Please welcome Mountain Time, the solo project of singer-songwriter Chris Simpson of Mineral and The Gloria Record, to the Spartan family. We’re proud to announce that the new album Music For Looking Animals will be released everywhere on June 26th on LP / Digital. Listen to the premiere of the first single “Rosemary, Etc.” at Rolling Stone and pre-order the album on super limited edition vinyl to get an instant download of the song now.
In the aftermath of the dissolution of his adored bands, Simpson took a step back from making music for the first time since his mid-teens. And it was during this period where an affinity for the music of the 1960s and ‘70s such as Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Harry Nilsson, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground and many more, along with the freedom and expression of jazz and artists who radically followed their own vision, took root. With additional inspiration drawn from the arenas of psychology and eastern philosophy, the beauty of the natural world, Simpson’s children and wife, old Time Life books, and the self-stated immenseness of the universe, Mountain Time has become almost more of a state-of-mind than a moniker.
“To me, it’s a record about surrendering to your true self by letting go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. It’s about sacrifice and stepping into your own life. It’s about all the paradoxes that exist: the most important of which is that vulnerability is the only real source of strength.”
Mountain Time, both a reference to timeliness (or lack thereof) and a childhood amongst the natural beauty of Colorado evolved from Chris Simpson’s previous solo project Zookeeperas the most fitting moniker for the latest project. With the transition, while the process and approach became more autonomous, the drive and ultimate desire to create remained rooted within many of the same wells of inspiration that fueled previous incarnations of Simpson’s songwriting. For Simpson, much of what his new album, Music For Looking Animals, is externalizing are larger questions embedded within the natural passing of time: What things do we hold onto? What must we let go?
While time has brought certain chapters to a close, new ones have opened: Family. School. Sobriety. Seeking. However, part of this recasting of priorities has involved the shedding of some former skins, and much of this process took place within the cathartic confines of writing Music for Looking Animals.
"I think for me, [writing] has always been an expression of seeking, seeking to know more about myself or the world around me. Seeking to belong or understand. Just expressing myself and communicating who or what I am. What makes me more wholly myself or individual. Or what makes me more human. I think this has been the same throughout my songwriting. For me, it’s the way I process being alive."
Simpson entered the studio with producer/collaborator Doug Walseth to capture the emotion of the songs within the “Leonard Cohen palette” i.e. songs bolstered with strings, horns and background singers rather than layers of electric guitars and keyboards. At the start of the recording sessions, Simpson and Walseth committed to capturing everything on an 8-track one-inch analog tape machine and forgoing the use of computers. However, as the arrangements, layering, and ideas became more complex, the initial approach became limiting. What began as a very spare folk album became much more grand, ambitious and dense. While Music For Looking Animals is an attempt at simplification, it is hardly minimal in terms of musical, lyrical and spiritual depth.
“I am completely convinced of the paradoxes that exist,” says Simpson. "That love and compassion are the only answers to hate and fear. There is so much healing needed both within and without, and that starts at home, in our own hearts and lives. I know it’s tempting to think that that has nothing to do with the state of the world, but I think it might be the only thing that has anything to do with the state of the world.” It is this type of reflective seeking that brought Music For Looking Animals into existence, and it is this type of seeking that the album invites the listener to embark on after hitting play.
Please join us in welcoming Iceland’s VAR to the Spartan family! We’re excited to release the band’s new album The Never-Ending Year worldwide on April 24th on LP/Digital. Listen to the premiere of the song “Moments” at Everything Is Noise here and get an instant download of the song when you pre-order the album on limited edition vinyl. The Never-Ending Year stands as one of our most awe-inspiring releases to date, and a record that will grow and evolve with each listen.
In certain seasons, time can depart from the static drone of minutes and hours and days and months, and settle into a less mechanical rhythm. It is replaced by something more organic -- a fluctuating heartbeat, both resting and racing. This transition happens without notice as slowly the external becomes the internal. In more linear terms, the new decade will mark a new addition to the Spartan Records roster — Iceland’s VAR, a melodic indie rock quartet. Building upon four years of performance and experimentation within their home country, VAR has honed their devastatingly beautiful sound into something more refined and explosive on their debut LP The Never-Ending Year. Think Sigur Ros with more urgency, We Were Promised Jetpacks with more intricacy, and Frightened Rabbit with more grit.
GIANTS CHAIR's first new album in over 23 years Prefabylon is out everywhere on December 6th and we're proud to show off the band's new music video for the song "Kids Running." The video is a literal deep dive into their video archives and includes footage of their first west coast tour with Boys Life in 1995. Pre-order the album on limited edition vinyl / digital here!
Drummer Paul Ackerman says: "I
think Scott's story in “Kids Running" is one of a young Midwestern kid
yearning for escape, experience, and maybe a bit of adventure. It's a
road trip story - a 'head west' story. So when we saw the footage our
old friend Jeremy shot from our tour out west with Boys Life
in '95, it seemed like the perfect way to visualize that story. That
was our first real tour, so far from home, and the first time seeing the
mountains and the Pacific Ocean for some of us. There were a lot of
firsts, we had a shit-ton of fun - shaved head, tattooed hands and all -
and we have lifelong friendships to go along with those memories. So
yeah, it's a pretty nostalgic piece, but just maybe some other
Midwestern kids will see it and be inspired to head west as well.
Catch GIANTS CHAIR on tour this November!
11/22 - St. Louis, MO - The Heavy Anchor 11/23 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club 11/24 - Chicago, IL - Chop Shop 11/29 - Kansas City, MO - The Brick
GIANTS CHAIR's new song "Kids Running" is premiering today at Talkhouse!
Guitarist-lyricist-singer Scott Hobart also waxes philosophical about
post-punk, emo, honky-tonk music, and keeping it real. It’s an amazing
read about authenticity, listening to your heart, and the stories that
can be told through music. Pre-order the band's upcoming album Prefabylon on limited edition LP / digital here to get an instant download of two songs now.
Please join us in welcoming Kansas City’s Giants Chair
to the Spartan Family. The band returns with Prefabylon, their first
new album in over 23 years on December 6th. Listen to the premiere of
the new single “Dirty Winter” exclusively at
BrooklynVegan and pre-order the album on limited edition vinyl to get an instant download of the song now!
the midwest in the early nineties, three musicians serendipitously
found one another and began to power a sound. This sonic synergy charged
not only the band’s own individually-heralded releases, but would also
influence decades of artists-to-come who would cut their rock-n-roll
records. After years of writing and recording, after innumerable sweaty
basement shows, after thousands of miles of highway blur, and a million
fragmented memories, lives progressed, and the fire that fueled Giants
Chair gave way to new responsibilities — but it never went out.
For more than two decades now Giants Chair
records have lived on turntables, blasted through car speakers, rattled
apartment walls, destroyed headphones, and finally become recognized as
the timeless artifacts of emotional experience and endeavor that they
are for so many people. Now, in perfect time, 2019 marks the return of
Giants Chair with the release of the bands highly-anticipated new album,
Prefabylon. With all of the the band’s original core
components and members still intact, listeners needn’t brace for any
departure from the band's signature post-punk DNA. Equal parts early new
wave, skate punk, prog, political folk, and 70’s and 80’s radio rock,
Giants Chair’s influences can be traced across their now
The long wait is finally over! Mae's Singularity is available for pre-order now on vinyl for the first time ever. The limited edition, double vinyl set features three bonus tracks and is available on two stunning variants. Get your copy while supplies last exclusively at spartanrecords.com. All orders ship in December!
Originally released on August 14, 2007, via Capitol Records, the album was produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Simple Plan) and was praised by All Music, which wrote that the LP "sets them apart as pop perfectionists who are able to synthesize bright melodic hooks and rock muscle into a guitar pop perfection that is (yes) singular. This is a lively, octane-fueled, and hook-ridden album that yields up all kinds of power pop delights. Singularity is clear evidence that Mae has evolved into an excellent rock band, one that never sacrifices beauty or songcraft in the face of big guitars."
Subways on the Sun
are celebrating the one year anniversary of their sophomore album Capsize by premiering the new music video for the LP's title track at Northwest Music Scene. Watch it below and pick up a copy of the album everywhere here.
Erick Newbill says, "We chose “Capsize” as the title track because it
brings together quite a few themes we find running through the album. In
the face of adversity will we sink, or are life’s setbacks just
temporary things we’ll find a way to overcome?"
adds, "The experience of filming the video alongside my son was one of
the most meaningful experiences I’ve had both as a musician and a
parent. It’s so great when different elements of life we care deeply
about intersect and become something beautiful."
Reader's debut album Engrams doesn’t come out until tomorrow, but you can listen to the entire album a day early exclusively at Kerrang!.
Kerrang! calls the record "a collision of heavy, intense and urgent feeling, masterful
musicianship, and lyrics and vocals that have an otherworldly (yet
vulnerable) edge to them, Engramsis a triumphant success of a debut record."
Watch the new Surprises music video for "I Can't See You Em" at Dread Central. The song appears on the new album Natural Disaster which is available everywhere now!
Brooks tells Dread Central: "My main objective was to capture the inescapability of anxiety. I knew
that I didn’t want to make a traditional music video in that the
performance had to be part of the landscape. I wanted the
viewer/listener to feel that I was trapped in whatever space I was in. I
had the idea of using the old footage while watching Kingdom of the
Spiders. There was something that was authentic and completely
unrepeatable about it. A director buddy of mine pointed me to
archive.org. I watched hours of footage to find the moments that really
sold the recklessness of the song. The one thing I noticed looking back
was the commonality of the shots I chose despite the different decades
of the footage. There was a cohesion that made me believe in the song
more and hopefully will give folks another reason to listen/watch."
Demons has released a new single titled “Uglier Americans.” All
proceeds from the song will be donated to Texas-based organization
RAICES, which is focused on education, affordable legal assistance
provided to those impacted by illegal and unjust raids, and
opportunities for involvement from those interested in helping. Get the song now at Bandcamp.
Zach Gehring discussed the timely track,
stating, “The separation of families at the border, and the policies
that underscore recent activities targeting families from Mexico,
Central, and South America, and US citizens are completely backwards and
unquestionably cruel. Immigration policies and the inhumane treatment
of people of all ages demands a response.” He continues to say “any
action that can help thwart or slow down what is happening. This song is
was motivated by an attempt to critique the gap between immediacy and
reflection – the immediacy and urgency for those threatened by these
policies versus the reflective and abstract media commentary and
discourse that privileged people (like us) engage in and respond to
Welcome Seattle’s Reader to the Spartan family! We are beyond thrilled to release the band’s debut album Engrams on August 16th. Listen to the new single "Skeleton" at digital outlets everywhere here and pre-order the album on limited edition vinyl or animated picture disc here to get the song right now.
In a time of facsimiles, replicas, and false tributes, along comes Reader — a bombastic, fearlessly unusual rock quartet from Seattle, WA. Practically speaking, this means stunning and precise vocal harmonies over shattering angular guitars, unconventional time signatures, and a driving rhythm section. Less practically speaking, the band’s debut record Engrams is a journey — a dynamic and unpredictable experience that challenges the listener in all the best ways. Attempting to neatly categorize Reader's sound is a fool’s errand. No clean “recommended if you like” comparisons can be made. The band could best be described as an experimental amalgamation of melodic and layered harmonies over aggressive and mathy guitar-driven rock. Think Alice In Chains meets the late-60’s vocal stylings of groups like CSNY and Simon and Garfunkel. An original juxtaposition of forces, authentic and uncompromised in any direction.
Fallow Land's new single "The Body” is premiering now at The Alternative!
The song come from the band's debut album Slow Down, Rockstar which
comes out everywhere on July 26th! Listen now and get two songs
instantly when you pre-order the album on limited edition vinyl here!