Out Now: Sally Decker’s ‘In The Tender Dream’ 🌛

NNA Tapes is thrilled to reveal ‘In The Tender Dream’ in full, today—the profound new album from the Oakland, CA based composer, performer, and writer Sally Decker. In the record’s distended drones, chattering poetry, cosmic synth work, and gentle ambiance, Decker dives back and forth between chaos and order, turmoil and respite. There are stormy feelings captured in these pieces, but there’s peace too if you’re willing to listen for it.

Decker’s first offering was “The Loss,” accompanied by a video made in close collaboration with Emily Chao in which “rephotographed landscapes emerge from the shadows in a confrontation of self.” Then came the buzzing and euphoric titular centerpiece, followed by Affirmation Pt. II”, a track about the drama and messiness of relating to another person, but also the joy and magic of falling in love.

‘In The Tender Dream’ is available now on Compact Disc, Cassette, and Digital formats.

“In The Tender Dream steps up the intensity of her mesmerizing concoctions”
–Ears To Feed

“Recognisable as a long, dark night of the soul, In The Tender Dream is alive with the elastic, unexpected results of acquiescing control to the subconscious, and trusting in process rather than result.”

“Sally Decker switches between feedback and blissful ambiences on In The Tender Dream, as though she’s trying to echolocate the self with the sheer force of vibrant sound.”
–The Quietus

Sally Decker (FKA Multa Nox) Announces New Album ‘In The Tender Dream’

Sally Decker (credit: Nathan Kosta)


Sally Decker—the Oakland, CA based composer, performer, writer, and Mills College graduate—today announced her new album In The Tender Dream will release August 13, 2021 with NNA TapesAlongside the announcement comes the ominous lead preview “The Loss” which is accompanied by a video by Emily Chao, made in close collaboration with Decker. The two provide this synopsis of the video: “Rephotographed landscapes emerge from the shadows in a confrontation of self.” The video debuted earlier today via Foxy Digitalis and the track is now available to stream here.

“This song came at the brink of a new understanding around acceptance,” says Decker. “Understanding that doesn’t necessarily take place in felt experience, but at least in the glimmers of seeing an alternate reality you want to move toward. The first impulse that brought this track out of me was wanting to express the visceral pain of longing, the wound of self-abandonment, feeling the core of yourself just totally not there. The power the voice finds is through honest confrontation with the reality of what has been neglected in the shadow, what has not been fully grieved. Wishing for change, hoping for another reality (past or present) that isn’t aligned with the reality that occurred or is occurring, is a sure way to be stuck in that place of longing and helplessness. Acceptance will ultimately set you free. The voice in the song starts to understand this, and accumulates power through orienting toward this possibility.”


♥️ Kalbells’ ‘Max Heart’ is out today! ♥️

Kalbells’ new album Max Heart is out today! NNA Tapes is thrilled to release this colorful, magical album into the world on ‘Salty Pickle’ green vinyl, standard black vinyl, CD, and digital formats. ‘Red Marker’ red vinyl is also available—exclusively from indie record stores!

BUST Magazine describes the album as “psychedelic in the most mind freeing, soothing, yellow-smiley-face sense of the word—elastic funk and fluid synth-pop blurring the lines between sensual and surreal, complete with hyper-pictorial lyrics delivered so smoothly…” while Bandcamp says it “wends its way through lushly painted, fantastical worlds as an exercise in both escapism and world-building for self-care.”

Max Heart is an illustration of death and rebirth; letting go of what doesn’t serve us in order to leave space for the blessings that do. The album is the band’s most collaborative release to date, and the vibrancy of the collective is truly captured here. Read more about Max Heart, at Bandcamp.

Pre-order Kalbells’s Sophomore LP ‘Max Heart’ ♥️ out March 26

Incredibly happy to announce ‘Max Heart’ — the sophomore album from Kalbells, aka Kalmia Traver (of Rubblebucket), Angelica Bess (Body Language), Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy, Sad13), & Sarah Pedinotti (Lip Talk) — out March 26 on NNA Tapes.

‘Max Heart’ is available to pre-order on standard black 🖤 & “Salty Pickle” green vinyl 💚 as well as on compact disc & digital formats. The album will be available on “Red Marker” red vinyl exclusively from local indie record stores.

‘Max Heart’ explores what happens when we let go of what doesn’t serve us in order to leave space for the blessings that do. The album’s ten vibrant and subtly layered tracks of mesmerizing psychedelic synth pop (co-engineered with Luke Temple) were birthed from the band’s practice of listening and accountability, rejoicing in their queerness, and promoting each other to be their most genuine selves. ‘Max Heart’ is a portrait of badass women harnessing their improvisational magic.

The effervescent lead single “Purplepink” is out today, and the video, conceptualized and directed by Lisa Schatz, features 3D animated rocket ships, faceless furry creatures, a 30 foot glittery hologram of Maddie Rice (Jon Batiste’s Stay Human, Saturday Night Live Band) shredding on guitar, and Kalbells as warrior space queens. 🚀

Pre-save/add/order here! > https://fanlink.to/maxheart

The Cradle’s New Album ‘Laughing In My Sleep’ is Out Now 🌙

The Cradle
Laughing In My Sleep
By: Paco Cathcart

I recorded Laughing In My Sleep two years ago, Spring 2018, and the songs really come out of experiences in 2017 and early ‘18, which was a dense time with some healthy personal upheaval and a lot of traveling. April ’17’s month long Megabus/Greyhound tour was crucial and left me enamored with the idea that I could do a full solo tour without a car, and with the act itself of traveling around by bus (the song “Society of Men” came directly out of a bus station experience from that tour). That September we got pushed out of our house on Prospect Place in Crown Heights where we’d been consistently putting on shows for a few years (as a venue it was called “Bottom Bell”), and where a ton of music was written, practiced and recorded, (including every Cradle album from “Basketball is Beautiful” through “Bag of Holding”).

I was considering not settling back down in New York, thinking about moving or trying to tour and travel indefinitely, but ultimately I got lucky and found a room in November around the corner with friends. I think a lot of this album comes out of that happy coincidence that allowed me to keep living and making music in Brooklyn. The perspective of wonder and curiosity in songs like “End of the Day” or “Children” is involved with a kind of renewed, deepening appreciation for the breadth and wondrousness of the city I grew up in.

Early ’18 saw more traveling and also slowly detangling a longtime romance, and there are admittedly some pained anti-love songs on this album like “Eyes So Clear” and “One Too Many Times”. Hopefully these bluesier feelings are balanced out by the celebration and joy in songs like “Parasite” or “I’ll Walk”, songs about letting go and feeling free.

Form-wise, Laughing in my Sleep was supposed to be a summary album of sorts that would give someone listening to my music for the first time a little taste of everything. Previously, I had been particular when recording about making each project it’s own coherent and distinct sound-world, either through consistent instrumentation or a consistent recording process, but Laughing in My Sleep was the opposite. The drum-machine songs (“I’ll walk” or “See if it Lasts Longer”, for example), were recorded lo-fi on cassette, while the acoustic-guitar ballads were recorded hi(er)-fi on half-inch tape. Some of the songs are voice memos recorded on a cell phone that were supposed to be turned into proper songs later, but which, in retrospect, contained so much feeling and sense of place that I never rerecorded them. I wanted the album to give something different on each listen and give something different to each listener. I wanted there to be many landscapes, some near and some far, and many lenses to see them through, some blurry, and some clear.

— Paco Cathcart

The Cradle Shares “Eyes So Clear” ~ ‘Laughing In My Sleep’ out Aug. 21

The Cradle, aka Paco Cathcart, is sharing his new single “Eyes So Clear,” today, the final single to be released from his upcoming album, Laughing In My Sleep, out August 21st on standard black & cream vinyl, compact disc, and digital formats.

On “Eyes So Clear,” Cathcart is joined by Lily Konigsberg (of Palberta) on backing vocals. Driven by plodding piano chords and strummed guitar, the song’s narrator wrestles with feeling distrustful and bitter toward friends who have a clear-eyed, less solipsistic perspective on life. Recalling the philosophical and reflective duets from artists such as Simon & Garfunkel and Sufjan Stevens, “Eyes So Clear” feels timeless.

Pre-save ‘Laughing In My Sleep’ here, and pre-order it at Bandcamp or from our shop.

The Cradle Shares “End of the Day” From New LP ‘Laughing In My Sleep’

The Cradle, aka singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paco Cathcart (Big Neck Police, Eyes of Love, Shimmer), has shared “End of the Day,” today — the second single from his upcoming, 21-track album Laughing In My Sleep, out August 21 on standard black and limited edition cream vinyl, compact disc, and digital formats. The first 50 vinyl pre-orders will ship with a chapbook handmade by Paco.

“End of the Day” has been a staple in The Cradle’s acoustic live sets over the past couple of years. It is also a song that bucks easy categorization: “It’s a repetitious lullaby; a series of images at greater or lesser distance; an ode-poem to Brooklyn; the daily splendid and heartbreaking minutia of city life; a first-person account of events of questionable significance; a dream that goes both towards nostalgia and out towards adventure,” Paco says. “End of the Day” follows “One Too Many Times,” and both singles feature backing vocals from Lily Konigsberg (of Palberta).

Laughing In My Sleep is available to pre-order from our shop & on Bandcamp. Pre-save the album to your preferred streaming service by clicking here.

The Cradle Announces ‘Laughing In My Sleep,’ Shares “One Too Many Times”

Truly beyond excited to announce ‘Laughing In My Sleep’ — the new 21-track album from singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paco Cathcart, aka The Cradle.

Available August 21 on standard black and limited edition cream vinyl, compact disc, and digital formats. ⭐️ The first 50 physical pre-orders will receive a chapbook handmade by Paco. Order from our shop & on Bandcamp.

Check out the lead single “One Too Many Times,” featuring Lily Konigsberg (of Palberta) on backing vocals. “It’s a lament about miscommunication, and the difficulties of being vulnerable and clear with one another,” Cathcart explains. “It’s about feeling desperately apart from the “vanguard,” that is, those who are fearless and true with their language, politically and personally.”


Sally Decker

Sally Decker has been learning to let go. When working on the pieces that make up her new album In The Tender Dream—her first under her own name—she worked heavily with feedback, a tool that helped her learn it was okay to not be in control. By their nature, feedback systems are unwieldy and unpredictable, but over time, she came to see resonance and meaning in the wavering static and unruly drones. Learning to work with these systems became a metaphor for the way she was learning to move through the world. She was beginning to understand how to embrace change, to find stability in a turbulent internal landscape.

“Being in that space of the unknown was terrifying in a lot of ways,” Decker explains. “But it felt important. I felt drawn to it.”

In the record’s distended drones, chattering poetry, cosmic synth work, and gentle ambiance, Decker dives back and forth between chaos and order, turmoil and respite. Prickly, pointillist pieces like the title track give way to more restful moments like the centered, self-assured “Affirmation,” a balance that echoes Decker’s realizations about feedback. There are stormy feelings captured in these pieces, but there’s peace too if you’re willing to listen for it.

The ideas behind In The Tender Dream first took shape when Decker moved to Oakland to attend Mills College. Drawn, in part, by the communitarian nature of the program, she went through an intense period of personal and artistic growth. Challenged by mentors to experiment and delve deep, she found her way to these feedback systems, and to new ways of making art that felt intensely personal. Exploring the ache of codependency, straining deeply for self-worth on her own terms, she crafted pieces that helped her process her most intimate feelings.

In a way, In the Tender Dream is an extension of the work Decker has done all along, including the meditative electronic pieces she made as Multa Nox. Her full-length debut Living Pearl, released in 2017 on NNA Tapes, was itself a dreamy, internal record, revealing the vibrant, varied emotional potential of her slow-moving music. In the Tender Dream again finds her inhabiting this contemplative space, but the work feels more human, more present. “I used to try to track the narrative of an emotion in a piece,” she explains. “Now it’s like, how can I work out this emotional thing in the process of sculpting the sound itself?”

It was a big shift, in part because her time at Mills lent her a new understanding of performance, improvisation, and the potential of generative systems within electronic music, but also because, for the first time, she’s foregrounding the human voice. Decker has often slipped snippets of her voice into her compositions, but there are a series of text-sound meditations on In The Tender Dream that lay bare the emotional content of the record. Working with vocalists Briana Marela and Emily Cardwell, she puts face to the shifting emotions—a voice rising from the thick mist of her feedback-laden compositions. Drawing on her background as a writer, she put words to the feelings that for so many, for so long, remain shapeless and unsettled. Taming the feedback is an emotional journey of its own, but coupled with these lucid monologues and affirmations, In The Tender Dream feels vulnerable and intense, like locking eyes with a stranger across a room, taking a breath, and staring deeply.


Kalbells’s sophomore album Max Heart (NNA Tapes, 2021) opens with the process of regeneration. “I’m rotting and I’m never coming back the way you knew me then,” Kalmia Traver sings with a combination of buoyancy and resilience on the opener “Red Marker.” From the beginning, Max Heart is an illustration of death and rebirth; letting go of what doesn’t serve us in order to leave space for the blessings that do. With Max Heart as their next chapter, central to Kalbells work is the process of creativity giving space for vulnerability and radicalism–continually practicing decolonization work and fighting against white supremacist, heternormative, and patriarchal models. Take their pre-show vocal improv practice of tintinnabulation (introduced by sometimes-drummer and honorary member Dandy McDowell) which Traver explains is “more about listening than it is about vocalizing; it’s more about creating that ecosystem together of trust and respect and interplay and play and joy. I think that that practice is definitely at the center of our work together.” Angelica Bess, Zoë Brecher, Sarah Pedinotti and Traver used this collection of ten tracks to embody prosperity and reciprocity.

Kalbells began as a side project for Traver, who also contributes to the joyous, rocking chaos of Rubblebucket. Three years after the debut album Ten Flowers, a more ambient invocation of untapped self-creativity, the sophomore LP was designed to maximize the synergy that Bess, Brecher, Pedinotti, and Traver manifest. Over the course of 2019, Traver planned several week-long intervals of writing a song a day, and, surprising herself, she was writing a lot of love songs. That year she experienced acute heartbreak, but her heart organ “felt bigger than it had ever been.” Similar to energy conservation, it seems that the lost love that influenced Traver’s writing was transferred elsewhere. Rather she invested in the formidable love with her touring band turned bandmates, and they birthed songs that capture the vibrancy of their collective.

A prime example of Kalbells furthering their sum energies is the effervescent funk of “Purplepink.” Co-written between Bess, Pedinotti, and Traver, a hyper synth bass darts around elongated keyboard sighs. Although the three recorded their vocals in their bedrooms between 2019 and 2020, Bess remembers the day when the lyrics and rhythm came in sync. “I came over to Kal’s house with my bass, she had a cluster of lyrics scattered. I sort of mushed them together and came up with a melodic hook for the verse. The chorus we wrote was based off a run Kal took that day. I also remember coming up with a part of the chorus bass line and Kal took the bass from me and finished it. We kinda just came in there and boom a song was made.”

At the beginning of 2020, the band escaped to Outlier Inn for two weeks in upstate New York to record songs with the studio assistance of the prolific Luke Temple. Kalbells crafted and co-produced ten bright, layered tracks of psychedelic synth-pop. It was also Traver’s first time mixing an album. The result is a prismatic display of experimental pop. From the soft flute touches on opener “Red Marker” to the fluttering saxophone on “Flute Windows Open In The Rain,” each song holds a delicate surprise. Brooklyn-based rapper and multimedia artist Miss Eaves hops on “Pickles” for witty wordplay. On the elastic closer “Max Heart,” sprinkles of piano and bouncing percussion lock into each other. Brecher reveals that the band was grooving so hard that she felt like she wasn’t even drumming. “I was just watching us move along with the beat. It was kind of trance-like. Of all the songs on the album, this, to me, was the most fun to record.”

Traver’s visual songwriting is part of what gives Max Heart its whimsy.  On “Bubbles,” Traver envisions that one’s fears  “take flight on a destination vacation” where later they’re fed peaches beside a fire.  Later, we’re invited into her subconscious on “Diagram Of Me Sleeping.” Her voice is low and sleepy with sand as she sings, “I woke up with a fishtank in my hips/tropical clouds of neon floating little dreamy fish.” Traver’s image-focused lyricism is a way of tapping into her emotions. “I feel like the visual for me is really generative,” she says.  “That’s just a way to get me talking about my feelings more, and I think it can be hard to talk about your feelings. The little visual things are little entry points.”

Max Heart is a portrait of these badass women harnessing their improvisational magic. They dispel any sexist assumption about jamming. “When we play grooves together it’s like some spiritual experience. It’s really empowering,” Traver says. “I think, there’s an unspoken thing that women don’t groove. That men groove and women are the singers and that our groove would be not viable or not as cool,” Traver explains. “Once we’re all together it’s like frickin sparks fly.” Common groove language is a rare medicine to happen across, which is why, as a group, playing with each other has been not only exciting, but restorative. “Kalbells is a living, breathing, healing, grooving movement,” Pedinotti beams. Max Heart harnesses this magnetic power for a collection of songs that are packed with inspired tension and daring surreality.