(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 85: Mamalarky

Mamalarky

Mamalarky formed in 2016, growing out of the house show scene in Austin, TX that surrounded their cooperative student housing. But their roots as friends run even deeper: Bennett and Hill met in middle school band, and they’ve played in bands with Hunter since high school (single You Know I Know nods to the big music dreams of their Texas upbringing). When the band moved to LA after the release of their first record, they met Khan. Pocket Fantasy follows their 2020 self-titled full-length debut, the 2018 EP Fundamental Thrive Hive, and support tours with Slow Pulp, Jerry Paper, and Ginger Root, among others. When they’re off the road, Mamalarky now jokingly calls itself “tri-coastal,” with Bennett and Hunter back in LA, Hill in Austin, and Khan in Atlanta.
Six months into the pandemic, three-fourths of the band plunged into a new experiment and moved in together. Guitarist-vocalist Livvy Bennett and keyboardist Michael Hunter drove across the country, decamping from Los Angeles to bassist Noor Khan’s hometown, Atlanta. In September 2020, the trio rented a giant old house with vaulted ceilings, a tire swing, and a bare-bones little studio room. There, the band made its largely home-recorded new album.
The resulting album, Pocket Fantasy is a perfect sunny-day record – imaginative and introspective, an enveloping listen of sky-high hooks and keyboards that soar with joyful abandon. Its twelve kaleidoscopic tracks shape-shift aesthetically and thematically, through ideas about death and impermanence; love and gratitude; nature and technology; humour and hope.

What Livvy Bennett Says:Pocket Fantasy is a study in extended introspection, and going deep to find new things worth celebrating. Making Youtube playlists of obscure music is one of those things for me! The first track on the album, Frog 2, describes feeling like a loner the best. ‘How can I introduce myself, I am a collection of cells.’ 
I was reading an old diary last night and was surprised at the sheer volume of passages about me struggling with introversion, and specifically the loud inner dialogue that interrupts so many conversations. I was wondering if it was a matter of self control, but I think I’ve learned it’s just how my wrinkly brain operates no matter how much I try to massage it out.

I really needed to write something to accurately show Noor how much her friendship means to me, and our journey as musicians and friendsWe need more songs about friendship. In peak album-making mode we were churning out songs, at times to the point of delirium. So we decided to shake ourselves loose and make this serotonin rock song about how much we love each other–to push past all those hunched-over studio hours and create this little summer memento. At the time we were having a lot of pond, lake and pool-side hangs, laughter under the beating heat. At the end of those days all we wanted to do was come home and synthesize those feelings in our studio.

Their Mixtape:Mamalarky has a pretty wide range of influences that I tried to capture in this short collection of tracks. It was nice to work with a prompt, I hope I did it justice!

Ety- Pretty Glo!

This song makes me yours, in the sense that it’s about the big city. I recently relocated back to Los Angeles so the beat and speed and sentiment in this one really does it for me. Also it’s just great to dance in the kitchen to this song but pretending you’re in the club.

 

Deerhoof – My Lovely Cat

Deerhoof is one of my favorite bands, so this ode to their pet cat is right on the nose. Tour is all fun and games until you realize your cat can’t come with you! That’s the main element of home that I miss on the road.

Bernice – Forgiven

I’m infatuated with the beat in this song, the synth blips, and the over-the-top ballad chorus that comes out of nowhere. I can think of a lot of songs about love, and a lot about break ups or fuck-yous. I appreciate a rare song around forgiveness! Maybe the complex arrangement can tell us something about how it feels to forgive someone even if you’re hurt.

Ferrante & TeicherMidnight Cowboy

Here’s something old for you. I’m always studying arrangement and production from older songs, especially ones with orchestration. I hope that’s something we get to explore someday.

Tommy White – Pedal Steel Solo

 
I got really into pedal steel thanks to Faye Webster’s pedal steel player, Pistol. I highly recommend watching this one through because he gets into some really interesting notes as it progresses.

Loretta – Ginger Root

Something new that looks old! There’s few artists I admire as much as I do Ginger Root. He is so involved in all his videos and produces everything himself and is also just all around a great person. Mamalarky did a short tour with Ginger Root once and it was so nice getting to hear the set every night.

Pocket Fantasy will be out on September 30th through Fire Talk Records. Look HERE for more information on Mamalarky.

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