On “Thinning,” Snail Mail’s singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan, reckons with a gale-force low with a disarming directness. Her vocals, delivered carefully and veiled by reverb, hesitate between a desire to surrender to or push herself out of the haze of feeling unlike herself. The track, a highlight from last summer’s Habit, has received a video, directed and shot by the band’s drummer Shawn Durham. The video features Jordan performing the song in different locations around her native Baltimore and Maryland. The shots fixate on inbetweenness. You can watch dawn and dusk unfold into day and night throughout the video. It feels like a psychogeography—with the video’s cemeteries, parking lots, ponds and fields serveing as a map and index for the song’s sense of stuckness. In one striking moment, Jordan stands silent in a dark field while behind her people play frisbee—a burst of life proceeding indifferently to the struggle Jordan has documented in song.
Girard Freeloader, the newest album from Norwegian Arms, is a travelogue record. It charts the wanderings of the band’s sole member, Keith Birthday, from Peru to Washington state to Toronto to New York and his hometown, Philadelphia. The tracks have their roots in psych-folk, often based around Birthday’s distinctive mandolin-playing. But the realization of this music is forward thinking and contemporary—drawing from soul and electronic pop and, in the process, approximating what ‘80s Peter Gabriel might’ve sounded like if he were plopped into 2017. On album highlight "Visions", a tricky, time-signature warping verse gives way to a dizzying hook that somehow conjures proggy mysticism and contemporary R&B all at once.
Girard Freeloader is out now via Mutual Crush. You can stream the record in its entirety below. Norwegian Arms will be touring in support of the record starting this Sunday and be performing alongside Dominic at Shea Stadium on February 4.
For the past half-decade, Priests have been an anchor of their native-D.C.’s music community, releasing music by local or otherwise likeminded bands like Snail Mail, Downtown Boys, as well as Priests-related side projects including Flasher and Gauche, via their label Sister Polygon. After releasing their excellent Bodies and Control and Money and Power with Don Giovanni, the band is gearing up to release their debut full-length, Nothing Feels Natural through their own label. The album’s title track channels the urgency that’s characterized their previous music through a dizzying melodic arc to create a bracing anthem about the struggle to realize yourself against seemingly irresistible forces.
Listen to “Nothing Feels Natural” below. The record is due out January 27 via Sister Polygon Records. Priests will be kicking off a tour in support of the record with an anti-fascist benefit concert in DC on the day of the inauguration. They’ll be performing in New York with Snail Mail at Brooklyn Night Bazaar on January 28.
“First Rain” is a collaboration between the ambient pop project, Teen Daze, and S. Carey. The first song written for Themes For Dying Earth, Teen Daze’s newest record, “First Rain” reflects on a beautiful, serene night outside that’s tempered by a distant knowledge that what’s here now may not be in the future. Built around a meditative FM piano melody that’s supplemented slowly by organs, guitars, and bells, the track transmutes the misty, cinematic cityscapes of the Blue Nile into a pastoral vision of a river rippling with rain. Teen Daze will touring throughout February and March, doing legs in the east and west coast. You can catch them playing alongside Mozart's Sister in Brooklyn at Silent Barn on February 26.
Themes for Dying Earth is due out February 10 via FLORA.
For The Courtneys, getting signed to the lofi guitar pop mecca, Flying Nun Records, as the label’s first ever non-New Zealand act must have been like a dream come true. “Tour,” the latest track from their forthcoming record, The Courtneys II, is a perfect road trip anthem turned askew; an effortlessly sing-alongable melody belying a sense of unease, embedded in the anxious drum pattern and a bassline which vacillates between dissonance and power pop perfection. The Courtneys will be touring with Jay Som throughout the Spring, working their way to New York for a show at Baby’s All Right on March 29.
Listen to “Tour” below. The Courtneys II is out February 27 via Flying Nun.
Minus The Bear have returned from a near-five year absence with a new record, Voids. The record finds the Seattle-based band revisiting their early sound, filtered through the personnel and personal changes of their 15 years of music making. “Invisible” the first single, leads with a tense, finger-tapped verse that erupts into an arena-rock ready chorus. Minus the Bear are on tour this spring, dropping by Webster Hall on March 29 to perform with Beach Slang.
Philly post-hardcore vets Pissed Jeans have been at it for a decade and change, but they insist on speaking to the now—even when the “now” falls outside of the antiquated romantic vocabulary of rock n roll. “Ignorecam,” is the newest single from their forthcoming record, Why Love Now. Where their previous single, “The Bar Is Low” spoke to the ubiquity of abuse among famous and powerful men, “Ignorecam” hones in on the proliferation of fetish cam shows where men pay women “to be ignored.” The track pummels the listener with a seemingly endless procession riff, sounding something like a boulder tumbling down a mountain side. The band will be touring in support of Why Love Now starting next month, stopping at Brooklyn Bazaar on February 24.
The Adverts were one of the most decidedly empathetic of first wave of British punk bands. “Bored Teenagers,” the B-side to their classic single, “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” balances the time-honored trope of listless adolescence with a sense of ineffable wonder. In other words, it's the perfect track for a band as earnest and faithful to the power of guitar music as Beach Slang to take on in the opening track of their second covers mixtape, Here I Made This For You Mixtape Volume II. Beach Slang will be on tour starting this month, and are performing at Webster Hall with Minus The Bear on March 28.
Listen to the band’s cover of “Bored Teenagers” below. Here I Made This For You Mixtape Volume II will be available February 10 via Polyvinyl Records.
Half Waif, the synth pop project of Pinegrove member Nandi Rose Plunkett, made waves last year with “Turn Me Around,” which set new age and choral music-inspired vocal melodies against a big radio-ready beat. “Severed Logic,” the first single from her upcoming form/a EP, continues in the same vein of eclectic electronic pop experimentation, this time in the form of a downtempo ballad. Plunkett has described form/a as an exploration of home born from a sense restlessness that comes from being the daughter of a refugee and a child of divorce. “Severed Logic” catalogs the home a body can make in familiar, and painful dynamics. “I’m so aware of all my moods around you,” Plunkett sings, her voice distorting unintelligibly as she tries to work her way out of the pattern. Half Waif will be touring starting this week through to March, stopping in Brooklyn to perform at Baby’s All Right with Forth Wanderers on January 13.
Listen to “Severed Logic” below. form/a is out February 24 via Cascine.
This interview with Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage appears in AdHoc Issue 16.
Parquet Courts organized and play at Knock! Knock! Down! Down!at Knockdown Center on December 10 with Lee Ranaldo, Guerilla Toss, X___X, Vanity, and Flasher.
New York rock stalwarts Parquet Courts have a knack for playing in unconventional places, like their 2014 AdHoc-co-hosted event at the Sugarhill Supper Club. This year, the band has set its sights on the Knockdown Center, a revamped factory space in Maspeth, Queens that regularly plays host to forward-looking dance, music, art, and theater happenings. On December 10, AdHoc and Parquet Courts will present Knock! Knock! Down! Down!, an evening of musical performances and art installations by the band, its contemporaries,and its inspirations. While soaking in sounds from Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, legendary Ohio proto-punk band X___X , New York punk torchbearers Vanity, and DC post-punk trio Flasher [Ed.: Guerilla Toss has since been added to the bill], visitors wandering through the space will encounter films by Joey Pizza Slice, an audio-video installation by Eaters, and paintings by Parquet Courts vocalist, guitarist, and design mastermind Andrew Savage. We met up with Savage at his apartment in Brooklyn to talk about the genesis of Knock! Knock! Down! Down!, and using art and music to engage with your moment in history.
AdHoc: How did Knock! Knock! Down! Down! come about?
Andrew Savage: Parquet Courts has a tradition of playing a show in December, at the end of the year. Our first band practice was in December2010, so it’s like an anniversary. I think it’s really interesting to take advantage of all these weird and cool spaces for art that we have. Even before I lived here, I noticed that all the DIY venues in New York were a bit different. They each have their own kind of site-specific quality. I’m grateful for the chance to have played places like Palisades and Market Hotel and to be able to make something unique. It’s sad that places like Monster Island Basement and Death By Audio have gone under, but their legacy is also inspiring, because they had this really amazing life. It’s at Death By Audio where we essentially learned how to be a band and play on stage. I never wanna not have an engagement with that world. Knock! Knock! Down! Down! will be a bunch of bands that don’t sound similar but go together in an interesting way. Eaters are an electronic band on my label Dull Tools. We have important contemporaries to us, like Flasher, which is Taylor [Mulitz] from Priests’ new band. And then people who are obviously influential on Parquet Courts, like X___X, a legendary band from my favorite time in American rock music: the ’70s underground proto-punk, post-Velvets thing. Craig [Bell] from X___X was also in Mirrors, Rocket from the Tombs, and Dead Boys. He’s become a good friend and ally. Lee Ranaldo [is] obviously someone who’s been influential on Parquet Courts, and has becomea friend. Vanity [are] a great representation of how awesome the New York punk and hardcore scene is at the moment. I think it’s important for bands to have something that makes them them—some benchmark of success other than the ones that have all been tropes for a long time. In my opinion, it’s asserting who you are and where you come from, and doing it alongside people that you respect, and making a fun night for people.