May 18 is a big day in the life for Brooklyn’s Saint Marilyn: The synth-pop duo of Che Houston (how freaking cool is that name?) and Kevin Marksson will release its debut EP, Tangle (Really Great Gum; pre-order here). The two started playing together toward the end of 2013 as a drums-and-guitar outfit but soon excommunicated the six-strings and began worshipping at the altar of vintage synths. It was then that Saint Marilyn rose from the ashes.
Houston and Marksson will be celebrating the release of the self-produced Tangle on May 19 at their hometown’s Alphaville (get tickets here). So if you want to go and also be familiar with the songs from the EP, we’ve got you covered: We’re streaming Tangle exclusively at magnetmagazine.com. Says Houston of the EP, “The songs on Tangle are filled with lyrics about how much we get hurt by the things that we love the most. Whether that’s about the frustrations of writing music on ‘Matchless,’ our homes and the city we live in on ‘Jaws’ or, in the case of ‘Burn Burn Burn,’ the intensity of loving another person. We talk a lot about push-and-pull dynamics, and even the title of the album means two things: Tangle is a fight, but it’s also an embrace. I think we do the same thing instrumentally. It’s big rock ‘n’ roll drums and bass, but it’s also filled with quiet synths and anxious energies that needed to be expressed.”
Let Tangle be your guide to recognizing your patron saints of expression.
It’s been nearly half a decade since Matt Costa‘s last proper album, a self-titled effort he recorded with members of Belle And Sebastian, but the lifelong Californian (who usually puts out a new LP every couple years) wasn’t exactly slacking off during that period. He issued a handful of self-produced EPs, did the soundtrack to acclaimed documentary Orange Sunshine and finished an entire album that remains unreleased. Which brings us to Santa Rosa Fangs, co-produced by Peter Matthew Bauer (Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf (French Kicks) and out May 18 on Dangerbird. The dozen-track LP follows the story of a woman named Sharon and her two brothers, with Costa injecting some of his own adventures growing up in the Golden State into this fictional tale of love, loss and the California landscape.
While not the first single from Santa Rosa Fangs (that would be opener “I Remember It Well”), “Sharon,” the second track, is both pivotal to the album’s somewhat-skewed storyline and, musically, the perfect example of Costa’s knack for writing timeless, accessible pop/rock songs with enough of a bent to keep music snobs from getting their torn-and-tattered T.Rex T-shirts in a bunch.
“‘Sharon’ is the imaginary classic-rock-radio single—and lynchpin—to this strange record that feels like both Matt’s own autobiography and also a kind of dreamy made-up nostalgia,” says Bauer.
“‘Sharon’ is an effortless-sounding song that could have come from any time,” says Stumpf. “Costa’s strength is his ability to create these worlds that feel familiar and easy to sink into but also have threads of the dark and sinister. California noir.”
Though the video for “Sharon” exquisitely captures this surreal California-noir vibe, there’s only one minor problem: It was shot in Great Falls, Mont., at the one-of-a-kind Sip ‘N Dip Lounge (the number-one bar on earth worth flying for, according to GQ), which is located at the O’Haire Motor Inn (home to “the kind of western hospitality that you would expect to find in the heart of Montana”).
“It couldn’t have fit the song more perfect,” says Costa of the clip. “My close friend and veteran photographer Pamela Littky directed the video and was able to bring the vision to life with a gilded suit and signature Blue Hawaiians. In the song, Sharon frequents the aquarium bar with her aquarium friends. In the video, I croon the turquoise corners and dive into the same vices as Sharon.”
“The video is exactly as I always think of Matt,” says Bauer.
After watching “Sharon,” the video is exactly as we will always think of Matt, too. We’re proud to premiere it today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now, and catch Costa on tour later this month (dates below); no word yet if he’s bringing the mermaids on the road with him.
And as a bonus, check out the teaser trailer for Santa Rosa Fangs:
May 19 — Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia
May 21 — Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
May 22 — Rough Trade, Brooklyn
May 23 — The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
May 25 — Longboat At Great Hall, Toronto
May 26 — The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
May 27 — Schuba’s, Chicago
May 28 — Shank Hall, Milwaukee
May 30 — The Turf Club, St. Paul, MN
June 5 — The Troubadour, Los Angeles
June 7 — Live in the Vines, Carmel, CA
July 7 — Café du Nord, San Francisco
July 9 — Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
July 10 — Tractor Tavern, Seattle
July 11 — Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver
July 12 — Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
August 16 — Bluff Park At Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point, CA
We first introduced you to Dan Rico at the end of last year with “Flesh And Bone,” telling you he was one to watch in 2018. Well, we’ll pat ourselves on the back now for being right. The Chicago-based singer/songwriter/producer is back June 22 with Dreamy. His cassette-only sophomore album comes courtesy of private-press label TMB Limited. “Hot To Please” is the first single off the record, and it sounds like Win Butler and Buddy Holly joined forces in the early ’90s with the hopes of inking a deal with Sarah Records. (For those not in the know, that’s a good thing.) “Hot To Please” is out later today, but fear not: We’re premiering it for you right here, right now. Says Rico of the track, “‘Hot To Please’ is about a state of delirious melancholy, halfway between the inevitability of heartbreak and the transcendent excitement of moving on.”
Check it out before your friends do, kids. And if you’re in the Windy City, catch Rico with the Shacks at the Virgin Hotel on Sunday. You can bring your mom if you’re hot to please her on Mother’s Day.
Curse Of Lono formed in London three years ago, and we were fans shortly thereafter. The quintet, led by vocalist/guitarist Felix Bechtolsheimer, is back August 17 with sophomore album As I Fell, and the LP continues the band’s exploration of its patented Amerigothica sound—one that comfortably rides right alongside both Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Drive-By Truckers. Speaking of the road, Curse Of Lono will be on tour all around Europe leading up to the release of As I Fell. (Tour dates below.) But in the meantime have no fear and loathing, as we have the first single from the LP ready for your listening pleasure today.
Says Bechtolsheimer of the track, ”Valentine’ is about the kind of murderous jealousy that twists you up until you don’t recognize yourself anymore. The sort of dejection that will make you do things you know you will regret. I think the vocal harmonies floating over the tribal beat, distorted bass and filthy baritone guitar going through a tiny 1950s Selmer practice amp really capture that feeling.”
We are proud to premiere ”Valentine” today on magnetmagazine.com. If you don’t check it out now, you might do things you know you’ll regret.
May 17 — Alternative Escape (The Mesmerist), Brighton
May 24 — Fat Lil’s, Witney
May 25 — The Lexington, London
May 26 — Dot-To-Dot Festival, Bristol
May 30 — Sheffield Greystones
May 31 — Hug & Pint, Glasgow
June 1 — Gullivers, Manchester
June 2 — The Ent Shed, Bedford
June 22 — Isle Of Wight Festival, Isle Of Wight
July 7 — Maverick Festival, Suffolk
July 12 — Oltrivierenhof, Antwerp
July 14 — Paradiso, Amsterdam
July 18 — Fabrik, Hamburg
July 19 — Kaufleuten, Zürich
July 21 — The Sage, Gateshead
On June 1, S.M. Wolf will release sophomore album Bad Ocean via People In A Position To Know (Joyful Noise’s sister label). Lead by multi-instrumentalist (and elementary-school special-education teacher) Adam Gross, S.M. Wolf is a one-off, one-man project that’s grown into a full-on band. The 11-track Bad Ocean finds the Indianapolis-based outfit mining the same power-pop-leaning territory of its previous releases but adding some Elephant 6-like instrumental touches (theremin, baritone guitar, air organ) that lend the proceedings a familiar ’60s feel. First single “The Station” is one of the LP’s highlights, a groovy, breezy indie-rocker whose subject matter is a little darker than the upbeat instrumentation would lead you to believe. “It’s about depression and trying to overcome it,” says Gross. “It’s about having ups and downs and the fact that we just have to keep on trudging forward in the face of whatever may come.”
S.M. Wolf just released a video for “The Station,” and like the band’s clip for “We All Decided No” (off 2015’s Neon Debris), it involves claymation. “I just kind of started playing with the clay and came up with this character,” says Gross. “At the time, I was pretty inspired by some of Art Clokey’s claymation shorts like Mandala. So I started animating this character walking through a desolate, post-apocalyptic style world, and it began to take shape and meaning almost on its own. I realized he was searching for something, yet that thing was undefined, and that he would keep encountering obstacles along the way that slowed him down or could’ve stopped him, but he always keeps going. It’s a little bit Sisyphus, which ended up relating to the song quite well.”
We are proud to premiere the video for “The Station” today on magnetmagazine.com. Check it out now, and catch S.M. Wolf live this summer.
6/1 – White Rabbit Cabaret, Indianapolis
6/15 – P H Â R M Â C Y, Philadelphia
6/24 – Surfside 7, Fort Collins, CO
6/25 – Kilby Court, Salt Lake City
6/27 – The Sunset, Seattle
7/2 – El Rio, San Francisco