Oakland’s Bells Atlas, whom I’ve had the pleasure of catching in a private living room show thanks to Sofar Sounds, covered one of my favorite bands (who dropped one of my top albums of 2014). Their rendition of Future Islands’ Little Dreamer is a sparkling, enchanting treat, carrying their African influenced sound and some neo-soul dreaminess. Bells Atlas is currently in the middle of a residency at Oakland’s Era Art Bar, and they’ll be supporting San Francisco’s Geographer in late February as part of this year’s Noise Pop Festival.
Bells Atlas blends Afro-rhythms, soulful vocals, percussive
arrangements, and an overall knack for precise instrumentation to tread
the delicate line between intelligent and accessible. Regarding the
band’s new single “Future Bones,” lead vocalist and percussionist Sandra
Lawson-Ndu said, “The song marries comfort and familiarity with
surprise and adventure, two themes not only present in its storytelling
nature, but also in the musical composition.” [Read More]
“Incessant Noise” w zamyśle osadzony w afrobeat. Utwór czerpie z długiej tradycji afrobeatu łącząc to z pewnego rodzaju ukojeniem przy rozpaczliwym tekście i “szuranej” perkusji. Głos wokalistki to istna kołysanka dla naszych uszu, próbujący przeciwstawić się naszym lękom, niepokojom.
In the realm of political songs, the focus trends more towards what wrong needs to be righted, or at the very least exposed. They place a lot of blame on the man in charge. It’s an effective way to say that things need to change, but what about the more subtle workings of the political stage? Bells Atlas explores this with their debut single “Video Star” and with great results.
Coming from a mix of backgrounds, this new group from Oakland, CA creates what they call Afro-Indie-Soul in order to provide an intricate understanding of all those present for a political event. With swells of strings and guitar, Bells Atlas creates a brooding environment around the enchanting vocals of Nigerian-American singer Sandra Lawson-Ndu. “Video Star” is the first single for a full-length the band is prepping for the summer of this year, and you can download it at their Bandcamp [link]. The upcoming debut has the potential to make 2013 an even greater year, and Lawson-Ndu says it best with this track: “Everybody loves when you say ‘progress.’”
Band statement: “Bells Atlas emerges from the vibrant cultural and musical backdrop of Oakland, CA. Blending heavy percussion, soulful vocal harmonies, and thoughtful arrangements, this dynamic group has arrived at a sound that is uniquely their own. They capture the spirit of an eclectic range of influences, including highlife, hip-hop, samba, R&B and aspects of pop.”
Find Bells Atlas and MP on Facebook here and here.
Regardless of your craft, soul and passion are two necessary things that speak volumes even during the loudest or most delicate of moments, and when it comes to Oakland’s Bells Atlas, there’s no shortage of either. The band will be dropping their debut EP on March 11th and if you’ve yet to get familiar with the smooth and inviting sounds of this four piece then allow “Loving You Down” be a proper introduction. Read what guitarist/ vocalist Derek Barber had to say about the track below and be sure to head over to soundcloud to hear another single from the EP titled “Video Star”.
“Loving You Down” refers to the weight of attachment that is involved in a relationship. It’s about a woman near the end of her life, revisiting some painful memories and deciding to re-craft the telling of her life story.“.
Summer is over today but looking back I feel like I was pretty productive throughout it. My job contained very lengthy breaks so I was able to read more books than I’ve been able to in a hot minute so I wanted to make a post listing and talking about my thoughts on them. Any suggestions for books to read/your own thoughts on them are very welcome! (This post might be a little lengthy so please feel free to scroll past this if it’s not something that interests you)
1 -To Kill a Mocking Bird - Harper Lee
Okay, so like EVERYBODY reads this back in high school, but for whatever reason mine didn’t???? It was always that one book that I REALLY felt guilty about not reading. Overall I liked it a lot, but it took a while to the plot rolling. Tbh I kinda think that the first 150 pages were unnecessary but the book was still v good regardless
2 - The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
The disillusionment allegories weren’t as clear cut or heavy as I was hoping but the book was still good (more of a romantic drama/Fitzgerald-esque soap opera feel imo) I like Hemingway’s writing style a lot, however the ending made me mad lol. Still def worth the read though.
3 - Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Okay this book was postmodern AF and LIT 🔥🔥🔥 would highly recommend to anybody who enjoys writing style experimentation. Basically the novel is comprised of six novellas, each drastically contrasting in prose style and genre (From a Melville-eque nautical story to 20th century investigation thriller to post apocalyptic sci fi satire …etc.) it was really cool and impressive at just how well Mitchell can emulate writing styles that aren’t natural to his own (it’s almost ventriloquism in a sense). Each of the novellas loosely tie together but could also stand alone as well, which is why I thought this book was especially cool.
4 - Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
I loved this movie as a kid and needed a bit of a lighter read from the heavier stuff I have been reading lately. Nice quick and easy read. Very fun and goofy. Low key made a mental note to read these books to my kids whenever I’m a dad way down the road lol.
5 - Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Dope ass book. I love Vonnegut’s manic writing style - it’s super engaging and entertaining if you’re into cynical black humor. Contains a strong anti-war sentiment so brace yourself for a lot of heavy thinking despite the novel being drenched in a heavy amount of sarcasm.
6 - The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald
It had been a while since I read any Fitzgerald and I forgot how pretty his prose is. Very captivating writing style, but the story was pretty surface level imo (not that that’s a bad thing by any means, I just like books that make me think afterwards). Still a very good book and I’d recommend reading it if you’re into the whole “Lost Generation”/disillusionment mantra
7 - Johnny Got His Gun - Dalton Trumbo
OHHHH BOI. This book was #sad but a #banger. Story is about a man that loses his arms, legs, sight, hearing, and ability to talk. Another story with a strong anti war sentiment. Had to mental prep myself before each reading session to avoid getting bummed out too much but still a very engaging and interesting read.
8 - Amerika - Franz Kafka
Not nearly as spooky or creepy as I was expecting or hoping. Essentially a semi-fictional memoir based off of his cousins’ experiences in emigrating to America. Not bad per se, but it wasn’t the kind of Kafka writing I was shooting to read.
9 - For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
Tbh it might be tied with a Farewell to Arms as my fav Hemingway novel. The only part that pissed me off was I somehow missed the infamous “do not ask for whom the bell tolls” line. I don’t remember spacing out too badly while reading it so I’m confused as to how I missed it???? I’ll just have to be more vigilant next time around when I read it ig lol. Anyways still a v good book, if you didn’t read it in high school read it now.
Kk cool that’s the list. Again any thoughts/book suggestions are highly appreciated! If you read this entire long ass post I appreciate u.