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Showing posts from February, 2020

Allergen - "Open Letter" | Premiere

(Cover art by Shannon Maroney)
Allergen's first single feels like a private conversation, being broadcast to the world.
Well, technically it's their first official single — the delightfully sad "Picket Fence" remains on Bandcamp exclusively. And even "Open Letter," which will be releasing in full tomorrow, was performed primarily by Shannon Maroney, the band's singer/guitarist, with drumming from the band's lead guitarist, Eve Speers. So we'll have to wait a bit for a full-quartet Allergen song. But "Open Letter" is more than enough to fill the gap in the meantime.
Maroney's lyrics flow straight to the heart with an abundance of references to alcohol. The bubbling instrumental gives their vocals a sense of gentle buoyancy, especially during the first minute. Intensity builds like a gradually rising tide and releases with the chorus' arrival. Gloriously harmonized vocals plea a single word — "give." The second chorus come…

Careful Gaze - "Goals" | New Music

One of these days, I'm gonna have to finally listen to Careful Gaze. Today is the day.

The Minneapolis quartet is following up their 2019 debut You Too Will Rest with the standalone single "Goals," continuing their journey of emotions-first music. Careful Gaze's full range is on display, from transfixing alt-rock to chiming melancholy to post-hardcore breakdowns and back around again.

Gabe Reasoner, the band's lyricist, paints the walls of the storm's eye with questioning words of misanthropy and hope. The emptiness of nights spent alone is matched with relational determinism. It's unclear whether there is encouragement or anger buried underneath the song's rubble — it is left up to the listener.

Regardless of how one interprets Reasoner's lyrics, the potency of the overall emotion is undiminished. Guitars squall, Reasoner howls, drums punish. What more could you want in an anthemic rock song?

"Goals" is out now. Buy it below. Watch the vide…

Wrister - "Different Teeth" | Premiere

When Wrister put out their debut record in December of last year, it affirmed my opinion that anything over three minutes is prog rock. "Flowers On The Fault" is a raucous, unabashed ode to feeling complacent and looking for an out. It is two minutes of thrashing drums and jangly guitars that felt like a drop-out anthem. While Wrister's debut album Different Teeth feels like a party record with its loud instrumentation, it's more like a heartfelt conversation in the kitchen while the party goes on around.

The record has the band looking for a place to connect, to relate, and to belong, beer-cracking sound effects and all. The album's second single "Lack of Truth" is an earnest look at trying to cut through the noise and uneasiness and find their base. As it progresses, Different Teeth gives way to subtler moments on songs like "Driver" or "Headlights" — the brashness opens up to allow for honesty. I personally love when big loud instr…

Colin Bracewell - "20+ Years" | Sunday Single

Every once and a while, we get a new Colin Bracewell song. Each single follows a path of exponential growth, briefly tantalizing listeners before leaving again. "20+ Years," Bracewell's third song in just over a year, is his best yet.

Immediately, "20+ Years" sets itself apart with how full it feels. Prior singles, solid as they were, sounded solitary. There were minimal embellishments, mostly leaving things bare and letting the music speak for itself. Now, there's an actual band bringing the songs to life.

Bracewell has recorded with other musicians in the past (and plays live with a quartet), but "20+ Years" is a full-band song through and through. Any traces of the folk found on "Little Secret" have been mostly erased and replaced with a harmonic rock influence. Bracewell pairs wistful reminiscence with ringing guitar chords, allowed to vibrate through the song's walls.

"20+ Years" is another exciting sample of Bracewell…

Jack Pfeffer - "All Alone Without U" | New Music

It's somewhat baffling that this song didn't come out in the summer. The latest single from Jack Pfeffer, "All Alone With U," is a 75-degree, June night song. If you listen long enough, you might convince yourself that there isn't snow outside.

Pfeffer and co. conjure a humid vibed-out mood on their first song since 2018. It sneaks into your head, builds a tiny campfire, and starts roasting marshmallows. The groove, between psych guitar licks and understated drums, builds up to pure smoothness.

For only thirty seconds does "All Alone Without U" rise above its languorous pace. The track's last leg starts with a sun-drenched guitar solo, a snapshot of kaleidoscopic bliss. It effortlessly sinks back into a final chorus. And before you know, it's gone.

Put it on repeat and pretend it's warm out. Listen below.

Dad Bod - "Spirits" | New Music

(Cover art by Callie Marino)
"Rot" might have misled you into thinking that Dad Bod wasn't a band with three guitarists, at least up until its closing moments. The band's new single "Spirits" won't fool so easily.
"Spirits" is a straightforward song. Its scale is balanced equally between the triumvirate of feedback that the band can summon and gentle, chiming melodicism. Even when the quintet waters the flowers of their chaotic discontent, they do so carefully, deliberately. The bursts of noise still dissipate like fog over the lake, but they reach an end point, reigned in by Wilson Zellar's stellar (ha) production.
Guitar tone aside, Callie Marino's songwriting is still as insanely compelling (and just plain good) as it was when I first listened to "Rot." Like, come on: how is "I may be a ghost / but my biggest fear's transparency" not a line from some classic song? Paul McCartney who? As you may have guessed, the…

Gambler's Daughter & Floodwater Angel | LMR

Gambler's Daughter - Serotinous Skin (self-released)

Sometimes an album isn't really an album, it's a forest. That's the case with Serotinous Skin, the debut full-length from Gambler's Daughter. Jessa Roquet is the heart of the project, its vibrant songwriter and vocalist; she is surrounded by a quintet of talented multi-instrumentalists. While the album's sound overall will clearly reassure listeners that it is rooted in folk music, Roquet and company view the genre barrier as something to bend if not outright shatter.

Songs like "13 Feet Tall" and the title track, among others, are the acoustic anchors within the veil. Despite straightforward grooves, they lope with strange burdens, carried for many miles along the dirt path. Other songs, like opener "Red Flag," "Tightrope in the Dark," and the incredible "Lying Sweetly" are encrusted with a bit of bluesy filth. The grit covers the fierce guitar lines and shivering electr…

Oftener - "Wisteria (Live)" | New Music

(Cover by Chris Grenfell)
"year of da daydream baybee" - Nate, probably.

Today may be the nationally-recognized holiday of St. Valentine, but I am going to propose a swift and effective change. Instead, today is St. Oftener's Day. Oh, what's this? The United Nations agree that today should henceforth be referred to as St. Oftener's Day? I guess we should listen to them. Sorry, I don't make the rules.

Reason #1 to celebrate today as St. Oftener's Day: Daydream has finally been formally announced and has a release date. The 6-track EP will be out on March 16th. It will be one of your favorite releases of the year, local or otherwise. Since I am a ~journalist~ my job is simply to state facts.

Reason #2: a second "Pardon the Noise" session, featuring a new Oftener song, has been released. The band partnered yet again with Drifter Music Group to record a live rendition of "Wisteria." The track starts out as one of the band's trademark dream…

Pinched. - "Pinched." | New Music

Nothing says Valentine's Day more than melancholic acoustic-based indie rock. Enter Pinched., the solo record project headed up by Gregory Siganos. The project has since moved away from performing as a live band; however, it continues in the way that Siganos conceived it - a creator with a few mics and a copy of ProTools. Following up their 2018 record Life, Pinched.'s new self-titled three-song EP has some of Siganos' most experimental moments in the band's recent catalog.

"Pinched." plays out like we are listening to one side of a conversation. This doesn't become apparent until the second half of the EPs opener, "Feel." In the reprieve before the second verse, we hear audio of a crowd. It's there that Siganos pleads with the antagonist singing, "Lately, can't you see / the things you do are killing me" before following it up with the retort "That's fair / I don't care / I'll take my business on elsewhere.&qu…

The Personas, Little Lizard, & bugsy | LMR

(Cover art by Alexis Politz)
The Personas - Perspective EP (self-released)
Rock's not dead! It never really died, but I needed some click-baity way to introduce this segment. The things we do for journalistic integrity.

In a word, Perspective is effortless. The debut EP from the Personas floats on by without any external momentum. I imagine there's a tiny engine, chugging along, powering the band as they produce song-after-song of classic power pop, but from the listener's perspective (ha), Perspective was recorded this morning and put out without a whim. Usually such ease is a façade, masking extremely deliberate songcraft. The seams are invisible, but every riff, melody, bassline, or solo was stitched together. From the fuzzed-out bass riff that kicks off "Audience of No One" to the fierce solo in "Waiting My Life Away," the Personas go all out in making maximum-satisfaction rock songs.

Ironically, this write-up is going up on the same day that the band a…

Miloe - "Everything (That Should Go)" | New Music

Miloe already came out with the song of the summer — maybe it's time for the song of the winter?

Not quite. The band's new single, "Everything (That Should Go)," is as melancholic as they've ever gotten, but it almost might be the most purely beautiful. It's also fitting that Bob Kabeya's face is so prominently on the cover. The line between Miloe as a whole and just Bob is blurry, nearly indistinguishable, a photograph viewed through rain-drenched glasses. Kabeya lilts an effortless couple of self-aware verses before sweeping into his best chorus yet. A subdued drum beat, muted bass, and gorgeous piano are all the accompaniment needed. Kabeya's easy-going vocal melodies stick around well after the track has ended, like soon-to-be good friends.

I can't confirm this, but some of the vocal samples in the back of mix sound very Normal Parents-ish (Miloe's been in the studio with Caleb, so just maybe?). The pristine production lends itself perfectly…

Gadget, Black Tiger Bay, Poolboy, & Breathe and Repeat | LMR

Gadget - Spreading the Love (Life & Death Brigade)

Usually Joe is the one who covers the heavy end of things, but I also partake in the loud and crushing on occasion. Spreading the Love is the sweltering debut from Minneapolis straight-edge hardcore band Gadget and it rules!

The quintet edges into the realm of thrash on many (if not all) of the record's brief seven tracks. The pleasant ruination of my expectations is something I will gladly report — this is more than mere by-the-numbers hardcore. From the first seconds of opener "Profound Will," the intensity exponentially grows. Every time it seems like you've reached the limit, Gadget pushes it further to glorious effect.

The first 25 seconds of "Burned from the Branches" is the musical equivalent of a free fall (plus it has one of the sickest bass riffs on the album). "Running Wild" makes me want to recreate this video as soon as humanly possible. The track's second half is the heaviest on…