Friday, January 16, 2015

New Singles from Pile, Dirty Dishes, Krill, and Leapling!

Pile - You're Better Than This

*[] Boston quartet Pile plays jagged, wildly energetic noise-punk that seems to have sprung from the same family tree as Metz and Future Of The Left. “#2 Hit Single,” from Pile’s upcoming LP You’re Better Than This, is one of those rock songs performed with the aggression of a metal song — that is, it conks you across the face at the start and never lets up from there, jerking and jabbing with such a violence that you might not notice the sly melodic outbursts that occasionally blast off amidst the mayhem. Hear it below.

You’re Better Than This is out 3/3 on Exploding In Sound.

GUILTY cover art

*[] On their new album Guilty, L.A.-via-Boston duo Dirty Dishes revive a very specific ’90s alt-rock sound by blasting bubblegum hooks headfirst into a mountain of speaker-shredding fuzz. It would be easy to compare the results to Veruca Salt, but really what they’re doing is locating the overlap between the densely sludgy sound of first-wave Seattle grunge and the more  British shoegazers who were conducting similar experiments in radical guitar distortion at around the same time. The balance between heaviness and dreaminess comes through clearly in the churning psychedelic sonics of the title track.

Guilty is out Jan. 27 on vinyl and digital through the Exploding In Sound label as well as a cassette edition on Seagreen Records.

A Distant Fist Unclenching cover art

*[] For the most part, Krill’s upcoming new album is one that revels in longevity, favoring mounting and epic five-minute-plus tracks that are as long as they are unhinged — take the fantastic lead single “Torturer,” for example. Only “Foot” and one other track operate in the same heightened and compressed emotional headspace of their first two records. They pull off the transition to longer songs with grace and fury — you’ll hear the whole thing in about a month — but “Foot” is a great way to ease into the new era of the band. With a hard-hitting chorus punctuated by Jonah Furman’s trademark wail, it’s classic Krill, but also signifies a step forward for them both stylistically and lyrically. Of course, it’s kind of about a foot — “And all I wanted was to hold your foot, but I couldn’t imagine how I ever could — it’s, as always, about so much more: feeling restless, hating that you can never settle down, constantly going forward but not really going anywhere at all. “There’s nothing to do but move once I get to a new place.” Listen below.

A Distant Fist Unclenching is out 2/17 via Double Double Whammy/Exploding In Sound. You can preorder it now.

*[] For a song called “N.E.R.V.E.,” this sounds preternaturally chill. Perhaps it’s because they’re not using nerve in the traditional sense of the word. Key synonyms here include stubborn, brazen … brave? Frontman Dan Arnes doesn’t sound nervous or anxious here; he sounds resigned. “You said I had a lot of nerve / N-E-R-V-E,” spelling it out like a Sesame Street rhyme and letting the sentiment sink in. It’s murky as to whether he’s in the right in whatever fight he’s involved in, and it’s clear that he doesn’t fully know either: “There’s a reason I am writing words that are incomplete.” All of Leapling’s songs are inhibited with an uneasy sense of murmured calmness, and it’s more pronounced here than ever. The drums roll along like billowing storm clouds, and the guitar and bass take on the laidback attitude of a lounge jammer. “N.E.R.V.E.” is a foggy, somber highlight from the Brooklyn band’s upcoming debut full-length Vacant Page, and you can listen to it below.

Vacant Page is out 2/10 via Inflated Records/Exploding In Sound. You can preorder it here.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Update: Leapling, Krill, Dirty Dishes, and LVL UP

*[] There’s a tension that runs through “Silent Stone,” from Leapling’s forthcoming album Vacant Page. Frontman Dan Arnes’s voice is soft and tender, but the guitars that surround it are barbed and ominous — it’s like a single pink rose in the middle of a field of Venus flytraps. There are hints of post-rock to be sure — witness the fractured-glass guitar solo that arrives around the 2:30 mark — but the song is too complex and knotty and contradictory to allow for easy pigeonholing. “What have I been told?” Arnes repeats forlornly during the song’s bucking finale, “Leave me in the cold.” It’s a beautifully oblique message, set against guitars that are razor-sharp. Vacant Page will be released on February 10th, but you can pre-order your copy here.

*[] Guitar rock malcontents Krill are back. Next year, the Massachusetts-based trio will follow up their still-great "failed concept album" with a new full-length called A Distant Fist Unclenching. According to frontman Jonah Furman, lead single "Torturer" is about "what most Krill songs have ever been about: self-love and self-hate and the rightness and wrongness of each." The track is a freshly ambitious peek into Krill's weird, rough-edged universe, with Furman's literary-minded writing as prominent as ever; in an email to FADER, he mentioned that some of the lyrics were inspired by Dostoyevsky. "Crime and Punishment got me thinking about the 'threshold' and 'transgression,'" he said. "In 'Torturer,' I look into the torture chamber and decide if it's time for judgment." The LP drops through Exploding In Sound and Double Double Whammy on February 17th, but you can pre-order the vinyl now. Check out some tour dates below the player, too.

*[] Early next year, the LA by-way-of Boston duo Dirty Dishes will release their LP Guilty on Exploding In Sound, the Brooklyn-based independent label that we’ve dedicated a fair amount of bandwidth to over the course of the past year due to an almost incomprehensible number of kick-ass releases. To say that the Exploding In Sound roster is frequently compared to ’90s alt-rock bands would be an understatement — at this point that kind of descriptor is so lazy that it’s exhausting, which is not to say that it’s wholly undeserved. On “Red Roulette,” Dirty Dishes takes that stereotype and runs it through layers of distortion, forced into the background by Alex Molini’s unflinching synth lines and rendering any creeping desire to describe the band’s sound as “sludgy” or “fuzzed-out” null and void. Jenny Tuite’s voice falls down and pulls itself back up at certain moments, protruding from the song’s carefully choreographed avalanche of sound when she sings, “He knows I’m bending over backwards/ But Christ please, my lips are chapped.” Initially, I had an impossible time figuring out exactly why Dirty Dishes excites me so much, why Guilty makes my personal list of most anticipated releases of 2015. I realize now that songs like “Red Roulette” challenge me because they lack any hardened sense of familiarity or obvious points of reference. Yes, Dirty Dishes sounds kind of like a shoegaze band, but they make the kind of shoegaze that I can only envision emerging right now. Comparison would be a disservice.
Guilty will be out 1/27 via Exploding In Sound. Seagreen will release the cassette. You can pre-order the album here.

*[] LVL UP made one of the best albums of the year, and one of the many instant-classics populating the tracklist is “DBTS,” an anthem for Brooklyn DIY venue David Blaine’s The Steakhouse, where two of their members live. So it makes sense that the video is a living tribute to the space, shot inside and on the roof by Adam and Rob Kolodny, who run the production company House Of Nod. The video features footage of the band playing the song intercut with cameos from the Double Double Whammy extended fam, and ends with all of the band members getting hit in the face with food. It’s a fun time! Watch below and check out some of LVL UP’s upcoming tour dates.


Hoodwink’d is out now via Double Double Whammy/Exploding In Sound.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Leapling Announce New Record "Vacant Page" + Debut "Crooked" Single

Exploding In Sound and Inflated Records are thrilled to announce the labels are teaming up for the release of Brooklyn noise pop quartet Leapling's full length debut record, Vacant Page. Set for release on February 10th (pre-order here), Leapling have premiered the album's first single, "Crooked" via The AV Club. The eclectic sound of Leapling defies all preconceived notions of what indie rock can be, combining experimental elements of noise pop, hip-hop, krautrock, dream pop, and psych rock into their own swirling sound.

The AV Club described "Crooked" stating, "The processed drums cut in and out quickly, with cymbal hits decaying as quickly as they emerge. Staccato guitar strikes cut in between this broken groove, allowing vocalist Dan Arnes to use his soulful vocals as the song’s anchor."

Leapling, the brainchild of Brooklyn-based songwriter Dan Arnes, juxtaposes moments of subtle beauty with harsh, guitar-driven noise to create a sound both brilliant and infectiously catchy. The band’s debut EP, Losing Face, released in early 2013 on Father/Daughter Records, established Leapling’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the world of experimental pop. Vacant Page finds the band picking up where they left off, casually moving forward with a newfound looseness and the continuing desire to push the envelope into unexplored realms. Joined by long-time members Yoni David (drums), R.J. Gordon (bass) and Joe Postiglione (guitar) for the first time on record, Vacant Page was tracked live with a clear sense of purpose and urgency. Arnes’ delicate vocals and stream-of-consciousness narratives come to life when combined with Postiglione’s serpentine licks, David’s loose percussion style and Gordon’s hypnotic bass lines. The seamless interplay between musicians is as indicative of the quartet's bond as it is Arnes' songwriting.

On Vacant Page, Leapling have created an album that unfolds through movements and vivid sonic flourishes, pacing itself with a delicate restraint and exploring the concept of improvement through shades of bleak optimism. In a world of digital singles and the constant push for new content, Leapling play things patient, slowly unveiling the big picture throughout their debut, an album that truly demands to be heard in full. Their dynamic sound expands and shifts in unexpected directions throughout the record's 40+ minutes, the product of a wide array of influences ranging from Broadcast and Portishead to J Dilla and The Neptunes. Nothing is off limit and things may never be the same.

Vacant Page is due out February 10th, 2015 via Inflated/Exploding In Sound Records on vinyl and digital.

Vacant Page tracklist:

1. Negative Space
2. Flesh Meadows
3. N.E.R.V.E
4. Going Nowhere
5. Crooked [Stream/Embed]
6. Retrograde
7. Silent Stone
8. Hung Out To Dry
9. Slip Slidin' Away
10. In Due Time

Ovlov x Big Ups x Death By Audio x 11.15.14

We love Death By Audio. Always have, always will. I wrote a little something about it on Impose (this entire feature is well deserved and amazing). Ovlov and Big Ups got to play one of the venue's final shows on Saturday, November 15th with Yvette, and Les Savy Fav (who personally picked this incredible bill). It's all too amazing really. DBA is forever in our hearts.

Huge thanks to Sixdust for capturing the show. Impose took some great photos of the show as well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Update: Kal Marks, Two Inch Astronaut, Washer, Big Ups, Dirty Dishes, Ovlov & LVL UP

*[] The last time we heard new music from Boston-based Kal Marks was back in 2013, when they released their full-length Life Is Murder, a record that teetered on the edge of existential dread and absolute, self-assured conviction. For anyone who loved Life Is Murder, Kal Marks’ new song off their forthcoming EP, Just A Lonely Fart, boasts a similar aesthetic. While “Zimmerman” does make reference to George Zimmerman, it is also a song that attempts to breach larger themes of injustice. “Zimmerman” was written shortly after the trial’s conclusion in the summer of 2013, and guitarist and lead singer Carl Shane commented:

“It seemed really unfair, and unjustified. Also I was following stories about the stop and frisk policies with NYPD. I couldn’t help but to be stuck in this pessimistic mindset that this country has really lost any moral compass. I’m still stuck with this train of thought, ’cause look at the headlines everyday.”

On “Zimmerman,” Shane’s voice is knotted and brambly, lending a kind of tongue-in-cheek contortion to the song’s bleak lyrical themes. The Boston music scene has been consistently labeled as “slacker-rock,” wrongly suggesting a kind of smarmy and resigned attitude that is imperceptible in the work of Kal Marks, especially on “Zimmerman.” Listen.

Just A Lonely Fart will be out 12/2 via Midnight Werewolf and Exploding in Sound.

*[] Two Inch Astronaut sounded fully formed on their 2013 debut album, Bad Brother, so it’s exciting to hear how much of a leap they’ve made on its follow-up, the upcoming Foulbrood. The title track charged in right behind Kendrick Lamar for our favorite song of the week. And the new single, “Part Of Your Scene,” sounds like a spiritual successor to the tightly wound work of the Dismemberment Plan and Brainiac. It delivers unpredictable noise-rock that hits you with piercing, angular guitar riffs one moment, only to hook you with an emotive melody the next. That applies to frontman Sam Rosenberg as well. Much like Travis Morrison, he can flip between screamed aggression and gentle vulnerability in the span of one song, something he does especially well here. They’re a band to be reckoned with. Listen.

Foulbrood is out 11/25 via Exploding In Sound.

*[] Brooklyn garage rock duo Washer may sound apathetic in recordings, but their work ethic is anything but. Earlier this year, the band released their debut EP, Bighead, and already they’re gearing up to release even more music. On November 18th, they’ll return with a split single alongside fellow punk rockers Big Ups. Already we named Big Ups’ brazen contribution, “Rash”, as one of our top tracks of last week. Today, we’re getting our first taste of what Washer has to offer with their single, “Rot”.

The track opens with a fast-paced and sloppy barrage of guitar, seguing nicely into vocalist Mike Quigley crooning slacker poetry like, “Well I got a job, now I’m actin’ like a slob.” Drummer Kieran McShane matches the depravity with simplistic and jaunty drum fills. The track’s wobbly chords and off-key vocals make it easy to imagine Washer chumming it up with the likes of Green River and Mudhoney in a past life. It’s a time capsule to the early days of grunge, with a healthy side of youthful indifference. Listen in below.

*[] New York punks Big Ups started off the year by releasing their awesomely raw debut album Eighteen Hours Of Static. They’ll wind it down by dropping a new split EP with the Brooklyn band Washer. The first Big Ups song on the split is a fearsome, erratic pigfuck sludge-monster called “Rash,” and it might be the first Big Ups song that sounds more like the Jesus Lizard than it does like Suicidal Tendencies. Listen to it below.

The Big Ups / Washer split is out 11/18 on Exploding In Sound.

*[] Originally from Boston, the LA duo Dirty Dishes have continued to present an often grungy, sometimes synth-based sound through their multiple releases. Formed in 2009, Jenny Tuite and Alex Molini look forward to early next year when they plan on releasing their first full-length album GUILTY. Off of GUILTY we bring you the premiere of "One More Time".

Never afraid to add a new style to their wide collection of songs, Dirty Dishes' "One More Time" borders an eerie line throughout. Jenny's raw vocals, her accented syllables and the distant mumblings through the break coupled with a soothing duo of melodic bells and a softly plucked string instrument all work together flawlessly to set the mystical tone. In all "One More Time" is a breath of fresh air that builds on the unique sounds found on Dirty Dishes' previous songs to form a bold new step for the duo.

*[] Dirty Dishes have brought their Boston-bred wailing sense of fatalism and love of destructive basement rock to the suns of LA.”Thank You Come Again”, their first track since relocating to the sunny side of the country, shows that the UV and Vitamin D hasn’t gone to their heads, rocking the track with a plucky bass groove that opens up into a distorted sprawl. Guitarist and singer Jenny Tuite wails, “come again” over the driving wallop of a turned-off snare. The loud-quiet song quickly bounces between volumes, playing with the soul too fast for the mind to realize what’s going on. It’s catchy, it’s driving, it’s not too hard to digest but still fucks with your senses, building up and falling away at such a pace you hardly realize almost three-minutes have gone by.

Guilty drops early 2015, on vinyl/digital via Exploding in Sound. Stream “Thank You Come Again” below.

*[] On “Ohmu Shell,” Connecticut’s Ovlov slather straight-ahead pop melodies with buckets of gunk. The guitars are thick and distortion-drenched, lapping up against Steve Hartlett’s wry, conversational vocals. There’s some of the same gurgle-and-pound that defined Dinosaur Jr.’s classic You’re Living All Over Me, but Ovlov are less stingy with hooks. To hear the song’s chorus once is to be singing it for days. By the time the song glides into the minute-plus guitar freakout that occupies its back half, the noodling feels wholly earned.

The song is taken from a 4-way split 7″ with Krill, LVL UP, and Radiator Hospital, which will be out on October 14th via two great labels: Double Double Whammy and Exploding In Sound.

*[] Last month, Brooklyn’s LVL UP released one of the year’s greatest indie rock records, Hoodwink’d. It’s a very-90s album of crunchy guitar pop, but with more personality on each track than most similar-sounding bands typically let out on a whole LP. There are meditations on such ever-relatable themes as feeling isolated, getting stoned alone, doing stuff with your friends, plus at least one ode to sincerity and at least one Silver Jews reference. At face-value, it aggressively recalls the scrappy college rock of decades past, but LVL UP are refreshingly rooted in the present. There’s an overtly sentimental bent to the lyrics that places the band right alongside the other young songwriters on the Double Double Whammy roster like Frankie Cosmos and Quarterbacks (the indie-pop-oriented label that half of LVL UP runs), while Hoodwink’d cut “DBTS” refers to “David Blaine’s The Steakhouse” (the presently active house venue where the other half of the band lives).

Today they make yet another nod to Brooklyn DIY of recent years with “Big Snow”, a title referring to the much-loved show space that abruptly closed last summer. (You might remember our coverage of the space.) “Big Snow” launches with an almost identical opening to the title track of Hoodwink’d, a good example of the self-referential wordplay that LVL UP’s songwriters like to mess around with. “I know I’ll never feel good about that train ride inside, or at the bottom of my spicy hot gumbo,” Dave Benton starts, balancing out a hyper-introspective sentiment with a funny bit about food. (Something else he’s known to do.) The track appears on a four-band split EP with Ovlov, Krill, and Radiator Hospital, to be released October 14 via Exploding In Sound and Double Double Whammy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Two Inch Astronaut Debut "Foulbrood" on NPR's "All Songs Considered" + Stereogum // Announce New LP

as seen on NPR's "All Songs Considered"...

Joined in the studio by editor Lars Gotrich, the hosts introduce the noisy title track from Maryland-based Two Inch Astronaut's upcoming album, Foulbrood ... Two Inch Astronaut's upcoming album, Foulbrood, marks a point of maturation in the band's lengthy career. The album's explosive title track mines the '90s for inspiration, and is notably reminiscent of the Dismemberment Plan's earlier music. For more on this song, visit the artist's website.

as seen on Stereogum...

Maryland’s Two Inch Astronaut play a sort of math-y emo/post-hardcore that draws from that particular subgenre’s seminal acts: Sunny Day Real Estate, Dismemberment Plan, Cap’n Jazz. But while Two Inch Astronaut may sound awfully familiar (I’m trying to put my finger on a specific vocal comparison here and it’s just eluding me), they also sound explosively fresh. Their 2013 debut, Bad Brother, stood out even on the excellent Exploding In Sound roster, but “Foulbrood” — the title track from their forthcoming sophomore LP — sounds bigger, more confident, and more technically adept in every way, from the writing to the vocal and instrumental performances. All the band’s abundant tools are employed in the service of a great song here, but man, those tools are abundant, and man, this song is great. Listen.

Foulbrood is out 11/25 via Exploding In Sound Records. Pre-order it HERE.