News updates for Marshmallow Coast

Marshmallow Coast at This Is Book’s Music

Marshmallow Coast has been making music for 20 years and have been releasing albums on the Happy Happy Birthday To Me label for awhile. They have a new one in 2015 and this one is humble and promising, and it’s calledVangelis Rides Again. If you love the brand of pop Andy Gonzales continues to perfect with each release, you are really going to like this effort.

Vangelis Rides Again is a 9-song EP, two of which are brief interludes but if you are someone who only likes to hear music in small doses, you’re going to enjoy this. “Homeless Baby” takes portions of The Coasters’ “On Broadway” and brings it into modern times, as if there isn’t a sense of optimism but you still must have some sense of home, somewhere. “Foreign Dental” sounds like something you might find on a Todd Rundgren or Let’s Active album while the title track is slightly groove, slightly funky, slightly psychedelic, but borderline trippy, the song that might make you go “who is this?” and “I must invest time in the back catalog.” It’s a lot of wonderful pop textures from someone who is willing to take the listener wherever he goes musically and while some American ears may not find this of interest, I can see this being very favorable in the UK and other countries who love their pop with fondness.

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Marshmallow Coast at Blogging Stone

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Marshmallow Coast at AllMusic

Nearly two decades into his career, indie pop auteur Andy Gonzales returns with Vangelis Rides Again, his ninth LP under the Marshmallow Coast banner. Mysterious, with a murky, almost sensual attitude, Vangelis runs the Coast‘s typically clever popcraft through a midnight-blue filter, resulting in nine attractive explorations that evoke the magic hours before dawn. The deep, mellow grooves of “Hash Out Cash Out” and the synth-weighted title cut cast a strange spell and the woozy “Hills Are Alive,” a sly play on Rodgers & Hammerstein‘s Sound of Music theme, is quietly dazzling. “Mystical Shit” plays on the band’s psych/prog tendencies while the closer, “Forever,” sounds like a literal translation of the album’s name. Jarringly brief, Vangelis clocks in at a mere 20 minutes, making it either an elaborate, mood-heavy EP or a hallucinatory trip that ends too soon. Either way, it’s a solid effort with plenty of heft.

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Marshmallow Coast at Rock Decibels

L’ancien élève de Elephant 6, Andy Gonzales (ex-of Montreal, The Music Tapes, Mond Brains) est de retour sous le sobriquet deMarshmallow Coast pour le dernier chapitre de sa carrière prolifique (ceci est quand même son neuvième album).

Vangelis Rides Again sonne comme un disque italo lounge album ; laid-back et brumeux, les morceaux sont comme ensablés dans le crépuscule obscur de la psychedelia telle que, dans les années 80, elle était véhiculée par l’électronique.

L’instrumentation flotte de ci de là façon Beach Boys, permettant à aux compositions mélodiques de Gonzales de se transformer au fur et à mesure de leurs progressions. Des hommages rendus aux Drifrres , Return to Forever ou The Sound of Music prennent la substance de ces rêves étranges qui surviennent juste avant l’éveil ; des souvenirs dont on n’a que partiellement conscience mais qui sont comme les résidus des profondeurs qui ont agité notre esprit.

Vangelis Rides Again est un opus cyberpunk velouté, parfait pour la paresse qui nous engloutit quand le passé est un fardeau et le futur lugubre et indécis. Une invitation à sombrer dans laquelle il sera aisé de plonger.

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Marshmallow Coast at Flagpole

The show is billed as “Gonzalez vs. Gonzales,” but it’s a contrived controversy: Drive-By Truckers’ Jay Gonzalez and Andy Gonzales of Marshmallow Coast stress to Flagpole that they they admire each other’s work. Friday night, the local pop mainstays will each celebrate the release of a new record by co-headlining the 40 Watt Club.

After opening for the Truckers during the band’s annual homecoming in February and a stretch of shows where he performed his new, ‘70s-AM-radio-inspired EP, The Bitter Suite, in its entirety, Jay Gonzalez is primed to celebrate the collection’s release. Gonzalez says being so active with the Truckers the past few years delayed the new record’s completion.

“Because [DBT] is on a schedule, and because it’s an on-off thing, when I’m home, I can focus,” he says. Still, he adds, the music that would end up on the recording was penned a while back: “I wrote most of The Bitter Suite four or five years ago in hotel rooms.”

For the show, Gonzalez has assembled an all-star cast—Chris Grehan, Joe Rowe, Peter Alvanos and Kevin Lane—to give The Bitter Suite a proper treatment. The group will also play other songs from Gonzalez’s solo catalog.

Gonzalez says he feels fortunate to have his friends accompany him on stage, even if coordinating so many schedules is a task. “I don’t feel obliged to do it as a full band, but I really do enjoy it that way,” he says. “I feel like it’s the only way to get the whole thing across.”

Gonzalez confesses that while live shows are always a thrill, he also views them as opportunities to rehearse for upcoming recording sessions, typically scheduled whenever everyone can get together. While technology makes it easy for Gonzalez to communicate and exchange sounds and ideas with Grehan, who lives outside of Athens, he says he still cherishes any opportunity for the group to record together.

Also Friday, Andy Gonzales will celebrate his band’s return after a long break. And in fact, Marshmallow Coast’s Vangelis Rides Again is a near-perfect counterpart to The Bitter Suite. While the latter album was recorded in a professional studio, Vangelis is thoroughly a bedroom production, with Gonzales going so far as to build his own microphones, amplifiers and compressors.

Gonzales says the record’s trim, nine-song tracklist is a product of “the new era of… Internet short-attention-span promotion,” which he views as a positive. “I listen to some albums—even albums I love—and think, ‘This could have been five songs shorter, and I would have paid the same amount and not had to delete these songs from iTunes,’” Gonzales says.

With Vangelis, Gonzales says he has reached a new point in his trajectory as a songwriter which has forced him to try new methods. “I’ve gotten so into electronics in the past five years that it has eaten away at my songwriting time and cycle of focus,” he explains.

The real “epiphany,” Gonzales adds, has come from his attempts at building “song structures that move around just a few chords, like ‘Hills Are Alive’ [from Vangelis].” Gonzales says the inspiration for these sparse arrangements came from classical composers he has long admired.

While the recent uptick in Elephant 6-related activity, including Neutral Milk Hotel’s return, has garnered quite a bit of national attention for the Athens-based collective, of which Marshmallow Coast is an affiliate, Gonzales says it hasn’t impacted him or his band all that much.

“I honestly try to never think about the music business, or buzz, or trends, or anything that can spur [that] nauseating roller coaster ride of emotions,” he says.

With that caveat, Gonzales hopes to take Marshmallow Coast on the road for some East Coast dates in the future. After recent stints touring with other groups, Gonzales hopes to schedule a string of shows for his own band—“if they can be planned well and scaled so that they are fun and not in big, empty bars.”

Although Gonzales admits he prefers solo performances, where he builds songs using loop pedals and other effects, he promises “full-fledged stage musicianship” for his release show, which will feature Gregory Sanders, Emily Growden, Sarah Kirkpatrick and Derek Almstead. Gonzales will switch between guitar and piano to round out the band’s live sound. He also promises “a mild amount of theatrics… to expand the performance.”

Though both artists’ music differs in terms of approach, they share a definite affinity for ’70s-inspired pop music, so Friday’s show will seem less like a contest and more like a carefully curated, only-in-Athens event.

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Marshmallow Coast at Big Takeover

Elephant 6 alumnus, Andy Gonzales (ex-of Montreal, The Music Tapes, Mind Brains), returns to his Marshmallow Coast moniker for the latest chapter in his prolific musical career.

Vangelis Rides Again comes across as an italo lounge album. Laid-back and hazy, the songs reside in the murky dusk of psychedelia via ’80s electronics. Instruments waft in and out Beach Boys-style, allowing Gonzales’ melodic compositions to morph as they progress. Homages toThe Drifters’ “On Broadway,” Return to Forever and The Sound of Music become the weird dreams that happen just before waking, memories not fully realized but still lingering in the depths of the mind. It’s cyberpunk for the velvet couch elite lazily passing time in a blue screen fog.

When the past is a burden and the future looks bleak, Marshmallow Coast is the pillow that makes it all better. Just lay your head down and sink.

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Marshmallow Coast at SoundsXP

We first came across Marshmallow Coast in the early noughties when the Marshmallows toured with Of Montreal and Andy Gonzalez played in that band too. The line up currently is Andy G, Derek Almstead (also ex-Of Montreal), Emily Gowden, Sara Kirkpatrick and Carlton Owens. We’ve lost touch with the more recent output, including their temporary name change to M Coast, but they’re back and we thought we ought to hear what they sounded like now, now that they’ve reached album number 9.

You couldn’t pin them down on this evidence; ‘Hash Out Cash Out’ has a touch of chillwave cool, especially in the repeated breathy refrain “on those psychedelic nights, can we turn out the lights?” while ‘Vangelis Rides Again’ (much better than the original line “black Dennis rides again”) sounds like a synthed-up Steely Dan, a very strange form of easy listening, slightly jazzy but compellingly catchy. ‘Mystical Shit’ is the best track here, a Derek Almstead composition that has a touch of off-kilter Of Montreal strangeness but a melodic heart, with weird subject matter: “she’s into mystical shit/ she’s got her crystals and special stones”. However, the tropicalia twitterings of ‘Homeless Baby’ comes close to matching it, Emily Growden singing a sultry tale of New York’s bleak streets that channels and subverts the melody and meaning of the Mann/Weill composition ‘On Broadway’, and the record ends with the gorgeous, drifting ambient Harmonia pop of ‘Forever’. It’s a slowly unfolding record that probably needs late nights in lonely hotel rooms or travel around deserted 2am ring roads to work its magic completely. But magic it has.

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Marshmallow Coast at Stereofly

Athens’ band Marshmallow Coast release their new album Vangelis Rides Again tomorrow via HHBTM Records, and we’re debuting the “Hills Are Alive” music video to give you a little taste of what tomorrow brings, another beautiful, synthy project from  Andy Gonzales (ex-of Montreal, the Music tapes, Mind Brains).

We talked with Andy Gonzales about the process of writing and recording it.

Is the band a rotating cast of musicians or a pretty set group?

Pretty much from the beginning it has been a rotating cast.  Mostly Elephant 6 personnel, but for songwriting duties, it has largely been myself with frequent contributions from Derek Almstead.
How long did it take you to track this album?
I work in spurts of creativity, so I think I worked on the tracks for over 1 year.  I did some long distance collaborating with friends in NY for key things they can contribute (like the Mandolin on Hills are Alive by Josh Kaufman who is a studio guy in NYC and background vocals by Kevin Fish who is sort of my Michael McDonald to my Steely Dan…sort of :-))
Is Marshmallow Coast studios more of a bedroom studio or more of a fancy-pants studio?
Sort of along with the second question, I try and play to strengths.  I have a really nice bedroom studio for tracking.  I can track some things very well like guitars, Direct injection things, and Vocals.  However, when it’s time for mixing and drums I hire a professional studio, which is almost always Derek Almstead’s home studio.
What was the best part about doing most of this album at studios members own?
It’s really helpful to have the ability to do some nice tracking at home.  That way you can really take your time and find the best sounds and best takes.  It also helps that Derek Almstead’s studio rates are suuuper reasonable.  So we spent lots of time mixing and trying ideas and not having to rush anything.
What sort of limitations did you hit?
It can be hard not being in a super expensive studio when you want to get a band to play at the same time.  When you overdub a lot of performances, you have to really really feel the music and get a natural group performance vibe.
What is something valuable you’ve learned over the years as a member of the Elephant 6?
I am constantly inspired and encouraged by the Elephant 6 group of artists.  Everyone is super creative and just a “for life” artist.  There can be ups and downs to that too, so everyone is really supportive of each other.
Who from the Elephant 6 camp are featured on the album? Anyone outside of the collective collaborate or contribute in any way?
Eric Harris (Olivia Tremor Control drummer) played some drums, of course Derek A played all over it.  I made some fun electronic-y samples with Will Hart that we slowed down and pan modulated and etc.  Carlton Owens played drums on Derek’s track Mystical Shit.  He has played with many big artists including Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker.  Kevin Fish from the band Higgins does a lot of my singing (as mentioned) and did electric piano on the title track.  Steven Trimmer is one of my favorite electro artists and he did some of the super spacey moog realistic synth parts.  Emily Growden who has been another one of my singers, sang a bunch.
Will you be touring to support this release? If so, when and what regions are you hitting?
We are starting with a huge show May 22nd at the 40watt playing with Jay Gonzalez (guitarist for Drive by Truckers) releasing his super amazing Bitter Suite.  Then I want to take a small or medium sized (2-5 people) group up to NYC and play a few shows along the way.  Likely over the summer when some other commitments are finished.
It’s Saturday or Sunday morning in Athens. Where do you go for brunch?
You get driven out in the country a bit with some knowledgeable foodies and get stuffed on southern food with a bunch of people wearing camouflage!
Where do you go for tacos in Athens?
El Sol has my favorite Mexican Taco dinner.  There is also a cheesy strip mall type place called Taqueria Tsunami where you can get really foody tacos and quality drinks.

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Marshmallow Coast at Warszawa

昨年カセットでは出ていましたが、ヴァイナル版となると6年ぶりです。デビュー作から丁度20年くらいが経とうとしている時期での新作です。Andy GonzalesはOf Montrealに在籍していたといっても一瞬だったと思うので、基本的にここが彼にとってはここが本拠地としてずっとやってきたと思う。そしてこの作品を聴くと、その周辺アーティストやバンド遍歴とかはあんまり関係ないというか、感じさせないとてもシンプルな演奏と歌によるもので、何気ない風景の様な音楽です。

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Marshmallow Coast at KEXP

Click through for a track stream.

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