Debut Lead Single & Video Cool and Bendable out April 10th

Today, Kalbells (the project led by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Kalmia Traver) announced Mothertime, a four track EP she co-produced with Jeremy Malvin (aka Chrome Sparks). The cathartic lead single and accompanying music video for “Cool and Bendable” premiered today via The Fader and is now available to purchase/stream worldwide.

Mothertime will be out April 10th, 2020 and is now available to preorder via NNA Tapes. This spring, Kal and her band will bring their new material to select dates in North America.

In April 2015, Kalmia Traver (Kalbells, Rubblebucket) had just come out of an intensive 2-month writing retreat with 27 songlets in hand, 10 of which would become Kalbells’ debut album Ten Flowers. Jeremy Malvin (Chrome Sparks) loved what she shared with him then, and the two began regular co-production sessions in his studio in Brooklyn, where classical percussion ensemble, So Percussion, also worked. Drawing inspiration from the abundance of acoustic sound-makers all around, Jeremy performed marimbas, cactus shakers, and massive bass drums, while Kal layered flute arpeggios, penny whistles, and saxophones through tape echo to make smooth harmonic waves of rainbow velvet layer cake. They pretended to be an orchestra. 

Lyrically, the Mothertime EP sees Kal processing themes she has been continually chewing on in the 6-year wake of surviving ovarian cancer and transforming a codependent relationship with her long-time music partner, Alex Toth, (Tōth, Rubblebucket): resilience, yielding, beckoning creativity, self-exploration, and joy.

“Cool and Bendable” was inspired by a dream in which she held her yet-unborn child, but as Kal finished writing the song in the studio with Jeremy, she realized it was actually about holding herself, a body, a life. “Supple, strong, funny: a person, a being,” she says. “I also think I was celebrating in awe the general aliveness of our world, Earth.” “Mothertime,” is about her mother and their relationship, which she describes as her most cherished learning-grounds. “It’s about the bewildering beauty and uncanniness of the fact that we can keep growing & changing so much, cueing off each other across our two mobius-entwined lifetimes.”

The EP’s final two tracks, “Precipice” and “Tremble,” are both about the struggle of being in a codependent relationship: the sadness of neglect, the zing of excitement during a bitter fight, the addictive explosion of energy that feels momentarily gratifying but isn’t ultimately what one is searching for, truly, and the cyclical realization (and perhaps, denial) of harming oneself or others. “It’s something I feel proud to have moved and grown through,” she says, “and I hope writing about it can be a form of revealing the illusion, and healing.”

Tour Dates
Apr 29 Milkboy, Philadelphia PA
Apr 30 Comet Ping Pong, Washington DC
May 01 The Hollow, Albany NY
May 02 Sultan Room, Brooklyn NY
May 06 ArtsRiot, Burlington VT
May 07 Middle East Upstairs, Boston MA
May 08 10 Forward, Greenfield MA
May 09 SPACE Gallery, Portland ME

From the video channel of NPR MUSIC

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