Posts Tagged ‘Exploding In Sound Records’

Bethlehem Steel, photo courtesy of band

It’s mid-September and the weather is beginning to shift — one day is balmy, the next crisp. The prolonged chill of fall is coming, but you can’t yet pin down the weather’s tempo. Bethlehem Steel. The Brooklyn-based foursome make the perfect accompaniment to these autumnal atmospheric happenings. Their brand of guitar rock is brooding, raw, and chock-full of time changes. And, like the weather forecast of late, essentially unpredictable

The Indie rock four-piece Bethlehem Steel shared another single from their upcoming self-titled record. This one is called “Govt. Cheese”, The band was originally a trio, comprised of vocalist and guitarist Rebecca Ryskalczyk, bassist Patrick Ronayne, and drummer Jon Gernhart. Longtime friends Jon and Rebecca met Patrick while working at a local venue, guitarist Christina Puerto was brought on last year and instantly clicked.

“It was an immediate yes,” Rebecca said of Christina’s audition. “Nobody else mattered. Even though we should probably hear the other people we told to come try out, we were like, ‘No, this is the one.’ And I was right.”

The addition of Christina cemented the group’s lineup and their sound.

The new album follows 2017’s Party Naked Forever, and is set to arrive September 13th via Exploding in Sound Records. We’ve already heard a couple tracks from the Brooklyn-based band’s latest LP — including “Bad Girl” and “Empty Room”. For more on the new record, Bethlehem Steel have broken it down Track by Track.

“Sponge”:
“Sponge” is basically about stretching yourself too thin, giving too much of yourself to other people. Trying to figure out how much of yourself you can give before you fully disappear. It started out as two separate songs but felt right to put them together as something that sonically provided darkness and light. — Becca Ryskalczyk

“Govt Cheese”:
When I wrote this I was looking back on a lot of toxic and abusive male relationships that I’ve had over my life. A lot of them made me smaller and were holding me back from becoming a stronger woman. Sometimes you can still feel like you’re emotionally held hostage by them. Trying to find a way to be there but at a distance in order to take better care of yourself. “Govt. Cheese” has a grungier build, with the dual guitars thrusting the track forward. The pre-chorus is instrumental, and one guitar has this fascinating send into a different octave in which it becomes cleaner. This structure allows for the vocals to blossom into a near Corin Tucker range of strain on the chorus, while also asserting the repetition of, “I must take care of myself.”

The video, directed by lead singer and guitarist Becca RyskalczykI, features the group’s members along with dancer Sam Gehrke jauntily grooving out to the song against a tinfoil-like backdrop. It eventually devolves into RyskalczykI and guitarist Christina Puerto doing workout routines in spandex one-pieces, and it’s hysterical, frankly. Of the choreography, RyskalczykI says,

“I really wanted to choreograph a dance for Christina and I so I did. I wanted to show how sometimes certain male relationships held me back. In letting some of that go I could grow as a person and find more strength in myself. The dual dancers shows the importance of healthy friendships and a solid support system if you’re lucky enough to find that.”

“Empty Room”:
I wrote “Empty Room” at a time when I was experiencing debilitating anxiety and depression and was so paralyzed/overwhelmed I was unable to even begin to look at what the root cause might have been. It’s basically asking for patience from those close to me — Christina Puerto

“Couches”:
This song is about processing being abandoned by someone very important to you. It’s difficult to perform and was difficult to record the vocals to because the emotions are still very raw. The most tears went into this one and this track is pretty important to me. I feel so grateful that my old bandmate Paul Swenson was able to play cello on the track which makes it feel even more personal and special to me. —Becca

“Not Lotions”:
Pat wrote the bones to “Not Lotion” then Christina and Jon fleshed it out. Becca wrote the lyrics. This is the first time we wrote a song this way so it feels pretty special. A lot of times I feel so much anxiety and sadness that I kind shut down or go numb. Writing this I was feeling that. Feeling judged by people because I’m 30 and still play in a band and am broke. But does anyone have their shit together? Doesn’t everyone go numb sometimes? I didn’t cry a lot as a kid. I was just very angry. I hold so much pain inside my body. I’ve been trying to learn to cry and let the anger out instead of it just have me. The end of this song is a release of that. Just letting it go. Letting myself feel something. — Patrick Ronayne, Becca and Christina

“Bad Girl”:
“Bad Girl” is about all the nights that my brain keeps me awake. Irrationally telling me I’m a terrible person. Going over and over and over all of the things I might have done to upset or inconvenience another human. This song was incredibly fun to flesh out with everyone as well as record. Christina pulled the end guitar riff out of her ass while recording so that was pretty great to experience. —Becca

“Read the Room”:
“Read the Room” is about a time when I left an unhealthy situation but didn’t explain to anyone the true reasons why. I was living with the regret of not sharing the truth with others for one because it wore down on me to hold it to myself and also because I worried (and still do) that someone else might have a similar experience. It’s one of the darker songs I’ve ever written and it felt really cathartic to lean into that. —Christina

“Four Aliens”:
Another song about giving too much of yourself to others. Maybe so much that you forget to take care of yourself. When you allow people to suck your life force out of you. Like they’re taking your soul. You feel selfish for trying to take personal space. People trying to decide what’s wrong with you instead of just being there. — Becca

“Sheryl”:

“Sheryl” was the first song I shared with Becca and the group, so it’s definitely special to me in that way. It’s about feeling deep empathy and sadness and anger for someone very close to me that has been wronged/abused, and while processing these feelings seeing occurrences of these same patterns in my own life and acknowledging them for what they are. — Christina

“New Dark”:
“New Dark” is a song for women who have spent a lot of their lives just going along with whatever men decide to do to them. Not realizing that it’s wrong, that it’s abuse and that it’s manipulation. The fault of society for normalizing such bullshit behaviors. When talking with other women it’s shocking how many of us have been betrayed by male friends. Who have been taken advantage of while we are vulnerable. It’s shocking the amount of us that would go along with it because we were taught to be nice. The line “I got out of a family that hates women” does not refer to my blood family. I’m talking about past manipulative relationships and people who have made me feel less than because I am not a man. — Becca

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Rebecca Ryskalczyk – guitar & vocals
Christina Puerto – guitar & vocals
Patrick Ronayne – bass
Jonathan Gernhart – drums

Additional Instrumentation:
Paul Swenson – cello
Mike Gagliardi – sax

All songs written by Bethlehem Steel From their upcoming LP, “Bethlehem Steel” out September 13th on Exploding in Sound Records.

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The fearsome New York band Bethlehem Steel are releasing a new self-titled album this Autumn. It’s the follow-up to 2017’s excellent debut, Party Naked Forever, and a new member has been added to the band this time around in the form of Christina Puerto, who wrote and sings on a handful of songs on the album. At the project’s center is still Becca Rsykalczyk, though, whose smoky voice grounds Bethlehem Steel’s lead single “Bad Girl”: “Woke up early to hate myself/ Am I a bad girl?” she wonders on it, her swirl of anxieties giving way to a terse, knotted breakdown.

“‘Bad Girl’ is about all the nights that my brain keeps me awake. Irrationally telling me I’m a terrible person. Going over and over and over all of the things I might have done to upset or inconvenience another human,” Ryskalczyk said in a statement. “Singing the line ‘am I a bad girl?’ to my bandmates or even just out loud to myself was definitely embarrassing. I wasn’t sure if I should even keep it as a lyric until I decided to just lean into it.

The song’s music video, which was directed by Ryskalczyk, takes place at a raucous New York City backyard party.

With “Empty Room” we get Bethlehem Steel as we’ve literally never heard them before, with lead vocals from the band’s own Christina Puerto (guitar/vocals), who joined the band shortly after the release of their last album. In Puerto, band mastermind Becca Rsykalczyk found not only a deep companionship, but also another strong song writer with an understanding of Bethlehem Steel’s aesthetic choices and impassioned soul searching lyrics, as explored in “Empty Room,” one of several Puerto contributed to the band’s self-titled album, due out next month. It opens with a caustic rumble and wriggles its way into crunching chords and sinewy guitar melodies from there, led by Puerto’s dazzling vocals and a few well placed harmonies.

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Releases September 13th, 2019

Rebecca Ryskalczyk – guitar & vocals
Christina Puerto – guitar & vocals
Patrick Ronayne – bass
Jonathan Gernhart – drums

Additional Instrumentation:
Paul Swenson – cello
Mike Gagliardi – sax

All songs written by Bethlehem Steel

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Pile’s seventh album and their fourth for every garage rock fan’s favorite truly independent label, Exploding in Sound, is the band’s first since Rick Maguire decided to make his band a full-time pursuit. Across the LP’s nearly hour-long runtime, Maguire reflects on growing older—he was twenty-one when he self-released Pile’s 2007 debut, Demonstration—and how he feels about committing so wholly to Pile at an age when some people leave music behind.

“Hair” by Pile from their upcoming LP, “Green and Gray” out May 3rd on Exploding in Sound Records.

Since cropping up on the East Coast DIY circuit in 2009, amassing the sort of fervent cult fanbase that gets tattoos in their honor, Ovlov have had to break up a number of times in order to keep it together. Their most recent disintegration, in March 2015, seemed to suggest a greater degree of finality, however, with Hartlett expressing his uneasiness with demanding a full-time-band commitment from the revolving roster of friends and family members that have helped him realize his creative vision. But after redirecting his energies to his solo project Stove, he returned to Ovlov’s Facebook page in early 2016 to sheepishly announce an intention to reunite the band, “sometimes but not all the time.” Ironically, that commitment to be non-committal has since yielded two years of steady touring, a vinyl compilation of their early EPs, and now, Ovlov’s first proper album in half a decade.

The division between Ovlov and Stove was always blurry—the former may lean on Dinosaur Jr. overdrive while the latter wobbles on a rickety Guided by Voices foundation, but both ultimately forge a symbiotic relationship between Hartlett’s crestfallen melodies and his fuzz-pedal abuse. While Stove began as a wholly solo endeavor, it quickly formalized into a proper band in its own right—one whose bassist, Michael “Boner” Hammond Jr., is part of this current Ovlov line-up. But with Tru, Hartlett soundly reasserts Ovlov’s signature strength: the band’s ability to fortify tender songs with muscular squall in a way that doesn’t obscure their emotional intent, but amplifies it. Harlett’s songs tend to deal in themes of loneliness, estrangement, and the inability to communicate, and the onslaught of noise ultimately serves to make that desire for connection feel all the more cruelly out of reach.

Steve Hartlett sang, played guitar, bass & synth on the best of you
Theo Hartlett played drums, sang on stick, guitar soloed on grab it from the garden
Morgan Luzzi played guitar
Michael Hammond Jr. played bass, guitar on best of you
Erin McGrath sang on baby alligator
Michael John Thomas III played a guitar solo on grab it from the garden
Released July 20th, 2018

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The sophomore album from Connecticut fuzz-rockers Stove “s’ Favorite Friend” , finds them seeking refuge in art: The album was written and recorded after songwriter Steve Hartlett and drummer/vocalist Jordyn Blakeley had both recently lost loved ones, and the resulting songs reckon with “grief and the sometimes harsh realities of time passing,” per a press release. That search for catharsis plays out in “Stiff Bones,” on which Hartlett’s rueful yowls, Blakeley’s powerful drums and an onslaught of washed-out guitars push through upheaval to find peace. “When you try to play it off / as if your heart is truly soft / You gave away / and slave away / Alone is how you want to be / so lonely’s what you’ll feel with me / and everyone / not anyone,” Hartlett and Blakeley sing as one.

Band Members
Steve Hartlett, Mike Hammond, Jordyn Blakely, Alex Molini

“Stiff Bones” by Stove from their upcoming LP, ‘s Favorite Friend, out October 31, 2018 on Exploding in Sound Records

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The sophomore album from Connecticut fuzz-rockers Stove, ’s Favorite Friend (not a typo!), finds them seeking refuge in art: The album was written and recorded after songwriter Steve Hartlett and drummer/vocalist Jordyn Blakeley had both recently lost loved ones, and the resulting songs reckon with “grief and the sometimes harsh realities of time passing,” per a press release. That search for catharsis plays out in “Stiff Bones” on which Hartlett’s rueful yowls, Blakeley’s powerful drums and an onslaught of washed-out guitars push through upheaval to find peace. “When you try to play it off / as if your heart is truly soft / You gave away / and slave away / Alone is how you want to be / so lonely’s what you’ll feel with me / and everyone / not anyone,” Hartlett and Blakeley sing as one.

“Stiff Bones” by Stove from their upcoming LP, ‘s Favorite Friend, out October 31, 2018 on Exploding in Sound Records.

Last year New Hampshire’s Rick Rude released their debut album, Make Mine Tuesday, a record that remained one of our favorites of the year from January to December. Set to follow it up next month with Verb For Dreamingthe quartet sound as vibrant as ever, with each of their three songwriters offering a distinctive yet cohesive approach to fuzzy punk and shout-a-long indie rock. It’s the sound of a band making music as a release, their collective spirits radiant in every song. Lead single “Slow Cooker” is led by bassist/vocalist Jordan Holtz, a quick fire anthem that wrestles with finding time and inspiration to create after the monotony of the everyday 9-5 life. Wish a wash of creeping distortion, Holtz’s bass line forms the melodic shape, her powerful voice bellowing over the combustible guitars and careening rhythmic churn.

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The Band

Ben Troy: guitar and vocals
Noah Lefebvre: guitar, vocals and clarinet
Jordan Holtz: bass and vocals
Ryan Harrison: drums

Rick Rude Verb For Dreaming Slow Cooker Origins

Rick Rude, a band we choose to believe is named after one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, impressed the hell out of us with their 2016’s Make Mine TuesdayNow, the New Hampshire quartet are back with a brand new LP, Verb For Dreaming, which will dropkick your hearts when it lands on November 16th via Exploding In Sound Records.

Rick Rude is comprised of three different songwriters, all of whom credit their upbringing as “people of the woods, small towns and tight communities” with crafting an aesthetic that revels in the intimate. In its fuzzy blend of the loud, sloppy, and melodic, their music hearkens back to the grunge outfits that emerged from the Olympia wilderness more than two decades ago. To listen to their new single, “Slow Cooker”, is to stand alongside a sweat-flecked microphone, swaying to the dirty, distorted melodies the band crafts with smirking abandon.

Vocalist and bassist Jordan Holtz says of the track: “‘Slow Cooker’ is a song about trying to be efficient and writing music on the weekends, but in the mindset where you just finished your work week and all you want to do is relax, recharge and do everything else other than write. Writing songs is one of my all-time favorite things to do, but sometimes I feel like it takes me forever to get to a finished product due to everyday variables and distractions. This song speaks to the process of trying to get down to business for the sake of progress, but then constantly getting off-track and the never ending cycle of going back and forth between the two.”

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“Slow Cooker” was influenced by the actual process; I wanted to write a song about writing songs. In the verses, the song touches upon the song creation itself; the dependence on the environment that the song is written in and the different variables that would catalyze or slow the writing process. The chorus addresses the live performance aspect in the songwriting process and the discomfort that comes when you perform a new song live, but also the importance as the live performances continue to shape the song to its final product. Music is a massive part of my life and songwriting allows me to create and also grow as a person through working things out on paper. It is also something that I get very frustrated with, yet no matter how irritated I get, I always want to continue writing. So “Slow Cooker” was inspired by the songwriting process, but also by the love/hate relationship that I have with it.

Releases November 16, 2018

Recorded with Alex Bourne and Joe Brown at the Crawl Space in Dover, NH in the summer of 2016.

Ben Troy: guitar and vocals
Noah Lefebvre: guitar, vocals and clarinet
Jordan Holtz: bass and vocals
Ryan Harrison: drums

Pile is a rock band, but it plays its songs even the most beautiful, heartbreaking ones as if they were horror films, packed with jump-scares and cliffhangers. Songs swell, building to all-consuming washes, or running right up to the edge of a cliff to dangle there precariously. That type of uneasy adventurousness has always been part of Pile’s makeup, but A Hairshirt Of Purpose streamlines it, offering the most nuanced record of the band’s career while still working in moments of explosive, fiery rage. Tracks like “Fingers” or “Rope’s Length” may be built on simple chord progressions, but they’re manipulated in ways that feel excitingly alien, subverting post-hardcore’s standard loud-to-quiet tonal shifts. Hairshirt is both lovely and ugly, even when—especially when—it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

“Texas” by Pile from the “A Hairshirt of Purpose” LP, out now on Exploding in Sound. Directed by Adric Giles.

Pile is still killing it with songs that can be both blisteringly intense and beautifully melodic. The lyrics continue to confound and amaze me. There’s something I can’t quite place about this album that keeps me coming back to it. It took several listens to the album to make me see past the obvious beauty of ‘Leaning on a Wheel’ and ‘Rope’s Length’, but consider me engrossed.

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Universal Care is cathartic. Kal Marks’ are finding a release… a crushing, beautiful, absorbing release, an exploration of spirit and emotion in the hardest of times. Their latest LP, Universal Care, due out February 23rd via Exploding In Sound Records, finds the Boston trio at their most dynamic, seeping with vivid colors and sonic experimentation. Its a new approach for the band, one that began on shaky ground, an uncertainty that lead the band to create an album both brilliant and challenging. Universal Care is restless, drawing on personal hardship and these tumultuous times, taking life as it comes. The trio of Carl Shane (guitar, vocals), Michael Geacone (bass) and Alex Audette (drums), have created a record full of sonic risks and rewards, thick textures, skin crawling sludge, and hazy pop. Through unexpected twists and turns, the band capture a range of honest emotions and struggles without boundaries. Crushing distortion, atmospheric drifts, shifting rhythms, and warm acoustics all swirl together in unison. There’s a freedom in their agitation. A welcoming catharsis.

Kal Marks’ new album “Universal Care” will be released in early 2018

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Formed as a solo project over a decade ago, the band has been evolving ever since, weathering the darkness with a sense of humor and one of Boston’s most explosive live shows. Having released two critically praised albums, Life Is Murder (2013) and Life Is Alright, Everybody Dies (2015), Universal Care is a step forward, a brilliant new record that finds the band darting between their most accessible and chaotic moments with natural grace and fury. They’ve spent the past six years playing throughout the country, decimating one audience at a time,

Vocals & Guitar: Carl Shane
Bass: Michael Geacone 
Drums: Alex Audette