Slide 1
It Can Be A Bit Terrifying: Raul Zahir De Leon on his Return with CANANDAIGUA

By Steve Dewhurst

“Who is America for?” ponders Raul Zahir De Leon when recalling the earliest knockings of what has now become CANANDAIGUA, his first musical project since the dissolution of Stamen & Pistils in 2007.

Pete Swanson
Dissect Yellow Swans: If The World Didn't End (1998-2000)

By Steve Dewhurst

In the opening chapter of the story we join band members Pete Swanson and Gabriel Saloman at the turn of the century as their musical paths converge in Portland, Oregon. Rotating around the creative hub that was promoter Todd Patrick’s 17 Nautical Miles, Saloman and Swanson were joined on the scene by fellow luminaries such as Paul Dickow, George Chen, Ethan Swan and Paul Costuros.

Slide 2
Clean is Dirty: An Interview with Flowertown

By Lindsay Oxford

The birth of San Francisco’s Flowertown makes for a good story: longtime Bay Area scene compatriots Karina Gill (Cindy) and Mike Ramos (Tony Jay) compose a song together for an upcoming show in later winter 2020, and the day before they’re slated to play it, the world stopped.

Slide 3
Needles and Pins: Derek Piotr's Journey to the Heart of Britain's Folklands

By Steve Dewhurst

“Yorkshire is not so dissimilar to my home in the Northeast of America,” Derek Piotr tells me from York, the latest stop on his great British journey. “Connecticut is part of New England, so that makes sense.”

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Guest Playlist #1: Jeffrey Silverstein

Released towards the start of the Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating creep west, Jeffrey Silverstein‘s debut LP You Become The Mountain arrived right on time. Although some personal upheaval was involved just prior to its creation, Silverstein had “settled in the Pacific Northwest” by the time production had begun, and “shed some of the negative beliefs and narratives” that had loomed over him before the move. “That experience allowed me to tap into a creative centre I hadn’t been able to reach for quite some time,” he told Underscore in a recent chat. “Making the album was also very much a celebration of collaboration and the magic that can only be found through playing music with other humans.”

Which can only make one wonder exactly how zen You Become The Mountain may have turned out had it been made during the Coronavirus pandemic. “I’m [now] hard at work on my next release,” he says. “The writing period has been more solitary, however my bandmates and I have had a lot of fun getting creative about how to collaborate in the age of social distance. I think the result will reflect a different energy. I’m using the time and space to push myself to explore new sounds and song structures, [and] looking forward to seeing it come together.”

Jeffrey’s playlist – the inaugural selection as Underscore launches what we hope will become a regular feature – reflects the man, and the musician, well. Encompassing everything from keening British folk courtesy of Fairport Convention’s Iain Matthews to fly-blown psych spin-outs from desert rockers Yawning Man, it highlights well the sonic touchstones that pepper You Become The Mountain and encapsulates the musician’s way of life – for the most part. “All of these tracks establish a mood quickly, [which] is always something I’m trying to do when writing,” he says. “Running, meditation, and music are tools I use to ground myself. They help me feel more connected to myself and others. But I certainly can have days where I’m anything but chill.”

We hope you enjoy listening. 

Main image credit: Shade Standard