15th Anniversary Compilation Album
Grand Hallway is an eight piece orchestral pop band from Seattle, Washington. Featuring singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama and various members of local favorites Voyager One, the Maldives, Sleepy Eyes of Death, Widower, and Shenandoah Davis, Grand Hallway's lush, baroque pop songs evoke influences such as The Smiths, Andrew Bird, the Beach Boys, and Nina Simone. Since their inception in 2006, they have self-released two full-lengths (2007's "Yes is the Answer" and 2009's "Promenade"), and an EP ("We Flew Ephemera", 2008). "Yes is the Answer" was also released in Japan by Sideout Records (Bright Eyes, Nada Surf, Cursive, The Velvet Teen).
In the years following the release of their debut album and the follow up EP, Grand Hallway honed their live show with tours of the US and Japan (with Arthur and Yu and Shugo Tokumaru), sold-out shows at local venues such as Neumo's, Tractor Tavern, and the Triple Door, and performances at the Sasquatch! and Bumbershoot Festivals, building a solid and loyal fanbase along the way.
Grand Hallway's sophomore album, "Promenade", was recorded at Studio Litho in the fall of 2008 with engineer Shawn Simmons. Refining and expanding upon the chamber-pop sound of their debut album, "Promenade" finds Grand Hallway maturing into a dynamic ensemble with an utterly unique musical vision. Bathed in lush layers of piano, violins, banjo and mandolin, "Promenade" tells a fractured narrative of the dissolution of one relationship and the beginning of another; each story narrated by Nakayama in an unabashedly romantic and naked lyrical voice. The ten songs incorporate elements of Beatlesque melodicism, Japanese and European folk, African polyrhythm, Classical Minimalism, Country&Western;, lush Orchestral Pop, Post-Rock, and even a dash of Doo-Wop.
For more information about Grand Hallway, please visit their official website.
The Invisible Cities began in 2001 in San Francisco when Han Wang (guitars, vocals) met Sadie Contini (guitars, vocals) on craigslist.org — for music, not for dating. The duo then started collaborating with band members in San Francisco and in New York, including Han’s brother Gary Wang (bass, arrangements) and Tim Bulkley (drums). With the help of many friends, the band’s first album, Watertown, came out in 2004 and was praised on many best-of-the-year lists. Playing regularly around the city, the Invisible Cities won the award for “Best Indie Pop Band” in the 2005 San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Reader Poll. With the addition of singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura on guitar, the band recorded basic tracks for their second album, Houses Shine Like Teeth, at New, Improved Recording in Oakland, CA and Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The remote collaboration between San Francisco and New York required the band to work in a new way, and as a result much of the recording took place in the homes of the various band members, building upon and editing each other’s work like a musical version of exquisite corpse.
For more information about The Invisible Cities, please visit their official website.
For the last four years, From Monument To Masses has left the world waiting patiently for “new noise”. After spending the past several years touring the US, Japan, the UK, continental Europe, and the Russian Federation, the time has finally arrived for the band’s next chapter. The newest FMTM full-length, “On Little Known Frequencies” finds the band expanding on its genre-busting brand of rock with 8 new tracks recorded and produced by Seattle’s Matt Bayles. The new record continues the program set forth by the band’s most recent releases—2003’s “The Impossible Leap in One Hundred Simple Steps.” and 2005’s “Schools of Thought Contend.”—by delivering an unrelenting fusion of the creativity and experimentalism of post- and progressive rock with the band’s unique pop sensibility, making it possible for listeners to think and dance at the same time. To make it happen, FMTM’s instrumental exploration ventures out from the traditional guitars, drums, and synths set-up to incorporate seemingly unlikely sound sources such as string sections, turntables, and choral arrangements.
For more information about FMTM, please visit their official website.
Goh Nakamura is a San Francisco Bay Area based musician who writes ditties about parking tickets, impossible crushes and faraway dreamlands. With one foot in the traditional troubadour world and another in the digital age, he performs at venues small, large, and virtual, to an enthusiastic and ever growing audience. A fortuitous 2007 feature on YouTube's front page brought his music videos over a million views and earned him a huge new fanbase from all over the world.
Goh's talents have also found a home in the film industry. Goh's vocals and guitar work are featured prominently on the scores to Ridley Scott films A Good Year and, most recently, American Gangster. His song "Daylight Savings" is included on the soundtrack to the Robert Benton film Feast of Love, starring Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear. More recently Goh wrote the trailer song for David Boyle’s White On Rice, and his music is featured prominently in Patrick Epino’s film, Mr. Sadman.
For more information about Goh Nakamura, please visit his official website.
Kite Operations is a New York based noise and free-jazz influenced rock band which formed in 2003. Its members are Joseph Kim (vocals and guitar), David Yang (guitar and vocals), Jie Whoon Kang (bass), and Andrew Blanchard (drums). The band has released three full-length albums: Dandelion Day (2005), Heart Attacks, Back to Back… (2007), and Festival (2009). They have toured in 11 of the United States, 1 province in Canada, and Seoul, Korea.
For more information about Kite Operation, please visit their official website.
Dreamdate get right to down to business, by brightening our day with their short, snappy tunes. BFF’s Yea-Ming Chen and Anna Hillburg play jangly, lo-fi indie pop often with dreamy vocal harmonies. The overall sound of Dreamdate can readily be spoken of in the same breath as early '90s crushworthy indie pop a la Lois, cub and Tiger Trap. Their songs are, for the most part, up-tempo odes to not-so-simple pleasures and guilt, you know the things that make truly great pop songs.
For more information about Dreamdate, please visit their official website.
"Jack Tung's songs are precisely composed instrumentals performed by Jack alone in real-time on an electric guitar, a drum machine, synthesizers, and a sampler. His moody aesthetic is equally informed by the exhilarating and harsh thrash of his youth in the Long Island hardcore scene, and by the atmospheric film soundtracks absorbed as a lifelong cinephile. In live performance, Jack uses no pre-recorded parts and no backing tracks, save for the spare drum machine patterns which propel his arrangements. His precise execution and control of multiple layers of sound is a feat to witness."
For more information about Jack Tung, please visit his official website.
Scrabbel was formed in 1999 by two old high school friends Dan Lee and Becky Barron. They released their first full length, self titled CD in 2001, and it was rated 4 out of 5 stars in the All Music Guide and the SF Weekly's review called it "a Sgt. Pepper's for the twee set". In 2002, the duo split up, but Dan Lee continued to work under the name Scrabbel. Highly influenced by all things '65 to '75, Dan drew upon his love for bands like the Beatles, Love, the Who, the Zombies, Bowie, and T Rex to create the follow up. The new recordings sought the help of guest musicians: Alicia Vanden Heuval (Aislers Set), Pete Nguyen (Total Shutdown), and Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor). But the most important change was the addition of Hellen Jo, whose cello is featured throughout the CD. Released by Three Ring Records in 2005, the follow up CD, titled 1909, is leaps and bounds beyond the first record. The music embodies new arrangements to accompany the standard guitar, bass, and drums lineup. There are 808 beats, clarinet, and of course, cello and violin to add a unique layer of texture to these songs. Every song promises to be different from the last, but still manages to be a cohesive collection of songs that make up the new album, 1909. Scrabbel also released an EP of cover songs titled Hijacked Tunes, which was named by Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) as one of this favoreite records of the year.
For more information, please visit their website.
Odessa Chen's singular musical vision is not easily categorized. She approaches songs of love, longing, and displacement with accomplished lyrics, and unusual song structures. Aspects of folk, classical, and indie rock converge to make music that requires quiet attention. Described as intelligent, subtle, and haunting, Odessa's pure, ethereal voice and finger-picking guitar style has drawn comparisons to Jeff Buckley, Sigur Ros, Nina Nastasia, and Cat Power. A former poetry major, she has studied classical voice and cello, and sung in early music choirs. A self-taught guitarist, she grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and currently has a new record set to release in 2010.
For more information about Odessa Chen, please visit her official website.
Born Robert Choy, Big Phony is a singer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. Off stage Big Phony is simply known to his friends and family as “Bobby.” Big Phony delivers honest lyrics and natural talent. There’s a fragile but controlled quality in his voice, which he attributes to thin apartment walls and easily disgruntled neighbors. Fans of Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, and Death Cab For Cutie will instinctively gravitate towards Big Phony’s sound. His latest project “Kicking Punching Bags” is set to release early 2010.
For more information about Big Phony, please visit his official website.
XYZR_KX (Pronounced ‘Scissor Kicks’) is Jon Monteverde, Chicago-based indie-rock/electro-pop wunderguy. With this project, Monteverde redefines the boundaries of the traditional pop song by simultaneously incorporating hushed vocals, serrated guitars, and chaotic beats. Described by Giant Robot magazine as a ” One-man band Jon Monteverde includes a cast of contributors in his latest indie- electronica opus, which ranges in sound from metal-machine free jazz to Star Wars droids talking to ambient sounds off the street to what might be acoustic Tropicalia. It's hard to pin down Monteverde into any genre, but the one constant is his vocals. When he chooses to sing, he shows the same delicacy as Ben Gibbard and the same soul as Tae Won Yu. Enigmatic yet pleasing."
For more information about XYZR_KX, please visit his official website.
Part Animal Part Machine. Those are the words scrawled across Jason Jesse's back and a phrase well suited to describe San Francisco’s Peter Nguyen AKA The Gold Medalists. Famed as the drummer monster behind noise/metalheads Total Shutdown and indie-rockers eE, Nguyen (pronounced Win) has released his debut album, The City Lights Us on Fire, to the world, and woe to those who turn a deaf ear. Guest appearances on The City Lights Us on Fire are as vast as the sounds on the record itself and include stellar contributions from Nate Denver (Total Shutdown, Nate Denver's Neck), Che Chou (eE), Paul Allan (Sounds of the Barbary Coast, NAM, Houndstooth and the Wolfhounds), George Chen (Boxleitner, K.I.T., 7 Year Rabbit Cycle) and one giraffe-face breaking scream from Mark Whiteley (editor of Slap Skateboarding Magazine).
For more information about The Gold Medalists, please visit the official website.