Posted on May 24th, 2018
[as seen on The Grey Estates]
It's not exactly a secret that heartbreak can be devastating, and somehow in the midst of rediscovering one's self, June Gloom aka Tall Friend's Jesse Paller found something beautiful. The song recounts the decision to escape, and hoping that a trip to the West Coast will provide distance and healing. It's a track of subtlety and softness, Paller using only his warm, but weary vocals to reveal an innermost struggle. Guitars are the only instrumental backing, repetitious patterns weaving their own paths that somehow meet in the middle. The track is as equally moving as its subject matter, its quiet nature making for a musical moment that feels so intimate. We've all unfortunately experienced the period of darkness that follows a broken heart, and although it can often leave us reeling, unsure of whether we'll ever be whole again, "California" provides a small glimmer of hope, a reminder that we're not alone in this struggle.
Posted on May 21st, 2018
[as seen on Stereogum]
After the beloved Connecticut-bred band Ovlov released their debut album, am, back in 2013, they went through a series of temporary break-ups and offshoots, including Steve Hartlett’s Stove project. But in the last couple years, the band has reemerged, playing a handful of shows and re-releasing their first 3 EPs in one collection, the cheekily-titled Greatest Hits Vol. II. They also spent that time away writing new songs and recording them, too, and later this year Ovlov will release their long-anticipated sophomore album.
Their new album is called Tru, and it’s out at the end of July. They’re back in all their glory on “Spright,” its lead single. The song’s all frayed nerve endings and satisfying blasts of fuzz. It’s about the passage of time and learning to do right by yourself and others, all while reckoning with your past. “Feel another way when I run for better days/ Treat my old kind decent when they fall into a bitter way/ Will you listen when they say?,” Hartlett sings, his voice pinched and focused.
Posted on May 17th, 2018
[as seen on Impose]
Self check-ins are essential for survival and growth, especially as an artist. Brooklyn-based musician Jaime Knoth is currently going through one of life’s great reflection points, graduating college (congrats!), while simultaneously stepping out with her new solo vehicle Rock Solid.
Today, Impose is happy to premiere Rock Solid’s true debut single, “Doing Fine,” which is set for release on the Subletter / Something Solid split EP with June Gloom, kicking off the Exploding in Sound Tape Club: Year Two. The track is a brilliant acoustic-led portrait of Knoth taking stock of her life and drawing strength from past struggles as she shares below.
“‘Doing Fine’ is about being self-reliant, growing at your own pace, and being okay with needing help. I’d been having a really hard time in school, feeling alienated and worried- and ‘Doing Fine’ came along while I was coming out of that mental hole. I still have some work to do but my friends, the ones that help me grow, make growing up better. I hope I make my friends feel as strong as they make me feel!”
Stream Rock Solid’s “Doing Fine” below and pre-order the split EP, out June 15th via Exploding in Sound.
Posted on May 15th, 2018
[as seen on Noisey]
Post-hardcore bands have always been described in ways that make them sound joyless. They’re confrontational and uncomfortable, playing quiet-to-loud dynamic shifts like uppercuts aimed just below your chin. And by and large, that’s the framework Big Ups has been placed in. They’ve written songs that showed vocalist Joe Galarraga’s ability to shift between snarky spoken passages into lung-clearing shouts, with guitarist Amar Lal stomping on distortion pedals to punctuate those moments. But on Two Parts Together, Big Ups makes it clear they weren’t shouting you down, they were offering sharp, observational humor as loud as possible.
Out May 18 on Exploding In Sound, Two Parts Together is the Brooklyn band’s most streamlined batch of songs and their most transparent. While Galarraga’s lyrics still focus on mundane interactions, they read as curt in-jokes instead of combative screeds. “Look into the crystal and see what you wanna see,” he screams on “PPP,” and on “Fear,” he admits his anxiety about both the known and unknown. Each song drips with a bit of gallows humor, playing like Galarraga loudly declaring “We’re all fucked” with a crooked smile and hearty chuckle at the very end.
But what makes the songs on Two Parts Together pop is that, well, they don’t feel like two things smashed together. Lal’s riffs flow smoothly into one another, making songs that don’t try to smack you upside the head with heaviness as much as they expand and contract on a single point. “Tell Them” shows that, while Galarraga may be the band’s face, Big Ups has become an excellent stand-in for late-period Fugazi. But instead of strident political screeds, Big Ups assert that maybe we’re all just bumbling idiots trying to make things work for as long as we can. Galarraga’s lyrics aren’t didactic, instead serving like the kind of casual musings that are taken best as punchlines.
Posted on May 3rd, 2018
[as seen on Paste]
Punk quartet Big Ups have been Brooklyn mainstays for the better part of a decade. Formed in 2010 while the members— Joe Galarraga, Amar Lal, Brendan Finn and Carlos Salguero, Jr— were students at NYU, they have matured and expanded their brand of searing, yet deeply thoughtful post-hardcore in the years since graduation. On May 18, the band will release their third full-length record, Two Parts Together, an uncertain assessment of present and future existence.
“Imaginary Dog Walker,” the record’s closing track, is a sprawling and dynamic coda, ending Two Parts Together with unsettling doubt. The song finds Galarraga staring into a lake (a recurring thematic element of the album), wondering what lies beneath. “We all want the same thing/ And that is to thrive,” he declares, “So why hold our breaths/ Kill the life inside?” Propelled by vivid, destructive imagery, tense repetition, and agitated guitars, “Imaginary Dog Walker” is an aggressive-yet-meaningful meditation on the human experience.