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Swimming Bell's "1988" is an authentic folk vision, plays Trans-Pecos 4.6

Swimming Bell, the solo project of Brooklyn-based songwriter Katie Schottland, found its start in 2015, after Schottland broke her foot and used the downtime to learn guitar. Perhaps a consequence of her homespun background in recording and composition, Swimming Bell’s music is endowed with a rare authenticity, creating raw, unfettered folk songs from memories of people and places past. Her newest effort “1988” is the latest example of this craft, accompanied by a video that seeks to recreate the innocent wonder of childhood against lush acoustics and overdubbed vocals. And as the first single from her forthcoming LP, Wild Sight, it demonstrates a focused, fresh approach to folk ahead of the album's release later this spring.

Schottland will return to New York on April 6th to perform a record release show at Trans-Pecos, supported by Monteagle, Pale Mara, and Andrew Victor. Until then, you can watch the video fro “1988” below. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt)





Haulm craft brooding, minimal synthpop on "Posture," play SXSW

Posture, the sophomore EP by Brooklyn's atmospheric synthpop duo Haulm, features an aged desert landscape contained within a thick white border. It’s a perfect fit for the brooding, dark, and spartan work laid down over the release’s five tracks; one can almost picture an unknown beast slouching from the sandy landscape against the dissonant keys of Reed Kackley, as JT Norton’s distant, almost fugue-state vocals weaves in and out. It’s an EP oozing with atmosphere that’s curated using relatively few musical elements, and speaks volumes to Haulm’s penchant for fine tuning sparse synths and the human voice into engaging, mysterious soundscapes.

You can catch Haulm at SXSW on March 12th and 15th - until then, stream Posture below. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt)





Ziemba invites listeners to to utopia with concept album Ardis, 04.04/ 06.06

Most bands chose to include a visual element with a new release, but while it's normal to expect album artwork or a music video, few would also expect to receive a scented candle as a part of the package. Rene Zladzyk of Ziemba delivers all three items with her project Ardis, an all encompassing "brain-pop" electronic project that imagines a futuristic utopia, complete with fragrance to match. Drawing on her own interest in feminist geography (and the sound of classic Brian Eno albums from the mid '70s), Zladzyk beckons listeners into the fully realized world of Ardis, but the songs themselves reveal that not all is as it seems, in paradise. Instead, the tracks reflect back on our world, illuminating the faults of Earth in contrast to what could be. The Ardis project is a triage - part one was released on February 12th, with parts two and three to follow on April 4th and June 6th. Check out the first installment, and the world of Ardis, below. - Sunny Betz





Lina Tullgren plays the Pedals & Synth Expo's unofficial SXSW showcase on 03.15

Hailing from Queens, Lina Tullgren plays music that almost denies this geography and origin. Whether it’s her collaborations or solo material, the music from this DIY artist rarely conforms to the ideas of the moment or regional trends, without using the kitchen sink approach to experimentation. Thrashing drums and guitars that are simultaneously gritty and pristine can sneak up on you, whereas Tullgren’s vocals dip into emo territory at times and are the gravitational center for every song; these compositions are so powerful because of their disparate elements and how they resemble genres we know, but are blended in unexpected ways in her music. The even more surprising part is how these uncomfortably surreal songs harmonize together, reaching a point where these funeral marches are equal halves of hypnotic and skin-crawling. It’s music that beckons us to go deeper into the void, and you'll be able to see it live on March 15 at the upcoming unofficial SXSW show linked to our Austin Synth and Pedal Expo - more info soon! - Tucker Pennington





CLAVVS plays SXSW + celebrates EP release at the Knit on 03.29

The Brooklyn dream-pop duo known as CLAVVS has always had their feet squarely planted in the realm of electronic soul-pop. Swaying soundscapes and luscious vocals were synthesized into a potent formula. Yet with this recent run of new singles to promote their upcoming EP No Saviors, the pair have cracked open new patterns to make their distinct ideas sound infinitely more versatile. Lay Back adds a baroque flourish (reminiscent of some Tricky's best ideas) that crashes down like a waterfall of strings, while the title track (streaming below) bursts with polyrhythms and self-assured brashness. Retaining their hazy aura and breaking out of the dream pop bubble with exuberance is a balancing act that CLAVVS pulls off with the utmost ease. - Tucker Pennington

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