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- Foxygen is the bi-coastal songwriting duo of Sam France (vocals, Olympia, Wash., 22 years old) and Jonathan Rado (guitar/keyboards, NYC, 22). They are the raw, de-Wes Andersonization of The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Velvets, Bowie, etc. that a whole mess of young people desperately need. They create a sometimes-impressionistic, sometimes-hyper-real portrait of sounds from specific places and times. Yet, it never comes across as anything but absolutely modern music. They bring the manic, freewheeling qualities of an artist like Ariel Pink to those aforementioned influences to make for one of the most refreshing listens of the year. They are the real deal and total savants. Their albums are love letters to vinyl collections. Jagjaguwar is proud to share with you Foxygen's bedroom masterpiece, Take the Kids Off Broadway. The romanticism and desolation of Los Angeles breeds a restlessness in it's people. It's a brooding temperament best captured by Echo Park's NO - a band that feels it in their bones, with the kind of fevered anticipation for something more. Frontman Bradley Hanan Carter's baritone vocals speak to the tension between the wanting and waiting, waiting for love or for some kind of order or sense to how it all works. Their track, "Stay With Me" is a ballad of calculated pleas. Of slow, delicate movements. It's being in love with someone, and hoping for some kind of stillness in the unpredictability of love. He asks, "wasn't there a place for me/inside your heart?" It's all the words you'd ever want your lover to say, the fantastic notion of running away, the return to youth, when everything was uncomplicated and wonderful. NO began as a response to the limiting idea behind the word. In an effort to reclaim it, and reinterpret it as more than just an antithesis to possibility. These are sing-along songs, hymnal and anthema-tic; born out of a desire to connect with the greater collective of young people seeking their truth, adventure, love. There are remnants of odes to Bill Callahan, The National, and Arcade Fire -- epic, atmospheric drums that pulsate, buttered bass tones, melodic choruses. It's not about naivety, it's about not being calloused by a city of strangeness and strangers. Something the band knows quite well. The band itself is composed of near-veterans, all claiming a vast history with various bands, solo efforts, defunct projects, cities-travelled, loves made and lost. The core of NO first emerged mid 2010 when through a chance meeting at a local breakfast diner, Sean and Bradley started sharing songs they had both been working on. Shortly after Joseph started coming around too, and after many months of creating, and finding Reese and Mike, it seemed there would be no choice not to finish whatever it was they were starting. NO marvels at the growing pains of a vibrant city, in all of it's aching limbs and veins that run down dead ends. They'd rather listen to the children laughing at Logan Street Elementary School down their quiet streets, or kiss their girlfriends with all the hope that things will always feel this way. The interplay between hope and despair weaves itself throughout the collection of six songs in their debut EP "Don't Worry, You'll Be Here Forever" a sentiment that suggests that wherever "here" might be, it's a good place to start. In 2009, Raven Sings The Blues wrote, “Planted/Plans brims with the kind of bedroom pop that only seems to make sense in those midnight hours between 2 and 4, the times when humidity keeps you awake and spinning on your pillow.” Born in Lancaster, California, a small town surrounded by the Mojave Desert, this interpretation only makes sense. While bedroom pop is not a genre often equated with the desert, Dylan Shearers take on the style evokes a sense of loneliness and isolation only the vast open, seemingly endless nature of a desert can induce - all within the confines of a three-minute pop song mind you. Dylan Shearer began writing and recording songs at the age of 10, often backing his father’s blues on bass. In the mid-nineties he played in the noise outfit, Soup 9. During these years he wrote hundreds of songs, but soon became tired of the constraints of traditional song-form, trading in his guitar for an accordion played through two kaoss pads, his desert surroundings for the coastal town of Santa Cruz, and pop form for free improvisation. In 2005, after the death of his father Dylan moved an hour-and-a-half North to San Francisco and returned to his pop-song roots, recording 2005’s Carousel Doors and 2009’s critically lauded Planted/Plans. Released on Yik Yak records (R.I.P) in a miniscule run of 100 LPs, Planted/Plans attracted the enthusiastic attention of music blogs such as Raven Sings the Blues, Chocolate Bobka, and journalist such as David Keenan who wrote, “The songs are great, memorable acoustic constructs that conjure all sorts of phantom hooks from out of the air.” With comparisons to Syd Barret, Kevin Ayers, Nick Drake, and Ray Davies, Shearer quielty built a scattered but devoted fanbase drawn to his inimitable voice and lonesome, but hopelessly catchy melodies. Secret Seven’s inclusion of Shearer’s song, “4 In The Morning House” on the popular In a Cloud San Francisco compilation exposed him to a wider audience than the small run of Planted/Plans allowed and established him as a fixture in the San Francisco music scene. Since then Shearer has continued his career as a social worker while steadily laying down track after track, which will see the light of day as Porchpuddles, due out on Empty Cellar Records in late spring 2012. "Shearer has made an album that has a permanent line running through it. Though Planted/Plans strikes a chord with both misery and hope, directly in the middle runs an awkward yet beautifully attractive hybrid of those emotions. Either purged or absorbed, obscure or illuminated, public or private, Shearer emotes a voice that will surely outlive his Facebook account." -- The Agit Reader
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