Did You Hear About the Geddy Laurance/Michael O Split?

It’s always great to have friends reach out to you and point you in the proper direction, so I’m glad that I heard about this new Geddy Laurance/Michael O split tape before it was too late! We’ve covered Michael O many times (as Mantles and solo), and Geddy played drums in everyone’s favorite, Boyracer, so now we get them both together! With the GL tune, you get a little more pacing, primarily with a faster strum and thicker drum beat; the Laurance vocals do have a touch of a fading daylight feel to them, sort of wilting as they hit your ears. You’ll also find a contrasting guitar line working against the strum, sort of like the counter-punch to the jangle, which was a really nice recording touch. Michael’s tune has some bop to it, so don’t think its totally gone, but his voice sounds a touch fragile in the tune below (which I adore); there’s also this backing vocal popping in that sort of reminds me of Television Personalities somehow. And, this probably sounds like a slight, but there’s just a certain feel to Mr. O’s tune that almost feels like its still in the works, like things aren’t finished or polished; its pop honest at its finest. If, like me, you’re in love, then grab the split from Safe Suburban Home this Friday!


Got New Michael O On Repeat All Day

Michael O is perhaps most known for his work in the Mantles, but his solo work has been equally as remarkable…in my book anyways. Just you go check out Really? and tell me what you think. Regardless, he’s back on the solo tip, with a new 3-track EP for Fruits & Flowers…with one of the delighting tunes running below. This song has this communal feeling to it, as if you’ve been sitting around jamming with Michael for sometime. The strumming steadies the melody, while the string arrangements are a nice textural touch in the far off distance. Just makes you feel better about the world knowing this song’s out there. The new 7″ comes out October 19th!

The ATH Top 50 Albums of 2015

Albums ListYear-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.

Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
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Another New Track from The Mantles

themantlesWarning! I’m fawning here. There’s been two records I’ve been sent a few weeks early that I’ve played non-stop. All Odds End, the new effort from the Mantles, is one of those two (the other is the new Expert Alterations). It’s one of those albums that goes beyond all the influences you could hear early on in the band’s career (though I loved that too). All the promise and all the dreams are more than exceeded; it doesn’t hurt that these are also some of the most infectious tunes out there. Just listen to the bounce that goes through this track…if you’re not tapping those toes then you’re not living. Look for their new record on October 16th via Slumberland Records.

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More Fresh Tunes from The Mantles

themantlesAnother new Mantles song? What a great week for music I love. I think for fans of great pop music, there’s not going to be a better release at the end of the year than this band’s new LP (well, that Expert Alterations is stellar too). There’s definitely some sonic changes in the band’s approach this round, and on this single in particular, rocking almost a punk rock approach in the bass line and energy department. Still, you can expect a group this good to get away with hooks, which are making their way with the way the vocals are delivered and enunciated. Look for their album All Odds End via the ever-reliable Slumberland Records on October 16th.

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The Mantles Return with New Album

mantlesIt really seems like only yesterday that I was listening to The Mantles last album, Long Enough to Leave, which is probably. But, it looks like I’ll soon have something new to enjoy from the group, as they just announced a brand new LP, All Odds End. I’m excited by two things, aside from new material.  First, they’ve hooked up with Jason Quever, who is probably one of my top musicians/producers.  Second, they seem to have pulled back on the pace, at least for this single, allowing for a different feeling than their latest.  You could almost say it has a bit of a dolewave feel to it.  Look for the new effort on October 16th from Slumberland Records.

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The Mantles Are Back with a New 7″

mickeysThere’s just something that captures your ear like a catchy good tune, and it seems like The Mantles keep pumping those sorts of tunes out. Recently they left us with the gem of an LP, Long Enough to Leave, and they’re back with a brand new 7″ that’s set to hit stores in December.  This particular tune puts more of a dreamy California spin on their sound; there’s a slight little vocal call-and-response that adds a nice dosage of pop emphasis to the track as well.  If this band hasn’t captured your ears and heart just yet, then maybe this song will do the trick for you.  Look for the 7″ via Slumberland just in time for the holiday giving of gifts.

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New Music from Michael O (of Mantles fame)

michaelo Clearly I love what the Mantles have accomplished.  They’ve got these concise little pop songs, with just a hint of that old school jangle, so it makes sense that when I heard about Michael Olivares releasing his own Face the Facts EP that I had to hip you to it.   It’s a different side to Michael than his main project, with a much simpler approach to writing pop songs; this tune below is mostly a strummed guitar with a little key treatment thrown in for good measure.  You can pick up the very limited 7″ from Fruits and Flowers, if you’re so inclined; the B Side has a Scorpions cover!

The Mantles – Long Enough To Leave

mantlesRating: ★★★½☆

San Francisco and the Bay Area has been long time famous for their psychedelic pop and rock music, so it’s no surprise that The Mantles hail from the West Coast, and this area specifically. In 2009 they released their self-titled debut, which made for a running start for the band, and put their name out for fans to gather behind. That first album won people over with its tighter approach to jangly rock music, and Long Enough to Leave is set to do the same.

First up to start the jangly jams is “Marbled Birds,” which features some prominent precision riffs and gentle, far away percussion. The song itself feels very laid back and easy, but the lyrics, given to you swiftly by vocalist Michael Olivares, paint a picture a bit more complex than you’d imagine for a garage rock band like The Mantles. This imagery, evoked early on, hooks you on what this group is putting out, and lets you know from the start that this is not going to be one of those throwaway albums that you burn through a few times and then sits on your shelf. Though the album isn’t exactly filled with exceptionally long tracks and you do move from track to track fairly quickly, each number turns out to be more detailed in lyrics than you’d expect, and more tightened up within the loops of electric guitar buzzing in the background.

My one and only qualm with Long Enough to Leave is that some stretches of the album tend of blur together. Sometimes, the distant percussion leaves too much to the vocals and guitars to carry the music and lends itself to a lack of variety to separate out the songs. Alas, this is thankfully not the case for the whole album, as the band spices the music up with standout tracks at beginning, middle and end. One of these exceptional numbers, and contender for best song of the album is middle of the road; track five, “Raspberry Thighs.” Something about this song, perhaps the softer vocals from Olivares, or the more tender guitar parts gives it this beautifully nostalgic feel to it, though it isn’t any slower or radically different than the other numbers; the differences are subtle, yet effective in changing the pace of perception.

At the end of Long Enough to Leave, you finish strong with the penultimate track being yet another highlight in “More That I Pay.”  This time it’s fast and high energy for the group—short and sweet leading into the slower burning last track to round things out. The album is all in an all interesting and encourages repeated listens, which is sometimes not the case for jangly garage rock. Have a listen or two.

Even More New Music From The Mantles

1885We’ve already shared with you incredible new songs “Brown Balloon” and “Hello” from San Francisco based garage pop group The Mantles.  Today more new goodness is coming your way in the form of this track “Shadow of Your Step”.  It has that same great jangly sort of guitars driving throughout that give you this almost meditative type feeling.  Now that you’ve heard several great songs from upcoming album Long Enough to Leave, you should probably be prepared to pick it up on June 18th via Slumberland Records.

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