Reader - Behind the Empty HouseDecember 11, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR076
“Behind the Empty House” and its companion piece “Two Pines” span a transitional spectrum for Reader. In the afterglow of their first full-length Engrams, Reader reconvened to focus, once again, on the seminal axioms to which their creative process is owed: intention and evolution. Still present are the tangled conversations between glassy guitars over the methodic rumble of bass and drums. However here Reader lets their hair down, experimenting with a broader sonic palette and unorthodox composition styles. Clocking in at almost five minutes apiece, these songs take lesser-traveled roads to even lesser-explored destinations. Eerily foreshadowing this year’s forced reclusion, "Behind the Empty House" and "Two Pines" lyrically explore themes of isolation and introspection through a mercurial lens. “Behind the Empty House,” tells a labyrinthine narrative alluding to invisible enemies and macabre hallucinations, while "Two Pines" regales of a fragmented self, influenced heavily by James Wright’s heartbreaking poem “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota.”
Lights & Motion - The Great Wide OpenOctober 30, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR073
It's been three years since we last heard a full-length album from Lights & Motion, following Dear Avalanche that came out in 2017. The new album The Great Wide Open was produced, recorded and mixed by Christoffer Franzen at Studio Evelyn in Gothenburg, Sweden and mastered for vinyl by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters in Los Angeles (M83, Paramore). The album features vocalists on two songs (Johan Hasselblom on “Wolves” and Frida Sundemo on “I See You”) and now available for the first time ever on vinyl, this limited release includes the new exclusive bonus track "Eyes Looking Up."
Giants Chair - The Streets EPJune 5, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR072
In 2017, in what can only be described as a fate, the clouds opened, the bugle horns sounded, and the three original members of GIANTS CHAIR re-united to record new songs twenty years after they had originally disbanded. These two songs would be the spark that led to the band's new album Prefabylon and to what is yet to come. Now these songs, "The Streets" and "Featureless Horizon," are widely available at digital outlets everywhere and on limited edition cassette for the first time ever.
Dearist - Live at Cadman Studios EPMay 22, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR071
Recorded before the lockdown, Dearist's new Live at Cadman Studios EP is a treat for music fans missing the gig scene. The band recorded a live session back in 2019 with John Hutchins at Cadman Studios in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Dearist, who thrive on playing for an audience, wanted to give something back to fans at this tough time. Following on from the well-received 2018 release of the album Sonder, the five-piece aren't resting on their laurels, there is new music on the horizon with band members busy locked away with their home set-ups creating demos.
Mountain Time - Music For Looking AnimalsJune 26, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR070
In the aftermath of the dissolution of adored emo / indie rock bands Mineral and The Gloria Record, songwriter Chris Simpson took a step back from making music for the first time since his mid-teens. This period became a critical time of exploration which fueled a longing for simplification, both personally and creatively. It was during this period that a more refined approach to his creative process was born. Mountain Time, both a reference to timeliness (or lack thereof) and a childhood amongst the natural beauty of Colorado evolved from Simpson’s previous solo effort Zookeeper as the most fitting moniker for the latest project. With the transition, while the process and approach of creating Music for Looking Animals became more autonomous, the drive and ultimate desire to create remained rooted within many of the same wells of inspiration that fueled previous incarnations of Simpson’s songwriting. For Simpson, much of what the record is externalizing are larger questions embedded within the natural passing of time. While Music for Looking Animals is an attempt at simplification, it is hardly minimal in terms of lyrical and musical depth.
VAR - The Never-Ending YearApril 24, 2020 · Spartan Records · SPAR068
In certain seasons, time can depart from the static drone of minutes and hours and days and months, and settle into a less mechanical rhythm. It is replaced by something more organic -- a fluctuating heartbeat, both resting and racing. This transition happens without notice as slowly the external becomes the internal. In more linear terms, the new decade will mark a new addition to the Spartan Records roster — Iceland’s VAR, a melodic indie rock quartet. Building upon four years of performance and experimentation within their home country, VAR has honed their devastatingly beautiful sound into something more refined and explosive on their debut LP The Never-Ending Year. Think Sigur Ros with more urgency, We Were Promised Jetpacks with more intricacy, and Frightened Rabbit with more grit.
Mae - SingularityDecember 27, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR065
The long wait is finally over. Mae's Singularity is available for pre-order now on vinyl for the first time ever. The limited edition, double vinyl set features three bonus tracks and is available on two stunning variants. Originally released on August 14, 2007, via Capitol Records, the album was produced by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Simple Plan) and was praised by All Music, which wrote that the LP "sets them apart as pop perfectionists who are able to synthesize bright melodic hooks and rock muscle into a guitar pop perfection that is (yes) singular. This is a lively, octane-fueled, and hook-ridden album that yields up all kinds of power pop delights. Singularity is clear evidence that Mae has evolved into an excellent rock band, one that never sacrifices beauty or songcraft in the face of big guitars."
Giants Chair - PrefabylonDecember 6, 2019 · Spartan Records · SPAR067
For more than two decades now Giants Chair records have lived on turntables, blasted through car speakers, rattled apartment walls, destroyed headphones, and finally become recognized as the timeless artifacts of emotional experience and endeavor that they are for so many people. Now, in perfect time, 2019 marks the return of Giants Chair with the release of the bands highly-anticipated new album on Spartan Records, Prefabylon. With all of the the band’s original core components and members still intact, listeners needn’t brace for any departure from the band's signature post-punk DNA. Equal parts early new wave, skate punk, prog, political folk, and 70’s and 80’s radio rock, Giants Chair’s influences can be traced across their now ‘era-transcending’ catalogue.
Reader - EngramsAugust 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, RockstarJuly 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 CelebrationJune 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 DisasterMay 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.