Nick Waterhouse at First Avenue – TICKETS
Nick Waterhouse grew up in a coastal town near Long Beach, CA. It was a serene setting: the ocean stretching out for miles to the North and South, manicured lawns, two-story homes, long swathes of concrete highway, fast food chains and mega malls. He was there for two decades. Then, he left.
He found a home in his early 20s in San Francisco, working at record stores alongside a collective of likeminded young crate-diggers and 45 collectors. And then he started making his own records: Time’s All Gone in 2012, Holly in 2014, and Never Twice in 2016. These were evocative albums, steeped in a perfectionism and clarity of vision that informed every choice, from the studios to the players, the arrangements to the album art. Everything, deliberately designed and purposeful, bubbling over with power and feeling.
And as those records rolled out into the world, Waterhouse found a dedicated audience of his own as well as a bevy of influential champions and collaborators, including garage-rock mystic Ty Segall, retro-futurist R&B bandleader Leon Bridges and the LA-based quartet Allah-Las, whose first two albums he meticulously produced and played on. There is a “Waterhouse Sound” and it comes from both the man and the method — recording everything on magnetic tape, through analog equipment, and playing live (!), eyeball to eyeball, whenever possible.
Matt Maeson at the Entry – TICKETS
Who killed Matt Maeson? Maybe the devil, who haunted his parents, two reformed teenage outlaws who played in religious heavy-metal bands and wouldn’t let him listen to rock on the radio. Or maybe it was the volatile spirit that brought Matt to prison the first three hundred times. He played shows with his mom and dad, proprietors of a prison ministry since he was young. The family lived on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and worked wherever the faithful wouldn’t feel like they belonged. They drove south to Florida and west to Montana, rumbling through maximum-security lockups with fire and benediction, drums and guitars. Matt spent years on the road to prisons and biker rallies: he played songs about salvation in front of strippers and Hell’s Angels at Sturgis, one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the world.
Restlessness ran in the family, and it never went away. The men in Matt’s life-his dad and uncle-were most comfortable in the margins, whether in glory or disgrace. They were all fighting an inner rebelliousness, against their own darker instincts as well as against a Southern community preaching that long hair brought men closer to hell. By the time he was playing with his parents, Matt had already gotten into drugs, and then into trouble-and then into drugs again, to pay off the trouble. For a year, he worked construction for twelve hours a day, doing community service on his one day off. “I was mad all the time,” he said. “People in my life were condemning me, and not with compassion. Not this is wrong, and we love you. It was this is wrong, and don’t ever come back.”
Julia Jacklin at the Entry – TICKETS
The second full-length album from Australian singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin, Crushing embodies every possible meaning of its title word. It’s an album formed from sheer intensity of feeling, an in-the-moment narrative of heartbreak and infatuation. And with her storytelling centered on bodies and crossed boundaries and smothering closeness, Crushing reveals how our physical experience of the world shapes and sometimes distorts our inner lives.
“This album came from spending two years touring and being in a relationship, and feeling like I never had any space of my own,” says the Melbourne-based artist. “For a long time I felt like my head was full of fear and my body was just this functional thing that carried me from point A to B, and writing these songs was like rejoining the two.” The follow-up to her 2016 debut Don’t Let the Kids Win, Crushing finds Jacklin continually acknowledging what’s expected of her, then gracefully rejecting those expectations. As a result, the album invites self-examination and a possible shift in the listener’s way of getting around the world—an effect that has everything to do with Jacklin’s openness about her own experience.
“I used to be so worried about seeming demanding that I’d put up with anything, which I think is common—you want to be chill and cool, but it ends up taking so much of your emotional energy,” says Jacklin. “Now I’ve gotten used to calling out things I’m not okay with, instead of just burying my feelings to make it easier on everyone. I’ve realized that in order to keep the peace, you have to speak up for yourself and say what you really want.”
Produced by Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, The Drones) and recorded at The Grove Studios (a bushland hideaway built by INXS’ Garry Gary Beers), Crushing sets Jacklin’s understated defiance against a raw yet luminous sonic backdrop. “In all the songs, you can hear every sound from every instrument; you can hear my throat and hear me breathing,” she says. “It was really important to me that you can hear everything for the whole record, without any studio tricks getting in the way.”
Jessica Pratt at the Cedar – TICKETS
Photo Credit: Guillaume Belvez
Jessica Pratt is not a loud performer. She does not have to be. In a club of a few hundred, even the bar staff are known to go quiet while she’s on stage. Her third album, Quiet Signs, feels like a distillation of this power. The album leads off with “Opening Night,” a nod to Gena Rowlands’ harrowing, brilliant performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career.
“On some level I considered an audience while making the last record (2015’s On Your Own Love Again),” she writes, “But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind.”
After a collection of demos and early studio recordings (Jessica Pratt, Birth Records, 2012) earned her a small, dedicated audience, Pratt moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and recorded her first intentional album in her bedroom in a matter of months. That album, On Your Own Love Again (Drag City, 2015), would bring her around the world many times, leading many to fall under the spell of Jessica Pratt the performer, the songwriter, the singer with the heavy-lidded voice that feels alien and familiar at the same time.
Michael Ray Pfeifer at the Basement Bar – INFO
Michael Ray Pfeifer & The Nasty Notes’ newest album is at the vortex of sonic, full-blown rock’n roll. Juggernaut is the pinnacle of clever, hooky, and bold guitar-driven blasts of rock music fury!
PREVIOUS PRESS: “It’s like a modern-day take on The Beatles-style of 60’s pop-rock with added depth and character.” -The Ark of Music
“If you can still remember the days when even popular music was about something, when depth and substance still mattered to the radio, and if you’re still searching for that kind of music…you’re going to enjoy Michael Ray Pfeifer’s, Blind Faith.” -The Ark of Music
“Michael Ray Pfeifer & The Nasty Notes set expectations for their music before you even hear it.” -Youa Vang, City Pages
Henry Jamison at the Turf Club – TICKETS
In an era in which the magnitude of cultural sickness is coming to light, Henry Jamison has had some time to reflect. On his second record, Gloria Duplex, the Vermont songwriter deconstructs ideas of masculinity from boyhood to adulthood and what it means to be a white, middle class male in America today.
Recorded over a two-week period in New York City during January 2018, Gloria Duplex features an all-star cast including producer Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan Stevens, The National, St. Vincent,) string arranger Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Phoebe Bridgers) and mixer Patrick Dillett (Rhye, David Byrne, Glen Hansard).
Lydia Ainsworth at the Fine Line – TICKETS
Lydia Ainsworth’s third album, Phantom Forest, introduces a lush, complex dream world that the singer, composer, and producer created and inhabited largely on her own. She produced all the songs, and wrote and performed everything on the self-released collection outside of a re-imagined cover of Pink Floyd’s “Green is the Color” and two other tracks (“The Time,” “Give It Back To You”), which started as instrumentals written by Survive’s Kyle Dixon (who composed the Stranger Things soundtrack with his bandmate Michael Stein), to which Ainsworth wrote melodies and added lyrics.
Ainsworth, who’s relocated to Los Angeles from Toronto since 2017’s Darling of the Afterglow, explains that the collection revealed itself to her “as a play taking place in Mother Nature’s vanishing home,” aka Phantom Forest, and that she’s singing from three perspectives: herself, Mother Nature, and Greek Chorus. For instance, of the album’s opener, “Diamonds Cutting Diamonds,” she explains: “The Greek Chorus sets the scene, narrating and offering direction on how to enter Phantom Forest. It’s my hope that the listener will imagine the narration to be directed to them as well, as they begin the journey of the album.”
You’ll get a sense of this from the collection’s edenic cover art and the playful, pastoral video for the album’s first single, “Can You Find Her Place.” Its inspiration came from Ainsworth’s love for Italian Renaissance painter Botticelli’s 15-century masterpiece “Primavera,” an allegorical representation of the burgeoning fertility of the earth in spring. She notes: “The video features the Greek gods of the painting in a choreographed Baroque style dance.” Keeping with the personal feel of the collection, her sister Abby Ainsworth directed the clip.
Parachute at the Varsity Theater – TICKETS
Platinum-selling band PARACHUTE are on the brink of a momentous 2019 with the release of their first new music in three years, the new single “Young” from their highly-anticipated fifth studio album, coming spring 2019. In April, they will embark on The Young Tour 2019 which will travel throughout 35+ cities across the United States. Will Anderson, lead vocalist and songwriter of Parachute, calls “Young” one of the most personal songs he’s ever written, but notes its undeniable relatability. “Everyone has felt that vulnerable feeling of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Maybe that’s what becoming an adult is all about, and the song is an exploration of that.” Fans and critics alike are no stranger to Anderson’s impeccable ability to connect as a songwriter, with Billboard hailing that he has a “knack for writing emotionally connecting, hook-laden songs that linger in the brain for days” as well as Idolator calling the band’s past songs “well-crafted and infectious.” The album and tour will mark the trio’s first new material and full-fledged touring since the 2016 release of Wide Awake. Friends since childhood, Parachute’s Will Anderson (vocals, guitar), Johnny Stubblefield (drums), and Christopher “Kit” French (saxophone, keyboards) spent nearly every afternoon of high school in Anderson’s basement, dreaming up songs showing a deep affinity for classic pop, heart-felt rock, and tuneful blue-eyed soul. The band quickly began landing gigs locally and soon gained a following at the nearby University of Virginia. As their inaugural release under the name Parachute, Losing Sleep debuted at #2 on the Billboard Digital Albums Chart and climbed to #40 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Over the next few years, along with releasing The Way It Was and Overnight (which shot to the #3 spot on iTunes), Parachute toured with such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Gavin DeGraw and Mat Kearney in addition to three sold out headlining tours. The band has spent a decade touring internationally and turning out hit singles like the platinum “She Is Love” (#1 at iTunes), the gold “Kiss Me Slowly,” “Forever And Always,” and the infectious smash single “Without You” from Wide Awake (#1 iTunes Pop Album).