Hear Penelope Isles

penisI kind of glanced at Cassette Store Day, but it seems an unnecessary thing in my book, aside from the glorious tape Art Is Hard released with Penelope Isles. It was the first time I had heard of the brother/sister duo, but I’m pretty attached to them today. Sometimes these duos don’t succeed because they seem empty or lacking, but no in this case. Soothing vocals rest atop crashing drums and lightly jangling guitar chords, all the while, they weave in duet moments. It’s pretty enchanting, if you’re asking me, so go ahead and press play.

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Diet Cig Share New Single


I’m pretty sure we’ve shared some other great tracks from New York’s Diet Cig, and this is a yet another testament of their deserving place in your listening catalogue. They duo has a new single out digitally as of today called “Sleep Talk,” and you can take a listen to it below. You’ll note the prominent vocal performance of Alex Luciano, whose honest vocals and raw delivery dominate the song as she sings about a return home. Then you have the drums that take the wheel of the track and bring the tempo to a new speed as the song gets a little wild within the alt-rock genre. The single and it’s b-side, “Dinner Date” are out in physical format on September 18th through Art is Hard and Father/Daughter Records. Pre-order it here.

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Slowcore from O. Chapman

10906312_10153013184579699_2869604486636749248_nThis new tune from O. Chapman drifted my way over the weekend, and it fit in completely with the dreary weather Austin encountered, including that ridiculous hail storm on Saturday night. Still, a great track succeeds despite the weather, and I think you’ll hear something you’ll love when listening to this tune. There’s a slow pace to the tune, allowing the band to really establish a vibe that sinks you into your chair, or your soul.  I like how there’s some little vocal samples hiding just beneath the track too…it’s a weird effect that definitely benefits the song. It’s part of the Art is Hard limited hand-cut 7″ series, so you’ve got to scramble to get one of the 25 available copies…otherwise just enjoy this tune.


Download: O. Chapman – Best Friend [MP3]

Bedroom Guitar Pop from the Bleaders

bleederSimplicity is the name of the game here.  The Bleaders is more or less a one-man project from Chris Leader, crafting these catchy little guitar pop songs in the solitude of his own home.  He just tossed up a nice little track for consumption via Art Is Hard the other day, and it’s definitely worth some listening attention.  There’s a guitar track recorded atop a fuzzy distorted guitar, all the while lamenting Leader’s inability to write songs as good as Brian Wilson.  It’s a basic track, even down to the production, but sometimes those are the tracks that hit the hardest. He’s got tons of other tracks to download, so check out the link above for more catchy tunes.


Download: The Bleaders – Brian’s Nose [MP3]


New Jam from Radstewart

radstewartThat’s right. Rad-stewart, not Rod Stewart.  Huge difference. They have a brand new single coming out on Art Reeks, which we’ve previously mentioned as the collaboration between Reeks of Effort and Art Is Hard…two small labels with great rosters.  They’ve got a 12″ compilation called Art Reeks coming out shortly, and they’ve just put up a new song from Radstewart. The tune reminds me a lot of Art Brut; it starts off with a bit of art-pop, then moves into a bombastic explosion of joy.  It’s the kind of tune that is able to turn any frown upside down.  Pick up your copy HERE.

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Swinging New Music from Fake Laugh

1292079_548783275186775_1750201815_oAnother month, another great postcard single from the lads over at Art Is Hard.  Their newest single comes courtesy of Fake Laugh, who are offering up this swinging bit of indiepop, which reminds me of some local Austin acts like Shivery Shakes.  I like the way the vocal spins a bit into different tunes, while the guitars sharply encourage foot tapping.  You should definitely give this tune enough time to make it all the way up to the chorus; it’s a beautiful release that makes the song completely worth it, as if you needed something more.  I guess I’m just going bust out great pop tracks for the world today…nothing wrong with that in my mind.

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New Tune from Home School

homeschoolFeel like it has been awhile since I harped on the great work being done by the folks over at Art is Hard Records, continuing with their always interesting approach to releasing music.  As part of their Postcard Series, the label has just gotten out a new tune from Home School.  Here, you’ll hear music sitting in the background, with the vocals taking the main focus here.  I like the relaxed feel of the approach, not to mention I’m a huge sucker for twanging/jangling guitar parts these days….every day now that I think about it.  Think you’re going to dig this tune for real.

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Solid Hit from Best Friends

bestfriendsYou’ve got to keep your eye on the kids over at Art is Hard Records; they’re always finding unique ways to appease fans with great music and great ideas.  Recently they announced they’d be doing an AA 7″ single with Best Friends, and dammit if this first track isn’t just a straight hit.  It opens slowly, leading one to think the band has taken a casual approach, but if you wait, it blasts off into excellent territory that will please most listeners.  Personally, I like the way the vocals are tossed out, almost shouted from a distance.  The seven-inch will be formerly available on September 23rd, but you can pre-order, or just jam out, now.

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Lo-Fi Beauty from Soft Arrows

softarrowsThe Art Is Hard Postcard Subscription Series is picking up steam, and I’m really enjoying the latest release from Soft Arrows.  It’s a soft number for sure, but I like the guitar work that’s echoing in the background, which is not unlike the sound Grizzly Bear have owned for the past few years.  Here, the vocals have an interesting delivery, as if they were recorded completely separately from the song itself.  And if you like the sound the band’s trying to achieve, you can go to their bandcamp and check out tons of previous work.  Always love the AIH releases.

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More New Alterna Jams from Birdskulls

A few weeks ago I brought you the lead jam from Birdskulls AA Single, which is being released by our friends over at Art is Hard Records, so I’m happy to return with another track off the single.  The sound of the guitars has a definite familiarity, but on this run through, I’m finding the underlying growl of the vocals more intoxicating with each listen.  While the pace might not be as quick as previous track, “Mispresume,” you can see the group pushing themselves to reinvigorate a classic alterna-jam sound, fueled by grit and their undying passion.

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