Man, there has gotta be something in the water up in Purchase, NY. There’s a dude up there named TL Hugo who is a classmate of some theLVL UP guys and who records on his own as InnerSummer. His most recent release EPFP is a collection of the best of his singles that he’s been steadily releasing for the year or so.
Proving that there are plenty enough pop hooks to go around in Purchase, TL sets his sights on a cleaner janglier guitar pop sound than his peers. The tracks are warm and unassuming in a way that will hit you right in that on-the-couch comfort zone. In his track “Nothing Special” he actually spills the words “Keep it simple, it’s nothing special.” Now I’m not going to say that there is nothing special about these tracks, but that one line does sort of act as a mantra for what’s on display here. There are no unnecessary flourishes, no left-field curveballs, just honest and heartfelt pop music. In a day when people are constantly searching for something to change up the game or for the next big thing, it’s comforting to have music like InnerSummer to come back to on which you can just chill out.
It’s not exactly news that 90’s era original emo is making a small comeback. Thanks in no small part to Cloud Nothings’ excellent Attack On Memory, people are starting to remember the genre for what it originally was and not what it ultimately became. Following suit, I think it’s about high time that people start getting back into an earlier screamo sound (don’t roll your eyes). Thankfully there has been a resurgence in the UK or at least bandcamp would have me think so.
New Objectivity is the latest EP from Leeds, UK hardcore/screamo outfit We’ll Die Smiling. While they aren’t straight screamo, they definitely have their moments that call back to some great late 90’s early 00’s bands. Bands that were more about passion than image. Just listen to those guitar lines and the scrappy screaming of the dual vocalists and tell me that you aren’t flashing back to memories of early Thursday, Piebald, or even Refused. It’s a pretty intense EP that I only wish was a bit longer. It’s out now on 7” vinyl through Holy Roar Records.
The internet is a strange place, guys. Where else could something like this exist? I mean, I can’t even pretend to understand exactly what this is and frankly I don’t really want to either. Released on the vibe-alicious label Ailanthus Recordings, Waikiki Kosmos is an amalgam of sample-collaging and internet drone that does its best to defy description. So bear with me, I’m going to try and somehow squeeze this into my box of understanding.
According to the label’s bandcamp page, AFRIKA PSEUDOBRUITISMUS operates two different soundcloud pages. One puts the project in Morocco, the other Spain. The project’s blog is a collection of bizarre collage work with accompanying soundcloud and youtube links. It’s this sort of messy ambiguity that defines the music as well as the overall aesthetic. Misplaced samples run rampant, interwoven into pools of watery, era-ambiguous, droning synths. It’s like the byproduct of a pseudo-tropical pool party hosted in ReBoot’s Mainframe City. Hands up if you know what I’m talking about.
Let me first state that this is so much more than just another side project. In a day when any given artist operates under several different monikers, it can be hard to make those projects stand out as more than just time-killers. In the case of The Hiya Dunes however, this group of friends is making seriously good music that is as much fun to listen to as I imagine it was to make.
Sailing on the seas of smooth songwriting, The Hiya Dunes have come ashore to deliver their debut album High Tide a bit early. Sorry for that corny metaphor, but everything about this project feels decidedly conceptual. Issuing a brand of haunted surf pop, these eleven tracks play like the spooky croons of those poor souls lost at sea. Surfing close to novelty territory (probably thanks in no small part to vocalist Eddie Golden III), these guys know exactly what they’re getting at. It’s all sun, surf, and stinky seeaweed and it’s out now on cassette through Seagreen Records.
Oh there is nothing worse than an ambiguous release date. Such is the nature of the beast with the current music scene, though. When an artist says something like “album will be soon” it is absolute torture. Just tell me! Otherwise I will be forced to check your site every few days to see if it dropped. Well, that was the case with Ottawa hardcore punk band Motivator. Last month these dudes put up the artwork for their upcoming cassette Decay with a message. “Coming very soon” they said. Jerks.
Long story short, I somehow missed it by a couple weeks. Whatever, man! I have a lot of stuff to keep track of.
Well, now on to the music. Decay is like a donkey kick to the gut with six tracks whose total runtime clocks in at around five minutes. The first thing I noticed was that the production quality of the EP was a bit more raw than the band’s self-titled debut. I’m not complaining though, it adds an extra measure of grit and gravel to the music that is totally in keeping with the genre’s roots. The energy here is palpable. The speed and the force are infectious. And the vocals will have you reaching for a cold glass of water. Essentially it is everything that I wanted from a new Motivator release. I couldn’t be happier.
Grab it for free until Blank Stare gets around to release the tapes.
Did you guys get a chance to hear this new demo from Dan Casey’s new side project? You will most likely know his as Yalls, but who knows, maybe after hearing this track that might change. The project, which is still very much in its infancy, is called Steezy Ray Vibes. Now I’m assuming that the name is a nod to Stevie Ray Vaughn (only my dad’s favorite artist ever) which is fitting because the track is built almost solely around the guitar.
It’s surprising that Dan is calling this a demo, because I can’t really imagine how any other touches would make this track better. It’s a beautiful and slightly melancholy track that cements Dan’s place as a truly talented artist in the current music scene. Going back and listening to Yalls’ eclectic debut album, there were hints here and there that whispered of Dan’s evolution. Tracks like “How Much We Have Lost” or “Weave It” showed that he had more in mind for his music than simply having fun. Little did we know that his following the rabbit down that hole would lead us to “Empty City.” It’s a bright and shining beacon that points beyond toward a beautiful future, and luckily for us we get to ride along.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was sharing some tracks from a mysterious R&B project called b.u.i.l.t. The creator asked for a certain level of anonymity, which isn’t all too uncommon these days, so I didn’t press the issue. But as time went on, he revealed himself to be a dude named Burke Sullivan whose primary project New Terrors isn’t completely foreign to this site.
Burke has managed to carve out an interesting little corner for himself with New Terrors. His latest release Mother is out now on Flannelgraph Records and on the whole it kinda resists categorization. There are some strong pop elements, but Burke obscures them by painting them over with several coats of ambient and electronic noise. It’s also a very unassuming and almost timid release that peeks its head out of its hiding spot before quickly snatching it back in, but if you follow it back it will reward in spades.
It’s probably best to take SSWAMPZZ at face value. I mean, with a name like that you probably realize what you are about to get yourself into. You see these three Syracuse noisemakers unleash scuzzy noise-punk with reckless abandon and revel in the trashier side of life.
Out now on Miscreant Records, the band’s debut tape SLEEPER features five songs of unhinged lo-fi sleaze that share the vibes of well, a swamp. If you’re into music that gets down and dirty, then feel free to wade around with SSWAMPPZZ, just don’t blame me if you wind up with a few leeches on your legs.
Oh, and check out the band’s video for the single “Sleeper.” It features live footage of the band spliced with footage taken from (go figure) Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers. Get filthy.
It was well over a year ago when I first featured California metal band Wreck and Reference. Their debut release Black Cassette was a great initial step and while I certainly loved it, I could see it as potential groundwork for something much greater down the line. With the band’s newest album No Youth they capitalize on 100% of that potential and craft an album that is as intense as it is relentlessly dark. It has routinely blown my mind since the band sent it my way a few days ago.
Having been a fan of these guys since the beginning, I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to witness them put together an album so expertly crafted. The greatest thing that I can say about No Youth is that with it Wreck and Reference have truly carved out a niche for themselves that is all their own. In funneling numerous genres down into a pool of noise, traces of doom and black metal, spoken word, industrial, drone and ambient noise all get swept up in the oncoming flood. All that is left to do is let the inky, black waters of not only one of the most exciting and versatile metal albums this year but one of the best albums period wash over you.
Ever since his exit from Chains of Love, Clint Lofkrantz has turned his vision towards greener pastures… well, gardens. Grey Gardens is his newest project and once you listen to the handful of tracks he has on his Soundcloud account, I think you’ll agree with me that it was a move best taken.
Sticking to what he knows best, Clint anchors these tracks on one thing: the guitar. I’ve heard it said that he is one of the hardest working musicians in Vancouver so whether he is shredding with distortion so thick you’ll need a machete to hack through or hearkening back to jangling eras gone by, Clint is proving his salt. Check out his track “Baby” to see what I’m talking about.
Oh, and here is some more good news. In addition to working on Grey Gardens Clint told me that the finishing touches are being put on the new Manic Attracts album. And all God’s people said, “Amen!”
Take a look at the cover artwork for mnttaB’s latest EP Rocky 4,2 and 3. I mean take a really good look at it. Now try your best to compress all of that information down into a musical representation of what you are seeing. Chances are that whatever you are dreaming up in your mind is pretty close to what this Australian band actually sounds like.
The band displays an impressive knack for chaos with an industrial edge that will have people citing Suicide before you even have a chance to blink. Riffing on math and noise rock in a way that would make Lightning Bolt proud, mnttaB emits a jarring punk rock energy that will leave shards of metal and broken glass strewn across the common area. Suffice it to say, you had best watch your step.
I would be so embarrassed if the dudes in LVL UP were to see the play count of their debut album SPACE BROTHERS in my iTunes; they’d probably think that I was obsessed with them. Come to think of it, I probably am. I featured the NY band as my inaugural post on PORTALS, included a track of theirs on my guest mix for Matinée As Hell, and now I’m finally getting around to sharing them here.
Had it not been technically released in October of last year, SPACE BROTHERS would sit uncontested as my favorite album of 2012, no question. It’s a stellar album of rambunctious and slightly nostalgic guitar pop with hooks so catchy I find myself humming them in the shower. If I was forced to cite one con of the album it would be that some of the songs are painfully short. I can’t really even say it’s a negative thing though, because each one of these thirteen tracks feels like a complete yet concise thought. To add anything to them would be overstating.
At its absolute best, SPACE BROTHERS is an intensely catchy amalgam of styles that has been ground down into a series of shining gems in a basement somewhere in Purchase, NY. The level of variety and the way that the tracks play on each other makes it almost impossible to single one out. Really the only proper way to listen to it is from start to finish. It’s currently being offered as a free download on the band’s site, so if you go ahead and listen to it I think you’ll find that I’m not overselling it. It really is that good.
SPACE BROTHERS saw a modest cassette release late last year on the band’s own label Double Double Whammy. I missed the boat on grabbing a tape, but the good news is that the album is getting a wider release thanks to Philadelphia label Evil Weevil. The first 50 orders will come on green vinyl and will include “a mix cd of my favorite club hits of 2011 and a bunch of promotional materials (posters, stickers, bottle openers, pins, buttons).” Whoa baby. Go grab one.
There is always music to look forward to, but seldom are the times when I find myself so eagerly anticipating an album that I can barely stand the wait. Solar Bears’ forthcoming Supermigration is one of those times.
One of the things that I love most about the Irish duo’s music is that it is a perfect companion piece to my love for genre films. They create this perfect hybrid of different styles that at times reminds me of horror film scores of the late 1970’s or early 1980’s (John Carpenter, Ennio Morricone, Goblin) while other times their sound is more reminiscent of sci-fi. But wherever the band is pulling influence from, you can always guarantee that the result will be dense and atmospheric arrangements.
Take a listen to this cut from Supermigration that John sent me called “Cosmic Runner.” It’s about as deep space as the title would suggest and it shows that the band is back and in top form as well.
Side note: Did you guys see the trailer for Beyond the Black Rainbow yet? The aesthetic that Solar Bears have honed over the last few years (and of which “Cosmic Runner” is a perfect example) is almost a perfect match to the vibe and the look of the trailer. It’s almost eerie! Check it out!
I was totally broadsided by this track today. We are talking jaw on the floor here. A friend of mine who loves the band as much as I do posted it to my Facebook wall today and I’ve been listening to it nonstop all day.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with mewithoutYou or not, but they are one of Philadelphia’s best and most exciting bands. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs ever since I saw them play in support of their debut album [A→B] Life.Back when they pulled out trash bags of dried flowers and moss and draped them all over the stage. So you can imagine my excitement at hearing the band’s first new track in over three years.
Given the band’s love for penning sequels to their own tracks, “January, 1878” picks up where “January, 1979” left off. Listening to the track it seems that Aaron Weiss has returned to his original shouting/spoken word delivery while still retaining the singing that he went all out for on It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright (which admittedly I was not crazy about).They’ve struck common ground between both their old and new sounds and it’s a working combination that has me pumped for their new album.
The new album Ten Stories will be out May 15th on the band’s own label Pine Street Music Collection. Date marked.
I featured a track from Montreal band Each Other a few weeks ago called “Sit Still.” That song was my first introduction to the band and it had me absolutely pumped to dive into their previous EP. The funny thing is that I thought I knew what I was getting into with it, but I was way off.
In reading about this EP I found a lot of comparisons to another Canadian band: Women. Now I usually try to avoid comparing bands one to another, but once I had Women in my head I just couldn’t shake the similarities. They use the same guitar-centric foundation and employ seemingly dissonant notes with interesting time signatures. Fortunately for Each Other they also manage to set themselves apart in some pretty fantastic ways as well.
The harmonies that made “Sit Still” such a pleasure are here in spades. The voices are layered and reverbed to perfection and it gives the already jam-packed music an added measure of depth. They also pen really catchy melody lines, but they do it in a way that never feels like they are taking a pop route. But as good as those vocal lines are, the reason to make camp with Take Trips and stay there is the songwriting. They just do some really interesting things with the instrumentation. They’ve written these tracks in such a way that you can never quite get a fix on where they are going, and it is always exciting rather than taxing to see where they take it.
This one comes exuberantly recommended. Download it for free on Each Other’s bandcamp or grab it on cassette via Prison Art.