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.
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.
Subways on the Sun - "The Honeymoon Stagecoach"July 24, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR056
Hailing from Seattle, Subways on the Sun brings an informed and fresh perspective to northwest indie rock. With The Honeymoon Stagecoach, the band "crafted an immaculately-arranged and satisfying debut album that pays homage to both their hometown and the decade in which it became ground zero for rock" (The Fire Note). Haunting rhythms and glistening guitar hooks propel the album forward, bound together by contagious pop melodies. The album sees the band effortlessly merging the dark groove of Silversun Pickups, power pop of The Posies, and tongue-in-cheek quirk of Built to Spill and Blur create a cohesive debut that impresses and inspires. Re-board The Honeymoon Stagecoach now on Spartan Records.
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.
Man Mountain - "Infinity Mirror"March 16, 2018 · Spartan Records · SPAR048
Spartan Records proudly welcomes Man Mountain to the family — a melodic, instrumental post-rock outfit from Southeast Michigan. In the honorable lineage of bands like The Appleseed Cast, Sigur Ros, and American Football, Man Mountain's debut record Infinity Mirror is a journey of emotive dynamics set against a swirling dreamlike ferocity. Song by song, the album progresses with an intentionality that allows delicate melodies, motifs, and nuances to build into quaking full-band aggression. Thematically, the album presents a constant duality. Aptly titled Infinity Mirror, it is hard to ignore the unending and cycling conflict associated with any type of prolonged reflection. Sonically translated, this pondering plays as understated notes and moments reverberating into upheaval and dissonance.
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.