnam wearing the iconic hairstyle of the artist he’s paying tribute to.

The first track to be released is “Closedown” by The Cure, featuring Mr. Robert Smith’s legendary coif on the jacket.

“That album fits so well in the era it’s from. It defined it. The songs are timeless,” Putnam says.

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Hear “That Song I Wrote For You” via Atwood Magazine and see the video via Impose or at the links below!




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“Bittersweet beauty.” — Impose

Putnam’s lyrics are immediately relatable.” — Atwood Magazine

“There’s an untapped type of pop music that I’ve been on a quest to make,” ​​Putnam says, explaining the sound of ​​“Bribing Jace,” he latest EP of originals (following three albums, and another three EPs over the last three years.) “Not redefined, just redesigned,” ​​Putnam continues. “While I’ve never really been willing to sacrifice a song to an experiment, I went as close to all-in as I could this time. Chasing this white whale was a lot of fun!”

“Bribing Jace” contains three songs recorded during the sessions for Saturdays, the current full-length by The March Divide, which Putnam loved, but felt didn’t quite fit the feel of the album. The EP is rounded out by two brand-new tracks, including the single, “That Song I Wrote For You.”

“I don’t typically write my songs in one sitting, but I love it when I do,” Putnam says of the tune. “I wrote it all at once, in a Harlingen, TX hotel room. Lyrically, it’s just about moving on.”

While the core of “That Song I Wrote For You” is folk-based, Putnam explains that he approached the production with pop in mind.

“When I demo my songs, I record all the percussion by slapping my merch tub with a sock on my hand,” he says, giving us a peek behind the curtain. After hearing the demo, Putnam’s producer picked up on the pop cues immediately. “He told me, ‘I’ve got this Katy Perry kick drum sample that’ll really bring it home!’ I never thought I’d share anything with Katy Perry, but we’re both getting all we can out of that kick drum sound,” Putnam jokes.

Of the music video for the track, Putnam says, "What I like most about the video for it is that we were able to make it at all. Because of my tour schedule, I had given up on it, but we had a show cancel, and that gave us a day off in El Paso, where I’m originally from. While driving to Houston for our next show, we shot the video at Dave’s Pawn Shop, a famously eclectic and interesting place in downtown El Paso."

Jared Putnam is available for interviews.  Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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The March Divide – “Bribing Jace” EP
(S/R – Out Now)
  

 Track Listing:

01. That Song I Wrote For You (STREAM | MP3 | VIDEO)
02. It’s Easy
03. Here I Go Again
04. Push My Luck
05. I Might (STREAM | MP3)

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The March Divide Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion


Monday, February 6, 2017

Married duo Fawns of Love emerges from Bakersfield, California with Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins, Sparks-inspired debut album, out March 3rd.

“Silly Boy” single “captures turmoil through impenetrable sonic textures and emotionally thick lyrics.” Hear it now via Atwood Magazine.

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Fawns of Love (L-R): Jenny Andreotti. Joseph Andreotti. Photo credit: Joseph Andreotti.

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Los Angeles! See Fawns of Love live at the Echo Park Film Center on Sat., Feb. 11th! More info here.

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Hear “Silly Boy” by Fawns of Love from Who Cares About Tomorrow now via Atwood Magazine or the links below!




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“Captures turmoil through impenetrable sonic textures and emotionally thick lyrics.” — Atwood Magazine

“One of our favorite records is Hounds of Love by Kate Bush,” explains Joseph Andreotti, who along with his wife Jenny, comprises the Bakersfield, California-based duo, Fawns of Love. “We wanted a name that would pay homage to that record.” Fawns of Love will release its debut album Who Cares About Tomorrow on March 3rd, 2017.

It’s not the first time the Andreottis have chosen a band name. Married for 13 years, and performing together for 16, the duo has variously recorded and toured throughout that time under the names Funeral Club and Peppermint Kisses, releasing records with RCRD LBL, Plastiq Musiq, and several others along the way. Then, in early 2013, Jenny enrolled in a history graduate program.

“It was the first time since knowing each other that we didn’t make music together,” Joseph says. “But when she graduated last spring, we became anxious to start making music again.”

This time, the Andreottis were inspired to do something new with their latest musical inspiration, bringing their love of not only Ms. Bush, but also Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Blur, Pulp, Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Chills to the new project.

And Sparks. In Jenny’s case, lots of Sparks.

“To prepare for this album, I listened to every era of Sparks every chance I got,” she says. “What did I learn? That there is only one Sparks, so I better find a voice that works for me. I must say I am pleased with the results.”

Indeed, Fawns of Love takes all of these legendary sounds, which some immediately think of as cold or aloof, and makes them pop with overtones of The Smiths, New Order, and the undeniable warmth that comes from the Andreotti’s many years of making music together.

Did we mention Sparks?

“Two of the eight songs are homages to Russell Mael of Sparks,” Joseph confesses.

Obviously, there is obsessive joy in the ​​​​Fawns of Love take on shoegaze. That said, there is also self-reflection that contributes to taking these songs to the next level, including the song ​​​​“Silly Boy,​​ about which ​​Jenny jokes, “‘Silly Boy’ is in response to the typical rock songs I grew up with that were basically like ‘Hey, baby you know you want this,' with a hair metal guy gesturing towards his crotch.”

With this tune, ​​Jenny succeeds at writing the type of love song she thinks a woman would want written about her, “Still sexual, but less obvious, and not demeaning,” she say, going on to explain that the song “is also a reflection on a continual conversation my husband and I are always having. I am a naturally depressed person and he is not, so it is always a source of contention. I wrote ‘Silly Boy’ from his perspective of me, a rather melancholy girl.”

For his part, Joseph says that “Most of the songs on the record became homages to the various bands that have influenced us. The intro drum beat is a homage to ‘Just Like Honey’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain, while the ‘glide guitar’ strumming is a homage to My Bloody Valentine.”

Pondering love, and love lost in the many forms it takes, ​​​​Who Cares About Tomorrow, the debut album from ​​​​Fawns of Love (​​​​March 3rd, 2017), does the diva that inspired the band’s name, and all of the notable influences heard throughout, quite proud. Jenny and Joseph Andreotti are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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Fawns of Love
Who Cares About Tomorrow
(S/R)
March 3rd, 2017


Track Listing:

01. Silly Boy (STREAM | MP3)
02. That’s What We Do
03. His Face
04. How We Live Now
05. Names, Names, Names
06. Miranda
07. Girls
08. Scattered Pieces

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Fawns of Love Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion


Friday, February 3, 2017

San Francisco-based duo 20 Minute Loop celebrates 20 years of making music with “Songs Praising The Mutant Race” on 2/24, its first album in eight years.

Two voices “born to sing together” play Noise Pop on 2/21. Hear “Mercury Vapor” from new album, which showcases stripped down favorites from band’s catalog.

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20 Minute Loop (L-R): Kelly Atkins, Greg Giles. Photo credit: Teresa Miller.

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20 Minute Loop – In The Press

“Beautifully morose pop with catchy melodies and tight harmonies.” — NPR / All Songs Considered

“Pop songsmiths of the highest caliber, adept at crafting idea-packed tracks that are clever, catchy and wholly engaging.” — The Bay Bridged

“One of the more refreshing musical experiences I’ve had in months and months.” — Pitchfork

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PLAY, POST & SHARE



Hear “Mercury Vapor” by 20 Minute Loop from Songs Praising The Human Race now via the links below! Artwork by Sara Lautman (The New Yorker, The Believer, The Pitchfork Review).





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See 20 Minute Loop live at this year’s Noise Pop 25 festival in San Francisco on 2/21 at the Swedish American Hall! More info here.

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Twenty years of 20 Minute Loop will be celebrated on February 24th, 2017 with the release of Songs Praising The Mutant Race, the San Francisco-based band’s first album in over eight years, an achievement marked not only by gray hair, ringing ears and creaky knees, but a shit-ton of songs, stories and shows.

Formed by Greg Giles (vocals, guitar) in 1997, and joined by Kelly Atkins (vocals, keyboards, flute) shortly thereafter, this core duo follows-up the release of five albums, with their sixth, and arguably most passionate, recording yet.  The seemingly permanent shelving of 20 Minute Loop due to impossible scheduling, newborn children, and brain-rotting graduate studies, has now given way to Songs Praising The Mutant Race, which offers up stripped down and reinvented versions of ten favorites from the 20 Minute Loop catalog, one cover song, and one never-before-released tune. The record proves that bands may die, but songs don’t. The collection breathes with both the wisdom of age, and renewal.

Inspired by the reactions of longtime fans at a series of intimate house concerts that 20 Minute Loop performed upon initially reforming in 2014, Songs Praising The Mutant Race finds the group recording as a trio in very similar circumstances: live in the room at Ninth Street Opus studios in Berkeley. It’s one of those longtime fans who has become a co-conspirator. Avowed 20 Minute Loop loyalist, Kevin Seal – “I like Radiohead more than 20 Minute Loop, and that’s basically it,” he jokes – sat in on piano and vocals for the living room shows, and has now joined in on the reinvention of these tunes in the studio.

“This is a band with a devoted following, and their fans wouldn’t let them go away,” Seal says. “‘Back by popular demand’ is usually nothing more than a threadbare cliché, but this band’s return really feels like a persistent request from their listeners. I’m still pinching myself that they invited me along.”

In re-imagining, re-arranging, ironing out, and stitching this material back together, the band wanted the songs to shine without being burdened by too much production. Here we have the songs and singers laid bare, accompanied by overdubs from mostly acoustic instruments, including viola, trumpet, flute, accordion, wineglass organ, and more.  The result is a perfect depiction of the vibe from one of the living room concerts that inspired the record, with the band’s visceral lyrics and accompanying tempos taking on a woozy, syrupy overtone that makes these songs feel fresh. Sonically, these new versions focus on the vocal interplay between Giles and Atkins, who sound more like they were born to sing together than ever before.

“Singing with Greg has been the single most important musical relationship of my life,” Atkins explains. “It truly feels like ‘coming home’ for me. The nimble instinct that you have after singing with someone for 20 years is a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.”

That special vocal combination is especially affecting on the album’s opening number and first single “Mercury Vapor,” about which Atkins explains, “The re-do of this song includes Caitlin Tabancay Austin adding a third harmony, which absolutely brings the song to life. It’s frenetic, neurotic and makes me feel like I have a nervous tic every time I sing it – but in a good way.”

The song’s dark lyrics written by Giles (“I don’t care if I die, if I wind up dead”) belie the catchy, country hop of the tune.

“I don’t know why this song has a country hop to it,” Giles says, “but let’s just say 20 Minute Loop has always enjoyed mixing jubilant music with lyrical fatalism. I guess we're syncopating tones, sweet and sour, joy and loneliness, truck axles and eiderdown.”

As a band that came about and went away in the age of the Compact Disc, 20 Minute Loop is very excited for Songs Praising The Mutant Race to be its first album issued on vinyl, and they are doing it with style. In addition to the usual formats, fans can purchase a beautiful vinyl edition of the album with a jacket illustrated by Sara Lautman, whose work has previously appeared in The New Yorker, The Believer, The Pitchfork Review, The Awl, and other publications.

A hometown sneak peek of the record is also on tap, as 20 Minute Loop is scheduled to play tunes from Songs Praising The Mutant Race as part of Noise Pop 25 at San Francisco’s Swedish American Hall on February 21st.

Songs Praising The Mutant Race by 20 Minute Loop is scheduled for release on February 24th, 2017. The album’s lead single “Mercury Vapor” is streaming now. Members of 20 Minute Loop are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.

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20 Minute Loop
Songs Praising The Human Race
(S/R)
Feb. 24th, 2017
  

Track Listing:

01. Mercury Vapor (STREAM | MP3)
02. English As A Second Language
03. Empire
04. Giftgas
05. Elephant
06. Hell In A Handbasket
07. Parking Lot
08. Drowning
09. Aquarium
10. Carlos The Jackal
11. Windsor McKay
12. Never My Love

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20 Minute Loop Links


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Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion