Posts Tagged ‘Topshelf Records’

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Ratboys, the Chicago based band, that is built on the duo of Julia Steiner and Dave Fagan have become one of my favorites over the last couple of years. Their unique tales sung to their own brand of indie make them an easy band to reach for. New album “Printer’s Devil” is out on 2/28/20 via the fine folks of Topshelf Records.

Upheaval and change are themes spread throughout the songs on Printer’s Devil, the latest Ratboys LP, out February 28th, 2020 via Topshelf Records. But all the while, singer-songwriter Julia Steiner embraces moments of uncertainty as a necessary part of growing. Steiner recalls a David Byrne lyric, “I’m lost, but I’m not afraid” as inspiration for the transformative outlook, considering the line a personal mantra while writing Ratboys’ third full-length record. “There’s definitely a lot of uncertainty about what’s next, but I like to think that, in the midst of creating a lot of vulnerability for ourselves, we’re confident and becoming more self-assured.”

This is the official music video for “Alien with a Sleep Mask On” from the album ‘Printer’s Devil’ by Ratboys

Out today, “Days” is the latest dreamy roller from No Vacation’s upcoming EP, Phasing. The new release’s penultimate track cruises and sways upon a rolling groove of curious, winding bass and No Vacation’s signature guitar twang. Its reverb-soaked vocals call on nostalgia for days long passed, building up to the song’s instrumentally dynamic climax where a dozen layers of strings envelop the arrangement in a shimmering display of the group’s penchant for compositional tension and release. “Days” proves to be a quintessential No Vacation number, dabbling as it does in evocative, shoegazey dream-pop that leaves listeners warm and hopeful.

released on Topshelf Records

Philadelphia four-piece Queen of Jeans are the band you didn’t know you were missing, shimmying around your ears with vibrant three-part harmonies and ‘60s girl group and doo-wop hooks you don’t hear on your typical punk rock bill.  Queen of Jeans offers a rebuttal to that take in a few ways. First, their sneaky use of tried-and-true 50s arrangements, melodies, and song structures to critically comment the latent (or overt) misoginy of music that American society teaches us is canonical. Songs deemed “classic” by older generations that actually advocated a kind of unhealthy idea of what love is and what it should be

Their debut LP Dig Yourself(released on Topshelf Records) is an all ‘round winner, and now, they’ve given the cleverly-referential music video treatment to one of its true jukebox jams.


releases August 23rd, 2019

Band Members
Miri Devora, Mattie Glass & Patrick Wall

While listeners have previously described Field Mouse’s sound as something akin to a shoegazey dream pop, “Meaning” marks a decided turn to less obscured realms, boasting 11 songs about finding meaning at the end of the world.

“A lot has happened in the three years since our last record came out. While there is far too much to say about it all in one place, we wrote this album anyway. What are the broad strokes, you ask? It’s more or less about the end of the world and all of the ways that it seems to be happening, but also about making peace with former selves and growing as a person despite the feeling of global entropy. Also: strange internet versions of our friends and selves, bouts of insomnia and picking through the dreams that followed, the importance of forgiveness, and creating meaning in a world that increasingly feels like total chaos. What is the function of art in a place like this? Is anything we make going to last? I am not sure, but here are 11 songs looking for the answer. What I do know is that art connects us to each other and to our feelings and our selves. It is a liferaft, and I hope that we can all continue to put it into the world, appreciate it, and share it indefinitely.”
Rachel Browne

“Meaning”, the third full length album by the Brooklyn– and Philly-based indie rock group Field Mouse, out August 16th, 2019 on Topshelf Records.

Rachel Browne – vocals, guitars
Andrew Futral – guitars
Saysha Heinzman – bass, harmonies
Zoë Browne – keyboards, harmonies
Anne Dole – drums


The Rose Gardener, Bellows’ fourth full-length album and the project’s first for Topshelf Records, is a four-part journey through the uncanny valley of deep psychological disorder and pain. Self-recorded over the course of a single winter while Oliver Kalb was living in Woodstock, NY, The Rose Gardener invokes a bright and pastoral landscape of Americana and folk, with lyrics influenced by a strange pairing of Romantic Poetry and deeply modern interrogations of internet pop-culture discourse. The uncanniness of The Rose Gardener comes from the odd pairing of this bright Americana musical foundation with the album’s dark, bubbling substructure of noise, synthesizers, sampling and vocal manipulation that together create a feeling of paranoia and danger around every corner; as if the album’s narrator cannot escape his plummeting into the dark however much its songs push to remain in the bright rose garden of beauty and creation.

This time around, rather than present great coloured skies and vistas, The Rose Gardener feels more pin-pointed, an exploration of what’s directly around us; a world within a world (the proverbial garden), but also lingering dark corners, the parts of our brain we don’t often find ourselves in.


Musically, The Rose Gardener finds Kalb and co. in similarly stylistic mood to what’s come before, this aforementioned world brought into life through a series of skewed, odd-pop signatures, both light and dark, shaped by the manipulated vocals and the playful and plentiful rhythmic instrumentals that burst into bloom with the most graceful of touches.

The kind of record that feels tenderly consuming when you’re inside of it, and strangely dream-like when you’re not, the new album is another adventurous and emotive collection of songs, earthy and raw but idiosyncratic too; a maze-like allegory of pop songs, full of twists and turns you can’t explain. 

The Rose Gardener is released on Friday, via Topshelf Records

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Oh my goodness. Ocala Wick is an intimate insight into love and the city. Emma does such an amazing job telling stories and crafting sounds– polished bedroom pop for bedridden romantics

Gobbinjr is among an elite group of pop songwriters, the type that create songs that wiggle their way into your head, forever and unshakably engrained there for the rest of time. While Emma Witmer’s songs often revolve around anxiety, falling apart, and everyday tragedies, their music is always radiant and clever. Their new album Ocala Wick came out on Topshelf Records, in all its hooky glory. It’s somber yet uplifting, infectious and well-constructed… and dammit, these songs are all on a scale of incredible to flat out amazing. It’s the most fun you’re ever going to have from what is essentially a set of sad songs.


Released June 8th, 2018

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The music of El Ten Eleven has been described as “meditation in motion,” which seems apt. To fully realize this descriptor the band worked with an outside producer for the first time in their 16-year career, teaming up with Sonny DiPerri and moving into the incredible confines of Panoramic House on the beautiful Northern California coast. “Phenomenal Problems” is the first single from El Ten Eleven’s new album ‘Banker’s Hill’ – out now on Topshelf Records.

The result is Banker’s Hill This is our tenth record. Thank you so much for coming along on this ride with us. It’s an album that explores the paradox of beauty in anxiety, the importance and effect of family and the fleeting possibility of satisfaction.Made up of Kristian Dunn (bass, guitar) and Tim Fogarty (Drums), they utilize multiple looping pedals to create songs that sound as though they are being played by at least six people. Most first-timers to an El Ten Eleven show are stunned that the band is a duo. It’s a refreshing sight in this age of letting the computers do all the work.


Released August 10th, 2018

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Dreams, so we’ve been told, only occur while we sleep . For No Vacation, the bedroom is where everything started, and now they’re living their dreams. The guitar-pop quintet have in a short period achieved a cult status within the indie community, leading them to move from their hometown of San Francisco to the music mecca of Brooklyn. During their transition from one coast to the other, they wrote and recorded their latest EP, the aptly titled “Intermission”, which, well, sounds like it came from the bedroom.

At a succinct sixteen minutes, Intermission is a stunning and immediate affair. From the soothing melodies and jangly guitar riffs to the thoughtful songwriting, the record is like a letter written to you from your best friend. Or in this day and age, it’s akin to your BFF sending you a steady stream of text messages sent over the course of a day. The warm and embracing “Yam Yam” kicks off the EP, and it reintroduces the world to the comforts of No Vacation’s bedroom pop. The interplay between the clean guitar lines and the deep echo of the bass yields a groovy yet spellbinding ambiance while the percussion work is smartly executed. They set the canvas for front woman Sabrina Mai’s whispery vocals and endearing lyrics, which are words a best friend would say to someone in need or in trouble.

The air gets steamy with “You’re Not With Me”, an extremely intimate ballad of the unbreakable bond between two lovers, friends, or family. It’s No Vacation’s goodbye to the people they are leaving behind, but who will never be forgotten. After the short piano interlude “Intermission”, the band make an escape from death sound like a day at the beach with “Reaper”. The shimmering guitar-pop melody and Mai’s feathery vocals mask the seriousness of the lyrics. “I’ve got to get away, get away from this place”, Mai sings with her own delicate urgency.

The EP’s closer, “Mind Fields”, possesses a similar groovy, carefree spirit. This song, however, is about a break-up that occurred early in the band’s evolution. Although Mai’s lyrics are biting, a feeling of relief from being unshackled is felt in her voice.

Although “Mind Fields” is recalls a moment of heartbreak, it’s final words leave to interpretation that the song could mean much more. Maybe it’s the band’s way of saying they will one day return to the Bay area. Maybe they’re telling us that for all the struggles of the past they cannot wait for what the future holds. Or maybe it’s a subtle way to say they are living their dreams, and they won’t let these moments pass.


Intermission is out now via Topshelf Records, and it is available for purchase on Bandcamp as well as on the other usual streaming and online music stores.

No Vacation are Sabrina Mai (vocals/guitar), Marisa Saunders (bass), Nat Lee (synths), Harrison Spencer (guitar), and James Shi (drums).

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Independent record label located in San Diego, CA by way of Boston, MA. Started in 2006.

Hitting up South By Southwest this year? Topshelf Records will be returning to Austin Cheer Up Charlie’s for our official SXSW showcase on Thursday, 15th March. We have an awesome lineup this year featuring GulferQueen of JeansSpecial ExplosionRatboys, and No Vacation.



Julia sings and plays guitar Dave does everything else , Ratboys’ propulsive yet gentle sound is anchored by the ethereal voice of guitarist Julia Steiner, who sings with a combination of vulnerability and strength, while the band essentially longtime multi-instrumentalist Dave Sagan and drummer Danny Lyons provides a dynamic soundtrack of frenetic volume and powerful quietude. Within their stylistic range, Ratboys hint at the Folk/Pop energy of Clem Snide and The Innocence Mission and sonic territories explored by Juliana Hatfield and Smashing Pumpkins, with Steiner’s emotive vocals, intensely wrought lyrics and delicate guitar ministrations set against Sagan’s angular and often unbridled fury.

Ratboys began in Chicago nearly a decade ago, operating consistently as the solid core of Steiner and Sagan, with a revolving support cast around them. Since its recorded debut with the track “Spiderweb 2/8/09,” the band has dropped a number of solo and split singles, an EP and a pair of full-lengths — 2015’s AOID and last year’s spectacular GN. At the time of AOID’s release, Ratboys were operating with a traditional rhythm section, but by GN, the band was pared down to a trio, with Lyons on drums and Sagan handling bass, guitar and pocket piano (pedal steel, cello and other accompaniment was provided by guest musicians).

hey! we have some new music to share today! here’s an EP called ‘GL’ (aka Good Luck) featuring 4 songs about losing faith in your friends & telling the truth. a companion piece to ‘GN’ if ya dig. We really hope you like these songs & we’re So psyched to play em for you in person as we tour across the US and Canada in the coming weeks


released February 23rd, 2018

Julia Steiner – vox/lyrics, guitar
David Sagan – guitar
recorded & mixed by Mikey Crotty
drums by Brendan Smyth
pedal steel on ‘You’ve Changed’ by Pat Lyons 
trumpet on ‘GL’ and ‘After School’ by Cody Owens

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