Tag Archive: HorizonVU Music


The Coathangers The Coathangers are a punk rock band from Atlanta formed by guitarist and singer Julia Kugel (aka Crook Kid Coathanger), bassist and singer Meredith Franco (aka Minnie Coathanger), and drummer and singer Stephanie Luke (aka Rusty Coathanger). They have toured throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 2007, punk label Die Slaughterhaus Records teamed up with New York’s Rob’s House Records to issuing the band’s self-titled debut album. Their second album, “Scramble”, was released in 2009 by Suicide Squeeze Records followed by “Larceny & Old Lace”, in 2011. The Coathangers released album number four, “Suck My Shirt”, in the spring of 2014 and on April 15, 2016 the band released their fifth studio full-length entitled “Nosebleed Weekend”. which debuted at #149 on the Nielsen Soundscan Top 200 sales charts and #6 on the Top New Artist Albums and #4 on the Alternative New Artist Albums chart. The Coathangers will be on tour in Europe beginning 23 May and they play Paris at Le Batofar on 3 June.

HVUM: Thanks very much for talking with us. We know a lot about the Coathangers, but can you tell about the band’s highlights over the past few years – personal anecdotes included!

C: Over the past few years we’ve been putting the pedal to the metal! Constantly touring including 5 UK/European tours, 2 Australian/New Zealand tours, and countless US/Canadian tours! We also have managed to put out our 5th full length LP and coming up we are releasing a 5 song EP, its a 12″ so on one side we have the 5 songs and on the other side, an etching of artwork by our good friend Helena Darling from Canada! We also have been able to do a bunch of festivals and even got to tour with legendary band, Refused last year.

HVUM: What motivates you as a band? What keeps you going?The Coathangers4

C: I think the main thing that keeps us goin is our love for each other and our love for the band itself as well as all the fans and people we’ve worked with in the industry that have supported us so very much. This isn’t a hobby for us, it’s truly our lives, who we are.

HVUM: Thinking about Hunter S. Thompson’s famous quote,
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

We’re followed by a lot of young women aspiring to working in the music business. Do you agree with Thompson? Any advice you want to pass along to our aspiring readers?

C: That quote! Wow, yes it’s definitely true for a lot of bands , and maybe we’ve been included in this quote before as well, however, like my momma has always said “Nothing worth doing is easy”. Whether it be music or any other passion or profession, you must work hard at it and assume nothing. Me and the girls sometimes say, “Expect the worst, but always hope for the best”.

HVUM: Reviewers have referred to the Coathangers as bridging punk, garage, new wave and classic girl group sounds ( the Ronettes, the Shirelles, the Chiffons , Little Eva, and the Cookies). How do you hear that that mix in your music?

C: That’s amazing, that’s just what we want to hear! On some of our slower songs I definitely take a little bit from the drumming sounds of 50s/60s classic do-wop and we have been inspired by the vocals of the same groups so I’m glad people can hear that.

HVUM: Case in point? Let’s take time out for a look and listen, “Perfume”.

HVUM: Let’s talk punk for just a minute. It’s interesting how – call it a subculture if you want – punk has lived on far beyond the 70’s and Richard Hell and The Voidoids, MC5, The Clash, Iggy & The Stooges, Patti Smith, The Sex Pistols and The Ramones…but as Dorian Lynskey (Guardian) has pointed out it’s not nostalgia that keeps punk alive. Your thoughts?

C: I think that the ideals that punk is based upon continues to stick around because it is in fact a way of thinking, a way of being, living. Thinking for yourself, treating everyone as equals, saying Fuck You to the status quo, fighting for women’s rights, humans rights etc, these are all punk ideals and they aren’t going anywhere. Especially with the way things are in the world now, I think it’s one of the most important times for people to make music, whether punk or not, there’s so much to say, to speak out about, and music is a very real force to be reckoned with.

HVUM: Thinking about your five studio albums, is it fair to say that the Coathangers have been consistent in delivering on a primal anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian ethos?

C: I think we’ve definitely done justice to those ethos, because we are going against sexist, establishment/authoritarian, racist, injustices that surround us all. If you have something to say, say it. However we always want our listeners to think for themselves, just bc we say it doesn’t mean you have to agree, it is just how we feel.

HVUM: Okay, let’s give a listen one more time, “Down Down”.

HVUM: Looking back over the last eleven or so years of hard work as a band, can you identify a “high” point… “low” point? Based on your experience, what works really well for the band and what doesn’t work so well?

C: Ha, the highs and lows are always day to day especially when we are out on the road so much. The highest of highs are those amazing gigs where everything just falls into its place, the lowest of lows are missing out on family and friend affairs back at home I think. What works best for us now is taking small breaks in between tours, treating ourselves to a nice meal from time to time… its the little things….

The Coathangers3HVUM: In putting together a set list, how do you go about deciding what works and what doesn’t?

C: We definitely only have like maybe 2-3 songs out of all of them that work best as the first song! We want the first thing people to hear at our shows, something that really captures their attention and gets the place going! Then after that we just try to equally place the songs going back n forth between all our lead vocals. And not too many slow songs as that tends to bring down the energy.

HVUM: HorizonVU Music advocates for particular social and political causes such as rights for women, LGBT, legalizing of marijuana use. What issues do you feel comfortable taking up as a band?

C: All those things, basic human rights in general, but especially all those mentioned above. We went to the Anti Trump march in Washington DC with my sister and friends and it was the most powerful feeling… being in the presence of so many, all marching against the same injustices, it really does matter to keep fighting against all these awful things…

HVUM: Thinking ahead, suppose that in five years, individually or as a band, you could be anywhere you want doing whatever you want to do. Where you and what are you doing?

C: Doing exactly what we are doing now, maybe playing even bigger venues? As long as we get to keep writing and playing I am happy.

HVUM: Last, outside of music, what do you do for kicks?

C: Go to the movies, hang in the park with my dog, hang with loved ones at home, quite boring eh? Ha

HVUM: Hey, it’s been a real pleasure talking with you. We wish you all the best for your spring – summer tour taking you across Europe and winding up in Knoxville, TN on 5 August. We’ll see you in Paris in a couple of weeks. Meantime, safe travels!

C: Thank you so much

Visit The Coathangers at http://thecoathangers.com/home/


Girlpool

Girlpool
Powerplant
Anti-

Visit Girlpool at Facebook and iTunes

Cleo Tucker (guitar, vocals) and Harmony Tividad (bass, vocals), Girlpool, is a folk punk band from Los Angeles. The duo formed in 2013, when Tucker and Tividad were still teenagers. Their sound is notably praiseworthy for its impertinence. Following the rather sparse approach taken in the group’s debut, “Before the World Was Big”, they’ve introduced a drum kit on “Powerplant” backing Tucker’s guitar and Tividad’s bass. The tracks on “Powerplant” express plenty of brash self-confidence in the sense of 1990s Liz Phair. Drop the needle on “123” and enjoy!


Delia Gonzalez

Delia Gonzalez
Horse Follows Darkness
DFA

Visit Delia Gonzalez at Facebook and iTunes

Delia Gonzalez is perhaps best known for her videos, visual art, theatrical performances and concerts as well as her earlier collaborations with Gavin Russom. She has released her second album following Remembrance. The storyline of Horse Follows Darkness is one of a rather complex re-encounter with the American Wild West and the continuance of that heritage through time. Complexity comes from the imagery and dream-like atmosphere stirred by the intertwining of a melange of influences running from minimalism to post-punk and electronica poly synth. The five-track album is quite brief, but the auditory experience is other-worldly.


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Overcoats1Overcoats, the singing and songwriting duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell have released their debut album “Young” on the Arts & Crafts label. Nicolas Vernhes (Dirty Projectors, Daughter) and Autre Ne Veut joined the duo in co-production. “Young” follows on their self-titled debut EP released in June 2015, which was instrumental in their meteoric rise. It is impossible to ignore the creative power behind the full, rich and pleasing consonance of their voices leaving the listener with a salient tingling sensation. Their arrangements give cohesion to multiple genres including electronica, pop, folk, soul and even jazz. Overcoats begins their European tour in Dublin on 16 May. They perform in Paris on 23 May.

HVUM: This afternoon we have the opportunity to visit with the female duo Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell – together known as Overcoats. It’s a real pleasure for HorizonVU Music to have the chance to visit today and we look forward to hearing you live. Let’s talk a bit about your background, what’s been going on with Overcoats.

We’ve been to your site and to the many profiles and announcements found online (LA Music Blog. For Folk’s Sake, Drunken Werewolf, All Songs Considered and many more). We know that you are NYC-based and that you are one-time college roommates while attending Wesleyan University. After graduating in 2015, you moved to Dublin for a few months and really got into the Irish music scene. We have a following of promising young female want-to-be professional musicians and they appreciate success stories. So, let’s hang for a moment on the backstory.

Take us through your decision to come together as Overcoats, how you launched your project and came to sign on with Gaby Alvarez and Thomas Winkler at Votiv Management as well as your label Arts & Crafts. We know that’s a lot to talk about, so please hit the bullet points for us.

H: Thanks so much! We’ve had a really wild couple years. We graduated from Wesleyan University in 2015. We had startedOvercoats3 writing music our final year there. All of our friends were looking for jobs after college, making plans…and all we could do was write. It inspired and fulfilled us so much. We recorded our EP at college, put it online, and got good responses. We decided to go for it, and moved to Dublin to write and figure out what we really wanted to sound like.
J: Dublin was really formative for our music. We were going to folk shows and open mics during the evening, and then dancing in clubs at night. The combination of folk storytelling and songwriting and the corporeal, repetitive nature of electronic music was really influential for us.
H: We moved to New York a few months later and kept working at it. At SXSW, we met Tom and Gaby (our managers), who helped us put a team of people together that could help us achieve our goals. We signed to Arts & Crafts (record label) last summer, made our album in the fall of 2016, and now we’re here. It’s all been kind of a whirlwind, with some very slow pockets of time in there.
J: Our advice to people pursuing this would be, just keep working at it. We worked hard whether or not we were getting recognized for it because we believed in what we were doing. And that’s what made other people believe too.

HVUM: What made you gravitate to NYC? Why not (say) California?

H: New York was definitely more comfortable for us. I was born there and had spent time there in college –
J: And I’m from there.
H: We had family and friends there, which sounded very appealing after stranding ourselves in Ireland – haha!

HVUM: It’s been written that your Hozier cover “Cherry Wine” ties to your relationship? Tell us about that connection.

J: Cherry Wine is a song we started covering in Dublin. For us, the song represents friendship and unconditional love. Hana and I have a foundation of love and support for each other.
H: “Way she shows me I’m hers she’s mine / open hand or closed fist would be fine” – for us, means, I will take you any way you are. It’s about being there for that person no matter what.

HVUM: Briefly tell us a bit about your music backgrounds. Do you have formal training or do you consider yourselves to be self-taught?

H: A bit of both. I played a lot of instruments growing up. I started with piano, then moved to guitar, and later dabbled in banjo and harp. Singing has always been a passion, though.
J: I had no musical training growing up. I’m teaching myself piano and bass right now. If you can sing, you can make any instrument with your voice. You don’t need training!

HVUM: Reflecting back on your career development thus far, what do you consider to be your keys to success as well as the most difficult barriers you have encountered?

H: Something that has been difficult is that there’s not much certainty or stability in this industry. It can be really difficult to take care of yourself and staying stable when everything around you is always changing.
J: For example, last summer, we decided to leave to New York and move to Northampton – we complete moved out of our apartments and arrived in Northampton. 3 days later, we found out we were going on tour for 2 months with Matt Corby. We had to move out.
H: Everything happens really fast. But I think one of our keys to success has been being able to roll with the punches. JJ and I both traveled a lot in our childhoods and have talked before about how it made us really adaptable. It helps to be able to go with the flow and trust the process.

HVUM: What advice can you give to a young woman wanting to be in the music business?

H: I think women who are headed for the music industry should do it. There needs to be more of us! My advice would be persevere!! It takes hard work but if you keep going you can find success.
J: I agree. In the industry women often have to create space for themselves and for each other. The industry is inherently male dominated, so it can be hard to achieve your goals, sonically, aesthetically etc. So my advice is to believe in your vision and fight for it.

Overcoats2HVUM: Some of your music has been compared to the sounds of Chet Faker and Simon and Garfunkel (for example). Do you have specific influences in your minds? Do you share influences or do you have to reconcile differences in co-creation?

J: Those two are a couple of our favorites! I think we also feel that we were influenced by Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan, the Dixie Chicks, Coldplay…who else?
H: More contemporary artists would include Sylvan Esso, Ibeyi, Jamie XX, Lapsley, Joseph, Hinds, Margaret Glaspy.
J: Yes, we share most of the same influences and very rarely disagree about the way we want something in our music to sound. We share one vision and occasionally take different sonic paths but for the most part we’re on the same page. And if we’re not, we embrace the tension created by two differing choices.

HVUM: In addition to your incredible and widely recognized harmonies there is a lot going on in your music from folk to electronica – folktronica. How do you describe your music and the cohesion of genres we identify with your songs? Or do you?

H: I think we described ourselves as folktronica pretty early on when we were releasing our debut EP. We felt like we were bringing storytelling into electronic music and bringing 808s and moog bass lines into folk music.
J: So it felt like we were straddling the two genres. We actually feel like a song is finished and ready for release when you can no longer define its genre. It feels like we focus more on the songwriting than what genre it’s fitting into.

HVUM: Let’s take time out for “Little Memory” recorded on the April release, “Young”.

HVUM: Has your perspective on music and working together changed between the release of your EP in 2015 and “Young”?

J: We never really had any idea what it would be like. We had nothing to go off. So it’s been a steep learning curve. Figuring out the music business and touring. Parts of it have been harder than I imagined. Recording our album and touring so often we’re really taxing. But simultaneously, parts of this career have exceeded my wildest dreams — connections with fans, incredible performances, holding your own vinyl in your hands.
H: Yeah, that was pretty nuts. We’ve definitely learned so much about the industry that we couldn’t have possibly known before diving head first into it.. In terms of working together, I think we’ve only gotten better at it. Better at reading one another, communicating, sharing ideas. We’ve been working together almost every day for 2 years now. And we’ve known each other for 6 years.

HVUM: On the production side you’ve worked with Nicolas Vernhes and Autre Ne Veut. Tell us a little about your relationship with your producers. As far as Overcoats is concerned, what makes for a good producer or producers?

J: They were both incredible to work with. As was Myles Avery who we worked with on the debut EP. A good producer, in our opinion, walks a fine line and needs to let us remain at the helm while offering us the resources to create the sound we are striving for. Offering creative ideas, pushing us to expand arrangements, be more adventurous with percussion, or with sounds.
H: Also crucial to this album was our producers pushing us and creating an environment in which we could give the best vocal performances possible.
J: Arthur and Nicolas are both incredibly talented, insightful, and think outside the box. They respected our vision, helped us achieve it and made sure we all pushed ourselves to the limit.

Overcoats4HVUM: Are there any particular interests along social or political lines that particularly important to you?

H: I was a religion major in college so discrimination along religious lines, religious freedom, and islamophobia are of interest to me, especially given the current political climate.
J: I studied Middle East history and politics in college and that still remains important to me. I follow what’s happening in Palestine and when we’re not touring I volunteer at the Arab American Family Support Center in Brooklyn which has a free immigration clinic to help folks with their legal questions. Both of us try to remain politically and socially engaged or at least conscious.
H: When we’re touring, it’s hard to do anything except survive- eat, sleep, drive, play a show… then repeat. The interesting thing about touring post Trump election is that we are heading to a lot of cities where many folks voted for him. And we wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to travel to so many of these cities . It feels especially important to play in these places for anyone who wants to be there with us. And it feels important and good to yell “the future is female” at the beginning of The Fog, given that women’s futures are being controlled by the current administration. There is a lot at stake.

HVUM: Finally, what outside of music do you consider fun? What do you do for “kicks”?

H: We’re both visual artists as well as musicians so we often paint or draw for fun. For real fun, we love bowling.
J: Yeah sorry, we’re losers. Our hobbies include painting, bowling and going to concerts and I think that’s about it!

HVUM: Losers? No way! Painting and bowling are very cool! Hana Elion, JJ, l thank you very much for taking time twith us. We know that you’ll continue to perform and release exciting new work in the near future, so let’s stay in contact. We’ll see you in Paris very soon!

Visit Overcoats at http://www.overcoatsmusic.com/


Sally_newsfeedSally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Sally has helped her clients heal vocal damage, expand vocal range, land a Broadway show, record their own music and tour internationally without vocal fatigue or strain.

I love what I do every day! Last week I have the joy of teaching a Live Online Sing Like You Speak Class. We had singers from all over the world – Hong Kong, Rome, Geneva, and all around the US. Singing is the universal language. Such a thrill!

One of the questions asked during the class was, “How can you ensure you are correctly relaxed to sing, both doing exercises and singing?”

Good question. The answer I gave begins with an explanation of this instrument you sing with. It’s your body. It’s the only instrument that’s alive so it has emotions and moods and illness. In other words it’s constantly changing.

A thought such as, this song is hard, translates into muscular tension in the instrument – your body. So to begin with a relaxed instrument, begin with the thought that singing feels _________ (you fill in the blank with a positive word. Amazing, sensual, powerful, free, cool, awesome, divine, etc.)

Use a simple opening inhale that opens your instrument from your eyes down to your bottom. Opening your body opens the path that breath and sound must follow when you phonate and activates the powerful lower abdominal and lower back muscles that are the powerhouse under your voice.

If you associate your opening inhale with peace, life, freedom, etc then your brain is with the program and sending your body signals to be peaceful, lively, free.

When I’m teaching private students we begin every lesson with a meditative breathing exercise. Doing this guided meditation calms the body and mind and switches the focus from external chaos to interior calm. The voice is mastered inside the body and therefore that’s where you keep your focus.

Meditative breathing exercises are in CD form with my book, Sing Like You Speak™ and available for members of SingLikeYouSpeak.com along with other practice tracks.

Whatever you use to calm and open your instrument, it all begins with a thought.

“If I cannot fly, let me sing.” ~ Stephen Sondheim

Sally Morgan

Visit Sally at http://singlikeyouspeak.com and Facebook

WALL

WALL
Untitled
Weyrd Son / Wharf Cat Records

Visit WALL at Facebook and iTunes

WALL was (yes, was – the band broke up summer last year) a post-punk or no wave band based in Brooklyn. Before hanging it up, the band realized much acclaim in NYC and beyond (SXSW). The hard-rocking band of Vanessa Gomez (drums), Vince McClelland (guitar and vocals), Elizabeth Skadden (bass and vocals), and Samantha York (vocals and guitar) has recorded an LP which delivers on the NYC underground brand. For those who recall the 1970’s when sleazy and sometimes dangerous venues in downtown Manhattan notably defined and radiated a music culture (for example, CBGB, Mercer Arts Center ), WALL does not disapoint. But WALL is much more than a 1970s-80s derivative band. There’s a lot going on beyond the churning sound ascribed the The Velvets, fuzz-noise of Television with Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell or the provocative and confrontational work of Lydia Lunch. For example the jangle pop, underground pop sound that sprung out of the Athens, Georgia music scene (PYLON) comes to mind. Exceptionally, what goes on is not chaotic non-sense. It is a well-integrated source relating feelings of helplessness, confusion, and worry with irresistible strength. This ten-track LP from “High Ratings” to “River Mansion” earns top recognition.


The Overcoats

Overcoats
Young
Arts & Crafts

Visit The Overcoats at Facebook and iTunes

Overcoats, the singing and songwriting duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell have released their debut album on the Arts & Crafts label. While track-by-track it’s difficult to slot the music into a single genre, you won’t go wrong listening to this mix of indie pop, folk, soul and even jazz. Nicolas Vernhes (Dirty Projectors, Daughter) and Autre Ne Veut joined the duo in co-production.


Lillie Mae

Lillie Mae
Forever and Then Some
Third Man Records

Visit Lillie Mae at Facebook and iTunes

Lillie Mae (Rische), American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, perhaps best known as the fiddle and mandolin player in Jack White’s live band, has released her solo debut. The album is produced by White and is best generally defined as Americana blending country-rock, alt-country, blues and bluegrass. She stays true to Americana roots, and along with her vocals, she has most certainly kept on with supporting fiddle and mandolin. Lillie Mae offers up her own style alt-country and warrants special attention.


Karen Elson

Karen Elson
Double Roses
Hot Records

Visit Karen Elson at Facebook and iTunes

Karen Elson, the British model and musician, has released her second album following a seven year hiatus since the release of “The Ghost Who Walks”. Elson’s “Double Roses” brings to mind the singer-songwriters of Laurel Canyon and the counterculture musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King. The album has numerous highlights, but “Hell and High Water,” “Raven,” and most certainly “Distant Shore” cannot be passed by. This is an album not to be missed.


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