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On Deck: Whispertown

By ; February 27, 2013 at 11:23 AM 


Los Angeles-based Whispertown has undergone some drastic changes in the past few years. It has gone from a collaborative effort (i.e. a band) to what now more closely resembles a singer-songwriter dynamic in the hands of sole remaining member Morgan Nagler. To fill out her sound, Nagler called upon a revolving cast of musicians to back her up on Whispertown’s most recent release, the understated and gorgeously bucolic Parallel. Released on Gillian Welch and David Rawling’s Acony Records label, Parallel draws ties between the lo-fi electronics that Nagler has been experimenting with recently and the grounded homespun folk-pop of previous iterations of the band. She seems to have an innate ability to switch creative gears mid-stream, delving into stark dance mechanics on a track like “Open the Other Eye” one moment and something more closely aligned with indie rock the next. Bringing in producers like Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes), Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova), and label-head David Rawlings himself, the album simmers with a determinedly restless energy which spills out across the songs.

Nagler was kind enough to sit down with Beats Per Minute recently to discuss some of the artists which she has been listening to lately. Though instead of a greatest hits list of her favorite artists, she has taken this opportunity to talk about artists ranging from Kim Deal to Rilo Kley to HAIM—artists who have albums either already out recently or who are looking to release an album in the very near future. Read Nagler’s picks in the latest installment of our On Deck feature.

Since this is a rare moment when I am very excited in anticipation of several albums’ near release dates, I thought I would bend the structure and write about them.

Kim Deal

1. KIM DEAL has started a record club of sorts, where she is releasing a series of 7 in. Singles! The first was recently released: “Walking With a Killer,” and “Dirty Hessians,” the first 2 songs, have both been in my mind since we met. They’re the perfect soundtrack for your personal movie scene, where you seem like a badass, though you may only be washing the dishes or taking a shower. She can do no wrong. A true original. A pure voice of our times. I think the next one comes out soon, so I strongly recommend collecting these collectibles. P.S. we had some real fun writing together last year, so look out for a possible song, or maybe 2 this year…

Jake Bellows

2. JAKE BELLOWS, formerly the magic of Neva Dinova, is set to release his first solo record, New Ocean, this Spring. This record couldn’t speak to me more. He truly has the voice of every man’s Angel. I can’t tell if the tears are happy or sad, but his unique vision and perspective are both addictive and good for you. He recently self-released a full length cassette tape, Help, in anticipation! The title track is a New Ocean album track (that I got to sing harmony on!), and the remaining 9 songs are compiled of demos, B-sides, and first takes that will melt your soul. You can order the tape online (which seems like the right thing to do), or get the A-side digitally on iTunes now! “Make ready all the boats, the water’s filling up, let’s lower down the ropes, and let our Brothers in, and we can fall into The New Ocean…”


3. HAIM, badass LA sister trio, may be recording their highly anticipated first full length album as we speak, and I cannot wait to hear it. They just released their new single, “Falling,” and I got to work on the lyrics for this song with them. These girls can play the shit out of their instruments and every instrument for that matter. I love them and can’t wait to see and hear their story unfold. So much talent and genuine goodness. One of the best live bands around. They started as kids in a family band with their parents, where a drumset was a focal point of the living room. You just can’t not like them.


4. RILO KILEY is about to release their B-sides and rarities collection, RKives, on April 2nd. While I so look forward to the whole thing, I particularly can’t wait for “Let Me Back In,” a Los Angeles love song that has been up there in my top 5 Rilo Kiley songs of all time and somehow has never been released. Then there’s the remix of “Dejalo,” featuring Too $hort. I think that says it all. It looks like the last track, #16, is “The Frug.” They made a video for this song, must be a decade ago, that was never released. THANK GOODNESS, as somehow they got my friend Ashley and I to do the frug topless by a swimming pool, wearing Rilo Kiley underwear. Nothing more to be said about that. To be young is fun (and/or fun-ny), and to be old(er) is to be wise. Hopefully.

Nik Freitas_1

5. NIK FREITAS just released The Asterisk, which true to form, will get you from here to there or anywhere you might want to go. Another songwriter, like Bellows, in that you just want to know his perspective. Nik wrote, performed, produced, recorded and mixed this entire record, and I believe all of his records. So uniquely, it is one pure vision. This is what I call driving music, although I have mostly been listening around The Shack (my humble abode). But next time I hit the open road, this record shall not be forgotten! If you like good music that sounds good, you’re gonna love this.

6. And all of these records! These artists have all been an influence and inspiration, and to them, I will raise my glass! …tomorrow….when I don’t have a hangover from the party I attended last night…. I guess shaking my ass off while Q-Tip is behind the turntables is worth a day in the dumps. ;]

Signing off>>>

Head over to the Whispertown website to pick up a copy of Nagler’s latest release Parallel. 

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