EL VY Proves to Be More Than Just a Side Project, with Debut Release, “Return to the Moon”

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The much buzzed about EL VY creates an inspiring album, Return to the Moon, out now via 4AD. Consisting mainly of Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls/Menomena, what the duo creates is something honest, heartfelt, and truly unique.

Like when all high profiled musicians break off from their main band, there seems to be a bit of a back and forth skeptical reaction that travels throughout the internet. I believe it was in Pitchfork that I had read a blurb stating that Berninger and Knopf were “incompatible” as musicians. To be honest, yes, they kind of are incompatible as musicians; but on the bright side, that is exactly what makes this combination work well.

The first two singles shined light on the blending of two parties; first with “Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo)” and the follow up “I’m the Man to Be.” The first singles were definitely a departure from Berninger’s deep and heavy sounds of The National, but it allowed us to see a more upbeat version of what he has to offer. Knopf on the other hand, brings a stunning element of instrumentation to the table that sometimes provides a lively vibe, and other times, a haunting and unusual sound. The mixture of these elements seem to work completely, as they weave throughout each track of the record.

The biggest misconception that a listener can have going into this, is that it’s going to sound like a “National” record. It’s not. Then Berninger would just be working on National songs right now (Right? Right.). What would be the point? The voice is there, but the content isn’t always as heavy. You’re going to dance, you’re still going to get depressed as hell, and you are going to love every moment of it.

Releasing a series of lyric videos directed by the multi-talented Tom Berninger, it provides multiple songs with an intimate look to capture your attention even more. Tracks such as “Happiness Missouri” bring a haunting, yet determined sound into play, while harmonies fill the album in pieces such as “Silent Ivy Hotel,” or the chilling musicianship of “Paul is Alive.” Songs such as “No Time to Crank the Sun,” offers up Matt’s signature delicate crooning, as “Need a Friend,” shares a more vibrant sound, that brings Knopf’s intricate brand of musicianship to the table. Together they create a truly special musical experience within Return to the Moon.

Each piece on the record is strong enough to stand on their own, which is perhaps why the group decided to release a track one at a time leading into the record. Return to the Moon is perhaps the finest record of 2015; mark my word.

EL VY is currently on tour, recently kicking off their Eastern U.S. dates, with two stops in New York. Friday at Bowery Ballroom, and Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. See you there kids.

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A is for Atom Releases the Stunning “Song for You”

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A is for Atom is the brainchild of Mike Cykoski. Recently releasing his latest EP, Song for You, the Brooklyn transplant creates a phenomenal record that will catch your attention immediately. For those who are fans of bands such as The National and The Flaming Lips, A is for Atom creates a sound that is truly unique and certainly pleases the ears.

Cykoski is strongly inspired by songcraft and the art of composing. He enrolled in the prestigious NYU music technology master’s degree program, later taking courses at the world renowned Julliard, and expanding his horizons by completing certificates for Harvest Works and Dubspot, further exploring his interest in electronic music.

It was there at NYU that Mike met his producer Julian Cassia in a film scoring class. Julian was quite taken with Cykoski’s compositions and had a great appreciation for his writing style as well as his international aesthetic perspective. Described as having “tastefully ethnic flourishes and, at times, some sturdy Brit-pop hooks,” the project began when Mike finished his master’s thesis and landed a steady job, making him both optimistic and introspective.

On his recent release, Song For You, he provides an outward expression, with songs that prove to be lively and upbeat.

A standout piece from the EP is the title track, “Song for You,” which Cykoski refers to as a ‘break up theme,’ stemming from his divorce. His haunting vocals swirl throughout the track which resonates throughout. His talent for combining emotional driven lyrics with stunning composition, shines through with “Song for You,” as well as every track on the EP. Check out the single below!

A is for Atom “Song for You”
https://soundcloud.com/aisforatom/02-a-is-for-atom-a-song-for-you-song-for-you-ep?in=aisforatom/sets/song-for-you-ep

Postcards From Jeff Debuts the Stunning Single, “A House”

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Life in the sticks can be seriously strange. From Myxomatosis-stricken rabbits to agoraphobic house parties, Postcards From Jeff offers a brutally honest perspective of looking out from windswept valleys to neighboring city lights. Making a U.S. launch with the single, “A House,” the song is taken from the melodic explorer’s recent self-titled debut EP.

Recorded in the heart of rural Yorkshire between producer duties for other artists, Postcards From Jeff plays, records, and mixes his songs himself. His identity is that of a skilled musical manipulator engineering cinematic songscapes from old synths, electronic and organic drum kits, and heavily processed guitars into stunning ‘postcards’ that blinker on the horizon like Morse code messages to the outside world.

“A House” appears alongside four further tracks on the EP, with a full length album slated for early 2015. “Ninety percent of the songs came from me experimenting with ideas early in the morning whilst I was half awake,” he explains. “I think that dream-like state contributes a lot to the general mood.”

Musically speaking, Postcards From Jeff’s boundaries are limitless. Across each track far flung folk, electronica, country, krautrock and pop are seamlessly brought together through a sonically curious adventure owing as much of a debt to Weilheim band The Notwist as to Ohio’s The National or even as far as Canada through channeling Neil Young. With praise and plays from the likes of John Peel and Steve Lamacq behind him, as well as video plays on MTV2 for past musical endeavors under another guise, Postcards From Jeff’s musically inquisitive mind comes with a newfound confidence, and this EP is just the start of what’s set to become an exciting new journey.