Young Local Talent: Maggie Quinlan

maggiequinlan

There must be something in the water in the Palouse because young amazing musicians just seem to be popping up left and right. Recently it was 17 year-old Cooper Trail with his project Misé, who put out a great EP Little Mountain which we wrote about in October. Now there’s a new kid on the block and when I say kid I literally mean basically a CHILD. Lincoln Middle School’s Maggie Quinlan is 13 years old and just put out an album. Um yeah. What were YOU doing when you were 13 because I sure as hell wasn’t putting out albums. Not only that but it’s fantastic. Kid’s seriously got talent and a voice that sounds years beyond 13. In My Head is seven tracks of piano-heavy rock with jazz and folk influences. There’s a clear Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor sound with complicated vocal techniques and interesting piano arrangements.

I was curious about what a 13 year-old’s songwriting process is, considering the limited life experience and maturity level so I went straight to the source.

KZUU: When did you start singing/playing piano/writing your own songs?

Quinlan: I started writing my own songs on guitar when I was nine and started really getting into piano when I was ten. The first song I wrote down was a little thing for my second-grade, air-guitar band that was basically the chorus of a Taylor Swift song and the verse of a Dixie Chicks song with different, suckier lyrics.

KZUU: What is your song writing process? Is it difficult or does it come to you easily?

Quinlan: My process varies a lot. Most of the songs start with a little chord progression and a melody that’s driving it. I’ll get a little idea on the bus, or feeding my chickens (one of which has betrayed me) or wherever, but nothing really starts until I get to the piano. Usually the chords and melody come simultaneously and the lyrics are kind of rudimentary phrases like “I don’t know why” or “you say…” whatever. Then I play it over and over until the lyrics and melody are how they need each other to be. Every once in a while, the vocal line will roll off my tongue and I can feel that it’s right. It’s like crying but with a lot more satisfaction.  Sometimes nothing will fit. That’s frustrating, but I think when I cry it’s usually because of my raging teen hormones. It depends on the day.

KZUU: Who are the artists that you look up to?

Quinlan: I especially look up to Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills & Nash, Jack White, Feist (but the newest album wasn’t my favorite of hers), Peggy Lee, and Chris Thile.

Right now I’m really into that one Shins album Chutes Too Narrow, all the Laurel Canyon greats but especially Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Carole King’s Tapestry. Also, I’m into Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill later than everybody else because I wasn’t born when it came out, Jack White’s new album Blunderbuss, the Pixies’ Doolittle, the Cave Singers No Witch, and a bunch of other more local stuff. Those albums provide enough variety for the bus ride home, anyway.

Here’s the first single, In My Head:

In case you thought I might be lying about how young she is, here’s a live performance:

Feel sufficiently depressed about your lack of accomplishments now? Yep, me too.

– Jasmine

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The Underachievers – The Mahdi

The Underachievers are a New-York based hip hop duo consisting of MCs Issa Dash and AK. They recently signed to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label and they’re generating a lot of buzz in the hip hop world (FlyLo has been hyping them up pretty hard on twitter). “The Mahdi” is a smooth track featuring a jazzy reworking of the Souls of Mischief classic “93 til Infinity” for a beat. Dash and AK tout smooth flows as well and a mixtape tape full of solid cuts like this is definitely something to be hyped about.

The Underachievers debut tape Indigoism drops Feb. 1st.

– Daniel

underachievers

Julian Lynch – “Carios kelleyi I”

Julian Lynch is a full-time academic and part-time musician. It bleeds over into his new music; the title of the new single from his upcoming album Lines is the scientific name for a bat tick. While Julian spends most of his time as a PhD Anthropology/Ethnomusicology student at the University of Wisconsin, his music has grown more refined with each passing release. His last album, Terra, was one of our favorite albums of 2011, and if “Carios kelleyi I”, with a barreling drum pattern and a beautiful woodwind outro, is any indication, Lines could be up there for 2013 as well.

Lines is out March 26th on Underwater Peoples.

Burial – “Truant/Rough Sleeper”

Perfection is hard to create. Consistency is even more difficult. Burial continuously embraces both aspects extremely well, and his latest release is no different. Following the Kindred EP comes the Truant/Rough Sleeper EP. Though the two song track list may make you question why it’s so short, but keep in mind that the entire two tracks clocks at just under 26 minutes long.

Though the tracks on the one hand appear to be Burial experimenting with a ton of sounds and the like, but the more you listen one can’t help but wonder if the entire EP contains moods, emotions, time, and pace that yes, could possibly have more of a structured story line set in musical form. Each track is broken up often, changing in speed and attitude every time. Though it isn’t a direct “sequel” or follow-up of some sort to “Kindred” it bounces off well, and I find myself listening to one after the other.

“Truant” lumbers along for most of it, with a sample moaning “I fell in love with you” eerily repeating itself in such a mournful way that easily set’s that “storyline” stage I was talking about. However, it very quickly switches directions viciously to a more fast paced and aggressive tone, which then again morphs into a more mesmerizing synth explosion, all with a flickering yet shady drum progression stalking it, before it all turns totally dark and forceful for the last section of the track. This track holds nothing back, and is varied to the point of subtle craziness. And yet, the mood and atmosphere of the entire track gives off the “night-time stroll through rainy city streets” mantra that burial represents so well.

“Rough Sleeper” definitely is the more soothing of the tracks, but, in an almost hesitant way especially how “Truant” ended. There is a real personal touch to this EP. This track transcends and covers sounds of all kind, whether it be the saxophone sample, some sort of metallic sound that seems to play as a Bonang, or even the Andreas Vollenweider-sounding instrumental. All this with a bass line warming its way through the crisp drums. What really gets me is the repetition in “Rough Sleeper” and the incoming roughness and chaos the music goes through in the last minutes of the track, with little snippets of random instrumental sounds breaking through the distortion and drums…which stop so suddenly the silence itself turns frightening. It doesn’t fade out; it doesn’t have a drum outro. It just ends.

This is EP is an experience, worth your time, and definitely has made itself already one of the most prolific pieces of music of 2013. Few EPs can be personal and contain emotion. Even fewer can evoke emotion and bring up underlying thoughts and impressions from the sounds alone. With his elusive nature, shy character, and independent creativity, one certainly acknowledges that with the length used Burial has allowed himself to be more fluid with this music allowing for more variation and production styles. Even if you have never heard of Burial before, and especially if you are so adamant at not listening to electronic music (let along liking it) even as a one-time experience, listen to this EP. It is not one to be missed. It has such sentiment that can leave everything else in a blurry haze while you listen. It is quite frankly, superb.

– Nick

The State of The Come-Up, Vol.1

Check out the new project put together by DJ Smiles, who rallied some of the dopest and most talented young artists from a wide range of genres to put together some fresh new tunes. Tune, stream and download the FREE project from the soundcloud & link below.

The project is highlighted by previous KZUU interviewer’s Sam Lachow & Raz Simone who both supply the bangers, “Banana Goo Pie” and “Pulling”.

-Bryce

friendships – I’m an impressionist, you’re dumb

Friendships

KZUU has got some brand new bass music straight out of Melbourne for your ears! I’m an impressionist, you’re dumb is the creation of friendships, which is a collaboration between Nicholas Brown, Misha Grace, and Hedsbent. I decided to check out the EP after I stumbled upon the track “1am (slow release)” while browsing soundcloud and was seriously impressed. These songs are inspired by the internet and are their “lighthearted reflection of the internet and internet culture”. Each of these songs are wonderfully produced, and chilled out. Love the water droplet samples throughout a couple of the tracks and definitely got a kick out of the fact that “Milkshake” by Kelis was sampled in “draver”. You can stream it below and pick up a copy of your own here from their bandcamp page.

-Erin

New Year, New Music

Before we bash out the new year with weekly album reviews, I wanted to emphasize some excellent tracks that we have been loving at KZUU. First up, Brighton-based producer Tourist entered the scene with his first EP early last year. This time around he offers up the track “Your Girl” which proves to be a perfect segue-way to the weekend. Sampling Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew”, he builds them around the structure of the track creating a euphoric yet dreamy landscape of sound. While the tracks shimmering keyboards can be reminiscent of a powerhouse Avicii track, William Phillips (the man behind Tourist) aids the track with ambient synth and steady percussion ultimately crafting a sound that draws from nostalgia; forcing you to relive last nights party all over again.

London singer Josef Salvat has been blogged about obsessively this past week with the introduction of his catchy indie-pop single “This Life”.  It’s one of those tracks that you are consistently putting on repeat or obliviously blasting in your car. While Salvat’s brooding vocals wrap beautifully over a glitchy electronic beat, the slow moving production touches and stuttering vocals aid in an uplifting listener experience. It’s definitely a refreshing track to begin the year with.

Love,

Brennan