Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Minden

À La Mode – Total Doom (Stream)

a la mode

Tuesday saw the release of a slew of notable streams from Francie Moon, Cross Country, Left & Right, Kevin Devine, Curse of Lono, Sighs, Springtime Carnivore, Wovenhand, Avid Dancer, Communions, Peeling, Slow Mass, Bellows, Savoy Motel, and Dangers. In addition to that bounty, there were some strong music videos arriving from the likes of Adir L.C., Dust From 1000 Yrs, Bunny, Sam Evian, Joan Shelley, and Minden. A pair of excellent full streams in Sex Stains‘ self-titled and Skyjelly‘s package product were just the cherry on top.

While many of those acts have earned praise from this site in the past, today’s feature — once again — falls to a group of fresh faces. À La Mode only have one self-titled EP to their name but are prepared to change that in the very near future. Following their 2014 self-titled effort, the band’s made some enormous strides forward and arrive completely revitalized with the first single, “Total Doom”, from their forthcoming debut full-length, Perfection Salad.

Opening with an electronic, dance-ready beat turns out to be somewhat of a misdirect with the band throwing their weight into a more traditional setup after the introduction. At no point does the band lose the sense of fun it established at the top, though, and when the synth returns for the chorus it gives a remarkably bleak sentiment an abundance of life. Longing is a well-worn topic but what makes it a continuing source of fascination is that it can be tailored to match their author’s individuality. Here, chronic unrequited longing is given a bedfellow in all-consuming doom.

The dichotomy of vibrancy and gloom is crucial to the track’s success and helps “Total Doom” become an immediate standout. Exceptionally clever songwriting can go a long way in securing longevity and À La Mode offer it in excess for a little over two minutes. From those deceptive opening bars to the damaged, weirdly triumphant closing moments, “Total Doom” is nothing less than an exhilarating breath of fresh air.

Easily one of the most pleasant surprises of recent memory, À La Mode have set an extraordinarily high bar for their upcoming record. If that record comes anywhere close to achieving the peaks they do on “Total Doom”, they’ll have one of 2016’s most inspired records. In any respect, they’ll be a band to watch as the year goes forward. Until then, the best thing to do is to celebrate the overwhelming strength of “Total Doom” and give in to its considerable charm.

Listen to “Total Doom” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Perfection Salad.

SPORTS – The Washing Machine (Stream)

SPORTS

As the week picks up, so too does the new release schedule. Great new songs saw first light today, featuring material from the following artists: OBN III’s, Minden, Grass House, Wolf Prize, OBNOX, and Places To Hide. Music videos fared just as well with some tantalizing clips that included Fake Palms’ oneiric “Sparkles“, BEAK >’s arresting “The Broken Window“, Flesh World’s tranced-out “Just To Tear Me Down“, Rocky Votolato’s deeply impressive “Hospital Handshakes“, and Communions’ striking “Forget It’s A Dream“. Rounding things out were the full streams, which featured fantastic entries from The Glow (a band led by LVL UP‘s Michael Caridi), Sloth, Adult Mom, Reservations, and Soviet X-Ray Record Club. Even in that slew of genuinely outstanding material, today’s featured item- SPORTS’ “The Washing Machine”- managed to stand out.

For a few years now, SPORTS have been kicking out the kind of scrappy punk-infused basement pop that dominates Salinas’ impressive roster (Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, All Dogs, Purple 7, etc.). The band recently signed with Father/Daughter Records (who have earned themselves a wealth of love from this site) for the release of their forthcoming full-length, the genuinely outstanding All of Something (which was, incidentally, engineered by none other than Kyle Gilbride of Swearin’). The band’s already teased the record with the energetic “Saturday” and offered another look earlier today with the release of “The Washing Machine”.

A touch more grounded than “Saturday”, the band’s latest is a show of both maturation and force, emphasizing a subtle southern sensibility (in a manner not too dissimilar from Hop Along) to produce one of their best songs to date. Like a (thankfully) increasing number of bands in the DIY fold, the band gets a lot of mileage from fixating on elements that constitute life’s minutiae rather than opting to retread the same tired territory. While the overarching narrative still hinges on a relationship, it’s the way the relationship is colored that sets the song apart from a lot of the band’s contemporaries. Balanced, nuanced, and unerringly heartfelt, SPORTS pack enough punch, grit, and scuzz into this 3 minutes and change number to run away with today’s featured spot.

Listen to “The Washing Machine” below and pre-order All of Something from Father/Daughter ahead of its October 30 release date here.