Brodie Jenkins grew up in sleepy California wine country in an old farmhouse that echoed with folk, jazz and soul. Before her fifteenth birthday she was signed and touring with her mother and sister in an Americana-steeped family band. Johnny Hwin, the son of Vietnamese refugees, taught himself piano by ear in a small town called Hercules. He played open-mic nights and made beats alongside successful electronic artists like Blackbird Blackbird and Giraffage; after finding success on the business end of the music industry, he was back in the studio full-time by 25.
The prodigious and wildly individual lines of their lives snaked and wove around San Francisco—the two of them attended the same college simultaneously but never met—and in the summer of 2012 a mutual friend corralled them together at the fabled San Francisco artist collective, The SUB. Johnny, with his distinct electronic sensibility, had a vault of tracks and an endless string of ideas; Brodie, a soulful crooner with folk roots and a Gothic heart, found an uncanny rapport.
Drawing simultaneously from Swedish pop and nineties trip-hop, indie dreamwave and pitch-black trap, Cathedrals effortlessly merge these disparate pieces into the gorgeous geometry that defines their debut EP back in 2014, released with Neon Gold.
Debut EP out now via Neon Gold Records:
on plum vinyl: neon-gold-shop.myshopify.com/products/cathedrals-ep
Ritual of Mine
Sacramento, California electronic duo Rituals of Mine is the symbolic rebirth for singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and producer Dani Fernandez. Formerly known as Sister Crayon, the pair has been performing together since 2010. Although Lopez created Sister Crayon, Fernandez joined the fold and they released two albums (2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic) of beat-focused dark synth that was inspired by trip-hop and ’90s hip-hop. While recording the third Sister Crayon album, Devoted, in 2015, a series of tragedies befell Lopez: the deaths of both her father and her best friend. After the twin losses, the pair decided to change their name, both as a way to put their loved ones to rest together with the name they knew in life, as well as to brand themselves with a moniker that fully belonged to both women. They signed with Warner Bros. and continued work on Devoted. Along with producers Wes Jones and Dave Clauss, Lopez and Fernandez also called upon the mixing talents of Tom Coyne (Led Zeppelin, Adele) for recording sessions in St. Augustine, Florida. Writing credits for the release also included contributions by Omar Rodriguez Lopez (At the Drive-In, the Mars Volta) on the title track. In 2016, they released “Ride or Die,” influenced by the sounds of Portishead and Massive Attack. Before the release of the LP, they would further build their audience with opening stints for Deftones and Tricky.
Formed in upstate New York, now based in San Francisco, YASSOU is a six piece art pop band that makes tightly composed music with integrity. Anchored by the mesmerizing stage presence of lead-singer Lilie Hoy, YASSOU employs unconventional song structures, shifting time signatures, and stunning video storylines.
Compared to the likes of Radiohead and FKA twigs, Billboard has recently named YASSOU a band that “should to be on your radar”, while Delusions of Adequacy called them “what the people want.”
Their 2013 EP In Fits In Dreams garnered widespread press attention. A striking collection of songs, it features the vocals of former Smashing Pumpkins’ bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur. In 2015, they released an untitled Video EP, a six song project crafted around a singular story and emotional experience. Released in an “album cycle” of single videos, NYLON pronounced the EP as “redefining the album” in our current era of digital democracy. The videos were created and co-directed by Hoy, alongside various Bay Area artists and exemplifies YASSOU’s creative allure.
YASSOU premiered their first full-length composition at the Louisville Ballet this September to standing ovations. Alongside the works of Tchaikovsky and Philip Glass, their performance is part of the 2016-17 season and was accompanied by the Louisville Symphony and the ballet’s original choreography. YASSOU began 2016 opening for The National and is now filming their next video project.
“You fall in love with their sound, their image, and their message all at the same time” wrote Apes on Tape in a 2015 interview. Dark yet ethereal, YASSOU embodies an art that is bold, emotional, and immediate.