Release Date February 7. PPM62 LP. Full color printed covers. Printed inner sleeve. Includes download. Cover artwork by Suzanna Zak.
Syko Friend is the ongoing solo vision of Los Angeles based musician and writer, Sophie Weil. She started Syko Friend in 2012 while living in Minneapolis, recording simply on a Tascam 244 Porta-Studio. The project has since developed into a roiling, unmistakable electric folk music— thunderstruck, light-swallowing guitar churning under whispered or howled poetry. Fontanelle is Syko Friend’s second LP, her first since relocating to Los Angeles in 2015, and her first for the newly resurrected Post Present Medium label. It was preceded by "Problem Child" (released by Minneapolis label Mind Rider in 2014) and myriad self-released EPs and tapes. Over six years of tireless commitment to DIY touring and mutual aid, Weil has become a lynchpin of her music community in Los Angeles, organizing shows and releases for a multifarious and far-reaching cohort of friends under the banner of her Dove Cove Records. She is known for the heaviness of her sensitizing live shows, and has appeared as Syko Friend in underground clubs, community centers, basements, parks, parking lots, forests and farms all over the USA, in cities both populous and oft-neglected.
Fontanelle refers to the soft and undeveloped spot on an infant’s head. This record earns its surprising title, vulnerable and tectonic as that closing gap in the skull. Willing to be cared for, side-eyeing utopia skeptically while partaking in the commune. Longing for love, directness, communication and free food. The album finds Syko Friend irradiated, clarified, surfacing from out of shadow, hungry for fresh air and hell bent to bloom. Her rich and human voice turns patiently in the eye of a storm that rages just out of focus beyond the fragrant, rusted hull of her submarine sanctum. This is conspiratorial music, reminiscent at times of the squall of comrades Body/Head, the avant garde approach of Les Rallizes, the lucidity and understated power of Sibylle Baier.
“Liberty,” the first track on Fontanelle, was fleshed out on a west coast tour a couple autumns ago. It opens with an ill-boding siren of guitar swirl that establishes the space. “Remind me how to write your name.” When Weil’s voice arrives, it muses through a beautiful but menacing NorCal-to-Los Angeles pastoral of weed farms, little towns of small cabins and shacks, migrating elk; lush, incredibly green, black sands and rocky edges, sun hazy with smoke from devastating wildfires. “…And I can drink the juice out from your broken glass / it’s heavy when the lights get low to recognize / and all to see the elk they kneel around me in a circle / that’s mother earth she’s standing with her smoking gun.” Here at turns are confession, incantation, direct address, damning accusation as Syko Friend calls forth what’s required. “Kitten Coop,” the second to last track on the record, is a sweeter aspect, a simple arrangement of chiming fingerpicked guitar with murmuring acoustic following it. This one is a love song to a simpler life, oats soaked in milk and honey, a foil to the smoke that we’ve coughed through to get here on the record. Not a dream of a fantasyland, but a longing for a modest and achievable place of plenty. An earnest directive, splashed with flippancy and capped with a beautiful promise: “So find your kitten ranch / and buy your chicken coop / and I can see the fine light / that love is all around you.”
Fontanelle was tenderly recorded and mixed by Robert Cody and Evan Burrows in the spring of 2019. Electric guitars were tracked in Weil’s garage. Vocals and acoustic guitar were tracked in her closet and bathroom. Her house is situated between the I-5 and the L.A. river, in Elysian Valley. A contact mic affixed to the garage door during basic tracking captured these surrounds, which are mixed into the record as material, inviting the outside in.
2. Earth Kit
3. Earth Spit
5. Kitten Coop
6. Ancient Dog
7. Window (digital only)