Sykes, meanwhile, has been bouncing around avant-folk circles. After some time in respite, Sykes returns with a new album, Love Consequences and Serenity, recorded across the Northwest, from K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia to sessions in Portland with the Decemberists' John Moen and others. A step away from his more challenging, free-jazz muses, Sykes' latest is sunny and open armed. It's one I've been waiting for from him for some time.
- Andrew R. Tonry (The
Mikah Sykes' unique country, Mississippi delta, and Brazilian classical guitar fingerpicking style is a rarity that is not to be missed. This local guy has got talent beyond belief. So much so that John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame asked Sykes to record in his Los Angeles home studio (Frusciante backs up Sykes’ guitar on keyboards and guitar) after seeing him play a set in Eugene.
- Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon)
Folk dude Mikah Sykes fits somewhere between Iron and Wine and early Bright Eyes. There’s also some tremulous Sufjan Stevens instrumentation, guitar that feels a bit like Joanna Newsom’s harp, and some kiddie-ish Daniel Johnson vocals. Not to get all reference crazy up in your grill, but sometimes when the shoe fits you’ve got to go jogging and get some excersice. (I don’t know what I am talking about either.) Oz St. Fossils is straight up New Weird America old-timey. Straight-UP. This show will folk you up so good and you’ll love it.
- The Portland Mercury (Portland, Oregon)
I don’t think the universe rewards a good deed, and I’m not even sure that love is always the answer. That said, the way Mikah Sykes’ childlike voice meets his folk-blues finger-picking and promenades around a track is pretty damn adorable, hippie-ish or not. Sykes’ tendency toward spacey experimentation is tethered by his deep love of the blues, which brings a familiarity and structure to his work that makes it feel like home. For a guy who recorded his last album in John Frusciante’s living room, he has stayed one of Portland’s better-kept secrets...But I doubt that’ll last long.
- Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon)
From Mikah Sykes, to Mikah Sykes and the Pearly Everlasting, to the Pearly Everlasting, back to just Mikah Sykes to, now, National Forest. Though the name change has not been officially approved by the other half of the duo, Willis Ransom, Mikah shared: “I have reconnected with my old bandmate Willis; he was in Little Two’s with me and Emily Kokal from Warpaint. Anyway, my upcoming album will be a collaborative affair with him. we are going to use what i’ve recorded so far, and finish it together, plus his songs. We have 3 or 4 albums of material that is album ready as a duo; don’t know if we’ll do one at a time or a massive- mulit-disc release.” This is not the last of Hook and Line Mikah coverage…..expect some more good stuff in June *hint hint wink wink*
On another note, Mikah was nice enough to write up a really awesome playlist for us to include in the latest issue, which is available here.
- Makeba Robinson, Hook And Line Magazine (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)...more
Some of this album was recorded in John Frusciante's home studio in Los Angeles. "Snow Softens Sound" was recorded at K Records/Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. The quartet versions of "Inasmuch/Nonetheless" & "For A Love My Grace" were recorded by Dave Pulliam in his home studio and features John Moen (The Decemberists) on bass and drums. "Bad Feelings" and "Shadow In The Valley" were produced and recorded by Badsector in the Electro-Bus when it was parked outside the Nightmare Collective in Forest Grove, Oregon and at least three other locations. The rest of the songs were recorded at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, Old Standard Sound in Portland, Oregon, in my bedroom, The Cartoon Bungalow, Brody Welch's apartment in Eugene, and in the field on my Sony TCS-430. "Arctic Explorer" was written by Michelle Lamanet and was originally performed by an OLY-PDX based band called Swimming (proudly, I was once their drummer). The song originally appeared on their album "You Are Your Own."
released 21 December 2012
Mikah Sykes: guitar, vox, percussion, clarinets, keys, accordion
Willis Ransom: xylophone, drums, magic
Emily Kokal: vox, guitar, organ, magic
Jacob Wilson: guitar, percussion, vocals
Kae Ito: production, vox, guitar, arrangements
Frankie Palmer: pedal steel
John Moen: bass, drums
Bob Schwenkler: drums
Nate Lumbard: clarinet on "For A Love My Grace"
Susan Reilly: cello
Paloma Udovic: violin
Justin Higgins: percussion, whistling
Produced and/or engineered by Bob Schwenkler, Grant Fairbrother, John Frusciante, Dave Pulliam, Kae Ito, Jacob Arnold, Justin Higgins, and Jacob Wilson
I cut my teeth in a band called Little Two's with Willis Ransom (Mos 8 Kid; World War IV) and Emily Kokal (from Warpaint).
After the split of Little Two's, I followed Emily to Los Angeles, where she hooked me up with John Frusciante. It was in Frusciante's home studio where I recorded my first solo album. I have since toured the US and Western Europe....more