Posted on March 5th, 2019

[as seen on NPR]

Panic attacks are no joke. Rick Maguire, lead songwriter for Pile, learned this recently. While preparing to move and getting ready to write Pile's new record, Green and Gray, Maguire tried to go to bed one night and instead found himself "in the pitch black, in a way looking at myself and my position to the rest of the world, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and feeling this overwhelming anxiety," he tells NPR Music. He was, in other words, having a panic attack.

That's what led him to write "Bruxist Grin," the first single from Green and Gray. The whole album — from its very first line, "no longer burdened by youth" — centers on themes of anxiety, mortality and self-discovery. It's not exactly new ground for Pile; Maguire's lyrics and the entire band's frenetic, often acerbic tone often convey a sense of facing (and breaking through) paranoia and claustrophobia, of getting knocked off balance and trying to find surer footing. Building on a strength of A Hairshirt of Purpose, Pile's last album, Green and Gray is an album with a clear sense of cohesion throughout it.

"Bruxist Grin" opens with a few moments of cautious peace before the psychedelic anxiety kicks in. A crinkly guitar riff cuts through an insistent rhythm section like a racing mind over a racing pulse; when the song hits a more subdued gear, the fear isn't far off.

"My heart was just pounding, and I don't know what's happening," Maguire explains of the experience that inspired the song. "I just know that there's a bunch of change that's going to happen in my life real soon, and my body is reacting to all of it." "Bruxist Grin" — and Green and Gray as a whole — captures the teeth-grinding, white-knuckle terror of staring down change, and the relief of making it through to the other side.

Green And Gray is out May 3 via Exploding In Sound.


Posted on March 4th, 2019

[as seen on Hype Machine]

St. Louis, Missouri-based four-piece Shady Bug write fuzzy guitar pop songs that contrast moments loud and quiet, sour and sweet. They sharpen this dynamic on their sophomore LP, Lemon Lime, a collection expressing a love/hate for life in their home city. "The band’s twin guitars are nimble and explosive," says Post-Trash, "weaving in and out of one other and erupting with short notice, blanketing Hannah Rainey’s gorgeous vocal melodies with sounds that push and pull in different directions, both jagged and dreamy." It's out via Exploding In Sound Records.


Posted on February 21st, 2019

[as seen on FLOOD Magazine]

Finally, some representation for all you space dominatrixes working day jobs as receptionists for gene editing labs churning out superbabies. Brooklyn trio Sharkmuffin have written a conceptual EP empathizing with this exact demographic; over the course of five tracks, the garage-centric trio dabbles in shoegaze, glam, and a breakneck fusion of grunge and riot grrrl on Gamma Gardening to spin a totally unique narrative.

We’re getting the first taste of the EP today with the dissonant, arena-filling ballad “Serpentina,” the three minute sci-fi epic which initiated the project that was inspired by, uh, an oil change.

“I wrote the bass line and lyrics to this song when I had to get the serpentine belt replaced in my 1995 Dodge Caravan,” vocalist/guitarist Tarra Thiessen explains. “I got an oil change and the dude there told me the belt looked like it was about to snap and if it did, then I would lose control of the whole car and die. So after I bought a new serpentine belt at AutoZone, I for some reason started to personify my minivan as a sexy dominatrix named Serpentina that could kill me with her belt. To take control of this weird paranoid thought, I changed the story so that Serpentina kills herself with the belt.”

There you have it. Gamma Gardening is out April 5 on Exploding in Sound. Catch Sharkmuffin at SXSW and beyond.


Posted on February 19th, 2019

[as seen on GoldFlakePaint]

‘Whining‘, the new track from Missouri-based four-piece Shady Bug, arrives seven-minutes into the band’s forthcoming new record, third in-line behind the record’s opening two tracks. By its arrival, chances are you’ll already be buried in their world, with both of Whining’s predecessors acting to plant the band’s flag firmly in the ground, both tracks busting out of the blocks in a heady swirl of guitar-led frenzy and a tumultuous voice.

Both there, and here, Whining is something of an outlier, the whole thing idly simmering along at its own pace (at least initially), mirroring some listless day spent in a place you’re all too familiar with. Then comes the click, a powerful heave of gnarly, feedback-soaked guitar noise and feverish drumming that rips the rug right out from under you. An exhilarating about-turn, it’s a moment that makes good on the record’s accompanying bio which states that Shady Bug are band who don’t just “utilize contrast” but truly “revel in it”.

That contrast, whether performed at microscopic level, from languid word to languid word, or on a wider, three-and-a-half minute scale, is indeed key to what makes the band’s forthcoming record such a nervy but utterly engaging document of getting lost in a city, lost in a life, that you just can’t muster the energy to peel yourself away from. The full Lemon Lime LP is released on March 8th via Exploding In Sound – and you can check out the brand new track below right now.


Posted on January 28th, 2019

[as seen on Flood Magazine]

Shady Bug are among the freshman crop of ’90s alt-rock nostalgists joining the Exploding in Sound roster, and based on the warm, guitar-driven anthems comprising 2017’s tbh idk, the St. Louis quartet should feel right at home. Today the band are announcing their EIS debut, Lemon Lime, to be released March 8 on the Brooklyn-based label. As a first taste of the record, “Make It Up” is quite an earful.

A four-minute conversation between Hannah Rainey and Tom Krenning’s soothing-then-domineering guitars, “Make It Up” mirrors the noise-pop revivalism of labelmates Pile and Ovlov with an underlying urgency that’s all their own. As a classically trained guitarist (and exemplary vocalist) Rainey steers the single with a meticulous attention to detail on par with her backing band’s bookending capacity to raze your speakers.

“‘Make It Up’ was the first song we wrote after our self-released album, tbh idk, Rainey explains. “I think we were trying to drive away from our simplistic style by adding dynamics and arranging form. The lyrics are cute and fun but also personal. I wrote this song about hanging out with a crush, going to a show and drinking Sprite (‘sipping on lemon lime’) from the same cup. But in the chorus I sing about making up confidence in order to hide my insecurities about myself, and also anxiety caused by the trees blooming early and dying in my neighborhood because of global warming.”

Lemon Lime is out March 8 on Exploding in Sound. If you’re in the Midwest, catch the band on the dates below, and at SXSW in March.