Blouse’s Charlie Hilton goes solo for new album, Palana


Photo by Miranda Lehman

By Ashley Goodman

In January, Charlie Hilton took a break from Blouse to release her first solo album, Palana. The album is a far cry from her space pop songs. Palana is more melancholic, introspective and blunt. Hilton worked with a slew of great talent including Mac DeMarco, Anand Wilder from Yeasayer and Jacob Portrait from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who produced her album. “He’s from Oregon and I met him a few years ago when I started Blouse,” Hilton says of Portrait. “I’ve always made music with him, that’s kind of how our friendship started. It’s a very familiar territory for us.” Surprisingly enough, even though they’ve been making music for all these years together, Hilton didn’t think that Portrait would help record her solo album as they were both off doing different things at the time but things finally fell into place. “It seemed like a good idea to work with a different producer for this record and I tried, but I wasn’t having as much fun. I ran into Jake one day and I just told him let’s do it.”

The songs off Palana were written over a vast period of time. Some are even a few years old. Hilton prefers sitting in a room alone with a guitar when she writes. “I would just call it a very thoughtful lonely process.” In terms of the writing on her new album, Hilton says this is the hardest she’s ever worked. Beginning this month, she will be on a short tour with Wild Nothing. Mac DeMarco will accompany Hilton for her final show in May. “I’m really excited. I’ve always thought it would be cool to tour with another Captured Tracks artist.”

When talking about where she grew up, I found out she was born and raised in Los Angeles. Hilton like most people, didn’t appreciate her hometown until she moved away. “Now, when I go back I see how lucky I was. It was this really surreal place but it felt normal to me,” said Hilton. Her childhood, as she describes, was pretty similar to everyone else’s. “You kind of just end up sitting in your friend’s backyard smoking. At least that’s what we did,” she says with a laugh.

She told me she first picked up a guitar when she was 11. She said she can’t remember much before that except that songwriting has always been inherent to her. “It’s a healing thing to do, I feel really lucky to have that kind of outlet,” said Hilton. As far as the future goes, Hilton plans on going to Europe later this year but nothing is set in stone. But one thing is for sure, she’s already working on a second album that she plans on releasing early next year.






Generationals drop hints on new album

By Ashley Goodman

Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner are old high school friends who formed Generationals back in 2008. We were lucky enough to catch up with Ted Joyner who spoke to us about new tracks they’re working on and partying too hard at Mardi Gras.

Q: So, where are you right now?

A: Right now, I’m in New Orleans at my house.

Q: I saw on Twitter you have a new track. Could you elaborate on that?

A: We have a handful of new tracks we’re working on right now. In various stages.

Q: Is there a new album in the works? Can we expect it out soon?

A: Right now, it’s more just a random collection of songs and we’re still working to see how they come out and how exactly we want to release them. Sorry for being vague but we’re still figuring it out ourselves and also I want it to be kind of a surprise.

Q: What’s one thing about New Orleans that would surprise most people?

A: People might be surprised at how normal living here can be. Growing up here, in most ways, was pretty regular. I know New Orleans is seen as a peculiar city, but in a lot of ways it can be just as regular as growing up anywhere. But then you’ll wake up and a parade will pass through or whatever and you’re reminded, oh yeah, that would probably be weird to someone not from here. Or would it? I can’t even remember anymore. It’s probably most surprising that this city is still here at all.

Q: Does the city influence your sound at all?

A: Yes. But it’s pretty subtle. I mean, on one hand, growing up here, its inevitable that you’re going to be influenced by what you hear because music is just sort of everywhere.  But for us musically, obviously we don’t make songs that are jazzy or that sound specifically New Orleans-y in that way. I think it might be most evident in some of the guitar parts we make. We really worshipped The Meters growing up and I think those really tight guitar parts that were obviously more percussive and minimal and would would work really tightly with what the bass was doing. I think there was something about that approach to guitar, which is also the sort of post punk minimalist thing of The Strokes and stuff later on. I think our interest in trying to write that way could be traced back to listening to New Orleans music like The Meters.

Q: What has been inspiring you lately?

A: This was the first Mardi Gras in a while that I have been here for. I’m usually on tour or elsewhere lately. And I went a little wild this year. So these past two weeks since, I’ve been very inspired by taking it easy and being quiet.

Q: What do you do when you’re not making music?

A: Pretty much just hang out with friends or like go for walks and stuff. I’ve been meaning to pick up some other hobbies. But not much else has really taken hold.

Q: What’s next for the band?

A: New stuff coming out. Hopefully soon.





Michael Oliver Tighe discusses new EP, The Garageband Sessions



By Ashley Goodman

Michael Oliver Tighe is making music again. His upcoming EP, The Garageband Sessions, is set to be released this April and will contain between 4 to 6 songs on it. His first single and video, “Party Up In My House,” is a simple tune shot in black and white in his New York City apartment. You can hear his own special concoction of lo-fi blues mixed with a touch of pop. If you didn’t already know, Tighe played guitar in Jeff Buckley’s band back in the 90s before Jeff’s tragic and untimely death in 1997. He also played in The A.M. alongside Parker Kindred and Andrew Wyatt ( a.k.a., Miike Snow.) Below, Tighe discusses his new EP, what he’s been listening to lately and some of his favorite memories of Jeff.

Q: What’s the theme or inspiration behind your new EP?

A: At the moment, the EP is turning out to be kind of an ode to New York City. I’ve lived here pretty much all my life, minus one dark year on Cape Cod, and recently the songs I’ve been writing seem to feel like direct or indirect love songs to New York or at least reflections of city life and the beautiful and insane characters I’ve met here. Topically, I’m kind of limited as a songwriter. I usually just write about girls or New York.

Q: Why did you record in a kitchen and not a studio?

A: It’s cheap, convenient, immediate and also I’m a big fan of old lo-fi field recordings and what not and I thought it might be cool to do a New York City apartment field recording type thing without the field I guess. I thought it might be cool to hear the apartment and the surroundings a little bit.

Q: I may have spied on your Instagram… I saw that you like Blood Orange, Drake and The Weeknd, good choices. Who else have you been listening to?

A: Yeah I think Drake and The Weeknd are two of the most exciting artists in music right now. Both so innovative. I’ve been listening to a lot of Pharrell, Elliot Smith, Vampire Weekend, Bee Gees. My friend, Mark Ronson, did a song called “Feel Right” that has a groove that makes me cry it’s so good. I always wait with bated breath for the next Alicia Keys album cause’ she’s a master.

Q: I know you and Jeff met when you were both fairly young, but could you paint the scene when you first met him?

A: I was 17 and he was 25. I was friends with his girlfriend at the time and she was in a performance piece at St. Marks Church in the East Village. I met him outside the church before the performance. He was very Californian but also wiry like a New Yorker. I liked him right off the bat.

Q: Does he inspire your music at all?

A: Yeah, Jeff is a constant source of inspiration for me. He was such a beautiful friend and gifted singer and musician. He introduced me to so much great music and taught me so much about performing,how to stay calm on tour, cool guitar licks, so much. He was really a role model and like an older brother in so many ways. He was extremely generous, humanitarian, not an elitist and seemed very in touch with some kind of transcendental innocence. He also had a wicked sense of humor.

Q: What is your favorite memory of Jeff?

A: Probably listening to the Beastie Boys, Elton John and James Brown in the back of our tour bus after shows. We had so much fun doing that. Then we’d all devour some roadside breakfast together.

Q: Tell me about your recent signing with Downtown Music Publishing.

A: I recently signed a publishing deal with Downtown Music Publishing and have been collaborating with a lot of writers and artists trying to place songs and write cool shit. Downtown’s a classy company and they’ve introduced me to a lot of very talented people. I love collaborating. It’s probably my favorite thing on earth.
Q: Who in particular have you been collaborating with?
A: I recently helped write lyrics for a song with Niia called “Body” which appeared on her Generation Blue EP.

Q: Is there any new material in the works for The A.M.?

A: I still write a lot of music with Andrew Wyatt. He’s a badass and I feel very connected to him musically. So I guess there is a continuation of that element of The A.M.

Q: Last question, what are some of your favorite spots in New York City?

A: Some spots I go to these days? La Caridad, Wah Fung #1, The Smile, Odeon, my corner store for potato chips. I usually make coffee at home but after tasting Saturday Surf’s blend, I sometimes walk over there. I like to take jogs around Columbus Park in Chinatown down by the courts. As far as bars and clubs and stuff, I usually just go wherever my friends take me and hope they have a decent gin drink.





Sexy and vulnerable: Class Actress


By Ashley Goodman

“I’m not using any gimmicks to promote myself, this is authentic shit.”

Class Actress a.k.a Elizabeth Harper, has been all about finding balance between the light and darkness these days. In 2013, she went back to her hometown of L.A. to finish up her latest EP, Movies, which is based around danger, desire and her own very personal experiences. “It was the perfect backdrop to see what the excess of success can be like,” Harper says. The EP fuses together 80s electronic pop and sultry vocals like “I’m not your bedroom secretary/ Short on time since February/ Head exec, CEO, GFE that’s all you need to know.”

Harper signed to the infamous Casablanca Records which was founded by the late Neil Bogart in 1973. Evan Bogart, his son was the executive producer of the album. Harper worked with disco king Giorgio Moroder as well who helped produce hits for Donna Summers. Movies is like another chapter to her book. You can think of it as part two of 2011’s Rapprocher. “For me, writing a pop song is the closest I can get to God in that moment,” she says. “Bogart is like a conduit. He brought out things in me I didn’t know I had.” Producing the EP was a lot of stop and start. It only took Harper a couple months to write the songs but she ran into a lot of road blocks along the way, like the untimely passing of her father. “It was like an odyssey,” she says. “A three-act play. It was crazy.”

Harper also drew some inspiration for the EP from one of her favorite authors, Bret Easton Ellis. “He’s like the patron saint of L.A.” she says. “In Imperial Bedrooms he says the most profound thing: I’ve never really liked anyone and I’m afraid of people.” It leads Harper to believe that everyone puts on their own facade. “It made me realize that we’re all just afraid of each other. There’s a deep social fear of judging, rejection and abandonment which is why people wear masks. At the same time, we create such detailed versions of ourselves to exist out in the world. If we didn’t wear these masks, we’d be too vulnerable.” You can tell that Harper didn’t hide behind anything while writing Movies though, she put her heart on the line on every single song.

“GFE” is a prime example. The song tells the story of a former flame, a narcissistic CEO. “There’s been a couple CEO’s,” she laughs. “That’s my type though, I like alpha bosses.” The second to last single on the EP, “Love My Darkness” was written after the death of her father. “I was really numb,” she says wearily. “I thought to myself, why can’t darkness be love?” So, that in turn set her off on a journey to figure out what her darkness was. “It’s all about balance,” she asserts.

Writing pop music has been her saving grace. “It’s a free legal drug. It’s really a healing art,” she says. She tells me that everyone lives in their own movies. “You don’t have to watch a movie to change your life, you can change your own focus and be in your own movie if you want.” According to her, there is no such thing as reality.

Right now, Harper is writing songs for her full length album in her Brooklyn apartment. “It’s all I do, everyday,” she says. She plans on revealing herself even more in her next album. “It’s the sexy and the vulnerability together, that’s the real part. I hope that’s what comes across in my music.”