|Ava Luna — Electric Balloon (2014)|
Ava Luna — Electric Balloon
••» Brooklyn bunch bewilder with diverse mix of sounds on second album.
••» In some respects, the album's heavily reminiscent of The Child Of Lov's skewed assault on soul. It's 100% non-standard, bearing just enough of the genre's hallmarks to squish themselves in. Like The Child Of Lov, Ava Luna are outsiders of the style, but they thrive off that pariah-like status, forming truly exceptional, fascinating music. Electric Balloon may be a gamble in more ways than one for the NYC nostalgic collective, but it's one that reaps far more than it sows.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: 10th March 2014
Record Label: Western Vinyl
01. Daydream 2:34
02. Sears Roebuck M&Ms 3:01
03. Crown 4:38
04. Aquarium 2:19
05. Plain Speech 4:31
06. Electric Balloon 2:59
07. PRPL 3:48
08. Hold U 4:07
09. Judy 4:14
10. Genesee 3:34
11. Ab Ovo 4:10
• Ethan Bassford — Bass
• Felicia Douglass — Vocals, synthesizer
• Julian Fader — Drums
• Carlos Hernandez — Vocals, guitar, synthesizer
• Becca Kauffman — Vocals, guitar
• Recorded by Ava Luna
• Mixed by Jimmy Douglass, Udbhav Gupta, Ava Luna
• Mastered by Josh Bonati
• Ethan Bassford Main Personnel
• Lea Bertucci Featured Artist
• Josh Bonati Mastering
• Felicia Douglass Artwork, Main Personnel
• Jimmy Douglass Mixing
• Julian Fader Main Personnel
• Sandy Gordon Featured Artist
• Udbhav Gupta Mixing
• Matt Harper Featured Artist
• Carlos Hernandez Main Personnel
• Becca Kauffman Main Personnel
• Sam Kulik Featured Artist
• Ava Luna Engineer, Mixing, Primary Artist
• Sam Owens Featured Artist
• Nathan Tompkins Main Personnel
Album Moods: Complex Tense/Anxious Ornate Sexy Sophisticated Brittle Provocative Austere Campy Kinetic Slick Suffocating Knotty
•• After years of writing and performing, Ava Luna has refined their doo-wop soul meets punk-as-fuck aesthetic into something bold and glaringly defiant in today's indie music landscape. Following the release of their critically lauded first proper full-length Ice Level (By Paul Thompson; March 22, 2012, Score: 7.3; :: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16419-ice-level/) the band spent an intense 2-week period writing and recording in upstate New York. Unlike previous efforts that were meticulously mapped out, the songs that would become Electric Balloon were "…a family effort." according to frontman Carlos Hernandez. For the new album, former Columbia composition student Hernandez relinquished the reins a bit, opting for a more organic approach to writing the material for what would become Electric Balloon. As Hernandez explains, it was a "…birth of confidence. I grew closer to my bandmates, began to see the roles of a family playing out. Ethan cooks dinner for all of us, we make lewd jokes, and then 'after-dinner storytelling' takes the form of playing music."
•• In the wake of Ice Level, Ava Luna's sharp edges have melted away just enough, making it easier to connect with their no-wave grooves and soaring harmonies. •• Distilling everything from James Chance and ESG to contemporaries like Dirty Projectors and Of Montreal, Ava Luna have landed on an aggressively unique sound that still manages to be accessible. Hernandez goes on to explain "…the stories and moments here are clearer, as in a conversation. The moment appears, you grab it with your hands, screw the lid on the mason jar. There was no tweaking, no second-guessing. Julian's mantra for the process: 'First thought best thought.'….And for my part, I sing my best about encounters, friendships, some moments beautiful and others painful. A bike shop manager in New Orleans, a derelict porch on Brighton Beach, a yellow sweater in a kitchen in the Catskills, a water duct in the New Mexico desert…"
Agent: US: ::: EU/UK:
By Lindsay Zoladz; February 28, 2014; Score: 7.7
•• Ethan Bassford, the fatefully named bassist of Brooklyn art-rock oddballs Ava Luna, got into a few arguments with singer/guitarist Carlos Hernandez while they were writing their 2012 debut album, Ice Level. Couldn't they at least try to write a song with a chorus?, Bassford wondered. As the freewheeling, compositionally adventurous Ice Level attests — the answer was a resounding no. But Bassford persisted. “I was like, 'Carlos, don't worry,'” he recalled in a recent interview. "'It's still gonna be weird. Having a chorus doesn't make it not weird.'"
•• After hearing Ava Luna's taut and irresistibly fun new album Electric Balloon, it's hard to disagree. Its 11 songs are as eccentric as anything this band of merry weirdos has ever done, but they stick in your head in a way their earlier material did not. Ava Luna are a kitchen-sink band, whose richly cluttered songs pull from a variety of influences: dance-punk, funk, doo-wop, and R&B. (They've summed it up in a perfectly succinct Bandcamp tag: "nervous soul.") They're one of very few current indie bands (in New York or anywhere else) reaching back to the lineage of no-wave; Hernandez often sings in a trembling falsetto but his acrobatic yelps sounds like nobody so much as James Chance. Because of their punchy and tightly arranged female backing vocals, Ava Luna often get compared to Dirty Projectors, but that parallel is more appropriate for the figures at the center of those bands. Like Dave Longstreth, Hernandez is an intelligent, almost-too-ambitious maestro who over time has learned how to embrace playfulness and shine a spotlight around his equally talented ensemble.
•• Ava Luna wrote and recorded Electric Balloon over two different two-week-long working vacations sequestered in a house in upstate New York; every evening, they'd cook, crack jokes, and then channel their energy into nightly after-dinner jam sessions. The result of this process — "more like culling than just writing," as Bassford says — is a much looser album than Ice Level, which was carefully arranged to the point of sometimes feeling stiff or aloof. But there's an inclusive, kinetic vibe to the best songs on Electric Balloon (which was produced by Hernandez and drummer Julian Fader), like the spunky shout-along "Sears Roebuck M&Ms", or "Plain Speech", which morphs halfway through from jittery funk to dazzling AM radio gold. Ava Luna are an exhilarating live band, and Electric Balloon is the first thing they've done that comes close to bottling that energy.
•• Since Ice Level, Ava Luna have shrunk from a seven-piece to a five-piece, and this streamlining has cleared out some (though not all) of the clutter in their sound and benefited the band dynamic. Felicia Douglass (vocals/keyboards) and Becca Kauffman (vocals/guitar) are both more active presences on Electric Balloon — and this is a very good thing. Ava Luna are now a band with not one but three distinct lead singers, each with unique but complementary personalities. Hernandez's songs, like the opener "Daydream", are often driven by a frayed, manic intensity. (The "nervous soul" tag is definitely most apt when he's at the helm.) It's an enjoyably wild ride, but it might be too much to take were it not balanced out by quieter moments like the ballad "PRPL", Douglass's stunning and velvety lead vocal turn.
•• But, as long as you like your choruses weird, the breakout star of Electric Balloon is Kauffman. She vamps and woooops! through "Sears Roebuck M&Ms" like a kid riding a sugar high, and spews mesmerizing gibberish throughout the title track, which channels the brief moment when the B-52s were too strange for the radio. That last song was written most spontaneously of all, when Kauffman stepped up to the mic and started riffing on a vocal idea she had during one of the after-dinner jam sessions. The rest of the band tried to join in but they weren't quite sure what she was saying: "Shock me with electrical uhh?" "Shopping with electric balloon?" None of the guesses amount to much sense — but damn if that mysterious hook isn't stuck in your head for days. •• Ava Luna are still speaking in tongues, as they always have been, but this time they're inviting you to sing along. (http://pitchfork.com/)
•• With just a couple of weeks until Ava Luna's new album is released, the Brooklyn 5-piece are delighted to share new track 'PRPL'. Album 'Electric Balloon' is set for release on March 10th through Western Vinyl.
•• The new track sees a more stripped-back sound to the band with Becca Kauffman taking the lead, with her beautifully delicate vocals. Ava Luna have a diversity within their songs that is hard to come across these days presenting something bold and defiant in today's indie music climate.
•• 'Electric Balloon' was recorded by Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader, both of whom, apart from being in Ava Luna, have gained further recognition as go-to recording engineers within the Brooklyn music community. The album was later mixed by Jimmy Douglass whose lengthy credits include the likes of Justin Timberlake, Aaliyah, Timbaland, Television, Gang of Four, etc. The mix of grit and shine perfectly captures and accentuates their unique blend of doo-wop soul, no wave, and art-pop. (contactmusic)
••» After years of writing and performing, Ava Luna has refined their doo-wop soul meets punk-as-fuck aesthetic into something bold and glaringly defiant in today's indie music landscape. Following the release of their critically lauded first proper full-length 'Ice Level', the band spent an intense two-week period writing and recording in upstate New York. Unlike previous efforts that were meticulously mapped out, the songs that would become 'Electric Balloon' were "a family effort" according to front-man Carlos Hernandez. For the new album, former Columbia composition student Hernandez relinquished the reins a bit, opting for a more organic approach to writing the material for what would become 'Electric Balloon'. As Hernandez explains, it was a "...birth of confidence. I grew closer to my bandmates, began to see the roles of a family playing out. Ethan cooks dinner for all of us, we make lewd jokes, and then 'after-dinner storytelling' takes the form of playing music."
••» In the wake of 'Ice Level', Ava Luna's sharp edges have melted away just enough, making it easier to connect with their no-wave grooves and soaring harmonies. Distilling everything from James Chance and ESG to contemporaries like Dirty Projectors and Of Montreal, Ava Luna have landed on an aggressively unique sound that still manages to be accessible. Fortaken: http://westernvinyl.com/catalog/WV116.html
By Larry Day, 26 February 2014; Rating: 7.5/10
BY ROBBY RITACCO, 6 MARCH 2014; Score: 8/10
By Fred Thomas; Score: ***½
By Maria Schurr, 3 March 2014, 3 March 2014; Rating: 6
By Hayley Avron, March 7, 2014; Rating: 7/10
By Dillon Riley, March 7, 2014
By CREATIVESESSIONSPRESENTS, MARCH 4, 2014; Verdict — 3.5/5
By mrciaran / February 23, 2014
By DRUNKEN WEREWOLF
|Ava Luna — Electric Balloon (2014)|
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