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Shunkan Readies New Single

11054372_919207408100054_2420515434765103079_oI first heard from Shunkan last year, and it seems fitting that the band returns now, as there’s definitely a movement to give the lady rockers of the indie world their long overdue credit.  In less than two minutes the group cuts through with strong riffs and energy, behind the tenacity of Marina Sakimoto’s vocals pushing forward all the while.  The new single’s being released by Art is Hard Records who have commissioned a rad comic to accompany it’s release, so if you’re feeling this tune, then be sure to grab it before the limited run is gone!

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Download: Sunken – Our Names [MP3]

I Missed This Last Week: Trans Van Santos Album Release

transStill playing catch-up, and while there’s a definite upbeat bent to get you back up on this Monday, there’s need for some quiet solace today, and it comes via Trans Van Santos.  Last week, during our little festival, he dropped his Moon Mirage album, filled with quieted folk ballads offering solemn emotions and intricate notes placed here and there. It’s a place of respite for those looking to escape the buzzing noise of all that surrounds them, requiring a careful listener to fully submerge themselves in the listening experience.  It’s available now via Royal Oakie Tapes & Records.

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Download: Trans Van Santos – The Flight [MP3]

SXSW Superlatives: Nathan.Lankford

AlvvaysWith SXSW this year there was lots of hubbub about fewer bands and less corporate entities flooding the streets, but despite all that, I still managed to have myself a good old time.  I’ve got some thoughts and awards to hand out, and these are strictly my experience, as we tried at ATH to split up and cover as much as we possibly could.  You can read on, if you’ve got the time, to see what I had to say.  Read More

Sick Sad World Garage Rock Supreme

sswI’m sure everyone is waiting for some new genre to break through to the masses, but in the meantime the combination of surf/garage rock is still alive and kicking…and it always deserves mention when it’s done as well as Sick Sad World‘s new single.  There’s a propulsive drum beat, though nothing outlandish; it holds the beat perfectly for the guitar work of Jake Jones to kick in with some solid power riffs.  Say what you want about the genre growing weary, but when it’s execute this well, I can’t help but turn it up and rock on out.  Look for the band’s new album, Fear and Lies, on April 21st via Help Yourself Records.

Fresh Tune from Dot Dash

ddsOver the course of our blog career I’ve always had an ear for DC’s Dot Dash, so I’m happy to share this new power-pop tune that they’ve just released to celebrate their brand new album.  It’s a short track, featuring the band’s blend of punk elements (hear the vocals) with classic pop guitar chords.  There’s a bit of nostalgia here too, falling somewhere in the realm between old Weasel and late Jawbreaker. Look to pick up their brand new album Earthquakes & Tidal Waves from the Beautiful Music; it’s available for purchase now!

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Download: Dot Dash – Rainclouds [MP3]

Please Listen to 23:23

ramIn all the SXSW recovery process, I must have listened to close to 200 songs, but none of those have stuck with me, or inspired me to write a few shoddy words more than this new track from 23:23.  There’s a lo-fidelity approach in the songwriting, but there’s this incredible pop sensibility that pervades, seeping through the cracks in the melodies, and the careful little touches like the repeated vocal after the 2 minute mark.  It’s just one of many songs that’s been written by Rami Vierula, who also plays in Delay Trees; he’s composed three albums in the band’s downtime, so Soliti Music will be releasing all three as the 23:23 Album Trilogy…available May 8th.

Wand – Golem


Rating: ★★★ · ·

It wasn’t too long ago that the LA boys of Wand put out their debut album, Ganglion Reef. In fact, it was only August of last year that they first jumped on to the garage rock scene and started wowing audiences with their own take on the buzziest genre of the indiesphere. Now they’ve returned quickly with this sophomore release, moving to a more straightforward and all out rock approach than their first album, which adds to the overall energy of the music and creates for a loud and fun second effort.

Immediately on opening track “The Unexplored Map,” you can already hear the sonic differences that the band has made in the short time period of their first and second releases. There’s a newfound heaviness to those garage guitars, which put them more on the metal/grunge side of things versus the laid-back noise of those lighter sounding riffs found for the most part on Ganglion Reef. Of course there were signs of this band’s deeply rooted darkness on that first album; the dark approach isn’t out of nowhere. This first track lets you hear the change in pacing as well from Wand—the song sounds deeply grounded and involves a lot of stop and go percussion that points you again to the hardcore side of garage rock. Next up is “Self Hypnosis In Three Days,” a similarly loud and rambunctious number, but one that hedges on the psychedelic genre of rock. The vocals of Cory Hanson are all psychedelic, reverb drenched and wafting in and out of the ever-changing style of this song. One moment you have distorted guitars going hard, and then a little later the band cuts out to just vocals and some gentle strumming, giving you a reprieve of the hard trip before they launch right back in.

The sound gets changed up a little bit on “Reaper Invert,” which comes third up on the album and continue this into “Melted Rope.” The first of these two songs is on the edge the whole time, constantly threatening to switch from eerie to murderous at any second, but it doesn’t ever fully launch into the super hardcore sound that we’ve already encountered on the album, but lingers in the ominous zone. Don’t get me wrong, this song still brings the rock, but it’s more psychedelic than grunge. “Melted Rope” has this same psychedelic twist, but on a slower and calmer level. There are acoustic guitars on this tune, and the vocals take center stage, providing a softness that is unheard on the rest of the album.

But what Ganglion Reef had a little more of that Golem doesn’t is variety; yes, this album is more spirited and rocking this second time around, but in this transfer it sometimes feels like Wand has slightly lost a little bit of nuance in their music. This, however, may just be a matter of taste: if you’re inclined to like your garage rock on the more hardcore side, then Golem will surely win your heart.


Ancient River Prepare New Music

ariverWhen you read that an artist was present at the Austin Psych Fest, thoughts can be misleading, perhaps explaining the rebranding as Levitation Fest.  Ancient River remind me of how much that sound can influence, yet also expand beyond those boundaries, especially with their new six minute opus.  The songs hazy and plodding, quietly building on this barely audible little melody. It’s really something to experience, finding yourself weaving our ears in and out of this tune.  You can grab the Keeper of the Dawn on April 14th courtesy of Summer Moon.

Friday Rock N’ Roll with Male Gaze

mailI’m really impressed with this new Male Gaze track.  There’s a furious pace kicking things off, using the guitars to knife and cut through the speakers.  But, what’s gotten me hooked are the slightly moaned vocals, full of studio tricks; it sets you on edge with it’s ability to counterbalance the ramshackle approach of the rest of the group. They even up the noise in a distorted manner as the track comes to a sprawling close.  Look for the group’s debut release on Castle Face Records on March 23rd; it’s title Gale Maze.


Playful Surf from Peach Kelli Pop

pkpFriday’s should be all about fun, especially when, like me, you’re about to go on a nice little Spring Break.  So, with that in mind, why not prep for it with some great feel-good tunes, like the latest single from Peach Kelli Pop. It’s playful through and through, which has always been the vibe from the act, in my mind anyways.  You get a little bit of surf, little garage and a helluva good time.  I expect nothing less from the forthcoming album from the band, III; it’s getting a Burger Records release on April 21st.

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