Shy, Low - "Hiraeth"November 13, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR029
Hiraeth: a word without a concrete English translation. While evading an unequivocal definition, it exudes melancholy. Those who have attempted to define it describe the word as a mixture of homesickness, nostalgia, grief, and longing. It is the oppressive guilt associated with memories now passed; the bitter remembrance of joyous occasions that can never be revisited. It is also the title of Shy, Low’s newest full-length album. Just like the word Hiraeth itself, Shy, Low’s continual evolution make them a band that is not easy to define. While it would be convenient to corral the band into the bucket of canonical post-rock bands like Mono, Mogwai, and This Will Destroy You, on Hiraeth, Shy, Low’s eclectic palate of musical influences are showcased more broadly than ever before. The band earnestly sifts through the complex relationship between music, art, and the emotions that encapsulate the human experience — and in doing so, they’ve successfully created a brilliantly moving, yet strangely bittersweet 43 minute aural journey.
Kiska - "Kiska"October 30, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR028
Heavy, majestic, desolate, ominous. There are no better words to describe Kiska’s self-titled, debut release. Leaving behind the more radio-friendly leanings of the quartet’s former band, Desoto Jones, the musicians reinvented themselves with Kiska, pursuing a heavier, more dynamic, and frenetic direction. In comparative terms, sonically the record falls in the general vicinity of bands like Jawbox, Failure, Rival Schools, and Hum — driving, dynamic, and aggressive, but with clean and resounding choruses. A delicate balance of space, power, grit, and color.
NYVES - "Anxiety"June 23, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR025
NYVES is the new electronic music project featuring Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter) and Randy Torres (ex-Project 86). What began as a cathartic outlet centered on a mutual love for moody, electro-rock music has resulted in one of the most gorgeous full-length records of the year. Dark, pulsing soundscapes are woven together by Clark’s instantly identifiable vocals; resonate layers are balanced by Torres’s crystal clear and expert production; and high levels of experimentation are outweighed only by melodic sensibility and sonic accessibility.
Demons - "Great Dismal" EPJune 16, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR026
While the untangling of duality -- awe and anguish, faith and fraud, hope and horror -- is hardly a new artistic exercise, such rich questioning is rarely attempted in the form of a six song EP. Performing the duties of both architect and builder, Zach Gehring (of beloved Virginia-based Mae acclaim) has designed an exorcism vehicle, the aptly-titled moniker Demons, and allowed often-at-odds voices the opportunity to speak. Decidedly heavier and more aggressive than previous projects, Demons took stylistic cues from the likes of many influential bands that have shaped Gehring as a musician. Traces of Spiritualized, Pedro The Lion, The Afghan Whigs, and Mudhoney can be found throughout and we bare witness as moments of sonic accessibility lose footing and spiral into heavy and brooding responses with little warning. Gehring's fragile vocals transition into angst-ridden bellows and words from the same speaker argue back and forth across the tracklisting. The result is Great Dismal, an oxymoronic battle of declarations, withholdings, distortion, and clarity -- a tussle of the psyche examined through opposing dynamics.
Unifier - "Gutted" EPMarch 24, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR024
In the tradition of great modern alternative noisemakers like Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, and Foo Fighters, Unifier has spent the last several years releasing and performing a steady stream of gorgeously driving pop rock records. What the band achieved on their earlier albums in terms of “big” and “pretty” aesthetics, Gutted matches with newfound elements of rawness and aggression. Conceptually, the EP wanders into both familiar and darker domains, examining recurring feelings of loss, helplessness, doubt, and judgment through a variety of narrative lenses.
Trespassers - "Rival Glass" EPFebruary 24, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR023
The start of a new year comes with a new set of goals. Determination breeds new ambitions and the past is left securely in the rear view mirror. For the upstate New York-based quintet, Trespassers, this is the year to give rise to those ambitions. And with the first chords of the band's new EP Rival Glass, it is obvious that band has has its sights set squarely on the future. Rival Glass starts with the explosive "Dead End" and embarks on a five-song journey that not only cements the band's trademark for writing melodic and emotional songs with a colossal backbone, but explores new sonic territory as well. This is the year for Trespassers -- with the arrival of the EP, there is no turning back.
Unifier - "Oh, Great City" EPFebruary 17, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR022
There have always been two sides of music that argue back and forth. There are bands that make pop music with the sole goal of writing a song that feels good and captivates the mind, and those that make music that is progressive and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in a genre. Originally released in 2011, Unifier's debut EP Oh, Great City is a collection of songs that masterfully marries both sides -- fusing the pop-rock sounds of Switchfoot, Foo Fighters, and Jimmy Eat World with the progressive genre-bending of groups like Brand New, The Dear Hunter, and Manchester Orchestra. Now re-released with 3 bonus tracks and newly imagined artwork, the EP serves as a perfect introduction to the Greensboro, NC quartet and is just a taste of what fans can expect from the band's first new release in over two years, the Gutted EP.
Homesick: A Spartan Records Christmas AlbumDecember 5, 2014 · Spartan Records · SPAR021
Spartan proudly presents Homesick: A Spartan Records Christmas Album featuring nine renditions of holiday classics, both new and old, by some of your favorite Spartan bands - including some of the most beloved Christmas songs ever like "Last Christmas" by Trespassers, "O Holy Night" by Shy, Low and "I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Sullivan as well as new original holiday songs like "Three Kings" by Ourlives and "Beard of Doom" by Barren Womb.
Trespassers - "No Turning Back" EPOctober 28, 2014 · Spartan Records · SPAR020
Trespassers. The name itself beckons a foreboding sense of uncertainty. While the New York-based quintet’s formation has been a process of both instinct and unconscious evolution, the direction of the music has remained unwavering. Melodic. Emotional. Heavy. Three adjectives commonly strung together, but rarely executed with precision or balance. The power of No Turning Back is in the negative spaces; the subtle contrasts between what is heard and what is felt.
Sense Field - "Tonight and Forever"December 16, 2014 · Spartan Records · SPAR019
Formed in 1991, Sense Field was one of the original bands to breakout in the mid-90's "emo" scene along with acts like Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate and Texas Is The Reason. During that time the band released classic full-length records Sense Field, Killed For Less, and Building which help establish them as one of the scene’s most highly regarded bands. Later in 2001, the band returned with their breakout record Tonight and Forever, which garnered the band massive success with their single "Save Yourself." The song was also featured on the official soundtrack for the hit TV show "Roswell," which catapulted the band to mainstream audiences and performances on late night TV shows like "The Tonight Show" and "The Late Late Show."
Sullivan - "Heavy Is The Head"December 9, 2014 · Spartan Records · SPAR018
While seven years have passed since the release of the fan adored album Cover Your Eyes, Sullivan has not stood idle. Remaining fully immersed in different facets of the indie music world, each member of the band has continued to hone their craft in a different way, ultimately leading them on a journey back to a starting point. Enter Heavy Is The Head. Eleven songs of beauty and anguish, organically constructed and painstakingly nurtured. With traditional deadlines, label pressures, and industry pitfalls removed from the equation, Sullivan was able to write the album in the purest conditions. Inspiration was captured at the point of conception and given time to percolate for as long as was deemed necessary. The combined result: the strongest and most realized album in the bands discography.
Mae - "Destination: B-Sides"January 27, 2015 · Spartan Records · SPAR017
In February 2003, Norfolk, Virginia introduced the world to the charming quintet collectively known as Mae. Not only was their debut album, Destination: Beautiful an instant success with audiences, but their live show proved their talent moved even past just writing alluring hits. The year after, the band returned with Destination: B-Sides, their first recorded project since the release of Destination: Beautiful. The release featured 10 tracks of new and unreleased songs, live recordings, and acoustic takes on old favorites and gave an inside look at the band's beginnings, as well as signs of what was to come. Now, 10 years later, the album is available for the first time ever on vinyl and features a new track listing that includes two brand new takes on two classic Mae songs, "Skyline Drive" (from Destination: Beautiful) and "Where The Falls Begin" (from The Everglow Special Edition). Recorded during the summer and fall of 2014, these recordings mark the first newly recorded music by all 5 original members of Mae in over 4 years.