Whatever the frightening, smoldering, horned beast bursting out of its home on this record’s front cover is supposed to be, it looks like an animalistic manifestation of Full Body’s sound. With bristly riffs and pointy rhythms, the Rochester, NY quartet rip up the floorboards of indie rock on these eight songs. It’s a welcomed fracas, though, as these old buildings need to be torn down and reassembled in order to appeal to new renters. Not that Full Body are finished renovating an entire genre after their debut record, a construction job like that takes time and outside assistance. But it’s a project that Full Body and their Upstate New York colleagues in Total Yuppies, Jouska and Bruiser & Bicycle seems to be making headway on together, and within the next few years it might have some serious curb appeal. That’s what’s good.

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released September 22nd, 2017
The Band:
Jack Chaffer: drums
Zach “Joe Smoke” Hallenbeck: vocals, bass
Jacob Kotler: guitar
Dylan Vaisey: vocals, guitar

Released on Sad Cactus Records 

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Shannon Wise and Max Shrager of The Shacks were born in the late ‘90s, but their misty blend of psychedelic soul is rooted in a deep knowledge of R&B going back decades. Shrager has spent years immersed in the world of Daptone Records, while Wise’s whispery vocals evoke Mazzy Star and Brigitte Bardot. If “This Strange Effect” sounds familiar, you may know it from that iPhone ad.

The Shacks  equal parts Max Shrager and Shannon Wise singing in her soft whispered voice — sound like they’re playing alone with nobody watching. This dreamy, voyeuristic sound was born in a Queens, NY studio in 2014. And while they describe themselves as a rock band, don’t expect the conventional kind.

The story goes that Max brought Shannon to the studio. Max was playing guitar on a track produced by Leon Michels — the producer and co-founder of Big Crown Records — and Michels needed a vocalist. They put Shannon in the booth to try it out. It was her first time ever recording. Then, in one take, the song “Strange Boy” had a singer who completed the vibe. The Shacks were born.

The Shacks – This Strange Effect Recorded Live: 12/11/2017 – Paste Studios – New York, NY

The Shacks – Audrey (Spending All My Time With You) Recorded Live: 12/11/2017 – Paste Studios – New York, NY

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Inspired pairing for Three Lobed’s latest box set, featuring lots of sax for Hiss Golden Messenger and strings for Michael Chapman.this album consists of never before released material compiled especially with this collection in mind. the LP is housed within its own letter pressed “matchbook” (similar in nature to the ones used on the eight trails, one path guitar compilation [TLR-091]) bearing new original artwork by casey burns and printed by dexterity press. each LP is pressed on 140g black vinyl pressed at record industry in the netherlands and includes a download coupon. mastered by patrick klem.

Matching up kindred spirits and mutual influences, this volume of Three Lobed Recording’s “Parallelogram” series collects new recordings from Hiss Golden Messenger and Michael Chapman. Both M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) and Michael Chapman have consistently won praise for possessing a certain songwriting prowess and earnest delivery. This LP only helps both artists cement their reputations. The Hiss Golden Messenger side is an exploration in the art of reinterpretation. Taylor’s covers of tracks by J.J. Cale, Elephant Micah and David Wiffen demonstrate his complete love and respect for the originals while casting each in his unique light and voice.

Chapman’s masterful contribution bears the weight and heft that this legendary performer has gained through decades of experience. Be it narrative-driven compositions such as “Another Story” (known only to some listeners from Kurt Vile and Meg Baird’s collaborative cover from Matador’s 2012 “Singles Going Home Alone” collection) or intricate guitar excursions such as the closing “Stockport Monday (Homage Tom Rush),” Chapman’s side is a master class in both song craft and execution.

a couple of years in the making, this LP was a part of a collection that represents a celebration of this label’s improbable fifteenth anniversary. it seemed appropriate to assemble an equally improbable project to celebrate the milestone.

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Three Lobed Recordings is a boutique record label that specializes in small print-run releases that cover all flavors of psychedelia. The label was started in 2000 and is largely operated by cats.

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Frux Tapes has been a consistently great label for EP’s, and this year was no different. “Lucky”, the four track offering from dreamy Glaswegians Life Model. Produced by Susan Bear from Tuff Love alongside the band’s own Christopher T Smith, it is a significant sonic leap forward for the band, fusing their natural flair for a gorgeous melody with layer upon layer of aggressively beautiful noise.

At the centre of Lucky’s appeal is the stunning vocal performance of Sophie Evans; crystal clear melodies, a wonderfully playful inflexion and an effortless flair for carrying nonchalance and emotion in one single swooping refrain. All of which would count for little without the tracks to accompany the voice, and thankfully Life Model had them in spades; Skin & Bone with its propulsive bass and clattering distant drum beats, the almost nostalgic shoegaze of 4Ever, and perhaps best of all the paired back, and utterly beautiful, Together. In a year where many clamoured for the return of some shoe-gazing legends, Life Model’s updated version of the genre arguably sounds better than any of them.

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Life Model are:
Sophie Evans
Chris Smith
Joanne McCafferty
Michael McDonald

From Life Model’s EP, ‘Lucky’. Released 21st July 2017 on Frux Tapes.

TOPS – ” Petals “

Posted: December 16, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Sugar at the Gate is their third full-length. While recording the album in L.A., the band lived at “Glamdale” – a former brothel turned mini-mansion in Glendale. The album seamlessly fits into that picturesque, breezy Californian aesthetic in a way that’s not cliché.

Vocalist-songwriter and frontwoman of TOPS, Jane Penny has a distinctive voice that’s nostalgic and smooth like honey; romantically weaving you through the album. Penny explains, “Living in L.A. was living out a teenage fantasy, living with your band and practicing in the garage. It was also the first time we’ve ever had that much space to make music.” After making quite the impression with Picture You Staring and charming us with their previous releases, TOPS seems to have taken the liberty to just have fun with Sugar at the Gate and talk about their deeper, real-time desires.

TOPS’ pop-punk vibe is what makes the band’s sound so loveable. The track “Petals” off the album is subtle in its euphemisms. Despite the song’s overt fluffiness, Penny sings, “All I wanna do is / call your name. / Let the petals fall away,” and the flower imagery further adds to that suggestion. The album’s title itself refers to “orgasm, but also carrot chasing, gatekeeping, and the social contract” (Arbutus Records). Jane Penny’s melodies in “Petals” are mysterious, alluring, and signal to her subconscious thoughts.

Sugar at the Gate, as a whole, is surprisingly cryptic, and slowly allows the budding flower of the album’s meaning to unfurl as the listener makes their way through the release. And yet, the album feels immediately convincing and real: it gives you same excitement as if smelling the freshly cut grass in the first days of summertime. Sepia-toned springtime scenes in L.A. are conjured in the music video for “Petals,” reminiscent of Girls’ youthful, garage-punk video for “Lust for Life” (2009). We’re taken on a dreamlike tour of Beverly Hills, with the main focus on a dress-up party. “Petals” encourages us to let loose and be ourselves; even if we’d secretly like to impersonate Madonna or Michael Jackson.

No matter what, all the releases by TOPS are filled with warmth and emotion. The way the syrupy melodies combine with their clean chords, restrained percussion, and alluring lyricism enables almost anyone to immediately connect with the fresh, wholesome sound of TOPS. At first listen, Sugar at the Gate could be deemed overly saccharine, but the production is so flawless they inevitably give you permission to revel in all of your rose-tinted dreams.

From TOPS’ LP “Sugar at the Gate”

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Drahla are a trio from Leeds/wakefield. Their songs exude a stripped back post punk menace & combine sparse arrangements, pounding drums & the biting chants of Luciel Brown & Rob Riggs. Songs such as Fictional Decision (released March 17th 2017 on German label – A Turntable Friend) have brought comparisons to Parquet Courts & Life without buildings. With notable supports of Buzzcocks, Menace Beach, Amber Arcades, Lion Limb & Dream Wife under there belts 2018 is set to be an exciting year for the band.

Recorded February 4/5th at Suburban Home w/ MJ.
Mastered at Abbey Road by Frank Arkwright.
Released physically on 7″ April 28th 2017 with Too Pure Singles Club (limited run of 500).

Filmed & edited by Drahla Set design by Drahla With special thanks to Nat & Robin for their studio. Faux Text is out now on 7″ single, digital download and via all streaming services.

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We’ve been waiting a long while to write these words: Lucy Dacus has announced her sophomore album. “Historian” is due out on March 2nd via Matador Records, and with its unveiling, Dacus has shared her first-ever breakup song, the devastating “Night Shift.” .  Night Shift is a six and half minute opus, moving from gently strummed guitar and dulcet vocals to a distorted, throbbing, emotional crescendo. It also opens with possibly our favourite line of the year so far, “The first time I tasted somebody else’s spit, I had a coughing fit”.

“Night Shift,” Historian’s opening track, is a scathing ode to an unfaithful lover. “Don’t hold your breath. Forget you ever saw me at my best,” commands Dacus. “You don’t deserve what you don’t respect.” Nowhere near content with being neglected, Dacus is so driven to put the past behind her that she takes the titular night shift: “You got a 9 to 5, so I’ll take the night shift / and I’ll never see you again if I can help it.” It’s no less ferocious for Dacus’ delicate delivery.

The Richmond-based indie singer songwriter was among the best new artists of 2016, her debut LP “No Burden” made our top albums of last year and the album opener “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” was lauded in the top 2016’s best songs. Needless to say, Historian, produced by Collin Pastore in Nashville and mixed by Grammy winner John Congleton, is one of our most anticipated albums of 2018.

“This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who sees Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.”

Listen to “Night Shift” below

From the new album ‘Historian’ out March 2nd on Matador Records

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Louise Burns is a artist is from Cranbrook, BC. When she was just 15, she was signed to Madonna’s Maverick label as bass player of all-girl rock group Lillix. Now based in Vancouver and signed as a soloist to Light Organ Records, always ready to participate in various projects including new wave band Gold and Youth, this slayer released her third solo record in early 2017. It earned a Polaris Prize nomination. The album is introspective, guitar-oriented new wave with some strokes of synth, New Orderesque high-pitched bass pulses, and tight drumming.

But there’s more to the opus. Track “Strange Weather” sees her master the country-inspired genre, complete with lap steel! The tunes are deliciously shadowy, and her bright vocals and energetic delivery give it a sunny glaze. There’s the charming “Pharaoh”, the delicious “Moonlight Shadow”, the dreamy and dazzling “Hyesteria”, and the gliding surf of “Who’s the Madman”, the latter as good as anything done by Echo and the Bunnymen. This is yet another ace for one of Canada’s most underrated talents, and her best work to date: great singer, songwriter, and musician.

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CORRIDOR – ” Supermercado “

Posted: December 16, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The second album by Montreal art-rock group Corridor smashes through both artistic and language barriers to a place in this list. A colourful collision of technical ingenuity and emotional harmonies, you’ll find it a compelling listen even if you don’t understand Quebecois French. There’s maybe shades of Preoccupations, The Byrds, Television et al, but ‘Supermercado’ definitely marks out its own space. Try out ‘Data Fontaine’ and ‘Coup D’epee’ and wonder at why this album passed you by.

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A multi-amp rig gives Black Foxxes frontman Mark Holley a gargantuan, overdrive-meets-distortion tone, demonstrated on live dates this year, but the songwriting on debut I’m Not Well is just as impressive as the sonic textures Mark wrings from his Manson T-type. Spoiler alert: next year’s Reiði (still not sure how to pronounce that one) is going to blow your socks off.

Band Members
Mark Holley – Guitar/Vocal
Tristan Jane – Bass
Ant Thornton – Drums