In early 2016, Howe Gelb announced that, three decades after the release of Giant Sand’s first album, he decided the time had come to retire his long-running alt-country band, issuing a statement in which he declared, “30 years seems an adequate number to aptly utter ‘I kinda quit.'” Apparently, that qualifying “kinda” was included for a good reason, and in the fall of 2018, Gelb revealed he had put together a new lineup of Giant Sand and was returning to duty.

But where to start over? From the beginning, obviously, and the first album from Gelb’s new incarnation of the group, Returns to Valley of Rain, finds him re-recording the 11 tunes from Giant Sand’s 1985 debut, Valley of Rain. Exactly why Gelb would make a fresh start by revisiting a handful of songs he cut in the mid-’80s is hard to fathom, especially since he and his bandmates attack these songs in a manner that’s noticeably different than the original recordings but not so much that it qualifies as reinvention.

If the production on Valley of Rain marks it as a product of the era of too much digital reverb, Returns boasts a cleaner and more direct sound, and the vague jangle of the 1985 recordings is replaced by a harder, buzzier guitar attack; remarkably, Giant Sand sound more like a rough-and-tumble garage band in 2018 than they did the first time they cut these tunes. The guitar attack of Gelb, Gabriel Sullivan, and Annie Dolan is scrappy but full-bodied, and drummer Winston Watson and bassistsThøger T. Lund and Scott Garber hit hard enough without overpowering the natural dynamics of the performances. And there’s a welcome spontaneity to the sessions that flatters the dusty introspection of Gelb’s lyrics and the determined drift of the melodies. Figuring out the why of Returns to Valley of Rain is probably fruitless, but if Gelb wants to move forward into the past with Giant Sand, at least he’s doing so with style and swagger.

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Though technically the band’s third full-length, Out of the Garden is Tancred’s first truly cohesive record: a mission statement that underscores the “power” in power-pop and is punctuated by lyrics as razor-sharp as the hooks.

Written over a two-year period during a break from touring, the album’s emphasis on re-defining feminine expectations was shaped by primary songwriter Jess Abbott’s experiences living in Minneapolis and working at a liquor store in a rough part of town.

“I learned how to speak up when I needed to and how to truly be myself without reservation,” Abbott recalls. “I felt afraid walking home at night, and after a couple of months I just got sick of it and started getting into self-defense and self-empowerment as a means of coping. Finding my own strength changed everything.”

After writing and tracking every song in her apartment, Abbott (also of beloved Minneapolis trio Now, Now) enlisted Kevin Medina and Terrence Vitali to add drums and bass to her demos. The band then traveled to LA to record with OFF! bassist Steven McDonald and That Dog vocalist/guitarist Anna Waronker.

Both producers proved to be the perfect collaborators, with each elevating the final takes via their specific areas of expertise — Waronker helped Abbott achieve the raw vocal attitude exhibited on songs like the seething “Hang Me,” while McDonald orchestrated the tailor-made guitar tones and trashy drum sounds highlighted on standouts like “Joey.” 

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As a result, Out of the Garden showcases Tancred shedding its former skin in favor of a bolder and infinitely more confident sound.

Opener “Bed Case” bolts off the starting block with a guitar salvo straight from the ‘90s before “The Glow” ups the amperage with crunching riffs and pummeling distortion. Soon after, smooth as silk “Sell My Head” serves up a chorus so intrinsically catchy you’ll already be singing along the second time around.

As Abbott reveals, “I wanted these songs to sound sickly sweet, with a looming, gory shadow behind them. Sugary, but when listening closely, unsettling.”

This juxtaposition is presented flawlessly during the chorus of “Pens” when Abbott sings “I’m insanely healthy in my head / It’s crazy how stable I am” amidst a background refrain of “oohs” and “aahs.” While your head reflexively bobs along to the melody, your brain is compelled to decode the ominous double meanings embedded in her cleverly chosen adjectives.

Her fearlessness to discuss these and other personal topics is referenced in the album’s title, an allusion to exiting Eden and leaving behind all the restrictive cultural norms ingrained in the Biblical “paradise”: tradition, purity, holiness, binary gender, heterosexuality, and the idea that anything is forbidden (especially for women).

Says Abbott, “Out of the Garden represents doing what you want, what you need, without letting anything or anyone stop you — and smiling while you do it.”

released April 1st, 2016

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It was on September 23rd, 2008 that Blitzen Trapper, after putting out three albums on its own label, released its fourth full-length album, ‘Furr’, via Sub Pop. At that time, it was a record that captured exactly where the band’s frontman, Eric Earley, found himself, both literally and metaphorically, geographically and existentially. Not that the Portland-based musician actually remembers much about the creation of the record’s 13 intriguing, spellbinding songs. Or, more specifically, what its songs actually mean, either now or then. Instead, ‘Furr’, stands as a kind of tribute and elegy to the city that inspired it, but that, a decade later, no longer exists.

“What I was trying to do with those recordings,” explains Earley, “was capture this kind of atmosphere that I was feeling and which pervaded the city at that time. I think I was attempting to capture what Portland was at the time and what it felt like to me. That city is gone now. Old Portland, we call it, but Old Portland has disappeared. But this record gives me the feeling of those times and this city when it was poor and dumpy and really drug-addled. And it also captures the magic of the outlying rural areas that has slowly changed as well.”

That magic can be heard in each of these songs, and while the city may have vanished from sight – replaced by a newer, richer, shinier and bigger version of itself – its elegance and fractured beauty is preserved within the bones of this record. These songs exist as vivid snapshots of that time, ones that recall the city as it was. At the same time – and while Earley insists he was only trying to capture what Portland was at the time – there’s a mythology within the lyrics and the music, an imagined, semi-fictional vision of Portland and the Pacific Northwest, a kind of parallel universe to the one that actually exists. 

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Furr is still my favorite Blitzen Trapper album. The sound they developed for this one was a game changer for them.

released September 14, 2018

Scream Thy Last Scream” is a song by Pink Floyd, written by frontman Syd Barrett and scheduled to be the band’s next single after “See Emily Play” , Its first official release was on The Early Years 1965-1972 box set in November 2016. The song features several changes in tempo, a sped-up double-tracked vocal part by Barrett, while drummer Nick Mason simultaneously sings the normal part (one of only 4 moments he ever sang on a Floyd record),a range of bells, crowd noises, an instrumental section that continually increases in speed featuring wah-wah guitar solos and keyboards, and surreal lyrics. Barrett is only clearly audible on one line in the song, “she’ll be scrubbing bubbles on all fours”

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“Scream Thy Last Scream’ has lead vocals by Nick Mason,” noted David Gilmour in 2002. “We did actually perform that one a few times in my very early years with Pink Floyd. I don’t know if they ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ and ‘Vegetable Man’ were ever finally mixed.

  • Nick Mason – lead vocals, drums
  • Syd Barrett – guitar, sped-up double-tracked vocals, vocals (one line)
  • Richard Wright – keyboards
  • Roger Waters – bass guitar

Rewind to 2015 and things were going swimmingly for Chorusgirl; they’d just released their debut album on the wonderful indie-pop label, Fortuna Pop, their debut single, Oh To Be A Defector was playing on the BBC6Music playlist and critics were queuing up to throw praise in their direction. Then as they returned to the studio, things didn’t go quite as easily as they hoped, as songwriter Silvi Wersing puts it, “there was barely a month without bad news on a personal and wider level”. Despite those difficulties (label ending, personal struggles, political uncertainty), the second Chorusgirl album got made, and as anxieties spiked, perhaps it was the album that pulled Silvi through, “we were hacking and honing away at the songs for months, trying to craft some sort of sculpture of our state of mind”.

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The second Chorusgirl album, “Shimmer And Spin”, will arrive on new label home Reckless Yes Records later this year, and ahead of its release, the band have this week shared the first track from it, “No Goodbye”. As is the case with much of the finest music, No Goodbye is not a track that wears its difficulties obviously. There’s a fizz and a playfulness to the music, that fans of the bands will be pleased to hear intact. From the opening salvo of snare drums and jangling guitar chords, it rattles along at impressive pace, even the the more sparse sections are punctuated by prominent bass-notes that maintain the songs impressive flow. There’s even room for a just short of ludicrous guitar solo towards the end, with a slight nod to The Wave Pictures, adding to the whole, frankly joyous experience. The track’s lyrics seem to be at odds with the sprightly music, there’s a personal quality to the words, a puzzle with some pieces missing, yet there’s a sense of wanting to escape from both your own expectations and those of others. Throughout Silvi seems to be trying to slip out the door, as she repeats regularly, “you know that I’ll leave no goodbye”. By all accounts, Shimmer And Spin, was a difficult record to make, from the sound of No Goodbye it was well worth the effort.

releases November 16th, 2018

Demon Baby and Love is Like written by Faith Taylor
Other songs written by Silvia Wersing 

Shimmed And Spin is out November 16th via Reckless 

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This week my most awaited LP of 2018 thus far coming from the inimitable Low on their shadowy electronic masterpiece, ‘Double Negative’. There are synths akimbo on the new one from MCR up-n-comers Pale Waves, reminding me of a more youthful Kristin Kontrol (if only everyone loved that LP as much as I did), or a less saccharine Tegan & Sara. In fact, it’s a very electronic week on the heavy hitters, Those of you who love a good guitar can do FAR worse than The Goon Sax’s new outing on the ever-reliable Wichita Recordings, absolutely brimming with lyrical fire and melodic cleverness, and with the propulsive slacker vibes the Aussies do so well.

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Low  –  Double Negative

In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.

To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.

This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative co-writers, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.

Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?

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Toy  –  The Willo

Since 2010, Toy have earned a reputation as a band of integrity, virtuosity and taste, with Tom, Maxim, Dominic, Charlie and (joining in 2015) Max creating a sound that is embedded in the underground tradition, yet distinctly their own. Now here comes a two-track twelve-inch on Tough Love, a foretaste of a forthcoming album in January 2019, which marks a new dawn for this most singular of bands.

‘The Willo’ is a dreamlike, seven-minute glide, redolent of a forest at sunset and just as pretty, but not without hints of malevolence. Maxim’s fingerpicking acoustic melds with electric twang from Dominic, and a whirling organ from Max Oscarnold gives this elegant creation an extra layer of disorientation and depth. “People appear to have seen Will-o’-the-wisp, a mysterious green-blue light, over the centuries. It generally means something ominous is about to happen”, says Tom.

Then there is ‘Energy’, which lives up to its name with thunderously metronomic drums from Charlie Salvidge and a ferocious guitar from Dominic O’Dair. The lyrics, culled from a story written by Max about a nighttime ritual, are obscured by the barrage-like forward momentum of the music.

The twelve-inch, recorded and mixed by the band between Oscarnold’s Stoke Newington flat and a south London studio, is the first release for Toy on their new label Tough Love, representing the latest stage in the evolution of the band. Since their inception, they have released the acclaimed albums Toy (2012), Join The Dots (2013) and Clear Shot (2016), and toured everywhere from Serbia to China, while holding onto that youthful, magical moment of discovering strange new worlds of innocence and experience.

Goonsax

The Goon Sax

The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster and Riley Jones from Brisbane, Australia. Still in high school when they made their first album Up To Anything in 2016, their brand of awkwardly transcendent teenage guitar pop took earned them wide-spread critical acclaim.

For album number two, they flew to Melbourne to record with James Cecil and Cameron Bird, respectively former/current members of Architecture In Helsinki, and ‘We’re Not Talking’ shows how much can change between the ages of 17 and 19. It’s a record that takes the enthusiasms of youth and twists them into darker, more sophisticated shapes. Relationships are now laced with hesitation, remorse, misunderstanding and ultimately compassion.

Drummer Riley Jones really comes to the fore here, joining Louis and James in singing lead and writing songs for the first time, making the band the musical equivalent of an equilateral triangle (the strongest shape in physics).

Delivering brilliantly human and brutally honest vignettes of adolescent angst, The Goon Sax brim with personality, charm and heart-wrenching honesty. ‘We’re Not Talking’ is a record made by restless artists, defying expectations as if hardly noticing, and its complexity makes ‘We’re Not Talking’ even more of a marvel.

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Dilly Dally – Heaven

Heaven highlights Dilly Dally’s rough edges in all their ragged glory, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section. While the music is undeniably ferocious, there’s uplift woven into the fabric of every track. The album opens with the dreamy “I Feel Free”, which begins as a floating, untethered soundscape before transforming into a soaring anthem for a world that’s ready to finally turn the page on all the darkness and disillusion the last few years have wrought. The inexorable “Believe” insists on self-confidence, while the driving “Sober Motel” celebrates the lucidity a clear mind, and the lilting “Sorry Ur Mad” makes a case for releasing yourself from the prisons of anger and resentment. Heaven carves out its own atheistic religion to get through the day, a faith that validates our pain as real but responds with a beaming light of hope. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]

Slothrust the pact

Slothrust  –  The Pact

Slothrust is principal songwriter, guitar player and unrepentant aesthete Leah Wellbaum, with drummer Will Gorin and bassist Kyle Bann. On their fourth full-length album The Pact, Slothrust constructs a luscious, ethereal cosmos perforated with wormy portals and magic wardrobes, demonstrating more clearly than ever the band’s deft shaping of contrasting sonic elements to forge a muscular sound that’s uniquely their own. Bizarre and mundane, tender and confident. The awkward duality of the forever outsider, rightly reclaimed as power. This is The Pact. Produced and engineered by Billy Bush in Los Angeles (the band’s new home base), Slothrust’s new album is a confident journey across 12 songs that oscillate between a quietly reflective tenderness and a slick, sleek confidence; balancing playful innocence with ballsy swagger. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had making a record,” Wellbaum confirms. “We were able to take risks. I’m saying yes more than no these days.”

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Pale Waves  – My Mind Makes Noises

After signing a record deal with Dirty Hit in 2017, Manchester’s Pale Waves released their debut single “There’s a Honey”, followed by “Television Romance”. The following year, the band were ranked fifth in the BBC Sound of 2018 poll and won the NME Under the Radar Award at the NME Awards. They now return with their debut album which features the singles ‘There’s A Honey’, ‘Television Romance, ‘Kiss’, ‘Eighteen’ and new single ‘Black’.

Pale Waves are Heather (vocals, guitar), Ciara (drums), Hugo (guitar) and Charlie (bass).

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Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers

Richard Thompson’s new album is his first self-produced record in over a decade. It’s a minimal and spacious recording which, according to Thompson, is a projection of current events in his life. “This has been an intense year for myself and my family, getting older doesn’t mean that life gets easier! There are surprises around every bend. I think this reflects in the immediacy of the stories, and the passion in the songs. Sometimes I am speaking directly about events, at other times songs are an imaginative spin on what life throws at you. The music is just a mirror to life, but we try to polish that mirror as brightly as possible.” 13 Rivers spans thirteen tracks. It is an album as much about growth as it is about reflection. Says Thompson, “I don’t know how the creative process works – I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.” [Limited black and cream colored vinyl pressing also available.]

Firstaidkittenderofferings

First Aid Kit – Tender Offerings

“Technically, Tender Offerings are the four songs that did not make it onto Ruins. For these ladies, these precious songs did not fit the bombastic folk-nature of the album. Instead, they truly felt like tender offerings; too sweet and soft in scope to be fluidly aligned with their other tracks. Once, you hear such gorgeous tracks like, “I’ve Wanted You” and “All That We Get” you will understand their point. Instrumentally, you feel every hook, melody, and chorus was precisely and clearly made as a cloud creates a raindrop. This duo turn their guitar melodies into field of amber strings dancing in the suns of their voices like grains move with daylight.”

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Paul Weller – True Meanings

To put it simply, True Meanings, the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album and the 26th studio album of his entire career, is a record unlike any he has ever made before. It’s characterized by grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration: an aesthetic to which Weller’s better-than-ever voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words, is perfectly suited. A dreamy, peaceful, pastoral set of songs to get lost in, it’s both an album that his faithful audience has been wanting him to make for a long time, and an album that many new people outside of that audience will relate to.

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The Doors – Waiting For The Sun [Reissue/1968]

50th Anniversary reissue. This double-CD and single-LP collection features a new version of the album’s original stereo mix on both CD and 180-gram vinyl LP, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors’ longtime engineer/mixer. The CD set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered “rough mixes” from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show.

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now: Live at The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 DVD

Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Murray Lerner, Both Sides Now: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 features new interviews with Joni, discussing her recollections of the event intercut with festival footage, both onstage and behind the scenes, offering a fascinating insight into a now legendary concert from the artists point of view and putting the events of the day into context.

Counting Crows  released their debut album, “August And Everything After” on this day in 1993. Born of the same decade that brought us plenty of soft, lyric-focused rock music from artists like Dave Matthews, Sister Hazel and Hootie & The Blowfish,When the prevailing guitar jingle of “Mr. Jones” cascaded over radio in the early ’90s, it was a sure sign that Counting Crowswere a musical force to be reckoned with. Their debut album, August and Everything After, burst at the seams with both dominant pop harmonies and rich, hearty ballads, all thanks to lead singer Adam Duritz. The lone guitar work of “Mr. Jones” coupled with the sweet, in-front pull of Duritz’s voice kicked off the album in full force.

The starkly beautiful and lonely sounding “Round Here” captured the band’s honest yet subtle talent for singing ballads, while “Omaha” is lyrically reminiscent of a Springsteen tune. The fusion of hauntingly smooth vocals with such instruments as the Hammond B-3 organ and the accordion pumped new life into the music scene, and their brisk sound catapulted them into stardom. On “Rain King,” the piano takes over as its aloof flair dances behind Duritzwith elegant crispness. The slower-paced “Raining in Baltimore” paints a perfectly gray picture and illustrates the band’s ease at conveying mood by eliminating the tempo. Most of the songs here engage in overly contagious hooks that won’t go away, making for a solid bunch of tunes. Containing the perfect portions of instrumental and vocal conglomeration, Counting Crows showed off their appealing sound to its full extent with their very first album.

August And Everything After reigns as something of a classic. Counting Crows went on to produce other hits—songs like the soundtrack staple “Accidentally In Love” from Shrek 2, and their cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”—but August And Everything After put them on the map with the always catchy (if kitschy) “Mr. Jones” and “Round Here,” a truly memorable lead-off track. Whether Counting Crows are high-brow or low-brow is still up for debate in the minds of many music fans, but rather than waste time debating their artistic validity, we’ll just leave some 1999 concert footage for you to watch below.

The album cover depicts handwritten lyrics to a song called “August and Everything After”, but the band decided against featuring the song on the album of the same name; it was not until over a decade later that it was played as part of one of their live concerts.

In 1999, another iteration of Woodstock Festival took shape in upstate New York. Counting Crows were there, and they performed several tracks from August And Everything After, including “Mr. Jones,” “Anna Begins” and “Round Here.” See them perform “Mr. Jones” below .

It’s been a quarter-century since Counting Crows debuted with August, but for their fans, Everything After has been pretty good, too. While you’re here, revisit our conversation with lead singer Adam Duritz from 2008. And, again, you can watch the band’s performance at Woodstock in 1999 below

Personnel:

  • Steve Bowman – drums, vocals
  • David Bryson – guitars, vocals
  • Adam Duritz – vocals, piano, harmonica
  • Charlie Gillingham – piano, Hammond B3, accordion, Chamberlin, vocals
  • Matt Malley – bass, guitar, vocals

ROSTAM – ” In A River “

Posted: September 14, 2018 in MUSIC
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Rostam Batmanglij is a man of his word: The Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist who first came to fame as a member of Vampire Weekend recently teased the impending release of the first single from his forthcoming second solo album, and said single has indeed arrived. “In A River” is Rostam’s first new music since the September 2017 release of his acclaimed solo debut Half-Light, though the details of his follow-up album remain mostly under wraps. “In A River” opens only with bright mandolin chords and the idyllic intimacy evoked by Rostam’s vocals (“Slide into the cool mud / Underneath the pines / Somewhere to your right or left / Is my body you can find”), which are soon joined in the chorus by a thumping 808 beat. Like its eponymous body of water, the song slows and speeds at intervals, contracting and expanding its instrumental palette in a way that feels as unknowable as nature. The song’s core sentiment is as simple as its instrumentation is complex: “We are swimming / with no clothes on / in a river in the dark,” Rostam sings. “And I am holding / onto you, boy / in the faint light of the stars.”

 

The Holydrug Couple: <i>Hyper Super Mega</i> Review

The new album by The Holydrug Couple, the decade-old music project of Chilean musicians Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra, addresses the constant distractions of the world, whether they be technological, cultural or economical. According to a press release, the band was wandering with a sense of haphazardness, so instead they turned the loud world that caused their mental burnout into their inspiration.

Songs like “Waterfalls” and “I’ll Only Say This” unite modern electro-pop with classic psych-pop and contain lyrics that point to a human race that’s often void of any meaningful connection. On “I’ll Only Say This,” lead vocalist Sepúlveda laments a world that’s addicted to technology (“Resting on a bed made of screens / Anywhere that you can find it”) and full of self-important people that think they know everything.

The harmonious pop vocals of the title track are reminiscent of Jagwar Ma’s Gabriel Winterfield, the twisting distortion and joyful, animated vocals of “Waterfalls” harken back to Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, while the lush psych of “Chevalier” has rumblings of Innerspeaker era Tame Impala. The album’s strongest chorus appears on “I’ll Only Say This,” which explodes with such beautiful, rhapsodic melodies and Sepúlveda’s detectable vocal conviction.

The record’s swirling layers of guitars, bass, vocals, percussion and synths are very dense, which works to both their advantage and disadvantage. The title track bursts with diverse, bright sounds, but “Ikebana Telephone Line” feels claustrophobic with its vocals overshadowed. As for the record’s instrumental interludes, “Lucifer’s Coat” charms with its clash of Medieval keys and electro beats, but the sci-fi flick vibe of “Western Shade” feels misplaced, as epic as it sounds.

The words that make up the album title point to both the album’s vibrancy and dark underbelly. On one hand, those flashy words reflect the album’s rapid paintball fire of colors and on the other hand, those words are indicative of the record’s lyrics that reflect an exhaustion from uber capitalism and unrelenting sensory overload.

They might have used a lot of bells and whistles to get the distorted, feverish electronic-psych sound of Hyper Super Mega, but they manage to retain and evoke so much humanity—and perhaps that’s this record’s greatest strength. They don’t use a wide palette of sounds and effects as a crutch—rather they use it as a vehicle for transcendence and as an high-spirited expression of society’s rife conundrums.

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In the short time since they released their acclaimed debut record, ‘Sore,’ Dilly Dally toured the world and took the press by storm, only to nearly collapse under the weight of their own success and call it quits forever. Rising from the ashes with more power and conviction than ever before, the Toronto rockers’ new album is, appropriately enough, titled ‘Heaven,’ and it’s a fierce, fiery ode to optimism, a distortion-soaked battle cry for hope and beauty in a world of darkness and doubt. Frontwoman Katie Monks describes the songs as coping mechanisms, and the collection does indeed form something of a survival kit for hard times, but even more than that, it’s a declaration of faith in the power of music and a burning reminder that we need not wait until the afterlife for things to get better.

 Recorded with producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck), ‘Heaven’ highlights Dilly Dally’s rough edges in all their ragged glory, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section. While the music is undeniably ferocious, there’s uplift woven into the fabric of every track. ‘Heaven’ opens with the dreamy “I Feel Free,” which begins as a floating, untethered soundscape before transforming into a soaring anthem for a world that’s ready to finally turn the page on all the darkness and disillusion the last few years have wrought.

The inexorable “Believe” insists on self-confidence, while the driving “Sober Motel” celebrates the lucidity a clear mind, and the lilting “Sorry Ur Mad” makes a case for releasing yourself from the prisons of anger and resentment. Escape is a frequent goal—from the bruising “Marijuana” to the epic queer tragedy of “Bad Biology”—but it ultimately solves very little, at least in any permanent way, and so the album carves out its own atheistic religion to get through the day, a faith that validates our pain as real but responds with a beaming light of hope (and maybe a little bit of weed).

Monks and guitarist Liz Ball originally formed the band in high school after bonding over a shared love for explosive, grungy rock and roll. By the time they recorded their debut, the pair had fleshed out the lineup with bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz and hit a blistering stride that floored critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Rolling Stone hailed ‘Sore’ as a “blazing” breakout that “sounds like an unleashed id with a sick distortion pedal,” while Fader said it “hits that ever-elusive sweetspot between total recklessness and sly control,” and Pitchfork raved that the record “oozes with female desire” and offers up “a heavy swagger redolent of some of the best ever alt-rock.” In the UK, The Guardian praised the band’s “bludgeoning bass, gnarly guitars and red-raw vocals,” and The Line Of Best Fit dubbed it “a seminal first album.” The music earned Dilly Dally dates with Grouplove, METZ, and Fat White Family in addition to their first-ever international headline tour and festival appearances from Osheaga to Field Day.

“Doom” from Dilly Dally’s new album ‘Heaven’ out now!