Monday, January 26, 2015

Torche Debut New Single "Loose Men" via Rolling Stone

[press release] Torche have premiered “Loose Men,” the third song to be heard from the outfit’s forthcoming album, Restarter (Feb. 24, Relapse Records), via Rolling Stone.

The Southeastern quartet are on the current cover of New Noise Magazine and their new album received a perfect 10 from Outburn, with the magazine calling “Loose Men” a “ridiculously catchy rocker” and saying the album is a “brawny, muscular, cohesive hard rock [album] that honors its stylistic forbearers while distinguishing itself from its peers.”

The band has added a hometown record release show, March 4 at Churchill’s Pub, to the previously announced tour dates which are:

March 4 Miami, Fl Churchill’s Pub #
March 6 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
March 7 Birmingham, AL The Bottletree
March 8 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
March 9 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
March 10 Austin, TX Red 7
March 11 Dallas, TX Club Dada #
March 12 Memphis, TN The Hi-Tone
March 13 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
March 14 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
March 15 Milwaukee, WI The Cactus Club
March 17 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop
March 18 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
March 20 Detroit, MI The Pike Room
March 21 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
March 22 Montreal, QC Bar Le Ritz
March 23 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
March 25 Boston, MA Great Scott
March 26 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus
March 27 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
March 28 Richmond, VA Strange Matters #
March 29 Washington, DC DC 9 #
May 2 Leipzig, DE Taubchental
May 3 Wroclaw, PL Asymmetry Festival
May 4 Prague, CZ 007
May 5 Munich, DE Ampere
May 6 Milan, IT Lo Fi Club
May 8 Barcelona, SP Rocksound
May 9 Madrid, SP Boute Live!
May 10 Lisbon, PT Musicbox
May 11 Bilbao, SP Kafe Antzokia
May 13 Zurich, SZ Dynamo
May 14 Wiesbaden, DE Schlachthoff
May 15 Cologne, DE Underground
May 16 Berlin, DE Hafenklang
May 18 Nijmegen, NL Merelyn
May 19 Haarlem, NL Patronaat
May 20 Paris, FR Glazart
May 21 Antwerp, BE Kavka
May 22 London, UK Underworld *
May 23 Leeds, UK Belgrave Social Club *
May 24 Galway, IR Roisin Dubh
May 25 Cork, IR Craine Lane
May 26 Dublin, IR Grand Social
May 27 Belfast, IR The Limelight
May 28 Glasgow, UK CCA **
May 29 Manchester, UK Sound Control **
May 30 Bristol, UK Temples Festival
May 31 Nimes, FR This is Not a Love Song
June 1 Nantes, FR Le Ferrailleur

All U.S. dates w/ Wrong; Nothing appears on all dates except when noted with a #

* - w/ Henry Blacker
** - w/ Kings and Henry Blacker

Torche has previously previewed two new songs from Restarter: “Minions," a track Stereogum described as “a towering, walloping steamroller of a song” and “Annihilation Affair” which Spin dubbed “a thundering single” and went on to describe as featuring “pulverizing eardrums with screeching, sludgy guitars, head-pounding percussion, and gut-wrenchingly aggressive vocals.”

Restarter will be released on CD/LP/Deluxe 2xLP/Cassette/Digital, with pre-orders available now with songs “Harmonslaught” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Mantasy,” will be included on deluxe editions.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vision Fortune Share "Back Crawl II" + Announce US Tour Dates!

[press release] Vision Fortune shares the second single, “Back Crawl II” from their forthcoming ATP Recordings’ debut, Country Music. Premiered by The FADER, “Back Crawl II” was informed by the only form of emotional release available to the group at the time - a 25-meter swimming pool. Blending ambient water recordings with the various rhythmic clicks and ticks of a lacrosse stick, the result is a wealth of amorphous, liquid textures that are at once enveloping and exhilarating. Country Music, out February 9th, is both challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

Vision Fortune will tour in the UK and further afield in support of Country Music this spring including dates at SXSW, Spillover Fest, Levitation Fest and ATP Iceland. A full list of dates is below.

VISION FORTUNE TOUR DATES:

Wed. Mar. 4 - Leeds, UK @ The Library
Thu. Mar. 5 - Glasgow, UK @ Nice & Sleazy’s
Fri. Mar. 6 - Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Sat. Mar. 7 - Sheffield, UK @ Secret Location
Tue. Mar. 10 - London, UK @ Ace Hotel (TBC)
Wed. Mar. 11 - Brighton, UK @ Bleach
Sat. Mar. 14 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall (Levitation Fest) (TBC)
Tue. Mar. 17-Sat. Mar. 21 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Sun. Mar. 22 - San Antonio, TX @ Spillover Fest (TBC)
Thu. Apr. 2 - Philadelphia, PA @ TBC
Fri. Apr. 3 - Brooklyn, NY @ Palisades
Sun. Apri. 5 - Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Thu. July 2 - Keflavik, IS @ ATP Iceland



PRAISE FOR VISION FORTUNE:

“In a very Liars-esque move, it's the kind of song that resists having a hook, but you find yourself singing along anyway… this song is grimey and disgusting in a way that's strangely calming” - Noisey

Friday, January 23, 2015

EIS Review: California X "Nights in the Dark"

California X
Nights in the Dark
Don Giovanni Records; 2015
Review by Eric Gagne

When I first started listening to this, it sounded like something was missing. Turns out the left channel of my car stereo was out, so basically, it was half of the goddamn mix. I’ve got it in my headphones now, and right from the first notes, absolutely nothing is missing. The opening guitar reminds me of Morphine’s Dawna, laying the pallet out, slow and with space, allowing for a focus on the movement of each note. California X begins Nights in the Dark in a similar fashion; it’s a moody and affecting vamp, establishing a deep current, preparing the listener for everything to come.

Doing a complete headphone listen felt like quite a victory, especially after those few moments of confusion. It was like having an ear blocked, and then loosening that last stream of water, the surrounding environment floods in, and at once everything makes sense again. I love being able to hear the care that went into making an album; I put quite a bit into my own, and when I hear the same dedication, I feel as if these people are upholding a standard of responsibility that humans must adhere to if we hope to destroy the bullshit and mediocrity of the status quo. It feels like the conversation is truly in an infinite feedback loop.

Nights in the Dark has great movement to it, and though the sound is dark and heavy, it never feels like it’s bogging down, or retreading similar ground. I got familiar vibes here and there from a disparate vocabulary: Descendents, Botch, Tortoise. The vocals keep any darkness from becoming too brooding, as the singer maintains a strength and clarity, but also giving it a kind of easy, carefree feeling; reminded me of Karate here and there. There is a righteous sludginess happening on this album that really anchors the shredding and keeps it from being overly noodly. You really bend with each note, and feel like nothing is superfluous.

Production wise, Justin Pizzoferrato is a champion translator. Some bands enter the studio with an album in their collective minds, and it takes a special technician to help them bring it to light. The real goal is to make a record that is complete and breathing on its own; you don’t want to see the seams. Some engineers just push the buttons, but some, like Justin, become invested, and the evidence is the album itself. Parts of it should be blasted while driving too fast down backroads, or running from the cops in late 80's Hollywood, neon and hustlers turning into a blur as the wind, speed, and adrenaline make you teary. It broadcasts the scenery of many nights in many different kinds of darkness, drawing from a full emotional bank of imagery and meaning. A real freeing discovery is that there is joy in darkness. Joy in knowing where you are, that your feet are firmly on the ground, and that you alone are operating the exquisite machinery of your life.





Thursday, January 22, 2015

EIS Review: Swings "Detergent Hymns"

Swings
Detergent Hymns
Quiet Year Records; 2015
Review by Cameron Stewart

Like any well-curated artwork, the cover of Detergent Hymns is an enticing invitation into Swings’ universe, much like Spiderland was for Slint. The blurred streaks of light and hazy textures reappear in the mind’s eye as phantom harmonies float by and frequency filters strip away concrete sonic shapes. The album’s atmosphere reminds me of DC’s creaky suburban architecture – arid and chalky, although oneiric like flecks of dust drifting through rays of twilight sun. Listeners will glean plenty of influences, but Swings’ artistic configurations defy any singular comparison. Splashed across Detergent Hymns are the eerie timbres of early post-rock, jazz and math rock’s disjointed, nebulous rhythms, and indie rock’s wistfully melancholic delivery.

Singer/guitarist Jamie Finucane’s vocal style is all his own: a boyish, pitch-perfect mumble that slurs words into elongated phonetic brush strokes. This enunciation is the perfect marriage to his impressionistic imagery. Illustrations like “reflexive porcelain dreams,” “desire’s disease,” “my heart-race-body-puddle,” and a recurring Willow character resonate with abstract allure.

Perhaps the best portrait of Swings’ guitar form is painted by Finucane’s own poetry: “I found the cosmic secret / It’s when you kick the ice, it hits the ground and breaks like glass and sounds so good.” Chords are dreary in coloration, but prickly in tone. Fragile melodic shivers creep along the band’s web of sound while lusciously serrated chords slice into the band’s most emphatic moments.

Danny Howard’s drumming recalls Fat History Month in terms of functionality. He’s able to wander into tangential daydreams while remaining exactly on time for cathartic instrumental peaks. Infinitesimal alterations in flams and high-hat noodles keep percussive patterns invigorating without becoming alien. “Forearms” and “Calling It” showcase these fluid fluxes between loose improvisation and precise synchrony.

Zack Lewton’s bass finds itself right between Finucane and Howard’s worlds. Punctuated grooves ground crooked melodies and perfectly append percussion to guitar. Lewton’s ominous palette of notes haunt compositions and allow them to sway just out of focus, while also endowing monumental passages with density and accentuated force.

Moody slow dances coax the listener into tranquil bliss before Swings’ creations crack apart into splendid maelstrom. It sounds like watching a chandelier implode in slow motion; crystalline fragments waltz in midair, refracted light meanders on shadows below. It’s emotional without wallowing in cliché and cantankerous without simply upping volume and distortion. Especially striking moments include the transformation from instrumental splatter into caustic rage that closes “Forearms,” the vapor lullaby of “Calling It,” the slick, squirming groove of “Heavy Manner,” and the asphyxiating tension of “V” as it releases into a full-band groove dripping with satisfaction. Detergent Hymns, clocking in at just over half an hour, is packed to the brim with these flashes of musical genius, making it frankly stressful to choose just a few.

Despite just entering their twenties, Swings already exhibit a rare level of expressive maturity and finesse unknown to most of their seniors. This, combined with their meteoric development and unrelenting prolificacy distinguishes them as one of the most thrilling acts to watch flourish. For many, Detergent Hymns will be an astonishing introduction into the trio’s imagination. For Swings, it is likely the photograph of a sound that is already dated. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

EIS Review: Myriam Gendron "Not So Deep As A Well"

Myriam Gendron
Not So Deep As A Well
Feeding Tube Records / Mama Bird Recording Co.; 2014
Review by Emma Behnke

The task of crafting a piece of contemporary folk music is daunting: with such an established indigenous heritage, every texture, chord, and cadence is artistically significant. Not So Deep As A Well, the first record by French-Canadian musician Myriam Gendron is a stunning testament to folk music’s enduring magnetism, and how uncannily well poetic material can be reanimated in a colorful, relevant composition. Gendron’s lyrics are taken from the poetry of Dorothy Parker, a dynamic civil rights activist and writer with a sardonic touch. Gendron takes these poems and matches their intelligence with a warm, resonant guitar tone. The songs have a glittering texture, with space left between music and lyric—gracefully sidestepping the claustrophobic leanings of other folk compositions, where overstated vocals often compete with guitar lines. Gendron’s nimble, measured fingerpicking will, from time to time, give way to a handful of notes on a lower-string, their melancholy richness heard briefly before the refrain unwraps itself again. 

Not So Deep As A Well is a reflection on a peculiar type of loss, one that also permeates the haunting compositions of 1970s German folk-singer Sibylle Baier and John Fahey. Baier and Fahey conjure up what cannot be materially reached: the loss of places and of past selves. 

In “Song of Perfect Propriety,” Gendron sings: 

I'd like to straddle gory decks / And dig in laden sands, / And know the feel of throbbing necks / Between my knotted hands. / Oh, I should like to strut and curse / Among my blackguard crew.... / But I am writing little verse, / As little ladies do. 

This rustic nostalgia brings to mind the transcendentalist construction of solitude, as something to be sought after and delicately examined. Despite the record’s sorrow, it has an agile, prescient wit that firmly shrugs off any inclination towards self-pity. Myriam Gendron parses through the documentation of desire with a fine-toothed comb. Unlike some musicians whose attempts to voice disenchantment with the world come off as vitriolic or defeatist, Not So Deep As A Well is wistful, even capricious. When listening to the record, you get the sense of entering a private place—observing a latent honor-code to respect the vulnerability in Parker’s poetry and Gendron’s interpretation of it. It’s rare to find a record that is simultaneously candid and enigmatic, but in the unexpected pairing of a 20th century American poet and a little-known Canadian songwriter, this stunning combination is achieved. 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Astral Swans Announce Full Length Debut "All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson" + Tour Dates

[press release] Astral Swans' All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson is a collection of stark psychedelic folk from the unfiltered neuroses of Calgary’s Matthew Swann. Songs steeped in universal anguish, marveling at the world’s knack for enterprise and cannibalism, come across instead as subtle, reassuring lullabies. These are quiet, relatable anthems for the outsider set, balancing gentle melodies on Swann’s self-obsession with moral fallibility. On first single “Beginning Of The End”, Swann delves into the album’s various drug states in his sweetly apprehensive tone, a lowly guitar dancing loosely with intoxicated children, asking: “Who told the kids in the yard that they’re mostly dust? Now they just stay drunk. Keep getting more fucked up”.

Equally inspired by serene 60’s folk, 80’s no-wave alienation, and the insouciance of 90’s grunge, Astral Swans’ music is spacious yet constrained, hauntingly personal and oddly sincere. The skeletal “Let Their Faces All Blur Out” races softly with the punk rock abandon of early Sonic Youth and Eric’s Trip; “What Calms You Down, Freaks Me Out” bears the ominous pleasance of Syd Barrett, Arthur Russell, Nick Drake, and fellow Calgarian Chad VanGaalen. More structured than Swann’s Extra Happy Ghost!!! project (produced by VanGaalen), this album’s experimental spirit denies the haphazard “singer-songwriter” label that some might attach to Astral Swans.

Set for release on Dan Mangan’s Madic Records on February 24, these twelve songs lavish in Swann’s startlingly sardonic reflections, in his own words, “confronting our strange ways of experiencing personhood, in the moral gorge between ideals and inadequacies”. Tracked live in Swann’s living room, and later embellished in an old Calgary warehouse with local experimental/improv mainstay Brad Hawkins (Ghostkeeper), All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson is flawed if not for its air of accidental perfection, normalizing existential struggle with rhythm and harmony, a natural marriage of the sweet to the acrid.



Track Listing:

1. There Are Ways To Get What You Want
2. Beginning Of The End
3. Let Their Faces All Blur Out
4. Please Don’t Leave Me Strange
5. What Calms You Down, Freaks Me Out
6. You Carry A Sickness
7. Park Street
8. September
9. Holly
10. My Conscience Don’t Work In The New World
11. Attention
12. Grass Girl

Astral Swans Tour Dates:

Feb 18 – Halifax, NS – Rebecca Cohn Theatre^
Feb 19 – Fredericton, NB – The Fredericton Playhouse^
Feb 21 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre^
Feb 24 – Kingston, ON – Grand Theatre^
Feb 26 – London, ON – London Music Hall^
Feb 27 – Ottawa, ON – Theatre at NAC^
Mar 01 – Guelph, ON – River Run Centre^
Mar 05 – Winnipeg, MB – The Garrick^
Mar 06 – Saskatoon, SK – O’Brians Event Centre^
Mar 07 – Regina, SK – Darke Hall^
Mar 09 – Banff, AB – Eric Harvie Theatre^
Mar 10 – Calgary, AB – Jack Singer Concert Hall^
Mar 11 – Edmonton, AB – Francis Winspear Centre for Music^
Mar 13 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre^
Mar 14 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre^

^ w/ Dan Mangan + Blacksmith and Hayden

“Astral Swans might be God, might be Buddha or Vishnu. Might be a liar with a poet’s notebook, or a preacher with a xanax, or just a church worker who’s been up for six days, his four-month-old shrieking” - Said The Gramophone

“timeless, forlorn indie pop songs” - FFWD

“introspective late 60s folk à la Nick Drake filtered through an avant-garde 90s lens” - NOW Magazine

EIS Review: Wildhoney "Sleep Through It"

Wildhoney
Sleep Through It
Deranged Records / Forward; 2015
Review by Stephen Pierce

Have you ever experienced a flash of memory so incredibly vivid but simultaneously obtuse that the question arises as to what degree of reality is therein contained? Maybe it's too sharp and vivid to be completely dismissed as a dream or discarded half-thought, but fragmented and unfamiliar or out of character enough to raise uncertainty of that memory's accuracy. It temporarily exists in a grey area between thought and subconscious; a mirage in the further recesses of memory. Like a deja-vu, these thoughts hang in the balance between reality and non-reality. 

In a lot of ways, Baltimore's Wildhoney exists in that space of transcendence, that sense of "beyond". At the heart, Sleep Through It is a record of compact, economic pop songs whose structure seem to be the sort of composition that would easily translate, however you wanted to play it. That's the way solid songwriting works: Whichever aesthetic is applied to the root structure, the song will be a good one. The way in which they've chosen to bring these songs to life is what lends them their edge, their differentiating otherness: the texture, depth, and dynamic of the record. 

How adeptly and fluidly Wildhoney ebb and flow between reverbed-out jangle bliss and leveling fuzz decimation is most confidently underscored on opener (and one of several particularly standout-great songs), "Fall In". It serves as a setting of expectations, as well as a sample of what we're in for for the next thirty-some minutes: The peaks, the valleys, the vulnerability, and the aggression. Starting things off with a woozily heavy droning meditation on the A chord, the storm clouds part to the eye of the storm: an open, airy interplaying of guitars that sound like they could've been recorded in a drained swimming pool, which complement Lauren Shusterich's reverb-touched vocals perfectly. The song builds several times into a squall of crashingly disorienting euphoria and breaks from it as naturally as it entered, as if the song were a landscape, a winding road that the band was simply following. Similarly, "Seventeen" - the A-side of their stunning 2014 7" Seventeen Forever - strikes that perfect balance between beauty and noise, harmony and hellfire: Wildhoney at their absolute finest. 

A good many will want to call this a shoegaze or dream-pop record. While I totally get it, it shouldn't be subject to any preconceptions that, for better or for worse, might go along with those genres. Sleep Through It works beyond those boundaries. Sure, it's Jazzmaster rock with all of the prerequisites - fuzz, reverb, and tremolo arm pitch-bending - but it's what's beneath all of that - at the very core of the songs - that should serve to define Wildhoney. There surely are nods to the genre's forebears, but going further, there is an incredibly well-crafted casual tension that exists in these songs, the undercurrent of which being essentially pop-based. An inclination - when we're talking about shoegaze bands - is to laud the otherworldly elements, which can unfortunately sometimes distill to more or less complimenting someone's guitar pedals. While the guitar tones achieved on this record are absolutely ace, they'd be lost without the framework on which they're adorned - and that framework is where Wildhoney sets themselves apart.

Sleep Through It, being a debut album, is impressive for the footing that it's found within itself. Halfway between madness and lucidity, consciousness and dream, Wildhoney inhabits an attractive grey area: One of limitless possibility.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Torche Announce US Tour Dates with Nothing and Wrong

[press release] Torche have announced a headlining tour in support of their forthcoming album, Restarter (Feb. 24, Relapse), which brings label mates Nothing and Wrong out as support and kicks off on March 6 at The Masquerade in Atlanta.

Tour dates are:

January 18 Tallahassee, FL @ Pug’s Live%
January 19 Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic%
January 20 Ybor City, FL @ Crowbar%
January 21 Miami, FL @ Grand Central%
March 6 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade*
March 7 Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree*
March 8 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon*
March 9 Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Downstairs*
March 10 Austin, TX @ Red 7*
March 11 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada #
March 12 Memphis, TN @ The Hi-Tone*
March 13 St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird*
March 14 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle*
March 15 Milwaukee, WI @ The Cactus Club*
March 17 Cleveland, OH @ The Grog Shop*
March 18 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme*
March 20 Detroit, MI @ The Pike Room*
March 21 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace*
March 22 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz*
March 23 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place*
March 25 Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
March 26 Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus*
March 27 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts*
March 28 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matters #
March 29 Washington, DC @ DC 9#
May 2 Leipzig, DE @ Taubchental
May 3 Wroclaw, PL @ Asymmetry Festival
May 4 Prague, CZ @ 007
May 5 Munich, DE @ Ampere
May 6 Milan, IT @ Lo Fi Club
May 8 Barcelona, SP @ Rocksound
May 9 Madrid, SP @ Boute Live!
May 10 Lisbon, PT @ Musicbox
May 11 Bilbao, SP @ Kafe Antzokia
May 13 Zurich, SZ @ Dynamo
May 14 Wiesbaden, DE @ Schlachthoff
May 15 Cologne, DE @ Underground
May 16 Berlin, DE @ Hafenklang
May 18 Nijmegen, NL @ Merelyn
May 19 Haarlem, NL @ Patronaat
May 20 Paris, FR @ Glazart
May 21 Antwerp, BE @ Kavka
May 22 London, UK @ Underworld ^
May 23 Leeds, UK @ Belgrave Social Club ^
May 24 Galway, IR @ Roisin Dubh
May 25 Cork, IR @ Craine Lane
May 26 Dublin, IR @ Grand Social
May 27 Belfast, IR @ The Limelight
May 28 Glasgow, UK @ CCA +
May 29 Manchester, UK @ Sound Control +
May 30 Bristol, UK @ Temples Festival
May 31 Nimes, FR @ This is Not a Love Song
June 1 Nantes, FR @ Le Ferrailleur

* w/ Nothing and Wrong
# w/ Wrong
% w/ Municipal Waste
^ w/ Part Chimp and Henry Blacker
+ w/ Kings and Henry Blacker

Restarter will be released on CD/LP/Deluxe 2xLP/Cassette/Digital, with pre-orders available now with songs “Harmonslaught” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Mantasy,” will be included on deluxe editions. Digital pre-orders offer an instant download of “Annihilation Affair” and “Minions".


Lightning Bolt Announce New Album "Fantasy Empire" for March Release

[pitchfork.com] Noise icons Lightning Bolt have announced their first album in over five years. The follow-up to 2009's Earthly Delights (and the 2012 EP Oblivion Hunter) is called Fantasy Empire, and will be released March 24 via Thrill Jockey. That's the cover art, above. Check out the tracklisting below.

In addition to standard formats, Thrill Jockey is offering a limited pressing of 300 2xLP deluxe version of the album on black-and-white swirl vinyl (more will become available when the band heads out on tour later this year).

Fantasy Empire:

01 The Metal East
02 Over the River and Through the Woods
03 Horsepower
04 King of My World
05 Mythmaster
06 Runaway Train
07 Leave the Lantern Lit
08 Dream Genie
09 Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fans)

More info from Thrill Jockey...

Over the course of its two-decade existence, Lightning Bolt has revolutionized underground rock in immeasurable ways. The duo broke the barrier between stage and audience by setting themselves up on the floor in the midst of the crowd. Their momentous live performances and the mania they inspired paved the way for similar tactics used by Dan Deacon and literally hundreds of others. Similarly, the band’s recordings have always been chaotic, roaring, blown out documents that sound like they could destroy even the toughest set of speakers. Fantasy Empire, Lightning Bolt’s sixth album and first in five years, is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noisemakers. It marks many firsts, most notably their first recordings made using hi-fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets, and their first album for Thrill Jockey. More than any previous album, Fantasy Empire sounds like drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson are playing just a few feet away, using the clarity afforded by the studio to amplify the intensity they project. Every frantic drum hit, every fuzzed-out riff, sounds more present and tangible than ever before.

Fantasy Empire is ferocious, consuming, and is a more accurate translation of their live experience. It also shows Lightning Bolt embracing new ways to make their music even stranger. More than any previous record, Chippendale and Gibson make use of live loops and complete separation of the instruments during recording to maximize the sonic pandemonium and power. Gibson worked with Machines very carefully to get a clear yet still distorted and intense bass sound, allowing listeners to truly absorb the detail and dynamic range he displays, from the heaviest thud to the subtle melodic embellishments. Some of these songs have been in the band’s live repertoire since as early as 2010, and have been refined in front of audiences for maximum impact. This is heavy, turbulent music, but it is executed with the precision of musicians that have spent years learning how to create impactful noise through the use of dynamics, melody, and rhythm.

Fantasy Empire has been in gestation for four years, with some songs having been recorded on lo-fi equipment before ultimately being scrapped. Since Earthly Delights was released, the band has collaborated with The Flaming Lips multiple times, and continued to tour relentlessly. 2013 saw the release of All My Relations by Black Pus, Chippendale’s solo outlet, which was followed by a split LP with Oozing Wound. Chippendale, an accomplished comic artist and illustrator, created the Fantasy Empire’s subtly ominous album art, and will release an upcoming book of his comics through respected imprint Drawn and Quarterly. Brian Gibson has been developing the new video game Thumper, with his own company, Drool, which will be released next year. And, of course, Lightning Bolt will be touring the US in 2015.

Wand Announce New Album "Golem" + Share "Self Hypnosis in 3 Days"

As you might know from our recent "Year End Spectacular," I'm a huge fan of Los Angeles psych rockers Wand. Last year they released their full length debut Ganglion Reef on the Ty Segall run Drag City offshoot God?, an incredible album that was one of my favorites of the summer and continued to get even better for the remainder of the year. Now they've announced they will release its follow-up Golem on March 17th with In The Red Records. The band unveiled the first single, "Self Hypnosis in 3 Days" (below), proving their sophomore album should be just as exceptional as their debut, if not better. Together with the single the band sent the following press release, presented here 100% un-edited for your pleasure:

go·lem

noun \ˈgō-ləm, ˈgȯi-, ˈgā-\

Definition of GOLEM:

1: grace as shapeless mass

2: a triangular office

3: grandparent, shrunken and chapped

4: an entertainer: as
a: blockhead
b: dead folk
c: radio relay tower

5: slouching desk rider

6: little circuit sniffer

7: skin shaped coffin for your mama papa complex

7: an earthen figure brought to life by holy whispers, via telephone

Examples of GOLEM:

"...your mother and father made you a golem..."

"...I went to school but found out I was a golem..."

"...your best friends know you're a golem, most people do..."

non-desiring, non-being, organized in abeyance; animated wildly within the confines of a bygone language. Scarfing bone-dry crust from an eclipsed earth. Composed of tiny, brilliant mammalian bodies, millions of faces ~ all indistinguishably broken into slackening outer-digestive circles. Buildings, civilization and planets sucked into an electrified mass that was growing before we were born and will continue expanding long after we are absorbed into it. The effortless planetary gol-em, anal eater of the stars. Amorphous bestial cloud of chrome smell and dream vapor, amongst which we are all subjacent to the largely un-compromised Thing: grown, and fully realized, as such.

Bio: Wand is a rock band from Los Angeles, California. GOLEM (2015) is the name of their new LP, out March 17th, 2015 on In the Red Records. The first single is "Self Hypnosis in 3 Days". The album was recorded by Chris Woodhouse at The Dock in Sacramento, California. The record was engineered by Chris Woodhouse, and assisted by Bob Marshall. Mixing was done by Chris Woodhouse, and Wand. Mastering was done by JJ Golden in Ventura, California. Cory Hanson played lead guitar vocal and synthesizers. Lee Landey played bass guitar and synthesizers. Evan Burrows played drums, percussion, and field recordings. Daniel Martens played guitar. Recording took a total of 12 days, including mixing. Mastering was done some afternoon in November.

Track list: The Unexplored Map - Self Hypnosis in 3 Days - Reaper Invert -Melted Rope - Cave In - Flesh Tour - Floating Head - Planet Golem - The Drift

Influences on the record were: Electric Wizard, Crass, Swans, Talking Heads, Municipal Waste, Nervous Gender, Sleep, White Light//White Heat, Black Sabbath, Melvins, Dark Side of the Moon, This Heat, Thou, Gary Numan, our friends, and the weird city of Sacramento.

Books invoked in-studio: Lee read a Philip K Dick short story compilation called The Preserving Machine, Evan Burrows read Artificial Heart by Peter Gizzi, and A Goddamn Infinite Emergency by John Mandel. Cory didn't read anything, but drew a lot of pictures. Daniel played Final Fantasy VI on his DS.



"the Los Angeles band embraces a melted psych-pop sound that sounds like Tame Impala rolling around in a mud pit . . . the band's shared a suitably bonkers statement with FADER to go along with the track." - The FADER

See Wand live:

Thu. Jan. 29 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall + ^
Fri. Mar. 13 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo # $ %
Sat. Mar. 14 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar # $ %
Sun. Mar. 15 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar (Rampage Fest) # $ %
Mon. Mar. 16 - El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace # $ %
Tue. Mar. 17 - Mar. 21 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Sun. Mar. 22 - New Orleans, LA @ Siberia >
Mon. Mar. 23 - Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone >
Tue. Mar. 24 - Nashville, TN @ The End >
Wed. Mar. 25 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl >
Thu. Mar. 26 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook >
Fri. Mar. 27 - Philadelphia, PA @ Black Box in Underground Arts >
Sat. Mar. 28 - Brooklyn, NY @ Baby's All Right >
Sun. Mar. 29 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Wed. Apr. 01 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East >
Thu. Apr. 02 - Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.
Fri. Apr. 03 - Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall ~
Sat. Apr. 04 - Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog ~
Sun. Apr. 05 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle ~
Tue. Apr. 07 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue and 7th Street Entry ~
Thu. Apr. 09 - Missoula, MY @ Stage 112
Sat. Apr. 11 - Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
Sun. Apr. 12 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Tue. Apr. 14 - Santa Rosa, CA @ Arlene Francis Center
Wed. Apr. 15 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Thu. Apr. 16 - Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer

+ with Ty Segall
^ with Once & Future Band
# with Walter TV
$ with The Gooch Palms
% with Death Valley Girls
> with BABES
~ with Heaters

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SXSW 2015 Announce Third Round of Bands: Krill, JEFF The Brotherhood, Alex G, Future Death, Sheer Mag, United Fruit, Ringo Deathstarr & more!

[sxsw.com] South by Southwest (SXSW) Music is pleased to announce a third round of artists invited to perform at the 29th edition of the SXSW Music Festival taking place Tuesday, March 17 - Sunday, March 22, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Bringing the total number of bands announced so far to 965 and still counting. Please check the website for additional artists as they are added.

Browse the full list of artists HERE. Exploding In Sound picks thus far include...

-Alex G
-Alvvays*
-Bad Cop
-Baked^
-The Blind Pets
-The Blind Shake*
-Dead Leaf Echo
-Diarrhea Planet
-The Dirty Dishes^
-Dream Police*
-Ed Schrader's Music Beat
-Elvis Depressedly*
-EULA^
-Ex-Breathers^
-Ex-Cult*
-Future Death
-Futurebirds
-Gang of Four*
-Girl Band
-Girlpool
-Heeney
-Hospital Ships
-Institute*
-JEFF The Brotherhood
-King Tuff*
-Krill
-Leapling^
-The Lees of Memory
-Mew*
-Mini Mansions*
-Moon Duo*
-Palehound^
-Pile^
-Pity Sex
-PUJOL*
-Ringo Deathstarr
-Rozwell Kid
-Sheer Mag
-The Shivas
-The Shrine
-Single Mothers
-Slothrust
-Swervedriver*
-T. Hardy Morris
-Thee Oh Sees*
-Turbo Fruits*
-United Fruit
-Viet Cong
-Vision Fortune*
-Wand*
-Warm Soda*
-White Reaper


* previously announced
^ unofficial

Stay tuned for much much more. Exploding In Sound will be down in Austin once again and for anyone interested in collaborating on a show or hoping on a bill, please be in touch.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Retox Announce "Beneath California" LP + Debut New Video

[press release] The world is falling apart one day at a time, and the majority of us sit and watch as if attending a public hanging—more and more, our interest is piqued by the appalling, while our thoughts and reactions remain largely absent. When stripped of the bloated, festering egos that so many cling to in order to feel important, we are nothing more than ugly animals. In a society that is predominantly dormant, Retox brings this reality to the forefront in a forward-thinking way, commanding our ever-rapidly-decreasing attention spans and determined to provoke some kind of visceral response, good or bad.

Currently consisting of Justin Pearson (The Locust, Head Wound City, All Leather, Swing Kids), Michael Crain, Brian Evans, and Keith Hendriksen, Retox is marked by a speed and sound that seeks to shatter apathy. Since their conception in 2011, they have toured with similarly like-minded acts such as Melt-Banana, Tomahawk, OFF!, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Doomsday Student, physically bringing every bit as much intensity as the music itself incites intellectually.

Coming off of their sophomore album, YPLL (Years of Potential Life Lost), Retox have emerged from the collective depths of San Diego and Los Angeles with their latest antagonistic efforts, entitled Beneath California. Varying styles and sonically experimenting, melding the raw with the refined, the band continuously teases yet never settles on any one genre-- aside from perhaps (as members of the band itself have referred to their work) “annoying”. Tracks such as “Death Will Change Your Life” spit cynical lyrics drenched in rapid-fire rhythm: “All those who have died before me, forgot trustees, cleaned streets with parolees/They dragged everything into the sea, the filth and the debris, and hoped none would see.”

Overall, Retox simultaneously seems to reflect and defy, using music as a way of holding a broken mirror to the rest of us, exposing different pieces of our own fucked up realities, and forcing the acknowledgement of the inevitable self-imposed apocalypse we are creating for ourselves.

Monday, January 5, 2015

EIS Review: Hookworms "The Hum"

Hookworms
The Hum
Domino Records / Weird World; 2014
Review by Cameron Stewart


On their sophomore album, The Hum, Hookworms continue to carve out their own enclave in the world of psychedelia. The album opens with stuttering, buzzing synths and roomy drums right as singer MJ's clipping howls greet the listener. This collection of nine songs is undeniably meant to be loud and abrasive at its edges, but after a few minutes of exposure, these harsher sounds begin to melt together for a dissociated, hypnotic lull. Compositions like "On Leaving" and "Off Screen" sound like a mixture of The Doors, Deerhunter, and an excess of caffeine. "Radio Tokyo" is perhaps The Hum's thesis statement with walls of distorted rhythm that expand and contract behind disorienting, yet melodic drones. At times, the band seems tired out by their own abundance of energy and lapse into dreamier sections before tearing right back with even more aggression. The album's back half takes a turn for a spacier, floating atmosphere with Hookworms' discomforting tinge. On the whole, The Hum is a unique blend of drone and spasm, soundtracking as well for drugged daydreaming as it does for moshing.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company Update: Krak Krak, Vincent Vocoder Voice, Eugene Quell & more

An update from Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company...

"Happy new year, y'all. 2014 was a banger for us - we put out some great records from Chalk, Laska, Vincent Vocoder Voice, Eugene Quell and Love Among The Mannequins. We hope you enjoyed them too.

We have a few pieces of news for you to see in 2015. First up, we are stoked to announce that we will be releasing the debut EP from ex-Eighties Matchbox B Line Disaster psycho-noise project Krak Krak. "Burnt at the Stake" will be released on February 23rd. In the meantime, listen to early track "It Sleeps" below.

Craving more? Check out a snippet from their recent appearance at Drill Festival into your hungover, dessicated eye-holes HERE.

BUT WAIT. As it's a whole new year and all that, we are also having a week of bundles and discounts on pretty much all our back catalogue. Check out the flyer below, and click HERE to go check out a whole bunch of further discounts. DAYUM!


We'll have plenty of exciting stuff coming up later this year. The second album from Vincent Vocoder Voice is coming along nicely. We'll have something exciting from Eugene Quell to show you very, very soon. Things in The Lunchtime Sardine Club are getting weirder and weirder. We'll keep you posted ...

Happy new year from all at SARC x"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

YEAR END SPECTACULAR 2014


Welcome to Exploding In Sound's "Year End Spectacular," a look back at the year that was and all of our favorite music that was released during it. Let this be your guide (it's bookmarkable!) to not only reconnect with your personal favorites but more importantly to discover something new. The constant barrage of year end and best-of lists can be a bit underwhelming as it begins to feel contrived and often disturbingly similar. Where's the importance in sharing an arbitrarily ranked list of albums that have been covered ad nauseum? The people need something new, something good, something that's not quite so mass produced. It's time to catch up on everything great that went under the radar. Everyone knows that award shows are irrelevant and year end lists... well, they don't feel much different anymore. We decided to do things a little differently, offering a comprehensive guide to our favorite releases of the year without a pre-determined length. If we loved a record, we're including it... simple as that. It's truly been a fantastic year (musically) and the strength of the underground continues to grow but it's impossible to listen to everything and there's a great chance a potential favorite slipped on by. Luckily, it's not too late. It's never too late. Your next favorite band could be out there, it's just a matter of listening to something new. So without further ado, here is a trip back through our favorite music of 2014.

Discover something new. Support the music you love. - the explodinginsound.com team [Dan, Dave, & Stephen]

::::::::::::::: JANUARY :::::::::::::::

Eugene Quell - Eugene Otto Quell [Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company] | [LISTEN]

It was only a matter of minutes into the year when the first truly great release of 2014 was born. Eugene Quell, the mysterious new project of Tobias Hayes (Shoes and Socks Off, Love Among The Mannequins, Meet Me In St Louis, etc) released their debut EP, Euguene Otto Quell as a "name your price" download at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day. You may or may not be aware that Hayes is one of my personal favorite songwriters in the world (check out this record if you haven't) and with Eugene Quell, his pop-centric perfection gets a jolt of distortion and a blissful dose of fuzz-pop skronk. A gorgeous recording with sharp twists and turns, Eugene Otto Quell is the introduction of a lifetime, bristling with sing-a-long melodies and brilliant focus. [DG]



Big Ups - Eighteen Hours of Static [Dead Labour] | [LISTEN]

Punk rock's next great hope... the one and only Big Ups. The Brooklyn quartet made a definitive statement within the first few weeks of the year and it rang loud and clear for the next twelve months. This is punk rock on their own terms; smart, unapologetic, chaotic, endearing, riotous, paranoid, sludgy and deceptively joyous. The band rips through post-punk's playbook, throwing out any preconceived notions of what the genre has to be, opting for something brutally intelligent and triumphantly unique. Warped guitars shift between hypnotic sludge riffs and spaced out waves of feedback, offering an unpredictable layer to the enormous stampede of the band's rhythmic attack. Big Ups have only just begun. [DG]



Fax Holiday - Big Fear [de-efodiar] | [LISTEN]

Boston trio Fax Holiday released their long awaited new EP, Big Fear, back on January 4th, a welcome return to the slow and gorgeous world of Eric Schemerhorn's songwriting. Unraveling at a syrupy slow pace, the trio crawl into explosive post-rock meets art-folk territory with songs exploring the human psyche with a dark yet beautiful hope. While Fax Holiday's music might not immediately resonate with catchy hooks and crushing riffs, the serene builds, slow drawl delivered poetic vocals, and stunning chord progressions will have you hooked and sedated in no time. [DG]



Grass Is Green - Vacation Vinny [EIS] | [LISTEN]

The legendary Grass Is Green (that's right, legendary... at least around these parts of the internet) roared back with Vacation Vinny, another tangled post-punk masterpiece that blends snarling noise punk experimentation with complex and manic time changes, moving forward like a tornado as they sweep all in their path to the side. Every member of Grass Is Green offers something different, something incredible, something best witnessed live. When the Boston based quartet come together there's an overwhelming feeling of reckless abandonment and a sense of freedom that comes from a band who manage to deliver unusually tight performances with an undeniable degree of looseness. Grass Is Green thrive on juxtaposition, yet everything about Vacation Vinny feels cohesive; a record that rips, jerks, and dives head first into madness with a calming demeanor and a knowing smirk. Nothing is overthought, nothing is out of place, not a moment is wasted. Everything is perfectly jagged, perfectly abrasive, perfectly at home with any imperfections. Vacation Vinny unfolds with a sprawling urgency, bursting with the radiant glow of the band's established chemistry and comfort that comes from a shared vision. [DG]



Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything [Constellation] | [LISTEN]

The most epic release of 2014 came early and after a year's time and reflection, every ounce of epic art-prog, post-rock, indie punk remains intact on Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra's vast and brilliant Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything. There's a vulnerability to the record and it's seemingly fragile compositions, but don't get it mistaken, this is a powerful record, fully realized and triumphantly orchestrated and performed. Some bands delve into this territory only to come out self indulgent and bolstered by a sense of self importance, but Thee Silver Mt. Zion reign supreme, an assuringly blistering assault on the aura, delivered through movement of punk tinged prog and the squalls of apocalyptic beauty. Bold and colossal, Thee Silver Mt. Zion have a gift of creating the epic without the excess. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- Morgan Delt - Morgan Delt [Trouble in Mind] | [LISTEN]
- Rye Pines - A Portrait of Dissonance as a Young Man [Bob Records] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- Girl Band - Lawman 7" [Any Other City] | [LISTEN]
- Habibi - Habibi [Burger] | [LISTEN]
- Passenger Peru - Passenger Peru (reissue) [Fleeting Youth] | [LISTEN]
- POW! - Hi-Tech Boom [Castle Face] | [LISTEN]
- Slippertails - There's A Disturbing Trend (reissue) [Fleeting Youth] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Pontiak - INNOCENCE [Thrill Jockey] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: FEBRUARY :::::::::::::::

Cloud Becomes Your Hand - Rocks or Cakes [Northern Spy] | [LISTEN]

Brooklyn's Cloud Becomes Your Hand make experimental psych pop with a splendorous amount of variation and progressive contortion. There are elements of the band akin to Pink Floyd, The Beatles and King Crimson, yet nothing about Rocks or Cakes is remotely retro. This is symphonic pop with a penchant for quickly moving into unexpected territory, like an acid induced aquatic adventure. The soundtrack The Snorks never had but always needed. Cloud Becomes Your Hand is most definitely weird, but damn it's great. [DG]



Disco Doom - Numerals [EIS/Defer] | [LISTEN]

Where do I even begin with this record... for starters, Disco Doom have been one of my all time favorite bands since I first heard them back in 2009. To call my love for them an obsession, wouldn't even be scratching the surface. Without sounding too corny, getting to release one of the band's records is literally a dream come true... so follow your damn dreams! Numerals finds Disco Doom blending their more straight forward indie rock songs with experimental interludes and beautiful segues. Every last note, every guitar tone, every surge of the omnichord is important and carefully placed within the record's full picture, a delicately crafted masterpiece that holds an unbelievably important place in my heart. I could go on all day about this record, but what's important is that you give it a listen and an open mind. [DG]



Flagland - Love Hard [Father/Daughter] | [LISTEN]

Not all bands can pull off a record with twenty songs... and Flagland are most certainly not all bands. The indie punk garage rockers have proven over the years that there's little they can't do (and just wait for their next release... good grief) and this album bursts with catchy pop hooks a consistent energy from one of Brooklyn's absolute tightest trios. Kerry Kallberg and Dan Francia's songwriting is probably the best kept secret in indie rock, churning out bullshit free punk anthems that are as direct and punchy as they are memorable and dynamic. Love Hard is so jam packed with should be smash hit singles that it's hard to believe. Flagland are the heart and soul of the Brooklyn's DIY scene as far as I'm concerned, a unique trio with a deep back catalog that's only getting started. [DG]



Krill - Steve Hears Pile In Malden and Bursts Into Tears [EIS] | [LISTEN]

Writers like to use the term ‘slacker’ when describing Krill (pretty sure I’m guilty of this too, oops), but it’s laziness on our part not Krill’s. The more you listen to Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears, you realize it’s a calculated assault on things that plague us all: self-doubt, uncertainty, nostalgia. The punchy nature of the title track and Aaron Ratoff’s almost mechanical riff that winds down “Turd” show the musicianship is far from what should be defined as slacker. Jonah Furman’s pensive lyrics demand immediate attention with self-examining questions like “If I could just keep a commitment, maybe I’d be happier?” People sometimes ask me why I put so much emphasis on lyrics and Krill is a perfect example of why everyone should. You don’t just hear the music but you feel it and go on a contemplative journey with Jonah and company. When you hear a line like “now we have arrived/ in unbounded nameless future/ and how could who you are/ not be bound up in who you were?”, you can’t help but think about everything that has and ever will happen to you. And after all this intellectualizing, it drifts off in a dreamy haze with the most important question of all, “Do you want to go see a movie with me?” [DS]



Palehound - Kitchen 7" [EIS] | [LISTEN]

If there is anyone that could speak to the authority of the two tracks on Palehound’s Kitchen 7”, it’s me. I spent a month on the road with the band hearing these songs every day and I didn’t get sick of them for one second. I can’t hear these songs without picturing Ellen Kempner passionately belting out the lyrics, Thom Lombardi doing the harmonies while his bass bubbles underneath “Holiest”, Ben Scherer flailing around with his guitar and messing with his pedals during “Pay No Mind”, and Max Kupperberg drumming until the glasses flew off his head. I also think of dirty floors, long drives, and good times. [DS]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness [Jagjaguwar] | [LISTEN]
- Beck - Morning Phase [Capitol] | [LISTEN]
- Bleeding Rainbow - Interrupt [Kanine] | [LISTEN]
- Cheatahs - Cheatahs [Wichita Recordings] | [LISTEN]
- Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors [Sargent House] | [LISTEN]
- Speedy Ortiz - Real Hair [Carpark] | [LISTEN]
- Total Slacker - Slip Away [Black Bell] | [LISTEN]
- Vertical Scratchers - Daughter of Everything [Merge] | [LISTEN]
- Vulture Shit - The Joys of Employment [Money Fire] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Marissa Nadler - July [Sacred Bones] | [LISTEN]
- St. Vincent - St. Vincent [Loma Vista] | [LISTEN]
- Sun Kil Moon - Benji [Caldo Verde] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Dead Leaf Echo - True.Deep.Sleeper [Moon Sounds] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: MARCH :::::::::::::::

Ava Luna - Electric Balloon [Western Vinyl] | [LISTEN]

Ava Luna quietly released a neo-soul masterpiece this year with Electric Balloon. The eccentric strut of “Sears Roebuck M&Ms” proudly proclaims “We're hippin’ on things and don't deny it.” I wouldn’t dare deny them the satisfaction because they are definitely onto something. The record traverses soul, funk, and pop, while peppering in jazz freak-outs to keep things consistently entertaining. This sounds chaotic on paper but everything is kept tightly in place by the rhythm section of bassist Ethan Bassford and drummer Julian Fader. The group makes great use of its three vocalists, who all pitch in on the wonderful “Plain Speech”. Becca Kauffman gives a striking performance on “Sears Roebuck M&Ms” and the title track, while Carlos Hernandez takes command for the powerful “Judy”. However, when it comes to highlights, Felicia Douglass steals the show with “PRPL,” which is without a doubt the slow jam of the year. Go ahead and tell me which famous R&B diva had a better song this year, and I’ll tell you just how wrong you are. [DS]



Frankie Cosmos - Zentropy [Double Double Whammy] | [LISTEN]

Zentropy marks a new era in the sad but beautiful world of Frankie Cosmos, the first record to be recorded in a proper studio but thankfully, things aren't all that different. It's still gentle and filled with lo-fi charm. Greta Kline's lyrics are still relatable, honest, and unnervingly heartbreaking. The only major difference is that the compositions now propel the genuine anti-folk simplicity to new heights and everything sounds radiant as a result. This is outsider pop music at it's finest with a charming vulnerability, triumphantly void of the mass produced pop machine's influence. [DG]



Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - Chambers [Captcha] | [LISTEN]

I was completely unaware of Mexican psych-rockers Lorelle Meets the Obsolete before the year began but life is better with them in it. The plodding bass and swirling guitars that open the record on “What’s Holding You?” set the stage for one hell of a trip. Chambers is a record that doesn’t let up of its charm for one second. They keep you constantly engaged with warped effects, stoned riffs, and grooves that have your head bobbing the whole time. The lick that oozes from the speakers when “Music for Dozens” starts playing is as good as any you’ll hear from this past year. [DS]



Pile - Special Snowflakes 7" [EIS] | [LISTEN]

As far as I’m concerned, “Special Snowflakes” was ‘song of the year’ for 2014. In fact, it seems silly that any publication would state otherwise. Pile’s songwriting broke through to a whole new plane on this one. It is 7+ minutes of winding rhythms, angular guitars, and thought-provoking lyrics like only Pile could provide. Rick Maguire’s vocals reach such an intensity towards the end of the song, you’d swear he was going to pop out of your speakers and start screaming in your face. The meaning isn’t explicit but you could feel with every note that something important is being expressed. There’s a revelatory tone to the line “just knows the crunch of his new boots crushes all special snowflakes” that I can’t properly articulate. The b-side, “Mama's Lipstick,” is a unique ballad that sticks out because of its varied instrumentation, and stakes its place as a hidden gem in Pile’s catalog. [DS]



Tony Molina - Dissed & Dismissed [reissue] [Slumberland] | [LISTEN]

While Dissed and Dismissed was originally released in 2013, I wasn’t fortunate enough to hear Tony Molina’s music until late last year after the Slumberland reissue had already been announced. It’s fair to say that the music on Molina’s full length debut isn’t exactly groundbreaking or entirely original, but who cares?!?! Tony Molina is perfecting his craft of rapid fire power pop in the vein of “Blue Album” era Weezer with a penchant for Thin Lizzy styled shredding and a Guided By Voices brevity. There isn’t a song longer than 1:32 and the entire record whirs by in a stellar twelve minutes, but Molina’s knack for perfectly hooky melodies is unmatched. Not a second of Dissed and Dismissed is wasted and when it’s over Molina and co. leave you satisfied and jittery. [DG]



Washer - Bighead EP [ECB&B] | [LISTEN]

Without any fancy tricks or gimmicks, Washer's debut EP makes a bold statement on the strength of songwriting, and it's some damn fine songwriting. The duo's skeletal line-up of drums, vocals and guitar or bass is simplistic and what you see is what you get. Enormous hooks crawl and infest your memory with their impossibly catchy melodies and the joy of warped garage rock grooves. Every song on this EP is a potential hit single ("Miles of Sleep" and "Bass 1" are impossibly great) and I'd pick this as one of the most impressive debuts I heard all year. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- Bluffing - Sugar Coated Pills of Wisdom [PaperCup] | [LISTEN]
- Creepoid - Creepoid [No Idea] | [LISTEN]
- Eagulls - Eagulls [Partisan] | [LISTEN]
- Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata [Madlib Invazion] | [LISTEN]
- Lushes - What Are We Doing [Felte] | [LISTEN]
- Unwound - Rat Conspiracy (boxset) [Numero Group] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- The Coathangers - Suck My Shirt [Suicide Squeeze] | [LISTEN]
- (New England) Patriots / Skimask - Split 12" [Surveillance Investments] | [LISTEN]
- Perfect Pussy - Say Yes to Love [Captured Tracks] | [LISTEN]
- Toons - Toons [Old Flame] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Future Islands - Singles [4AD] | [LISTEN]
- La Dispute - Rooms of the House [Workhorse Music Group] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Nai Harvest - Hold Open My Head [Topshelf] | [LISTEN]
- Working - More Weight [Shelf Life] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: APRIL :::::::::::::::

Hive Bent - Dyatlov [New Day Rising] | [LISTEN]

On Dyatlov, Baltimore's Hive Bent delivered a crushing follow up to their debut U Neutral with a more refined sonic palette. Sure, it still absolutely slays... as only Hive Bent can, but the dynamics of the record are more focused and the songs leave a blistering impression. Stampeding rhythms and anthemic vocals crash with corrosive riffs that mix dense post-hardcore carnage with an underlying space rock bliss. Hive Bent's debut was killer, but Dyatlov is a whole new level of greatness for the Baltimore duo. Let this one rip at maximum volume. Highly recommended. [DG]



Ought - More Than Any Other Day [Constellation] | [LISTEN]

This is another one that seemed to come out of nowhere. If you told me that there would be a band in 2014 that successfully combined the best elements of The Modern Lovers, Talking Heads, and Television; I’d probably get pretty mad for teasing me with such an appealing band that couldn’t possibly exist. But here we are, and Ought manage to be that impossibly great new band. Every song on this record appears like the soundtrack to an epiphany. The instrumentation perfectly accentuates this spirited mood with lots of blood-pumping builds, which make you want to get up and dance like your life depends on it. I’m not sure there has ever been a song that so effectively encapsulates the feeling of hitting rock bottom and subsequently pulling yourself out quite like “Today, More Than Any Other Day.” With how passionately it’s delivered, there might not have been a better line this past year than “And today, more than any other day, I am prepared to make the decision between two percent and whole milk.” [DS]



Pony Bones - Pony Bones II [EIS] | [LISTEN]

I can't properly explain why, but Pony Bones' sophomore EP, Pony Bones II, wins my award for the "most charming release of the year". I love every last thing about this record, from the unspeakable warmth that permeates through the EP's bizarre eleven minutes and the childish yet stunning artwork, to the beautifully scattershot rhythmic freakouts and Matt Robidoux's furious riffs and penchant for well placed noise. The interplay between Robidoux and drummer Kate Hanlon is incredible, the duo reacting in sync with every unexpected twist and turn. Robidoux's knack for placing calming vocals in the most chaotic of situations pulls you into a false lull before spitting your senses back into the carnage. The recordings are lo-fi at their best but the soft fuzzy tone only adds to the charm the record regurgitates in spades. Pure weirdo brilliance of the finest variety. Pony Bones II is a must listen. Long Live Pony Bones. [DG]



Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right [Hardly Art] | [LISTEN]

It's safe to say that I had an obsession with Protomartyr's full length debut No Passion All Technique, a record filled with angular garage punk and a belligerent sensibility. Due to that fact, Under Color of Official Right took me some time. While the band don't say nearly as hostile as they once did (maybe things in Detroit are looking up...) their music remains exceptional and expressive. Joe Casey's vocals have become increasingly melodic, opting this time around for a delivery closer to a croon than a Yow-esque drawl, and together with the band's locked in surge of guitars and snap tight rhythms, Protomartyr find themselves on top of the post-punk world. Under Color... is a patient record, unfolding with gorgeous waves of skittering riffs and tangled grooves. If this is the future of post-punk, Protomartyr are more than capable of leading the way. [DG]



The Skull Defekts - Dances in Dreams of The Known Unknown [Thrill Jockey] | [LISTEN]

The Skull Defekts’ dark and brooding but oddly accessible Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown is one of the weirder releases of 2014. “Pattern of Thoughts” finds former Lungfish frontman Daniel Higgs singing about “sex magic rituals” and “just having a good time” over a mechanical rhythm that shows having ‘dance’ in the album’s title is no mistake. It’s not a weird release because it compiles a bunch of strange sounds into a noisy mess, but rather because its esoteric elements work so well together. Who thought that tribal and industrial rhythms would sit comfortably next to buzzsaw guitars and haunting mantra-like vocals? [DS]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- The Afghan Whigs - Do to the Beast [Sub Pop] | [LISTEN]
- Boyfrndz - Breeder [Brutal Panda] | [LISTEN]
- Creepoid - Wet [Graveface] | [LISTEN]
- Doubting Thomas Cruise Control - Appleton ON [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Floor - Oblation [Season of Mist] | [LISTEN]
- Good Throb - Fuck Off [White Denim] | [LISTEN]
- The Library is on Fire - Halcyon & Surrounding Areas [self released] | [LISTEN]
- OFF! - Wasted Years [Vice] | [LISTEN]
- Survival Knife - Loose Power [Glacial Pace] | [LISTEN]
- Thee Oh Sees - Drop [Castle Face] | [LISTEN]
- Tweens - Tweens [Frenchkiss] | [LISTEN]
- Wildhoney - Seventeen Forever 7" [Photobooth] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- (New England) Patriots - Vol. 1 [Surveillance Investments] | [LISTEN]
- Palberta / (New England) Patriots - Special Worship [Feeding Tube] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Chad VanGaalen - Shrink Dust [Sub Pop] | [LISTEN]
- Pure X - Angel [Fat Possum] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: MAY :::::::::::::::

Ed Schrader's Music Beat - Party Jail [Infinity Cat] | [LISTEN]

The minimal and hypnotic nature of Ed Schrader's Music Beat only lasts for moments at a time before being ruthlessly shattered into a million pieces. This is par for the course in the duo's music and Party Jail only seeks to stoke the embers of the gentle balance, offering a sophomore album that keeps listeners firmly on their toes. Minimalism and primal instincts coexist as barebones compositions blossom with the texture of open space and Schrader's delicate howl before suffocating into spazzed out mayhem. Beauty and a push toward insanity meet triumphantly in the middle as Ed Schrader's Music Beat quickly unravel and recoil without warning, inexplicably pushing the boundaries of punk into new territory. [DG]



Geronimo! - Cheap Trick [EIS] | [LISTEN]

Geronimo! has been a favorite of mine since the moment I heard their debut. This has been a bittersweet year for the band as it saw the release of their most accomplished album, Cheap Trick, which alas will also serve as their swan song. I was honored to have been able to be a part of releasing this magnificent album. They are going out with not so much a bang, but a nuclear explosion. Cheap Trick is my idea of a perfect rock album. Each song has its own personality, full of vigor and purpose, but there is still a string of cohesion holding it all together. “Bungled and Botched” is my personal favorite with its effervescent beat and chants of “I’m trying to relax on my porch in the city.” There is no shortage of highlights though, from the pungent post-hardcore of “Mr. President” to the Queens of the Stone Age-esque groove of “Magic Waters” to the blissful psychedelia of “Euphoria”, Cheap Trick is one of the most engaging musical journeys in which you’ll ever embark. [DS]



Lost Boy ? - Wasted [EIS] | [LISTEN]

Make no mistake, Lost Boy ?’s Davey Jones writes hits. He may not be all over the radio [yet], but each track from the band’s surprisingly robust catalog is every bit as addictive as anything you’ve ever heard. This whole tape clocks in at just over 7 minutes, but you’ll be happy to flip it over and play it again and again after the time elapses. The title track is a bit of fuzz pop that can compete against Ty Segall and Kyle Thomas any day of the week. This release is pure garage rock pleasure. [DS]



Mattress Financial / Fond Han - Private Split [EIS] | [LISTEN]

When split down the middle, Mattress Financial and Fond Han's Private Split cassette is the lo-fi sound of a pair of solo musicians unveiling their songwriting at it's most stripped down. Both sides breathe with a gentle air of calm, a soul baring openness from the minds behind the impeccable Two Inch Astronaut (Sam aka Mattress Financial) and New Brunswick's dearly missed Neur (Thomas aka Fond Han). With varying degrees of tape hiss and room noise, both Mattress Financial and Fond Han offer a taste of their songwriting in a raw format of primarily acoustic guitars and voice, though both add drums and accompaniment to flesh out their ideas with sweeping instrumentation and added emotional depth. [DG]



Tweak Bird - Any Ol' Way [Let's Pretend] | [LISTEN]

I love Tweak Bird. They get better with every release and continue to expand on their stoned out hippy experimental psych punk sound... and yet, with each album, I'm never initially impressed. It takes me time to love a new Tweak Bird record, to fully immerse myself in their sound, and Any Ol' Way was no different. After being utterly obsessed with 2012's Undercover Crops EP, my first listen to their latest full length was less enthusiastic than I imagined, but I kept listening... and listening and listening. Sure enough, the record seeped in as the band's flower child aura once again gets dragged through a layer of sludge to shimmering perfection. Tweak Bird are the result of a life spent in the sunshine, smoking weed, and keeping a healthy diet of the Melvins' music on constant rotation, a whirlwind of influences seemingly at odds yet harmoniously fused together with bright tonality and deceivingly massive riffs. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean [Sargent House] | [LISTEN]
- PAWS - Youth Culture Forever [FatCat] | [LISTEN]
- Watery Love - Decorative Feeding [In The Red] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- Big Neck Police - Cast of the Dome [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Future Death - Special Victim [Bloodmoss] | [LISTEN]
- Steve Jr. - Steve Jr. [self released] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Hallelujah The Hills - Have You Ever Done Something Evil [Discrete Pageantry] | [LISTEN]
- Owen Pallett - In Conflict [Domino] | [LISTEN]
- Sharon Van Etten - Are We There [Jagjaguwar] | [LISTEN]
- Swans - To Be Kind [Young God] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revelation [A] | [LISTEN]
- Sweet John Bloom - Picky [self released] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: JUNE :::::::::::::::

Alex G - DSU [Orchid Tapes] | [LISTEN]

Alex G has been making great records for several years now, but DSU his "official" debut brings together his bedroom vision and experimental indie rock flourishes to new heights. A fully realized album without sacrificing the lo-fi freedom that has propelled his songwriting in the same way any instrumentation ever could, DSU plays to Alex G's strengths while continuing to push the envelope of bedroom pop into new realms of otherworldly sound manipulation. Balancing heart on your sleeve indie pop gems with warped tape experimental ballads, DSU carries a warmth within it's songwriting, naturally shifting and squirming with a gloriously awkward pop indifference. [DG]



The Austerity Program - Beyond Calculation [Controlled Burn] | [LISTEN]

The second full-length album from NYC duo The Austerity Program takes their industrial post-punk sound to new heights. “Song 30” is an abrasive, stark masterpiece that exemplifies the power this band possesses. I dare you to listen without headbanging as each riff comes crashing down upon your eardrums. The song presents a reprehensible character named Jacob (“known as Jake to his friends/ which means that no one has ever made the mistake/ to call him Jake”), who later introduces himself (“My name is Jacob/ I guess you’ve all heard of me/ My reputation does precede/ yet again”). We all know this person; they suck the air out of the room as soon as they enter. The Austerity Program is set on giving them a theme song. The ending, where Jacob declares that he will “Get you/ Take you/ Burn you/ and break you”, is pure vitriol and one of the most startling breakdowns I’ve yet to hear. Similar to Big Black, the Austerity Program muster all this energy with the use of a drum machine. If you’re looking for a metal album that is as sophisticated as it is aggressive, Beyond Calculation is for you. [DS]



Bad History Month / Dust From 1000 Yrs - Famous Cigarettes [EIS/Limited Appeal] | [LISTEN]

I don’t think any release had the emotional impact on me that Famous Cigarettes did in 2014. Sometimes artists are able to articulate a particular feeling for which you can’t find the words, and Sean does this in Bad History Month’s “Staring at My Hands”. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful and sad all at once and definitely earns it’s comparison to the best of Phil Elvrum’s work. The lyrics in the song are so heavy that it’s hard to listen to without letting out a helpless sigh of “fuck…” as confessions like, “I know that I have always been exactly what I'm supposed to be, nothing more or less than Grandpa’s answer to mortality" pour from the speakers. Dust From 1000 Yrs’ side is no less impactful. Let’s just say that “Party Song” wouldn’t necessarily be the best song to put on at a party. It’s better served as the soundtrack to your next existential crisis. [DS]



Dub Thompson - 9 Songs [Dead Oceans] | [LISTEN]

There are only eight songs on Dub Thompson's debut album, 9 Songs, but it's an understatement to say there's a lot going on with the young suburban Los Angeles based duo's music. There are elements of punk, krautrock, psych, garage, prog, indie, noise and post-hardcore all thrown together simultaneously for into a blend of the genres that's nearly unrecognizable and hard to define... but that's not to say it sounds inept. The band manage to splatter an incredible amount of sub-genres together with unflinching capability on an album that never sounds messy or overcrowded. Dub Thompson's ability to merge styles into a surprisingly cohesive albeit deviant and wild sound is their greatest gift, exploring ideas over a rough landscape of manic punk inflected indecision. The mind warping bliss of their eclectic sound evolves with every repeat listen, a perfect black hole of twitchy modern punk eccentricity. [DG]



Priests - Bodies and Control and Money and Power [Don Giovanni] | [LISTEN]

Priests are the truth. Their music is aggressive, intelligent, and Katie Alice Greer's voice is impeccably strong, oddly entrancing, and ultimately demanding of attention. Socially aware and politically conscious, the riotous nature of Priests' Don Giovanni debut ushers in a new generation of Washington, DC punk rock that aims for the throat and never lets go. Bodies and Control and Money and Power captures the live intensity of the quartet perfectly, an anxiety riddled blast of ferocious garage punk fury, swirling equal parts political mission statement and howling punk rock abandonment. Priests are on the hunt and no one is safe. "Fucking and breeding..." all hail Priests, may the fury never subside. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- Greys - If Anything [Carpark] | [LISTEN]
- Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal [What's Your Rupture?] | [LISTEN]
- Vincent Vocoder Voice - Full Heart, Deaf Ears [Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company] | [LISTEN]
- White Lung - Deep Fantasy [Domino] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- Pinkwash - Your Cure Your Soil [Sister Polygon] | [LISTEN]
- Robot Death Kites - Yuppie Nightmare [self released] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- The Antlers - Familiars [ANTI-] | [LISTEN]
- Circulatory System - Mosaics Within Mosaics [Cloud Recordings] | [LISTEN]
- clipping. - CLPPNG [Sub Pop] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Blessed State - Head Space [Safety Meeting] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: JULY :::::::::::::::

Christian Fitness - I Am Scared of Everything That Isn't Me [self released] | [LISTEN]

Andy Falkous shouldn’t need an introduction. He has made a name for himself as the idiosyncratic vocalist and underrated guitarist in McLusky and Future of the Left. He has also been an outspoken voice on issues plaguing the music industry. Anytime Falco wants to air some grievances, whether it be through recorded music or editorials, I’ll be there to listen. Christian Fitness serves as an outlet for his lo-fi, home-recorded work. It’s not a singer/songwriting type project as evident through “Teeth”, which is every bit as biting as his previous work. I Am Scared of Everything That Isn’t Me is another in a long line of examples as to why Falco is one of my favorite voices, both lyrically and sonically, in music. [DS]



Guerilla Toss - 367 Equalizer [Infinity Cat] | [LISTEN]

Guerilla Toss continued their steady ascension among my favorite bands in 2014. They are one of the few acts that I have enjoyed more as they gain accessibility. I use the term ‘accessibility’ loosely because this noisy art-funk isn’t going to be on the radio anytime soon. As they have tightened their songwriting, they have increased the hypnotic quality as evident on the title track of this EP.  It’s so easy to lose yourself in these new tracks and there are very few bands that get me moving in a live setting quite the way Guerilla Toss does. [DS]



Lair - Lair [Surveillance Investments] | [LISTEN]

There's an unspoken rule in Boston's indie punk scene that goes something like "if a member of Arvid Noe is making new music, you need to pay attention". It's not the city's motto or anything, but it's generally good advice to live by, which brings us to Lair, the new project of former Arvid Noe singer/guitarist Alek Glasrud and John Moxley. Lair's music can most easily be described as mutant post-kraut-punk, something like the perverted son of Devo and Kraftwerk meets Melt Banana in a sweaty fever dream. Hypnotic synths swirl amid polyrhythmic drums and relaxed vocals, a psychedelic trip through the punk rock odyssey of Boston's basement scene via squealing guitar riffs cutting in and out of densely repetitive yet often unpredictable grooves. [DG]



Warehouse - Tesseract [self released] | [LISTEN]

Before I had ever heard Warehouse's music I had heard members of both Ava Luna and Krill sing their praise (directly) as well as Deerhunter (indirectly) so needless to say I was anxious to listen. Upon hearing their full length debut Tesseract for the first time (and immediate second, third, and fourth as I listened on repeat) I was blown away by the Atlanta based quintet's sound. Mixing post-punk, art rock, and aspects of free jazz the band create soaring riffs with layers of tangled guitar riffs and shifting time signatures that's always moving, always pushing forward. Vocalist Elaine Edenfield's presence is undeniable anytime she's singing, rapidly switching between a vibrato croon reminiscent of Screaming Females' Marissa Paternoster and a shouted howl more in line with Hot Snakes' Rick Froberg. Warehouse have a dynamic sound that's unflinchingly complex while completely accessible, auditory euphoria, the best of both worlds.



Weaves - Weaves EP [Buzz] | [LISTEN]

One listen to lead track "Motorcycle" was all it took... I was hooked. It's a dazzlingly strange mix of noise pop, twitchy indie rock, and hypnotic psych warble that's as infectious as anything else I've heard this year. There's no one doing it quite like Toronto's Weaves and their self titled debut EP is nothing short of spectacular. It's continuously weird, hard to categorize (without selling it short), and filled with earworms at every turn. There's deranged pop songs, driving indie punk, and heaps of art rock influence in their sound, shifting from one idea to the next with little concern and a surprising cohesion. Every Weaves song offers a different sonic landscape, a different path of ideas and a different look into exactly what the quartet are capable of... which is seemingly everything. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- Liam Betson - The Cover of Hunter [Double Double Whammy] | [LISTEN]
- Love Among The Mannequins - My Uncle's Ball of Lightning Will Put an End to Your Warped Psychology [Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company] | [LISTEN]
- Mr. Dream - Ultimate in Luxury [Godmode] | [LISTEN]
- Trace Mountains - Buttery Sprouts [Double Double Whammy] | [LISTEN]
- Viet Cong - Cassette [Mexican Summer] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- Kindling - Spike & Wave [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Mexican Slang - Inside the Velvet Castle [Buzz] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- PS I Love You - For Those Who Stay [Paper Bag] | [LISTEN]
- United Nations - The Next Four Years [Temporary Residence] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Bent Shapes - 86'd in '03 EP [A Position to Know] | [LISTEN]
- Bummed - Bummed [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Power Pyramid - Power Pyramid EP [self released] | [LISTEN]
- We Need Secrets - Melancholy and the Archive [Saint Marie] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: AUGUST :::::::::::::::

Baked - Debt [EIS] | [LISTEN]

Brooklyn’s Baked are newcomers, but they definitely sound like veterans, likely due to the fact that members have cut their teeth playing in bands like Lost Boy ? and Leapling. The group utilize elements of classic rock while retaining a modern voice, which is something you hear every band say they want to do, but rarely pull off. Debt is a short but sweet LP that takes the listener on an aural voyage through fuzz-out punk (“Cramsey”), mesmerizing rock (“Mick Jagger”), and dreamy psychedelia (“Hungry Ghosts”). There is a warmness contained within that no other band could capture. Once you’re hooked by frontman R.J. Gordon’s woozy reverb, there is no looking back. [DS]



Eugene Quell - A Great Uselessness [Sonic Anhedonic Recording Company] | [LISTEN]

Eight months after the Eugene Quell debut kickstarted the year, Tobias Hayes returned with a follow up EP, the fuzzy and brash A Great Uselessness. Continuing along the path of the debut, the follow-up continues to push sweet pop songs through a storm of distortion and brilliant production with delicate harmonies and buzzing riffs that could tear the wallpaper from the walls. There's something instantly memorable about Eugene Quell and Hayes' radiant songwriting, as he creates something unmistakable familiarity without recalling anything in particular. It's an impressive illusion that comes from the idea of truly great songs, and Eugene Quell have no shortage of them. [DG]



Ovlov / Little Big League - Split 7" [Tiny Engines] | [LISTEN]

Both of these bands had really big years. Little Big League released the exceptional Tropical Jinx LP and Ovlov appeared on three extremely satisfying splits; the first of which I’m discussing here. “Year of the Sunhouse” might be my favorite Little Big League song to date. Michelle Zauner’s vocals draw you in with each breath and the jangly guitars make it impossible to resist. “Pure Bliss Choices” is it’s slightly longer but no less evocative partner. Ovlov cement their reputation as the masters of fuzzy guitar rock this side of Dinosaur Jr. with “The Great Crocodile”. The emotive vocals and emphatic, blistering conclusion make it one of the best yet from a band that’s produced nothing but highlights. [DS]



The Spirit of the Beehive - The Spirit of the Beehive [RANCH] | [LISTEN]

Philadelphia's The Spirit of the Beehive came out of nowhere for me. I know pretty much nothing about them but after seeing friends incessantly share their self titled debut on the ol' social networks I decided to check it out and I was most definitely not disappointed. Their music resides somewhere between shoegaze, lo-fi grunge, and hazy dream pop, there are moments of sheer bliss as reverb soaked guitars and vocals seemingly float into walls of feedback. Trading between female and male vocals, both singers tend to let their words drip with a stoned drawl, crawling forward with a slow burn that's at it's finest when converging together, sitting comfortably within the mix of warbling guitar noise and dark atmospherics. [DG]



Wand - Ganglion Reef [God?] | [LISTEN]

I was first introduced to Wand's music from Death By Audio's Edan Wilber several weeks before this record was released. Since then, I've been absolutely obsessed. Ganglion Reef is one of the year's absolute best, an album filled with expansive psych rock that goes beyond their peers, transposing time and space for something new, something unknown. The record is driving, it's loud, it's chaotic, but above all else, it's psychedelic in every aspect of their swirling Los Angeles based sound. The music breathes smoke from other dimensions, traversing the mind with a dazzlingly modern inflected retro sound, reminiscent of a rowdier Tame Impala or a deep space Ty Segall. Guitars range from acid induced sludge to hypnotic freak-folk acoustics, capturing an enormous spectrum of noisy psych rock from one blistering voyage to the next. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- J Mascis - Tied to a Star [Sub Pop] | [LISTEN]
- Sleeping Bag - Deep Sleep [Joyful Noise] | [LISTEN]
- Ty Segall - Manipulator [Drag City] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- The Due Diligence - Are You Down [Black Bell] | [LISTEN]
- Rivergazer - Random Nostalgia [Father/Daughter] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Spoon - They Want My Soul [Loma Vista] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Literature - Chorus [Slumberland] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: SEPTEMBER :::::::::::::::

Ausmuteants - Order of Operations [Goner] | [LISTEN]

Ausmuteants premiered album opener "Freedom of Information" on Wondering Sound this past summer and I was really impressed after the first listen, so I listened again and again and again. Before I realized it, I must have listened to the single near ten times. The song reminded me of a demented garage rock Devo, a filthy carnival of synth punk that's consistently hard driving rhythms pulsate with a casual sloppiness together with manic shouted vocals. It's raw, strange, and easy to fall in love with, yelping in the face of the polished radio friendly media with cynical lyrics and unstable punk aggression that's dancing one moment and looking to destroy all in it's path the next. Order of Operations is filled with corrosive synth punk and smarmy garage freakouts for the hi-energy crowd, and Ausmuteants pull it off to perfection. [DG]



Electric Wizard - Time to Die [Spinefarm] | [LISTEN]

Time to Die is the sound of UK doom/stoner metal champions Electric Wizard taking a victory lap; a slow, demonic victory lap. They sound more confident than ever while producing their longest album to date, full of all the sludgy riffs and occult imagery you can stomach. Throughout the record, you hear samples from the infamous 1984 case of Ricky Kasso, the 17-year-old also known as the Acid King, who murdered an acquaintance in an alleged satanic ritual and subsequently hung himself in his jail cell. Does that sound metal enough for you? Electric Wizard’s shtick of drugs, horrors, and drones certainly has the potential to get old, but with some of the more engrossing tracks of their lengthy career, this isn’t going to be the album where it happens. “Oh mighty Satan, destroy those who love God!” [DS]



LVL UP - Hoodwink'd [Double Double Whammy/EIS] | [LISTEN]

The key to LVL UP’s power is the group’s three-headed songwriting monster consisting of guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton as well as bassist Nick Corbo. Drummer Greg Rutkin serves as the glue that holds it all together. Each have their strengths, but with their forces combined on Hoodwink’d, they have created a record full of introspective nuggets of garage rock perfection, each with endless replay value. I don’t think there is a line from 2014 that pops in my head randomly more than “my ride got hexed so I’ve been trying to catch my breath/ it got hexed and it doesn’t really matter what happened next” from “Primordial Heat”. Writers are quick to throw around ‘early Weezer’ when hunting for comparisons, and it’s not inappropriate, but there is so much more to these songs than that. Each track had its hooks in me at one time or another. Give it a spin and find out which earworm burrows in your head first. [DS]



PC Worship - Social Rust [Northern Spy/Dull Tools] | [LISTEN]

You never quite know what you'll get from PC Worship, the true mutants of Brooklyn's noise punk scene. I've seen the band countless times throughout the city and each performance was an entirely different experience, though usually dragged through the dirt and grime of drugged out sludge and avant jazz experimentation. Their latest record Social Rust is gloriously depraved and downtrodden, unpredictable and expansive, and most of all vehemently uncompromising. Songs break loose from structure for washes of noise without warning side by side with shredding solos and gorgeous harmonies, nothing is off limits though the outcome is overwhelmingly ominous. The musical concepts are carefully constructed allowing the band to drift into flourishes of seemingly aimless sludge, deranged sonic manipulation, and eery saxophone squeals without wasting a moment of chaotic noise as Social Rust caterwauls from the depths of Brooklyn's experimental noise-punk kings. [DG]



Shellac - Dude Incredible [Touch & Go] | [LISTEN]

I’m fairly certain Shellac is the only band that could come back after 7 years with only half an hour of music and still leave me completely satisfied. It helps that Steve Albini is my favorite producer and he is able to bring out every bit of energy from each instrument. There’s no groove like a Shellac groove. Bassist Bob Weston and drummer Todd Trainer create an airtight rhythm section for Albini’s razor sharp riffs to cut through. Add in Albini’s notorious snark and you have a combination that has remained unmatched for decades and pops in every few years to show the kids who is boss. [DS]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- It Must Be Love - It Must Be Love [RANCH] | [LISTEN]
- King Tuff - Black Moon Spell [Sub Pop] | [LISTEN]
- Mannequin Pussy - Gypsy Pervert [Tiny Engines] | [LISTEN]
- Mazes - Wooden Aquarium [FatCat] | [LISTEN]
- Palberta - Shitheads in the Ditch [OSR Tapes] | [LISTEN]
- Purling Hiss - Weirdon [Drag City] | [LISTEN]
- Red Sea - In The Salon [self released] | [LISTEN]
- She Keeps Bees - Eight Houses [Future Gods] | [LISTEN]
- Sheer Mag - 7" EP [Wilsuns RC] | [LISTEN]
- So Cow - The Long Con [Goner] | [LISTEN]
- Teardrop Factory - Thrash in the Heart [Faux Discx] | [LISTEN]
- Weed Hounds - Weed Hounds [Katorga Works] | [LISTEN]
- Yes I'm Leaving - Slow Release [Homeless] | [LISTEN]
- Zeahorse - Pools [Dine Alone] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- Girl Band - De Bom Bom 7" [Any Other City] | [LISTEN]
- Multicult - Variable Impulse [Sleeping Giant Glossolalia] | [LISTEN]
- Spray Paint - Clean Blood, Regular Acid [Monofonus Press] | [LISTEN]
- Teenanger - E P L P [Telephone Explosion] | [LISTEN]
- The Ukiah Drag - In The Reaper's Quarters [Wharf Cat] | [LISTEN]
- Whatever Brains - SSR-63 // SSR-64 [Sorry State] | [LISTEN // LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- Avi Buffalo - At Best Cuckold [Sub Pop] | [LISTEN]
- The Lees of Memory - Sisyphus Says [SideOneDummy] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Cayetana - Nervous Like Me [Tiny Engines] | [LISTEN]
- Joanna Gruesome / Trust Fund - Split LP [Reeks of Effort] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: OCTOBER :::::::::::::::

Ex-Breathers - Exbx [Texas Is Funny] | [LISTEN]

Perhaps no release in 2014 outside the EIS roster had a bigger impact on me than Ex-Breather's latest EP, Exbx, an album that changed the way I perceived hardcore (and post-hardcore) and opened my mind to not just Ex-Breathers' incredible music, but an entire genre I tended to divert around. The Tallahassee based trio's furious blend of hardcore, noise, punk, post-hardcore, math rock, and sludge fuses together perfectly in a restless storm of aggression and intricate song structures, forever blasting violently forward at rapid speeds. The twelve songs of the record go by in just in under twelve minutes and Ex-Breathers show a tremendous amount of depth in that time, invoking a primal carnage with skull crushing rhythms and scathing riffs that shift faster than you can blink. Exbx stampedes with an ever present brutality and punk rock brilliance. [DG]



FF - Lord [Couple Skate] | [LISTEN]

Lord, the full length debut of Seattle's FF is one of the year's most slept on releases, a gorgeous blast of must hear indie noise punk in the vein of California X, Weed, Broken Water, and of course early Sonic Youth. The volume of their guitars is constantly in the red, offering a wall of sound that crashes like a thunderous tidal wave as it's least polite. Catchy vocal hooks and warm harmonies give FF's songs their memorable core, a perfect balance to the relentless blown out fuzz riffs. With enough mountainous riffs to bury a small village, Lord is pure gold, one of the year's best kept secrets. [DG]



Krill / Ovlov / LVL UP / Radiator Hospital - 4 Way Split 12" [Double Double Whammy / EIS] | [LISTEN]

Four of the best active rock bands in one place; obviously, you can’t go wrong here. Each had a productive year with Krill releasing Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears, Ovlov muscling their way onto every split release, LVL UP issuing their impeccable sophomore full-length, and Radiator Hospital presenting the formidable Torch Song LP. Still they found a way to get together on this 7” vinyl circle and add another highlight to the reel. Krill’s “Peanut Butter” finds Jonah still asking poignant questions left over from Steve like “Will I act with mercy?” Meanwhile, Dave is reminiscing about his “spicy hot gumbo” on “Big Snow”. The two fit perfectly together as pensive garage pop tracks. In the year of the Ovlov split feature, “Ohmu Shell” might take the gold prize as my personal favorite. The way the drums break about halfway through before the guitars erupt into a sinewy jam is pure sonic bliss. Radiator Hospital brings things home with two memorable lo-fi ditties, completing one of the best splits in my collection. [DS]



Melvins - Hold It In [Ipecac] | [LISTEN]

The Melvins are my biggest inspiration for EIS' hopeful longevity. After thirty years as a band, the core of Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover continue to release creative new music with the same absurdly high level of quality they've possessed since the beginning. Three complete decades together, the band have released nearly forty records and each offers a slightly different look into the legendary Washington State band's experimental sludge persona. Often credited as the true pioneers of grunge, the Melvins have built a lasting empire by never standing still and never playing to expectations. Part of being able to do that has relied on shifting line-ups from album to album, each one providing something new, something mutated and always askew, but also ultimately brilliant. There's no "classic" Melvins line-up which says a lot as personnel changes have never been an issue because at their core, the Melvins are the Melvins, a simplistic statement and yet a ringing seal of approval for the uncompromising sludge behemoths. Over the past decade they've teamed up with Big Business, Lustmord, Mr. Bungle's Trevor Dunn, original Melvins drummer Mike Dillard and many others, keeping the freak show fresh in a time when their peers are relegated to reunion tours and the bowels of retirement. On Hold It In, Osborne and Crover are joined by longtime Butthole Surfers members J.D. Pinkus and Paul Leary, a diabolical combination on paper of two of the 80's and 90's more inaccessible outsider noise rock factions. The results are intrinsically compelling and... well, strange but perhaps not in the way you'd expect. Hold It In is all over the place stylistically, a smattering of well configured ideas seemingly detached from any grand vision but placed together with distinction and purpose. There are hard left turns here, a shocking auto-tune voyage and a dusty cowboy song straight out the old west sit side by side with primordial oozing noise and the Melvins' own warped and twisted take on arena rock, and as bizarre as it all seems, the individual parts work together. For all the twists and turns, Hold It In is surprisingly cohesive and the lack of any singular vision is a big part of the unmistakable Melvins' legacy. Thirty years into the career and the band are still releasing classics, just check out "Sesame Street Meat" and "Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad". Spend time with this record, you'll be happy you did. [DG]



- Roomrunner - Separate [Accidental Guest] | [LISTEN]

Separate finds Roomrunner displaying maturity while simultaneously presenting their heaviest and most melodic material to date. Thanks in part to the production of J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines), guitarist/vocalist Denny Bowen sounds crisp throughout each of these dynamic tracks. It seems a bit presumptuous to proclaim a band’s best song. That being said, I’ll go ahead and state that “Karn” is Roomrunner’s best song. It just explodes with purpose right out of the gate. It’s catchy, driving, and abrasive; everything you want to hear from the band. Elsewhere, the mood shifts on tracks like closer “Slow”, which takes on a bleak outlook where you can hear a bit of Hum’s influence peak through. Roomrunner are quickly evolving to the point where they will no longer draw those pesky comparisons of yore. See, I didn’t even have to mention Nirvana… [DS]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- The Blind Shake - Breakfast of Failures [Goner] | [LISTEN]
- Ex Hex - Rips [Merge] | [LISTEN]
- Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love [Matador] | [LISTEN]
- Little Big League - Tropical Jinx [Run For Cover] | [LISTEN]
- Meatbodies - Meatbodies [In The Red] | [LISTEN]
- Run the Jewels - RTJ2 [Mass Appeal] | [LISTEN]
- Unwound - No Energy (boxset) [Numero Group] | [LISTEN]
- Vetter Kids - Logan [Texas Is Funny] | [LISTEN]

::::::::::::::: NOVEMBER / DECEMBER :::::::::::::::

Big Ups / Washer - Split 7" [ECB&B/EIS] | [LISTEN]

Big Ups is the first band name to exit my lips every time someone asks me if there are any good punk bands left in New York. “Rash” and “Not Today” serve as great entry points to the band as vocalist Joe Galarraga sounds straight up psychotic over pounding rhythms and hostile guitars. Washer takes a less aggressive approach to punk on "Rinse & Spit" without losing any of the attitude. On “Rot”, the duo sound resigned while singer/guitarist Mike Quigley nonchalantly confesses, “All I want to do is rot.” The whole thing wraps up in under ten minutes, but that’s probably for the best since it leaves you feeling like you've been accosted in an alley. [DS]



Caddywhompus - Feathering A Nest [Community Records] | [LISTEN]

I’ve been a fan of Caddywhompus for a while, but this year marked the first time I had the opportunity to see the New Orleans duo. I was on tour with Palehound at the time and that night I drove from New Orleans to San Antonio for around 7 hours straight in the worst storm I’ve ever driven. After helping unload the van in the rain, I was miserable to say the least. Actually, we all were. Caddywhompus did their part in raising spirits as we stood in astonishment and watched the two incredible musicians create some of the most spellbinding rock I’ve ever heard. That material would later surface in their long-awaited album, Feathering a Nest. The six song collection of perplexing math rock shrouded in a dreamy psychedelic ambiance puts the duo in a league of their own and has me anxiously awaiting the next time I have the opportunity to see them perform. [DS]



Celestial Shore - Enter Ghost [Hometapes] | [LISTEN]

I’ve seen Celestial Shore quite a few times over the past year and have been consistently blown away by their musicianship. The first time I saw them, I remember I had to keep checking if the drummer had six arms. Nope, just a regular human being doing extraordinary things. I started to notice that all my favorite songs weren’t on any release. This led me to the conclusion that their next record was going to be a doozy and boy was I right. One of the most compelling aspects of the band is the complexity of the underlying music but the overall ethereal feel and nowhere is this better displayed than on Enter Ghost. There’s so much going on over the course of this record, but there are still plenty of hooks to keep it more towards the accessible side of chaotic. [DS]



Happy Diving - Big World [Father/Daughter] | [LISTEN]

Much like California X, Ovlov, and Tony Molina, the Bay Area's Happy Diving have a deep understand for warm fuzzy indie punk with cosmic riffs from deep space. They've been labeled slacker rock by lazy journalists, but there's nothing slacker about a band that released both their debut EP and full length debut this year, their first year together as a band. The riffs carry an enormous sludge pop weight as they burst from tears of feedback to mesmerizing melodies, propelled by sugary sweet vocals that rest perfectly within the thick fog of shredding riffs and gorgeous distorted guitar tones. Happy Diving are a very young band with a ton of potential and their debut is an incredibly promising beginning. [DG]



Hookworms - The Hum [Domino] | [LISTEN]

Sometimes bands generate a lot of hype seemingly out of nowhere. Sometimes they deserve it other times they don't. Hookworms deserve every last bit of the hype they've received as far as I'm concerned. The Leeds based quintet released one of my absolute favorite albums last year (Pearl Mystic) and they've done it again this year with The Hum, an energetic and warped garage psych masterpiece. An implosion of punk influences are melted together with krautrock pulse and hypnotic rhythmic structures that allow guitars, organs, and the rest of their sonic mayhem to fly off the rails headfirst into the ether. The album buzzes with blown out distortion, cavernous grooves, and hazy echo soaked shouted vocals, blanketed in a swirling psychedelic atmosphere that finds the perfect middle ground between desolate drone and chaotic anxiousness. [DG]



Kal Marks - Just A Lonely Fart [Midnight Werewolf/EIS] | [LISTEN]

I think I spent more time talking up Kal Marks than any other band this year. The trio led by singer/guitarist Carl Shane have become one of the more dominant live acts currently playing around. Each time I see them, the energy is ramped up 10x from the previous performance. The tracks on this 7” capture that energy better than anything they’ve released yet and are three of the most powerful songs in the band’s arsenal. “It Was a Very Hard Year” accurately conveys the feeling of someone being at the end of their rope and I’m taken aback every single time I spin it and hear Carl bellow out “It’s been a hard, hard year!” [DS]



Native America - Grown Up Wrong [Inflated] | [LISTEN]

There were a lot of garage rock bands this year that tried to incorporate the hazy atmospherics of ‘60s psychedelic rock, but I’m not sure any of them did it better than Native America. On “Like a Dream”, the New Orleans band establishes the perfect atmosphere for a song about getting lost in nostalgia. There’s a reason it’s one of my most played tracks from 2014. The less-is-more songwriting has its roots in classic rock but contains just enough grittiness to keep things exciting. There’s a sentimentality to each song on Grown Up Wrong that has a bittersweet appeal carried by Ross Farbe’s saccharine vocals. It adds a timelessness that draws you into the record and keeps you coming back again and again. [DS]



Nots - We Are Nots [Goner] | [LISTEN]

The furious and tightly wound post-punk of Memphis' Nots brings to a mind a head on collision with the riot grrrl sound and sheer garage rock fury. Direct and filled with primal energy, the four members of Nots shout along in unison over simplistic riffs, locked in rhythms, and a understated focus of soaring synths. There's a frustrated aggression and impatient punk attitude permeating throughout the record, ringing with unrest through dissonance and disillusionment. While the record isn't exactly the most dynamic punk album of the year, their aggression appears genuine and the constant feeling of riotous unease is radiant. [DG]



Ovlov / Ex-Breathers / Gnarwhal / Woozy - 4 Way Split 12" [Community Records] | [LISTEN]

All four of these bands played a big part in my past year. Ex-Breathers guitarist David Settle helped book Palehound’s Tallahassee show and his excellent side project Whateverer played before they even had a name. It wasn’t until our EIS showcase at Trash Bar during CMJ that I actually got to see Ex-Breathers perform, but I was floored to say the least. The band melds the manic hardcore of OFF! with the creative guitar aerobics of Shellac and The Jesus Lizard. I already spoke twice in this guide about how much I love Ovlov, but I’m about to do it one more. The great part about the track here is the diversity it displays. “The Great Ohmu” stands out in their catalog with its catchy and downright swampy riffs. Woozy, who played three dates in a row with Palehound on their tour, kick off side b. I was downright giddy for their set each and every night I got to see them. The highlight for me was often “Magma Stoddard”, which appears here in all its glory. The last band featured on this release is Gnarwhal, who I also had the pleasure of seeing several times during the Palehound tour. They are the kind of band you watch live with your mouth agape asking “Are these guys for real?!” It’s hard to believe that the guitar and drum duo could create so much destructive noise on their own and the mesmerizing math rock here is their best yet. With so many amazing bands presenting their best material, this four way split is easily among the more satisfying releases of 2014. [DS]



Two Inch Astronaut - Foulbrood [EIS] | [LISTEN]

Two Inch Astronaut's Foulbrood is a masterpiece. It's destined to be a classic record. It's hard for me to write about this record without appearing hyperbolic, but it's no exaggeration, this record is the type that can change perception, the type that makes you believe, and for me personally, it's the type of record that reminds you why you do the things you do. If my last.fm account is to be believed, I've listened to more Two Inch Astronaut this year than any other band, a direct result of Foulbrood's unbelievable repeatability. Expanding on every aspect that has made the Colesville, Maryland trio one of the countries "best kept secrets" over the past few years, Foulbrood is catchier, sharper, heavier, and unfolding with brilliant songwriting on a wider spectrum that's both exceptionally complex and easily memorable. Blending together vividly tangled riffs with extraordinary shifting polyrhythmic drumming and expansive structuring, the record carries the rare distinction of being accessible while retaining stunning technicality that shimmers in supreme disjointed bliss. Two Inch have truly outdone themselves with a diverse record that dives between math punk brutality, fits of jagged post-hardcore, and twisted pop catchiness at the most unlikely of times. Perfection is real and Two Inch Astronaut make the impossible seem possible. Fuck nostalgia, Two Inch Astronaut are the future. [DG]



::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::ADDITIONAL SELECTIONS::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

:::EIS:::

- ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - IX [Superball Music] | [LISTEN]
- Bedhead - 1992 - 1998 (boxset) [Numero Group] | [LISTEN]
- The Cherry Wave - Avalancher [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Culture Abuse - The Day Dreams of Nothing [re-release] [6131] | [LISTEN]
- Deerhoof - La Isla Bonita [Polyvinyl] | [LISTEN]
- Fugazi - First Demo [Dischord] | [LISTEN]
- Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons [Tommy Boy] | [LISTEN]
- Glish - Glish [Texas Is Funny] | [LISTEN]
- Guerilla Toss - Smack The Brick [NNA Tapes] | [LISTEN]
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - I'm In Your Mind Fuzz [Castle Face] | [LISTEN]
- Low Fat Getting High - Low Fat Getting High [Money Fire] | [LISTEN]
- Mitski - Bury Me At Makeout Creek [Double Double Whammy] | [LISTEN]
- Mr. Gnome - The Heart of a Dark Star [El Marko] | [LISTEN]
- Parkay Quarts - Content Nausea [What's Your Rupture?] | [LISTEN]
- Rozwell Kid - Too Shabby [Broken World Media] | [LISTEN]
- Space Mountain - Wilderness Explorer [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Ty Segall - $ingle$ 2 [Drag City] | [LISTEN]
- Whirr / Nothing - Split LP [Run For Cover] | [LISTEN]
- Wu-Tang Clan - A Better Tomorrow [Asylum/Warner Bros] | [LISTEN]

:::DAN:::

- Cult of Youth - Final Days [Sacred Bones] | [LISTEN]
- Michael Sincavage - Empty Apartments (Supporting Actors) [self released] | [LISTEN]
- Raspberry Bulbs - Privacy [Blackest Ever Black] | [LISTEN]
- Shield Your Eyes - Reciprocate [self released] | [LISTEN]
- The Skull Defekts - Street Metal [Diagonal] | [LISTEN]

:::DAVE:::

- TV on the Radio - Seeds [Harvest] | [LISTEN]

:::STEPHEN:::

- Static Daydream - The Only One [Moon Sounds] | [LISTEN]