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INNOVATIVE LEISURE

Jonah Yano

Souvenir

    Meet Jonah Yano, the Toronto based singer, songwriter, whose journey into music began with recording music using his cellphone in 2016. Having played piano and guitar as a child, it wasn’t until Yano moved from Vancouver to Toronto in 2016 that he began putting his songs online, catching the eyes of Toronto’s thriving local music scene. Spending the next couple of years obsessively songwriting and practicing vocals, and learning technical skills, he collaborated with Toronto duo MONEYPHONE on the 2018 song “On Lock” which became an underground success. Shortly after, Yano released his first solo single “Rolex, the Ocean'' with producer Joseph L'etranger. Once he began writing his full EP, he was introduced to frequent collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD, who are featured on the EP’s title track, “nervous.”

    Yano’s work has garnered praise in major music publications like The Fader, Billboard, Complex, and Exclaim and the attention of Virgil Abloh and Gilles Peterson along with millions of streams on Spotify and Apple Music. Most recently, Yano released a highly praised cover of the Majestic’s “Key to Love (Is Understanding)” also with BADBADNOTGOOD, finding himself in the natural position of writing the feature length album, 2020’s souvenir. Following a highly acclaimed 2019 which included the release of an EP nervous, collaborations with BADBADNOTGOOD, MONEYPHONE, and Nono; industry praise from The Fader, Billboard, High Snobiety, NME, KCRW and Exclaim — it’s not a stretch to say Jonah Yano’s highly anticipated debut feature album souvenir took a lifetime to make. Yano’s souvenir, mixes his soulful, genre blurring vocals with searing, personal lyrics. With collaborations from talents like BADBADNOTGOOD, Monsune and Jacques Greene, souvenir touches on themes of family separation, healing, and reconciling with the past.

    With each track delving into Yano’s personal history, the album tells the story of his parents separation and absence of his father from his life through the perspective of each of his family members. Following the separation of his parents in 1998 in Hiroshima and subsequent move to Vancouver, Yano spent years with very little connection to his father beyond occasional calls and birthday presents. Having not seen each other in 15 years, Yano visited his father in Nagato in the fall of 2019 with the goal of making sense of their complicated relationship through music. Both being avid musicians, Yano then incorporated some of his father’s earlier recordings into his own, while making peace with their past. The result — the album’s final track, “shoes,” featuring his father Tatsuya Muraoka and written by him about a pair of shoes he purchased for Yano as a child. Most of the track was recorded live at some point in the 1990’s in Hiroshima, with Yano’s own vocals filling gaps between his father’s vocals. Recording the album in Tokyo’s Red Bull studios, a log cabin in Nagato, Toronto’s Studio 69, and his own home — the intensely personal album incorporates Yano’s unique sound with a deeply relatable concept, making it the natural follow-up to an already impressive catalogue.

    Hanni El Khatib

    Flight

      Hanni El Khatib, the definitive purveyor of visceral, blues-wracked, punk-spiked, soulwarped, knife-fight rock n’ roll who artfully blends serrated guitars with his love for hiphop, releases his fifth album FLIGHT, produced by and recorded with long-time friend Leon Michels (El Michels Affair, Lana Del Rey, Rick Ross, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, and Eminem).

      From 2010 until 2017, when he released his previous albums, there was the usual cycle that consumes most working musicians: make an album, tour it, return home, rinse and repeat. And with it came the predictable pitfalls that ensnare too many artists - It is a dream until that one night when it isn’t any longer, and despite his gratitude for his fans, El Khatib found himself wracked by depression and anxiety. It became readily apparent that if he didn’t make drastic changes to his lifestyle, there might not be a life to speak of. So he quit drinking, stopped touring, and took an indefinite hiatus from the studio. But eventually, the desire to create songs slowly returned.

      What would eventually become El Khatib’s fifth studio album, the virtuosic but characteristically raw FLIGHT, began as spontaneous experimentation. The finished result is a rollicking sampledelic opus that recalls the beautiful chaos that the Dust Brothers created on Paul’s Boutique and Odelay. It’s the type of thing that Dilla and Madlib would’ve created if they had come up on The Cramps.

      The Buttertones

      Jazzhound

        Before settling in to make Jazzhound, their most extravagant, ambitious, and fully realized album to date, the Buttertones had to face the hounds of real life. Prior to a headlining summer tour in support of Midnight in a Moonless Dream, a fiery blast of an album capturing the band at their purest distillation, drummer/multi-instrumentalist Modesto had a sudden and serious medical scare involving his eye, requiring emergency surgery. He lost half his vision (it will hopefully return with a future operation), and the tour had to be cancelled. Music took a backseat for the time being gave us some perspective on our health says bassist Sean Redman,the fact that we have to look after ourselves and one another first, or else the music just cant happen Cobin, Redman, and vocalist/guitarist Richard Araiza have been playing together for seven years now, having first come together for a self-titled debut in 2013; along with London Guzman on sax and keys, they’ve come to establish themselves as one of L.As tightest groups, conquering stages from Coachella to Tropicalia. 

        Tijuana Panthers

        Ghost Food

          Previously released on cassette and digital, this 10" vinyl, 6 song EP is limited to 500 copies. Packaged in a black, big hole jacket.

          Tijuana Panthers

          Carpet Denim

            Live and on record, the Tijuana Panthers are a great band. You could say garage, punk or surf while describing their sound, but they're harder to pin than that. The truth is that they write classic songs that don't depend on tropes from any genre. They craft perfect pop and deliver it with energy and immediacy. However, the real magic of this band is in their weirdness. Behind their picturesque portraits of daily life is an aching despair. This subtle contrast creates an eerie tension between the ideal, the real and the surreal. You suddenly realize they're not the happy-go-lucky beach boys you tried to pin them as, but more akin to sexually frustrated soda jerks in a David Lynch film. And this all makes sense with the fact that they come from Southern California's shadier city of Long Beach, not exactly the fun in the sun that California dreamers might expect. 

            One particular year, not too long ago, American singer Claude Fontaine was awash in a grey London fog that matched the fog and grey in her own too-recently broken heart, stumbled into Honest Jon’s. It was there she first heard those old Studio One and Trojan and Treasure Isle reggae and rocksteady and dub records as well as the bossa nova, tropicalia and the musica popular brasileira that adorn the record bins and walls of the legendary London record store, and found herself under a spell. Because she loved those records so much, she decided to make a valentine to this special music that called out to her like no music had done before. She went to Chet Baker’s legendary old studio in Hollywood – singing her own love songs with Jane Birkin-style elan and with a foundation of musicians that helped define both genres - guitarist Tony Chin (King Tubby, Lee Perry, Jackie Mittoo, Max Romeo, Sly & Robbie), bassist Ronnie 'Stepper' McQueen of Steel Pulse, and Ziggy Marley drummer Rock Deadrick, as well as Braziloan drummer Airto Moreira (Miles Davis, Astrud Gilberto, Chick Corea, and more), Now Again Records guitarist Fabiano Do Nascimento, Sergio Mendes percussionist Gibi Dos Santos and Flora Purim bassist Andre De Santanna.

            'I hope this record will transport people,' says Claude Fontaine. 'I wanted it to feel like those lost records, like it got lost in the bottom bin of some world music store in London because that’s how I felt when I walked in to that record store. I wanted it to be its own world.'


            Nick Waterhouse

            Nick Waterhouse

              Nick Waterhouse returns with a new self-titled album: a true powerhouse of a record filled with his distinct California surf-rock infused swaggering soul. The songs are personal, intimate, and direct. Brisk, self-contained and catchy as hell, producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart) has helped to distill the ‘Waterhouse Sound’ to deliver a rich, raw, brawny, muscular album that’s heavier and more confrontational than anything Nick has made before, yet malleable enough for listeners to suffuse their own life stories into the mix.


              Sultry R&B solo artist Harriet Brown is back with a new batch of fully-realized future funk, a slow-burning dispatch from a dayglo dance floor. The Los Angeles by-way-of-the Bay artist honed his musical chops in church, the birthplace of so many soulful sirens. His first project, "New Era EP" came out in 2014, setting off a firestorm of critical and fan adulation. Who was this bowl cut rocking, falsetto dropping, shiny suit man? He followed up with a bombastic debut album, "Contact", an expertly crafted, extraterrestrial soul rumination on the ways we fail to connect, restart, and try again. It was also a transitional album. Made between the Bay and LA, it’s about the electricity of new connections, the distance of old friends. "Mall Of Fortune" is his second full-length album, an airtight meditation on anxiety, paranoia and indecisiveness – decision paralysis and the free-flowing guilt that follows. The bowl cut is gone, but the shine is intact.

              The Buttertones

              Midnight In A Moonless Dream

                The first word of the album says it all: 'Bang!' On their new album Midnight In A Moonless Dream the Buttertones dig deep and discover something dark. Where their previous album Gravedigging played like the soundtrack of a good spaghetti-western heist movie, Midnight moves to the dark cityscapes of '70s New York and tells the story itself - a perfect and intricate crime executed by a crew of professionals under cover of night; a biting sound befitting of CBGB's while staying true to their LA roots. There are echoes of Suicide and Bauhaus, nods to the spirit of sax and violence that powered the Deadbeats. Midnight is music made for dancers but also for doomed romancers that will appeal to fans of The Cramps, The Gun Club, Car Seat Headrest, Black Lips, King Tuff, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall,
and Parquet Courts. Released on Innovative Leisure, the LA label that also brought you the Allah-Las, BADBADNOTGOOD, Hanni El Khatib, Nick Waterhouse, and more.

                For fans of The Cramps, The Gun Club, Car Seat Headrest, Black Lips, King Tuff, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Parquet Courts

                Hanni El Khatib’s first idea for his Savage Times project was to do something he’d never done before. Instead, he ended up doing …well, everything he’d never done before. He’d be playing new instruments, writing in unfamiliar new ways, opening himself up to an unrelenting stream of ideas and dedicating himself totally to pure musical instinct. And the result? 19 best-of-the-sessions songs, as well as the kind of creative revelations that only happen when you quit looking around and start looking ahead.

                Originally, he’d hoped to explode the lingering idea that he was simply a blues-rock guitar player, but that’s why Savage Times touches on everything from garage rock to punk to disco, hip-hop and even some unexpected solo-guitar self-portraiture. But on the way, he also exploded his own idea of what he could do—even maybe who he was, or would be. Savage Times was an experiment as well as an experience, that touched on some of the most personal, social & political elements to date.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                3x10" LP Info: Limited-Edition Custom Hardcover Booklet with Three 10" Vinyl LP's & Download Card

                BadBadNotGood is the talented young quartet of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Alex Sowinski on drums & Leland Whitty on saxophone. They formed and became inseparable friends at Humber College's Music Performance program in 2011 and have been on a critically acclaimed, rule bending musical journey ever since. BBNG took the music world by storm with their 2014 LP, 'III', a brash yet refined record of angular jazz improvisations, lush ballads, krautrock and futuristic hip-hop tinged rhythms which led to a couple years of touring the world and collaborating with some of the best and brightest artists around the globe.

                The boys are back with the new album 'IV', their most impressive and highly anticipated project yet. IV continues their forward thinking progression, sounding something like a jam session in space between Can, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Weather Report, Arthur Russell and MF DOOM.

                With tracks like "Time Moves Slow" featuring haunting vocals from Sam Herring of Future Islands, the syncopated groove of "Lavender," a collaboration with Montreal based producer Kaytranada, the rumbling fusion build of "Confessions Pt. II" featuring Colin Stetson on the bass sax, "Love" which is highlighted with smokey left field raps from Mick Jenkins and the epic chords of "Speaking Gently", 'IV' is an exploration in post-genre virtuosity.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                says: These guys never cease to amaze me, whilst also making me wish I'd have stuck it out at music school and studied Jazz. I can't get enough of this one, the production is perfect and they couldn't have chosen better people to collaborate with.

                Gossamer is Evan Reiner, the LA based producer, guitarist, synth musician and field recorder whose debut full-length 'Automaton' is released on cult independent label Innovative Leisure.

                Influenced by hip hop, hardcore and jazz guitar, he developed an interest in electronic music while a student at the Berklee School of Music. He began to study movie sound and foley artistry. Pouring sand across cymbals or using spent shells from a gun range for percussion gave him a whole new vocabulary, and he found further inspiration in artists from Ai Weiwei to Maya Duren to Stanley Kubrick to Delia Derbyshire. 

                For 'Automaton' Reiner began making field recordings in the tunnels under Pasadena’s Devil’s Gate Dam, on a trip in Japan, under a bridge in downtown LA or to California’s Ansel Adams Wilderness area. At home he would “make accidents happen” with recorders, samplers, guitar and analogue synthesizers.

                'Automaton' is a precise and gentle dreamscape with an ambient atmosphere that recalls Gas, Boards of Canada, Vangelis, and Brian Eno and Jon Hassell’s album 'Fourth World'. For fans of Caribou, Four Tet, Boards Of Canada, Burial.


                John Barrett returns with his second full length for LA label Innovative Leisure as Bass Drum of Death. Elevating Bass Drum of Death from the scrapheap of garage rock challengers fighting for attention, 'Rip This' is BDoD’s most impressive record yet, combining the best elements of the American rock underground with a raw approach that’s original and exciting.

                Bass Drum of Death’s appeal has always transcended the band’s roots in the local Oxford, Mississippi touring circuit where John Barrett first cut his teeth. Since his debut 7-inch on Fat Possum back in 2008, he’s realised this potential again and again, most notably with his genre-bending collaboration with Odd Future’s Mellowhype and a slot on the infamous Vinewood Boulevard radio station on the GTA V videogame. But it’s with 'Rip This' that Barrett has really hit his stride.

                The process has been markedly different throughout. For previous albums 'Bass Drum of Death' (Innovative Leisure, 2013) and 'GB City' (Inflated Records, 2011), Barrett wrote all the material himself at home and recorded it on a basic GarageBand setup. This time around, he enlisted drummer Len Clark as a fulltime member and collaborator and UMO bassist Jacob Portrait as producer. Over a two-week stint at Prairie Sun Studios in Sonoma County, California the trio created the first BDoD studio album.

                Worship The Sun is an apt title for the second album from the LA-based group Allah-Las, the follow-up to their self-titled 2012 debut.

                When The Distillery, the all-analogue studio in which their eponymous debut album was recorded closed its doors for the final time, Los Angeles’ Allah-Las could easily have forgone their sound and turned to a non-descript location to record their follow up. Yet Worship The Sun is a continuation in the band’s authentic West Coast vibe – staying true to their homegrown dwellings it was laid down in numerous locations across LA.

                “We’ve had great experiences touring; we've been influenced by new environments and we’re always digging for new records, books, art and inspiration but there’s always a bit of anxiety as well,” tells drummer Matthew Correia. “We’ve skirted the law a few times, gotten out of some tight situations and luckily emerged unscathed; touring has given us a real appreciation for time at home.”

                Worship The Sun is exciting and evocative, revealing the maturity of a band no longer starting out but working at the top of their game. If you’ve been waiting for more of that warm hazy sunshine goodness, well brace yourself for warmer climates, the outlook is good and it goes to show that you can take the band out of LA but can’t take LA out of Allah-Las.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP Info: The vinyl includes the secret track "Abez Jam".

                CD Info: The CD includes the bonus tracks "Every Girl" and "No Werewolf".

                Jim-E Stack

                Tell Me I Belong

                Jim-E Stack has come a long way. Born and raised in the culturally rich environs of San Francisco, the now Brooklyn-based artist born James Harmon Stack cut his musical teeth as a jazz drummer, but it wasn't until he entered the world of solo production at the age of 16 that he found the freedom necessary to write and record how he wanted.

                Following time spent in New Orleans, James moved to New York in summer of 2012, and started the slow process of sketching, refining, and developing the diverse tracks that would make up his captivating LP. In every corner of Tell Me I Belong, you can hear an artist who equally reveres classic jazz musicians like John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, experimental pioneers like Steve Reich, Detroit techno greats Omar-S and Robert Hood, and contemporary boundary pushers Arca, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Actress. “More so than anything, it’s really on some personal shit,” says Stack. “The time period between leaving San Francisco and moving to New York was a tough time for me, and the music is kind of a reflection of that, the feeling like you don’t belong.” The music may speak about a kind of alienation, but it also abundantly offers the chance of collective experiences in the form of hard-hitting dancefloor jams. That fearless juxtaposition is the lifeforce of Tell Me I Belong..

                BadBadNotGood is a young supremely talented trio of musicians made up of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alex Sowinski on drums. Since their inception at Humber College’s Music Performance program in 2011, the three have challenged the rule book on improvised instrumental music and taken jazz tradition into the future.

                With early champions including acclaimed BBC broadcaster Gilles Peterson and Tyler, The Creator who helped fuel their discovery with a series of live jams that instantly went viral and dubbed them the “Odd Trio”, the band released their first EP BBNG in June 2011 to wide praise. The marriage of jazz virtuosity and hip hop source material offered a fresh take on the traditional “standard” applied to hip hop classics by taking on choice cuts from the golden era rap cannon and writing inspired arrangements for them instead of one-dimensional covers.

                Now, the inseparable friends are prepping to release their biggest project to dateIII on prodigious young label Innovative Leisure, a highly-anticipated project ushering in the group’s newest explorations which are proving to be limitless.

                Crystal Antlers have returned to their roots as an agile power trio of singer/bassist Johnny Bell, drummer Kevin Stuart and guitarist Andrew King and signed with high-powered L.A. independent Innovative Leisure to release their new album Nothing Is Real.

                The band have accrued plenty of stories in a short space of time: their debut 7” was funded by a friend who also happened to be a bank robber; they completed the FYF Fest tour in a veggie-oil powered school bus, which got them on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

                Nothing Is Real is Crystal Antlers going beyond the beyond, with songs that rattle and ricochet from desolation to delirium. Opener “Pray” sounds like what would have happened if Black Flag’s Greg Ginn had produced the first Psychedelic Furs single; “Persephone” and “Anywhere But Here” match the desperate, relentless rhythm of the Wipers with the inside-out guitar melodies of the Pixies, “Licorice Pizza” recalls lost cult-punk heroes like the Flesh Eaters or the Embarrassment. On Nothing Is Real, you’ll feel as much as hear echoes of bands like Wire, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., especially on the bleak closer “Prisoner Song”— bands who knew beauty and noise could be the same thing. And for the first time ever on a Crystal Antlers recording there are also drum machines, synths and even 4/4 drum beats.

                “Crystal Antlers aren’t really about making some shit we’ve heard before, but they do take notice of some important touchstones: powerful organ runs, ragged vocals and an ability to turn even relatively short songs into something that sounds beyond epic.” THE FADER

                “Merging psych, garage, lo-fi, prog, and countless other influences, the group easily maintains consistency despite a complete inability to be pinned to any specific movement or trend.” PITCHFORK

                Allah-Las met while working in an LA record store, but they became a band in an even more rare and special space – a Californian basement, dug out somewhere between the mountains and the beach. They began gigging shortly after their inception in and around Los Angeles in the later part of 2008. It wasn’t until three years later that they would find the proper environment to record their first single ‘Catamaran’ / ‘Long Journey’ which now bookends their upcoming self-titled release.

                These are the kind of songs that bounce between London and Los Angeles, the kind of thing that could have come from Mick Jagger or Arthur Lee or both at once, with crystalline guitar and slo-mo drums that recall the way the waves take big bites of the beach at night.

                This is mystery music from the strange and ancient-modern California fringe.

                Allah-Las are a reflection of a reflection, a band that is psychedelic not because of reverb or shredding through pedals but for their simple way their songs seem to extend to infinity.


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