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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.

Dan Imhoff Releases New Solo Album

Posted by: on Aug 20, 2019 | Comments (0)

Calling the North Bay home for more than 40 years, singer-songwriter, author and artisanal farmer Dan Imhoff, best known as the frontman of the Americana act Cahoots, made a big move in 2017, splitting his time between Sonoma County and Spain. Imhoff’s latest solo album, Peregrino, reflects that move, not only because it was recorded at Estudios Millennia in Valencia, Spain between May 2018 and February 2019, but it also comes as the creative result of a year living and playing music in Europe, with six original songs and inspired covers of “Working Class Hero,” “After the Gold Rush” and others.

This month, Imhoff is in the North Bay to release Peregrino over the course of three local concerts. The upcoming appearances, featuring Jaume Guerra Meneu and Amadeo Moscardó, takes place August 25, 5 pm, at Medlock Ames in Healdsburg; August 27, 8 pm, at Elephant in the Room in Healdsburg; and August 30, 8 pm, at Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley. That final show finds Imhoff performing with Tim Weed, Bobby Vega and Shea Breaux Wells. Listen to the album’s opening track, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” below and click the link for more details on Imhoff’s upcoming shows.

Download Antiphony’s New “Guerneville” EP For Free

Posted by: on Jun 15, 2017 | Comments (0)

West Sonoma County experimental band Antiphony’s multifaceted musical journey is marked by sonically brazen and emotionally crushing works that range from hardcore rap to post-punk noise. Fronted by songwriter Anthony Jimenez, the outfit recently released it’s latest EP, “Guerneville,” as a free download, and you can still get it at their website. 

The second installment of Antiphony’s ambitious “West County Tetralogy,” (following 2015’s “Monte Rio”) this new collection features three epic songs that take the group’s emotional explorations in a new direction. Jimenez wrote about “Guerneville” on the band’s Facebook page, saying:

These 3 songs deal with the joy of truly choosing to be in life, the reunion of parts of myself that went astray, and the journey from being a victim in relationships, to reclaiming my personal responsibility in my creations, and coming to the place of being done with battling myself.

‘Guerneville’ is my favorite album that I have ever released, and I am proud to share it with you now.

Get a preview of the new EP by clicking on the video below, and download “Guerneville” for free by clicking here. 

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYgT52QRbZc[/youtube]

Kingsborough Lights a Fire in New Music Video

Posted by: on May 25, 2017 | Comments (0)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKpNaea87Ag[/youtube]

If I ever make a music video, I’m going to do it the same way that the North Bay’s hardest hitting blues-rock outfit Kingsborough did it on the video for their new song “Something Strange.” Step one: Throw a party. Step two: Get a bunch of pallets of wood piled high. Step Three: set that pile on fire!

Director Tanner Beree perfectly captures a care-free evening of friends and flames in this video, which also perfectly matches the sonic tone of “Something Strange,” the hard-charging, pulse-pounding first single off the band’s forthcoming album, “1544,” set to be released in July. Watch the group and a good-looking gaggle of friends dance amongst the bonfire. Just remember, safety first, guys!

This summer, Kingsborough rocks the Redwood Empire Fair in Ukiah on June 3, then hits Pioneer Park in Calistoga on June 15 and the Healdsburg Plaza on Jun 27 before playing an album release show for “1544” at HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol on July 8. For more info, visit the band’s website.

Acrylics Release New 7-inch Record, “Despair”

Posted by: on Jan 27, 2017 | Comments (0)

Last October, the Bohemian profiled Santa Rosa’s young and gutsy post-punk band Acrylics, who had recently signed to Iron Lung Records and were preparing a new 7-inch record for release in early 2017. Well, that record is out now. Part of Iron Lung Records’ single series, the new vinyl release “Despair” offers a lightning fast look into the band’s jolting guitars and blasting rhythms.

Side one contains the downtrodden titular single, “Despair.” If that sounds a little bleak, don’t worry, side two features the song “Reassurance,” with a head-banging groove sure to lift you out of the doldrums. The new release is limited to 300 hand stamped copies, so don’t sleep on picking up this 7-inch. Listen to the track “Despair” below and stay on the lookout for more from Acrylics, who are rumored to be putting a full-length LP together this year.

Metallica…Has a New Album?

Posted by: on Nov 15, 2016 | Comments (0)

 

Well, how do you like that? Metallica is still at it. The band offers their first new album in eight years, “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct,” on Friday, Nov 18.

If you’ve stuck with Metallica this long, you’ve probably heard talk about how the band is returning to its thrash metal roots in the new album, recorded at Metallica HQ in San Rafael. Though this is the first record to not feature songwriting contributions from guitarist Kirk Hammett since he joined the band in 1983. Apparently, Hammett lost his phone at an airport that had all his music and couldn’t get new material together in time for the album. Take that story for what you will.

Either way, the whole thing seems strange. From the glitchy ’90s font on the album’s cover, to the official(?) music video below that shows the band playing in fluorescent-lit practice spaces and riffing in office chairs, the new album seems show the group’s age while still trying to revel in the kind of disaffected youthful angst that Metallica surpassed over 25 years ago .

Listen to the album’s third single, “Altas, Rise!” and look out for Lars Ulrich’s over-the-headphones headband as you wonder what else could be in store for us when Metallica drops “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” this week.

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

 

Help Highway Poets Record Their First Professional Album

Posted by: on Oct 24, 2016 | Comments (0)

 

Petaluma’s retro soul collective the Highway Poets have been jamming in the North Bay and beyond for several years now, racking up three Bohemian NorBay Music Awards and many other “best of” accolades along the way. A dynamic live band who push the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll, folk, indie and soul music, the band is currently prepping to record their first professional studio album and they’ve kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds necessary.

The band promises the new album will be a gritty and sophisticated collection, a modern blend of rock infused with classic influences and diverse feel-good vibes. With a little help from friends and fans, the Highway Poets plan on making this record the right way in a decked-out studio, produced with the best engineers and equipment available.

Click on the link here to go to the band’s Kickstarter site and throw them a few bucks to get them in studio. Donation perks include copies of the album and production credit, meaning that this is a great chance to both pre-order the album and help ensure it gets made at the same time. There’s also a chance to appear in an upcoming music video, backstage meet-and-greets and more, depending on your donation. Don’t delay, help the Highway Poets now.

The Highways Poets perform next on Saturday, Oct 29, at Kokomo winery, 4791 Dry Creek Rd Healdsburg. 5pm. 707.433.0200

Spark & Whisper Release New Album, “Monument”

Posted by: on Sep 29, 2016 | Comments (0)

Fairfax songwriting partners Velvy Appleton and Anita Sandwina have spent more than a decade making harmonic folk under the moniker of Spark & Whisper. Their rhythmic tunes stand out from the crowd thanks to transformative melodies and undeniable chemistry. This month, Spark & Whisper released their third, already acclaimed album, Monument.

Available now on bandcamp, the record of 11 original compositions continues to advance the pair’s mature, eclectic songwriting and assured aural aesthetic. With Sandwina’s expressive vocals and Appleton’s sizzling guitar solos, this is a modern, rock-tinged take on traditional folk, presented in a fresh and engaging arena.

Though the band doesn’t have any live dates until the new year, you can stream Monument now and mark your calendars for February, when Spark & Whisper return to the stage.