Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Split EP

Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes/Fits (Split EP Review)

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Photograph by Stephanie Griffin // INDAFF

In the past week and a half a lot of full streams worth hearing have emerged, including titles from Feral Jenny, Ranch Ghosts, Lisa Prank, Sur Back, Stephen Steinbrink, Therm, CLAWS, Johanna Samuels, LUKA, Durand Jones and the Indications, Retail Space, and The Mystery Lights. Along with those there was also a Sundress Records compilation (Sunken Meadows – Vol. 1), a Vacant Stare compilation (Live From The Grassy Knoll Vol. 1), and a compilation from a long string of Kentucky-based musicians aptly titled We Have A Bevin Problem. Most importantly, that stretch of time also saw the release of Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes/Fits, a split EP boasting two of today’s most promising emerging acts.

Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes kick the proceedings off with the forceful basement pop of “Dad Got Me A Lefty Desk” that finds its strength in seamlessly alternating between razorwire breakdowns and propulsive, bass-driven main section. The vocals are impassioned and the band seems committed to sounding as menacing as their genre restrictions allow. The song’s over in two minutes and sets up “Mas and/or Menos” nicely, which opens with a tantalizingly off-kilter introduction before branching into the realms of disjointed post-punk. The band uses the spareness of the verses to their advantage here, injecting the chorus sections with an adrenaline that makes the track feel genuinely explosive; it’s a brilliant dynamic play that’s made all the better by “Mas and/or Menas” being, quite simply, a great song.

Fits waste no time on their side, kicking the transition off with “Fits”, which had a nice premiere piece over at Stereogum that dissected the band’s shockingly strong lineage (Fern Mayo, PWR BTTM, gobbinjr, Big Ups, and Museum of Recycling are all directly connected). Unsurprisingly, given the band’s pedigree, each of the songs on their side of the split are absolute triumphs. Sharp and sharp-witted, Cummins (who penned an extraordinary piece for the most recent crop of A Year’s Worth of Memories) leads their band through a trio of galvanized basement pop, never getting too cloy or too dour but always finding a way to effectively bridge the two.

All three of the band’s tracks on the split clock in at under 100 seconds yet land with such a fierce impact that they immediately register as complete entities worth even more than however many revisits they’ll undoubtedly earn. By the time “Why Did U @ Me” hurtles itself over a cliff and into some unknown abyss, Fits more than cement this split’s status as one of the very best of not just 2016 but of this decade. Everything on display here is a feat of strength and vision, ensuring both Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes and Fits a discography entry that’s alternately inspired and inspiring. Hop on now and hold on tightly for what promises to be an exhilarating ride.

Listen to the split below and pick it up here.

Mock Orange – Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse (Album Review)

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Over the past several days a handful of great full streams have surfaced from the likes of Cat Be Damned, Mike Adams At His Honest Weight, The Hotelier, Boys, Swanning, Supermoon, Wave ActionMagic Potion, Dead Waves, 50 Foot Wave, and Winston Hightower, in addition to an incredible four-way split between Pet Cemetery, Henoheno, Brittle Brian, and Francie Cool. While all of those have significant merit, none of them were as unexpected as Mock Orange’s tremendous new effort, Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse.

From the onset of Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse it’s clear that Mock Orange have expanded their ambition, tightened their grasp on dynamics, and honed the most compelling aspects of their craft. The record opens with the slow crescendo of the intro section of “I’m Leaving”, essentially providing a microcosm of the band’s intelligence (and penchant for subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor) right off the bat.

What follows is a cavalcade of riff-laden, punk-leaning, left field basement pop. Ultra-melodic and unflinchingly weird, Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse draws an incredible amount of strength from it’s self-assuredness in its own singular nature. Mock Orange have all but perfected a sound that’s indebted to a strain of ’90s alt. bands that have remained relatively unmined in the crowded field of emergent bands taking cues from that decade.

Bright tones and a propulsive energy define Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse even in its darkest moments, like on the bruising “Window”, imbuing the whole affair with a lively feeling that’s difficult to shake. The record rarely dips below mid-tempo, contenting itself with an operative mode that attacks far more frequently than it withdraws. “Some Say”, which arrives around the record’s halfway point, is as close to a ballad that Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse has to offer but still comes across as more outwardly aggressive than vulnerable.

“Intake” and “Tell Me Your Story” constitute the explosive 1-2 punch that closes Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse and betray the band’s debt of influence to Dinosaur Jr more than any of the eight preceding tracks. They’re gruff, bruised, gnarled slices of basement pop (in the case of the former) and basement punk (in the case of the latter) that show the band’s breadth of range in a dizzying sequence that puts the final punctuation mark on a great chapter in the band’s history. Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse is the best the band’s ever been and promises great things for their future. I, for one, look forward to the ride.

Listen to Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse below and pick it up from the band here.

Faye – Faye (EP Review)

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Over the past few days, the site’s main focus has been getting back up to speed on the year’s most current releases. To that end, this post (and each of the four posts that will shortly follow) will include a quartet of notable releases from the past few days. This time around, those releases are full streams that came from the following artists: Bird of Youth, Braids, Mutual Benefit, and a split EP with two great sides from Naps and Yikes. It’s Faye, once again, who claim the featured spot.

The trio’s gearing up to release their debut EP and their early offerings have already managed to make a very serious mark. Faye‘s closing two tracks, “Chow Chow” and “Ancient Bones” have already been praised on this site. Those two tracks constitute an extraordinary finale that set very high expectations for the rest of the EP. Fortunately, the opening trio of tracks lives up to the exceptional promise that “Chow Chow” and “Ancient Bones” all but flaunted.

“Yellow Canary” kick things off with a spiky, hook-laden mid-tempo run through some grunge-leaning post-punk. “Teacups” and “Vowels” follow suit, with each establishing their own set of very distinct characteristics. For as specific as Faye’s tastes run, it would’ve been easy for the band to fall into the trap of repetition. Instead, each track on Faye registers as a standout by virtue of being so clearly defined in their separation. It’s a remarkably nuanced and startlingly mature piece of work from a young band. Expect very big things for their future (and play Faye as loud as possible).

Listen to Faye below and pre-order the tape from Tiny Engines here.

What A Difference A Month Makes (Full Streams)

Let’s get this out of the way at the top: there hasn’t been a post on this site for roughly a month. A large part of that development is due to the fact that for approximately half of that timeframe, I’ve been on the road and either playing or taking in shows (the majority of which will be receiving coverage here at some point in the near future). During that stretch, a lot of material has surfaced. From extremely strong post-punk debuts to an astonishing, simultaneous 35-record release, it’s been a fascinating month. Below is a collection of some of the finest releases that have emerged over the past several weeks. Enjoy.

Gland, Phosphene, Husdon Bell, No Ditching + Baby Ghosts, Mean Jeans, Dump Him, Free TimeTender Age, Hurry, J. Robbins, Hayden Calnin, Wood Lake, Animal Faces, A Giant Dog, Haybaby, Museum Mouth, JulianCrossed Wires, Hovvdy, Nearly Oratorio, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Plants & Animals, Pity Sex, Those Pretty Wrongs, Tyler Jordan and the Negative Space, Grubby Little Hands, Beach Skulls, Lenguas Largas, Sorority Noise, TV SetsDoctor Barber and Fog.

Spice BoysYoni & Geti, Klaus Johann Grobe, Quinn Walker (x35), Colleen Green, Modern Baseball, skating, The Duke Spirit, Kikagaku Moyo, Star Parks, Hydropark, Pinkwash, Stone Cold Fox, Half Waif, Lacerate, microsoft saint, Mo Kenney, Hey Lover, Cave States, CE Schneider Topical, Dietrich & Barnes, Britta Phillips, Praise, Boyscouts + Ylayali, Oliver Wilde, Flasher, Acapulco Lips, Constant CompanionGrayling, and an outstanding new Z Tapes compilation.

The Foetals – Malted (Stream)

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It’s been a strong week leading into the weekend and today’s end-cap kept that streak alive, offering up a variety of gems. Skeleton Frames’ “Leech“, Zenith Myth’s “Shadow Fortune“, Coke Weed’s “Dead Man Walking“, and The Nudes’ “Hex” were all unveiled and deserve a handful of listens. Kendrick Lamar’s manic, jaw-dropping “For Free? (Interlude)” more than made up for an otherwise lacking day for music videos (honestly, though, “For Free” would have overshadowed anything else). Sharkmuffin, Half Japanese, Deaf Wish, and Ultimate Painting all offered streams of great forthcoming records while Comfy and Skirts offered up a stream of their commanding split EP.

Today’s feature cycles back to the single streams and lands squarely on The Foetals’ delightfully scrappy  “Malted”. The second glimpse at the amusingly titled Meet The Foetals, it’s another perfectly crafted piece of the kind of wiry pop that’s securing Swedish label PNKSLM Recordings a foothold in national stateside coverage. Punchy, full of hooks, and unabashedly poppy, “Malted” is the kind of track that seems perfectly suited for summer but has just enough dusty nostalgic touches to tie that appropriate-listening aspect over to fall.

The solo project of Pink Teens member Jolan Lewis, The Foetals may wind up surpassing what, up to this point, has been  Lewis’ main vehicle. If the rest of the extremely promising Meet The Foetals lives up to its early flashes of potential, Lewis just may find his other moniker scattered throughout some genre specialists’ lists come December. Until winter rolls around and definitively beds that theory, the only thing that feels appropriate is sliding the volume on “Malted” up and continuously hitting repeat.

Listen to “Malted” below and order a copy of Meet the Foetals ahead of its release here.

First Quarter Full Streams, Pt. 1

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Keeping the recent themes of the site going, this post will be dedicated to 75 of this year’s most fascinating records (along with an overlooked fourth quarter gem or two from last year getting their due). Covering a range of genres, as always, these records cover a lot of ground. A few find their niche in fierceness while others make a home in more tranquil realms. It’s impossible to stress how full of a year 2015’s already been for new music and if this crop of early offerings is any suggestion, we’re all in for one of the strongest stretches of new music in roughly a decade. As ever, don’t let the fact there’s no accompanying text with these releases detract from their value; a great deal of these have a good chance of ranking among 2015’s finest releases (NPR’s current roster of First Listen selections is an exhilarating reminder that we’re only just getting started). Click on the hyperlinks below (listed in no particular order) to hear the records and- if you find yourself drawn to any- make sure to pick one up from either the band or their label. Happy exploring.

1. California X – Nights in the Dark
2. Swings – Detergent Hymns
3. Ty Segall – Mr. Face
4. Mike Pace and the Child Actors – Best Boy
5. Little Brutes – Desire
6. Dazed Pilots – Drummers & Codies
7. The Sidekicks – Runners in the Nerved World
8. Menace Beach – Ratworld
9. Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass
10. Jack Name – Weird Moons
11. Sick Feeling – Suburban Myth
12. Bandit – Of Life
13. Culture Abuse – Spray Paint the Dog
14. The Rentiers – Here Is A List of Things That Exist
15. Kind of Like Spitting + Warren Franklin & the Foundations – It’s Always Nice to See You
16. Creative Adult + Wild Moth – Split
17. Sun Hotel – Rational Expectations
18. Clique/Loose Tooth/Ghost Gun/Mumblr – Split
19. Grand Vapids – Guarantees
20. Gal Pals – Velvet Rut
21. The King Khan & BBQ Show – Bad News Boys
22. Club K – Let M Shake
23. Astral Swans – All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson
24. ylayali – ylayali
25. M.A.G.S. – Cellophane
26. Leapling – Vacant Page
27. Feature Films – Feature Films
28. Walleater – I
29. Will Butler – Policy
30. toyGuitar – In This Mess
31. Bloodbirds – Album 2
32. Pistachio – Tehuantepec
33. Yeesh – No Problem
34. Seagulls – Great Pine
35. Snow Roller/Sioux Falls – Split EP
36. Evans the Death – Expect Delays
37. RA – Scandinivia
38. Lucern Raze – Stockholm One
39. Never Young – Never Young
40. Love Cop – Dark Ones
41. Darlings – Feel Better
42. Romantic States – Romantic States
43. A Place to Bury Strangers – Transfixation
44. Sunflower Bean – Show Me Your Seven Secrets
45. Ghastly Menace – Songs of Ghastly Menace
46. Viet Cong – Viet Cong
47. Anomie – Anomie
48. Reservoir – Cicurina Vol. 1
49. River City Extension – Deliverance
50. Ty Segall Band – Live in San Francisco
51. Six Organs of Admittance – Hexadic
52. Big Dick – Disappointment
53. Treasure Fleet – The Sun Machines
54. Jeff Rosenstock  – We Cool?
55. Husband – The Money
56. Divers – Hello Hello
57. Belle & Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
58. We Can All Be Sorry – Again
59. Cal Folger Day – Adornament
60. Outside – Outside
61. Fragie Gang – For Esme
62. Moor Hound – Missin’ Out b/w Married
63. Pile – You’re Better Than This
64. Sonny & the Sunsets – Talent Night at the Ashram
65. Platinum Boys – Future Hits
66. Grooms – Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair
67. The Amazing – Picture You
68. Pops Staples – Don’t Lose This
69. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
70. Jack McKelvie & the Countertopss/Uh-Huh – Split
71. Young Buffalo – Split
72. Lieutenant – If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going To Eat For A Week
73. Sister Palace – Count Yr Blessings
74. Van Dammes – Better Than Sex
75. Sammy Kay – Fourth Street Singers

Medicine – Move Along – Down the Road (Stream)

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Another day, another string of great releases to cover before moving on to the day’s main event. Among them: a full stream of the sublime split 12″ from Joanna Gruesome and Trust Fund,  a full stream of Terry Malts’ hard-charging Insides EP, and a characteristically incendiary performance from White Lung that also doubles as the official video for Deep Fantasy highlight “I Believe You“. Even with all of those being more than worthy of their own individual features, there was one song that surfaced today which managed to make a surprisingly large impression: Medicine’s “Move Along – Down the Road”.

Ever since Medicine’s surprise comeback record last year, To the Happy Few, they’ve been forcing their audience to re-adjust their expectations. Not that this is a bad thing; they’ve blown nearly all of those expectations out of the water. That trend looks like it’ll continue with their upcoming record Home Everywhere. After the multi-color swirl of lead-off single “Turning” suggested the band might be indulging their more psychedelic impulses, their most recent look at Home Everywhere confirms that with an even greater authority. “Move Along – Down the Road” is a near-claustrophobic cacophony that plays like a pissed-off, alternate world version of Andorra-era Caribou. In short: it’s a thrilling, fascinating, whirlwind of a song that hints towards Home Everywhere becoming one of 2014’s most widely celebrated releases. Medicine seems to be emphasizing their more cinematic sensibilities this time around and it suits their left-field shoegaze to tailored perfection.

Listen to “Move Along – Down the Road” below and pre-order Home Everywhere from iTunes here (all pre-orders will including the accompanying soundtrack to shoegaze documentary “Beautiful Noise“).

Joanna Gruesome – Jerome (Liar) (Stream)

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There were a very small handful of songs to be unveiled in the past few weeks that warranted extreme levels of excitement and Joanna Gruesome‘s “Jerome (Liar)” was definitely one of them. Essentially a preview for a very promising upcoming split the band has coming out in late September with the equally great Trust Fund, it’s also a perfect reminder of what made Weird Sister one of last year’s best releases. Wide-eyed, pissed off, riff-happy, and prone to spastic bursts of sonic chaos, “Jerome (Liar)” is Joanna Gruesome at their best.

An unashamedly pop melody practically floats over the impact-heavy collisions of the verse sections and syncs up beautifully with a monstrous chorus that recalls the very best of Rather Ripped-era Sonic Youth. “Jerome (Liar)” also has the benefit of being an atypically short song for the Cardiff band, lending it even more immediacy than the staggering amount the band’s become renowned for so effortlessly possessing. Their teeth become fangs and retract again but they’re always locked in a vice-like grip on whoever’s fortunate enough to get in their way. This is impassioned outsider pop at it’s absolute finest- and most shoegaze-friendly. HHBTM Records will be handling the US release and distribution of the split while Reeks of Effort will cater to the UK. Both labels are worth investing time in and, if “Jerome (Liar)” winds up being the definitive song of this split, this very release may very well become the crown jewel of each respective side.

While details of Joanna Gruesome’s impending split with Perfect Pussy (which this site was beyond honored to have the pleasure of announcing) are still scant, this release seems more than poised to hold everyone over- and likely past- the day that anxiously-awaited release finally becomes available.

Listen to “Jerome (Liar)” below and pre-order the 12″ here and the cassette here.

Mannequin Pussy – Kiss (Stream)

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Kiss Me Tender is the impending EP full of scorchers from the quickly-ascending Mannequin Pussy. While it’s already available digitally, the UK-based Crumb Cabin Records will be releasing a bundle package that pairs it with an EP from Dog Legs and comes with an accompanying zine (this package is limited to 50 copies and costs around $17 to ship to the US). So, now the big question: why should anyone care? “Kiss”, the opening track from Mannequin Pussy’s side, answers that question with no shortage of immediacy.

“Kiss” is a blistering shot of hardcore-leaning noise-punk. It’s delivered with a startling amount of conviction and self-awareness, cementing Mannequin Pussy as an act to watch. While the song’s over in 70 seconds, not a moment of it is wasted. One of the most visceral songs to emerge out of 2014, “Kiss” has no qualms about coming out swinging. Backing up the musical intensity is the directness of the incredibly arresting lyrics (that last stanza, especially, is a killer). Most importantly, it does everything an opening song’s supposed to do- and Kiss Me Tender doesn’t allow its pace to let it up once “Kiss” has set the tone for what’s to come. Stunningly unhinged, it also works as the perfect mid-release switch-over blast following Dog Legs’ excellent side (as a fun bonus, both bands cover a song from each other’s catalogs that aren’t included on the split) of the bundle package.

One of 2014’s most outstanding DIY releases, either with the bundle or without, this is a necessary item for any serious record collection.

Listen to “Kiss” below and make sure to keep both eyes peeled on Mannequin Pussy, it’s a name that should be appearing in a lot more places in a very short amount of time.