Tag Archives: Secretly Canadian

New Le Ren video: May Hard Times Pass Us By

Video: Le Ren – “May Hard Times Pass Us By”

Directed by Ali Vanderkruyk. From Leftovers, out October 15 on Secretly Canadian.

Oh man, another sweet and charming song from Le Ren. This time, Lauren Spear’s reassuring voice lilts over fingerpicked guitar and strummed banjo. I’m catching vibes of Neil Young’s Hitchhiker era.

When the world is grey and our bodies old
When the forger’s fire grows ashen-cold
When the years drag on and yet pass us by
I’ll be there in hard times.

That line about the years dragging on is something we can probably all relate to lately.

Spears says, “This song is really close to my heart. It was written for someone as we worked through a turbulent time in our relationship.”

New Le Ren: Dyan

Video: Le Ren – “Dyan”

Directed by Ali Vanderkruyk. From Leftovers, out October 15 on Secretly Canadian.

Heard about this via Jeff Tweedy’s newsletter, where he described it as “Such a sweet tribute.” And he requested “More songs about loving our Moms, please!” I agree.

“Dyan” is a pretty, lilting, sweet little song. There’s nothing not to love about it. Its melody reminds me of a birdsong. Like, an idealized birdsong, not the real kind that wakes you up at 6am when you sleep with the windows open.

Our bodies are far apart but I feel her in the air
If I could look into the centre of the sun well I think I’d see her there.

When we were little my cousin told me that if you stare at the sun for long enough, you see God. I’ve never verified this theory, but apparently when Le Ren does it she sees her mom.

Note: She spells it “centre” because she’s from Montreal. I’m guessing that’s also why she pronounces Lauren as “Le Ren.”

The old home movie audio at the end of the video is adorable. Her mother is introducing the brand new baby sister to her sibling: “Her name is Sierra Lauren Spear but you can call her Le Ren.” It’s so sweet I want her mom to adopt me!

New Faye Webster – I Know I’m Funny haha

Video: Faye Webster – “I Know I’m Funny haha”

From I Know I’m Funny haha, out June 25 on Secretly Canadian.

Faye Webster is from Georgia but this video reminds me of being on the lake in Michigan. Summer is right around the corner and I can’t wait.

Webster says, “This song feels all over the place but at the same time, it tells a story so simple and understandable. Me not getting my security deposit back from my landlord, my partner’s family forgetting who I am because they were drunk, wanting to be in a rock band with Booth…. It almost sounds like a mad lib at first sight, but it just works.”

It does. The steel guitar pulls it all together.

Faye Webster: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Skullcrusher video: Song For Nick Drake

Video: Skullcrusher – “Song For Nick Drake”

Single out now on Secretly Canadian.

I love it when a band’s name is in total contrast to the band’s sound. Would you guess that a band called Skullcrusher would sing a gentle tribute to one of the gentlest English folk singers, a genre that’s already about as gentle as it gets?

I walked home alone
With your song in my head
Finally understanding something
In what you said.

Skullcrusher is the nom de guerre of Helen Ballentine, who says her song “recalls moments in my life that are viscerally intertwined with [Nick Drake’s] music, specifically times spent walking & taking the train. The song is really my homage to music and the times I felt most immersed in it.”

I’ve told this story before but whenever I hear Nick Drake I think of a girl in Scotland who I met on my semester abroad. She made me a tape with The Best of Leonard Cohen on one side and a homemade collection of Nick Drake songs on the flip. (This was years before the “Pink Moon” Volkswagen commercial.) She was smart and funny and pretty but troubled, and the exoticness of my Americanism only kept her interest for a short time. But I’ll always be grateful that she introduced me to those two artists.

Skullcrusher: insta, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Cherry Glazerr video: Wasted Nun

Video: Cherry Glazerr – “Wasted Nun”

Directed by Jess Calleiro. From Stuffed & Ready, out February 1 on Secretly Canadian.

More witchy music, this time from Secretly Canadian. This is my JAM. Some melodic noise rock in the vein of Jesus and Mary Chain and Lush, Cherry Glazerr brings the guitars and the fuzz. Fronted by Clementine Creevy, this L.A. band has cut its teeth on the festival circuit and attracted lots of attention from the indie rags.

Potentially NSFW, depending on where you work, there are some shots of boobies and bloody skulls.

I’m hoping the rest of the album is cut from the same sacramental cloth.

Cherry Glazerr: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Cherry Glazerr video: Wasted Nun

New Goshen Electric Co video: Ring The Bell

Video: Goshen Electric Co. – “Ring The Bell”

Single out now on Secretly Canadian.

Here’s the b-side of the single that Strand of Oak’s Tim Showalter recorded with the members of Magnolia Electric Co (Mike Benner, Jason Evans Groth, Mikey Kapinus, Mark Rice, Peter Schreiner).

Help does not just walk up to you, I could have told you that
I’m not an idiot

Jason Molina’s lyrics have a way of just punching you in the gut. It was bad enough when he was alive, but since we know how the story ends they’re even more heartbreaking.

I am thankful I had the chance to see Magnolia in concert a couple of times back in the day. The first show I saw was at the Abbey Pub in 2006 and I clearly remember thinking that this guy was feeling things too deeply for his own good. Molina was good-natured and charming but as soon as he started singing you could feel his pain. His guitar playing was equally expressive.

Showalter’s tribute is a worthy celebration of Molina’s craft. It doesn’t make the loss hurt any less, but it helps us remember how lucky we were to have him in our world, however briefly.

Magnolia Electric Co.: amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Goshen Electric Co video: Ring The Bell

New Goshen Electric Co video: The Gray Tower

Video: Goshen Electric Co. – “The Gray Tower”

Single b/w “Ring the Bell” due November 2 on Secretly Canadian.

Goshen Electric Co. is what happens when Strand of Oak’s Tim Showalter spends a half a day in the studio with the members of Magnolia Electric Co (Mike Benner, Jason Evans Groth, Mikey Kapinus, Mark Rice, Peter Schreiner).

The digital single will include an extended, nine-minute version of “Ring the Bell” from Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain (2002) and Magnolia Electric Co.’s Trials & Errors (2005).

It’s been more than five years since Jason Molina died and it hasn’t started hurting any less. Showalter feels the loss as deeply as anybody. “There was such an intimate relationship with his music -– it felt a lot deeper than just liking a song,” he’s said. “You live in these songs.”

Showalter and the band toured Europe, calling themselves “Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co.” This seems like an appropriate tribute to a singer and songwriter who is terribly missed.

Magnolia Electric Co.: amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Goshen Electric Co video: The Gray Tower

Damien Jurado – Nothing Is The News

Damien Jurado has always had a dark soul. His stark albums have always had more than a tinge of foreboding that’s been tempered by his disarming and vulnerable delivery. Well, now the gloves are off and the bats are out…literally.

Alternative Press debuted Jurado’s creepy new video yesterday and it’s downright unnerving. Watch as a cute indie couple gets chased around by dudes with bats through some decrepit industrial wasteland. Will they get away? It doesn’t look good but at least they have a killer soundtrack for their farewell.

VIDEO: Damien Jurado – “Nothing Is The News”

From Damien Jurado’s forthcoming album, Maraqopa, which is due Feb. 21 on Secretly Canadian.

Continue reading Damien Jurado – Nothing Is The News

Indie Label Roundtable

Over on NPR’s Monitor Mix Blog, Carrie Brownstein rounds up a bunch of people who run indie labels and gets them to talk about how the role of the record label has changed over the past decade. It’s a fascinating conversation that touches on everything from iTunes to filesharing to artist development to vinyl to Pitchfork to licensing… Here’s my favorite part:

Chris Swanson (Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian): Are many of you guys having luck making money on singles? Or is it primarily an artist-development tool?
Maggie Vail (Kill Rock Stars): Singles for us are always about development.
Portia Sabin (Kill Rock Stars): A weird thing for us is that, no matter what song off an album we give away as a free MP3, that song is always the most-purchased song off that album.
Robb Nansel (Saddle Creek): Same here, Portia.
Gerard Cosloy (Matador): Same thing happens to us.
Darius Van Arman (Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian): We have the exact same experience.
Mac McCaughan (Merge): That’s “the single” to people.
Robb Nansel (Saddle Creek): So we should just all give away all of our albums!
Carrie Brownstein (NPR): Problem solved!
Maggie Vail (Kill Rock Stars): We do; we can’t help it.

The funny thing is that we’re noticed that same trend even on our small scale with Glorious Noise Records. The songs we give away for free are consistently the ones that sell the most via iTunes and emusic. (Well, that was true anyway until Riviera‘s “Golden Lies” was used in an episode of a show on A&E. Since July, we sold over 60 copies of that song via iTunes alone, which is about ten times more than any other song we’ve released.)

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New Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine

MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Josephine” from Josephine, due July 21 on Secretly Canadian.

“I’ve turned your life so upside-down / I don’t know how you stayed or why.” So begins the title track from Jason Molina‘s latest album. Doesn’t sound like he’s breaking much new ground here, but why should he? It’s a great sound, sad and reflective, but there’s an underlying glimmer of hope tucked away behind those overdriven guitar amps that are buried in the mix under the piano. “I lived so long with the shadows, lord, I became one of them / Oh what a fool I’ve been.”

If you haven’t yet given this band a chance, they share a bunch of MP3s, which you can find (along with summer tour dates) after the jump… I highly recommend “Leave the City,” which will break your heart. But of all my great reasons for leaving, now I can’t think of any…

Magnolia Electric Co.: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Continue reading New Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine