"I mostly listened to cassettes until I was around 14 because my brother and I just never put a CD player in our shitty old car," says NATHAN BROADDUS, the 22 year old Harlem by way of Palmrya, Virginia producer known as EVENINGS. The newest signing to the Friends of Friends squad, Evenings is prepping his first release on the label, Yore, a remastered LP consisting of songs previously included on his North Dorm EP and Lately LP. After developing his aesthetic through a steady intake of analog equipment, old cassette tapes, and reel-to-reel machines dug up at yard sales and thrift stores, Broaddus emerged from the vein of second-hand lo-fi haze to produce crisp, crystalline hi-fidelity art that encourages introspection and zen-like meditation. It's music for the morning after the after party to save your soul; drawing inspiration from a wide musical spectrum that spans from Minimalism and Psychedelic, to the Ambient, peripheral electronic explorations of Boards of Canada, and Brian Eno.
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For Jasper Patterson, creativity combined with the video game, sci-fi sounds and general aesthetics of the 1980's have been instilled since day one. A young 20 year old hailing from Venice, California, Jasper's father both animated and directed the classic "Take On Me" video by A-Ha and while Groundislava isn't exactly the next logical step from the Norwegian new wave group, Jasper takes that same creative freedom and emotion and injects it into a sound grounded in beats, video games, technology and selfproclaimed "nerdy shit." As part of the Wedidit Collective (helmed by his old schoolmate Henry Laufer, better known as Shlohmo), Groundislava is the next representative stepping into the light and exposing a group of youngsters each with their own nonchalantly expert takes on forms of beat and electronic music. While deeply infatuated with the styles of house music and minimal techno (check "The Dig" or "Stealth River Mission"), on his debut selftitled LP, Groundislava takes old templates of 8 bit and chip-tune styles and turns them into worlds full of oozing, swirling melodies backed by driving drum beats, heavy bass drops and soaring vocal melodies in spots from vocalist Weary. Alongside the crop of up and coming worldwide electronic producers such as Shlohmo, Young Montana? and another former classmate Baths, Patterson is primed and ready to unleash his unique brand of woozy 8-bit composition. Whereas much music that utilizes the 8 bit sound tends to feel fully mechanized and soulless, GIL injects heartfelt harmonies and melodies that demand attention - "Final Impasse" and "One For Her" will surely make you stop in your tracks and listen up. Elsewhere, Wedidit cohorts Jon Wayne and Shlohmo stop by for the track "Shlava," with Wayne delivering super on point and off the cuff raps on top of Jasper's laid-back video game beat vibes. Another early favorite is the sinister and downtempo "Animal," featuring Weary's dark and twisted croons. Included as digital downloads with the 12 song long-player are remixes from Young Montana? and Clive Tanaka.
Born in the midst of a creative surge in the pop-leaning underground, Greek act Keep Shelly In Athens have been a force in the indie world for the last half decade, releasing projects on Cascine, Gorilla vs. Bear label arm Forest Family and British heavyweight Planet Mu. Now, the Athens-based duo arrive on Los Angeles outlet Friends of Friends with the ‘Now I’m Ready’ LP, their second official LP and their most emotionally mature, sonically adventurous effort to date.At eight songs and 45 minutes, the album strikes a concise, yet imposing figure, each individual effort comprised of enough peaks and valleys to bring the listener to the edge and back again. Lifted off by lead single “Fractals”, Now I’m Ready is not your typical indie effort, un-beholden to tempo and style, the album skips across genre tropes with ease, each track guided by producer RΠЯ’s singular aesthetic and vocalist Myrtha’s unmistakable crescendos.And whether you’re locked into a long road trip, careening around a city or looking over the Mediterranean, Keep Shelly In Athens bring an arresting pathos to the proceedings, felt everywhere from the breakbeat-led madness of “Hollow Man” to the ever-building, hypnotic vocal qualities of “Now I’m Ready”. It’s only the duo’s second official LP, but considering their release history on outlets as diverse as Cascine, Forest Family and Planet Mu, it’s no surprise that their arrival on Friends of Friends is such an unabated success.
A Book Of Flying marks Kyson's return to Friends of Friends and the follow-up to 2013's The Water's Way. Eleven roomy, beatific songs are rounded around Kyson's delicate vocal work, updating classic folk tropes with modern verve. Composed entirely by Kyson, the album is a sort of grown up bedroom album, full of contemplative instrumentation and songwriting that tugs at intrinsically human heartstrings. Whereas Kyson's music has touched on the dancefloor in the past, A Book Of Flying gives in entirely to his inward-looking proclivities and the result is his most complete work to date, a work of contemporary folk that paints a fluid picture of the artist.
Due to popular demand, we've pressed a limited number of Nadastrom's summer smash 'The Life And Times Of Raphael De La Ghettó' to cassette! It's only been available in digital form up until this point, but now you can own your own physical version of this Fresh Prince inspired masterpiece.
From the first glimpses of Henry Laufer's work as Shlohmo, it was clear that the LA native and visual artist turned self-taught musician was onto something. With an effortless grasp on sound design, Laufer combines deceptively simple and emotive melodies, subtle bass drops and swinging slow motion drums. His early work has placed him at the forefront of a new wave of rising talent amongst West Coast producers. Inspired by the desire to write songs and create a release of full-range instrumentation and vocals all his own, Laufer promptly began home-recording Bad Vibes, his proper full-length debut album for the Friends of Friends label. Some might say the songs on Bad Vibes represent the spawn of a new "rhythm and blues" - one that swings and sways under the backbone of Henry's own take on modern electronic music. Augmented with delicate slide guitar playing, homemade synth sounds and lilting, tuneful melodies, Shlohmo's latest output is one that will take you places - specifically the un-paralleled vibes swirling through this young man's head.
12” vinyl on Friends of Friends. With the release of his new album Dark Red Shlohmo is re-releasing a few of his previous works. The Laid Out EP is his first foray into working on vocal centered songs. Featuring How To Dress Well this EP is a perfect introduction to how Shlohmo has developed his sound in the last few years.
Tomas Barfod is fascinated with the idyllic wasteland, unveiling 'Salton Sea', an LP on the Friends of Friends imprint that draws from the concept of urban decay. The producer and drummer of the popular Danish group WhoMadeWho, with a history of solo and collaborative releases for Get Physical, Turbo, Gomma, and Kompakt, Barfod's latest full-length balances contrasts. At times bright with delicate pop melodies, 'Salton Sea' boldly submerges into dark, morose rhythms, juxtaposing the graceful and desolate characteristics of the Californian lakebed the album shares its name with. Opener "D.S.O.Y." wastes no time jumping out the gates with fervent energy and upbeat animation. After the LP's first single, "Broken Glass", "Came To Party" marks the height of the night, reaching a tipping point with big room dynamics. As the album continues its flow, the somber pop of "Till We Die" dwells in the late-night afterglow, while "November Skies" picks up the pieces to soar in an airy melody with vocals from Sweden's Nina Kinert. The frenetic, sinister Moroder disquietude of "Nighthawke", which features vocals from New York film Composer Lydia Ainsworth, and guttural pulse of "Python" provide tense codas to 'Salton Sea'. Either spatial and seductive or frightening and macabre, 'Salton Sea' engages multiple moods, jarring the listener and bringing them deeper into its shadowy pop. With remixes from Mark E, M.A.N.D.Y., Shlohmo, Salva, Kasper Bjørke, Suzanne Kraft and more, 'Salton Sea' looks to be one of the premiere electronic releases of 2012.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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