Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Streetlight Manifesto - "The Hands That Thieve"

New Jersey ska-punk veterans led by singer/guitarist Tomas Kalnoky return with their long-awaited new album The Hands That Thieve - their first in five years - via Victory Records.   Their catchy yet complex arrangements of super-tight, fast-paced rhythms, bright brass melodies and infectiously anthemic vocal melodies showcase both the band’s supreme songwriting skills and stellar musicianship once again. 
“The Three Of Us” opens the album with a bang as Kalnoky begins the song with some jangly guitars and a short verse before launching into an extended melodic instrumental passage that thrashes with a punchy passion.  Standout track “Ungrateful” follows with some jazzy muted trumpet and a swinging rhythm before fading into a lightning-quick punk anthem complete with shouted gang vocals.  The title track, “The Hands That Thieve” is highlighted by a swaying melody and a propulsive marching band beat.  Another standout, “With Any Sort Of Certainty” features a percussion-heavy rhythm and exuberant horns that contrasts with the more serious life questions contained in the lyrics.  With its sing-along chorus, “Oh Me, Oh My” should quickly become a live staple on their current “End Of The Beginning Tour”, which will be their last long tour for a while.  The ten-track album closes out with the skanking rhythm and revenge-soaked lyrics of “Your Day Will Come”. 
In addition, frontman Tomas Kalnoky is self-releasing an album of acoustic arrangements of each of the ten tracks from The Hands That Thieve under his solo pseudonym, Toh Kay.      

Monday, April 29, 2013

Stream It From The Mountain: Let It Go - "Modern Atlas" EP

Richmond, VA skate-punk label and skateboard company Say-10 Records recently released Modern Atlas, the debut EP from the Baltimore-based punk band Let It Go.  The 5-track EP is the perfect introduction to their gritty yet melodic sound that harnesses the aggressive hardcore-tinged emo-punk of the late 90’s and bands like, Texas Is The Reason and Hot Water Music with their own modern touch.

The limited edition 7” vinyl was released on the following colorways: 100 Blue / Yellow Mix, 100 Gold, 100 Green and 100 Coke Bottle Clear.  It is also available on CD or digitally. 
Modern Atlas opens with the super-charged “Diehard 2” and its anthemic gang-vocal chorus.  The dynamic “$5.50” follows with a super-melodic and nostalgic take on old school hardcore.  The standout track, “Sluggish” closes out the A-side and is anything but "sluggish" with an unrelenting rhythm, a rumbling fuzzed-out bass line and a furious vocal.  The B-side of their very promising debut features the gruff vocals but positive-minded lyrics of “Rise/Set” and closer, “Age”, a rebellious rumination on growing old.   

Stream the Modern Atlas EP here:

For more info: http://www.say-10.com and http://www.facebook.com/letitgomd

Friday, April 26, 2013

Free Friday: High Dive Records Spring Sampler

The new Kansas City based indie label High Dive Records recently released a free digital label sampler on their Bandcamp page.  The sampler is the perfect introduction to the great bands on this up-and-coming new label. 
The sampler features seven tracks, including a new track each from the label’s first two releases, one from the folk-leaning indie rock band Fourth Of July’s new album Empty Moon, and one from Little Leaves, the new album from jangle-pop band The ACBs.  Two tracks from K.C. vets Ghosty are included as well as an exclusive remix of a Fourth Of July by Hospital Ships and a previously unreleased track from The ACBs.  You also get a first taste of Shy Boys, featuring members of The ACBs, which is due to be released later this year. 

Download the High Dive Records Spring Sampler here:

For more info: www.highdiverecords.com

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat

Cowboy Indian Bear – “Does Anybody See You Out?” (The Lawrence, Kansas indie rock band has crafted a genre-defiant sound that blends together slick electronic-tinged pop and haunting yet melodic guitar-led rock with male/female vocals on their excellent sophomore album, Live Old, Die Young released this week through The Record Machine.  The first single stands out with it shuffling, effervescent rhythm, liquid guitar lines and sinister yet catchy chorus.) http://cowboyindianbear.com/  

Sad Baby Wolf – “Survival Guide” (The project of former Shins members Marty Crandall and guitarist Neal Langford released Electric Sounds, their highly-anticipated debut album earlier this month digitally and on purple swirl vinyl that is limited to only 300.  While their sound is built upon Marty’s trademark keyboards and vocals, the band deals out some pretty impressive dream-pop with fuzzed-out guitars and quirky melodies that are as hot and hazy as the Albuquerque sun.)  http://www.sadbabywolf.com    

Club Girls – “I Can Do A Lot” (Club Girls is the new experimental electro-pop project of Brooklyn songwriter Christen Cappello in the vein of Purity Ring and Sleigh Bells.  She recently released her insanely catchy debut single which features an insistent danceable beat, chirping gauze-wrapped electronics and some blissfully sweet vocals for a very promising debut.) http://clubgirls.bandcamp.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Appleseed Cast - "Illumination Ritual"

Kansas emo and post-rock titans The Appleseed Cast return with Illumination Ritual, the Chris Crisci-led band’s eighth album is out today on Graveface Records. 
Even with a new drummer, Nathan Wilder and new guitarist, Taylor Holenbeck, the distinct opening notes of chiming guitars and pinging ride cymbals of album opener, “Adriatic To Black Sea”, sets the tone right from the start for a classic-era album from the band.  The standout first single, “Great Lake Derelict” follows with some intricate tumbling drum patterns, atmospheric guitars and Crisci’s unique vocals for a welcome return; the band hasn’t released any new material since the 2009 album Sagamartha and the 2011 EP Middle States.  The instrumental, “Simple Forms” opens with pulsing keys and clicking guitars, building slowly before the propulsive drums bring the song to a rousing end.  Another standout, “Cathedral Wings” is packed with sweeping keyboards, catchy vocal melodies and energetic time signature changes that showcase the band’s fluid chemistry.  “30 Degrees 3 AM” closes out the first side of the album with harmonic yet warped finger-tapped guitar notes and an anthemic chorus.  Next, “Branches On The Arrow Peak Revelation” harkens back to the band’s more experimental post –rock Low Level Owl days with reversed guitar lines that curl around a shuffling beat along with a touch of stuttering electronica for a modern touch.  A driving rhythm and soaring vocals highlight “Barrier Islands (Do We Remain)” and clocking in at six minutes, “North Star Ordination” is the longest and most epic songs on the album.  The dynamic “Clearing Life” opens with a charging, anthemic guitar riff that shifts into a glimmering passage and features some airy vocal melodies.  Closing out the ten-track album is the title track, “Illumination Ritual” with its crashing cymbals and playful, siren-like synths. 
It is so great and refreshing to hear a band that even through so much change over fourteen years, can still churn out solid music that incorporates the distinct touchstones of their sound but also feels fresh, like The Appleseed Cast has with their excellent new album, Illumination Ritual.         

Download “Cathedral Rings” here: https://soundcloud.com/graveface/the-appleseed-cast-cathedral  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Record Store Day 2013

Record Store Day is tomorrow!
The organizers for the annual Record Store Day have teamed up with almost every leading indie and even some major labels to release limited edition exclusives just for the occasion.
Check out http://www.recordstoreday.com for more info including a list of the participating record stores in your area as well as a list of the exclusive releases available.

Here is a list of the records I will be seeking out:
Iron & Wine - Next to Paradise b/w Dirty Ocean 7" Two exclusive B-sides from his excellent new album, Ghost On Ghost limited to 3300 copies on Nonesuch/Warner Bros. Records
Jimmy Eat World - Damage b/w Stop Whispering (Radiohead cover) 7" featuring a new track off their forthcoming album limited to 1500 copies
Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun An extremely limited (only 1000 copies) 12” vinyl version of their breakout album available in the US for the first time
Silverstein/August Burns Red - Four Minutes Being Cool 7" features Silverstein covering "Coming Clean" by the Get Up Kids and August Burns Red covering "You Vanda" by Saves the Day with only 500 copies made
Snapcase - Steps EP - 900 copies of the post-hardcore classic EP on white 7” vinyl via Victory Records
Soundgarden - King Animal 6 demo versions on pink 10” vinyl limited to only 2500 copies
Their/They’re/There – Self-titled debut 6-song EP on Polyvinyl Records, featuring Mike Kinsella (Owen, Owls, Cap'n Jazz, American Football), Evan Weiss of Into It. Over it., and Matthew Frank of Loose Lips Sink Ships. 

If you are in the Dayton, Ohio area be sure to check out http://omegamusicdayton.com/ they have an impressive lineup of Dayton-area bands scheduled for in-store performances, including King Elk and the Buffalo Killers. 
If you are in Cincinnati, check out http://www.shakeitrecords.com/Shakeit-store.html  

See you there!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat

Underground Lovers – “Au Pair” (The 90’s Australian dream-pop band returns after a lengthy hiatus to deliver Weekend, their seventh album and first in well over a decade.  Out now on Rubber Records, the band, featuring the original lineup, has modernized their guitar-driven attack with electronic beats and textures, remaining as catchy and creative as ever for a new generation of fans.) http://undergroundlovers.com.au/     

Wolves At Bay – “Know Why” (The Hamden, CT punk/post-hardcore band released their new EP, I Was The Devil Once this week on Animal Style Records.  The excellent first single deals with crippling self-doubt and is set to a stomping beat and a fuzzed-out bass line, providing the first taste of the band’s sound that blends the experimental spirit and melody of Brand New with the ferocious heaviness of Hot Water Music.) http://www.wolvesatbayband.com/    

Phosphorescent – “I Am A Full Grown Man” (Hot on the heels of his latest album, Muchacho, out now on Dead Oceans, and in celebration of Record Store Day, Misra Records is reissuing Aw Come Aw Wry, Matthew Houck’s critically-acclaimed breakout 2005 album of rambunctious country-leaning folk rock.  This special limited pressing will include an updated jacket cover and will come with a digital download of the album that includes a rare recording of live Aw Come Aw Wry songs.) http://misrarecords.com/artists/phosphorescent/

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Fawn - "I Played The Queen" EP

Dayton indie rock band Dear Fawn just released their new EP, I Played The Queen, this week on Dayton imprint Gas Daddy Go! Records.  The band is led by the stunning vocals and songwriting of Tifani Tanaka and rounded out by King Elk members Kyle Melton, Andy Smith and Tyler Bellingar.  Unlike King Elk’s 50’s and 60’s inspired psych-pop, the more experimental Dear Fawn create a darker, grittier punk and New Wave infused garage rock sound that recalls the grimy swagger of The Dead Weather.
A cascading classic rock-like guitar melody dissolves into a twisty surf-rock riff on the opener, “The Bad Seed” which also provides the introduction to Tifani’s smoky, blues-soaked croon.  Standout track, “Bandwagon” follows and settles into a stomping groove with buzzing keyboards and a rumbling bass line along with welcoming lyrics that contrast nicely with the menacing music.  The first single, “There Are Tigers In The Basement” also stands out with a hip-shaking rhythm, soaring vocals and some catchy 60’s girl group melodies.  The title track, “I Played The Queen” is highlighted by a slinky, danceable rhythm and Tifani’s soulful vocals.  “You’re a Noose” is led by a warbling and bouncy New Wave-like keyboard melody and “Not In The Lionhearted Room” is built upon snaking guitar lines that curl and creep around the infectious vocal melody.  Closing out the seven-song EP is the super-charged “White Russian” with its crunchy 90’s-style guitar riff, thrashing drums, stop/start rhythm and the psych-rock guitar freakout that ends the song and the EP on a high note. 
I Played The Queen, the very promising debut EP from Dear Fawn is available now on a limited run of CDs and as a digital download via the Gas Daddy Go! Bandcamp page and it provides further proof of the Gem City’s excellent musical talent.         

Stream/Purchase I Played The Queen here:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Free Friday: Facedown Records 2013 Spring Sampler

In celebration of their annual 2-day Facedown Fest happening this weekend at The Stronghold in Chino, California,  Christian metal and hardcore heavy-weights, Facedown Records have released a label sampler as a free digital download. 
The 11-song download features brand new, unreleased songs from Altars, Letter To The Exiles, and Ark Of The Covenant as well as new songs from label newcomers Colossus and Fallstar.  Recent tracks from Dynasty, Overcome, Those Who Fear, Onward To Olympas, Hope For The Dying and Everything In Slow Motion, round out the tracklist.  The download also comes with a special coupon to save 10% off orders from their online store. 
So if you are in Chino this weekend, download this awesome new label sampler from Facedown Records, learn the songs and then sing along with the bands at Facedown Fest.  Tickets are only $10 each night with a limited number still available at the door.

Download the Facedown Records Spring 2013 Label Sampler here:   https://s3.amazonaws.com/facedown/Facedown_Spring_2013_Sampler.zip  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat

Bethesda – “Go” (The Kent, Ohio based band create a dynamic folk rock sound that blends together the soaring, theatrical voice of Shanna Delaney and her husband, guitarist Eric Ling’s complimentary vocals with the anthemic pomp of early Arcade Fire and a positive message on their sophisticated sophomore album, The Reunion, out now on Inkind Music.  The band is currently on tour and is making a stop at Dayton’s South Park Tavern on Friday 04/12.) http://www.bethesdaband.com/ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-reunion/id632216602

Broadheds – “Pick Me Up” (Super-catchy and uplifting single taken from the new project of former Eulogies frontman Peter Walker and former Beck bassist and M83 producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, along with saxophonist James King of Fitz and the Tantrums and drummer Denny Weston who has played with The Kooks.  Together they create an old school punk and reggae inspired sound that is more aggressive than any of their former bands, on their self-titled debut album out now on Dangerbird Records.) http://broadheds.com/      

Twin Tigers – “Racecar” (A driving rhythm and side-swiping squeals of feedback-laced guitars highlight the aptly-titled first single from the Athens, GA based band’s dark and atmospheric new sophomore album, Deathwish, out now on Old Flame Records.) http://www.thetwintigers.com/    

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Fourth Of July - "Empty Moon"

Lawrence, Kansas folk rock band Fourth Of July return today with the release of Empty Moon, their excellent third album and debut for new K.C.-based label High Dive Records (The ACBS, Ghosty).  The band is led by the clever and observational wordplay of vocalist and guitarist Brendan Hangauer, with his brother Patrick Hangauer (bass) and brothers Brian Costello (drums, vocals) and Brendan Costello (guitar).  The album was recorded with Chris Crisci of The Appleseed Cast and mastered to 2” analog tape.         
The title track, “Empty Moon” opens the album with a propulsive rhythm bolstered by steady, jangly guitar strumming and features a subtle keyboard melody and trumpet solo.  The first single, “Drinking Binge” stands out with a winding guitar line and some catchy shout-along vocals that describe feeling old and no longer being able to keep up with the younger partiers.  “Colorado” follows with some country-leaning melodies and instrumentation complete with breezy pedal steel.  Another standout track, “The Cost” is seven minutes long with a rolling guitar riff that slowly builds into a cathartic coda along with Brendan’s easily relatable lyrics of love lost and regret.  Adrianne Verhoeven of The Anniversary and Extra Classic provides her sweet vocals to the aching “Before Our Hearts Expode” with its wispy pedal steel.  The bouncy beat of “Eskimo Brothers” along with the infectious sing-along parts make for yet another standout moment.  The rollicking “Fall In August” features raucous guitars and a shuffling rhythm.  “Berlin”, a tale of long distance relationships gone wrong, closes out the eight-song album leaving you satisfied but wanting more.
With its vividly descriptive and honest, conversational lyrical tone, listening to Empty Moon by Fourth Of July is like watching reality TV or secretly reading your best friend’s journal and it makes for their strongest and most cohesive album yet.                   

Download the single, “Drinking Binge” here: https://soundcloud.com/230publicity/drinking-binge

Stream/Download the Demo version of Empty Moon to get a taste of how these songs evolved here:

For more info: http://highdiverecords.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/fourthofjulymusic

Friday, April 05, 2013

Free Friday: Arlo & The Otter - "A Study Of Small Chords"

Indie folk singer-songwriter Max Sollisch who records under the moniker Dolfish is also a part of the Columbus, Ohio folk rock band Arlo & The Otter who released their debut album, A Study Of Small Chords, last year on limited edition vinyl via King Electric Record Company and as a free download on their Bandcamp page.  Max delivers with his witty heartfelt wordplay and distinct voice but instead of Dolfish’s bluesy, finger-picked acoustic guitars the band, consisting of Jason Kluk-Barany, Adrian Jusdanis and Martin Stehli envelop him in sweeping and soaring violins, noisy guitar outbursts and haunting piano-led dirges.  Their art-rock take on folk music has an avant garde twist with spacious and intriguing arrangements along with off-kilter melodies for a headphones-worthy album that was meant to be devoured from beginning to end and back again.  The album was inspired by the strange recordings of a kid playing piano and pretending to be a stock car race announcer that Max found at an upstate New York estate sale.         
Album standouts include the opener, “Ode To Burdens” with its searing yet folksy violins, tumbling drums and twinkling piano riffs and “You Can’t Cry In Outer Space” which opens with some ragtime-like pianos and is highlighted by Max’s aching vocal performance.  Another standout is the solemn, homesick album closer, “Roanaoke, a song which Max also has recorded with Dolfish and includes some of the reel to reel recordings that the album was inspired by.

Download A Study Of Small Chords here:

Dolfish is currently touring Europe for the first time with some London stops that include DJ sets by Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. 
For more info: http://www.facebook.com/dolfishmusic and http://afternoonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/id-rather-disappear-than-stay-the-same

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat

Mudhoney – “I Like It Small” (The fuzz-punk grunge forefathers return with Vanishing Point, their ninth album in 25 years, out today via Sub Pop.  This roaring first single features honky-tonk piano jabs, vintage organs, singer Mark Arm’s Iggy Pop-like swagger and a fun, sing-along chorus that proves that they can rock just as hard as ever.) http://www.subpop.com/artists/mudhoney#

Louder Than Bombs – “No News Is Good News” (The Detroit-based punk rock band released their excellent new album What Resonates this week on South Division Records.  Their throwback style blends the gritty heaviness of Hot Water Music with the super-catchy melodies of Saves The Day for a nostalgia-laced sound that will resonate with you for sure!) www.facebook.com/louderthanbombsmi

Pick A Piper – “All Her Colours” (The collaborative synth-driven and percussion-heavy project led by Caribou drummer Brad Weber released their self-titled debut this week via Mint records.  The colorful and off-kilter album was mixed by John Schmersal of Enon and Brainiac fame, who also provides the vocals for the poly-rhythmic first single, here.  Other guest vocalists include Ryan McPhun of Ruby Suns and Raphaelle Standell-Preston of Braids.) http://www.mintrecs.com/releases/pick-piper

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

For Today - "Prevailer" EP/DVD

Christian metalcore heavy-weights For Today return today with Prevailer, a new EP and DVD set that comes hot on the heels of their most successful album, last year’s Immortal.  The new EP released via Razor & Tie Records features four brutal brand new songs recorded with producer Will Putney (Miss May I, Suicide Silence) as well as an acoustic version of their hit single, “Fearless”.  The DVD features a documentary of the band’s journey which began in Iowa in 2005 and is highlighted by personal band interviews and live performance footage that shows just how far the band has come to date.         
The EP which presents a lyrical concept based on the New Testament Gospels opens with the anthemic “From Zion” which explodes with a fast-paced rhythm that only slightly lets up on the catchy sing-along chorus.  Ominous church bells ring to open the standout first single, “Crown Of Thorns” which is highlighted by dueling guitar harmonies and a super-heavy death metal style along with a soaring chorus and vocalist Mattie Montgomery’s unashamed and truthful lyrics.  “Flesh And Blood” follows with an inspired message and a thunderous breakdown.  The last of the new songs, “Open Heaven” is a cathartic plea for justice with a pit-ready rhythm and a cloud-parting chorus that mirrors the song’s passionate lyrics.  The 5-song EP closes out with a pretty acoustic reimagining of “Fearless” with marching drums and steady acoustic guitar strumming that easily transforms the song into a worthy praise and worship song. 
For Today’s new EP/DVD Prevailer is an excellent starting point for new fans and a great document of the band for their ever-growing and loyal fanbase.