News: Check Out Dax Pierson and Tyler Holmes New Releases on BIPOC/LGBTQIA+/Disabled Positive Label Ratskin Records

Oakland, CA based label/collective Ratskin Records put a focus on BIPOC LGBTQIA+ and Disabled artists. Two of their most recent releases come from Black Oakland-based queer artists, Dax Pierson and Tyler Holmes, with their first-ever solo LP releases.

Dax Pierson’s Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) is out now, and Tyler Holmes’ Nightmare In Paradise will be released March 26.

Dax Pierson
Photo Credit: Michael Daddona

Pierson’s Nerve Bumps combines hip-hop, funk, and jazz with futuristic synth to create his unique electronic sound. Despite the album being mostly instrumental, Pierson manages to convey a complicated, nuanced, and inspiring story. 

Vocals are used mainly as additional instruments, yet the narrative and timing is never lost, with the emotions of honesty, empathy, and humanity bleeding through the speakers throughout the record.

Co-founder of the bands Subtle 13 and God, a van crash in 2005 left Pierson with a spinal cord injury in the 5th and 6th vertebrae, with the Oakland artist living his life as a quadriplegic. His individual fingers are paralyzed, so he now uses a laptop controlled with iPad apps to produce his music. 

Pierson says:

“I had to wait for certain technologies to exist.” 

The album’s title comes from a quote by American dancer and choreographer Mathra Graham, who said, “No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” Pierson used this quote as his mantra for creating the record.

Pierson adds: 

“It’s the thing that I can’t not do, it’s the thing that keeps me going. Without this I don’t really know what I would have.”

Dax Pierson Nerve Bumps
Front Cover Painting: Chuck Nanney/Back Cover Photo: Lenny Gonzalez 

Get your copy of Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) – out now on Ratskin Records/Dark Entries Records – via Bandcamp here. Check out the opening track “Adhesion” below.

Tyler Holmes
Photo Credit: urheinous

Tyler Holmes’ Nightmare In Paradise masterfully combines electronic, folk, R&B, and modern Black classical, into a record packed full of emotion, built from the ruins of a violently traumatic incident and the lasting effects on Holmes’ mental health that followed.

On the last night of their cross-country tour a few years ago, Holmes’ tourmate Reyna the Ripper was shot in the lung during a random attack in Puerto Rico, and Holmes stayed behind with longtime collaborator and friend San Cha to care for their injured bandmate, taking shifts sleeping on a hospital floor and staying with friends in downtown San Juan. Intense bouts of PTSD, agoraphobia, and extreme stomach pains followed. But instead of being consumed by these symptoms, Holmes channeled them into composition, creating Nightmare In Paradise.

Holmes says of the album:

“I’ve been calling this my ‘adult-contemporary’ album because it is leagues softer than anything I’ve ever released, especially as a collection. This work was created as a document of my personal recovery from a very violent traumatic event and maps my experience with healing, PTSD, and illness. If the record is soft, or soothing, it is so because I needed to tell the story that way to make it palatable to process for myself. I needed to channel brutality through a healing lens to be able to recount the experience.

I wanted to create a white space. A clean slate; where emotions (no matter how painful) could present themselves fluidly and be wiped clean. To process the traumas and tribulations one by one, each feeling a colorful gesture on blank canvas. Each wound here for a moment and then passing off into the void to make way for the next.”

Each track features a collaborator, including a duet with and co-produced by LA’s GESS.

Tyler Holmes Nightmare In Paradise

Pre-order Nightmare In Paradise via Bandcamp here. Check out the lead single from it, “Confuse Me”, below.

Ratskin Records is a collective based label, co-run by artists Tierany Carter (they/them) aka Wizard Apprentice, Sharmi Basu (they/them) aka Beast Nest, and MD (he/him). Read more about their work on their website here.

Follow Ratskin Records: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube/Bandcamp/Twitch
Follow Dax Pierson: Instagram
Follow Tyler Holmes: Instagram/Facebook

Images courtesy of Ratskin Records.

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