Tag Archives: soundcloud

The Fun Years – “Ask For The Omega Man”

The Fun Years are getting ready to release their latest full-length. “Heroes of the Second Story Walk-Up,” which is currently up for pre-order on Spring Break Tapes. “Ask for the Omega Man” is the latest track off that forthcoming album.

Ben Recht and Isaac Sparks are The Fun Years, and after poking around Soundcloud for a while to get a feel for the duo’s trajectory “Ask for the Omega Man” sounds not so much like a departure from past endeavors as it is more of an expansion. Whereas a previous release on Spring Break Tapes, “Janice Was Into Recovery” from two years ago, is much more of a drone affair, “Ask for the Omega Man” is focused on more somewhat orthodox song forms.

I know that I already brought this band up the other day, so you’ll have to forgive me, but it would be hard to dismiss the Explosions in the Sky vibe throughout this one. But, at the 2:40 mark, as the lead guitar shifts into into its own haunting pattern, the mood of the entire track shifts from gloomy to nostalgic, even hopeful.

Guitar sounds are downplayed throughout “Janice Was Into Recovery,” while they are the main driving force behind “Ask for the Omega Man.” “Janice…” is made from smaller snippets placed up front in the mix, with melodic material cast more to the background, in an ambient texture. Where “Janice…” draws attention to its nature as a loop, “Ask for the Omega Man” shifts your focus elsewhere with melodic counterpoint keeping the scratchy sounds of the introduction at bay, and buried.

Other releases, including a 10″ out through Three:Four Records in 2009 find The Fun Years working in much the same territory as “Janice…” with somewhat more lo-fi production.

I like the direction that The Fun Years seem to have taken with this latest release. If we can judge an entire album by this one track, that is to say if every track on “Heroes of the Second Story Walk-Up” takes a similar approach, then it is going to be a pretty good album for sure. The Fun Years might be worth keeping an eye on.
Pre-order The Fun Years “Heroes of the Second Story Walk-Up”
Available on Spring Break Tapes! You can also get that 10″ from three:four records from 2009 here if you want to check out earlier material. That 10″ was a limited edition of 489 (?), which apparently hasn’t really been flying off the shelves. So if you have €10 lying around, there you go.

Stream: Nicholas Nicholas – “Cave”

Today we’ve got here a mellow, shoegazey two parter from Nicholas Nicholas’ upcoming sophomore album, “Wrong,” which is set for an August 19th release.

At the very opening of the track we hear a bellowing low note from which the music will soon blossom. We’re given all the instruments at once after only about a second, but the way that they grow out of that initial low note is so organic that it feels more like a warmth washing over you than it does anything drastic or jarring. A guitar enters, its echoes bouncing off every available surface and ringing across the the track. Backed by a wash of synth patches that leave trails in the distance and a steady drumbeat, the song isn’t treading on unknown territory. “Cave” traces a path through shoe gaze and chillwave, something that makes complete sense, but I don’t think has been much explored before. It’s as if the wall of sound was stripped away from a My Bloody Valentine song, leaving only the vocal technique and the idea of creating a sound that encourages some sort of contemplation.

The vocals are maybe the most interesting element of the song. Drawled out from a register well below any of the other instruments it sounds to be slowed down significantly, in essence really drawing out that effect of stretching time and laying so far back in the beat that the rest of the track seems almost resistant to the pulse. The music seems to pull the voice through the track, despite its desire to stay behind.

The piece more or less does away with a traditional verse/chorus/verse structure, instead choosing to sidestep via an extended coda. In some ways it sounds as though we have two different songs going on back to back here, the way the first dies out completely before the coda comes in. There is just enough contrast between the first and last half of the track to consider them as contrasts, but not so much contrast that they don’t go together.

“Wrong” is available as a cassette for pre-order right now through the Miscreant Records bandcamp for $5.

Stream: Xerox – “Revision”

Punk rock jams out of Iowa City? Who knew? Well, now you do. Xerox recently released their debut on Hard Art Records, and “Revision” is the first track that has been made available and it’s a good one. They may be from the midwest, but they are definitely bringing their best sneering English attitude for this one.

The arrangement and verse/chorus/verse structure straddles the line between straight up punk rock and something a little more pop oriented. The crystal clear production and tight ensemble work really takes this out of the realm of the usual ultra-gritty, quick and dirty live sound and into the realm of the polished. Not too polished, let’s not get crazy here.

Clear cut guitar, no feedback squealing throughout every silence like we’re so used to hearing by this point. But the track is no less powerful in spite of it’s more clean and clear nature. This is still firmly rooted in the tenets of punk, but why can’t you find a good balance between greater accessibility within the greater aesthetic. Especially interesting is the way the song builds up right to the end with 16th note snare hits over top of muted guitar strings that seems to point to the development of a new section, but only serves to drive the track to its end.

Check out the track above and head over to Hard Art Records to grab a copy and hear all six tracks of the band’s debut EP.

Stream tracks from new Le Rug compilation “Press Start: The Collection”

Le Rug has got pretty good timing, coming at us with a track like “Jailbait,” just in time for the Summer. This track is sure to end up on more than a few playlists designed to accompany roadtrips down a sunny highway to nowhere in particular in the coming months. It’s just one of those carefree and energetic rockers that’s catchy as hell from start to finish.

Of course, being that it is only one track from a 32 track compilation that spans several years, it is by no means representative. “Harold Camping” is a bit more varied in its approach, with the same wild vocal but a guitar sound that is more restrained. Each song throughout the compilation sounds new and familiar at the same time, and though I usually prohibit myself from saying such meaningless-sounding wordfiller type things, it’s really true. Though “Godstar” reminds me of maybe The Burdocks, in the sound of the vocals, and some of the melodies. The rhythms here are less angular, that is for sure, but the melodic sensibility is pretty similar.

Other tracks, like “Get it Over With” and “Dead in a Hole” explore a synthier side that isn’t necessarily any colder timbrally than the other guitar driven tracks, but certainly explore a whole other sound in general. The guitar is ever present, at varying levels of grit. The songs always have the ability to soar and find a way to pull the listener in.

The good news is that there is a whole lot more where this came from. These songs are coming off a 32 track compilation that is set for release June 17th, and can be pre-ordered right now on cassette (recommended) or as a download from Austin’s Fleeting Youth records. According to the press release:
Press Start: The Collection features 5 magnetic and pulsing post-punk releases from Brooklyn’s Le Rug (32 tracks overall)– 3 albums from when Le Rug was more active years ago and 2 new recent EPs released earlier this year.
For now though you can download the tracks above for free. Take some time to ruminate with them. No doubt you will find yourself wanting to listen more and more.

Fleeting Youth//Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//Soundcloud//

 

Stream: Eastlink – “Mosquito”

For the past week or two I kept seeing this band, and this song, pop up and I kept passing it over because I could have sworn that I already posted about this track. But then I finally got un-lazy and actually checked (it took all of 5 seconds, but only because I tried “east link” AND “eastlink”), and realized that I haven’t written about this track yet. I really wish that I had, because this is a rocker that should not go overlooked. Just think of how ahead of the curve I could have been.

Australia’s Eastlink just released their first full-length on In The Red. This band is going strong with four guitars, Diarrhea Planet style. Completely overdriven, out of control and thrashing through this blistering four-minute track. The track is about half-buildup, promptly focusing its attention toward one unrelenting riff and intense vocals. I’m actually having a hard time trying to figure out if I am comfortable going with the “kraut-rock” label. I think that just because of the sheer volume and intensity, that doesn’t even try to hold back or express restraint in any way, that this is certainly not kraut-rock. It’s a whole lot of sound coming out of your speakers, trying its best to completely obliterate them.

The album comes out today, and can be ordered directly from In The Red. While you’re over there, check out the rest that the label has to offer. There are a couple of other new releases that are definitely worth checking out, and you can also hear more at In The Red’s soundcloud page.

Stream: White Reaper – “Half Bad”

Polyvinyl is one of my favorite labels out there today. They just have such a diverse roster, one that happens to include one of my favorites – of Montreal. But White Reaper, Polyvinyl’s newest addition, is really nothing like of Montreal. This band is punchy, energetic, and just on top of it. The rambunctious track “Half Bad” starts off with just about the best drum sound you could possibly hope for, and check that fill. How could a song that starts this way possibly be bad? The answer: it can’t.

This is going to be a perfect Summer-time, road trip jam. I’m sure you’re listening to it right now, but to my ears theirs is a sound that takes the grittiness of garage rock, the catchiness of some guitar driven pop, and the energy of punk, and they manage to mix it all together to great results. The catchiest thing is the little synth motive that substitutes for a chorus. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the scratchy vocal track, shouted and doubled to only add to the almost overwhelming amount of energy already present on the track. There is a bridge that takes things back a little tiny bit, though the catchy hooks stay dialed up throughout, and it’s only a matter of seconds before they can’t hold back any longer, tearing into one last chorus.

“Conspirator” helps bring the picture into focus as to what we should expect for White Reaper’s debut: more powerfully energetic rockers with pop hooks to spare.

Like I said, they are the newest members of the Polyvinyl family and that means that they have a release coming out. Their self-titled EP is available for pre-order right now on 180g clear pink 12″ vinyl, CD and tape. Pre-orders ship June 13th and the EP hits stores on June 24th.

The band is also touring right now with Young Widows. Check the dates below:
06/19 – Kansas City, MO @ Czar Bar
06/20 – Denver, CO @ Moon Room
06/21 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
06/22 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
06/24 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
06/25 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
06/26 – Sacramento, CA @ Witch Room
06/27 – San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
06/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Church On York
06/29 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
06/30 – Tucson, AZ @ Plush
07/02 – Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain
07/03 – Dallas, TX @ Dada
07/04 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
07/05 – St. Louis, MN @ Firebird

Stream: Sacred Product – “Wastex”

First up is a track off the new 2×7″ from Sacred Product. “Ride Back,” with its demented minor-mode descending guitar line and a background of noise that sharply cuts in and out resembles in a lot of ways the sound of Sebadoh. The lackadaisical vocals, tossed of nonchalantly and similar in style to Thurston Moore in some of the earlier Sonic Youth releases. The one-part structure upon which it is built makes use of extensive repeated motives, but spaces them out to create shifting layers of musical material throughout. Basically, the track manages to sound slightly evil due to the disjunct motion of the harmonies, while holding to reliable repeated gestures that smooth over the entire track.

You can stream another track below that comes from an earlier EP, released through Albert’s Basement as a cassette release limited to 100 copies. This track is “Iron Coffin” and comes from a similar approach with a thicker layer of sludge laid over top. A significantly Lowered tuning adds to the distortion and sludge as the song plods through 7+ minutes of single-part structure.

And finally “Tram and Train” can be heard below, also displaying an affinity for the krautrock/garage-rock aesthetic.

“Wastex” is available as a double 7″ and the EP is probably not available anymore, but you can head to Albert’s Basement facebook page to find some other cool stuff.