The Van Pelt - Artisans & MerchantsMarch 17, 2023 · Spartan Records · SPAR104
After twenty-five years of anticipation, The Van Pelt have returned. Reunion show soundchecks revealed that this band has a voice that was prematurely muted by their inability to see clearly in the thick of their rise. More than two decades later, The Van Pelt has returned to explore what was left behind with a new collection of songs, Artisans & Merchants. This is not a reunion album. This is vindication. For lovers of The Van Pelt, listening to Artisans & Merchants is like hearing the voice of a dear friend you haven't seen in years -- a friend you used to share countless beers with over banter that went nowhere other than delivering a solid night. Your friend is older, they've changed. In some ways you're worried for them, looks like they might be teetering on the brink of something. In other ways it's the same old them, a nugget of a soul too unique to ever be altered. It's for those unfamiliar with The Van Pelt though for whom we should be truly jealous. This is a stand-alone album, with incredibly vital songwriting in and of itself regardless of the band's long and storied history. The climax of the single "Image of Health" perhaps describes the beautiful desperation best: "And you never felt more alive / Than when the priest came to read you your rites!"
Unwed Sailor - Mute The CharmFebruary 10, 2023 · Spartan Records · SPAR087
After two decades of critically acclaimed and fan-adored releases, Unwed Sailor has become a fixture within the indie rock/pop landscape. A familiar and unceasing tide. A steady hand through turbulent channels. In many ways, the band’s forthcoming release Mute The Charm represents an exercise in addition by subtraction – creating a layered emotive experience through more organic means. At its core, it is a pop rock record with chiming guitars, melodic bass, and rock solid drums – more aligned with the accessible sides of artist influences ranging from The Sundays, Joy Division, and The Stone Roses to Led Zeppelin, Lungfish, and 90’s indie rock band, Seam, than the band's previous and more ambient releases. Mute the Charm is all-at-once a love letter to specific cities and scenes, a longing retrospective on relationships with people and the past, a nod to formative artists and trailblazers, and a hopeful look ahead towards a less tumultuous future.
Knapsack - This Conversation Is Ending Starting Right NowFebruary 3, 2023 · Spartan Records · SPAR085
The remastered final album available on vinyl for the first time in the US since its original release in 1998. Includes the out-of-print bonus track “Less Than.”
Knapsack - Day Three of My New LifeFebruary 3, 2023 · Spartan Records · SPAR084
The remastered sophomore album available on vinyl for the first time in the US since its original release in 1997. Includes the out-of-print bonus track “Drop Kick.”
Knapsack - Silver SweepstakesFebruary 3, 2023 · Spartan Records · SPAR083
The remastered debut album available on vinyl for the first time in the US since its original release in 1995. Includes the out-of-print bonus track “Don’t Mind.”
Allen Epley - EverythingJanuary 6, 2023 · Spartan Records · SPAR097
Spartan Records proudly presents Everything, the debut solo LP from Allen Epley (Shiner, The Life and Times). As a child, Epley spent hours imprinting his parents' record collection on his psyche. Giant headphones secure, he would pore over the cover art and liner notes and enter the world wrought by the giants of AM Gold — Bread, James Taylor, Carol King, Three Dog Night, Blood Sweat and Tears, 5th Dimension. Yet the music he would make in the 90’s and 00’s with his highly influential bands doesn’t reveal these easy-listening origins. Shiner and The Life and Times reflected more opaque images of bands like Swervedriver, Slint, early Smashing Pumpkins and Failure. The smooth grooves and discernable lyrics about love -- found and lost -- of the 70’s songsters of his adolescence hadn’t come back into view for him until 2018. While working on a batch of compositions for film/tv, Epley realized these ghosts had never left him but instead had embedded themselves in his subconscious. The result of this retrospective journey is Everything, a record that begs and rewards repeated listenings. It’s a rich production that echoes the AM Gold of his childhood but reaches into artistic territories that were generally reserved for Elliott Smith and Sea Change-era Beck.
Calm Collapse - Mirrored NatureNovember 25, 2022 · Spartan Records · SPAR092
Spartan Records proudly presents a collective sum of historic parts. Featuring a roster of indie rock nobility, Calm Collapse is comprised of Doug Lorig (Roadside Monument Patrol, Raft of Dead Monkeys) on guitar/vocals, Rob Smith (Traindodge, Museum of Light) on drums/keys, and Jon Pease (Medicine Bows) on bass. The creative forces that shaped so many formative and fan-adored records have rematerialized and reassembled with their debut record, Mirrored Nature (produced by Matt Bayles [Mastodon, Foxing, Isis]), a heavy and melodic journey taking cues from a perfect storm of prior projects but decidedly exploring a new and dedicated direction. The punch of Mastodon, the grind of Melvins, the melodic discernment of Chavez, and the ethereal tendencies of Grails and Black Mountain. Calm Collapse represents another evolution for the trio and a chance to disassemble the artistic past, evaluate what worked, and reassemble with a new perspective
Pohgoh - du und ichNovember 4, 2022 · Spartan Records · SPAR094
In the middle of a global pandemic, revered indie/emo outfit Pohgoh entered the studio with acclaimed producer J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) to record their third full-length album du und ich.
Easily the foursome’s most ambitious outing yet, the result is textured, tight and emotionally muscular — a confident, eclectic release that showcases the band’s strengths — catchy riffs and big dynamics ridden deftly by Susie Ulrey’s inimitable voice and evocative lyrics. The band’s four-on-the-floor rock format is augmented by additional vocals and instrumentation, including pedal steel, cello, and Hammond organ. Lyrically, du und ich reflects on not only the global obstacles posed in recent years, but also Susie’s decades-long battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Twenty-seven years later, Pohgoh continues to reassess and reassemble its parts in the most daring yet listenable ways. du und ich is more than another great album; it’s a collective anthem of survival, a refutation of all that would break us down. It’s a record that says we’re in this together, that it’s us against the world.
84 Tigers - Time In The LighthouseOctober 21, 2022 · Spartan Records · SPAR096
84 Tigers’ debut album Time in the Lighthouse feels like a hurricane of nature at times — crashing, shifting, and moving with an intensity that only Mother Nature can create, then suddenly shifting to rise with big, open melodies, creating a sense of the clouds parting after a massive storm on the seas. Featuring Mike Reed (guitar/vocals), Ben Reed (bass), and Jono Diener (drums), and after years of perennial touring and releases with their previous critically-adored outfits, Small Brown Bike and The Swellers, 84 Tigers has emerged as the three musicians' primary creative outlet in music. The trio immediately bonded, having gone down a similar path of pursuing a dream, making a splash, then exiting when the time felt right. The band officially formed in early 2021 based on demos Mike had been working on through 2019/2020. In October 2021, still unannounced to the world, the band recorded with Marc Jacob Hudson (Against Me!, Taking Back Sunday) at Rancho Recordo, deep in the woods of Michigan. The result is an intense and driving 10-song album that blurs the lines of post-hardcore, punk, and 90s alt-rock into the band’s own sound. Time In The Lighthouse perfectly captures the juxtaposition of its point of origin — layers of grit and weathered textures surrounding a core that is authentic and approachable, and thematic content that balances subtle nods and explicit references to the enduring and industrious spirit of the midwest.
Rocky Votolato - Wild RootsSeptember 9, 2022 · Spartan Records · SPAR086
Rocky Votolato’s music has consistently chased something universal — a perspective that connects us all, mysterious yet present, simultaneously humble and profound. Maturing over the course of eight increasingly accomplished solo albums, including the widely heralded records Suicide Medicine and Makers, he has spent the last two decades endlessly writing, recording, and touring. It is through this dedication that Votolato has become a mainstay within the indie-folk scene and developed a following of loyal and devoted fans who have been deeply impacted by his music. With his first release in seven years, Votolato returns with Wild Roots, an intimate concept album inspired by and written for his family. At its core, the record is a collection of fifteen epistolary songs, each one a letter to a family member focusing on a special memory or a specific moment in time. While the record inadvertently constructs a narrative of Votolato’s own life, multiple themes and motifs emerge that resonate universally with listeners. “This is a storytelling album,” says Votolato, “But to me, this record is really about how family has nothing to do with blood, but more to do with who sticks with you and who learns to be good to you, and love and appreciate you for who you are.”
Museum of Light - HorizonJune 10, 2022 · Spartan Records · SPAR082
Museum of Light's debut record, Horizon, pulls between two poles: big, crushing, overwhelmingly heavy riffs and dreamy, Zen-like washes of ambience and found sound. Horizon is a lush, dense, and cinematic record, but without the self-seriousness and lack of restraint that underscores many other releases within the genre. In a time where there are truly no restrictions to music, both in content and approach, the addition by subtraction philosophy brings a different type of gravity to the listening experience. The challenge of exercising restraint and employing elements of simplicity makes every moment of Horizon meaningful -- there is not a wasted note nor an expendable moment.
Rip Room - Alight and ResoundMay 27, 2022 · Spartan Records · SPAR075
In a time of digital polish and studio patchwork, it has become increasingly rare to hear a record that captures the lightning-in-a-bottle dynamics of a live performance. Music continues to fill our queues, but it feels less and less human, so when a record breaks through the static, it can be a revelation. Introducing the wound-up art punks in San Francisco’s Rip Room. After successfully self-releasing and touring on two EPs, the three piece returned to Louder Studios in Grass Valley, CA to reunite with storied engineer Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses, Melvins, Bikini Kill, Sebadoh). The result is the charismatic and alluringly unpredictable debut full-length record, Alight and Resound, twelve pulsing songs that harken back to better musical times while somehow embracing the relevance of the moment. Think Unwound, Sleater-Kinney, and Fugazi. Propulsive rhythms and piercing lyrics, but with a sense of buoyancy. Brashness over banality. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.