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Lungs and Limbs Return to Say ‘Goodbye’

Posted by: on Apr 15, 2020 | Comments (0)

Photo by Jenna Marek

Lungs and Limbs did not plan on releasing an album in the middle of a global crisis, but it’s hard to think of a better soundtrack to self-isolate to than the alt-pop quartet’s recently released full-length record, Great Goodbye.

The record follows the group’s 2016 EP, Big Bang. In that time, the quartet—made up of Karina Rousseau (vocals, guitar), Nick Tudor (guitar, vocals, synth), Kristen Power (synth, vocals) and Matt Power (drums)—have matured, faced personal and professional changes and are now channeling those emotions into Great Goodbye.

“I don’t want to say it’s a negative album, but it’s definitely a reflection of feeling worn out by the reality of human society,” Rousseau says. “The timing of having the album come out and having all this happen with the pandemic felt apropos.”

“I think the world is at a point where we have to say, one way or the other, goodbye to the way everything has been,” Tudor says. “I don’t know what that looks like on the other side, but I don’t think it’s possible for the world to continue plodding along and for us to expect things to work out.”

“It’s an acknowledgment, too, of appreciating what we do have while we have it, not knowing what the future looks like,” Rousseau says.

Lungs and Limbs’ signature electro-pop sound has also matured, with layered synths and electric guitar riffs interweaving themselves into melodic backdrops for Rousseau’s ethereal vocals.

“We start with a simple idea, or beat, or guitar part; and Karina writes lyrics post writing the melodies, so there’s a lot of weird sounds during the demo process until we get a theme,” Tudor—who also engineered the record—says.

Kristen Power also reveals that the demos always have a cheese-related element in the title to help the band remember which demo is which.

Despite all the electronic elements in the music, the band stresses the human element, noting that the tracks are played live and 80 percent of the synthesizers on the record are made by instruments, not the computer.

Now that the album is out and everyone is stuck at home, Lungs and Limbs are doing what most bands are doing; trying to figure out how to move forward.

“I make all sorts of crazy ideas for the future in my head,” Tudor says. “I’ve run every simulation, from good to bad, and so many seem equally likely.”

Great Goodbye is available online now at lungsandlimbs.com.

Ismay Connects to Sonoma Mountain on New Record

Ismay Connects to Sonoma Mountain on New Record

Posted by: on Mar 25, 2020 | Comments (0)

Bradley Cox, Giant Eye Photography

North Bay singer-songwriter and rancher Ismay (aka Avery Hellman), grandchild of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass founder Warren Hellman, has spent a lifetime immersed in music and nature.

Now, Ismay merges those two territories in an enthralling, full-length debut album, Songs of Sonoma Mountain, available on vinyl, CD and digital download.

“I tried to focus my songwriting on this place as much as possible,” Ismay says of the new record. “I tried to think about what my experiences were on the mountain and tell those stories.”

Ismay wrote the album over several years while working and living on the family ranch on Sonoma Mountain, usually taking shelter in the ranch’s barn during the evening when no one was around.

“It’s kind of weird to write songs about birds and inanimate objects and places,” Ismay says. “It’s more common to write about relationships. It seems to just work for me to write songs about living in the natural world.”

In that vein, many of the songs on the album contain a folkloric quality, as if the mountain itself wrote the lyrics. Ismay’s musical approach of intricate finger-style guitars and emotionally affecting vocals set over field recordings lends a fairytale air of imagination to the entire record.

“That is a big part of my life,” Ismay says. “If we are able to spend time in the natural world, we get to engage more in those mystical elements of it; these strange things that you encounter that are unbelievable. These folklore stories used to be so much more a part of our lives.”

Within the framework of the natural world, Ismay also lyrically explores deeply personal issues such as identifying as non-binary or genderqueer.

“That was a big challenge for me in the record, because it’s so much easier for me to keep those things private,” Ismay says. “But I feel like I owe it to other people who are like me to be more honest and open with who I am and express this feeling I’ve had so deeply for so long.”

In addition to Songs of Sonoma Mountain, Ismay is also launching a new podcast, Where The World Begins, at the end of March to tell more stories from the mountain and the natural world.

“It’s a podcast about our connection to place,” Ismay says. “It’s about how humans shape places and how places change us.”

‘Songs of Sonoma Mountain’ is available now. Ismaymusic.com.