Relief Map Records Showcase
Kathy Snax is the solo project of Kathleen Mahoney, a Boston-based musician who describes her music as “haunted electropop.” The dreaminess of her ethereal vocals and lushly textured synths
Kathy Snax is the solo project of Kathleen Mahoney, a Boston-based musician who describes her music as “haunted electropop.” The dreaminess of her ethereal vocals and lushly textured synths is juxtaposed with spacey tape feedback and moments of eerie distortion and noise, infusing her pop melodies with the surreal. Save for the minimalist drum machine beats, her compositions are entirely synthesizer-based: each synth line is recorded individually and meticulously layered, a sound that she achieves live by playing and looping in real time. The “Changeling/A Winter’s Day” 7" was recorded and produced by Caufield Schnug of Sweeping Promises (Schnug also provides live drums on “A Winter’s Day”). Both songs are meditations on loneliness and longing—both the dream-like memory of what used to be and making sense of a new, strange reality. The 7" follows her debut EP “The Spooks” which she self-released on cassette tape in 2018 and was also recorded and produced by Schnug.
25 year-old New Hampshire native Ezra Cohen cut his teeth the past several years touring and recording with melodic punk band Notches. Though his solo output trades distortion and overdrive in for acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Cohen’s conviction and knack for hooks remain. Granite State Grass, was originally released in 2019 as a 4 track EP and now reissued with 2 brand new songs. All instruments performed by Ezra Cohen with help from Max Grazier, and Calvin Joss (Caspian) on pedal steel and mandolin.
Oh, Yes is led by multi-instrumentalist and Boston native, Conor Maier. Though he rarely records in solitude, rather opting to enlist a cast of friends of “whoever is around the practice space”. That confidence and curiosity of where songs can go is highlighted throughout Crooked Wine Smile. The debut release from the 29 year old songwriter features 9 meticulously crafted experimental pop songs. Each track hovers around the 2-minute mark but the sample-heavy, guitar-centric collection manages to pack in a plethora of instruments making for countless genre-spanning moments. “Heaven Sent” perhaps captures the optimistic mood of the whole record by simply reassuring that “It isn’t always as bad as it sounds” while “Brass Locket” chooses to take an abrupt and explosive trip-hop detour mid-way through. There are touches of slow-core and tinges of emo but an Oh, Yes song doesn’t stay in the same lane for long and its not because they’re restless or in a hurry to get there, they just like going for a drive.
Having spent the last few years recording in her bedroom tinkering with alternate guitar tunings in addition to playing in bands with friends, Chloe Deeley finally makes her solo debut as Sailor Down with the stunning 6 song EP Skip The Line. The 26 year old Northampton, MA native who also splits artistic output as a prolific illustrator as seen in the accompanying artwork, was raised along the coast of Massachusetts and comes from a family of boat captains so when choosing a moniker for the project it felt only natural to turn nautical. To capture the intimacy and immediacy of her first recorded collection, Chloe decided to retreat to a friend’s isolated cabin in southern Maine. The sparing but impactful uses of vintage casio keyboards, synthesizers, and drum programming help round out the material but the main vessel alongside a delicately plucked guitar is Chloe’s Elliott Smith-esque double tracked vocals. Even with poignant lines like “Does time still heal if you waste it?” or “I could use an all-nighter, I miss you talking over me” its easy to forget how sad the songs are when the melodies are so captivating. Skip The Line is out May 14th on Relief Map Records.
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