Listen To Relatives' Beautiful, Puzzling New Album

Listen To Relatives' Beautiful, Puzzling New Folk-Rock Opus Photography by Sasha Arutyunova

Relatives are a New York and Providence-based folk-rock band whose slow-burn melodies and roundabout lyrics are equal parts playful, bookish, and melancholy. The duo—Katie Vogel and Ian Davis—started writing together in 2007, and their close kinship is evident in the strength of their songwriting.
 
Their new album, Weighed Down Fortune, is filled with songs that are spare in instrumentation yet feel lush and full. “Hope Springs” rides a bouncing beat and jumpy melody in service of puzzling, circuitous lyrics like “surely someday we’ll find that after all it was intended as such.” Perhaps the funkiest and most immediate song on the album, “Typee,” counters its danceable beat with cryptic lines like, “It’s an apocryphal world—we can’t keep scratching our noses but never stop the itching as such.”
 
Another track, “The Ambiguities” reminds me of Mount Eerie and Julie Dorion’s excellent 2008 collaboration Lost Wisdom, both in its intimate vocal harmonies and in the simultaneous sorrow and hope embedded in its lyrics. Davis says he drew inspiration for the song in “Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, a novel by Herman Melville about wealth, loss, sex, death, and angst." Melville’s novel and Weighed Down Fortune are alike in more ways than one: Both are oblique and evasive works that touch on romance, philosophy, writing, and family dynamics; but, in the end, a simple strength and beauty shines through.
 
Weighed Down Fortune, is out now. Catch their record release show at the Park Church Co-op on 11/11 with Arooj Aftab and Michael Rocketship.
 

Connecting to Gam Spun's AF Hyperlink

Connecting to Gam Spun's AF Hyperlink

Hot Releases, the North Carolina based label run by Ryan Martin just came upon its 9th anniversary of operation. To celebrate they have released a new eclectic batch of albums that speak to the spectrum of sounds curated by Martin throughout the last 9 years. One of these releases, AF Hyperlink comes from the mind of Alex Chesney, whose work in Ashrae Fax and Faster Detail culminates as Gam Spun. Both a revival of Chesney's alias from the early 2000s and a journey into new sonic terrain, Gam Spun is a testament to Chesney's inventiveness and songwriting ability. AF Hyperlink is a collection of 10 vibrantly warped shoegaze instrumentals full of decadent synths, ecstatic guitar tones, and vigorous percussion. Providing a lush perspective within the realms of dream pop and shoegaze, Gam Spun carves a unique headspace to crawl inside. These heart-pounding compositions evoke feelings of both a fantastic futurism and a hazy nostalgia, blending together within their own space-time.

AF Hyperlink is out now on Hot Releases.

 

Jo Passed Premieres Disturbing Animated Visuals For "Pet Crows"

Jo Passed Premieres Disturbing Animated Visuals For Photography by John Mutter

Vancouver rock band Jo Passed, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Joseph Hirabayashi (Spring, SSRIs), has shared the visuals to "Pet Crows," a standout tune from his 2016 Up EP. Animator Liam Hamilton conjures up aggresively strange hand drawn images to soundtrack the song's fitful, unconventional movements. Hirabayashi says the "the characters Hamilton comes up with are fantastic, likely decent halloweeen costumes too."  Hamilton is also touring as a drummer on Jo Passed's upcoming tour, which stops through Brooklyn at Union Pool on 11/3, supporting Ratboys and DAGS!. Check out the delightful, and somewhat disturbing, halucinatory video below.   
 

 

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Watch Jad Fair's Paper-Cut Video For Strobe Talbot's "Superstar"

Watch Jad Fair's Paper-Cut Video For Strobe Talbot's

Strobe Talbot are a happy anomaly, a longstanding trio that consists of Jad Fair and Mick Hobbs of Half Japanese and percussionist Benb Gallaher, all based in different countries. The release of their most recent record Funland comes a decade and a half after the last Strobe full-length, with a playfulness that belies their age as a band—it’s an album full of wide-eyed love songs like “Superstar,” a blissed-out two minutes traversing the feeling of being “in the arms of happiness, in the arms of yes it’s true, in the arms of me and you, in the arms of love.” With Fair’s declarations, sitars roll alongside a choir of spectral voices in a giddy, transcendent rush. Fair made a video with his signature paper cutting animations to complement the song’s staggering sweetness, with cats, birds, flowers, and one-eyed monsters looking on as human couples gaze into each other’s eyes. Set to the headlong drumbeat and dreamy animations, Fair’s wordplay sounds perfectly natural—“The best thing that ever done did / it is here and it will not hid / it will not slip and it will not slid / yeah, solid! Superstar!”

Stream the video below. Funland is out now on Moone Records, and the limited-edition vinyl has a morphing hologram effect featuring some of Jad Fair's artwork (you can see a demonstration here).

Fits' "Hot Topic" Is About Failure, But It's Not An Apology

Fits' Photography by Nick Karp

Brooklyn power-poppers Fits have been tearing up the scene for a couple years now, and for good reason–their loud, playful, DIY aesthetic is shaped as much by bandleader Nicholas Cummins' smart and pointed songwriting as it is the band's growing up around and playing in DIY spaces such as Shea Stadium and Silent Barn. The band–Cummins, Brian Orante, Emma Witmer (of gobbinjr), and Joe Galarraga (of Big Ups)–play to these songwriting chops, crafting each minute-long burst of Cummins' songs into something anthemic and cathartic. Their new song "Hot Topic," off their upcoming debut album All Belief is Paradise, starts off with a lazy guitar and languid vocals, a sound that betrays Cummins' lyrical barbs: "You would have not been pissed off if I stood behaved, but I frayed when I did 'cause I can't." The song grows louder as Cummins' voice grows more urgent, but then, after a pause, the song settles into a swooning instrumental groove through its end. It's the sort of song that, after its minute and a half is over, you'll probably repeat and repeat. 

"This song is about losing your voice, getting caught in the throat, and missing an opportunity to stand up for yourself and who you are," said Cummins. "In that way it's about a failure, but it's also not an apology. National coming out day was last week and it reminded me of this ever-present pressure to describe, defend and explain your identity in really personal ways to complete strangers all the time. The personal is definitely political and all of us are intertwined but sometimes you don't want to be a narrative, you just want to be a person who's like, eating a bagel or playing Starcraft of going to the beach and stuff. Society can be exhausting and it can be really easy to forget that we're all individuals, with 8 billion gender presentations and 8 billion selves. You don't owe everyone all of your courage all of the time."

Fits' debut album, All Belief is Paradise, is out November 17 on Father/Daughter Records. Catch their record release show at Aphaville on November 17 with Peaer, Yucky Duster, and Human People.

Floral Print's New Album is Full of Detours

Floral Print's New Album is Full of Detours Photography by Lauren Barfield

Atlanta’s floral print make guitar pop full of hazy, woozy melodies and textures, but strained through razors: their songs are full of sputtering stops, false starts, and sudden detours. Take, for instance, the opening track of their new album mirror stages, called “sweepstakes life": the song begins with an bouncy guitar line and playful melody, but soon devolves into a squall of noise that leads into a mumbling piano ballad. The band–made up of singer/guitarist Nathan Springer, drummer Paul DeMerritt, and bassist Joshua Pittman–rotates through genres and styles almost naturally, a gift that belies their origins of meeting by chance through Facebook. “egg rites” alternates between an American Football-esque post-rock and overwhelming distortion. The title track, one of my favorites, is perhaps one of the most discordant ambient songs I’ve ever heard.  
 
"mirror stages was recorded between March 2015 and October 2016,” said Nathan Springer. “The bulk of the album was recorded in two separate two day sessions at Broad Street Visitor's Center in Atlanta in the late summer of 2016. Graham Tavel recorded, produced, and mixed the album. These songs gestated much longer than the songs on our EP 'woo' and are a lot more varied in style. We were going through some weird stuff at the time, and consequently the tone of the album is a little darker than our previous recordings.”
 
mirror stages is out October 20 via Tiny Engines. Listen to the album below.
 

Evan Zierk: "Bending"

Evan Zierk:

Evan Zierk's new album on Atlantic Rhythms dissects our understanding of time and perception, the tones vibrate a space within. Zierk's skillfully blends together a minimal palette of sonic textures to create a vibrant world that swirls around your skull. Drifting/Bending simulates a loss of gravity, akin to an out of body experience, hovering as an observer. Zierk's gliding arpeggios dance from ear to ear, their pulse moving like a newly formed organism. Evan Zierk is joined by longtime collaborator Nate Mendelsohn playing alto saxophone, whose presence further adds to the feeling of drift, “Bending” causes an awareness of the complexities of perception and sensation. Spatial cognition is left behind, these deeply transfixing and spiritual tones drown out any other input. 

Drifting/Bending is out now on Atlantic Rhythms.

Lou Rebecca Shows Her Grace In "Fantôme"

Lou Rebecca Shows Her Grace In

Though she relocated to Austin, TX, a few years ago, Lou Rebecca’s hometown of Paris—not the one of Wim Wenders’ notoriety—is never too far away. Rebecca sings in both English and her native tongue, and in the self-directed video for “Fantôme,” first single from her upcoming debut EP, she pirouettes, sings, and broods through several archetypal environments: austere living quarters, a hard wood floor adorned with golden flowers, a dim red performance space. Each shot, each location, every action is striking, and finely-orchestrated to boot. As in her songwriting, Rebecca's directorial style and visual cues build from a foundation of poise and grace. The entire program feels like a dance routine, and I don’t just mean the parts where there’s, you know, actual dancing—the wavering space between physical bodies and the places they inhabit provides weight. It’s largely responsible for the video’s emotional tension and suspense, and makes “Fantôme” a joy to watch time and again.

Lou Rebecca is out January 12 on Holodeck Records.

Sapphogeist Embraces Wondrous Pop On "Holding On"

Sapphogeist Embraces Wondrous Pop On Photo by Nikki Sneakers

Zoe Burke’s first release as Sapphogeist, a self-titled affair on the inimitable No Rent Records, was a sea change. After a tenure shrieking in power electronics provocateurs Reverse Baptism, the transition was profound, but well done and oh-so-satisfying. Songs like “Ultramortal” and “A Lie” boasted finely-barbed, sharp, unmissable hooks, transfiguring the listener into something like Frank at the end of Hellraiser. Though bookended by pop bangers, Sapphogeist still had extended passages of avant-garde, noisy instrumentation. On her Bank Records follow up, Mar A Lago, Zoe maintains an ethos of experimentation, but plunges fully into the realm of industrial-soaked R&B. “Holding On,” track two of Mar A Lagooriginally a Bernard Herman composition, moves through evolving electronic textures. Beginning with an austere vocal pattern and simple synth section, the track warps into utter revelation as it crescendos and breaks about two-thirds in. The tracks on Mar A Lago show maturation and elegance, making for another essential grab.

Mar A Lago is available to purchase on Bank Records.

Cones Premiere People-Pleaser "Whatever You're Into"

Cones Premiere People-Pleaser

Brothers Jonathan and Michael Rosen are Cones, a Los Angeles-based guitar pop outfit on the rise. Having spent the last couple of years woodshedding as Eleanor Friedberg's band, Cones' "Whatever You're Into" is the second of two singles being released via Canvasclub, Canvasback Music's monthly singles series. AdHoc is stoked to premiere the track, a groovily sauntering psychedelic dance jam — what Cones' Jonathan Rosen says is about "being a people-pleaser" and "a vehicle for somebody else's desires." Rosen also describes the track as "being at the wheel late at night, driving somebody wherever they wish to go" and reconciling your own desires with those of your companion. We're thrilled to have Cones headline Berlin on Saturday 9/9 with Cassandra Jenkins and Dark Tea.