Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: stream

Young Guv – Roll With Me + Every Flower I See (Stream)

For years, Young Guv has been experiencing a steady uptick in public recognition. Like so many other artists that get covered here it’s not necessarily due to something like touring harder or being more prolific in terms of releases (in addition to that music both competing and benefiting from existing in the shadow of a wide umbrella), it’s more a matter of an audience catching up to the quality of an artist’s music All that said, the Ben Cook — who also plays guitar in Fucked Up — project’s also quietly improved over its run, an aspect that’s readily apparent on Young Guv’s most recent offerings: “Roll With Me” and “Every Flower I See”.

One feels like a spiritual brother to Rolling Blackouts C.F, the other, Mike Krol. Both come stamped with Cook’s signature vocal tic, which manages the difficult trick of sounding simultaneously weary and completely energized. Both tracks are easy to fall in love with, exuding the kind of charm that characterized acts like Archers of Loaf and Superchunk in their early breakout moments. Every second, no matter which way the genre influences lean, proves winsome, and Cook further solidifies his place among today’s emerging songwriters. “Roll With Me” and “Every Flower I See” both offer up an early look at Cook’s forthcoming Guv I, which could be mentioned on this site come December if the rest of its anywhere close to this good. Don’t miss this one.

Listen to “Roll With Me” and “Every Flower I See” below and pre-order Guv I from Run For Cover here.

Graham Hunt – Change Their Mind (Stream)

Graham Hunt‘s name should be a familiar one to anyone in the upper Midwest who pays attention to the region’s scrappy basement pop scene. Midnight Reruns, Midwives, and Sundial Mottos all benefited from Hunt’s involvement and the totality of that output, in addition to a smattering of solo material, helped the songwriter secure a spot in Mike Krol‘s most recent touring band. Every year seems to bring a handful of releases with Hunt’s name on them and whether they’ve been standalone singles or full records, the results have been uniformly exceptional.

“Change Their Mind”, Hunt’s most recent track, stands in select company as one of the finest. Utilizing a strong production team (including Hunt’s old Midwives bandmate Sahan Jayisuriya, whose beat-making project Cold Lunch is well worth a look) and an arsenal of decisive hooks, Hunt embraces the thoughtfulness that’s characterized much of the songwriter’s past material and the slacker vibes of ’90s alt-pop. Imagine something of a cross between the composition nuance LEN’s infectious “Steal My Sunshine”, the oddly immediate, laissez faire outlook of Beck’s “Loser”, and the type of well-worn melodies that dominated Ben Kweller’s Sha Sha, and that should offer an inkling of what kind of terrain Hunt’s occupying here.

Surprisingly grounded for having so much of a wild streak, “Change Their Mind” isn’t just one of the best offerings of Hunt’s career, it’s one of the more engaging tracks to be released over the past seven months. A decidedly minor-key triumph, “Change Their Mind” belongs on as many mix tapes as possible. Immediate and immediately thrilling, the song’s a freeing reminder of how much the slacker pop genre still has to offer.

Listen to “Change Their Mind” below and download it for a price of your choosing here.

Paear – Don’t (Stream)

A few years ago, Peaer put out a ridiculously strong self-titled record that saw the trio nearly perfect a curious blend of math-rock, Midwestern emo, and east coast indie, all of which was shot through with an undeniably punk sensibility. They’ve toured hard since that record’s release and tightened the screws on that formula, amplifying certain aspects (a sludge/grunge influence has started to peek through with a little more regularity) and growing more surgical in their overall precision.

All of those qualities coalesce on Don’t, the first look the band’s offering at their upcoming A Healthy Earth, and it’s a doozy. The track starts off restrained, winds itself up, takes an enormous leap and starts swinging recklessly from the rafters. A startlingly clear track, “Don’t” showcases the absolute best qualities of Peaer and tees up A Healthy Earth with a palpable sends of purpose. Peaer have a lot left to say, we should be grateful that we’re in a position to listen.

Listen to “Don’t” below and pre-order a copy of A Healthy Earth from Tiny Engines here.

Booji Boys – Tube Reducer (Album Review, Stream)

Tube Reducer, the latest album from Booji Boys, is a tenacious basement punk ripper that’s strong enough to restore anyone’s faith in the transformative power of the genre at its best. It’s a pure distillation of manic energy, threatening to careen off the rails with every quick-passing one beat. Gritty, fierce, and undeniably scrappy, Tube Reducer is the sound of a band who learned how to master sounding like they’re giving all of the fucks.

A record that seemingly lays everything on the line, Booji Boys have unleashed something rabid and determined to sink its fangs into as many people as possible. Only two of these 13 tracks eclipses the two and a half minute mark and most get their work done well before that hits. Virtually none of the songs exceed three minutes. Booji Boys make their points succinctly and with admirable urgency, flying through the baker’s dozen with a clear-eyed conviction that elevates the record a considerable degree.

No breaks come on the record, which is all pedal to the metal and no slowdown, content to fly through every red light and stop sign imaginable, if only to wreak further havoc. By the time “Moto-Hard” brings things to a fiery conclusion, it’s truly difficult to not feel some sense of galvanization. Tube Reducer is the kind of record that burrows under the skin, heats up the blood, and kick-starts direct action. We could use more records like that in the world. If half are half as good as this one, we’ll be exceedingly fortunate.

Listen to Tube Reducer below and snag a name-your-price download here.

Holy Tunics – Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree (Album Review, Stream)

To survive in an overcrowded environment is on thing, to get anyone to pay attention to what you’re doing is another, and to find people who are adamant in celebrating what you’ve accomplished within those specific parameters is an entirely separate beast. Yet, Holy Tunics have endured and the recommendations from people with trustworthy judgment seem to be a quiet constant. While the band’s never truly taken off, they’ve clearly earned the respect of their contemporaries and the enthusiasm of the people active in those worlds.

Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree, the band’s latest record, should be more than enough to strengthen those existing truths. An impulsive but remarkably cohesive record, Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree finds the band indulging in the sense of fun that’s energized each of their past releases, drawing from the knowledge gleaned from those records to heighten every minute detail. Every song on Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree seems to draw from the history of powerpop and slacker punk, allowing the quartet to shape memorable tracks that fly by when they’re present but stick in the listeners memory when they’ve finished.

Whether it’s the surging guitar squall of the intro to “Rocket To The Alien Planet” or the familiar jangle of closer “Yesterday’s A Painted Butterfly”, Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree showcases Holy Tunics as a band that’s keenly aware of the history inherent to their own music. Fortunately, they’re also smart enough to know how to avoid making those trappings sound stale, picking the precisely right moments to throw in a wild curveball, leaving Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree as one of the most outright fun listens of the summer.

Listen to Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree below and pick it up from Meritorio Records here.

Richard Spitzer – Synthesizer (Stream)

Once in a rare while, a singer-songwriter steps out of the boundaries of their main vehicle to take on an a more layered identity. Artists constantly branch out to explore other avenues of music, whether it’s a new band or simply a genre shift. Richard Spitzer’s name belongs on that list. Spitzer’s project Loveskills found the songwriter creating largely introspective electro-pop in the vein of acts like Hot Chip, only suffusing the project with a more club-leaning bent. Recently, Spitzer decided to temporarily put that project on hold to release music under his own name, announcing the change with the lovely “Synthesizer.”

In a little over 100 seconds, Spitzer proves to be a deft songwriting talent, crafting a warm, funny ode to the instrument that enlivened so much of his previous project. Acoustic guitar and vocal overlays comprise the entirety of “synthesizer” (not a synth in earshot) and Spitzer somehow manages to recall a swath of admirable lyricists in the song’s short runtime: Sufjan Stevens, Stuart Murdoch, Sean Bonnette, and Owen Ashworth among their ranks. Each of those artists have navigated similarly indie folk-friendly territory with sincerity, humor, and grace, which Spitzer matches here, creating an indelible impression. For as much as he clearly loves the instrument and its capacity to create enormous soundscapes, we should consider ourselves fortunate he’s taking some time away to create something that’s both refreshingly familiar and intriguingly new.

Listen to “Synthesizer” below and keep an eye on this site for further updates on Spitzer’s upcoming self-titled record, which is due out July 19.

Tennis System – Shelf Life (Stream)

Punishing shoegaze has a habit of brushing up against elusive feelings of transcendence in its best moments and Tennis System waste literally no time in capturing that effect on “Shelf Life”, opening with a pummeling intro that sets a tone not just for the song but likely the band’s forthcoming record as a whole. It’s unavoidable and all-enveloping, embracing the full effect of maxed out volume and surging forward with reckless abandon.

Everything Tennis System try throughout this winding behemoth of a track works to an exhaustive extent but the result’s more galvanizing than exhausting. Whether it’s that enormous intro, the ambient bridge, or the adrenaline-fueled final section, “Shelf Life” exudes a kind of mythic strength. Inspired and a little inspiring, “Shelf Life” is a warning that rings out clear: Tennis System have arrived.

Listen to “Shelf Life” below and pre-order Lovesick here.

GHLOW – Hollow (Stream)

A little over an intro that pulsates for over 30 seconds, GHLOW’s “Hollow” erupts and charges ahead, clinging to an electro-punk concoction that breaks for vocals around the 1:13 mark, practically weaponizing its quasi-industrial tendencies by suffusing it with a hyperactivity that sets “Hollow” racing. It’s a fascinating, goth-tinged piece of punk shrapnel that’s looking to cut through as many unwitting targets as possible. Deeply unexpected and shockingly fun, “Hollow” will undoubtedly serve as GHLOW’s calling card as their status grows. It shouldn’t be long before their audience starts increasing.

Listen to “Hollow” below and download the song here.

Twen – Holy River (Stream)

Twen have been quietly kicking around the upper midwest punk scene for a while, taking their time in perfecting a psych-inflected strain of dream pop on tracks like the recent “Holy River”. While their audience has yet to blossom, a recent signing to Frenchkiss only means that next step’s only a matter of time. The tracks they’ve been releasing leading up to their first major effort for the label have all had a similar floating quality, the melodies and instrumentation stretching skyward, reaching towards a new height. Before long, there might not be anywhere left to reach.

Listen to “Holy River” below and keep an eye on this site for further updates on the band.

Slaughter Beach, Dog – One Down + Good Ones (Stream)

Slaughter Beach, Dog formed around the end of Modern Baseball and carries on that band’s legacy with an attentive ease. Jake Ewald’s project’s been consistently impressive since its debut and “One Down” and “Good Ones” continue that trend. Both tracks find Ewald continue to excel at playing the part of the ennui-laden introspective young adult, finding meaning in fleeting moments. Cruising around, recalling history, questioning a larger place and the foundations on which identity is built.

All of this deceptively heady questioning could turn burdensome in less capable hands but Ewald gently guides his material to a place of profundity without ever overstepping. Deeply impressive and easy to admire, each track carries its own weight with admirable determination, cementing Ewald’s status as one of today’s finest young storytellers.

Listen to “One Down” and “Good Ones” below and order Safe and Also No Fear here.