Quantcast

Peppermint Moon Goes Solo on New EP

Posted by: on Jun 9, 2020 | Comments (0)

Photo By Tamarind Free Jones

Like many people in Marin County, teacher and musician Colin Schlitt has been stuck at home for more than two months.

The longtime Point Reyes Station resident is best known musically in Marin as the bassist and occasional vocalist for eclectic alternative-pop ensemble El Radio Fantastique. Now, Schlitt turns up the reverb with his solo project Peppermint Moon, which released a digital EP, A Million Suns, in late April.

The new EP follows Peppermint Moon’s 2019 debut album, Symphony of Sympathy, and the five tracks on A Million Suns find Schlitt crafting psychedelic dream pop that walks the line between the Beatles and early Radiohead, with forlorn vocals akin to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and melodic hooks that would make Beck jealous.

Schlitt grew up in Point Reyes Station after his family moved there from New York. His musical education began early.

“I’ve always been interested in music,” Schlitt says. “I started tinkling on the piano as soon as I was tall enough to reach the keys.”

He also discovered his parents’ record collection at a young age, playing their copy of the Beatles’ Revolver until he wore out the vinyl.

“I was so fascinated with those sounds,” he says. “That is one of my earliest memories.”

After reluctantly taking piano lessons and learning guitar, Schlitt found his instrument of choice in the electric bass when he was 16 years old.

“I feel like the bass is the essence of every song, like every song can get boiled down to the bass musically,” Schlitt says.

Schlitt’s bass influences include Paul McCartney, John Entwistle of The Who, Motown-legend James Jamerson and Bruce Thomas, who is best known as the bass player with Elvis Costello & the Attractions.

After high school, Schlitt moved to Los Angeles to play music, though he moved back to Point Reyes Station more than a decade ago to raise his daughter with his partner.

Once back in Marin, Schlitt hooked up with songwriter and bandleader Giovanni Di Morente and joined Di Morente’s bombastic El Radio Fantastique.

“When I joined the band, (Di Morente) asked me if I had any songs, and I played some songs for him,” Schlitt says. “He was so encouraging that I started to develop that more. This side project Peppermint Moon would not exist without his encouragement.”

Schlitt’s songwriting process employs a lyrical trick that he learned from Di Morente.

“You come up with a melody first, and instead of coming up with lyrics, you sing gibberish with a lot of vowels,” Schlitt says. “As you do that over and over, subconsciously you start to fill in words here and there, and it’s amazing how the meaning of the songs develop themselves in this subconscious way.”

For this project, Schlitt played every instrument himself, including drum tracks performed on a synthesizer, and he assembled up to 24 individual musical tracks for each song. The entire record was recorded in Schlitt’s Point Reyes house, where he turned his bedroom into a makeshift studio.

“I love being in the band and I love collaborating with people, but it’s also really satisfying doing it myself in its own way,” he says.

At first, A Million Suns was simply going to be a single, but the shelter-in-place orders gave Schlitt plenty of time to write more songs, and he turned the single into an EP.

“This project has made a big difference keeping me sane and busy,” Schlitt says.

In addition to this solo EP, Schlitt can be heard on El Radio Fantastique’s new tracks that will be released digitally over the summer. The first released single, “London’s Fatal,” is up now on El Radio Fantastique’s Bandcamp page.

“We had these songs we were just finishing up mixing when the pandemic hit,” Schlitt says. “As a band, El Radio Fantastique is waiting for this to play out. Thankfully, we had this stuff recorded and ready to go.”

Peppermint Moon’s ‘A Million Suns’ EP is available online now at peppermintmoon.bandcamp.com.

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.

Vote Now for the 2019 NorBays Music Awards

Posted by: on Jul 15, 2019 | Comments (0)

Each year since 2005, the Bohemian has hosted the NorBays Music Awards to recognize the best bands of the North Bay as voted by you our readers. Now, you can vote online for the 2019 NorBays by clicking here.

Categories include Blues/R&B, Country/Americana, DJ, Folk/Acoustic, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Indie, Punk, Jazz, Rock, and Reggae.

With this write-in ballot, you will help choose the winner. Enter your favorite local band, venues, promoters, festivals and more from Sonoma, Napa or Marin Counties in each category. Winners will be announced in the Aug. 7 issue.

Voting ends Friday, July 19 at 12pm. Please enter one name per category. Multiple “stuffed” votes from the same person will be recognized and thrown out.