Wednesday, May 31, 2023

“This isn’t the glamorized, even romanticized version of the Garden State.” See J Hacha De Zola’s vision of paranoia, “A Day In Secaucus, New Jersey.”

“Do You?” single is an “anti-love song” “...showcasing his completely original approach to crafting American music,” says Glide; New album out June 9.

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J Hacha De Zola as photographed by Adrian Buckmaster

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J Hacha De Zola | “A Day In Secaucus, New Jersey”

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

[STREAM]: https://fanatic.lnk.to/JHachaDeZola-ADayInSecaucusNewJersey

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“The spookiest make-out record of 2023 or any other other year.” - Jedd Beaudoin, Strange Currency (KMUW/NPR)

“This isn’t the glamorized, even romanticized version of the Garden State emphasized by artists such as Bruce Springsteen. No, Hacha De Zola views his hometown quite differently, with a more perhaps localized, almost realistic view of what’s happening on the streets and in the communities.”

See the video for “A Day In Secaucus, New Jersey” at V13 or via the links above.

“If anything is gonna blow this song up, it's gonna be Travis’s sweet dance moves,” says J Hacha De Zola of the video for his “A Day In Secaucus, New Jersey” single, taken from his forthcoming album Without A Tribe (June 9, Caballo Negro). “I asked Hector (Gallardo, the clip’s director) to capture that banality of everyday life as we see Travis go about his daily routine. But then there is a moment when Travis decides to take matters into his own hands and enjoy life a little.”

“I'm from New Jersey and no one likes Jersey, particularly Secaucus where I was born,” Hacha De Zola explains about the song. “It’s a place of subtle dread, kinda like some oddball Stephen King story. A very different Jersey than Springsteen’s Jersey.”

Gallardo comments, “Travis, our actor, is pretty darned good at relaying emotions with a few looks. He can pull off that tired, fed-up look easily. It's always a good time shooting with him. He's such an upbeat, happy guy. But as soon as that camera starts rolling, he turns into such a bummed, stressed out guy.”

J Hacha De Zola is available for interviews. Please contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more info.

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J Hacha De Zola | In The Press

“A wild man.” — Paste

“Alluring and unsettling.” — NJ.com

“As enticing as it is distant and strange.” — MAGNET

“Dangerously delightful.” — The Big Takeover

“Possessed and cacophonic.” — Atwood Magazine

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J Hacha De Zola | “Do You?”

[STREAM]: https://fanatic.lnk.to/JHachaDeZola-DoYou

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Glide Magazine says “Do You?” by J Hacha De Zola “finds its singer leaning into a brooding, Motown-influenced sound. We get a touch of soul music, a hint of lounge singer, a dash of groove-laden funk, and a full serving of J Hacha De Zola’s smooth crooning and playfully mysterious approach to a love song (or anti-love song?)

“One can imagine the singer playing this tune in front of a swinging nightclub backed by a large band of horn players and background singers, showcasing his completely original approach to crafting American music.”

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J Hacha De Zola
Without A Tribe
June 9, 2023
(Caballo Negro)
 

Track Listing:

01. A Day In Secaucus, New Jersey (VIDEOSTREAM)
02. Do You? (STREAM)
03. I’m High (STREAM)
04. Stay Away (STREAM)
05. Drunk Again
06. Without A Tribe
07. Running Out Of Time
08. Blood On Gold
09. Carry On
10. Drag Me Under

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J Hacha De Zola | “I’m High”


[STREAM]: https://Fanatic.lnk.to/JHachaDeZola-ImHigh

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J Hacha De Zola speaks about his single “I’m High,” saying, “Despite one thinking of ‘getting high’ as a euphoric experience, as any true addict will tell you, it soon stops being fun and becomes a sickening, nauseating need.”

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J Hacha De Zola | About


“Let’s just say I live in a very different Jersey than Springsteen’s Jersey.”

J Hacha De Zola speaks with authority about the reality that he knows better than anyone who may mythologize his home state through the songs of The Boss.

“With this album, I want to anchor myself as being from ‘Dirty Jerzee,’ he jokes. “It’s a badge of honor, really, because this place isn’t for the faint of heart.”

Hacha De Zola was born in Secaucus, the subject of “A Day in Secaucus, New Jersey,” the opening track of Without A Tribe, his sixth album, scheduled for release on June 9, 2023 via the artist’s own Caballo Negro label. Former New Jersey-ian John Agnello, known for his long career working with Dinosaur Jr., Son Volt, and more recently Waxahatchee and Horsegirl mixed Without A Tribe.

Hacha De Zola was described early on in his career as “a wild man” (Paste), “unsettling” (NJ.com), and “distant and strange” (MAGNET), with creative genre labels applied such as “Urban Junkyard,” “Baroque Pop,” “Avant-Indie,” “Downtown Goth,” and “Boozegaze.” Comparisons to singers and front men ranging from Jim Morrison to Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and Captain Beefheart followed.

On Without A Tribe, Hacha De Zola strips that hyperbole back a touch and expands on the vocal delivery that he made a centerpiece of East of Eden, his 2021 full-length.

“We’re doubling-down on what began with the last album by borrowing heavily from my love of R&B, Soul, and Doo-wop vocal harmonies and arrangements,” he explains.

To help accomplish this goal, Hacha De Zola reached out to Fernando Velez, an original member of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

Fernando’s deep knowledge of Soul music was the key in getting the sound we wanted on this record,” Hacha De Zola says. “We are very inspired by the New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey vocal group styles from the 60s and we hope that we have re-imagined these sounds in a way that feels fresh.”

With the sonic styling of the record more focused than ever, Hacha De Zola’s darkness becomes less “wild,” “unsettling,” or “strange.” Now it lurks, with a kind of menace and torment that emerges from his vulnerability and pain.

“It’s a place of subtle dread, kinda like some oddball Stephen King story,” Hacha De Zola says, returning to the album’s jump-off about his home, “A Day in Secaucus, New Jersey.”

As a PhD candidate who works in a lab by day, Hacha De Zola can’t help but apply science to this assessment.

“A cloud of hydrogen sulfide — very toxic — settles across Secaucus. The source is metabolic waste product from the bacteria put out by the slaughterhouses in the area. If your car breaks down on those roads, the gas can easily overcome you. That’s my Jersey.

“The song came to me very early on in my writing, but I was only able to make it work for this album. It’s a piece of ear candy. Raucous and noisy.”

Other singles expected from Without A Tribe include the intriguingly titled “I’m High” and “Do You?”

“Lyrically and thematically, I am revealing much more of myself than ever before by facing some of the ‘meat hook realities’ of life, such as becoming older, watching loved ones pass, and struggling with addiction and recovery,” Hacha De Zola says.

“Despite one thinking of ‘getting high’ as a euphoric experience, as any true addict will tell you, it soon stops being fun and becomes a sickening, nauseating need. ‘I’m High’ isn’t necessarily about intoxicating substances, but instead about experiences, people, places, or things that start out positive but unravel into something different altogether.”

Asked to describe “Do You?,” Hacha De Zola is blunt.

“If you’re looking for a heart-warming love song, then you’ve come to the wrong place. This one is a straightforward Motown-ish tune with all of the amorous feelings of wanting to be loved and desired, but also being thoroughly clueless and disconnected from the actual dance.”

The album’s closer “Drag Me Under” is something cinematic, with minimal lyrical content, but heavy on the production. Big horns, baritone saxes, trumpets, Balkan folk instruments, and banjos conspire to embrace a certain level of absurdity.

It leaves little doubt that Hacha De Zola’s New Jersey is indeed different from Springsteen’s, but is still something Bruce would love.

Without A Tribe, the sixth album by J Hacha De Zola, arrives on June 9, 2023 via Caballo Negro (distributed by Slow Start Records / Burnside / The Orchard) and preceded by the singles “A Day In Secaucus, New Jersey,” “I’m High,” and “Do You?”

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J Hacha De Zola | Links
 
ASSETS : WEBSITE : FACEBOOK : TWITTER : YOUTUBE : INSTAGRAM : BANDCAMP : SPOTIFY : APPLE
 
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Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact
 
WEBSITE : FACEBOOK : TWITTER : YOUTUBE : INSTAGRAM : SOUNDCLOUD : SPOTIFY : BLOG : E-MAIL

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

“One of our country’s finest songwriters,” says KEXP; Karl Blau discusses Opal Eskar, his new project bringing together members of Later Fortune, The War On Drugs.

Philly-based band’s current “Open Mind!” single rocks one of summer 2023’s grooviest bass lines. “It's like a ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ sound sandwich,” says Blau. Listen here now!

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Opal Eskar (L-R): Chet Delcampo, Karl Blau, Heyward Howkins. Photo credit: Mecky Elvita Madl.

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Opal Eskar  | In The Press


Karl Blau chats with KEXP about leaving the Pacific Northwest for Philadelphia and forming Opal Eskar. Listen here!

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“Gentle, melodic.” — KEXP

“Soulful psychedelic swell.” — Folk Radio UK

“Sonically cool.” — WXPN

“Widescreen Americana.” — For The Rabbits

“Ethereal...” — Glide

“Captured laconic reflection.” — Stereo Embers

“Hallucinatory.” — Treble

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Opal Eskar
Self-Titled EP
(Spiral Valley Records)
Out Now

Streaming Link:


Track Listing:

01. And Yet Love Rules (VIDEO | STREAM)
02. Open Mind! (VIDEOSTREAM)
03. The Woodsman (VIDEO | STREAM)
04. Soft Exchange
05. All I Wanna Do (originally by The Beach Boys) (STREAM)
06. Sunlight Is Breakin’ Out (STREAM)

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Opal Eskar | “Open Mind!”



[YOUTUBE] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50M1kpqwhj4

[STREAM] https://fanatic.lnk.to/OpalEskar-OpenMind

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“The song is a barrage of suggestions on how one could open one’s mind,” says Karl Blau. “It's like a ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ sound sandwich.” Opal Eskar’s Chet Delcampo adds, “The musical core of ‘Open Mind!’ was quickly grabbed out of the air on the first day of tracking with me, Heyward, Charlie, and Robbie playing in the room with the tape rolling. Karl’s vocals came later.”

Blau explains about the song’s video, “We were shooting for imagery to suggest possible approaches to keep an open mind and strive towards more non-judgmental views and understandings. Mixed in with the live rehearsal shots and our go-to late night hangin' amongst the bamboo.”

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After releasing their debut single “Sunlight Is Breakin’ Out” as a trio comprised of Karl Blau (vocals), Heyward Howkins (vocals, guitar), and Chet Delcampo (vocals, guitar, bass, keys) last summer, Opal Eskar is joined on their new recordings by two more members of the Philly fabric: Charlie Hall and Robbie Bennett of The War on Drugs.

Blau met Howkins and Delcampo after relocating to Philly following a highly prolific period in the Olympia, Washington area where he released dozens of records and helped nurture the scene that brought the K Records label and influential artists such as Laura Veirs, The Microphones, and Earth — many of which Blau recorded and performed with — to prominence.

The debut EP by Opal Eskar is out now. via Spiral Valley Records. Members of Opal Eskar are available for interview. Please contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more info.

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Opal Eskar | “The Woodsman”

[YOUTUBE] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsV_6k8STWI

[STREAM] https://fanatic.lnk.to/OpalEskar-TheWoodsman

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“As tough and debilitating as it may be at times, especially when there are hard things to share, ‘The Woodsman’ is about how having an honest relationship makes for a deeper relationship,” says Karl Blau of the latest single from his new collaborative project Opal Eskar.

“We made the video in my buddy’s backyard. We didn’t intend for the mask to become a major theme, but the piece spontaneously worked with that mask, and the trampoline footage highlights the northeast Philly vibe pretty hard.”

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Opal Eskar | “And Yet Love Rules”


[YOUTUBE] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quuald-w7Qw

[STREAM] https://fanatic.lnk.to/OpalEskar-AndYetLoveRules

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“When I first listened to ‘And Yet Love Rules,’ it sent me on a wave of nostalgia. Thus the video is a rumination on nostalgia or memory –  its imperfection, its fragments, and its shifting prominence in our lives.” Julie Casper Roth

‘And Yet Love Rules’ is about letting love be the governing force in exchanges with other humans.  We don’t know their story, we can only assume we would be in their shoes if we were in their shoes. Let the innocence of our inner child –the curiosity that permeates life –help lead our actions and interactions.” Karl Blau

‘And Yet Love Rules’ was musically conceived and captured to tape in the room with Charlie and Robbie (of The War On Drugs) at the time of our first-ever session. We grabbed the overall vibe fairly extemporaneously and quickly in the room that day. It was the musical jumping off point of our Opal Eskar journey.” Chet Delcampo

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Opal Eskar | About


Opal Eskar is the latest convergence of some of Philadelphia’s busiest indie musicians.

After releasing a one-off single “Sunlight Is Breakin’ Out” (“Dreamy,” said NPR-affiliate WXPN) as a trio comprised of Karl Blau (vocals), Heyward Howkins (vocals, guitar), and Chet Delcampo (vocals, guitar, bass, keys) last summer, Opal Eskar is now a five-piece featuring two more members of the Philly fabric: Charlie Hall and Robbie Bennett of The War on Drugs.

Opal Eskar will release its debut self-titled EP on May 19, 2023 via Spiral Valley Records.

To get an idea of the band’s sound beyond “dreamy” (which it is!), look no further than the comprehensive careers of the members of Opal Eskar and the company they keep.

Blau met Howkins and Delcampo after relocating to Philly following a highly prolific period in the Olympia, Washington area where he released dozens of records and helped nurture the scene that brought the K Records label and influential artists such as Laura Veirs, The Microphones, and Earth — many of which Blau recorded and performed with — to prominence.

More recently, Veirs, along with My Morning Jacket front man Jim James, appeared with Blau on a cover of Link Wray’s ten-minute epic “Fallin’ Rain,” a cut from Introducing Karl Blau, a covers collection of overlooked country songs by Blau, released by legendary UK record label Bella Union.

Delcampo has two earlier album releases to his name, as well as another pair as Hong Kong Stingray. His list of current and former collaborators is long, including Kid Congo Powers, Joel RL Phelps, and Dave Lovering of Pixies. Last year he released a single with Howkins as Later Fortune, called “lush, sophisticated art pop” by Brooklyn Vegan.

Howkins has released two full-length albums of his own, and is a founding member of the choral group The Silver Ages with members of Dr. Dog and The War on Drugs, the Grammy®-winning rock band that features Hall on drums and Bennett on keys, the same instruments they contribute to Opal Eskar.

Like Howkins and Delcampo’s Later Fortune project, which covered David Bowie’s soul-noir classic “Win” (from the Young Americans album, which was recorded in Philly), Opal Eskar cannot help but be influenced by the man.

Delcampo says, “A few years after Bowie’s death, I was reflecting upon his methodology of assembling an interesting cast of characters into the right room at the right time. Tony Visconti, Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, Mick Ronson, and many others.”

Inspired to assemble his own group of collaborators this way, Delcampo reached out to Blau (whose work he had long admired) and Howkins brought Hall and Bennett to the band.

Opal Eskar’s own song about modern love is the EP opener and first single, “And Yet Love Rules.” Blau says the song asks us to “let love be the governing force in exchanges with other humans. Let the innocence of our inner child — the curiosity that permeates life — help lead our actions and interactions.”

That sentiment permeates the entire EP — the blissful sound of a group of musicians with their own thing going on, but whose mutual respect for each other’s work inspires a creative curiosity that makes it to tape (yes, the EP is an analog recording!)

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Opal Eskar | Links


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Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact

Friday, May 26, 2023

Hilarie Sidney on drums again for latest single “Dream Some More” by The High Water Marks; All-new 17-track album “Your Next Wolf” arrives June 23.

“‘Dream Some More’ reminds me of a good old Apples tune,” Sidney says of pop band’s melancholy moment. “Shimmery, psychedelic, wistful…. I love it.”

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The High Water Marks (L-R): Per Ole Bratset, Hilarie Sidney, Øystein Megård, Logan Miller.

Photo credit: Photograph by Amanda Burford. Illustration by Per Ole Bratset.

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The High Water Marks | “Dream Some More”



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“Dream Some More” | About

Hilarie Sidney of The High Water Marks — known as a founding member of the Elephant 6 Recording Co and former drummer and one of its cornerstone bands The Apples In Stereo — gets behind the kit again, giving own drummer some, as Øystein Megård takes the writing and singing duties on “Dream Some More,” the latest single by The High Water Marks, out today.

The tune is a more melancholy moment for this power pop band.

‘Dream Some More’ reminds me of a good old Apples tune,” Sidney says. “Shimmery, psychedelic, wistful…. I love it.”

Megård says he feels like he was “channeling Elliott Smith in the chord progression. Things took a turn towards an Apples sound after Hilarie put down her signature drum sound.”

Members of The High Water Marks are available for interview. Please contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more info.

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The High Water Marks
Your Next Wolf
(Minty Fresh Records)
June 23, 2023


Track Listing:

01. Stork
02. American Candy (STREAM)
03. Trouble From The East (STREAM | VIDEO)
04. I Could Never be a Vigilante
05. Dream Some More (STREAM)
06. Terror and Erebus
07. Your Next Wolf
08. Boreal Forest
09. Forest Decomposing
10. An Imposed Exile (STREAM | VIDEO)
11. Let’s Hang Out Forever (STREAM | VIDEO)
12. A Love Story in Lower Maths
13. China Aster
14. Just An Ordinary Day
15. Ne’er do Well
16. Stand in Line
17. Quacksalver (Formerly Old Timey Snake Oil Guy)

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The High Water Marks | About

“It was insanely fun!,” says Hilarie Sidney of The High Water Marks about making Your Next Wolf, the band’s upcoming 17-track album, scheduled for release on June 9 via Chicago-based imprint Minty Fresh.

Your Next Wolf is the third “comeback” record in as many years by Sidney and her band mates in The High Water Marks, following the end of a 13-year absence.

The songs on Your Next Wolf contain all the memorable pop melodies, intricate, blazing guitar solos and riffs, washes of psychedelia and percussive punch (plus Sidney’s unmistakable voice) that have been trademarks of her long music career. Here, they are an even more to-the-point, sophisticated, and amped up experience.

Based in both Grøa, Norway and Lexington, KY, the current incarnation of The High Water Marks — which includes SidneyPer Ole BratsetØystein Megård, and Logan Miller — had never performed live in the same room.

That was until October of  2022 when, “We played our first show with all four of us together in Oslo opening for Pavement,” Sidney says.

Most artists would consider this a big break, but Sidney goes way back with Stephen Malkmus and the boys, having toured together before as part of her previous band The Apples In Stereo.

The Apples In Stereo is one of the three cornerstone groups (along with Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control) that comprised the Elephant 6 Recording Co., the revered recording collective and record company that was the recent subject of a festival circuit feature documentary and an exhaustively researched book, both released in 2022.

Sidney was the sole female co-founder of Elephant 6 and The Apples, but in a music world where women continue to fight for recognition from gatekeeping men, this fact remains one that must continue to be talked about.

“It’s not often mentioned how much influence women had over the Elephant 6 movement at the time,” explains Bratset. “Hilarie is the founding member cranking out the most new music right now.”

And Your Next Wolf is pretty exciting!

This time, the band was able to record in the same room at Miller’s studio in Kentucky.

“After making two albums remotely, we proved that we could come together in person and make music that way too,” Sidney says.

Acclaimed engineer, Justin Pizzoferrato (The PixesLou BarlowDinosaur Jr) had become a fan of The High Water Marks and offered to mix Your Next Wolf, resulting in the most in-your-face sounding crunch that The High Water Marks has ever produced.

Your Next Wolf does not let up!

Once again, the record is accompanied by hand-drawn art by Bratset, whose images have become synonymous with The High Water Marks and something that fans immediately recognize.

“We are really happy with this record and we feel like it has the cohesive band sound and flow we were going for,” Sidney concludes.

Your Next Wolf by The High Water Marks arrives June 23, 2023 via Minty Fresh.

Members of The High Water Marks are available for interview. Please contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more info.

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The High Water Marks | “American Candy”



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“It’s the gravitational pull of the group’s work. They’re willing to blow your hair back.” — Austin Town Hall

“Kicking along with an infectious momentum… addictive sweet and sour overtones... drenched in fuzz” — Various Small Flames

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The High Water Marks | “Let’s Hang Out Forever”


[STREAM]: https://fanatic.lnk.to/TheHighWaterMarks-LetsHangOutForever

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“Let’s Hang Out Forever” | About

‘Let’s Hang Out Forever’ started out as a mellow pop tune but ended up as a guitar ripper!,” says Per Ole Bratset of The High Water Marks about the band’s latest single. “It resembles what we sound like live. The title comes from notes Hilarie and I keep of potential names for songs, and although the lyrics are a little surreal, it’s about finding what you love and doing it forever! We do what we do because it makes us happy. We need art in our lives. We see our band as one big opportunity to shake out all of our ‘sillys.’ It’s us hanging out forever!”

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The High Water Marks | “An Imposed Exile”


[STREAM]: https://fanatic.lnk.to/TheHighWaterMarks-AnImposedExile

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“An Imposed Exile” | About

‘An Imposed Exile’ is about being made to stay home during the pandemic,” says Hilarie Sidney of The High Water Marks. “We actually had it really nice here in Norway, and it’s more or less how we live anyway, out in the districts of Norway in a tiny crack between some tall mountains.

“But, you still have to live in your head, and you still have to deal with people and do things that society demands. Oh gosh, I think I might be a hermit!”

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The High Water Marks | “Trouble From The East”


[STREAM]: https://fanatic.lnk.to/TheHighWaterMarks-TroubleFromTheEast

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“Trouble From The East” | About

“This song is basically about chilling the fuck out,” says Hilarie Sidney about “Trouble From The East,” the first single from Your Next Wolf, the third album in less than three years by her Norway-based band The High Water MarksYour Next Wolf  is scheduled for release via the Chicago-based label Minty Fresh on June 9, 2023.

Sidney continues, “We aren’t a political band, but politics affects us all. 2022 was an insane year over here in Europe with the Ukraine war. In Norway, we border Russia (our trouble from the north and east) and especially in the beginning, there were a few times we thought there was a nuclear threat.

“People are angry and scared. We just want to see everyone calm down and enjoy what we have. Our little blip of time in this world should be marked with what we did to spread joy, what we did to help, and what we did to try to make a difference in ourselves and the people around us.

“It’s been crazy. Right after the war started, there was an attack on a nuclear facility in Ukraine. Then Russia started talking about using nuclear weapons. Norway’s national guard inspected every single bomb shelter in the country to see if they were up to code and repair/replace anything needed. It was really scary!”

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The High Water Marks | Links
 
ASSETS : FACEBOOK : INSTAGRAM : BANDCAMPSPOTIFY : APPLE : MINTY FRESH
 
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Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact
 
WEBSITE : FACEBOOK : TWITTER : YOUTUBE : INSTAGRAM : SOUNDCLOUD : SPOTIFY : BLOG : E-MAIL