laughingstock is a Bellingham based, (predominantly) folk-rock band that formed in 2016. Consisting of Aiken Muller, Alex Lanin-Eaves, and Josh Hughes, the band is set to release their debut album Thank You, Laughingstock on July 20th through Flat Field Records. The album navigates through all three songwriters’ distinct styles while adhering to an overall sound that fits somewhere between The Shins, Wolf Parade, and Pinegrove.
All three members sing and— at various points— play drums on the album, and Muller and Lanin-Eaves both take on guitar and bass duties. Hughes, the main drummer, also plays keys throughout the album. The entire project was recorded in their home studio The Milk Bar and produced and mixed by Lanin-Eaves and Muller.
“Thank You, Laughingstock” follows the release of two singles, “Heavier” and “Whirlpool/Father’s Eyes” and an electronic EP by Muller and Hughes that was also released on Flat Field Records in 2017. The ten-track album features lyrics about revelations in a Walmart parking lot, a missed encounter with Angel Olsen, and a mysterious boat-owning girl. The arrangements span everything from spare, acoustic ballads to jangly guitar rock to ambient, spoken word breakdowns.
Subviola’s Dustmites Depend On Us / Vinir okkar rykmaurarnir, is a three track EP showing a harder edge with a noisier, industrial aesthetic. The work sonifies the tension and anxiety of witnessing a civilization hell-bent on self destruction from the point of view of the lowly dustmite. Being dependent on their human hosts, dustmites have much to be concerned about for the future of their species. With the recent global spread of corrupt authoritarianism, human rights abuses, climate change, and nuclear weapons proliferation, the feeling of helplessness is palpable in the tracks. Can humans learn from our friends and fellow travelers the dustmite? Only time will tell, hence the temporality referenced in the track names.
Recorded long-distance in Seattle and Reykjavík in 2017, the titles of the release and tracks are in both Icelandic and English.
Subviola is an electro-acoustic experimental noise project by Icelandic sound artist Hilmar Bjarnason and American transmedia artist David W. Halsell. The collaboration formed in 2005 in Pittsburgh, PA and performed one (now legendary) show at the historic Kresge Theater. After re-forming in 2015 after a ten-year hiatus, the duo work remotely from Reykjavík and Seattle.
Subviola is an audio collaboration between Hilmar Bjarnason and David W. Halsell. Their initial recording, No Defects explores the intersections and boundaries of culture, noise, and place by manipulating field recordings from urban and rural spaces of the American Midwest.
Field recordings by the duo of railroad locomotives, country meadows, industrial spaces, and Appalachian folk musicians were transformed into washes of protracted and convolving sounds punctuated by disjointed rhythms and vocalizations. These recordings were manipulated and combined with in-studio recordings and experiments by Subviola.
This work sought to reflect the artists’ experiences while living in the economically depressed post-industrial “rust belt” and the widespread disillusion in the myths of American industrial and social history. The ironic title for the recordings, No Defects, comes from the most common radio messages in the automated system of status reports of railroad lines.
“This sound collage, or more appropriately, musique concrète- descended experiment (in the artist’s words, the ingredients are remixed dub-style) features nine selections cohering into one long dose of numbers stations-infused sonic unease. The individual tracks do work in isolation, with the espionage-laden titles (“The Bulgarian Incident,” “Rendezvous, Gomal E-7,” “The Russo-Angolan Operation”) reinforcing Halsell’s divisions as far from arbitrary; the layering in late selection “The Arctic Van Allen Haarp” is impressive. Conet Project fans, take note. B+” – The Vinyl District
Funkenspiel is a nine-track experiment in sound architecture that reaches into the darkest depths of our tech-weary psyches. Paranoid anti-pop for those trying to find meaning in the ruins of both popular culture and society, Funkenspiel is the sound of spies, satellites, and space weather. The recording is a composition in the musique concrète tradition by multimedia artist and award-winning filmmaker David W. Halsell (SpokAnarchy).
1. Ionosphere and Guidance
2. The Bulgarian Incident
3. The Torkham Opportunity
4. Rendezvous: Gomal E-7
5. Lo Wu Control Point
6. The Russo-Angolan Operation
7. Telstar Tropical Spherics
8. The Arctic Van Allen Haarp
9. Goodnight, Dark Knight
Assembled from found and artist-made recordings, most notably the mysterious “numbers stations” that are commonly believed to be tools of international espionage. Originally recorded as a sound installation in 2005, it has never been released.
David W. Halsell began working in music as the leader of a noise band in Spokane, WA in the mid-80s, and has played recordings of his compositions for audiences internationally.
Regarding his interest in the “numbers stations”: “These enigmatic transmissions are an overlapping territoriality of social influence between the social, machinistic, and political realms,” he says. “Natural and man-made radio waves envelope us constantly, generating variable definitions and meaning of what is signal and what is noise. Funkenspiel thematically considers the politics of control in information transmission, the interplay and significance of noise in a sonic environment, and the metaphorical implications of the body/voice being awash in a constant flow of encoded information in radio signals.”
The title of the work is a variation on “funkspiel” (radio-play), a technique used in WWII by both German and Russian forces in which foreign agents and transmitters were manipulated into treasonous activities; “funkenspiel” can be translated literally as transmitter-play or spark-play.
Funkenspiel debuted at Control Acoustics, the Zeppelin 2005 Sound Projects Festival, Barcelona, Spain and was exhibited at Digital Art Weeks 2006, ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zürich, Switzerland, Madrid Abierto 2007, Madrid, Spain, and performed at the 2005 Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
laughingstock is a new Bellingham, WA-based dreampop duo who weave dramatic and dynamic harmonies over lush guitar and keyboards, reinforced with electronic beats. The vocal duties are split between the two members, Aiken Muller and Josh Hughes, lyrically exploring the secret lives of fictional characters. With the duo’s back and forth vocal parts, these characters’ inner dialogues of love, hopes, dreams, and fears are reflected on.
The lead-off track “Counting Stains” is a delicate rumination on a relationship gone bad, with the stains on the carpet stand-ins for troubled times as the narrator recounts them obsessively in his mind. A subtle but keen sense of humor along with a palpable ennui inhabit these songs, circling slowly around the artist’s anxieties for the future.
Aiken self-produced the record, an ambitious undertaking for a new artist, but typical for him as he throws himself headlong into the deep end with his crafts, including theater training and audio engineering. The two are adding a third member to the band and working on a full-length for later this year.
Kelli Frances Corrado is a quilt of memories and mysticism. Growing up in Chicago, she would sneak out during school nights to see hip hop shows and spend weekends learning prayer rituals taught by a Romani grandmother. This set a unique musical foundation, leading her to pursue opera training, string arranger, beat making and classical poetry. Giving voice to her spiritual beliefs. These patches of history bring together a musical broth of magical realism and urban life ripe of lucid dreams and superstition.
With current release Book of Echoes, Kelli Frances explores deeper into the legacy and stories of angels. And how ancient lesson can be learned again and again. Empowering and giving courage in the dark of betrayal, disillusionment, grief and death. Book of Echoes is her first concept release, each song is dedicated to an Arc angel and a healing lesson.
First single- The Roses Courage, a track inspired by the Arc Angel Michael with video by visionary Allyce Andrew who did previous video, Lonely Samba Style, features professional female skaters and was filmed in the legendary, now defunct women owned Seattle strip club, The Lusty Lady. The Roses Courage was premiered on Oct. 8, 2016 at Seattle’s own Sunset Tavern as a part of the first Female:Pressure and Tom Tom Magazine showcase.
Book of Echoes features a diverse and unique group of musicians: Adrienne Davies on percussion from the thunderous doom metal band Earth, Derek Terran on drums from desert rock band Wind Burial, Jayson Kochan on bass from pysch band Midday Veil, Caitlin Olive with her lush 17 century violin and a collaborative track with techno artist Bardo Basho. All contribute to the landscape. Book of Echoes was written and recorded at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and in Georgetown’s magical ‘Killlroom’ studio with engineer and co-producer Jeffery Mcnulty (Great Falls, Vera Project) at the helm.
Book of Echoes is 7 songs, inspired by 7 Arc angels about 7 healing lessons. 2 additional tracks are supporting stories. With every point of growth comes revelation.
Angel Haniel’s Lantern Story Stranded by Wolves Rafeal Find your Glass Slipper Dear Comfort Angel Gabriel
The Roses Courage Jophiels ladder Michael’s Blue Sword Story Uriel’s Garden Cloud Sanctuary
(Download may not work on some mobile devices, please use a desktop computer.)
All songs written by Kelli Frances Corrado except for Jophiels Ladder which was written by Kelli Frances Corrado and Bardo Basho. Stranded by Wolves features Derek Terran on drums. The Roses Courage and Uriel’s Garden Cloud Sanctuary features Adrienne Davies on percussion. Rafeal and Uriel’s Garden Cloud Sanctuary features Jayson Kochan on bass. Caitlin Olive on violin for all tracks. Mastered and Engineered by Jeffery Mcnulty at the Killroom Studio. Produced by Kelli Frances Corrado and Jefferey Mcnulty. Artwork by Natalie Foss.
George Sarah’s new 3-track EP takes the electronic composer in a more mellow West Coast chillwave sound, with three instrumental tracks that are much more dance floor-friendly and optimistic than the at-times harsh onslaught of his previous release Timelapse. Gentle beats, arpeggiated synths, sweeping pads, and piano make for a lovely experience on the title track “Min and Elsa,” while “Reverence and Unknowing” references a bit of Sarah’s dark industrial past. Side two’s extended 11min. track “Forgotten Animals” has a driving, minimal feel evoking early 80’s electronic music.
RIYL: Tycho, Com Truise, Poolside.
Nightspace is Bailey Skye, who’s darkwave electronic melange is a dense mix of distorted synths and industrial beats, with guttural howls and vocal harmonies woven throughout. They call it “Space Punk.” At once rough and pretty, the sound is disorienting, hypnotic, and danceable. These contradictions and counter-points come through in the music and the stage show– both playful and gritty, androgynous and tough.
The sound is fresh, but reminiscent of 80’s synth and industrial acts, with inspiration drawn from bands like Crystal Castles and The Knife.
“Skye sounds like a multitude. He uses a keyboard and a drum machine to make moody beats… and he’s able to sing in both very high and low registers and self-harmonize with his samples, which had me looking for a second band member. Nightspace’s sound is somehow both languid and frenzied—his performance a carefully choreographed series of movements and expressions that involve his entire body.”–The Seattle Weekly
“The sounds of each song, layered with Ian Curtis–like vocals, promise an interesting and eclectic mix of styles. The synthesized sounds distance him from the status-quo of pop and the expectations of electronic music, allowing him to experiment and delve further into the endless possibilities that they offer. The vocals represent an abstract realism, fracturing the beauty of reality, unapologetically pushing the listener into a realm of deep and dark sounds. The EP represents an unorthodox reality; a distorted vision of what can be achieved within the electronic music genre, the rule book torn up and thrown away, replaced by Nightspace’s distorted vision.”–GIGsoup
Catalog #: FFR008
Release date: October 16, 2015
2. Mean Kids
3. False Priest
“Deliciously seductive, Kelli’s songs get into your head and under your skin, like an obsessive teenage crush.” –Jane Bradley, the girls are magazine
Seattle multi-instrumentalist Kelli Frances Corrado finds her stride in melding her approaches to acoustic and electronic sounds on her sophomore album Shepherdess. By embracing her inner guide and taking risks despite how daunting they may be, the end result is eight tracks featuring a lush blend of ethereal vocals floating over trip-hop-influenced beats and electronically-driven layers of strings, synthesizers, and autoharp.
The beautifully hand-packaged album is set to a limited CD run of 300, released by Flat Field Records. The screen printed image of a shepherdess is designed by Olympia, WA artist China Star, who was solicited by Kelli to produce her own interpretation of a classic 1920s image. Each cellophane wrapped package will be graced with dried flower petals for a delicate nod to Kelli’s romantic, Edwardian-era aesthetic.
“Chimney Sweep vs The King” is accompanied by a haunting video created by Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble (Golden Gardens), which finds our siren in signature gothic garb spooking around an abandoned, remote lighthouse on an archetypal grey Pacific Northwest day. The ears of fans of trip-hop legends Massive Attack will perk up at the first drop of the reverberating beat that shudders through the track, giving foundation to the lilting lyrics. The second single, “Swan Initiative” is a neatly wrapped representation of Kelli’s sound, with its heady esoteric vibe, and serves as her artist statement of having courage in life to trust one’s true self.
The Vera Project’s Jeffrey McNulty (also of EMP Museum; Android Hero) served as a chief consultant, helping to translate Kelli’s digitally-informed ideas into acoustic recordings at the storied Seattle facility. Much of the recording was also handled by Chicago’s Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Fruit Bats) at Engine Studios.
Catalog #: FFR007
Release date: June 17, 2014
1. Case of The Look Arounds
2. Ode to Smokey Bees and Windy Trees
3. Swan Initiative
4. Chimney Sweep vs. The King
5. Mr. and The Lady
7. Lonely, Samba Style
8. Near to Heaven By The Sea
Now accompanied by live violinist Meagan Angus, Kelli’s string of spring performances begins at 7pm on Saturday, May 10th at Georgetown Records for their 10th Anniversary and Art Attack. A celebration for the album release will be held on June 14th at Kelli’s artist loft community building, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle, with a multimedia installation and projections. This night also serves as a kick-off for her California tour in mid-to-late June through the Bay Area and L.A.
George Sarah has had a long history of collaborating with artists such as David J (from Bauhaus, on his previous release), and making sounds in the challenging electronic underground: “When I was younger I was more into the experimental and noisier Industrial bands like Einstürzende Neubauten to Diamanda Galas to Cabaret Voltaire. I was in a band called Stereotaxic Device from 1988 to1992 and then a project called THC. In 1995-1996 I joined Death Ride 69 as a bassist for a US tour opening for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.”
Timelapse is a gorgeously extrapolative collection of music based in the depths of Sarah’s own personal beliefs and experiences, expressed in the vocabulary of music purely made and brilliantly played.
“The electronic-classical hybrid certainly isn’t a new idea, but the way its presented here feels overwhelmingly unique. George Sarah seems to have tapped into his own distinct style and its arrived at the perfect crossroads between the best of electronic, experimental, and classical. … this feels downright revolutionary. … George Sarah already seems to have arrived in the future, which is much more interesting terrain.” —Popmatters.com
“You may not know George Sarah’s name, but chances are you’ve heard his music. Sarah composed for the Beijing Olympics and his work has been heard on shows as varied as CSI and HBO’s ADDICTION. Sarah appeared onscreen as a wedding music conductor in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and collaborated with that series’ costar Anthony Stewart Head on the album MUSIC FOR ELEVATORS.”—Assignment X
Release date: February 18, 2013
Catalog # FFR006CD
1. Golden Mean
2. The Star We Spin Around
4. Flower Of Life
5. Mojave Sundown
6. Three And The Triangle
8. Natural Forms
One of the founders of Flat Field is interviewed by Experience Music Project’s Soundboard blog. The Soundboard is devoted to the NW’s all-ages music/arts scene and was created by EMP Museum to enrich the museum’s teen-based programming.
Picking a favorite song from Twitch And Gloam: Dark Sounds From The Pacific Northwest is about as easy as choosing a favorite Tales From The Crypt episode. The compilation, which comes out on June 18 via Flat Field Records, is a smorgasbord of post-punk, dark electronic, and/or neo-goth from Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver—and every one of the dozen bands featured brings something sick, bleak, and semi-decayed to the table. But the track “Carve Out Your Tongue” by Seattle’s Grave Babies pokes its head a little higher aboveground.
“As a boy growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lynch maintained an idyllic balance– with a twist. Middle America was what it appeared to be. But then on the cherry tree would be this pitch oozing out, some of it black, some of it yellow, and there will millions and millions of read ants racing all over the sticky pitch, all over the tree. So you see, there’s this beautiful world and you just look a little closer and it’s all red ants.” –on David Lynch, “Beautiful Dark” by Greg Olson.
What is it?
An aesthetically-themed collection of 12 tracks from sound collectives possessing music venues + house shows + art + fashion + film-based social rituals in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, B.C.
Def. Verb + Noun:
twitch – to ache sharply from time to time; twinge. + gloam – the time of day immediately following sunset; “he loved the twilight”; “they finished before the fall of night”
A spectre is haunting the Pacific Northwest – the spectre of twitch and gloam. All the powers of old America have entered into an unholy alliance to celebrate this spectre: Celine + D’Argento, Throbbing Gristle + Peter Sotos, French Radicals + German police-spies.
All these small cluster-fucks of mayhem-makers are asking here in Seattle + Portland + Vancouver, B.C. is: Where is the party? Have we only been decried as occult, arcane, esoteric by opponents in Power? Your god save our reactionary adversaries.
Two things result from this fact:
I. Twitch & Gloam is already acknowledged by all post-European powers to be itself a power.
II. It is high time that enlightened musicians should openly, in the face of the whole world, perform and produce their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the spectre of the collective with a sound manifesto of Gloam itself.
12 tracks of contemporary goth music from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver BC.
Vice Device – Solvent
Vice Device is Bobby Kaliber + Andrea K, Devin Welch. “Portland industrial revivalists Vice Device’s taut, dark synth tunes” —KEXP; “jittery, juddery, shuddery synth pop with stabbing synths, grumbling bass, and yelped vocals covered in smears of reverb.” —Portland Mercury. Recorded 2012 in Bartertown, OR. More info: soundcloud.com/vicedevicemusic
Light House – Watchword
Light House is Dawn Sharp + Chris Relyea + Brooks Blackhawk. “another great new band from Portland … and their blend of shoegaze sounds with dark synth sounds is right up our alley.” —No Conclusion Recorded 2012 at Red Lantern studios, Portland, OR. More info: soundcloud.com/light-house
Mode Moderne – Only Sleep
Mode Moderne is Phillip + Felix + Clint + Rebecca + Sean. “one of Canada’s hottest new bands. … yes, they sing about electrocutions and tea.” —Vancouver Observer Recorded 2012 at Little Red Sounds on the Astral Plain. More info: modemoderne.bandcamp.com
Koban – Feed The Dogs
Koban is Samuel Buss + Brittany Westgarth. “complex but hypnotic, a balance of mood and skill with the nerve to push some buttons.” —Beatroute Recorded 2012 in Vancouver, B.C. More info: koban.bandcamp.com
Grey Gardens – Baby
Grey Gardens is Clint Lofkrantz + Luna Landerwyck. “pop dark dream pop garage gothic pop dark wave punk noise from Vancouver, B.C.” Recorded 2012 in Vancouver, B.C. More info: greygardens.bandcamp.com
//ZOO – Twisted Fingers
//ZOO is Ashlee Luk (Vancouver, B.C.). “//ZOO is fuck music.” Recorded 2012 in Vancouver, B.C. More info: soundcloud.com/zooxzoo
Nightmare Fortress – Faces In the Dark
[sc_embed_player fileurl=”https://flatfieldrecords.com/audio/media/07_Nightmare Fortress-Faces in the Dark_Twitch and Gloam.mp3″] Nightmare Fortress is Alicia Amiri + Colin Roper + Blair Field + Cassidy Gonzales. Seattle, WA. “a sultry and noir-ish atmosphere …very excellent … mind-altering, gothic powers.” —City Arts Magazine Recorded in 2012 in Seattle, WA. More info: soundcloud.com/nightmarefortress
Baby Guns- BETABlocker
Baby Guns is Erin Shannon + Neil Giardino. “pure mood healing easy listening” … “sweeping graveyard rock” —The Seattle Times Recorded in 2012 in Seattle, WA. More info: babyguns.blogspot.com
Haunted Horses – The Void
Haunted Horses is Colin Dawson + Myke Pelly. “spooky and brutal … (Seattle’s) Power Glower Duo. … careen into wild, animalistic spasms. … a supremely haunting mix of inchoately shouted lyrics and high-pitched ghost moans” —The Stranger Recorded in 2012 in Seattle, WA. More info: hauntedhorsesss.blogspot.com
Perpetual Ritual – Certain Time of Night
Perpetual Ritual is Mitchell Saulsberry with revolving accompaniment of friends (Seattle). “experiments with drawing out textures and drone-like rhythms” —Hollow Earth Radio Recorded 2011 in Seattle, WA. More info: perpetualritual.blogspot.com
Grave Babies – Carve Out Your Tongue
[sc_embed_player fileurl=”https://flatfieldrecords.com/audio/media/11_Grave Babies-Carve Out Your Tongue_Twitch and Gloam.mp3″] Grave Babies is K/E\I/T\H + D/A\N/N\Y + T/Y\L/E\R. Seattle. “blown out post-punk that’s generous with fuzz and bashing percussion” —Pitchfork Recorded 2012 in Seattle, WA. More info: soundcloud.com/gravebabies
Music For Evenings – Afraid of Ghosts (Not Afraid to Die)
Garage-punk road warriors Vampire Lezbos, spawned in the scary reactionary police state city of Spokane, WA in the early 80s, became the most noteworthy punk band from that time and place. This thrashing and howling, yet politically compassionate initial LP made inroads in the rock underground for a band that wore its scarred heart on its sleeve, gaining them comrades and live shows and tours with DOA, Fugazi, and Nirvana (VL actually played at Nirvana’s first show with that band’s new name). It would take the band into the punk world internationally, land the VLs at CBGBs, and find performing for over 3000 people with Circle Jerks and 7 Seconds in New Jersey.
For the full-length “Vampire Lezbos,” everything was captured as hot and ferocious as one of their beloved chaotic club shows. The eponymous release featured a strong collection of tracks written between their birth in 1984 up until the then-new stormer “So What,” freshly laid down for the debut.
Vampire Lezbos had solidified the live line-up by the time of their first album, which featured Dave Whiting (lead vocal and guitar), Jon Swanstrom (vocals/guitar), Spot (bass), and Dave Delong (drums). Whiting says, “Jon and I were the two hold-overs from our first 1985 tour so could be considered ‘the core’ main songwriters on this album, and live band organizers and tour initiators. With the addition of this new solid rhythm section, coupled with two solid guitar players, I think we felt the most musically powerful than we ever had in the past. I’m sure this somehow translated to our live shows.”
On the long-awaited and remastered deluxe reissue of the “Vampire Lezbos” Whiting says, “I think our first record finally gave the people a legitimate and tangible release to own, after a few limited edition DIY cassette releases. It also showed clubs and promoters that we were in fact a ‘serious’ band that had some history and worthy of headlining. After almost four years as a band and three U.S./Canada tours without an official release, people who liked the Lezbos were very excited to finally have our first LP in their hands. We achieved success with this album and it quickly sold out across America and Europe. Fans will be excited to finally have this back out on CD, with the additional bonus material featuring our 1986 singer, Rob Westergard, which has never been officially released.”
* Featured tracks
2. Cop Magnet
4. Stop Killing The Seals*
5. So What
6. Reds Use Poison Gas
7. Ogon Warrior
8. It Hurts*
9. Phone Soliciter (sic)
10. What The Fucks
11. Queen Spuma
13. Macho Fag
14. It Hurts
17. Macho Fag
19. Mike’s Family
20. Phone Solicitor
21. What The Fucks
23. Gonad Warrior
(Bonus tracks are alternate versions and extras from a DIY cassette release for 1986 national tour.)
I guess as a society we better quit fantasizing and actually address the issues the world is facing… There was a brief time in the early 1970’s that looked like the pressing concerms of the day might have enough weight on the popular consciousness to affect some change. Then everybody got disillusioned. Curtis Mayfield nailed it here.