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KEELED SCALES

Why Bonnie

90 In November

    New-York-by-way-of-Texas transplants Why Bonnie announce their debut album, 90 in November, on their new label Keeled Scales. “90 in November” is a sunny guitar pop song about lead singer and songwriter Blair Howerton’s hometown of Houston, packed full of sparkling snapshots—”a technicolor sun” and “a cardboard cutout cowboy waving me goodbye.” “I wanted to capture the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to the landscape that shaped you while still dealing with the anxieties of what lies ahead,” says Howerton. “Nostalgia always hits with a flash of disjointed memories - like speeding down the highway or sweating in the Texas heat.” 

    Following their 2020 “Voice Box” EP, 90 in November crashes into existence with a squeal of feedback and a burst of distorted guitar. Inspired by fellow Texans Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley, alt-rock like the Lemonheads and the Replacements, the eccentric pop of Sparklehorse, and Sheryl Crow, the album is a dynamic introduction to an evolutionized Why Bonnie. 90 in November is a meditation on the pains and pleasures of nostalgia and a lesson in learning how to look back at the people, places, and experiences that have shaped us, with room for both unvarnished honesty and rose-tinted melancholy.

    The songs for 90 in November were mostly written in Brooklyn, where Howerton moved from Austin in 2019. Already in the midst of a major life change, her feeling of being between worlds was compounded when quarantine hit and she found herself, like so many others, stuck in her apartment—about as far away from the wide-open spaces of Texas as one can possibly get. It was in this environment that she began to write songs parsing out the complicated, mixed emotions associated with building a new home while attempting to make sense of the one she had left behind.

    There’s a deep sense of place across 90 in November. The band—Howerton, keyboardist Kendall Powell, guitarist Sam Houdek, bassist Chance Williams, and drummer Josh Malett—considered making the record in New York or California, but ultimately decided that it had to be done in Texas. In early 2020, Why Bonnie headed down to the town of Silsbee (population: 6,634) to spend two weeks recording with Tommy Read (Lomelda, alexalone) at Lazybones Audio. Howerton describes it as an idyllic period of time where days were spent walking around with cows and evenings drinking Lone Star beer and looking at the stars.

    90 in November is a trip through Howerton’s inner world, but it’s also a road trip through Texas. Often it is both at once. The songs are full of poetic, cinematic lyrics that flash like colorful scenes glimpsed from the window of a car as it barrels along an interstate highway cutting through the Lone Star State, each one a road stop revealing a different facet of Howerton’s experience. The album is a dynamic introduction to a more raw-edged indie sound from a band who have matured from bedroom dream pop into a sophisticated rock act, their evolving sound a reflection of the journey undertaken by Howerton on this vividly rendered collection of songs.


    TRACK LISTING

    1. Sailor Mouth
    2. Galveston
    3. Nowhere LA
    4. Hot Car
    5. Silsbee
    6. 90 In November
    7. Healthy
    8. Sharp Turn
    9. Lot’s Wife
    10. Superhero

    Alex Dupree

    Thieves

      Accessible debut album by Alex Dupree with a critically acclaimed supporting instrumental cast of Buck Meek (Big Thief), Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, Mavis Staples), and Tiffanie Lanmon (Mirror Travel). These are stories about the Trump years, a span which coincided with Dupree’s own attempt to rebuild a life after divorce.

      It was a time for the painful ending of illusions, about himself and about the country. He was living between artist residencies, sublets, and storage units along I-10, and long hours spent on the highway soon found a form in the long lines of traditional folk ballads. Slowly, new songs began to emerge. Producer Michael Krassner’s experience arranging for film and his deep attention to songcraft set a perfect stage for Dupree’s lyrical storytelling.

      Old-Hollywood string crescendos and delicate acoustic phrases pass in and out of focus behind the vocals, a lush backdrop for the songs’ stark dialogue. A wide array of traditional instruments (harmonica, mandolin, violin, piano, pedal steel, and jaw harp, to name a few) fill out these guitar songs. It’s these thoughtful arrangements paired with Dupree’s aptitude for songwriting that makes for such a special record.

      Thieves is the story of starting over. It’s a sturdy songwriter’s album with heady, heavy folk and country flourishes. It’s about coming to terms with the uncanny patterns of your life, the strange repetitions you can’t escape. Oh the past can be different anytime you look. God could be rewriting something in his book.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Toronto Reel
      2. The Seer
      3. Fake Diamonds, False Powers
      4 Wish You Had Got To Me First
      5 The Cave 
      6. Missouri Moon
      7. I’m Gonna Make You Mine
      8. Low Country Blues
      9 Lawman
      10. Fortunado

      Jo Schornikow

      Altar

        Jo Schornikow’s new album ALTAR is the perfect counterweight to 2019’s Secret Weapon. While that album was bare and scrappy bedroom folk, this new album is a joyful announcement of synthy indie-pop.

        From Melbourne, Australia, Jo’s first job at 17 was as a church organist, a job she’s picked up again now in Nashville, where she lives with her husband Matthew Houck of Phosphorescent and their two children. She’s played keyboard in that band for over 8 years now, touring heavily all over the world as a full band, and ducking into BBC to record a duo session on their grand piano.

        Rolling Stone called her last album “excellent,” Pitchfork calls her piano playing “sensitive” and “impressionistic,” and Gorilla vs. Bear describes her songwriting as “gorgeous and smouldering.” But the songs on ALTAR take all of that a step further. There are still those moments of quiet beauty, but they are exploded through with joy. There are windows-down, anthemic pop moments on “Visions” and “Lose Yr Love.”

        Jo Schornikow is a songwriter flexing her craft and sharing songs that have a special charm that allow them to somehow feel honest, open, intimate and funny all at the same time.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Lose Yr Love
        2. Visions
        3. Comeback
        4. Patient
        5. Spiders
        6. Plaster
        7. Wrong About You
        8. Semper Tigris
        9. Altar

        Lunar Vacation

        Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp

          The week that guitarists Grace Repasky and Maggie Geeslin turned old enough to drive, Lunar Vacation was officially formed.

          Repasky and Geeslin met in the eighth grade and began exchanging musical efforts almost immediately, but that blessed autonomy of first cars meant they could conquer Atlanta’s sprawling suburbs and play to their adolescent hearts’ desire. The pair forged a cluster of demos — just enough to fill a set — and took to as many stages as Atlanta could offer them. Local momentum building, they added classmates Matteo DeLurgio on synth and Connor Dowd on drums to sonically match their songs’ increasingly rambunctious spirit.

          Upon high school’s end, Lunar Vacation released a pair of well-received EPs, Swell and Artificial Flavors, and landed support runs for the likes of Remo Drive, Sidney Gish, and SALES. The band nabbed infatuated fans across the US while racking up millions of streams on their independently released music. In more than one sense, Lunar Vacation had graduated.

          Back in Atlanta, Geeslin was working in a record store (Criminal Records) when Daniel Gleason of the band Grouplove came in. Following a quick connection and hours of conversation, the members of Lunar Vacation felt Gleason could be one to color in the sound they’d been honing live — melodious guitars swirling atop propulsive, often psychedelic rhythm — and capture it in the studio. The band recorded "Unlucky" with Gleason and released it in early 2020, the song drawing attention as “swoon-worthy” from The FADER, “shimmering … wistful, sun-kissed indie-pop” from American Songwriter, and “equal parts Mac DeMarco and Snail Mail” from Paste Magazine. Lunar Vacation continued recording with Gleason in the producer’s chair.

          The band released the first song of the batch in June 2021. “Shrug” garnered praise from the likes of Paste, Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum, Under The Radar, and NYLON who called it “a jangly guitar song with a very shoutable chorus.” Songwriter Repasky shared, “I look back now and realize that this song was a pivotal moment in delving into self-identity and ultimately identifying as a non-binary person." The melody is buoyant though agitated, its guitars warbling like question marks and lyrics ringing distinctly relatable. Lines like This isn’t how I want to be / I didn't know I could care that much and Invited but I’ll never show / Sit at home playing too much Wilco cut into a listener’s mind and vibrate there, like thoughts of one’s own. There’s a carefree sense of triumph in Repasky’s refrain: Why don't you just shrug it off?

          Lunar Vacation will release their highly anticipated debut album ‘Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp’ October 29 on Keeled Scales. Throughout the album, this band boasts a celebratory sound, a reckless sense of ecstasy specific to fluid youth and rock solid friendship. In spite of life’s bits that inspire these songs — some darker than others — Repasky, Geeslin, DeLurgio, and Dowd reliably find the light in the thing. Drawing from early influences like Rilo Kiley and Tame Impala, and landing a little closer to contemporary favorites like Alvvays and Slow Pulp, Lunar Vacation make bright music replete with bliss.

          Repasky suggested the band name Lunar Vacation to Geeslin at a show, leaning over at a loud moment to say it. It’s easy to imagine others finding out about the band in this same way.

          TRACK LISTING

          SIDE A:
          1. Purple Dreams No. 4
          2. Peddler
          3. Shrug
          4. Where Is Everyone?
          5. Making Lunch (Not Right Now)
          6.Cutting Corners

          SIDE B:
          7. The Waiting Game
          8. Mold
          9. Gears
          10. Anemone
          11. But Maybe

          Renée Reed

          Renée Reed

            Renée Reed's debut album is a warm lo-fi folk album that blends the Cajun music she was raised on with 60s French pop to create something noirish and intriguing. Self-labeled "dream-fi folk from the Cajun prairies," Renée released her first two songs in 2020 "Out Loud" in May and "Until Tomorrow" in July, which Gorilla vs. Bear described as "an effortless, inspired union of the haunting folk music that Reed was raised on and a lilting, lost '60s French-pop gem."

            Renée's statement on "Fast One" and her album: "Full of anger over the shallow, shitty behavior of certain acquaintances I’ve had over the last few years, people who assume they know more about me than I do. But I leave things open to change and growth." "This album is a collection of songs about toxic relationships, seeing ghosts, ancestral baggage and blessings, and daydreaming about love. It is about certain feelings and experiences I’ve had over my life coming to fruition in the past three years. It was all made on a four track recorder at home, in a place and in a way I feel most natural, and I believe that quality comes through in the sound." Press quotes: "And while Renée’s music is certainly informed by these deep roots, her dark dreamlike folk has more in common with contemporaries like Cate Le Bon and Jessica Pratt. It’s also not unlike the intangible magic contained in Mazzy Star’s songs." 

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Out Loud
            2. I Saw A Ghost
            3. Little Flower Dance
            4. Fast One
            5. Neboj 6. Où Est La Fée
            7. Until Tomorrow
            8. Your Seventh Moon
            9. The Ash
            10. Fool To The Fire
            11. If Only We Could
            12. Drunken Widow’s Waltz


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