The perks of running your own site, and your own label, is you can write about what you want and celebrate when you want. So, here we are at ATH, home of ATH Records, celebrating a release we’re super happy to be part of, Swansea Sound and their debut LP, Live at the Rum Puncheon. In case you needed a reminder, you’ve got some heavy-hitters in this band from acts such as Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Pooh Sticks and more. And what better way to celebrate than by letting you stream the whole thing in its fresh entirety below. It’s best listened to at high volumes with open hearts. Grab a tape HERE, or check out the band’s BANDCAMP as there are several other great folks like HHBTM handling various media.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Zero Percent APR is the alter ego of our favorite Austin ghouls, Being Dead; you might remember we helped the band put out this rad EP a few years back. Well, their here today to bewitch you with their Halloween album, just out on cassette via Spared Flesh Records. This collection of themed music still has the same experimentation and devilish humor that the band always utilizes in their work; it still has me wondering why they aren’t the biggest band in the world right now? Seriously, how is a band with these gifts and a rocking live show not bigger than Shakey Graves? I have no idea, but Halbum is a fun collection of tunes from the ZPAPR, something for you from the underworld.
Pretty huge release day out there, with some ATH faves like Ducks LTD and Cindy dropping new albums, but I wanted to stay a little closer to home with a record we really love around here: Semihelix‘s Recoil. Honestly, I think Geannie Friedman and company really hit it out of the park here; the album plays in the realm with roots dating back to post-punk, but it uses that as a touchstone, dancing here and there. Take “Mourning Light,” which features this bubbling bass line and soothing melody, definitely taking some notes from the Sarah Records catalog, then jump ahead a few tracks to “Translucent,” using more pace and urgency to push the melodic notes. It all works so perfectly, you’re sort of shocked that this is the band’s debut. Me, well, I’m partial to “Come Around,” with Friedman’s best vocal performance, at least to my ears. Go ahead and give this album a few spins this morning.
I’ve been a longtime follower of Neil Brogan, since his time in Girls Names throughout his work with Sea Pinks, so of course its time to shine on his most recent offering from the weekend, Magnolia Day. I’ve covered a few singles, but I’m really impressed with how strong this collection of songs is upon my first few listens. Always one to toy with melodies, I think I was really stuck on the album when I came to “Broken Record;” he plays with a few notes here, holds a few there, and it explores his willingness to push his sound. Currently, I’m stuck on “Between Two Trees,” though “Green Recovery” seems to tie into the influence of Spring and nature on Brogan’s songwriting for this album. Whatever. Just enjoy.
Over the last few months, surely you’ve noticed us hyping up Deuce; it’s the project of our old friend Curtis Wakeling (Pop Filter/Ocean Party) and Kayleigh Heydon. Deuceis an album filled to the brim with these incredible duets, where vocal duties are shared and guitar lines seem to go for a walkabout as they turn and burn in the mix. Honestly, the surprise here, or introduction perhaps, is Kayleigh’s performance throughout; she’s got such a remarkable voice that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a solo effort bubble up on her end in the near future. Still, it’s the way the two play off each other that’s delighted me, which you can hear immediately in the album’s slow-burning opener “Heat Wave.” This album takes time, and actually deserves time, as you’re not going to find a track to skip over. If you do, let me know, and we can talk about it. Stream it all below!
Last year before the pandemic hit, as in days before, we released Gabe Hascall‘s Thousands of Thorns LP over on ATH Records; it was a quiet collection from the former Impossibles/Slowreader songwriter, offering a glimpse at what was to come upon his return. This year, he’s had the time to hole up and make bolder steps with Realize What’s Real, which is out into the world today! As a longtime fan, I love the little nuanced note changes in Gabe’s voice, something that, to me, just feels like home. There’s a vinyl version on its way in the next few weeks, so grab one before they sell out like the first LP! Happy Release Day Gabe!
I have tons of emails where I’ve been super into stuff, but just haven’t quite gotten to them, and as there seems to be a general lull this week, I’ve started digging deep into some of those emails, which is where I revisited the latest from Folklore. For me, the band take some sounds from the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire; they are offering up this pleasant folk pop, but obscured by a willingness to toy with structure. Take the opener from The Curse, “A-Frame Kitchen,” which revolves heavily on a strum and vocals for the song’s first minute, then it sort of erupts, like your speakers got blown, but those sounds don’t bother you as they tie it all together. “The Curse” is a definite hit, sort of harkening back to that Elephant 6 sound, though I’ll admit I’m a bit basic today, and falling for “Hazy Summer.” Give the whole thing a listen if you like, and throw the band a few bucks, as its NYP!
After the death of his partner, Clarke Sondermann sat down to write new music under the Pleasure Systems moniker; he ended up writing 40 demos, 12 of which were hand picked by Orchid Tapes to make up Visiting the Well. Today the album hits the streets, and while there’s definitely raw emotion packed into every inch, it’s the detail to each track that’s really stuck with me. For instance, “When Your Beard Fell Out” begins with this intimate strumming, sounding like traditional singer-songwriter fare. But, keyboard notes begin to overlap with the chords, layering texture that gives the song this full lifeblood. Each track has these delicate brushstrokes, used to bridge the gap between the intimate nature of Sondermann’s songwriting and the listener; Clarke gives us his most personal self, and ultimately we are gifted a shared solace. You’ll definitely get all the feels listening to this LP. Grab it HERE.
I’m a huge fan of the Lodger, and why they’ve been away for a good amount of time, their return with Cul-De-Sac of Love was a great news. It drops today, and my copy is apparently on its way to my home, so I haven’t spent as much time with it as I plan. My first runs through the whole LP show the band toying with various approaches to their craft, but with Ben Sidell’s voice still remaining the core of their appeal. Honestly, it reminds me of the likely follow up to Flashbacks, employing those catchy guitar chops while still offering up a really subtle approach to pop vibes. I’ve really been drawn towards “Perfect Fit” on these morning run-throughs, but go on and pick your fave…there are plenty of great tracks to choose from here. It’s available all over the world right now!
The last few months, I’ve personally been hyping the new LP from Finland’s Black Twig, Was Not Looking for Magic. Below…I give you an early stream, as well as my track by track breakdown. If you’re interested in picking up the album, it’s out this Friday via our friends over at Soliti, and I promise you, its got my stamp of approval! Leaving the stream at the top as that’s what’s most important, but my track by track breakdown lives below!