Constant Smiles Share Gold Like Water

This new Constant Smiles stuff is sounding pretty spot on, in terms of where my listening brain is at currently. It’s just really subtle, well-executed pop songwriting, just a bit left of the dial. That light keyboard bounce that trickles in atop the bubbling beat is perfect; it creates this realm of relaxation, allowing me to sit back and let the song wash over “like water.” When the vocals cruise in, they’re lapping at your toes as you stand ashore, nipping at you with little twinkling melodies. A little percussive mix-up offers just enough differentiation to keep the song rolling interestingly along, particularly as more accompaniment pieces flutter in from the background. The band release Kenneth Anger on March 3rd via Sacred Bones, with some dates throughout March, including a stop at SXSW.

Catch This New Moon Duo Video

Masters of fuzzy psych rock, Moon Duo, are going to be releasing a new album shortly, and to get you stoked for that new record, you ought to take a listen and watch the pretty stellar animated music video below. As per usual, Moon Duo strike the perfect balance of hazy-lost-in-a-dream psych and gritty alt rock. On “Cold Fear,” you get quite a bit of keyboard as well to guide you through the heavy distortion. The vocals are a gentle aspect amidst the instrumentation, hypnotizing you furtherinto the vortex of swirling guitars. Take a listen/watch below and then go preorderOccult Architecture Vol. 1 from Sacred Bones.


This Is Pop Music: Rose McDowall

roseI wish I could wrap this track up in some strange package, something that would make it hip enough to catch your ear. But, it’s a pretty straightforward pop track…that should come as no surprise as the tune was written in the 80s. Like all legendary recording artists, Rose McDowall (of Strawberry Switchblade) has found her tunes unearthed, garnering a reissue, and remastering, by Night School and Sacred Bones. This definitely feels like something my sister would have played around the house when I was a kid, but now seems to fit perfectly into my own life…probably because the remastering sounds so great. The reissue of Cut with a Cake Knife comes out today.

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Show Preview: Jenny Hval @ Holy Mountain (Tonight)

jennyThere must be a soft spot in the hearts of Holy Mountain, as they’ve got a couple of really beautiful songstresses playing their venue in the next week, Jenny Hval, however, is first up. She’s gotten a lot of praise for Apocalypse, girl, her newest album, with the 7.9 from everyone’s favorite haters over at P4K. Clearly, she’s doing something right, which should encourage you to head over to Holy Mountain tonight to check out her set. She’ll be accompanied by Briana Marela, who is know slouch in her own right, having recently released All Around Us for Jagjaguwar.  It’s a heavy hitting evening of ladies, and it’s only $11 bucks, HERE.

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Moon Duo – Shadow of the Sun

unnamedRating: ★★★½☆

Trying to nail down the sound of San Francisco’s Moon Duo is a bit more difficult than slapping on the label of hazey rock, as these two (three, counting live drummer John Jeffrey) turn that genre inside out. The drone/noise guitar becomes the substance itself and everything else works like kindling to fuel this grungey fire. Shadow of the Sun sees this band creating music that primarily dwells under this haze, occasionally surfacing for lighter and poppier tunes.

They begin with the darkness of “Wilding,” which is pretty much a straightforward gritty guitars blazing rock song. This song is a rambunctious and raw start to the album, as the band starts you out with the shadowy rock before they tone it down from this grit to the more refined “Night Beat.” The band takes the haze of noise with their guitar, reverb coated vocals, and adds a quirky and somewhat spooky synth part to it. Here is the trend that takes hold over the music here; it feels eerie and haunting but with enough dance hooks and jangly percussion to drive it to genre of synth pop. The same can be said with “Zero,” but this song blends the two genres seamlessly into one slow simmering tune.

Later “Slow Down Low, makes for one of the brighter, lighter tunes on the album. The use of airy synths, handclaps and gang vocals make this song a surefire hit, still incorporating those drone-guitars, but they’re balanced out with the clean clarity of the synthesizer. This is one of the best songs, and the guitars take over at its end to provide that revival of darkness before you move on to “Ice.” Nearing the end of the nine songs that Moon Duo has crafted, “Ice,” feels more like a continuation of the previous song, a groovy outro of sorts to tone down the sound before the last song.

                  Shadow of the Sun is a surprisingly fun album; for all the dark and swirling pieces of the music, there are a decent amount of tunes that have a dance-able quality to them. The brooding nature of Moon Duo’s hazey guitar rock sound is always there, but within that space they’ve made songs that work to get you moving a bit beyond just nodding your head. That being said, this album’s novelty wears off a little bit after you’ve put the record down. I’ll be back to revisit my favorite tracks for sure, but on the whole it doesn’t push from good to great.


Amen Dunes Ready Another Single

amenDamon McMahon’s Amen Dunes project is on a huge role right now.  He’s prepping the release of his new record, Love, and it seems with each new single that he brings to the table, there’s something different going on in the music, yet it’s all pretty intoxicating.  This jam starts all with a bit of a ramshackle opening, almost like a post-punk rocker, but then it unfolds into a more spiritual piece of noise folk.  I like a little diverstiy in a good album, so when Sacred Bones releases Love on May 13th, we’re probably going to rejoice with how each song offers us something different.

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New Synth Pop Up from Lust for Youth

22The last few releases from Lust for Youth have been really dark, and almost sterile, in their construction.  But, this new single, from the band’s forthcoming LP, International, seems to have more pop sensibility, both in the electronic instrumentation and the tonal quality of the vocals.  Still, there’s something dark and sinister that always seems to accompany the group’s work, so if they’re able to combine that with a few pop elements, this could be a hands-down favorite at the ATH offices.  The new album will be out on June 10th via Sacred Bones, who will include a cassette of remixes if you pick it up from them.

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Be Entranced by Amen Dunes


This track “Lonely Richard” from Amen Dunes has a great, haunting sound to it.  I’d call it a dark, enchanting, singer-songwriter tune that could easily be compared to something from the early days of Sun Kil Moon.  I’m cool with that.  Though you won’t find much “rising action” in this track, the slow and steady beat throughout will beg you to hit play again when the song ends.  You did it didn’t you?

Pick up new album, Love, on May 13th via Sacred Bones.

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We Like The Men

The MenYeah we like The Men so let’s just move on here.  This new track was floating around the interwebs quite a bit yesterday, and we haven’t had the time to get to it until now.  We apologize for our tardiness, but I think you’d agree that the track is just too good to not post.  Of course it rocks, it rolls, and it leaves us desperate to hear more from the new album.

Pick up new album, Tomorrow’s Hits, on March 4th via Sacred Bones.

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Stream New Wymond Miles

This is a sweet track to add to your weekend streaming. Wymond Miles is guitar guru for The Fresh & Onlys and has released an LP and EP in recent years, but there is building buzz around the pending full length called Cut Yourself Free due 10/15 on Sacred Bones.

Thing is, I took a second listen and the song struck me as very familiar. I had just listened to Turn On The Bright Lights last week. Tell me if you hear a similarity or maybe I’m just nuts.

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