More from Wymond Miles

wymondIt’s almost as if we can leave the association with Fresh and Onlys in the dust, as Wymond Miles solo-work doesn’t seem to have too much in the way of commonalities, aside from the vocals. His latest single is this swelling pop masterpiece, cementing his talents as a standalone act. I love the varying tones in his voice, and the darkened tones of the guitar meeting the drums seem to contrast perfectly when it all meets in the middle. Call By Night, his new record, will be out on July 8th via Sacred Bones Records.

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Continuously Impressed by Wymond Miles

wymondSince the Fresh and Only‘s seem to have slowed their prolific run, it’s allowed Wymond Miles to focus on some of his solo work, which is always great. I think this new single illustrates something wholly different for him, at least in comparison to his past efforts. His voice soars in a way that I don’t think I fully gave him credit for; it’s a really strong performance on that end. The construction of the song revolves around emphatic swells, crashing into your ears at just the right time, with carefully placed calming dips. Call By Night is the title of his new album, released on July 8th via Sacred Bones Records.

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Check This Beautifully Dark Wall of Death Sound

wallofdeathYou’d think with Wall of Death as the band’s name that you’d get something dark and heavy. You do, except it comes in via the emotional pull of the track, rather than the music. When listening to the song itself, you find yourself in a strange place; it’s a place that revolves somewhere in the space between Air and a more ghostly Fresh and Onlys. I know, it sounds pretty ridiculous, in a good way, but you’ll have to take a listen to hear precisely what I heard on my first several run-throughs. This tune is the title track to their new album, Loveland, which hits on January 29th via Innovative Leisure.

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Brand New Tune from Woolen Men

woolThe last few releases from Woolen Men really warmed me over, and it didn’t hurt that they were working with our friends over at Loglady Records.  Now the band is working with Woodsist for their brand new LP, Temporary Monument.  Their first single is reminiscent of 80s college radio rock, blended with a bit of that Cali haze a la Fresh and Onlys.  It’s also important to note that the song’s notes on the SC page indicate a situation that seems to be going on all across the States…bands fighting for their survival in lieu of corporate interests. You can grab the new album on September 4th, and stream the single below.

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The Fresh & Onlys – House of Spirits

playitStrangeTitleRating: ★★★★☆

The Fresh and Onlys have been on fire, more or less, for the last five years.  No matter what they do, it’s hard to find detractors of their musical accomplishments, and yet it still seems like the band have something to prove, or room to grow.  House of Spirits is a record draped in imagery, largely crafted during a period of isolation in Arizona for member Tim Cohen; it’s an example of how well the band works when crafting songs together.

“Home is Where” opens up with little more than Cohen’s voice, illustrating the bare bones approach that led towards the completion of the record.  Soon, the rest of the group joins in, providing a spirited pace that comes off as an exhilarating stomp with cascading guitars falling through the cracks left by Tim’s haunting voice.  It gears you up for “Who Let the Devil,” which is perhaps one of the best songs the bands have written to date, seriously.  There’s a trickling bit of guitar beneath the cymbal work, leaving room for the distant howl of Cohen to lurk in the distance.  While the vocals still hold onto the traditional fare from Fresh & Onlys, they also soar into a loftier pitch during the chorus.  But, like most affairs from the band, they don’t stand in one place for too long.

There’s this feeling of contemplation that permeates House of Spirits, but perhaps no track exemplifies this more than “Animal of One.” I’ve grown fond of the line “the point of forgiving is so you forget, that being forgiven is all in your mind.”  Taken out of context, it might not seem as drastically poetic as I feel it is, but put into the context of this track and the album, it takes on greater meaning.  The delivery of the chorus is also emotionally striking, rising high in the mix, while the rest of the song seems to hold back for some Western-influenced introspection. But, while the lyrical content of this album is superb, there’s also these little touches that have really brought the record alive.

On “April Fools,” for instance, there’s a wash of keyboards just barely audible.  It’s not particularly forward-thinking, but these little flourishes have really added to the depth of sound in the band’s writing, demonstrating just how much they’ve grown since their inception…they seem to have left the idea of psychedelia behind, in some respects.  This is especially evident on “Ballerina,” which comes across like a track that the Walkmen would have written at their best; it’s a simple ballad that works atop a simple percussive element.  You’ll also find a backing vocal that perfectly accents the chorus from Cohen.  And such are the fine touches that make the group rise above their peers.

For me, there’s a change in the sound of Fresh & Onlys, and one that’s been foreseen if you’ve followed the work of the members outside of the band, such as Magic Trick or Wymond Miles.  On House of Spirits, the band seems to have brought in elements from all their various projects, leaving listeners with a cohesive record that will long stand up in the hearts of its audience.

New Single from Fresh & Onlys

freshI’ve been on a Fresh & Onlys kick for some time, only reinforced by the great interview they gave me during Psych Fest.  Now they’ve got a new single to get you just as excited about the release of their next album, House of Spirits; trust me, this is one of the standout tracks on the record.  The performance of Tim Cohen on this track is pretty incredible, soaring quite high while the rest of the band keeps their pace.  You’re going to need to have this record in your collection when it’s released on June 10th via Mexican Summer.



More New Tunes from Magic Trick

MagicTrick_smallAs reported last week, there’s a new album from Magic Trick, the side-project (of many) by Tim Cohen of Fresh and Onlys.  Based off this tune, and the one we ran last week, he’s slowing things down, as usual with this project.  The guitar is pretty nice, with this Southern twang/slide working throughout, while the rolling drum emphasizes a journey one must take. Adding a female touch in the vocal section definitely adds an extra layer of majesty to the project. River of Souls will be out on Decemeber 3rd via Empty Cellar Records.


Download: Magic Trick – Crazy Teeth [MP3]

Crystal Antlers – Nothing Is Real

crystalRating: ★★★★½

For two albums, Crystal Antlers have successfully combined their love of noise and hooks to create some pretty fascinating music.  But, that being said, I don’t think anything fully prepared us for Nothing Is Real.  It’s sonically exploratory, yet catchy in every way, showing a band that finally has found the perfect balance between captured raw energy and pop sensibility.

“Pray” slowly drops us into the midst of Nothing Is Real, teasing us momentarily before we’re rushed off with a frantic pace into the realm that we’ve come to know so well from these guys.  There’s a harsh quality to the vocal delivery, yet just beneath that growl, you can hear this pop presence.  It’s made even more clear by the howling “oooh” that lurks in the mix.  For me, the focus on making the negative space into meaningful music is what makes this listen to perfect.  And, as you bounce along in the opening moments of “Rattlesnake” the whole of the record begins to take shape. A slow spoken vocal takes control, before you’re pushed into the erratic shout of “rattlesnake.”  In returning to that softer space you can see just how far the group has come; they’ve built this song just for you.

For most of the record, they stick to the same formula, though I haven’t heard Crystal Antlers execute it as well as they have here.  Even so, there are still some beautiful surprises that I didn’t expect.  “We All Gotta Die” is a sprawling ballad, coming in at just under 6 minutes long.  I fully expected the song to erupt with bombast as the song neared the end, and while there’s definitely a louder sound drawn out, it’s nowhere near the explosion I thought I’d get.  It’s nice to know that bands you adore can still change things up on you from time to time.

Just don’t think that the dudes have gone entirely soft on you; you only need to listen to “Persephone” as proof.  It takes a mere seconds for the distortion to introduce you to the group’s heralded wall of noise, though with their special restraint.  This jam illustrates to me the group’s best dynamic, walking a fine line between insanity and pop stardom.  Just imagine the Fresh and Onlys in a mosh pit. “Better Things” also offers a glimpse at the captivating live aspect of the group, featuring an explosive percussive sound working in unison with these sharp guitar chords and shouted vocals.  I don’t know how they’ve captured this energy, but one can immerse themselves within the confines of a sweaty pit while listening to this track; please be safe.

As a fan of Crystal Antlers, I’ve been waiting for this day.  They’ve always captivated me with their live energy and raw power, yet it hasn’t always translated perfectly to tape.  Nothing Is Real, however, does just that.  It fits the explosive power of a group at the top of their game into a concise album that’s still brimming with accessibility despite its dangerous undertones.  This is an album to be reckoned with for some time to come.


Download: Crystal Antlers – Licorice Pizza [MP3]

More New Music from Wymond Miles

wymondmiles_studioshoot_jch_3I imagine it’s pretty hard to break away from the sound you’re known for curating, thus why I’ve been pretty impressed with the music Wymond Miles has been pushing outside of his other band, Fresh & Onlys.  On his latest single, I hear a synth-laden dream of a track, seemingly aligned with the likes of Jeremy Jay.  Even more impressive is the control he has over his vocals, reaching levels I hadn’t expected. His newest effort, Cut Yourself Free, will see a release date of October 15th via Sacred Bones.



You Should Listen To: Window Twins

One of the worst things about the Internet is it’s hard to keep up with your favorite artists, but while looking up information on another act, I was reminded of the Window Twins.  I had heard of the project between Tim Cohen (Fresh and Onlys) and Jon Berson, but I hadn’t really seen a lot of buzz on the Internet about them, other than the distant memory of a video run a month back. It’s a good thing I checked in on Volar Records, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the chance to order the limited vinyl for Wish, the band’s new album.  It’s a minimal folk sound, accentuated by tinkering with various layers, much like Cohen’s Magic Trick, but more intimate.  It’s almost a no-brainer right? A great songwriter with a great set of tunes, joined by a friend to make an album. Have a sample.


Download:Window Twins – Two Left Feet [MP3]

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