Tagged with " mush records"
There is something to be said about the introspective soul. We may all think we’re introspective, and maybe we all are, to some extent, but not everyone works out their inner happenings in the same way. And not everyone works out their inner-self with such a beautiful result. Steph Thompson has been making music under the moniker Steffaloo for a couple years now, and what started as a frivolous hobby, has turned into a full fledged passion. Having lived in Los Angeles for about six years, much of what she has to sing about you could relate to. Heartbreak, finding yourself, love that will only ever exist in the mind, or in your dreams. They are not far off from what you might experience, or have experienced, as you continue to make the seemingly endless transition to becoming “you”.
Would You Stay is Steffaloo’s label debut on LA’s Mush Records. It’s 13 tracks of homemade folk whimsey that will have you daydreaming and tapping your feet almost instantly. From the insatiably cute catchiness of “If You Were My Baby”, to the more somber ukelele croons of “So I’ll Go”, there is a wide spread of emotional inventory covered here. This is an album that you may want to brew some tea, get comfy, sit quietly, and just listen to. Below, in her own words, Steph tells us about the circumstances leading up to, and surrounding, the making of Would You Stay:
Last summer I got laid off from my job of five years. It was one of those moments in life where I didn’t know whether to panic or to throw my arms up to the sky and cheer with excitement. It proved to be a good mixture of both in the end, but the process in which that event started couldn’t have been something I’d ever seen coming, and really changed the way I approached just about everything in my life. Initially I thought this new found freedom would allow me the time to just crank out new song after new song and finally put the time and energy I’d always dreamed of putting into my music into practice. And for a little while it did. I wrote “I’m Sorry”, “The Whale And Me”, and “If You Were My Baby” all in a month or something, which had never happened to me before. But then the time started setting in, and becoming longer, and it got harder and harder for me to get a song out. I was forced to let time have the upper hand and to just sit in it and wait. And so this album soon became a painstaking exercise in the learning to let go of things, and then to bravely walk into new ones. This is how I began to approach each song after those first initial months of not knowing what the hell I was going to do with my life. ‘Would You Stay’ sort of became the staple of this album because it was about a relationship that neither of us could seem to either let go of or hold onto. And in those ten months of being unemployed I began to see that this is how life can be a lot of times—a back and forth between losing and gaining, holding onto and letting go of. It was the turning point of the album because I think it was the moment I truly did just let go…of everything. And while most of these songs are brand new, there are a few of them that I dug out of the archives and redid, because they needed letting go of. When all was said and done, the songs on this album were what helped me navigate through the unknowns of this crazy life, and realize that a little panic is ok every now and then. It’s what makes life exciting after all.
Pressed And are Andrew Hamlet and Mat Jones (who also goes by It Is Rain In My Face.), and together they create warped soundscapes that wash across hyped-up rhythms. Complete with their signature pitched vocals and some great textural work, Hyper Thistle feels a perfect blend of succulent and weird.
Hyper Thistle will be released on Mush Records on July 24th, and the band was kind enough to give us a sneak peak stream:
To get a better grasp on what makes Hyper Thistle so Pressed And, Mat and Andrew were kind enough to let us get privy to their latest work.
Video game music was probably the single biggest influence for me on this EP. I think video game music composers, especially from the late 80′s and early 90′s, did a very good job of creating or capturing a specific atmosphere—one of my favorite songs of all time is “Aquatic Ambiance” from the water levels in Donkey Kong Country for SNES:
Another heavy influence was probably the music from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
For me, my love of electronic music in general stems directly from these sources and I think the process of making this ep helped me to realize/remember this. Apart from that I think there was a definite focus on moving towards more of a “live” feel instead of everything feeling computerized, synthesized, quantized and what-not. There are a lot more organic textures and live instrumentation on this ep as compared to our first EP and I think that is indicative of where we plan to go in the future.
I had been neglecting the guitar for a long time up until we started on ‘Hyper Thistle’. So rather than translating what I composed on the guitar to midi etc., I set out to actually record myself playing with this record. This precedent is set at the opening of “Tusk In The Rock Flowers” and continues throughout the EP. In this way, I think the opening three chords serve as a demarcation between ‘Imbue Up’ and ‘Hyper Thistle’.
The record shaped up during our first national tour this past winter/spring. While driving from town to town between shows, we would listen to and work on the record, and I think the feeling of driving at 80 + mph down desolate highways has been cooked into these tracks. Listen to the EP while cruising down an interstate and hear for yourself. Continuing with the tour’s influence, playing live has toned down the abstraction heard on the previous record; while still cerebral, I think these songs sound fun and serve as frameworks for live improvisation.
Ultimately, ‘Hyper Thistle’ is a fun, coherent record showcasing a band’s discovery of its burgeoning live chemistry and the freedom of the open road.
Thanks, Pressed And!
Also, if you happen to be in Ann Arbor, Michigan, PORTALS will be presenting Pressed And with Mat’s exceptional solo project, It Is Rain In My Face., alongside locals, Dreampeter and Known Moons. More info soon to come.