La Luz: Brainwash
Seattle quartet La Luz immediately brings to mind the girl groups of the ?50s and ?60s. The immaculate four-part harmonies, the luscious layers of reverb, the occasional choreographed dance move, even the band’s penchant for oldies-style artwork—it all conjures images of beehived ladies singing sweetly on grainy black-and-white television. But give the new “Brainwash b/w T.V. Dream” single a spin and try to pin down a specific reference point from the past. You can’t. The dexterous but economic keyboard lines of Alice Sandhal and the stripped-down groove laid down by the rhythm section of Abbey Blackwell and Marian Li Pino don’t fit in with wall-of-sound icons like The Crystals or The Ronettes. The nimble surf rock twang of guitarist Shana Cleveland is at odds with classic Motown groups like The Marvelettes or The Supremes. Yes, the doo-wop nostalgia is certainly there, but the manufactured glamour and studio sheen is absent. “Brainwash b/w T.V. Dream” is available worldwide both digitally and as a 7” on translucent yellow/gold vinyl with a download coupon.
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN: YT//ST
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN was founded in late 2007 by performance artists alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood, born from the ashes of the late Lesbian Fight Club. Armed with mixed-race identities, mad illustration skills and a whole pile of home-brew junk electronics, alaska and Ruby wrote and performed the first mini ?Noh-Wave’ Opera, ?YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN I’ in April 2008. Aesthetically, they blend the poorly appropriated styles of Noh, Chinese Opera, Chinese, Japanese and First Nations Mythology, Black & White Television, Psychedelia & Rock Operatics into a sensory feast of nigh-monochromatic costuming, unique hand-built musical instruments and their own mangaesque cardboard ?NEVERFLAT’ style of 2.5D set design.
George W. Bush. Cormac McCarthy novels. Chainsaw massacres. Texas has a reputation for being a grim place. Sure, there?s the rock n? roll haven of Austin, the metropolitan hubs of Dallas and Houston, and the weird art commune of Marfa. But by and large, it?s a land of dry counties and conservatism. Which makes the demented psych garage of Lubbock?s the Numerators all the more compelling. Northeastern Texas is perhaps the most inhospitable region of the state for a young band of misfits to combine a love of David Lynch?s twisted take on the ?50s with a requisite dash of Lone Star homage to 13th Floor Elevators, yet somehow the Numerators have managed to thrive under such stark conditions. Now based in Brooklyn, the trio continues to belt out their hallucinatory brand of reverb-drenched garage rock on their latest single for Suicide Squeeze. The ?Dead? b/w ?Finally Sees? 7? is limited to 500 copies (100 clear, 400 on black) with a free download code and is also available digitally worldwide.
Audacity: Finders Keepers
There?s a common-held notion that great rock music only comes out of big cities, as if the grime and struggle of life in urban spaces is the essential fuel for truly passionate rock n roll. But this was a belief when cities were emptying out and the suburbs were growing. Now we?re witnessing the repopulation of major metropolitan areas. Suburbs are becoming the new wasteland. Perhaps that?s the reason why the Orange County suburb of Fullerton was finally able to birth a band like Audacity. Nurtured by local garage rock havens like record store/label Burger Records, the young brash power pop of Audacity kick out jams that are both aptly sunny and gritty?a perfect blend of SoCal?s good weather and endless concrete. With two LPs under the young four-piece?s belt, they?ve set aside two songs for a 7? on Suicide Squeeze before they unleash another full-length later this year. For the uninitiated, ?Finders Keepers? b/w ?Onomatopoeia? is the perfect introduction to Audacity?s potent combination of pop melodies and roughly hewn energy. The first pressing of this 7? is limited to 500 copies on translucent green vinyl with a free download code as well as being available digitally worldwide.
White Woods: Big Talking
White Woods is the alias for Julia Kugel, better known for her work as the guitarist and vocalist for Atlanta?s riotous garage rockers The Coathangers. Under her solo moniker, Kugel delivered a heartfelt blend of golden-oldies and subdued Americana with her debut single on Suicide Squeeze last year. Now Kugel is back with another two-song White Woods offering, exploring the same kind of sultry vintage sounds that made her first 7? so special. The A-side, ?Big Talking?, takes The Coathangers? attitude, unplugs it from the amps, and delivers its admonishment with a graceful AM radio vibe. On theflipside, ?Corner Town? conjures the sex and strut of David Lynch?s pop-culture nods to ?50s. The newest White Woods songs are available digitally worldwide or on a 7? limited to 500 copies (100 glow in the dark, 400 black) with an accompanying download code.
The Coathangers / Nü Sensae: Derek's Song b/w Throw
Atlanta?s reigning garage rock daughters The Coathangers return with the third installment in their series of split 7?s on Suicide Squeeze. This time they?ve teamed up with labelmates Nü Sensae. Both new listeners and longtime fans of The Coathangers will be whipped into a frenzy with ?Derek?s Song?, a party-banger perfectly encapsulating the quartet?s capacity for sharp hooks and jagged instrumentation. Nü Sensae contributes ?Throw? to their side of the split. Rounding out their sound with the recent addition of guitarist Brody McKnight, Nü Sensae?s newest song is a ferocious and harrowing leap forward. Brody unleashes foreboding guitar squalls while bassist/vocalist Andrea Lukic rages like Kim Gordon at her most incendiary moments and Daniel Pitout beats his drums to a bloody pulp. The Coathangers? side will make you wanna get off your ass and dance while the Nü Sensae side will make you wanna go torch a car. The split 7? is limited to 750 copies (250 on white vinyl, 500 on black) with a free download code and is also available digitally worldwide.
Julianna Barwick: Pacing
* 2 beautiful new compositions from vocalist / composer Julianna Barwick - one vocal arrangement, one solo piano.
* Limited edition of 750 (500 black, 250 opaque red vinyl) with free download
* Barwick's first release sinceThe Magic Place which garnered Pitchfork Best New Music, BBC Music Writers top 25 of 2011.
* Barwick's forthcoming album, recorded in Iceland, is a very eagerly anticipated record for 2013. This single will disappear fast!
- * "Her ethereal multi-tracked harmonies have the devotional quality of gospel choirs, and the oddball allure of Björk or Yoko Ono." -New York Times
Peace: The World Is Too Much With Us
Peace recorded its sophomore LP in Pamela Anderson's hometown, a fogged-in hamlet named Ladysmith on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The World is Too Much With Us builds on the depth and drama latent in Peace's sound. Connor's bass-lines menace and hypnotize. Mike's guitar solos explode suddenly in wah-pedal freak-outs. Geoff's tom-toms thud with a tribal intensity. And Dan?s lyrics, for which he's been referred to as Vancouver's "post-punk poet laureate", alternate between images of defiant despair and love-sick yearning.
Gap Dream: Generator b/w A Little Past Midnight
Somewhere in pre-dawn Cleveland, Gabe Fulvimar hunkers down in his bedroom with his laptop, a guitar, a drum machine, and a Fender Rhodes and records songs under the name Gap Dream. Before you groan over another ?bedroom pop? artist, spend two seconds absorbing Fulvimar?s mystical, stoned-to-the-bone one-man garage rock. If Lou Reed and Jason Pierce had MacBooks back when they were starting out, it wouldn?t be hard to imagine them kicking out a jam like ?A Little Past Midnight?. It?s almost tempting to claim Gap Dream?s ability to make such warm, wacked out, psychedelic grooves in such technologically-cold hermit-like conditions as Fulvimar?s crowning achievement. But the process behind the music doesn?t mean shit when you hear Fulvimar?s smooth harmonies, warbling tremolo guitar, and reverberating haze sewn together into a tune as beguiling as ?Generator?.
The Coathangers / Heavy Cream: Merry Go Round b/w Toasted
Fans of The Coathangers are already accustomed to the beer-soaked, dance-inducing jams whipped up by bassist Meredith, guitarist Julia, keyboardist Candice, and drummer Steph, but on ?Merry Go Round? the quartet swap instruments and knock out their most solid and catchy number to date. With The Coathangers raising the bar with their newest song, Infinity Cat Recordings artists Heavy Cream countered by contributing ?Toasted? to their side of the split. With it?s big and bold drumbeat, driving guitar chords, sing-along chorus, and blown out production, ?Toasted? not only sounds like a fitting addition to JEFF the Brotherhood?s record label, it sounds like the long lost rock n? roll gem that first incited Joan Jett and Johnny Ramone to pick up guitars back in the ?70s.
Nü Sensae: Sundowning
Nü Sensae has taken big risks with even bigger payoffs on this release. Proving just how unpredictable they can be, they abandoned their status as a duo — a favourite angle of both the media and fans — and recruited Vancouver noise rock great Brody McKnight as a full-time member. Previously working with the now-legendary group Mutators, McKnight has added another dimension of heaviness to the band's already mind-melting sludge attack.
They've also embraced diversity in other ways, allowing more loud-quiet dynamics into their songwriting. From the creeping dirge of “Tea Swamp Park” to the vast expanse of “Say What You Are,” the quiet sections offer brief moments of uneasy solace between the full out attack of songs like “100 Shades,” “Tyjna” and “Eat Your Mind.” Elsewhere, subtle but defined melodies surface amidst the fuzz of tracks like “Burnt Masks” and “Dust.” Don't be mistaken, though: Sundowning is designed to bludgeon with the raw aggression that can only come from the best elements of noise, punk and grunge.