The Foxery - "Unless"
When asked to describe The Foxery, each band member contributed one word: Passionate. Intense. Cathartic. Heavy. Genuine. Fun. In a sense, there could be no better way to characterize both the music and the poetically thrashing spirit of the Louisville sextet. Coming on the heels of several independent releases, incessant DIY touring, and months and months of persistent writing, The Foxery has found their home on Spartan Records with Unless, unquestionably their most prolific record to date. Thematically, Unless tackles massive questions against the backdrop of a dark and wandering musical journey; however, the story doesn’t end there. Amidst the darkness, there is a palpable sense of hope that builds as the record progresses. Subtle rhythm changes, melodic layers, and key modulations begin to alter the sonic landscape as the record reaches its crescendo where it ultimately ends in a place of redemption.
Young Fox - "Predecessors" EP
For two years, Pittsburgh PA’s Young Fox has been at work -- writing, refining, building and honing. Foundational anchors were set at the fascinating intersection of homage and experimentation, and familiar outlines of past inspiration were redrawn with steady, confident hands. With influences ranging from Sunny Day Real Estate to Fugazi, characterizing Young Fox’s sound is not a simple task. Predecessors is a journey of aesthetic variance, where melodic integrity meets power, lushness breaks for simplicity, and structure crescendos into recklessness.
Barren Womb - "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken"
"The sun's not yellow, it's chicken" is the first full-length album from Norwegian noise mongers Barren Womb. After a handful of successful singles and EP's, the duo have already established their vicious blend of hardcore, black metal, country and rock 'n' roll. From the first jangly chords of opener "Kill Hicks" it quickly becomes apparent how much the band has grown since these first efforts. Broader dynamics, more focused songwriting and heavier sounding, topped off with the bleakest lyrics they've written to date. Recorded by Ole Spangrud of Mørkemakt and mixed by the band themselves, "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken" features 13 blisteringly honest noise punk ditties, all set in the key of apocalypse.
States - "Paradigm"
After an impressive debut release, indie supergroup States return with their beautiful and lush second installment - Paradigm. Delving into more experimental territory, Paradigm is a lesson in dynamics -- rich atmospherics are grounded by propulsive rhythms, delicate layers are juxtaposed by driving guitars, and heady lyrics are masterfully delivered by an arresting voice. With foundational roots in such beloved bands (Copeland, Lydia), expectations have always been high for States. Paradigm not only secures the bands independence as a stand alone force, it also serves as a statement of what's to come.
"The Sound We're Making" - A Spartan Records Sampler
The first ever free Spartan Records sampler, "The Sound We're Making," includes 10 tracks - one from each Spartan release to date, including songs from Schematic, Over the Ocean, Daisyhead, Shy, Low, Waypoint, and more.
Schematic - "Color (n.) Inside The Lines"
The story of Schematic is one of progress, experimentation and rebirth. After a very successful decade fronting the beloved indie-powerhouse Mae, Dave Elkins packed his bags and relocated to Nashville for the start of something new. With four LP's, three EP's, and over half a million album sales under his belt worldwide, Elkins longed to refine his approach to making records, to experiment with the unknown. The result emerged under the moniker Schematic, and in the form of a brilliant and breathtakingly complex record, Color (n.) Inside The Lines.
Landing on a particular sound for Schematic was, and remains to be, a journey that is constantly evolving. Sonically, the album draws heavily from Elkins' progressive pop leanings, but delves into a new territory of experimentation with compelling grooves, interweaving time signatures, and unique instrumentation. In addition to Elkins' adept handiwork, the record features a veritable dream team of producers and contributors. With additional engineering and production by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, Lovedrug); co-writes by Stephen Christian (Anberlin) and Mark Padgett (Mae); and guest musical appearances by Jeremy Lutito (Leagues), Chase Lawrence (Coin), and Eleanor Denig, Color (n.) Inside The Lines was a process of diverse brilliant collaboration.
Reinvention is not easy. Departing from the safe harbor of familiarity and success takes a tremendous amount of courage. But with an undying desire for advancement and progression as an artist, Elkins' has already found his footing with Schematic on a very familiar climb to the top.
Daisyhead - "I Couldn't Face You" 7"/EP
With the high concentration of sharpened elbows jockeying for position within the Nashville scene, it takes an extraordinary amount of artistry and ingenuity for a band to separate themselves from the pack -- especially with only an EP. In early 2013 Michael Roe, Adam Easterling, Curtis Durard, and Zach Chiarizzio made a decision to take a break from their heavier band projects and collectively explore something new. There was no specific style there were trying to create, no image they were trying fit, and no sound they were trying to replicate. Four musicians simply got together, drew from their unique influences, and began to play. Chemistry formed, songs took shape, and what began as a project, pure and untainted, evolved into something much bigger -- a musical monolith that found it's feet in the form of stunning, and stirring EP.
On the surface 'emotional rock and roll' is a reasonable summation of the band's sound, but that classification alone doesn't begin to describe the complexity and energy that propels the band's debut EP "I Couldn't Face You." With the perfect combination of powerful and propulsive guitars, an aggressive rhythm section, tastefully untamed production, conceptual storytelling and a fragile yet sophisticated voice, "I Couldn't Face You" is as effortlessly beautiful as it is unfathomably raw. Be on the lookout on November 5th as Daisyhead partners with Spartan Records to share their creation with the world on limited edition 7" vinyl and at all major digital retailers.
Shy, Low - "Binary Opposition"
Post-rockers hailing from the hardcore haven of Richmond VA, Shy, Low play a creative blend of instrumental compositions coming from the diverse and varying influences of the band’s four members. Their new 2 song release, Binary Opposition clocks in at just shy of 25 minutes and is an atmospheric, emotive, and visual tour de force. Recorded live on analog tape at the legendary Inner Ear Studios just outside of Washington, DC, Binary Opposition is the seasoned follow-up to the band’s self-titled record and will available on June 25th at digital retailers and on 12” colored vinyl.
Over the Ocean - "Be Given to the Soil"
From the very beginning, Over the Ocean set out to create music that stops listeners in their tracks. Listening to the band's new album, "Be Given to the Soil," is as if you were sitting in a room watching them sweat out every ounce of passion that was poured tirelessly into each song. Thematically and musically, the arrangements are darker, heavier and sparse at points than the band's previous effort, all the while delivering the same level of lyrical complexity that fans grew to love on their debut. "Be Given to the Soil" swan dives right into the soul, plunging the unexplained inner depths of the human condition. From start to finish the record offers raw, gut-wrenching wrestling with the eternal. Each song proclaims the loudness of humanity’s inner life – truth, doubt and struggle wrapped up in a disturbingly clear package.
In an era of the immediate and temporary, Over the Ocean has crafted something timeless. "Be Given to the Soil" is not for the faint of heart and mustn't be approached half-heartedly. You will either be sonically immersed into a landscape of seeming sonic dysfunction held together by a heart-piercing rhythm section, or you will refuse its advances altogether. "Be Given to the Soil" is available now at digital retailers and on limited edition gatefold double vinyl on Seattle's Spartan Records.
Mae - "Destination: Beautiful" LP
With subtle beauty and lush instrumentation, Mae burst onto the scene in 2003 with the kind of maturity and distinction that had been so absent in a swarm of bands of the oblique and generic post-emo convention. Utilizing varied soundscapes beneath their crisp, driving melodies, Mae's introduction immediately appealed to those longing for musical depth and substance, painstaking detail, and a collaboration of delicate art and head-nodding rock. "Destination: Beautiful" became an instant classic and is now available in limited quantity for the first time ever on vinyl.
Ourlives - "Out of Place"
Ourlives are an explosive, emotive, expansive four-piece, poised and ready at the start of their music recording lives. Ourlives are a band clearly capable of injecting their own edge, of making powerful forward-looking, life-touching music. Hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, the music they make is a dramatic crossover hybrid of melodic intelligent progressive post-metal and warm powerful emotional pop rock. Ourlives are not afraid to play with the warmth of old-school guitars, with the analogue dust of keyboards, with the power of silence and the strength that can be found in their harmonious vocals. Neither are they a band afraid of soothing, soaring melodies, of emotional choruses and the idea that less is often so much more. The foursome are fusing their ambitious ideas together to produce a sound that's as potentially epic as their Icelandic landscape, they do this without ever losing sight of the power and strength of pop and the art of keeping it simple. The band's debut US 5-song EP "Out of Place" is available now via Seattle's Spartan Records.
Over the Ocean - "Paper House"
Over the Oceans's debut album, "Paper House," is a refreshing and dynamic collection of original and inspired songs. During the album's quieter moments, you will suddenly find yourself within a moment of introspection - then a moment later, the climactic swell of big guitars, bombastic drums, and vocals will blanket your arms with goosebumps. Over the Ocean's sonic landscape is sprinkled with feedback, distortion, echo, and dissonance - but the sum of those things is a beautiful and memorable collection of songs. Fans of bands like Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai, mewithoutYou, Sigur Rós, and Appleseed Cast will undoubtedly appreciate the band's sound. "Paper House" is available now at major digital retailers everywhere with three additional bonus tracks.
Sky's The Limit - "Sky's The Limit"
Before Mae, there was Sky's The Limit. Originally released in 2001, but shortly thereafter out of print, Sky's The Limit was the first band of Mae frontman and chief songwriter, Dave Elkins. The record is an especially essential listen for fans of Mae and also fans of the mid-late 90's emo sound of bands like Mineral, Sunny Day Real Estate, Hum, and others. Shortly after the disbanding of Sky's The Limit, Dave went on to record Mae's "Destination: Beautiful."
Anchor & Braille - "Sound Asleep" / "Wedding/Funeral" 7"
Limited edition, colored vinyl from Anchor & Braille. Includes the songs "Sound Asleep" and "Wedding/Funeral". Anchor & Braille is: Christian, Marsh, Bucklew, Louis, Becker, Pimberly, Reid, Lux, Harben.