Since the release of her 2017 LP The Kid, American composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has focused her energy in several directions. She founded Touchtheplants, a multidisciplinary creative environment for projects including her modular synth work Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga and the first volumes in her instrumental Electronic Series (Abstractions, 2018) and pocket-sized poetry books on the practice of listening within. She’s continued to explore the endless possibilities of electronic instruments as well as the shapes, movements, and expressions found in the physical body’s relationship to sound and color. In advance of new music, Smith begins 2020 with the announcement of her signing to Ghostly International and a tour supporting Caribou through the US and Europe
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s formative years were spent communing with nature on Orcas Island in the northwest region of Washington state, a place she describes as “one of the most magical and peaceful places I have ever been.” Though she wouldn’t begin experimenting with modular synthesis for years, her creative work is infused with and inspired by the vitality and serenity of Orcas.
Smith left to attend Berklee College of Music, where she studied composition and sound engineering, initially focusing on her voice before switching to classical guitar and piano. She employed the skills she refined in college in her indie-folk band Ever Isles, but a fateful encounter with a neighbor who lent her a Buchla 100 synthesizer had a profound effect on her. She explains “I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with it that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album.” Starting with rhythmic patterns and melodic pulses, she began sculpting lush and exciting worlds of sound.
What began as a curious excursion soon became a fully forged path. 2015 saw the release of Smith’s full-length, Euclid, a playful and wide-eyed album that spurred from her experiments in writing music for geometric shapes while at the San Francisco Conservatory. A clear step forward from the nebulousness of her previous output, Euclid drew acclaim from all reaches of the experimental music world and cleared a path for Smith’s successive longform work under her birth name. Little more than a year later Smith returned with her wonderstruck psychedelic breakthrough EARS to universal praise in the spring of 2016.
Pitchfork called EARS “rich and rewarding” remarking aptly that Smith “focuses on a narrow band of feeling – wonder, curiosity, disorientation, bliss – and constructs a gleaming sonic world to house them.” The site included both EARS, and Smith’s collaboration with longtime influence Suzanne Ciani, Sunergy, as two of the top twenty experimental albums of the year, while other outlets including NPR, SPIN, and Rolling Stone sung similar best-of-the-year praises. In addition to her collaboration with Ciani that year Smith teamed with Mark Pritchard for Absolut’s remix series, toured with fellow sonic-adventurists Animal Collective, and soundtracked Google’s incredible virtual tour series The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.
Militarie Gun can’t be stopped. In just two short years since their inception, the Los Angeles-based group have been turning heads with a menacing-yet-melodic sound that’s impossible to ignore and a creative drive that borders on obsession. Now Militarie Gun are teaming with Loma Vista Recordings to release All Roads Lead To The Gun (Deluxe): a collection that combines their dual 2021 EPs, All Roads Lead To The Gun and All Roads Lead To The Gun II, along with four new songs, capturing the essential first chapter of one of the most unique and prolific new bands.
Formed in 2020, Militarie Gun is defined by the musical restlessness of vocalist/mastermind Ian Shelton. “I’ve always been the kind of person who’s very compelled to do things,” he explains. “Everything suddenly becomes urgent, and that’s how I feel about songwriting—it’s just something I have to do when the inspiration comes.” The band–whose lineup has expanded to include guitarists Nick Cogan and William Acuña, drummer Vince Nguyen, and bassist Max Epstein–draw on a wide range of influences to make something that sounds combative yet accessible, and undeniably their own. There’s the unhinged guitarwork of Born Against, the propulsive cadences of hip hop, the up-front bass of Fugazi–and most importantly, the hooks. Militarie Gun’s songs are instantly memorable, employing a melodic sensibility that’s just as informed by the work of Robert Pollard and Paul McCartney as it is by Black Flag.
All Roads Lead To The Gun (Deluxe) provides the perfect jumping-on point for those not yet initiated into the band’s world, but in Shelton’s hyper-productive fashion, it also offers quite a bit of new material. The four additional tracks further expand Militarie Gun’s sonic toolbox while also hinting at the limitless potential in their singular songwriting. The first of the new songs, “Let Me Be Normal,” is a blast of sheer kinetic energy. “Can’t Get None” and “I Can’t Stand Busy People” highlight the band’s ability to organically utilize completely disparate sounds; the former all pummeling rhythms and uncorked frustration, the latter an acoustic-led, multi-movement opus that barely cracks two minutes. “Pull It Out” combines all of the band’s different modes into one anthemic song with primal lyrics that perfectly capture the lightning in a bottle nature of Shelton’s songwriting approach. “I’m not a perfectionist,” he explains. “I tend to like first drafts, it just fits my personality. Everyone is imperfect, so if a song is too, that just reflects life more.”
All Roads Lead To The Gun (Deluxe) marks the culimation of the group’s first two years but the 12 songs make it clear that Militarie Gun’s caustic-yet-catchy sound can’t be easily contained within just hardcore or pop songwriting. This is an ever-evolving band can go in any direction they might want–and Militarie Gun are just getting started.
Los Rakas is comprised of cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun, pioneering Panamanians by way of the Bay Area on the frontier of a new Latin urban sound. Known for their fresh mix of hip-hop, plena, reggae, and dancehall music; the Grammy-nominated duo represents the cutting edge of Pan-American flows.
Taking their name from the Panamanian word “Rakataka,” a negative slur used to describe someone from the ghetto, Los Rakas have set out to inspire fellow “Rakas” by empowering them to become successful despite their circumstances.
In 2012, Los Rakas released their EP, Raka Love, touring nationally and internationally. Their debut album on Universal Music Latino, El Negrito Dun Dun y Ricardo, released in 2014. In 2016, Los Rakas released their self-titled, second album earning them a Grammy nomination for “Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album”. Their 2019 album Manes De Negocio is best described by Remezcla as a “socially conscious trap soiree”. Los Rakas has performed with artists like Dave Chappelle, Snoop Dogg, Berner, JBalvin, Kehlani, Zion & LennoxCypress Hill, E40, Ice Cube, Kali Uchis, Shaggy, and Nina Sky to name a few. They have also collaborated with artists such as Blondie, Amara La Negra, Carmack, Kafu Banton, Kat Dahlia, D-Smoke, Goapele, P-Lo and in 2022 their hit single Uno2Tres will be featured in the FIFA 22 soundtrack.
As KQED states, Los Rakas are “positioning themselves as the heirs of pioneering Black Panamanian reggaetoneros such as El General and Renato.” Los Rakas are turning the current Latin hip-hop world on its head.
Jadu Heart are Diva-Sachy Jeffrey and Alex Headford, from London and Huddersfield respectively. Following in the footsteps of cult boy/girl bands before them such as Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and Belle and Sebastian, they have grown outside of the music industry slowly building their own world and crafting their own unique perspective. Having moved from electronic shoegaze to psych-rock to grungy lo-fi across their two EPs and two albums it's hard to guess where they will go next sonically but their army of cult-like followers have learned to trust them. Despite little radio support or hype they sell out shows around the world to an audience of die hard fans & consistently get 100,000 streams a day. Theirs is a world built between two people endlessly collaborating to create meaning, develop philosophies and communicate complex emotions with melody.
Queens of the Underground features an all women Hip Hop lineup across multiple elements of Hip Hop - emcees, DJs, dancers, and live beats. There will also be local women-owned businesses vending at this event.
We have put together an amazing lineup for our From the Bay to LA showcase. We have Frisco Baby, Elle E.D., and AJ The One in our opening lineup as well as a dance performance by Sova The Owl & The B-Girl Movement and live beat set by LiL MC all leading up to our headliner Reverie! The night will be hosted by Dime Bag Dizzy and feature Ray Reck as DJ!
Queens of the Underground Mission:
The mission of Queens of the Underground is to provide equitable spaces for women-identified artists to shine in the male-dominated culture of Hip Hop. We promote the diversity of Women's experiences, in contrast to the limited hyper-sexualized narrative that permeates the mainstream. By providing technical training and resources, we equip women with the skills to create and promote their music and art projects and grow their audience so that they can have successful careers as independent artists.
French-Caribbean singer, bassist and producer Adi Oasis fuses soul, jazz, funk and R&B to form her own distinctive, retro-futurist sound.
After spending time honing her skills in other people’s bands, Adi struck out on her own in 2018, releasing an album and 2 EPs since then, while also collaborating with the likes of Masego, Blue Lab Beats, Chet Faker, the Shapeshifters, Pastel, Wax Tailor, Jean Tonique and others. Writing and producing under the moniker Nightshade with her partner Morgan Wiley (Midnight Magic, Jessica 6), her production credits also including the sun-drenched summer jam “Mango” for Atlantic Records artist Kamauu.
Her most recent EP, Adi Oasis, featured the single “Whisper My Name,” leading to a stunning COLORS debut in early 2021, and garnering critical praise from outlets ranging from Vogue to Rolling Stone, Wonderland, Line of Best Fit and many others. Now the artist formerly known as Adeline has released her first new single as Adi Oasis, teaming up with the critically acclaimed Jamila Woods for “Red to Violet,” her most personal music to date.
Exploring self-identity through socio-political touchpoints, Adi and guest assist Jamila Woods masterfully permeate the laid-back track with charged discussion surrounding authenticity, family and power, which only enhances the groove-laden music. Continuing to make a delightful feature of her signature slapped bass lines and honeyed vocals, this latest single showcases Adi Oasis as her most authentic self. Now confident and comfortable under her true moniker, this year’s forthcoming album promises to bring more captivating music from Adi Oasis.
Adi Oasis also recently announced the formation of Nightshade, her production outfit with partner Morgan Wiley (Midnight Magic, Jessica 6). For their first foray as producers, they co-wrote and produced the sun-drenched hit “Mango” for Atlantic Records artist Kamauu, which also features Adi singing and playing bass.