Music Production

Sammy Tenuta's Acoustic Sleepover EP

Sammy Tenuta's just released Acoustic Sleepover EP is a four-song collection that showcases two very different sides of the singer-songwriter. Two of the tracks, "Places" and "Sweet Goodbyes", are melodically beautiful pop songs that tell personal stories, but stories that almost everyone has lived. Compelling and emotional, both tracks have the haunting melodic touch that is a hallmark of many of Tenuta's songs. The other two tracks on the EP ("Liberty Falls" and "Til Then I Wait") show the harder side of Tenuta's writing, even in this acoustic setting. Acoustic Sleepover was recorded by Art Rento, who also produced the four tracks with Tenuta, and the two manage to find a careful balance between the simplicity of the acoustic format and the appeal of tastefully added arrangment.

The release party for the project is Saturday, June 18 at The Playroom, (773 625-5300), and aotpr.com favorite Allison Wonderlin will open the show (starting around 8PM). She'll be playing a number of her originals, like "I Believe" and "Hopes Will Fall", and it just might be the last chance to catch her live before she leaves for Nashville.

Sammy Tenuta plays again on June 24 at noon at the Thompson Center, 100 E. Randolph, and Acoustic Sleepover is at cdbaby (CD and mp3), and at Amazon.

Hearts and Minds

Claire

Claire's new EP Release "Hearts and Minds" in many ways completes her transition from major label artist to self-managed independent. This is her third independent release, and like many artists in tune with both what changes and what stays the same, she's increasingly adapted her release approach to the digital-friendly EP. Hearts and Minds is a three-song collage of where her music is now, including flawlessly produced recordings with writing partner Tommy G ("A Long Goodbye" and "Winds of Change") and a beat-driven mid-tempo track with 'ohana Dreamdance producer Johnny Nevin ("Wouldn't It").

Claire came by Heart & Soul to talk about the EP's release -- about how the songs came to be, who was in on the project, and a lot more. “The EP is about balance or the lack of it,” she says. “In these songs, either the heart or the mind is in control – but you need them both working in unison to make choices for real happiness." Here's the ten minute interview, most definitely worth a listen to get a look inside the exceptionally creative mind of Claire Massey -----

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You can find much more about Claire at planetclaire.com, and you can hear Hearts and Minds at cdbaby. We also have another podcast about the production of "Wouldn't It" right here, and you can hear the entire track in the aotpr.com story "Wouldn't It" from Claire's New Hearts & Minds EP".

Black Light Saints SXSW

Black Light Saints

The first Black Light Saints album, Impossible Picks, is streetwise and edgy, so until you hear it a few times, you only feel, but don't realize, how carefully they build their musical thoughts. Since completing the album, they've picked up Danny Lucero and Fonz and have been playing those don't-wait-too-long-to-see-them shows that you can only ever find when a really good new band comes along. They've got one at the Art Institute After Dark Friday the 11th, and then they're on the road, in on the South By Southwest madness in Austin at Cedar Street on Wednesday (March 15) and the next night in San Antonio at Limelight.

The band has also kept up the heat on the recording side --- there's a new web-exclusive release at dopecouture.com, and their first remix package is being put together now.

Britton Wetherald and Dan Agosto (producer of Impossible Picks) stopped by Heart & Soul to talk about all of this --- about how it all got started and why, and about where it's going now. Here's what they had to say:

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All the while, Impossible Picks keeps getting more attention, like when Kate Stahl is doing a story at popsugar.com about fashion designer Christina Fan and has this to say: "Fan let us in on some of her favorite Chicago things — and even introduced me to awesome new Chicago band Black Light Saints". Black Light Saints' Impossible Picks is at Amazon, Amazon U.K. and iTunes. You'll love it.

Genre Defiance From Hay Perro

Hay Perro (Photo by Phillip Batta)

Hay Perro's "Eastern Ideas of Death" is out now, and the word about it is starting to go around. Here's an excerpt from a great interview with Chris Grubbs, lead singer for Hay Perro, that just appeared in The Illinois Entertainer: "Hay Perro is unknown to most of you right now, but you’d be doing yourself an enormous favor by changing that and listening to the scorching Eastern Ideas Of Death ... the absolute essence of the sound Hay Perro has crafted during its five-year existence: intricate heavy-metal — dual-guitar harmonies everywhere — played with madcap punk-rock ferocity."

Divide-and-conquer compartments are perfect for large media organizations; they can take polls, confiscate private information, and hire focus groups, and then use all that data to make entertainment they own outright and can market to death --- but it's definitely not the best way to make music. Hay Perro may be a metal band that leans toward punk, or maybe they're a punk band that loves metal, but whatever they are, they play what they play because that's how it ended up when they made the music. Here are a couple of examples of the music they make, both from the just-released Eastern Ideas. First, more of a metal vibe, from the title track, "Eastern Ideas of Death":

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Then, more on the punk side with this excerpt from "He's From Norway":

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For a nine-song ride through Hay Perro's world of punk-metal genre defiance, check out "Eastern Ideas of Death", at Amazon or iTunes, or get a copy you can really own at the Release Party at Quenchers at 9PM on March 11. Besides seeing a great band, you can enjoy this part too: nothing defies the media dictatorship more successfully than being open-minded.

Hay Perro Finish "Eastern Ideas of Death"

Hay Perro (Photo by Phillip Batta)

Hay Perro finished mixing and mastering their new album "Eastern Ideas of Death", a relentlessly unapologetic multi-stop tour through two different countries --- metal and punk. After completing guitar and vocal overdubs at Get Small, producer Dan Agosto mixed and mastered the album with the band at Heart & Soul. "Eastern Ideas of Death" captures Hay Perro in a perfectly timed series of we-play-what-we-want excursions. "Ride the Laser" feels like you could be in a packed-to-the-beams punk club, but then there are songs like the title track that are more metal, with drummer Emily Agosto laying down a big-kit (she doesn't actually play a big kit, she just plays it as if it was a big kit when they lean metal) tom groove under a series of harmony lead lines.

None of this sounds like different styles when they put it together --- it sounds like Hay Perro. Chris Grubbs puts a careful and powerful thought-picture into his lyrics and lead vocals, Brian Gonas' guitar adds perspective as much as raw drive. "Eastern Ideas of Death" is due out in the Spring, according to the the band's site (hayperro.com), but you shouldn't have to wait quite that long to hear some of this, we may have a track to post in the next week or so.

The Many Textures of Deep Earth

Deep Earth --- James Shaver, Otto Junker and Tony Janas

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Deep Earth can put imagination into musical form about as well as anybody. They write long, spacious instrumentals that spiral through whole spectrums of musical ideas, and they've just finished mastering their third album (their second with the current line-up of James Shaver, Otto Junker, and Tony Janas) with Dan Agosto at Heart & Soul. We're posting a short excerpt of their track "Pamplemousse", one of five tracks on the LP. "We usually start writing with something as simple as a drum loop, maybe a synth loop, and then we layer from there" is the way James explains it. Although the tracks are instrumentals, with their unique ability to develop, and then morph through creative ideas, Deep Earth always manages to convey their soundscape-like visions with the clarity of voice. The album will be out on vinyl in the next couple of months, and until then, check back here, we'll have more.

Black Light Saints Finish Mixing Impossible Picks EP

Dan Agosto was at Heart & Soul Studios all last week completing the mixing and mastering for an exceptional debut EP by Black Light Saints, and even though he only delivered the masters on Sunday, there's already a great review on the EP out of the UC Berkeley paper The Daily Californian --- but more on that in a minute. I can't post the link to the review until I explain a couple of things, even though it was pretty amazing. "In Impossible Picks, Black Light Saints know what the electronic genre begs for and deliver it in 27 minutes of hypnotic synths and infectious bass" is the way Daily Californian writer Cynthia Kang closes the first paragraph of her well-written review, and she goes on, even more enthusiastically.

Black Light Saints:
Excerpts from "What Happens Next", "Baby Girl" and "Cattle Skull"
from Impossible Picks

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Glass Bricks Mastering Their New Record “Craquelure”

Glass Bricks

Glass Bricks is in aotpr’s Heart & Soul Studio with Dan Agosto mastering their new eight song rekkrd “Craquelure”, which was produced by Nick Broste at the Shape Shoppe this spring. The tracks are really cool double-vocal pop, featuring Kate Walsh and Abby Glogower, but we can’t possibly improve on the description they have on their Myspace; here it is: “the foursome blends the saccharine sincerity of 60s girl groups with the peppy bravado of 70s power-pop and the occasional psychedelic meandering.”

‘ohana Dreamdance “Time Now (Piano)” Free Download

‘ohana Dreamdance’s “Time Now Choreography Mixes” release features both of the tracks composed for choreographer Lizzie MacKenzie. The full original score is the Time Now MacKenzie Choreography Mix; it’s an arrangement of the two original tracks “Time Now” and “Some Time” that ‘ohana Dreamdance producers Dan Agosto and Johnny Nevin wrote for the Extensions Dance Company performance. Besides the Choreography mix and the two original tracks, the release includes a four minute Piano-only version, which is now available as a free download from All Over The Place Records distributor IODA (the Independent Online Digital Alliance).

IODA runs a service called Promonet. It provides access to sample tracks from many IODA distributed labels, and makes them available to bloggers and review sites, as well as to IODA distributed labels, like All Over The Place.

The download is coming from IODA Promonet, and the link is pasteable into a lot of different social media locations: by all means copy any of the links (but especially the free download link) as much as you wantl. (In Windows, right-click, on a Mac, Control-click the icon and Copy Link. Here it is:

Time Now Choreography Mixes - EP
Time Now (Piano) Free Download (mp3)

Amazon ••••• iTunes Music Store ••••• Napster

More On This Album from IODA Promonet
More about 'ohana Dreamdance from IODA Promonet

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