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Showing posts from March, 2020

The Get Together - "(Please Hold)" | Sunday Single

The Get Together is an exceptionally funky and fruit-loving project based in Minneapolis. They've been going the NATL PARK SRVC route and putting out a series of EPs over the last several months, starting with Lemon last year and Melon in early 2020, and continuing with the forthcoming Orange. I'm not entirely sure if new single "(Please Hold)" is an interim single or if it belongs to one of the EPs. However, I am certain that it's a smooth new jam from an exciting new band.

On "(Please Hold)", there is a pulsing beat around which everything else is orbiting. It starts with droning keys, expands with slick bass and drums, and reaches its full form with Ethan Huffington's detached vocals and cyclical lyrics. The use of phone sound effects on a pair of "hold music"-inspired interludes and throughout gives the track a conceptual edge and its title. One could sink into the resonant vibey energy that the quintet brings.

Listen to "(Please Ho…

VIAL - "Or Die" | New Music

(Cover by Téa McLawhorn)
VIAL are a special band. That much is apparent to literally anyone that has listened to their infectious debut album "Grow Up" or who made it to a show before everyone was stuck inside. Their combination of gloriously in-your-face politics and stellar songwriting has made it abundantly apparent clear that their rising star can is only destined to go higher. And higher it has gone.

For a momentous new holiday, the band has re-recorded the punkest song in their current discography, "DIY," to reflect how it has been played live. Bassist Kate Kanfield takes center stage with a vitriolic vocal performance that completely takes the piss out of the posers and jerks that inevitably seem to fill every DIY space. The track was an obvious highlight from the album, but it comes to life even more in the context of a single.

VIAL combines genuine punk ferocity with always-relevant criticism of a scene that to this day still favors groups of white dudes, ins…

Rabeca & Gather Data Pray For Death | LMR

(Cover by David Munkvold)
Rabeca - Potluck (self-released)

I think it's fairly safe to say that we're all in need of a bit of encouragement right now. Most of us have been stuck inside for at least a week and we miss our friends. The idea of getting together and spending time with each other over a meal sounds like a perfect panacea. Since we can't responsibly do that just yet, might I suggest Potluck?

The debut record from jazz pop quintet Rabeca brings those same feelings rushing back. It's the sound of good company filtered through a prism of springy fusion grooves. One can easily imagine each member of Rabeca constantly smiling through the album's creation process. While it was most certainly meticulously planned and structured, the tunes flow freely in a river of trust. More so than other genres, jazz and its family of subgenres are built on intra-band unity. Melodic lines are tossed between instruments ("Detective Sprout" is a great example), solos go …

Sal Paradise - "Voice Memos" | Premiere

I've always believed there is something in the water at Hamline University since so many fantastic acts have come out of that school. One of those bands, the sensual and melancholy Sal Paradise is letting us premiere their follow up to 2019's Table for Two the single, "Voice Memos."

There are a lot of thoughts and feelings left unsaid and circling the mind following a breakup. "Voice Memos" feels like talking to that ghost of a former relationship, like a final voicemail checking on the person who is in as much pain as you are. Co-written by band leader Samuel Ketcham and Kate Malanaphy, "Voice Memos" is the band's departure from their previous "jazzy by not jazz" songs. Ketcham told Ear Coffee, "'Voice Memos' sounded like such a song-song (front to back, clear form, etc.) and that’s kinda where we’re leaning now. Rock baby. We got to work with some really talented friends like Kate Malanaphy who I brought the song to, al…

EVV, GOWNS, & Alina Maira | LMR

EVV - "Dead to Me" (self-released)
After putting out the R&B-inflected "I'm Not Your Woman" at the end of last year, EVV is back with a second single. "Dead to Me" is another combustible song, but instead of erupting, it simmers. Yet again, it is anchored by Evelyn Speers' vocals, each syllable overflowing with righteous disdain. A former lover craving forgiveness is shunned as a direct consequence of their actions. The guitars maintain a grunge edge without overwhelming the slinking bassline and walloping drums (especially during the chorus).

EVV is an increasingly genre-agnostic project, guided only by Speers' musical whim. With such strong songwriting and incomparable vocal abilities, EVV can do anything.

GOWNS - The Hollows EP (self-released)
If I had to summarize GOWNS' debut EP in a single phrase, it would be "uncomplicated music for complicated times." To be clear, I don't mean uncomplicated in any negative sense. The …

Zaq Baker - "She's Nocturnal" | New Music

Zaq Baker continues to build excitement for Good Kid Manic Summer with another fantastic song-video collaboration with Thicket Creative.

On "She's Nocturnal," Baker substitutes longing for winking portraiture. The jaunty solo piano instrumentation gives the songwriting just enough momentum to get the listener tapping their foot, but not enough to distract from the detail-driven lyrics. The song's young characters are fully realized with comically relatable references to math homework, difficult bosses, and the blissful ignorance of high schoolers. Instead of poking fun at their naiveté, Baker empathizes with them and laughs with them as they realize the innocent absurdity of adolescence.

"She's Nocturnal" is the second of three videos in the series leading up to Good Kid Manic Summer's release sometime in the spring. As with "Down For Whatever," the video was filmed at The Music Lab. Watch below.

Maria & the Coins, Blue Swans, & Scarlet Dans Ma Rue | LMR

Maria and the Coins - Forward (self-released)

Forward, the debut album from Maria and the Coins, is a collection of long-lost musical theatre songs. It makes sense, given frontwoman Maria Coyne's background in the theatrical realm, that these ten songs hearken to the emotionally-bare pop-rock of shows like Waitress and similarly dramatic music. The quintet plays with these sensibilities and whips them around with fluidity.

After being diagnosed with Lupus in her freshman year of college, Coyne was faced with intense physical and emotional struggles. The resolve she gladly found within is freely represented all across Forward. From the first moments of album opener "Two Years From Now" through to the sugary closer "Tonight," Coyne and co. command attention with her exceptional vocals and the band's stellar, propulsive instrumentation. The ten tracks sustain momentum for the album's whole 41-minute duration.

Maria and the Coins is Sheldon Way (drums), Adam M…

Laska - "2 Days of Guilt" | New Music

At this point, you have no reason to not know about Laska. Following up on their last EP, the band has been slowly releasing singles since the fall. After "Remain Consumed" and "Iris," the Morton sisters are back with tender new single "2 Days of Guilt."

What starts out as a simple, sleepy folk song steadily grows as lyrical phrases begin to repeat themselves like feedback, and the melancholy mood turns hollow weight. The lyrics are hypnotically repeated with slightly off-kilter harmonies: "In your dream, she looks you in the eye." Near the middle, they slowly devolve from "It's not enough to say it hurts" to the simple "It's not enough." With minimal words, LASKA speaks multitudes, actualizing quiet revelation with each word. Unforeseen beauty swirls around you with each successive listen.

"2 Days of Guilt" was released on March 4. You can buy the track down below.

2 Days of Guilt by LASKA

Harper's Jar - "when you're without me" | New Music

Normally, you expect a Harper's Jar song to tear you apart. The band's new single "when you're without me" makes you never want to be apart.

Scorched earth guitars and howling passion are substituted with dedication, yearning, and pure beauty. "when you're without me" has my favorite chord progression of the year. From the song's first second, the interplay of guitar and bass dances an elegant ballet, in spiritual sync but moving soloistically. The vocals are delicate and melodious; they invoke an undying love with tender words.

The chorus is screamed from a place of control, out of the need to rise above the white noise of existence and to assert true affection. Harper's Jar is a consoling friend, a kind lover, a burst of light through the dark clouds bearing down from above. Any dissonance is resolved with simmering peace. Whether that peace comes immediately or not doesn't matter — it's guaranteed. "when you're without me,&…

Why Not - "Dust" | New Music

(Cover by Isaac Dell)
The noise is back! After two increasingly pop-leaning singles, Minneapolis trio Why Not return to their scuzzy, frantic roots.
"Dust" is almost a song-length riff. Bass and guitar match each other in an ascending line; in lieu of any sort of traditional hook, it provides something indelible to latch onto. Its rigidity pairs in perfect opposition with Henry Breen's off-kilter vocal delivery. He rhythmically shouts the verses while the chorus breakdown is a blast of chaos, lost in the blink of an eye. Distortion covers whatever the words may be in cathartic soot. The brief instance of pitch-shifting around halfway through the song reminds you that it was made in collaboration with Caleb Hinz, as with much of the band's prior discography. Subtle flashes of absurdity mesh with raw energy.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that "Dust" is a reassurance, offering a bit of the band's old chaos. One of the joys of Why Not has been their resil…

Marmalade, Rabeca, The Dead Century, & Abe Anderson | LMR

Marmalade - "Hollow Head" (self-released)

Ah, the elusive Bandcamp-exclusive release. An increasingly rare yet undying breed, usually reserved for niche reissues and mysterious European metal records. Or 2018's split between Marmalade and Climi. Technically, "Hollow Head" came out then as the second of Marmalade's two contributions to the split. But now it's on ~streaming services~ so why not give it some extra love? 

To use Roddie's choice phrase, the track is "tone city." Resplendent chords mesmerize the listener, helping them circle the drain of their own mind. It mirrors the questioning lyric, "I don't know / where it all goes." While your head is left reeling and emptied, you may lose track of where you're headed. Marmalade's gorgeous songwriting will be your lighthouse, bursting through the haze and leading you home.

It's unclear why Marmalade picked now to put "Hollow Head" up on streaming. It's …