Posts Tagged ‘Tiny Engines Records’

Hear Strange Ranger’s beautiful, apocalyptic indie LP, <i>Remembering The Rockets</i>

Philadelphia-based indie quartet Strange Ranger’s lush-sounding third album, Remembering The Rockets, is pockmarked by the apocalypse; anxious moments poke through in the middle of lead vocalist Isaac Eiger’s verses, then recede from view. “I think he’s evil privately / Hold my tongue and do the dishes,” he sings over the summery pop-rock of “Sunday.” The breezy humming on “Pete’s Hill” is preceded by two troubled hypotheticals: “If I tried my best but killed again / If I hit your chest with gold cement.” On the fluidly synthetic “Living Free,” he thinks about a planet on fire and asks: “What if I just want a family?”

“It’s hard for me to write a song that’s about one event,” Eiger says over the phone from his girlfriend’s house in Philadelphia. “There are explicit references to wanting to have a family in a world that is not guaranteed to be the same, and latching onto that as a narrative is totally natural. But there are tons of lyrics on the album that are just about my relationships with the people in my life, just looking at the world. Climate change politics are a part of that.”

Recorded mostly at an ad hoc studio Eiger’s parents’ home in Montana, Remembering The Rockets — premiering in full below — upends the occasionally scuzzy and almost always fraught guitar rock that the band put out on their last two LPs, 2016’s Rot Forever (as Sioux Falls) and 2017’s Daymoon. A Korg M1 synthesizer finds its way onto most of the songs here, usually to warm the mix on instrumentals like “athens, ga” and “rockets” or to provide a dreamlike backdrop for the already uncanny lyrics. Bassist, keyboardist, and singer Fred Nixon creates drummer Nathan Tucker, and occasional vocalist Fiona Woodman distort, harmonize, and augment around Eiger’s guitar, turning most of these songs into delicate, miniature hallucinations.

That often beautiful detachment from reality fits with Eiger’s perception of reality — half rooted in the day-to-day, half off in metaphor. “Planes move through the sky / I walk to work in fading light,” he sings over the hum of “Planes in Front of The Sun” before again projecting forwards and scaring himself out of it: “Daddies with their kids / I still want that / I still feel sick.”

Listen to Remembering The Rockets below ahead of its release this Friday, July 26, via Tiny Engines

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Maybe this Raleigh four-piece fits more squarely in the indie rock category, but there are enough post-punk rhythms and tones to justify its place here. Truth Club’s debut album Not An Exit is full of propulsive movement, but Travis Harrington’s earnest voice and tender lyrics are firmly tethered to the ground. Their guitars pump, twinkle and echo, but never remain static for too long.

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On “Student Housing,” the guitars cascade with precision, on “No Planned Sequel,” they rumble with grit, and on “Luminescence” they hum with subtlety. In addition to their guitar mystique, Not An Exit is more poetic than most indie or post-punk records. Harrington writes with mature poignancy about topics like entrapment, belonging, purpose, desire and anxiety. “Path Render” is an affecting view of one’s life from the ether, and on “Tethering,” Harrington poses a question that will leave you in silence for a while: “If everyone’s supposed to leave their own mark on everything / At what point does the world just seem too worn out?”

Band Members
Travis + Elise + Kam + Yvonne

Truth Club “Not An Exit” out May 3rd 2019 on Tiny Engines

Haybaby - "Pig" (Stereogum Premiere)

Brooklyn band Haybaby are stretching their creative muscles with Blood Harvest, their new EP that comes out at the end of the month, and exploring where they could go next. Lead single “Joke/Rope” was a jagged, crackling escalation of the sound they laid out on last year’s debut Sleepy Kids, and now  “Pig” stretches that wiry tension out past the five-minute-mark, blending bubbling post-hardcore restraint with an extended stretch of post-rock catharsis. Leslie Hong’s raw screams stay planted in the background, seceding to the noise. In terms of directions the Brooklyn three-piece could go, this one could be the most exciting, and “Pig” demonstrates that these musicians are more than up to the task of transforming into something completely different from what was on their debut while staying undeniably great.

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The Brooklyn-based three-piece Haybaby is a self-proclaimed “band of total babes that play honey-ass heartbreak, crooning sometimes screamy, sludgy pop & slop rock.” Also check out their song “Animosity” leans particularly into the honey-ass heartbreak and sludge factors.

On their third full-length ​”Remembering The Rockets” ​(out 26th July via Tiny Engines)​, Strange Ranger continue to excel at translating the way intimacy can feel so overwhelmingly gigantic. With a dozen releases across their 10 years as a band, the Philly-via-Portland-via-Montana group, currently featuring Isaac Eiger (guitars, vocals), Fred Nixon (bass, piano, vocals), Nathan Tucker (drums), and Fiona Woodman (vocals), have traversed genres, moods, and textures while maintaining one important throughline: an exploration of closeness.

“Trying to close the distance between yourself and another person and wondering how much can really be done about that gap,” Eiger says. “​Sometimes you don’t want to be close with others but you feel guilty, and sometimes you do but you can’t.”

Eiger, who writes the bulk of Strange Ranger’s lyrics, is a modern master of conveying the anxiety and uncertainty of growing older through a mixture of childhood nostalgia and interpersonal tidbits. There’s plenty of that on ​Remembering The Rockets​, but after all of these years of singing about his own coming-of-age story, the album approaches the quandary of whether he’ll ever be able to impart that process—through which he’s reaped so much artistic joy and curiosity—onto someone else.

“​So much suffering and horror is coming if we don’t seriously restructure our entire society, and I just really hope we get it together. I want to be a dad more than basically anything, and it’s unclear if that’d be an OK decision to make,” he says.

For a topic as severe as ecological collapse affecting his own parental aspirations—as well as other melancholy ruminations on loneliness, the passing of time, and the complications of emotional intimacy—Strange Ranger still ended up making the lushest, smoothest, and most pleasingly hypnotic album of their careers.

“​After making ​Daymoon,​ I think Isaac and myself were both feeling pretty creatively exhausted with the rock band format,” Nixon says. “We wanted the feel of the next record to put you in a trance.”

Opener “Leona” is a celestial pop song with a springy bassline and a shimmering, magical synth effect that dusts over its punchy outro groove. “Nothing Else To Think About” is a bobbing sunset soundtrack with a drum sample that puffs and clacks behind its ASMR-inducing bassline. For “Beneath The Lights,” Eiger pulls out the drawly, prickly croon of a ​Daymoon ​ballad like “Most Perfect Gold of the Century” and then contorts it with warbling, Justin Vernon-esque auto-tune. Ambient interludes like “athens, ga” and “‘02” are void of vocals and “traditional” rock elements altogether.

“It was definitely a learning curve figuring out how to do some of the weirder stuff,” Eiger says. “We’ve been using keyboards for a while now, but before we made this record we got this old Japanese synthesizer [Korg M1] which has like a trillion sounds. So that was a totally different experience.”

“We really didn’t know what we were doing and probably stumbled our way into a bunch of sounds we wouldn’t be able to recreate if we tried,” Nixon adds.

Portland, OR producer Dylan M. Howe was an essential contributor in this regard. Most of the samples and electronic beats were designed with Howe’s assistance, and he helped the band navigate the archaic software of the Korg M1—which was used for nearly every synth sound on the album. For many of the songs, such as “Message To You”, which Fiona Woodman sings the entirety of, the only component the band had going into their home studio was the drum loop. From there, they experimented with different arrangements and benefitted from Nathan Tucker’s versatile drumming abilities to build that song, and many others, outward.

“​I think we’ve always been attracted to music that you can nod your head to, and this time around I think we really tried to emphasize that,” Eiger says.

Tracks like “Pete’s Hill,” “Planes in Front of the Sun” and “Leona” lock into a pleasing breed of entrancing, rhythmic bliss. And they hit with maximum impact every time because they’re tastefully offset by a cheeky alt-country burner like “Ranch Style Home,” or a Lemonheads- esque cruiser like “Sunday.” But like all Strange Ranger albums, the band saved the most emotionally devastating songs for its finale.

“Living Free” and “Cold Hands Warm Heart” play like they’re in conversation with one another. The former is a synth-soaked reckoning with age (“all the years as blurry cars and trees / screaming right past me”) and purpose (“awkward angels in the snow / what if I just want a family?”). The latter is a sparse, two-and-a-half-minute piano ballad where Eiger acknowledges tepid hope as the only way forward. “Flickers of a world to come / here but lovelier than this one / see it rippling in the river,” he sings with a shaky intonation.

“​The image of a rocket in the sky just feels very beautiful to me and full of possibility,” Eiger says. “If you’re someone who wants to have kids and you decide not to, that kinda feels like folding and just saying, “yeah everything is fucked, there is no future.” And why even live at that point? It sucks that ‘hope’ has—for good reason—become this cheesy, lame idea. But if you’ve got no hope, you’re completely fucked in a situation like this one.”

Strange Ranger “Remembering The Rockets” Out July 26th on Tiny Engines

With 5 Songs, Wild Pink make a quick return on the heels of their critically-acclaimed sophomore album, Yolk In The Fur, which was released in July of 2018 on Tiny Engines. 5 Songs, due out in March of 2019 sees three Yolk In The Fur tracks receiving the remix treatment and also showcases two unreleased songs from those same recording sessions. Existing somewhere between the band’s understated Self-Titled debut album and the more sprawling follow-up, Yolk In The Fur, these tracks once again highlight the band’s incredible knack for writing subtle but timeless songs that open up slowly but hit hard. “Coaches Who Cry” is about being young and growing up in Virginia. “How’s The Tap Here?” is about how relationships change and also about a dog. The remixes come from Shy Layers, Dondadi (ambient/electronic project of Connor Hanwick, a sometimes touring member of Wild Pink) and Eerie Gaits, which is the solo ambient guitar project of Wild Pink lead man John Ross. 5 Songs is a small but powerful reminder that Wild Pink are truly on to something.

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Track Listing

  1. There Is A Ledger (Shy Layers Remix)
  2. Love Is Better (Connor Hanwick Remix)
  3. All Some Frenchman’s Joke (Eerie Gaits Remix)
  4. Coaches Who Cry
  5. How’s The Tap Here

Wild Pink ‘5 Songs’ out March 2019 on Tiny Engines Records

As its title suggests, Kiss Yr Frenemies is an album about forgiveness. Sarah Tudzin’s debut full-length as Illuminati Hotties sees each stage of the grieving and coping that leads to radical acceptance — digging into the grey areas of flings and relationships, growing up and feeling the same. Her disposition shifts from lighthearted smirking to choking on her words. Mood swings are well-met with Tudzin’s diverse palette of influences and genres. She grits her teeth to synth and static booms, bobs her head to jangly guitars, whispers to echoey acoustics, and makes fart noises to a relentless riff. Moving forward is rarely a straight shot. It’s messy. There are distractions, setbacks, and diversions. Tudzin takes the winding road and brings us along for the ride.

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Rarely is there an album that I can listen to and enjoy every song, but this album has certainly been able to get me to listen to it on repeat. Love this album already and looking forward to what else Illuminati Hotties has to offer.

Released May 11th, 2018

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Illuminati Hotties, aka L.A.’s Sarah Tudzin, seems plagued by the past on “Cuff.” But over a chorus of explosive guitars, backed by simple, steady drum programming, she settles on a solution: “I cuff my T-shirt sleeve / and grit my teeth / How else can I tell myself I can do most anything?”

In a new video for the track, featuring animation from Sam Lane, the protagonist is a humble fish that has fantasies of flight. As the chorus explodes, dreamy visions of possibilities flash, the colors shifting. For the film’s fish protagonist, despite the cost, hope remains. And for Tudzin, the final chorus offers relief in letting another in.

“After watching an animated short film that Sam created for part of her coursework at CalArts, I knew I wanted to collaborate with her on something,” Tudzin says. “The animation and storytelling she does is so sensitive, emotionally aware, and poignantly relatable – it sneaks right into your guts and twists them up in the most winsome way.”

The same can be said of Tudzin’s debut, a record that balances humor and heart, illuminating the ways in which we cope with coming into our own, no matter our age.

Kiss Yr Frenemies is out now via Tiny Engines.

On record, John Ross recounts intimate moments from his personal life in journalistic detail, singing in a lilting tenor that elevate anecdotes to the level of heartfelt art. Just listen to “Love Is Better,” which is a standout track from the “Yolk In The Fur”, the beguiling new album out July 20th from Ross’ indie-heartland rock band, Wild Pink.

In the song, Ross sets a scene that takes place between two friends, one of whom has unrequited feelings for the other, in a local tavern. “Pick and eat Blue Crabs in a neighborhood the mob reputedly still haunts / And there’s a sweet old man at the bar with his eyes closed
 / Mouthing the words to Kim Carnes song on the radio.” 
Ross describes this dive over a pulsing synth-rock groove, which amps the evocative blend of romance and melancholy in the lyrics. While Ross’ delicate vocal doesn’t betray the quiet heartbreak that subsequently occurs, the stirring music conveys the protagonist’s bruised yet committed resolve. “Love is better than anything else,” Ross sings.

If the details of “Love Is Better” the crustacean delicacy prevalent on the Atlantic coast, the reference to a semi-obscure ’80s pop artist seem too specific to be made up, it’s because they’re not.

“It’s all real. The first verse about a man in a bar, that all really happened,” Ross said earlier this month. “I don’t know how much I want to say about it, but there was a lot going on. Or maybe there wasn’t, and I was just projecting on it, but it seemed like this small scene in a bar had just exploded in my mind.”

Wild Pink’s self-titled debut, was one of the great sleeper records of that year, the 31-year-old singer-songwriter radiates unease whenever pressed about the meanings of his lyrics. Maybe it’s because he already reveals so much of himself in his songs — whereas Wild Pink unfolded as a series of dreamy short stories about millennial ennui in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Yolk In The Fur is a musical novel that appears to document an intense romantic (or perhaps wannabe romantic) relationship. The first five songs, including the War On Drugs-like single “Lake Erie” and the panoramic jangler “Jewels Drossed In The Runoff,” tick off without any pause between the tracks, underlining the unified, song-cycle feel of the album.

Yolk In The Fur is littered with conversational asides that appear to be lifted from actual conversations. (Ross admits that he’s constantly typing potential lyrics into his phone. “It’s the only way I know how to do it, just jotting things down and massaging them into a song,” he said. “A lot of times, nothing even rhymes.”) Many of these lines are rendered with a dry wit, like that part in the simmering rocker “The Seance on St. Augustine St.” where Ross slips in a sly generational dig: “You said boomers with hepatitis / might be spitting in your drink.” Elsewhere, Ross writes about the small, forgotten moments that accumulate into life’s defining disappointments. “But you don’t have to say you love me back
,” he sings in the slashing “John Mosby Hollow Drive.” “It’s enough when you hear me out
 / because you’ll exhaust yourself somehow
.”

On Wild Pink’s two albums, Ross is a chronic over-sharer, a habit he over-corrects in conversation whenever he’s subsequently asked to explain himself.

“Yeah, it’s ironic, isn’t it?” Ross said, a trace of a chuckle lurking behind his words. “I’m pretty timid in my personal life, and also I like to keep more of the mystery about a song. It can resonate with more people, even if it is incredibly specific.

Ross’ shy demeanor, hyper-personal lyrics, and insistently pretty and surging melodies have prompted critics to liken Wild Pink to Death Cab For Cutie and “the golden age of TV soundtracks,” typified by the ’00s teen soap The OC. But Ross considers himself a student of classic-rock singer-songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Paul Simon, and Jackson Browne, who is referenced directly on Yolk In The Fur‘s title track. (“I don’t know exactly what it means, but I know that it’s evocative of something,” Ross said cryptically of the album title. “To me, it’s about protecting something vulnerable.”)

All of those songwriters, like Ross, are storytellers who spin autobiographical tales into tunes that speak to the overall human condition. Unlike Ross, those guys also managed to be massively successful pop stars. But in his own modest way Wild Pink has a small but growing following that deserves to expand dramatically once Yolk In The Fur is released  Ross aspires to a kind of grandiosity.

Musically, Yolk In The Fur is a sizable leap from the first Wild Pink record, which is composed of contemplative, mid-tempo songs that evoke ’90s slowcore far more than ’70s arena-rock. For the new record, Ross carried over his experiments with synthesizers in the side project Eerie Gaits to his work in Wild Pink, teasing out the band’s threadbare soundscapes with layers of swelling, atmospheric guitar and keyboard sounds, finally putting the band’s music on equal footing with Ross’ lyrics. Several tracks, including highlights like “Love Is Better” and the poppy New Romantics throwback “There Is A Ledger,” started as home recordings that Ross brought to the band during the making of Yolk In The Fur last December.

“I just really wanted to make something bigger in scope,” he said. “I think that obviously, ’70s rock is the heyday of rock and those records are enormous, and every now and then there’s a record like The Monitor. I don’t think the lyrics are becoming less of a focus for me, but making more interesting textures and sound palettes or whatever, that’s becoming way more important to me.”

Band Members :
John Ross – Guitar and Vocals
TC Brownell – Bass
Dan Keegan – Drums

Ross’ next project might sound even bigger than Yolk In The Fur — he’s talked in interviews about working on a double-album about the American West, a kind of 21st century Desperado, though naturally, he’s reticent to divulge too much about it. For the time being, he’s focused on making music that has “a shot at being timeless as opposed to timely,” a quality that reverberates throughout the excellent, yearning Yolk In The Fura personal statement about real-life minutia that signifies profound, larger-than-life truths.

Yolk In The Fur is out 7/20 on Tiny Engines

thanks uproxx.com

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The Philadelphia five-piece likes amps and layers of guitars, loud clouds of thick noise that saturate every inch of available space. Their new lead single “The Red Door” off their upcoming fourth album LP5000 tumbles towards you, bursting with their usual rolling energy. It’s a satisfying anthem with a deeper, more cynical backbone.

The pains of gentrification weigh heavy, glaring through the desperately repeated lyric, “What remains? Every corner, a new name.” A red door becomes an omen of gentrification’s sweeping damage, both physical and emotional. Lead singer Jon Loudon recently spoke of his own neighborhood’s transformation saying, ”Philadelphia (and perhaps your town, too?) is rapidly changing. I wonder about where people go when they can’t afford to live in these new neighborhoods anymore. The red doors on all the new buildings feels like some kind of warning sign.”

Band Members
Dave Klyman – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Jon Loudon – Guitar/Vocals
Ben Pierce – Keys/Guitar/Backing Vocals
Dan Zimmerman – Bass/Backing Vocals
Jeff Meyers- Drums/Percussion

Restorations “LP5000” out 9/28/18 on Tiny Engines Records

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There’s something special about the band Wild Pink and their new album. The Brooklyn indie rock trio’s 2017 debut paired insightful, wide-eyed lyrics with heavy chords and twinkly emo tunings, spilling out about frustrations familiar to any twenty-something urbanite struggling to find a place in this mixed-up world. Buried beneath lines about smartphones and the Redskins/Cowboys NFL rivalry, the album offered a glimmer of sprawling Americana, and considering what we heard with “Lake Erie,” the band appears to continue that pursuit on the upcoming Tiny Engines album.

The track “Jewels Drossed In The Runoff” evokes the rushing swell of the crusty industrial oceanside. With anthemic guitars and chilling, crystalline synth pads, the track channels some of the biggest moments of mid-’80s heartland rock, with chords and lyrics that feel like a dead match for Tom Petty. Frontman John Ross sings about a committed lover with an earnest falsetto that can’t seem to get past doubting himself. “I grew up removed / And you have a heart like a star, you give away your best,” he sings in the track’s final moments. It’s a planetarium of spirit delivered in the most honest form imaginable.

Band Members
John Ross,
TC Brownell,
Dan Keegan,

Wild Pink “Yolk In The Fur” out 7/20/2018 on Tiny Engines Records