Mae - "Singularity"Coming Soon · Spartan Records · SPAR065
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.
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)