Hidden Hospitals - "Liars"May 18, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR055
Places revealed to those seeking resuscitation, rejuvenation, decompression, atonement. Hidden Hospitals' iconic mark captures the band’s foundational vision: obscured within the double "H," is a universal symbol for aid, while their sound is CPR for rock and roll’s dying aesthetic.
The sound oscillates around modern rock and cult electronica, with lyrics balancing everyday dualities from the first line— "I lost my fingers when I found my fists." — to the last breath. Together, they create a sound and story that are a pulse of hope grounded in the reality of authentic relationships and experiences.
Hidden Hospitals' newest album, Liars, is the manifestation of a singular place, point in time, and frame of mind. And while it is the band’s fourth release, singer Dave Raymond feels as though they've hit reset, focusing on the future without forgetting the past: "Close everything else, this is page one."
Hidden Hospitals - "Surface Tension"May 18, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR054
Feeling continually inspired across its 12 tracks is an element in which Surface Tension excels. With tight musicianship and excellent performances from singer David Raymond, Hidden Hospitals brings a unique flavour to each track: "Modern Saints," hangs harmonies over a torrent of toms and kick drums, contrasting with slow, distorted guitar melodies, flowing into the textured "History," introducing layers after layers of vocal harmonies. "From Toxin," an album stand-out, journeys into a world of twisting time signatures and winding melodies, and "Rose Hips" offers one of the album's finest hooks in its giant chorus. Additionally, each track maintains a fluid pace, rising and falling from moment to moment, tethering each song together. Surface Tension continually impresses with its depth, and rewards listeners who take the time to look below its surface. (Peter Sanfilippo - MEDIUM)
Dearist - "Sonder"April 27, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR053
The UK has always been a breeding ground for rock bands with unique sounds and massive hooks. Enter Wolverhampton's Dearist. From this sleepy midland town comes a modern British take on the likes of American pioneers like Taking Back Sunday, Rival Schools, and Thursday. While a phrase as broad as emo doesn’t quite encapsulate the scope of the band's sound – to describe it as "emotional" would be selling it short. Rather, this is truly emotive and dynamic rock music with an anxious intensity that bubbles below the surface — a sense of suburban unrest that brushes uneasily up against the sprawling of concrete and the claustrophobia of modern inner-city life. On Sonder, we witness the band exploring the simple, yet profound realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as our own.
Honey and Salt - "Honey and Salt"April 6, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR051
For Honey and Salt, there is immense power in the parts of a whole. This idea has always been in the band’s DNA, from its three members -- each with their own distinct and essential contributions -- to the flurry of interlocking notes and melodies that make up their intricate songs. Now on their self-titled sophomore album, it also extends into their worldview, as Honey and Salt seek to cut through the pessimistic fog of seemingly inescapable sociopolitical unease, and highlight the vital capability of the individual. Where many bands look for commonality amongst its members’ tastes, Honey and Salt revel in their differences, seamlessly blending their disparate influences into a sound that manages to be complex without sacrificing immediacy. The self-titled album deftly utilizes everything from Kinsella-esque guitar lines, to post-rock dynamics, to hardcore ferocity — all while packing an emotional resonance straight out of DC’s Revolution Summer — and finds the band completely comfortable with balancing their intricacies.
Barren Womb - "Old Money, New Lows"February 16, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR050
Nearly three years since their last full-length release, the Nordic heavy noise rockers in Barren Womb return with Old Money / New Lows, a jarring, mid-tempo dirge in 8 movements that sees the band further evolving into an animal all of its own. From the sparse drumming and venomous narrative of album-opener "Crook Look," all the way through to the haunting, epic finale of "Russian Handkerchief," Old Money / New Lows repeatedly hits like a ton of bricks. And while there’s heaviness by the truckload here, there’s also a catchiness behind the the nastiness. Accompanying the wall of abrasive guitars, screamed vocals, and pummeling drums is newfound pop sensibility and a tackle box full of hooks in the tradition of the finest AmRep and Dischord bands from years long past.
Dearist - "This House Has No Windows"February 16, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR052
Man Mountain - "To Call Each Thing By Its Right Name" EPJanuary 26, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR049
Man Mountain is a band of brothers and friends from the southeast corner of Michigan, playing epic and emotive instrumental rock music. What started as two people jamming songs by The Appleseed Cast in a basement, turned into four people playing a full set of original songs in someone else’s basement. Those songs were later polished up, recorded, and released as an EP titled To Call Each Thing By Its Right Name. Now, in anticipation of the band's debut full-length album Infinity Mirror, we're proud to re-release the EP remastered with new artwork.
Lights & Motion - "Dear Avalanche"December 15, 2017 · Spartan Records · SPAR046
The latest offering in a discography often described as the ultimate symmetry of music and emotion, Dear Avalanche is the most accomplished and fully realized expression of sounds to date from cinematic post-rock powerhouse Lights & Motion. Although many claim he is a magician, the band's braintrust, Christoffer Franzen, is a storyteller...and a masterful one at that. From the majestic climax of "This Explosion Within" to the hopeful build of "Silver Lining" to the delicate innocence of "Anomaly," every Lights & Motion track tells its own story by transporting the listener through tenor and tone to a place where anything and everything is possible. This astonishing interplay of soul and sound is truly a work of art as it connects with the listener in a way that transcends the music itself. Franzen's ability to elicit emotion on a universal level and touch the heart without words, is simply beyond the limits of all imagination. With this expertly crafted collection of rich new soundscapes, Lights & Motion not only again delivers but also elevates the architecture of cinematic post-rock to awe-inspiring new heights.
Demons - "Embrace Wolf"December 1, 2017 · Spartan Records · SPAR047
Following the release of the bands seminal EP, Great Dismal, Demons returns with their debut full-length, Embrace Wolf — nine blistering songs exploring a spectrum of anxiety, aberrations, and awe with deliberate recklessness. This is Demons. Forces of equal magnitude uniting, reacting, and detonating. Pounding drums, erratic riffs, fervent lyrics, and structure descending into abstraction. The sum of these parts is difficult to classify with any direct comparison. Shellac? Queens of the Stone Age? David Bazan? Melvins? While sonic or attitudinal traces may exist, Demons remains derivative of nothing.
Shy, Low - "Burning Day" EPJuly 7, 2017 · Spartan Records · SPAR045
Although composed of only two songs, the creation of Shy, Low's new EP Burning Day spanned nearly two years. Both tracks were written in a context of tumultuous destabilization, both within the band's own private lives and the external social sphere in which they found themselves. The authoritarian turn in politics, both domestic and abroad, echoes in both songs. "Dialectics" and "Dissension" speak to the violent expression of contradiction and the recent catapulting of tyrannical normative ideals, which once festered self-consciously beneath the surface, to the social fore. The EP finds the band pointing in a fresh direction, one that is defined by the band's historical musicality and newly emergent desire to both create and recapture a certain grungier essence which was notably absent from the band’s 2015 full-length Hiraeth.
American Opera - "Small Victories"June 30, 2017 · Spartan Records · SPAR044
Incremental progress. Monumental setbacks. Small victories. This is the story of American Opera. More than a record, Small Victories is a collection of moments, both devastating and victorious. Ominous nostalgia confronts hopeful reemergence. Sonically, think Manchester Orchestra meets Ryan Adams, Brand New meets Langhorne Slim — polished stones in a bed of gravel and grit. The result is a stunning eleven-song rollercoaster exploring a complete spectrum of emotion and experiences. It is an album of dynamics — a perfect balance of the fragile and explosive. By the end, we’re reminded that sometimes the small victories were all that mattered in the first place — and that the silver linings were not just that after all, but rather small glimpses of a larger hope that can sustain us through even the most miserable of seas.
Young Fox - "Sky Beats Gold"March 10, 2017 · Spartan Records · SPAR043
Two years after the release of their impressive debut EP (Predecessors), Pittsburgh’s Young Fox returns with Sky Beats Gold, a beautifully layered and moody discourse aimed directly at perpetual questions. Dark and driving drums lay the foundation for intricate guitar work and aggressive instrumentation combines seamlessly with soaring and confident vocal melodies. Translation: Sky Beats Gold is a big rock record that combines the drive of Thrice and the complexity of Sunny Day Real Estate with accessibility of Foo Fighters and the emotion of Manchester Orchestra. The album also features a cameo from Stephen Christian of Anberlin on the track "Slow Burn."