This Just In: Pale Blue

Aaaaaaaaand we’re back! It’s been a couple weeks since the last “This Just In” post, well, with Record Store Day/Sweatstock and all. Now that the insanity is over, we can get back on track featuring new releases of note. This one actually dropped earlier this month, but since we skipped posts for a couple weeks, it’s getting it’s due time now. Mike Simonetti (ex-Italians Do It Better), yes, “ex-,” since he’s working on a new project and label, and holy hell – it’s a great one. The overall sound just is as beautiful and as you’d expect from Simonetti, but Pale Blue also has a haunting, ethereal quality to it’s beauty that’s downright mesmerizing. Take a listen to the title single, read more about the project, and check out this week’s in-stock list below. -MLE

Pale Blue – The Past We Leave Behind 2LP

Listen: “The Past We Leave Behind”

“Mike Simonetti has decided to split from Italians Do It Better (Chromatics, Glass Candy) to focus on his new project, Pale Blue, as well as his new venture: the freshly minted label 2MR (Two Mikes Records). A collaboration between Simonetti and Captured Tracks, 2MR is an opportunity for Simonetti to start from a blank slate and release music he believes in.

The first release on 2MR is The Past We Leave Behind, the debut album from Pale Blue.

During the writing process of Capricorn Rising, Simonetti was asked to remix tracks from the West Coast twosome Silver Hands. Immediately taken by the incredible range of lead-vocalist Elizabeth Wight, he reached out to collaborate. The result of the bi-coastal email exchange would eventually become Pale Blue.

The name Pale Blue references ‘Pale Blue Dot,’ Carl Sagan’s remark on the photograph of planet Earth taken by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990. This new project was conceived around the time that Hurricane Sandy hit New York and came to completion with Simonetti’s severance from Italians.  Thus, many of the tracks that make up The Past… grapple with themes of loss and new beginnings.

The Past… encompasses a myriad of sonic elements, ranging from rhythmic, melodic techno to atmospheric ambient productions, while also incorporating Simonetti’s varied background in noise, drone, and even experimental dream pop. Above it all though, Wight’s vocals remain the focal point, saturating the record with a lush melodic warmth that’s so often missing in the electronic world.

Musically, Pale Blue is a response to modern dance music and its constant fluctuations. It intentionally bears no obvious singles, nor club hits. While Simonetti, Wight and Jana Hunter (vocals on ‘Dusk in Parts’) remain at its core, Pale Blue’s philosophy is to keep everything open to collaboration. It does not aim to pigeonhole itself into a genre or any new vistas in music, but instead to a unifying sound produced collectively and harmoniously.” -Captured Tracks

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Other shades of pale – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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Events This Week: MEKONS at O Cinema, TRINA at PAMM!

We’re helping out with two super cool events this week at some of your favorite places around town. Here’s what’s what… Wednesday evening our Music Movie Series at O Cinema Wynwood continues with a special Miami screening of REVENGE OF THE MEKONS! This acclaimed documentary charts the unlikely career of the genre-defying collective notorious for …

Read moreEvents This Week: MEKONS at O Cinema, TRINA at PAMM!

This Just In: Captain Of None

I first heard about Colleen’s The Golden Morning Breaks on some random music blog that probably disappeared years ago. It was unlike a lot of things I’d been listening to at the time and I wanted to get a copy to bolster my then-recent infatuation with experimental sounds. I went down to the local record store, approached the counter (with the confidence of knowing I was looking for something ‘weird’), and asked for the title. The clerk was snarky as hell (surprise!), pointed randomly toward, I swear, the corner of the ceiling, and said “the breakbeats are over there.” He didn’t even look at me or listen to what I was asking for!!! Little did he know how great it was. Oh well.

So now, 10 years later, not only do I get to stock Colleen’s new album, Captain Of None, in this record shop, I also get to tell you all about it! No, it’s not breakbeats, but maybe a little dubby at points (reverb-wise). It’s also lots of (specialized) strings, vocals, percussison and atmospherics, rhythmically coalescing into a sort of fantasy ambient pop. Come to the shop and ask for it – I promise not to point aimlessly. While you’re at it, scope out this week’s in-stock list, and remember there won’t be an update next week because there’s a record store holiday or something on April 18th 😉 -MLE

Colleen – Captain Of None LP:
Listen – “Captain Of None”
“Colleen is French multi-instrumentalist Cecile Schott, who uses her voice and the treble viola da gamba (a baroque instrument with gut strings), to weave intricate stories about the human mind and heart. Captain of None is the most melodic album in her repertoire, with fast-paced tracks rooted down by prominent bass lines and assorted percussive effects. It is also an album that breaks new ground for Colleen in terms of production. While previous works centered around sample-based or looped, minimal compositions, on Captain of None Schott significantly changed her approach, setting her viola and her voice as focal points. Captain of None is inhabited by delicately crafted, other-worldly pop songs incorporating dub-inspired techniques.

Captain of None was recorded, mixed, and produced entirely by Schott in her music studio in San Sebastian, Spain. Schott tried to open the gates in the way she played, sang, and wrote lyrics for the album, and set out to explore how effects like delay and echo could go from the “cosmetic sound varnish” role they usually play to a fully dynamic, constructive, song-shaping role.

Although the influence of Jamaican music is subtle, its implicit impact is felt throughout Captain of None. As a child, Schott became enamored with a cassette tape of Lee Perry tracks from 1976 to 1979. She continued to explore the music of Jamaica, awed by the amount and the variety of incredible music that was recorded with such breathtaking inventiveness. This infatuation can be heard on tracks like “Eclipse,” where Schott utilizes some of the more common dub production techniques, such as using an echo effect on the percussion and vocals. Her love of Augustus Pablo can be felt on “Salina Stars,” in which Schott uses the melodica, an instrument that she played for years but never used on her albums. She incorporates a Moogerfooger delay pedal to create vocal feedback and analog glitches, and used homemade devices — chopsticks, an Indonesian metal printing block — as percussion.

As for her unique main instrument of choice, Schott first noticed the viola da gamba in the film Tous les matins du monde when she was 15 years old. The instrument, which has been said to be the musical instrument that most resembles the sound of the human voice, heavily resonated with her. However, rather than bowing the instrument in a traditional manner, and heavily influenced by African music from different countries, genres, and eras, Schott tunes the viola da gamba like a guitar and plucks it, opening up a new world of sound that she explores in great depth on Captain of None, an addictive, unconventional pop album.” -Thrill Jockey

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Captains Of All – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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This Just In: Aye Aye

A friend shared this album with me a couple weeks back, and I swooned. It’s longform, gauzey “desert blues” to zone out to. The obvious Philly comparisons of Bardo pond and some Purling Hiss are there, but I get a heavy Date Palms vibe from this too, maybe even some bits and pieces of Red Red Meat, Loftis and early Califone (yes, I know those are essentially the same band). It’s not too out there, just a smooth, chill ride. Super limited pressing of 300, with hand-printed fold over jacket. It’s already sold out through the label, so move! Check out a track below, and of course, this week’s in-stocks below all that. -MLE

Aye Aye – S/T LP:
Listen: “Remains”
“The CV on AYE AYE, the long-rumored self-titled debut by Philadelphia’s premier desert blues marsupials, runs deep through the beer-strewn underbelly of Philly rock. The Gibbons Bros’ unmistakable slow-motion, big-chord fuzz will be familiar to anyone who’s taken a plunge into the Bardo Pond soundpool over the last few decades, though a cultivated ear will note more grits and butts and less pedalboard worship here. Ben Leapheart retains his very official title of greatest drummer in Philadelphia—have you shmoes not heard Purling Hiss or Watery Love?—with his innate understanding that the drums lead, not merely keep time. And then there’s the high lonesome harp of Harmonica Dan Balcer, a record hound of profound depth. He’s been the public face of Boogie Witch, blown his harp on records by Jack Rose and Birds of Maya, blasted noise with the Megajam Booze Band, patiently schooled dingdongs from behind the counter at the Philadelphia Record Exchange, and devoted unhealthy decades to an insatiable thirst for true rock spirit. Yeah, yeah, cool, but what does it sound like? OK bub, how about terrestrial crunching rock drifting over a great expanse?” -Richie Records//Testoster Tunes

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Aye? Aye! – new releases, reissues and restocks…

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