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Artist Bio

Fake Fruit’s visceral indie rock operates so firmly in the present that it’s transportive and unmooring. The Oakland trio’s songs careen with volatile energy and lead singer Ham D’Amato’s lyrics are enveloped with acerbic humor and resonant perceptiveness. Though their new LP Mucho Mistrust is a sly reference to a beloved Blondie lyric, the title encapsulates both the anxieties of daily life, a bloodless music industry, and global capitalism as well as the clear-eyed skepticism needed to rebel against it. Across 12 propulsively unpredictable tracks, the album is both their most collaborative and most immediate yet. 

Following the 2021 release of Fake Fruit’s self-titled debut LP, the band’s personal lives hit a turbulent and transformational period. “There were big life changes and I was so close to boiling over,” says D’Amato. “I left a bad relationship, entered a more stable and loving one, got diagnosed with alopecia, and I’m turning 30 soon too.” This personal upheaval was channeled into the explosive lead single “Mucho Mistrust.” The track is simultaneously disorienting and direct, with clanging guitars from Alex Post, off-kilter drums from Miles MacDiarmid, and D’Amato snarling, “How you gonna blame me / when you could’ve done something about it / it’s not right / How you gonna marinate me / in shitty things overnight.” She explains, “This song was a snapshot of how I got through a difficult year.” 

Recorded live at the Bay Area’s Atomic Garden studio with producer Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Home Is Where), the band’s palpable ferocity shines throughout the record. Single “Más o Menos” is searing punk, with buzzsaw guitars and surging bass. It’s a clenched-fist song, one where D’Amato sings, “I decided to assert myself / After I lost all my sense of self.” Later in the track, D’Amato, who is Chicana, sings in Spanish, “¡No me hables! / ¡No escuchare!” While some of these songs deal in heartbreak, they are charged with way bigger themes. “There’s also wanting to break up with capitalism and feeling upset about things politically,” says D’Amato. 

For the band, these themes are personal. “I’m managing us while I’m in between changing diapers in my day job as a nanny,” says D’Amato. “Everyone in the band still believes in it and is motivated to keep wading through the bullshit.” On this album, they had no choice but to bet on themselves and each other. No track broadcasts their evolution better than the single “Cause of Death,” which morphs from a gorgeous sax-laden banger to something cathartic and anthemic. 

As adventurous and righteous as Mucho Mistrust gets, there’s still an inviting core that never takes itself too seriously. From the ripping “Cause of Death,” which self-deprecatingly takes aim at anxiety and indecision, to the searing title track, Fake Fruit imbue their songs with humor and heart. “Our band is fun,” says D’Amato. “My number one coping mechanism for all of life is to joke about it. Even when the album talks about serious things, I am proud of how funny it can be.”

Rui Gabriel’s journey to become one of indie rock’s most vibrant and perceptive voices is certainly unconventional. Born in Venezuela and raised in Nicaragua, the now-Indiana-based songwriter spent his 20s in New Orleans and playing in beloved bands like Lawn, where he’s a co-songwriter and co-lead singer with Mac Folger. While that band finds the sweet spot between sing-a-long power pop and bracing post-punk, Gabriel’s solo debut Compassion uses a lighter palate that combines ethereal pop with ‘80s synth textures, and slacker-rock charm. The LP is a testament to growing up and Gabriel’s disarming lyrical sensibility. 

Growing up in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, Gabriel had always wanted to be in a band. After attending high school in Nicaragua, he ended up in New Orleans for college. “When I got there, I realized the school was full of kids who were all in bands,” says Gabriel. “Just being around these other artists gave me the confidence to try and do music.” After writing songs with his band Yuppie Teeth, he formed Lawn with Folger and Nicholas Corson in 2016. Their three albums, 2018’s Blood on the Tracks, 2020’s Johnny, and 2022’s Bigger Sprout received raves from Stereogum, VICE, and Bandcamp Daily. 

Major life changes like settling down and becoming a father gave Gabriel newfound dedication as a songwriter. “I had been working on the different iterations of these songs for so long but when I found out I was going to be a dad, I finally got the urgency to finish it,” says Gabriel. “It was very profound to have that moment where you’re like, ‘you’re going to record these songs and finally finish them and then this other new and exciting chapter in your life is going to begin.’” He enlisted Corson to co-produce the material and help flesh out the songs. “This record would not sound the way it does without Nick,” says Gabriel. “He was my rock during this period. He is a masterful arranger and has such a good ear for pop music and noise.” 

Compassion is a reflection of Gabriel’s playful and inviting songwriting but it’s also a collaborative masterclass. Alongside Corson, Gabriel is joined by The Convenience and Video Age’s Duncan Troast, Stef Chura, Kate Teague, and Lawn’s Mac Folger. To Gabriel, the LP is an undeniable document of personal growth. “Compassion is me saying goodbye to the mentality that I had before and hello to becoming an adult,” he says.

Ducks Ltd. are a Toronto band featuring Australian lead guitarist Evan Lewis and U.K-born, U.S.-raised singer, bassist, and rhythm guitarist Tom McGreevy. As Ducks Ltd., the two thrive on skirting the edges of buoyant jangle pop and driving power pop. Their latest album, Harm’s Way, contains anxious songs that McGreevy explains are “about struggling. About watching people I care for suffer, and trying to figure out how to be there for them. And about the strain of living in the world when it feels like it’s ready to collapse.”

Harm’s Way is an undeniable evolution of Ducks Ltd.’s songwriting process. Where their critically acclaimed 2021 debut Modern Fiction and 2019 EP Get Bleak were self-recorded and self-produced in a Toronto basement, here, they made an LP in Chicago with producer Dave Vettraino and some of their favorite musicians. These collaborators include Finom’s Macie Stewart, Ratboys’ Julia Steiner and Marcus Nuccio, Dehd’s Jason Balla, Moontype’s Margaret McCarthy, Lawn’s Rui De Magalhaes, Dummy’s Nathan O’Dell, and Patio’s Lindsey-Paige McCloy. Ducks Ltd.’s touring drummer Jonathan Pappo also appears on the LP. 

The band first showed this collaborative streak on a 2023 covers EP, which featured guests like Mo Troper, Ratboys, Illuminati Hotties, and Jane Inc. that boasted renditions of songs by The Cure, The Feelies, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Where those songs started as ideas on days off from tour, Harm’s Way is also a product of writing on the road while supporting acts like Nation of Language and Archers of Loaf. “When we got signed, we had played maybe five or six shows ever,” says McGreevy. “After last year, it’s well in the hundreds. Those things change your perception of your own music and songwriting.” 

This well-earned and road-tested confidence made the making of this LP their most intuitive and organic yet. “Our relationship is built on trust and we don’t let our egos come into the creative process in any way,” says Lewis. “We have this really great thing where every decision with the band is filtered through both of us. Here especially, we really figured out how to make something that truly sounds like us.”

“We’re not so different anymore,” Jimmy Whispers proclaims on the title track of his long-awaited sophomore album, The Search for God. A lot has changed for everyone in the past few years, and especially for Jimmy. In another lifetime, he was that sweet kid from Chicago who stole our hearts with his aw-shucks Midwestern attitude and his knack for writing catchy old-time melodies, who legendary critic Jessica Hopper once called the city’s “greatest new homegrown musical enigma,” who turned a mixtape of iPhone voice memos (Summer in Pain) into a profound racket and covered the city in cryptic anti-police street art and zines. If you caught a glimpse, it was exciting, but it was just a warm-up to his second act.

As for today, Jimmy Whispers is alive and well in Los Angeles. He’s still making music—quite a lot of it. He’s got a blossoming new career as a music video director and filmmaker. He’s become a co-writer for others including Drugdealer and Dent May. He’s got a side hustle as a valet parking attendant, a 1988 Buick Reatta, and a new commitment to making life-affirming art.

Jimmy has always been a dreamer, but it’s a different man who’s wearing the mantle these days. The old Jimmy was raw, whether pouring his heart into a demo or flinging himself off stage in a cathartic act of theatrical self-destruction.The new one has started to find his center and a sound that sparkles and shines, although the wild spirit that’s always animated his work still hasn’t been tamed. After embracing sobriety in 2019, and now as a filmmaker sharing the stories of lesser known Los Angeles community members, he’s brought his dreaming down to earth, while turning its direction even further out.

His new album, The Search for God, out June 9th, 2023 on Carpark Records, is full of real-life problems: confusion, self-harm, police helicopters hovering overhead. But it also abounds with faith that there’s something much bigger that can release us all from the struggles that we’re facing, that we can reach it if we work enough and believe enough. Jimmy calls it “God”; you might call it “Love” or “Peace” or “A Place In the Universe That Makes Some Kind of Sense.”  At 10 songs delivered in a brief 15 minutes, The Search for God is an unshakably catchy wake-up call to engage with a troubled world that’s still worth saving.  For a minute or two at a time, Jimmy’s music cracks open a space where the divine can enter our lives. The utopia we’ve all been dreaming of is already here if we’re just willing to build it. Jimmy Whispers is there, ready to add his voice, whenever we want to reach out.

Jared Mattson is one half of the duo Mattson 2, and, as his debut album Peanut, proves, one very formidable solo act. He first came on the scene with his identical twin, Jonathan Mattson on drums, honing a sound pulled fully through bebop but also streaked with surf-rock. And both with his brother and in his own evolution as a player and songwriter, he’s been surprising and igniting listeners and audiences ever since. 

The Mattsons were already playing Japan while getting their Masters of Fine Arts degrees from the University of California Irvine. Their debut recording, the EP Introducing the Mattson 2, in 2009, showed Jared working in the melodic transition of jazz guitarists like Cal Fallow and Wes Montgomery. Agar, in 2014, was another instrumental record, but that record was a full-out banshee cry and showcased a more explosive scale of exploration. After that, a pivotal collaboration with Chaz Bundick (Toro y Moi) led to Star Stuff and displayed an extraordinary marriage of Beach-Boys sharp compositional hooks with the musical muscle of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. That album peaked at number one on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart and brought the Mattson 2 a whole new level of publicity. 

A different kind of milestone followed for the Mattsons when they released a full recording of John Coltrane’s masterwork A Love Supreme, in 2018. “The message of a A Love Supreme is a universal message and is meant to reach any and all people,” famed jazz writer Ashley Kahn told The Washington Post Magazine. “So the Mattson 2 are hearing that message. . .And they are hearing it in a big way, and there is a depth of sincerity and reverence, I would say, in what the Mattson 2 are doing that is unquestionable.”

In a career of novel pivots, Paradise, in 2019, showed off the duo’s newly honed pop instincts and, most notably for Jared, featured his lead vocals for the first time. Now, Jared has brought those talents and, in the tradition of Paul McCartney’s and Prince’s debut solo albums, released a solo album in that truest sense: With the exception of Joe Lyle on drums and Anthony Ferraro on bass on “She Ran Away,” and Ferraro proving keys and backing vocals on three other tracks, the guitar, bass, drum programming, and keyboard work all come from the fingertips and musical brain of Jared. 

The result is a pure, fully realized pop album that manages to be not at all familiar, with songs that air on the side of restraint vs. bombast. It’s also the work of an ever-flourishing and inventive guitarist who has reimagined the use of his main instrument for music whose influences come from all over the airwaves but that add up to a sound that is entirely original. 

Melati ESP is the recording alias of Indonesian-born, New York City-based multidisciplinary artist Melati Malay. hipernatural is their debut album.

Melati (Jasmine in Indonesian) Malay grew up in Jakarta, a sprawling subtropical metropolis with a population of 30 million and the administrative capital of 17,000 Indonesian islands. Like other similar Asian megacities, Jakarta is a bewildering melting pot of ancient traditions and future technologies, which merge in a uniquely Javanese late-capitalist equatorial fusion.

Raised in this environment on a dual diet of western pop music and musik Dangdut (a Javanese form of pop blending Hindustani, Arabic, and Malay influence), Malay eventually relocated to New York City in her early 20’s and collaborated, recorded, and performed with an array of experimental groups, refining her practice at DIY venues across the city.

Malay has released music as part of multinational experimental trio Asa Tone (Leaving Records), however hipernatural is the first of her work recorded entirely in the language of her childhood, Indonesian: “It was liberating, not just phonetically, but also culturally, it was important to me.”

Over the last decade Malay has collaborated with U.K. trip-hop pioneer Tricky, U.S. cellist and composer Kelsey Lu, Keifing-born Vancouver based producer Yu Su, and innovative 70’s French composer Ariel Kalma. In what could feel like the middle of a long career, this new project by Melati Malay hints that she may only be beginning.

Elijah Kessler has had a connection to rap music since the day he was born. His actual first name, Mason, was given to him by his mother in tribute to the 90s superstar rapper Mase. Although this auspicious beginning may have foretold his future, Elijah didn’t actually start rapping himself until he turned 8. After absorbing some of the sounds that he heard on his mother’s car stereo, the inspired young Elijah began attempting to write rhymes. He remembers one early foray when, after hearing Eminem on the radio, he hurried home and excitedly wrote a rap about a cat chasing a mouse. As he continued to explore this newfound mode of expression, his subject matter soon turned more personal. By the age of 10, Elijah was already grappling with difficult personal subjects including an alcoholic mother and an absent biological father. Even at that young age, he began to find solace in musical expression amidst a somewhat unstable home life. Elijah began singing to himself constantly throughout the day and night, a habit that he carries to this day.

As his childhood became his teenage years, Elijah continued to find a sense of personal expression in music, but he mostly kept this hobby private. He almost quit rapping altogether when a teammate on his high school football team exposed him as the talent behind an anonymous YouTube channel. Elijah’s creative spark wasn’t reignited until he was sent off to boarding school and befriended Aidan Peterson. Peterson had his own project–he released electronic music as Instupendo and had been garnering some acclaim. Through the remainder of their highschool years, Elijah and Instupendo spent much of their time collaborating and putting track after track on Soundcloud. It was at this point that Elijah’s career experienced a true turning point – Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi found one of his songs and immediately reached out to see if Elijah would be interested in working together.

That initial exchange between Bear and a teenaged Elijah would turn out to be the beginning of a collaboration that would unfold over the course of the next 5 years. During that time, Elijah graduated high school and moved to Miami for college. His day-to-day life at this time was largely occupied by classes, relationships, soccer, video games, and anime. But between college semesters, Elijah would make trips to meet up and work with Bear in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, or New York. On each of these respective trips, Elijah found himself feeling a new spark of inspiration, as the cities themselves unlocked his sense of wide eyed imagination. During these sessions, Elijah’s constant practice would make itself evident, as his knack for improvisationally writing hooks in the studio became abundantly clear. Along the way, several other producers became involved in the project, including Nosaj Thing and Elijah’s early collaborator Instupendo. These intermittent sessions would eventually coalesce into Elijah’s debut album, LIGHTSPEED

Brooklyn’s Foyer Red makes sweet yet abrasive songs that careen into delightfully unexpected places. They bounce between time signatures, boast bass lines and guitar riffs that clang and shimmer, and feature vocals that seamlessly crisscross over each other. Whenever the songs feel like they might dissolve into near-chaos, they’re reined in by earworm hooks and masterful leftfield pop songwriting. It’s organized clamor.  

The band started as a trio with singer and clarinetist Elana Riordan, drummer Marco Ocampo, and singer/guitarist Mitch Myers. The three would email each other song ideas and record the ones that stuck. In 2021, they started playing music together in the same room and immediately came out with the Zigzag Wombat EP, which Pitchfork raved about, writing, “They make fuck-you crayon rock. At its best, their debut is a little bit freaky and more than a little bit funny.” Though they had been a band for only a few months, their self-recorded and charming debut proved that they had hit the ground running almost fully formed with a distinct, tongue-in-cheek, deconstructive take on indie rock. 

Instead of sticking to their guns and retreading similar ground, Foyer Red reinvented itself as a five-piece, adding singer and guitarist Kristina Moore and bassist Eric Jaso. “We were working on a song called ‘Toy Wagon’ that needed a guest vocal, so we reached out to Kristina Moore, and as soon as we saw the way she approaches music, we knew we needed her in the band,” says Riordan. “Plus, Marco and Eric have held down a rhythm section together for seven years in Hypoluxo. They’re just super locked in and super tight and know each other so well.” As a quintet, Foyer Red’s songs have gotten fuller and stranger thanks to their egalitarian songwriting approach. “Everyone’s invited with their ideas,” says Riordan “We are always all encouraging each other to take the idea further, so everyone has an equal part in what we make.” 

Emerging into a trepidatious live music scene, Foyer Red made the most of their time, playing all over New York and the Northeast with acts like Cola, Empath, Babehoven, Why Bonnie, Peaer, Momma, Mamalarky, and Diane Coffee; they embarked on their first tour in 2022 with New Orleans’ post-punk outfit Lawn, taking them through the midwest and into Chicago.

@ (pronounced “At”) is the folk-pop project of vocalist/guitarist Victoria Rose and multi-instrumentalist Stone Filipczak, who owe their musical bond to the power of text messages. Although the pair initially met years ago, it wasn’t until spring 2020 when they began sending each other music between their respective cities — Rose based in Philadelphia and Filipczak in Baltimore. A few exchanges down the line, Rose sent Filipczak an early recording of a song she’d written called “Star Game” asking him to contribute drums. She didn’t anticipate what he returned to her: “I didn’t like it at first. It felt jarring to hear my music so arranged,” she says. “I almost plotted to end the collaboration.” But it wasn’t long before she came around to the potential of what she and Filipczak could create together.

Filipczak’s version of “Star Game” wound up being the second track on @’s debut album Mind Palace Music, initially released in April 2021. Rose admits that she didn’t even think her bandmate would ever want to work with her in a formal capacity, given Filipczak’s niche background sharing bills with artists like Black Pus (Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale) and Guerrilla Toss. But with his keen, inventive ear for musicianship and Rose’s penchant for confessional lyrics and vibrant melodies, @ grew as an amalgam of their unique musical backgrounds and complementary strengths. In their review of the album, Pitchfork would go on to say “Mind Palace Music is an example of what happens when you take a poignant songwriter who’s careful about her chord progressions and introduce a fellow songwriter who knows the magic of no-frills arrangements.”

After the album’s release, @ received well-deserved recognition from Pitchfork, Stereogum, The Fader and many more and became an in-demand live act. Fortunately for fans, @ didn’t wait too long before working on new music. On January 12th, 2024, they will release their new EP Are You There God? It’s Me, @. Diverting from their usual acoustic instrumentation, @ go soul-searching on a sonic side quest into more electronic music.