FRZN Fest 2018 – Madison, WI – January 18-20

FRZN Fest 2018

Heartland Credit Union Presents FRZN Fest

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Friday, January 19, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018
High Noon Saloon/Majestic Theatre

Madison, WI

3-Day Pass
(plus applicable fees/and or taxes)
Single Day Passes On Sale Now!

Click here

Doors: 7:00pm
Show: 8:00pm
HNS Ages: 18+
Majestic Ages: All Ages


Shredders w/ AstronautalisCharles GrantNeu Dae
Thursday, January 18
High Noon Saloon
Madison, WI

Typhoon w/ Guests
Thursday, January 18
Majestic Theatre
Madison, WI
$18 adv and $20 dos


Destroyer w/ Mega Bog, Okey Dokey
Friday, January 19
High Noon Saloon
Madison, WI
Tickets: $16 adv and $18 dos

Rayland Baxter w/ Liz Cooper & The Stampede, Bedouine
Friday, January 19
Majestic Theatre
Madison, WI


Hinds w/ SLØTFACE, Snail Mail, Stef Chura
Saturday, January 20
High Noon Saloon
Madison, WI
Tickets: $15

Poliça w/ Gus Dapperton
Saturday, January 20
Majestic Theatre
Madison, WI
$22 adv and $25 dos

Welcomed by

Majestic LiveHigh Noon Presents


Shredders FRZN Fest 2018

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Typhoon FRZN Fest 2018


If a Fellini film, a Bosch painting, and a Rorschach drawing had a collective sound, it would be Typhoon’s new release. The 14-track record Offerings is a musical and lyrical excursion into surreal imagery, eerie soundscapes, and an emotionally jarring narrative.

The 70-minute album for Roll Call Records, which is the Portland, Oregon indie rock band’s fourth studio album, centers on a fictional man who is losing his memory, and in turn, his sense of self. “I’ve always been preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory. I wanted to explore the questions: What does a person become if they don’t know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?” explains singer/songwriter Kyle Morton.

Motivated in part by his own preoccupation with “losing it,” Morton also found a treasure trove of inspiration through various books, art, and film he was immersed in during the writing of this record. “I was watching a lot of David Lynch, and thought a lot about the Christopher Nolan movie, Memento, and Fellini’s 8 ½. And there were a lot of books on my nightstand that played into this. It made it a much darker album for sure,” he says.

Offerings is divided into four movements (Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning, and Afterparty) to represent the mental phases the main character goes through where he first realizes that something is wrong, then struggles through the chaos of his situation, and finally moves into acceptance before succumbing to his dreadful fate.

“I wanted this record to be a journey, like Dante’s Inferno. It kicks off with ‘Wake,’ where the character wakes up and he’s shitting the bed and doesn’t know what’s going on. I was going for a specific feel that Samuel Beckett does so well,” says Morton, who was reading Beckett’s Three Novels, specifically Malloy, while writing the song’s lyrics. “Beckett would call it a literature of impoverishment where he’d strip away as much as he could so he could get a feeling of essence and scarcity; that’s what I tried to do musically and lyrically here.”

Mission accomplished. Morton also masterfully makes a parallel with the character’s journey to the state of the world today starting with the second track, “Rorschach,” which looks at the age of information and collapse of meaning.

“But, by the third song, ‘Empiricist,’ there’s a regression to the womb where the character is back in his bed at home, talking about his range of motion shrinking. This first movement ends with ‘Algernon’ [taken from one of Morton’s favorite short stories, Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes], where he’s constantly awakening and in an interrogation with a woman—who the listener should know is his wife, but he doesn’t.”

Musically, there is a sense of impending doom and chaos throughout the record that mirrors the character’s fear and anxiety. “The claustrophobic feeling of only having the present moment and this sense of repetition is musically mirrored with this looping that runs though the record with a through line of choral parts that give it a darker, creepier feel,” says Morton.

To set the right tone for the story, Morton went for a less horns, more guitar approach. “We have a little bit of trumpet on this record and a lot of string arrangements. But we really strayed away from the horn arrangements. I wanted it to be a darker, more intense rock record, so it’s very guitar-based. It’s going back to my rock roots before Typhoon,” says Morton.

The concept of what the main character in the album is going through is also meant as a way of explaining cultural memory loss. “I was also reading historian Timothy Snyder and was inspired by his take on how America is at risk of losing their sense of history. If we haven’t learned the lessons of our past, historically, we can’t recognize when elements come back to haunt us, which is what’s happening right now,” he adds.

One choral part (“Down in the floodplains waiting on a cure/ Blessed be the water/ May the water make us pure”) was especially inspired by current politics. “I had Steve Bannon in mind quite a bit when I was writing these choral parts because I’m taking on this world view that I don’t agree with, which is that the world needs a bloody struggle to reset — bring on the demolishing of order,” he says.

The character’s downward spiral continues through the album’s second movement, Flood, while in the third, Reckoning, comes the absolute-zero moment where the character is ready and willing to let go of life. Reckoning kicks off with “Coverings,” which is the first song Morton ever co-wrote with a band member — Shannon Steele, who also sings on it.  (Steele lends her vocals to the end of “Bergeron,” as well.)

“‘Coverings’ takes the story into the devil’s mansion where all the rooms are the same representing this repeated infinite present with no reference. For me, this is Hell. And, at this point, our character has lost his marbles,” he explains.

“At the same time, on the worldly scale,” continues Morton, “this is the point where we don’t have any public trust and there’s no cultural memory, there’s just chaos. People are becoming identical in this collapse of meaning and you have no reference. If there is any point to this record it’s that — Without reference, you have an interesting concept of infinity, which can be really bad.”

As the album comes to a close with the acoustic “Sleep,” the character decides that instead of taking part of the chaos, he’d rather sacrifice himself.  But there is light at the end of this dark, emotional journey. “The secret track, ‘Afterparty,’ is where he finds peace and freedom. It’s his homecoming. He’s on the other side of it now and has found his version of Heaven,” says Morton.

It’s this level of intricacy in Typhoon’s storytelling and musicianship that has helped Typhoon become one of indie rock’s most revered bands. Their previous album, White Lighter, hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album Chart and got Best of The Year nods from NPR and Paste. Typhoon has brought their, at times, 11-piece live show on the road alongside indie rock peers The Decemberists, Portugal the Man and Grouplove, and sold out major clubs and venues across America.

Adds Morton of Offerings, “I kind of wanted to make a dystopian record. If it’s nothing else, it’s that. If I could write my own one-line review, I’d think I’d want people to say, ‘It’s disturbing and unfortunately correct.”

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Destroyer FRZN fest 2018

Of his 12th studio album and its enigmatic title, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar offers the following: Sometime last year, I discovered that the original name for “The Wild Ones” (one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so) was “Ken.” I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. In an attempt to hold on to this feeling, I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes. It’s unclear to me what that purpose is, or what the connection is. I was not thinking about Suede when making this record. I was thinking about the last few years of the Thatcher era. Those were the years when music first really came at me like a sickness, I had it bad. Maybe “The Wild Ones” speaks to that feeling, probably why Suede made no sense in America. I think “ken” also means “to know.”

ken was produced by Josh Wells of Black Mountain, who has been the drummer in Destroyer since 2012. The album was recorded in its entirety in the jam space/studio space that the group calls The Balloon Factory. However, unlike Poison Season, ken was not recorded as a “band” record, though everyone in the band does make an appearance.

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Mega Bog

Mega Bog

Mega Bog is the moniker of song-dribbler Erin Birgy, a Pacific Northwest rodeo child with an unmistakable laugh who was allegedly cursed upon conception. Over the past 8 years the band has stretched and wandered in a crescendo towards musical freedom. Now based in New York City, Birgy has adopted a band of wiggly jazz cartoons lifted from bands like Big Thief, iji, Big Eater, Causings, Hand Habits, Heatwarmer and others.  Melodies always lush, erotic and free. Chords always dissonant, abstract and evolutionary. On their 2013 album Gone Banana, Bog settled into their homemade cloud of pop and jazz. Spreading the discs around the world over countless tours of dim zones. On their new bug, Happy Together, Mega Bog leapfrogs further into the storm. Dizzying fusion of lounge, pop and bouncing rocks under poetic tantrums of love gone all the way wrong. Listen closer.

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Rayland Baxter

Rayland Baxter FRZN Fest 2018

Rayland Baxter’s anticipated new full-length album, Imaginary Man, is out now on ATO Records (iTunes). In celebration of the release, Entertainment Weekly recently premiered a new in-studio session video of Baxter performing the album’s first single, “Yellow Eyes.” Of Baxter and the song, Entertainment Weekly praises, “…a standout song on an album full of excellent writing and careful melodies. The track balances warm acoustics, and side-eyed, self-deprecating lyrics.” The video can now be viewed/shared here. Additionally, Baxter’s recent interview onNPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” with host Linda Wertheimer can be heard here.

Released to widespread critical attention, Stereogum proclaims, “…this record is choose-your-own-adventure indie-country-bliss…On Imaginary Man Baxter proves that Nashville sensibilities can work like a prism: filtering indie, pop, outlaw and gospel into the musical ethos of a single man. One thing’s for sure, he’s got a hell of an imagination,” while The New York Times praises, “Nashville may be the capital of country music, but it’s also seen its share of top rock acts, including Jack White’s Raconteurs, Kings of Leon and Paramore. Rayland Baxter sits between those two worlds, as evidenced on his second full-length release…On this album, Rayland builds melodies with lush guitars, keyboards and harmonies far closer to the Shins than Blake Shelton.” Moreover, of “Yellow Eyes,” NPR Music’s Ann Powers asserts, “Many musicians can craft about one-third of an excellent pop song. Some write beautiful bare melodies that drip into your head like honey into cake. Others are masters of tone, using genius arrangements and technical wizardry to craft a sound that transports, no matter the shape of the tune. Still others employ wit to craft characters that feel like friends. Rarely, a musician manages to do all three. On the new ‘Yellow Eyes,’ Rayland Baxter comes pretty darn close to such perfection,” while GQ calls the album track “Young Man,” “The Best Song From Fashion Week.”

Recorded in Nashville, the 11-track album was produced by Adam Landry (Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs) and Eric Masse (Andrew Combs, Robert Ellis) and features Bucky Baxter (Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams) on pedal steel as well as Jessie Baylin, Isaaca Byrd (MYZICA), Mikky Ekko, Jordan Lehning (Caitlin Rose, Steelism) and Matt Vazquez (Delta Sprit) on background vocals.

Of the album, Baxter comments, “To me, Imaginary Man is an audible record of my journey down the bright blue river of imagination. It is a multicolored dream of song, a sonic birdbath if you may. The sounds and songs are as visual as they are tactile and it shows a bit more of who I have become as an artist, as continual and never ending as that process is.”

Imaginary Man follows Baxter’s highly praised debut feathers & fishHooks, which was released in 2012. Since then, Baxter has toured alongside Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Kacey Musgraves, The Head and the Heart, Shakey Graves, Boz Scaggs and Tedeschi Trucks Band, among many others.

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Liz Cooper & The Stampede

Liz Cooper And The Stampede

“It started with golf clubs and country clubs, but now it’s all rock clubs,” Liz says, giggling. She spent the majority of her life developing her golf skills, only to drop her college scholarship to move to Nashville and pursue music. “Writing songs and playing the guitar came as naturally to me as golf did. But music tickled my brain in a way nothing else ever could.”

But, Liz didn’t know a soul in Nashville when she moved. So, she went and got a job at a familiar place: a country club. “Liz may not have known anyone when she moved here,” says the Stampede low-end provider Grant. “But now, I feel like she knows pretty much every person she walks past. She just doesn’t stop smiling, and people don’t stop smiling back.” Coincidentally — or not so coincidentally cuz, well, Nashville — some fellow co-workers at the country club also had a band. They called themselves Future Thieves, and they offered to record Liz’s first EP, Monsters. After that, Liz began writing songs as frequently as she smiles. She formed a band with Ky Baker on drums and Grant Prettyman on the weird long guitar, and they recorded the Live at the Silent Planet EP. And now, there’s enough new songs to record a full-length album. “The record we’re working on now is a combination of Liz’s darkly-lit, reclusive songwriting habits, and Grant and I’s Rolling Rock induced rock and roll” chimes Ky. “It’s about bringing our different styles together to create something that makes us all question what kind of music we even like anyways.”

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Like her name implies, Bedouine’s music has a nomadic heart. Sweeping, hypnotic. Esoteric yet familiar. It is untethered to place because its home is everywhere.

Bedouine’s sound is for the modern cyber gypsy, dipping a curious toe in the swaying Mediterranean before caravaning for weeks across the deserts of the Middle East, and finally catching a redeye back to L.A. for a pre-dawn Southern California stroll.

“It’s in my roots,” Bedouine says over a tenuous Skype connection from Saudi Arabia. “I love exploring different places and sounds. My childhood was this amalgamation of different cultures, so I’ve never really belonged to a particular place. But being nomadic can be a beautiful thing if you’re accepting of it — not knowing exactly what you’re doing or where you’re going, but with conviction. Being experimental, even with your intentions.”

An outsider and an introvert, Bedouine prefers anonymity but loves making music enough to share hers with anyone willing to listen — even if it means confronting her fears. An aversion to the spotlight led her away from the stage for several years, where she worked from the shadows, composing music for independent films and art installations until something unexpected happened — she wound up in Los Angeles and experienced the opposite of the cliché.

“The joy I get from making music has nothing to do with any kind of recognition,” Bedouine says, “so when I moved to L.A., I had no intention of pursuing music as a career. But then I started meeting so many inspiring people — talented musicians who were living these double lives, going out on the road with successful bands and playing stadiums, and then coming home to this amazing scene and playing all these great little clubs and bars. It made the idea of starting over with my music less intimidating, and it made me more comfortable with the idea of performing. L.A. actually made me less jaded.”

She soon fell in with the tight-knit community of performers in her Echo Park neighborhood, spending nights trading songs and listening to records with some of L.A.’s best underground artists. “One of my favorite ways to hang out with people,” Bedouine says, “is to take turns listening to each other’s music, bouncing ideas back and forth.”

It was on just such a night that she met collaborator Jake Blanton (The Killers, Father John Misty, Jenny O.), with whom she would record the songs for her new self-titled EP.

The two co-wrote “The City,” and put together a short yet memorable set of songs propelled by insistent, mesmerizing beats, and anchored by chiming guitar, daydreamy piano and above all, Bedouine’s unforgettable voice. Impressionistic, her languid vocals swirl into the ether, another color in the palette, another instrument in the band. Her words roll soft off the tongue, careful brushstrokes, oil paint swept across a canvas. The music is beautiful and striking, always revelling quietly in its search for some enigmatic unknown just out of reach. There is no ego here, no filter between Bedouine’s heart and her songs.

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FRZN Fest 2018 - Madison, WI - January 18-20

Madrid-based garage rockers Hinds started as a duo of Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote. Shortly before releasing their first single “Demo” in 2014 the duo became a four piece, with close friend, ex guitar player and singer Ade Martín on bass and one of their first fans, Amber Grimbergen on drums. During the rest of the year and throughout 2015 they embarked on their first world tour, playing everywhere from Thailand, Vietnam and Australia to the United States to the worldwide festival circuit, including SXSW (in which they played 16 concerts in just 4 days), Glastonbury and Burgerama. They have received very positive reviews in Pitchfork, Pigeons and Planes, Gorilla vs. Bear, Paste, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly and NME.

Their debut album, Leave Me Alone, made its way into the world on Friday, January 8, 2016 via Mom + Pop Music.

Fresh off their release, Hinds is receiving praise for their work. “This great garage-rock crew from Madrid folds decades of naïf-rock history into its craftily shambling tunes,” said Rolling Stone. Pitchfork suggests its “[Carlotta] Cosials and [Ana] Perrote’s shared vocal responsibilities, which fit perfectly together” that “truly set Hinds apart.” Entertainment Weekly calls Hinds “…the year’s buzziest indie breakout,” while SPIN asks “Whether seeing Hinds live, or listening to their debut album, Leave Me Alone, one question always comes to mind: Can I join?”

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Slotface FRZN Fest 2018

Nothing will ever feel as free as the first time you leave home to make it on your own, a rush that Norwegian pop-punk foursome Sløtface channel perfectly on their debut album. The joyful thrash of “Sunbleached” is all ripped jeans and clear skies, as bandleader Haley Shea chronicles carefree roadtrips and the relief of pitch-black Norwegian winters finally giving way to summer. But as the album’s title hints, with freedom comes newfound anxieties. On the exhilarating Try Not To Freak Out, Sløtface tear through the fears – from our own racing minds, and manipulated media messages – that hold us back from reaching our full potential. They don’t have solutions (if only it were that easy) but they know the liberating power of an ecstatic scream just as well as their spiritual forebears Bully, Be Your Own Pet and Paramore. “The main thread of the album is never feeling that you’re in the right place, or that you’re not doing the right thing, which I think is a common thing in your twenties when you’re trying to figure out what you wanna do with your life,” says Haley.

For the members of Sløtface, at least one thing was clear: they were always going to make music. Now aged 20 to 22, they grew up in Stavanger, a city on Norway’s south-west coast. They weren’t all at the same high school, but met through the local music scene. The big pop shows that came through town required adult accompaniment for entry, but the punk gigs were straight-edge, so they became a second home to the town’s teen musos. The scene was full of bands trying to follow in the footsteps of hometown metal heroes Kvelertak, including, for a while, the future members of Sløtface: bassist Lasse Lokøy and drummer Halvard Skeie Wiencke (Hal) were in a hardcore band, while guitarist Tor-Arne Vikingstad and Haley were in punk rock bands. But that never quite felt like the right fit. “I didn’t really enjoy it that much,” admits Hal. Rather than typically dark Nordic sounds, or the locals’ favourites Slipknot and Disturbed, they all secretly harboured a love for British indie bands from the mid-2000s — The xx, Arctic Monkeys and Los Campesinos! (Haley’s favourite band of all time) – and Scandi pop acts like Robyn and Veronica Maggio.

When Tor and Haley wrote some new material that didn’t fit their current line-up, they got in touch with Hal and Lasse to see if they wanted to start a band. They found more than just matching record collections. “We realised we all wanted to play shows, we wanted to be professional,” says Haley. “Whereas for me, every band I’d been in, it had been a pain to get people to show up and rehearse.” This was serious business: before they played a lick of music together, they spent three months of 2012 conceptualising exactly what kind of band they were going to be. “We would come up with all of these stupid similes and metaphors, like, ‘It’s the kinda band you wanna wear sunglasses to!’” Haley recalls with a wry laugh. “We also talked a lot about teenage apathy, and the way we’re raised through popular culture to expect certain things from being a teenager. We wanted to be engaged. We wanted to make music videos and put on shows and parties and have experiences with people that we wouldn’t necessarily meet in our hometown. I wanted to write indie rock stories from a female perspective, and be really specific about that experience – women have been able to relate to indie rock dudes forever, so guys would probably be able to relate to my stories, too.”

The name was a huge part of this. Initially, they were known as Slutface. “We wanted to be different from the other bands, and thought that by having a provocative name that was also silly, people would know that we weren’t taking ourselves too seriously, and that we were about having fun,” says Haley. “We wanted people to have a conversation about why the word slut has a bad connotation, why it’s a slur.” But their message didn’t reach the ears of the big social media sites, which kept censoring their shows, and causing them to lose gigs with promoters seeking a more cybersocial sell. Ultimately, they changed it to Sløtface, which has the same pronunciation as the old name. “It was a really long conversation about what we were giving up and what we were gaining,” says Haley. “We’re not a punk band but we do have a little bit of that punk ethos, and we wanna talk about things that are important, and tell the truth, so were we just changing our name to be more marketable? In the end, we thought we could reach more people with our lyrics, which contain those ideas in different ways. We would be working against ourselves if we were so preoccupied by selling out that we couldn’t reach people.”

“People have been like, ‘Yeah but the Sex Pistols made it,’” Tor groans, “but it’s a completely different time – back then you didn’t get all your information from a platform run by math and algorithms.”

They started shredding through their local live scene. Sløtface are obsessed with classic American high school movies and wanted to kickstart a culture of bands playing house parties in Stavanger, where it barely existed – other than in this one Norwegian high school movie, 2008’s The Man Who Loved Yngve, about a local band that goes awry when its frontman reckons with his sexuality. “It’s a big thing for our hometown and people that are our age,” Haley says of the film.

They made it happen. “We played a lot of parties with our friends, in the crowd,” says Lasse. “It was just sweaty and really good. I think at least we still want to do that because they’re the most fun shows to play – just in a living room, or a football clubhouse, or anywhere that the crowd is on the same level as the band. I think that’s one of the nicest concert experiences we can have.”

But because they were one of the few non-metal bands in town, it meant that they also got gigs supporting big pop acts like A-ha. “We were lucky because we didn’t really fit in,” says Haley. At first, Sløtface were totally focused on being a live band – the only reason they recorded their debut EP was to get more gigs. But over time, they were drawn to the studio, refining their sound and the feminist perspective in their lyrics. Released in 2014, the We’re Just OK EP earned them domestic acclaim, while 2016’s Sponge State EP broke them outside of Norway – particularly thanks to the video for the title track, which saw them performing atop the Førde Fjord in support of youth activists who were peacefully protesting a Nordic Mining operation dumping more than 250 million tonnes of chemicals and waste in the fjord. “A change of pace from our sponge state,” Haley sings in the video, cheeks flushed from the freezing cold. “A new approach, shaking it, we’re making it.”

They made half of Sponge State with producer Dan Austin. “We co-operate a lot better when he’s around, I think,” Lasse laughs. So it made sense that they would ask him to produce their debut album. Now students in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, they recorded in downtown Oslo over three weeks in summer 2016, when the city empties out for the season, in a concrete bunker of a studio. “It was a good thing for recording a rock album,” says Haley.

And leaving behind the nuanced themes for just one second, Try Not To Freak Out is nothing short of a massive rock record – one that weds the pop nous of Robyn and Blondie to the exuberant, freewheeling attack of bands like Joyce Manor and Little Big League. Guitars gleam, choruses soar, and Hal’s racing drums exude pure adrenaline. It’s a record made for the height of summer, for punching a pillow, or for drowning out the rest of the world. And it’s all the better for Sløtface’s unique lyrical perspective. On “Nancy Drew”, Haley reinterprets the teen detective as the noble vanquisher of indie rock’s boys’ club. “My girl is wiping slates clear/And I long for the look/And a soundtrack of women who all know what’s up/I keep hearing their cherry bombs through the walls,” she seethes amid sneaky, plundering guitars.

Haley’s lyrics aren’t explicitly gendered, but she transcends indie rock bravado and self-pity, and instead dismantles the patriarchal structures that hurt everyone. On the playful, euphoric “Magazine”, she challenges absurd body image standards. “Thoughts that aren’t mine keep running through my head… Thunder thighs keeps reaching for the measuring tape,” she sings, and perfectly distills the dissonance between knowing intellectually that these images are bullshit, but still feeling drawn to live up to them. “I really wanted to write a breakup song, but I’ve never really had any experience with heartbreaking, devastating, aggressive breakups, so I thought I would write a breakup song about breaking up with bad body image,” she explains.

She brings a similarly nuanced approach to anxiety on the tense “Night Guilt” and explosive “Try Not To Freak Out”, capturing its debilitating physical effects in a fashion that recalls Fiona Apple’s unflinching gaze. “Pulling my eyebrows out/Feeling like I smell when I’ve just showered,” she rails on the latter.

“I’m one of those typical over-achievers that’s trying to convince themselves that you can always do more and be better and the only reason that you’re failing at things is because you’re not working hard enough,” she says. “If you step outside of yourself and analyse that, it’s a really unhealthy way of thinking about things, but when you’re in your own head, it feels like it makes perfect sense. That song is all about feeling like you’re not being good enough, and all of those weird physical manifestations that you have, and also the process of trying to negotiate that with another person. I wanted to release all of that anxiety by throwing those things into an upbeat song that has this nervous energy to it to try and get rid of all those feelings.” (You can also hear her trying to blast them out on “Pitted”, a tough-hearted caper and brilliant introvert’s anthem about not wanting to go out, but having the greatest night when you do.)

Try Not To Freak Out is as sensitive as it is riotous. On “Galaxies”, “Slumber” and “Backyard Adventures”, Sløtface commune with the teen selves they’re leaving behind as they embark on their 20s, and life as a touring band. “I know that I’ll never have friends like these again,” Haley laments on “Slumber”. “And I’m giddy with companionship.” Ever the movie buffs, Sløtface describe these songs as the credits rolling on their teenage years. Classic teen movies tend to produce pretty ropey sequels. But something says that Sløtface’s thrilling next chapter will be the definitive exception to the rule.


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Snail Mail

Snail Mail FRZN Fest 2018

Snail Mail is the Baltimore based indie rock solo project of 17 year old, Lindsey Jordan. She released a six song EP titled, “Habit,” on DC punks Priests’ Sister Polygon Records in July of 2016. The record features a full band with Shawn Durham on drums and Ryan Vieira on bass.

In their “Best New Track” review for the EPs opening track “Thinning”, Pitchfork describes Jordan as possessing a voice that “sounds like it’s coming from a distance, perfect for a song with lines about wanting to lie face down on the floor for a whole year and the triumph of wasting time”.

In addition to her standout vocal abilities, Jordan is a classically trained guitarist of twelve years and experiments often with various guitar tunings and techniques in order to generate Snail Mail’s unique sound.

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Stef Chura

Stef Chura FRZN fest 2018

Stef Chura’s debut studio album, Messes, is born of her years of experience playing around the Detroit, Michigan underground, setting up DIY shows in the area, and moving around the state-nearly 20 times. “Right when it starts to feel like home / It’s time to go,” she sings literally on its opening cut, “Slow Motion,” a twisty, dim-lit guitar pop song where she curls and stretches every word. There are worlds of emotion in the ways Chura pronounces phrases with twang and grit, alternatingly full of despair, playfulness, and abandon. Chura calls her music “emotional collage,” eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favor of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.

Through intricate guitar work and warm, textured production, Messes finds her trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs. “It’s about emotional mess, not physical mess,” Chura says. “The title track is about knowing that you are going to do something the wrong way, but you’re doing it anyway because you want that experience. I’ve had to do a lot of things the wrong way in order to figure out how to live my life.”

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Poliça FRZN Fest 2018

If the opening moments of POLIÇA’s new album, United Crushers, leave you feeling unsettled, then Channy Leaneagh has done her job. With her voice pitch-shifted down into an ominous, nearly unrecognizable register, she sings of a post-industrial urban landscape littered with broken promises, a land of poverty and violence that’s been rigged against us from the start. Despite all that, though, there is an element of defiance, a refusal to surrender in her delivery of the lyrics. Halfway through that first track, “Summer Please,” when her gorgeous true singing voice enters on top of that deep and disturbing baritone, there is a moment of hope and transcendence, and it’s the key to unlocking United Crushers, POLIÇA’s third full-length release and most remarkable album yet. Even at its darkest, the record is musically the band’s most upbeat and celebratory. It is a weapon meant to empower the weak and the forgotten and the disenfranchised, it’s very creation an act of rebellion in the face of the hopelessness that casts such a long shadow over middle America’s slow urban decline.

“If you look up when you drive around this city, you’ll frequently see the tag ‘United Crushers’ spray painted on the sides of bridges, watertowers or abandoned buildings,” Leaneagh says of Minneapolis, her hometown. “The tag looks down at the city and reminds me of where we really are and what is really happening here. United States of Dreams Be Crushed. ‘Summer Please’ is a plea to summer and, likewise, the future. All winter around here we wait for the first warm day to let the kids out to play. Yet, the beautiful blue sun-soaked sky brings anxiety with it, because the gunshots and killings increase with the heat and nice weather. The future is like that too, isn’t it? You ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up while simultaneously terrified by what evils might be out there waiting for them. Is it safe to let our kids play outside while gunshots fly? Are their dreams going to make it out alive?”

‘United Crushers’ was born out of the longest break from touring in POLIÇA’s history. The group originally emerged from Minneapolis in 2011 when Gayngs’ Ryan Olson began collaborating with Leaneagh on a new batch of synthesizer and percussion-heavy arrangements he had lying around. The resulting debut, 2012’s Give You The Ghost, immediately garnered international acclaim, with Rolling Stone hailing it as “the sound of heartbreak and celebration happening simultaneously” and Q praising it as “a bewitching, urgent, magical debut.” The quick success of Give You The Ghost brought with it a heavy touring schedule and an itch to keep creating. Taking just a few months off from the road, the band ventured into the studio and came out with their follow-up, Shulamith, in the fall of 2013. EW called that album “propulsive enough for dance floors, and dreamy enough for headphones” and MOJO said it “proves that intelligent pop music still has the ability to seduce and enthrall.” Bolstered by a live lineup of dual drummers, bass and Leaneagh’s powerful voice, the band conquered massive festivals around the world from Coachella to Glastonbury in addition to performing on Late With Jimmy Fallon and Later With Jools Holland.

Following the whirlwind of it all, they returned home to Minneapolis for a much-needed break, to live life off the road and build up inspiration for the next go-around. Part of this for Leaneagh was deciding to have a second child.

“A woman gains amazing powers and new kinds of freedoms when she’s pregnant and becomes a mother,” says Leaneagh. “I think pregnancy is mystical and I’m grateful to be able to do it. But with any great gift there are great sacrifices, and in the beginning stages of the giving over of my body to the cause of birth, I was worried about what it would do to my relationships; my daughter, my man, my work, myself. I needed a song to vent about it.”

All those worries led to the writing of “Someway,” a catchy bundle of nervous synthesizers and racing heartbeat percussion. But for the most part, pregnancy prompts Leaneagh to look outwards rather than in as she grapples with the gravity of the world her children are set to inherit. “When you’re pregnant, you’re at your most vulnerable and protective,” explains Leaneagh. The terror of “Summer Please” is filtered through the eyes of mothers warning their children as they head out into the violent streets, while “Wedding” was written in reaction to the intertwined epidemics of police brutality and institutional racism, and “Melting Block” starts its story off with an ‘everyone’s-a-sheep-in-wolf’s-clothing’-type mantra and evolves into a giant middle finger pointed at the societal effects of commercialism.

As political as the statements on the record are, United Crushers is also a deeply personal album. Leaneagh reminds herself to stand firm in the face of self-doubt and manipulation on “Lime Habit,” overcomes music industry machinations with triumphant horns on “Baby Sucks,” and recognizes important truths of independence on “Lose You.” Stringing the songs together is a thematic thread of isolation: the fear of being alone, the instinct to hide our true selves for protection, the way in which lovers can each retreat inwards.

Throughout it all, though, there always remains a sense of defiance and celebration in the music to counter those apprehensions and anxieties. Leaneagh suspects it may have its roots in her early days as a folk singer.

“When you sing old folk songs about sad things, it does something to your heart that actually uplifts it,” she says. “I believe that about these songs, too.”

There is a darkness to United Crushers, but it doesn’t win. Dreams may be dashed and promises may be broken, the world may be full of disappointment and pain and violence, but if you’re in the midst of it all feeling lost and hopeless on the streets of Minneapolis, there’s a United Crushers tag that knows how you feel. All you have to do is look up.

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