Mountain Time - "Music For Looking Animals"June 26, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR070
In the aftermath of the dissolution of adored emo / indie rock bands Mineral and The Gloria Record, songwriter Chris Simpson took a step back from making music for the first time since his mid-teens. This period became a critical time of exploration which fueled a longing for simplification, both personally and creatively. It was during this period that a more refined approach to his creative process was born. Mountain Time, both a reference to timeliness (or lack thereof) and a childhood amongst the natural beauty of Colorado evolved from Simpson’s previous solo effort Zookeeper as the most fitting moniker for the latest project. With the transition, while the process and approach of creating Music for Looking Animals 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 the record is externalizing are larger questions embedded within the natural passing of time. While Music for Looking Animals is an attempt at simplification, it is hardly minimal in terms of lyrical and musical depth.
VAR - The Never-Ending YearApril 24, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR068
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.
Mae - "Singularity"December 27, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR065
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. 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."
Giants Chair - "Prefabylon"December 6, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR067
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 on Spartan Records, 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 ‘era-transcending’ catalogue.
Reader - "Engrams"August 16, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR066
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 - "Slow Down, Rockstar"July 26, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR064
Ann Arbor’s Fallow Land was born in a time of trepidation — a period of unease and anxiety following multiple losses. The result: Fallow Land's debut EP Pinscher, a guitar-driven narrative centered around disillusion. Two years have now passed since the release of Pinscher and with time has come critical praise, healing, and evolution — all elements that fueled the creation of Fallow Land’s debut LP Slow Down, Rockstar. For Fallow Land, the album marks a sonic progression. In the spirit of bands like Foxing, American Football, and Minus the Bear, the record is driven by rhythmically-nuanced textures. The sum of the intricate instrumentation and layers create a lush and mathy soundscape. While records within this genre can border on self-indulgent, the Matt Bayles (Isis, Minus the Bear, Pearl Jam) produced Slow Down, Rockstar remains accessible, memorable, and melodically compelling throughout the entire album.
The Darling Fire - "Dark Celebration"June 14, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR063
After years of individual success in some of the scene's most beloved bands, The Darling Fire was born of both deep struggle and deeper friendships. A veritable mosaic of indie notoriety, the band features members or ex-members of The Rocking Horse Winner, Further Seems Forever, Dashboard Confessional, Poison The Well, Shai Hulud, As Friends Rust, and Strongarm among others. The debut album, Dark Celebration, is in many ways what you'd anticipate — energetic, powerful, melodic, and heavy; however, it is far more nuanced than you would imagine. The collective sum of the parts and the alluring heart-on-sleeve lyrics produce a more intimate, spacey and bewitching experience — an authenticity that speaks to the true cathartic nature of the project. The result of their collaboration with producer J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Government Issue) is a powerful coalescence of artistry and vision — a record that five artists spent their entire careers waiting to make.
Surprises - "Natural Disaster"May 31, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR061
After releasing three successful LP’s with the fan-adored band Sullivan and dozens of solo tracks over the past ten years, songs seem to emanate from all levels of Brooks Paschal's consciousness. However, Paschal’s new project Surprises is something different. It is cathartic, it is reckless, and it is personal — a striking new narrative from a familiar voice. Natural Disaster is a concentrated amalgamation of all the driving, melodic, soaring, and fragile moments that made Paschal’s previous work so appealing, but with instincts driving all direction, we're thrust into a new and unchartered creative territory.
Florida Man - "Tropical Depression"May 3, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR062
Florida Man's sound may be as unnerving as a Google search of their band name, but on their sophomore full-length Tropical Depression, the Charleston, SC noise-punks harness roaring blasts of distortion and a fascination with the bleaker side of life to create one of the year’s most uncompromising and cathartic releases. Tropical Depression effectively filters the spirits of the most legendary noise rock and post-hardcore scenes -- San Diego’s angular attack (Hot Snakes, No Knife), Seattle’s sheer power (Botch, These Arms Are Snakes), Chicago’s sonic depravity (The Jesus Lizard, Shellac), and DC’s unbridled creativity (Fugazi, Faraquet) -- through the band's unique brand of sweat-soaked southern grime and a dose of hardcore aggression.
Florida Man - Self-TitledFebruary 15, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR059
Florida Man's sound is a tangle of pummeling guitars and howled vocals that captures the combined spirits of the most iconic noise rock and post-hardcore scenes of the past. The Florida Man LP packs the razor sharp riffing of San Diego (Hot Snakes, No Knife), the sheer power of Seattle (Botch, These Arms Are Snakes), and the unbridled creativity of Washington DC (Fugazi, Faraquet)--all filtered through the band's unique brand of sweat-soaked, southern grime. It's a formidable debut and a taste of what's to come as the band continues to plumb the depths of human strangeness.
Demons - "Made In The USA" EPOctober 19, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR058
On the heels of their debut full-length album Embrace Wolf, Demons returns with a blistering new EP entitled Made In The USA. Mixed by Nathan Hussey (All Get Out) and featuring two brand new songs, the band pummels you for 12 straight minutes with their reckless and frenetic brand of noisy post-punk tackling topics like social injustice and our collective inner struggle. It's no wonder Revolver called it a "trip to hell and back." Wear a helmet or pay the consequences.
Subways On The Sun - "Capsize"September 21, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR057
While the band set sail with its shimmering guitar-pop debut The Honeymoon Stagecoach in 2013, their sophomore album, Capsize, steers a course into grittier territory. Capsize is a collection of songs which showcases a fresh artistic trajectory, and follows our collective struggle to accept the passage of time and identify the voices in our lives that are worth listening to. And it’s immediately evident as anthemic opener “Just To Be With You” channels the heart racing spirit of Muse, with a riff-heavy synth-forward energy that rips through the whole record. Each song is a unique statement, drawing fluidly from each member’s influences. This comes across clearly in the Mew-inspired “Tongues,” combining jangly telecaster riffs and dirty-as-hell basslines. Remnants of early Jimmy Eat World shine through both on the album’s title track, “Capsize,” and “Time’s Not Long,” while “I’m an Island” features lush textures and ethereal vocals akin to The Cure or Death Cab for Cutie. The longing for time to connect and create before our story is over flows through us all. Capsize invites us to embrace that reality, and discover our own ways to stay afloat.