Monday, August 11, 2014

Folk songwriter Itasca is set to release her sophomore album Unmoored By The Wind on October 14 via Matt Mondanile's (Real Estate, Ducktails) New Images label. Today she shares album standout "Nature's Gift." Stream the track on VOGUE. Kayla Cohen, a.k.a. Itasca, is a folk guitarist and songwriter from New York State. She has released several small press CD-Rs and cassettes over the past five years, and began recording as Itasca after a move to Los Angeles in 2012. She records at home, taking inspiration from the fringes of LA's open space and natural land. On Itasca's latest full-length, Unmoored By The Wind, Kayla Cohen achieves new levels of clarity and expansiveness. Where 2012's Grace Riders on the Road reveled in homemade intimacy, Unmoored By The Wind opens to the world, reaching a timeless, near-baroque yearning; each of these eleven tracks burns with a unique vision. At once soft-spoken and virtuosic, Cohen's fingerpicking mesmerizes, laying gauzy groundwork for vocal work David Keenan rightfully cited as "courtly...dazzling." It's a spacious set of songs, one you can wander into, flowing seamlessly between wistful interludes a la Bob Desper and fully-fledged verses of powerful, often beguiling imagery. "Two male shapes are standing/ Shrouded in white cloth" sings Cohen on "Nature's Gift," with a plaintive candidness that echoes Sibylle Baier. "They're looking at me/ Sort of smiling/ Seems as if I've called them here." Cohen's voice has a windburnt quality reminiscent of Lal Waterson or Collie Ryan, but it's tempered with sweetness, and on songs like "Colt In Hiding" she realizes an angelic luster. More than ever before, though, Cohen's confident singing is laid bare; vocals ride on top of arrangements, taking their rightful place in the forefront. The effect is arresting. Cohen has achieved new levels of clarity, while staying true to the seductive ghostliness that has come to characterize her sound. Tour Dates: 08/13 Los Angeles, CA - Gal Palace (131 S. Rampart Blvd) 09/13 Madison, WI - Yardfest 2014 * * = w/ Spires that in the sunset rise, Skygreen Leopards, Kinit Her, PW Best Itasca Unmoored By The Wind [New Images] Street Date: October 14, 2014 Pre-order here 1. Echtge Cross 2. Alleyway 3. The Hermit's View 4. Dream of the Water Bearer 5. Walking in Hahamongna 6. Nature's Gift 7. Congregation 8. Buzzard Gulch Well 9. After Dawn 10. Colt in Hiding 11. Glass ITASCA LINKS: Press Assets / Official Site / Label

"The track combines crunchy guitars that scream classic Stooges while the vocal harmonies are more conducive of any number of Elephant 6 bands. A great acoustic breakdown reminiscent of 70s psychedelia helps cement “Street Faces” retro sound.Surviving The Golden Age

New York City jazz expatriates and psychedelic aficionados Whitewash will make their first waves with a series of bedroom psych rock recordings entitled Fraud in Lisbon.

Jon Ben-Menachem (bass) and Sam Thornton (guitar) met at NYU in the fall of their freshman year (2012) and promptly began playing along to the entire Ween discography as a duo, choosing bedroom jams with self-taught instruments over Washington Square busking. Jon soon met drummer Evan Giazman in auditions for NYU jazz programs, and after much harassment, convinced him that he could succeed outside of jazz drumming. The newly-molded trio covered classics like Led Zeppelin as well as oddities like Mac Demarco and Thee Oh Sees, unsure of where to take creative root; with the addition of Evan’s then-roommate Aram Demirdjian on rhythm guitar, Whitewash began channeling its own sound by experimenting with everything from bossa nova to noise rock. Early Whitewash originals were raw, yet evocative and simple — remnants of this sound can be heard on appropriately named track “#1. 

A year of composition and test recordings evolved into the DIY debut EP Fraud in Lisbon, produced entirely on Jon’s laptop over the course of a semester at NYU. Budget restraints made the recording minimalist in stylistic approach, but the EP displays the band’s ear for lush and developed sounds, given its medium. “Street Faces” was one of the first lyrical Whitewash compositions, drawing inspiration from the absurdity of urban life; the recording of the EP saw it evolve from a grungy garage rock track with just one distinct feel into a psychedelic flip-flopper of an auditory experience. “Logocenter” is rooted in the apparent meaninglessness of signs and representation, and pays tribute to the dreamier aspect of Whitewash’s sound, with reverb-soaked guitar tones and a compelling slow-burn aesthetic. Instead of a unifying theme or message, Whitewash opts for a blend of the group’s collective experiences and imaginings. 

The band has made appearances at several NYC venues, but sadly 3/4 of the quartet promptly boarded jet planes to Paris and Prague this past summer, leaving the boys scattered across continents and oceans and icebergs and plains and waterparks and whales and rhinos. 

Today, Whitewash is reunited in NYC with a formidable number of shows to play and new songs to record in studio. Now lacking an ocean of separation, the boys can feel free to make the music that their souls demand so fiercely.

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