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HARDLY ART

Unnatural Helpers

Land Grab

    Seattle bred Unnatural Helpers churn out short blasts of power pop punk hits.

    ‘Land Grab’ is the band’s third full length release, and their second for Hardly Art.

    One will hear glimpses of old school grunge and Nerves / Tom Petty-esque power pop, accomplished in short blasts reminiscent of punk bands like Minutemen.

    Recorded in Seattle with Kurt Bloch and Eric Randall.

    Circle Pit

    Slave / Honey

      Circle Pit is and began as the project of Angela Bermuda and Jack Mannix, though their live show is comprised of a six-person troupe.

      Circle Pit was formed around three years ago in Sydney, Australia.

      Circle Pit has stepped away from the tough grit of their debut to craft the two songs for this 7” release, which delve deep into a strung-out rabbit hole of lush, droning vocals and guitar layers, stretched out and slow-burning; the melodic equivalent of stabbing your heart with a dull ice pick.

      “Circle Pit are a revelation. ... music that is as damaged as it is beautiful” - Sup Magazine

      “This is sleazy biker blues and opium den hallucinations on the eternal riff” - Agit Reader

      “There’s no rock ‘n’ roll bands that are any good, except for us” - Circle Pit

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd 7" Info: Limited edition white vinyl - 750 copies only.

      Protomartyr / R.Ring

      A Half Of Seven

        Protomartyr returns with a brand new track recorded at Candyland in Cincinnati with Mike Montgomery (R. Ring) in late 2014. “Blues Festival” is a relentless, propulsive, and occasionally pissed off tirade about band life bummers that weighs fact against philosophy.

        What is hell? What should you not do? Tune in as singer Joe Casey barks through a few of these universal truths. “Blues Festival” also features guest vocals by Kelley Deal (The Breeders, R. Ring).

        The duo of R. Ring contributes a b-side track – also recorded at Candyland – titled “Loud Underneath”. Both tracks are available as a limited 7” pressing.
        Following a triumphant 2014, “Blues Festival” is the first new material from Protomartyr following their critically acclaimed LP, Under Color of Official Right.

        Hausa

        Total

          ‘Total’ is the debut album from Portland’s Hausu.

          The beauty of rock-music lies in the expanse of terrain that it encompasses as a definition. ‘Total’ aims to acknowledge that freedom; it is at times melodious and at others dissonant. All in all, a finished product, a totality.

          Grave Babies

          Pleasure

            Brand new material from up and coming Seattle goth pop group.

            Seattle’s Grave Babies have reverberating shimmery pop songs in the same vein as Jesus and Mary Chain, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The Smiths, and The Cure.

            Driving guitar riffs, weirdo synth and slamming drums.

            Second full-length from SF’s Magic Trick.

            In the beginning it was just Tim Cohen alone in his San Francisco bedroom studio, swatting songs out of the ether during the spare hours between tours with his other project, weirdo-pop juggernauts The Fresh & Onlys.

            Featuring members of The Fresh & Onlys and Aislers Set.

            Cohen recruited a handful of friends, including James Kim (Kelley Stoltz’s band), Alicia Vanden Heuvel (Aislers Set), and Noelle Cahill.

            Working on a first-thought-best-thought basis allows for a certain kind of freedom. Cohen forces a private world into existence through the sheer volume of his creative output. But it’s a strangely comfortable place – where tuneful strands of 70s folk rock and familiar chords are embellished with dream logic narratives that draw you in, even if their true meaning hovers just outside of easy comprehension.

            Shannon And The Clams

            Dreams In The Rat House

            Shannon And The Clams are comprised of Shannon Shaw (Hunx And His Punx), Cody Blanchard (King Lollipop), and Ian Amberson (drums, vocals).

            ‘Dreams In The Rat House’ is their first album for Hardly Art. From pop ballads to doo woppers, bomp stompers and punk rippers, country clippers and some psych-o trippers, it’s all R ‘n’ R and it’s all right there in The Clams’ hooded velvet trick bag.

            Hunx And His Punx

            Street Punk

              Hunx And His Punx have returned with ‘Street Punk’, a new album filled with the catchiest and most hateful punk songs heard in eons.

              ‘Street Punk’ is an unrelenting tour de force, echoing early 80s hardcore, 90s grrrl sounds, Darby Crash on helium, and the female answer to The Misfits.

              After members dropping like flies and moving around the country, Hunx And His Punx are now led by Seth Bogart and Shannon Shaw, who split songwriting and vocal duties.

              In the years since their last album, 2011’s ‘Too Young To Be In Love’, Seth recorded a solo album called ‘Hairdresser Blues’ (2012) and started a homemade TV Show called ‘Hollywood Nailz’, while Shannon released ‘Dreams In The Rat House’ (2013) with her other band Shannon And The Clams. Somehow during all of this Seth and Shannon managed to secretly meet in Los Angeles and Oakland to sort out ‘Street Punk’.

              Recorded in just a couple of days by Facundo Bermudez (who has produced albums by Mika Miko and No Age), ‘Street Punk’ includes a cover of Beastie Boys’ early hardcore anthem ‘Egg Raid On Mojo’, and songs about bad skin, teen angst, social wimpery, trash, isolation, schizophrenia, peroxided delusion, rat parties and vengeance.

              Jacuzzi Boys

              Double Vision

                Straight out of Miami, Jacuzzi Boys are back with a double scoop of electric rock ‘n’ roll to keep you buzzin’.

                New single, ‘Double Vision’, is a jammer for the mind, a feel good freak out full of lasers and lipstick.

                Featured on the flip is ‘Sunsets’, the beach drifter, the tear shifter. Everyone from sun bums to horn honkers will be going bonkers to this tune.

                You’ve been cruising for the new Jacuzzi Boys album and now you’ve got your sneak peek.

                Grave Babies

                Holographic Violence

                  In the five years since Grave Babies’ debut album Deathface was released, founder Danny Wahlfeldt has been handling all songwriting and recording duties for the Seattle-based band, with invaluable help from friends in performing their material live. For their newest album entitled Holographic Violence, Wahlfeldt chose a different path, causing a significant change in the band’s overall sound.

                  Holographic Violence is Grave Babies’ second Hardly Art full-length after Crusher (2013), and further explores the themes of nihilism, the pending doom of mankind, and shaming humanity, which the band has been building their gloomy reputation on since the beginning.

                  By leaving the edgy, lo-fi haze of earlier output in the past, these songs have clarified what the music of Grave Babies has to offer the future. That is, if humanity has a future?

                  The 11 new songs on Holographic Violence present this powerful combination from a science fiction perspective, begging the question: has our imagination outpaced the confines of our reality as we keep going down the same path, believing there's hope? Playing anthemic pop songs with a strange male choir-esque sound to the vocals adds a distinctly cultish feel to the abrasive exercise of figuring out if it is possible to circumvent destructive human predispositions. Grave Babies mission is not to find the answers to these questions, but to challenge the listener and on Holographic Violence, their uncompromising aesthetic makes the suffering a little prettier. 

                  Like Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain dressed as Throbbing Gristle for Halloween." -- The AV Club.
                  "Zen spirit, bubblegum heart." -- The Seattle Times.
                  "Sometimes violent, sometimes ugly, and always bursting with the kind of passion that begets violence and ugliness." -- MTV Hive.


                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                  Dude York

                  Halftime For The Holidays

                    The holidays are weird, man. Ostensibly, they’re about family and fun and food and festivities, but more often they portend arguing with your family about politics- and that mental dance you have to do where you’re like “Should I get Trevor a gift even though my funds are dwindling and I’m not even sure if he’s going to get me one in return so this could end up being a whole awkward thing???”

                    The reality of the holidays lies somewhere more liminal, in the space between joy and depression, between excitement and boredom, between “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” and “I think I might murder my entire family.” So who better to teach us the true reason for the season than Dude York, a band whose music so often seems to exist in an in-between space of their own? Dude York are funny and serious and earnest and deeply ironic all at the same time. The three friends who comprise the band—Peter Richards (guitar, vocals), Claire England (bass, vocals) and Andrew Hall (drums, vocals)—have spent their four years together applying their particular Dude York-ian sensibility to topics like mental health, breakups, and the power of art and friendship.

                    Now they’ve returned with Halftime for the Holidays to pop some chestnuts right on your fire and tackle their most poignant theme yet; THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR. Halftime for the Holidays is a holiday record for how the holidays actually feel. Tracks like “Takin’ Care of Christmas” (it’s exactly what you think it is) and “Jingle Bells Rock” (it’s not) deliver the requisite tacky cheer. “Greatest Gift is You” and “My Favorite Part (Of This Time of Year)” soar like the greatest pop-punk love songs, with the added benefit of CHRISTMAS. And songs like “Long Distance Christmas” and “Break Up Holiday” testify to the loneliness that they can spring on you without warning. It’s a record that manages to wrap the strangeness of sleeping in your childhood twin bed and the soft wonder of waking up to snow into one delightful white elephant present that you won’t re-gift.

                    Halftime for the Holidays is self-consciously goofy, but refreshing in its willingness to tackle the misery and joy of the season with equal force. So deck the halls, engage in a regrettable make out session underneath the mistletoe, and rest assured that no matter what kind of reindeer games the universe is playing with you this year, Dude York has you covered.

                    Ian Sweet

                    Crush Crusher

                      In writing Crush Crusher, Julia Medford, aka Ian Sweet, committed herself to exploring her own issues with self-image, self-respect/worth, and the responsibility she has felt to others. Album opener “Hiding” was one of the first songs she wrote for the record while living in a frigid Brooklyn apartment during a winter break amidst her gruelling tour schedule. In the song, Medford reflects on an interpersonal relationship that fell apart because of an inability to feel supreme comfort in sharing all the pieces of herself with someone. Nevertheless, a hopeful demeanour shines through on “Hiding” and in her writing across the album, with lyrics that embrace life’s hurdles and make them feel a little less scary. Much of Crush Crusher’s songs deal with Medford’s internalized pressure to become a caretaker in many of her close friends’ lives. As a defence mechanism for her own insecurities, Medford projects a sense of invincibility and benevolence to feel more deserving of the love received from others; we hear this on “Holographic Jesus” when she repeats the phrase “the sun built me to shade everybody,” characterizing the sacrifice and responsibility she feels in ways that could easily go unnoticed. “Holographic Jesus” ultimately represents a façade of strength that Medford has clung onto and, in true Taurus fashion, is stubborn to let go of. Musically, Crush Crusher is full of dissonant open chords and abnormal progressions, finding beauty in a level of conflict not seen on Shapeshifter.

                      To help achieve this expansive-but-focused sound, Medford enlisted the help of someone who was just as ambitiously experimental in their approach, producer and engineer Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, The War on Drugs, Soccer Mommy). Medford and Wax set up shop at Rare Book Room studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and completed the basic tracking with musicians Simon Hanes on bass and Max Almario on drums. “Coming into a space where some of my biggest inspirations like Bjork, Dirty Projectors, and Deerhunter had all once also recorded, I felt determined to push myself and test every boundary that I may have subconsciously created along the way. Gabe made me feel comfortable with attempting anything,” Medford says. By the end of the recording process, IAN SWEET wound up with an unconventional assortment of songs featuring disparate elements of psych-rock, trip-hop, and shoegaze that together forged a sound uniquely her own.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      LP Info: Limited coloured vinyl.

                      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      Lala Lala

                      The Lamb

                        “The Lamb was written during a time of intense paranoia after a home invasion, deaths of loved ones and general violence around me and my friends,” says Lillie West, the Chicago-based songwriter behind Lala Lala. “I began to frequently and vividly imagine the end of the world, eventually becoming too frightened to leave my house. This led me to spend a lot of time examining my relationships and the choices I’d made, often wondering if they were correct and/or kind.”

                        West initially started Lala Lala as a way to communicate things that she felt she could never say out loud. But on The Lamb, her sophomore LP and debut for Hardly Art, she has found strength in vulnerability. Through bracing hooks and sharp lyrics, the 24-year-old songwriter and guitarist illustrates a nuanced look on her own adulthood -- her fraught insecurity, struggles with addiction, and the loss of several people close to her.

                        Across the album’s 12 tracks, West carefully examines the skeletons in her closet for the first time, hoping to capture honest snapshots of her past selves. Many of the songs show West asking herself agonizing questions about her life with a clever and hopeful curiosity. On the album’s first single and opening track, “Destroyer,” she reflects on feeling self-destructive and the delayed realization something in the past has irrevocably hurt you. In “Water Over Sex,” West laments her old precarious lifestyle, while trying to readjust to her newfound sobriety, and ”Copycat” confronts her feelings of alienation and boredom. “Some of this album is about being frustrated that everything is always repeating itself and being bored with your own feelings,”she explains. “‘Copycat’ in particular is about how everyone talks exactly the same on the Internet and how it sometimes feels futile to try and be yourself.”

                        Jenn Champion

                        Single Rider

                          Fans of Jenn Champion (formerly “S”) have praised her open-hearted lyrics, expertly-deployed melancholia, technical skill, and willingness to forgo conventions, but mostly they’ve praised her for making albums they could cry to. With the release of Cool Choices in 2014, Champion made what many considered the best record of her career, and a lot of people cried to it.
                          On Single Rider, Champion brings with her all those skills and vulnerabilities, but it is not a record for wallowing: it is a record for intense eye contact on the dancefloor. “Sometimes you are sad and you just want to dance about it,” said Champion. Side B of Cool Choices presaged Champion’s agit-pop transformation. “Let the Light In” and "Tell Me" signalled her move toward a more electronic sound, but it was the digital single “No One” (2016) that marked the clear delineation.

                          “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” said Champion. While she’d initially intended to follow Cool Choices with “a rock record - guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” plans changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.” Soon after the release of No One, Champion’s publishers partnered her with Brian Fennell, aka SYML, and the two co-wrote the song “Leave Like That” (featured on SYML’s Hurt For Me EP). The pair hit it off, and with nearly all of Champion’s Single Rider demos completed, the timing was perfect--she was looking for a producer. “I guess you could say I pursued Brian.” Fortunately, Fennell was open to being pursued and the two spent the next five months working on Single Rider. “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been.” With Champion’s vision and Fennell’s expertise, the record evolved from synthy roughs to a hi-fi dance album.

                          Despite the new direction in her sound, emotion cuts through on Single Rider in the classic Champion style, weaving simultaneously pleading-and-incensed vocals into anthemic pop songs. Champion wants her listeners to see that the rooms are all on fire and she has not given up. Taking a double “fuck you” approach to the world, to the patriarchy, all the things which screw you up and hold you back, she is dancing right on out of the disappointment apocalypse with her middle fingers in the air, and you can follow if you want to.

                          Los Angeles has often been described as a “dream factory”--both a mecca where dreamers converge to pursue long-held aspirations, and a topography of hallucinogenic contradictions: enchanting tangerine sunsets diffused by smog, crystal-clutching spiritualists mingling with deep-pocketed narcissists, rows of scenic palms competing with garish billboards for commuters’ attention. It was against this backdrop that the four members of La Luz--singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and bassist Lena Simon—conceived of Floating Features, the band’s third studio album. For this, their most ambitious release yet, La Luz consulted landscapes both physical and psychological. References to dreams abound on Floating Features. “Loose Teeth” catalyzes nightmare fuel into a propulsive, intentionally-disorienting collision of honeyed harmonies and Takeshi Terauchi-esque jet-streams of distorted surf guitar. “Mean Dream” unsurprisingly mines dreamstate imagery, and the lyrics and melody for “Walking Into the Sun” actually came to Cleveland During a particularly-vivid night of deep sleep. Looming over the album’s Coterie of surreal figures (gargantuan cicadas, a monstrous “Creature,” The Sun King, aliens, the titular “Lonely Dozer”) is the magnificent “Greed Machine,” a skulking, insatiable engine of consumption-Nathanael West’s “business of dreams” fearsomely manifested. Only La Luz could conjure up Floating Features’ Leone-on-LSD vibes, and the album finds the L.A. band at the height of their powers--golden rebels in a golden dream.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Barry says: Like the least acid-addled moments of Jefferson Airplane / Starship mixed with the bright psychedelic warmth of Morgan Delt, La Luz provide a heady and immersive journey into the underbelly of 70's LA. Open your mind, and enjoy the ride.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          Coloured LP Info: Indies only gold vinyl.

                          The Moondoggies

                          A Love Sleeps Deep

                            A Love Sleeps Deep’s bones rattle with all the seismic changes of the last five years since the release of The Moondoggies’ Adios I’m a Ghost. While the Washington band got lumped in early on with the woodsy folk-rock/Americana movement that sprung up in the Pacific Northwest in the 2000s, the core Moondoggies sound has always been rock in the more classical sense—more Pink Floyd than Woody Guthrie. A Love Sleeps Deep crystalizes that. Perhaps more importantly, A Love Sleeps Deep finds singer/guitarist Kevin Murphy at his most pointed as a songwriter. There’s no lyrical pussyfooting this time around. Lacking the need to prove himself, he opens up and lays bare his feelings.

                            “Generally, I feel frustrated because there’s a lot of this escapist stuff going on in rock and roll,” says Murphy. “I just didn’t want to not talk about my frustrations with what I was seeing around me. I have two little girls now, and I’m just thinking about where things are going. Love in my life has changed everything.”

                            Recorded in Seattle in the spring of 2017 with production wizard Erik Blood (Shabazz Places, Tacocat, THEESatisfaciton), A Love Sleeps Deep is also an album of collaboration. The band seemingly threw each tune up in the air to see how it bounced around the room, making sure everyone got their hands on it. From around 30 initial demos, Blood helped select the most jam-heavy numbers. “They had that vibe that made me love the band in the first place, but with a weathered distinction and confidence that moved me,” says Blood..

                            Dick Stusso

                            In Heaven

                              That old blues hound dog Bonnie Raitt probably sang it best and most lucid in her timeless, pedestrian hit “Nick of Time": “Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.” And so now, her wise lyrical turn seems to be ringing true for Oakland muso Dick Stusso. When we last caught up with this Bay Area BBQ gaucho on his debut, Nashville Dreams, he'd hit that special zen layer of loserdom. He’d thrown up his hands into the folly of failure. He was the affable, bumbling red-cheeked drunk lurking around the edges of the cookout — bumming smokes, putting down all the white wine and cocktail shrimp he could get away with. But now, a couple years on, that early-30s existential dread has crept its way into Dick’s purview.

                              With his sophomore long-player In Heaven, Stusso's numbered human days are on his mind. Without stumbling into pomposity, Dick has taken back the wheel on his life and is doing a bit of hotdogging. The album sounds so assured, you'd never guess the whole endeavor was almost completely down the tubes. “I was about 75% done with the album and then my apartment got burgled,” Stusso said of In Heaven’s bummer origins. “They took it all.” Having laid it almost exclusively to tape, there weren’t even files to pull from. But what seemed like another sour turn for Dick actually ended up being a little lemon zest in his G&T. He ended up teaming with psych visionary producer Greg Ashley in a defunct old church, making for a leap in fidelity on In Heaven. The new peacock strut to Dick's vague longing and malaise suits his countrified T. Rex sound quite well.

                              Exhibit A: album standout “Modern Music,” a sort of State of the Union and State of the Soul all set over a warm, gauzy glam bass line. “Nobody wants to look at the dark heart, I don’t blame you/Nobody wants to look at the dark heart, myself included,” he sings a low-register Orbison sneer. “I’m just looking for a good time and a little cash-uh.” Employing deft songcraft, which includes a wide open ambient midsection to really get you thinking about The Void, Dick manages to take down both capitalism and the bullshit conditions of human mortality without sounding all that put out by either.

                              Chastity Belt

                              I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone

                              A few years ago, while in a tour van somewhere in Idaho, the members of Chastity Belt—Julia Shapiro, Gretchen Grimm, Lydia Lund, and Annie Truscott—opted to pass the time in a relatively unusual fashion: They collectively paid one another compliments, in great and thoughtful detail. This is what we like best about you, this is why we love you. I think of that image all the time, the four of them opening themselves up like that, by choice. It’s hard to imagine other bands doing the same. But beyond their troublesome social media presence—see: the abundance of weapons-grade duck face, the rolling suitcase art—and beyond their moonlit deadpan lies, at the very least, an honesty and an intimacy and an emotional brilliance that galvanizes everything they do together. Which is a fancy way of saying: They’re funny, but they’re also capable of being vulnerable.

                              This June marks the release of I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, their third and finest full-length to date. Recorded live in July of 2016, at Jackpot! in Portland, Oregon (birthplace of some of their favorite Elliott Smith records), it’s a dark and uncommonly beautiful set of moody post-punk that finds the Seattle outfit’s feelings in full view, unobscured by humor. There is no irony in its title: Before she had Chastity Belt, and the close relationships that she does now, Shapiro considered herself a career loner. That’s no small gesture. I can make as much sense of this music as I can my 20s: This is a brave and often exhilarating tangle of mixed feelings and haunting melodies that connects dizzying anguish (“This Time of Night”) to shimmering insight (“Different Now”) to gauzy ambiguity (“Stuck,” written and sung by Grimm). It’s a serious record but not a serious departure, defined best, perhaps, by a line that Shapiro shares early on its staggering title track: “I wanna be sincere.”

                              When asked, their only request was that what you’re reading right now be brief, honest, free of hyperbole, and “v chill.” When pressed for more, Truscott said, “Just say that we love each other. Because we do.” This is who they are, this is why I love them. - David Bevan, February 2017.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Millie says: Chastity Belt deliver their third album with an effortlessly edgy set. The melodies feel raw and are perfectly matched with the jangly guitars which underline the entire album.

                              The Seattle-based trio Dude York—Peter Richards on guitar and vocals, Claire England on bass and vocals, and Andrew Hall on drums—is announcing itself with an album that couches its themes of anxiety and eroding mental health in rock tracks that amp up the sweetly melodic crunch of power pop with massive distortion and bashed-to-heck drums.

                              Sincerely is a loud,sweaty rebuke to those moments in life when it seems like nothing is working, a testament to the power of friendship, staring problems directly in the face, and finding solace in art. Longtime Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill producer John Goodmanson and The Blood Brothers’ Cody Votolato helped Dude York craft a more straightforward draft of Sincerely, one based on the energy of their live show but without any superfluous flourishes.

                              The band’s thoughtful approach to putting together Sincerely's songs echoes the album's overarching themes of almost-punishing inward focus. Bringing England's straightforward drawl into the mix underscores that idea, and its contrast to Richards' excited yelp heightens the tension on Sincerely, a chaotic, yet ultimately triumphant album that's a vital tonic for these increasingly confused times.

                              The Moondoggies

                              Don't Be A Stranger

                                "I can't for the life of me figure out why The Moondoggies aren't one of the largest independent bands in the country." -- Performer Magazine

                                "It's the rich three-and-four-part harmonies that really give the Moondoggies' expansive, epic jams their distinctive, vintage sound." -- Pitchfork

                                The Moondoggies have hit upon a nice balance of tradition and contemporary influence." -- The Big Takeover Everett is a small city in northern Washington state, perhaps best known as the birthplace of Kenny Loggins, Carol Kaye, and, as of 2006, The Moondoggies. The Moondoggies are a four-piece band that plays timeless American music. Warm three-part harmonies, gothic Rhodes organ, and wanderlust guitar mark a sound rooted in boogie blues and cosmic country; their whip-smart songwriting leads to hook-heavy tunes that bristle with originality. The Moondoggies’ inaugural full-length release, Don’t Be a Stranger, was first released in 2008 and contains shades of gospel, blues, rock, and country - each of these songs have earned their slot in the great American jukebox.

                                As of 2016, The Moondoggies as a band will have existed for a full decade. To commemorate, Hardly Art will issue Don’t Be a Stranger on vinyl for the very first time. In addition to the original album, five previously unreleased bonus tracks have been tacked onto the release, all recorded during the same Don’t Be a Stranger sessions with producer Erik Blood in Seattle. The Moondoggies are pleased to re-present this album and its new-old songs to you, dear listener, in lieu of new material that has been brewing since 2013.

                                Kathleen Hanna stealthily assembled the members of The Julie Ruin without any of them realizing exactly what was happening. It all began in late 2009. Kathleen had not released an album since Le Tigre’s This Island (2004), and she was ready to jump back into music again. She knew her onetime Bikini Kill bandmate Kathi Wilcox was going to be moving to New York in the near future, so she didn’t even bother with finding a bass player at first. Carmine Covelli, who had toured with Le Tigre as their video guru, was having a blast at Kathleen’s birthday party when she abruptly asked him to be the drummer. A longtime admirer of Kathleen’s work, Carmine couldn’t say no to her at her own party, so of course he joined the band. Sara Landeau and Kathleen both taught at Girls Rock Camp and Kathleen lured her into the band by trading Pro Tools lessons for guitar lessons. Sara’s surf-informed style gelled perfectly with Kathleen’s sonic vision for her new band. Kathleen approached Kenny Mellman last with the idea that they should write country songs together to sell to other artists. Within a week of their first meeting, Kathleen’s mysterious “manager” (whom Kenny maintains does not exist) told her that they would never break into the Nashville songwriting scene, so Kenny might as well join her new band on keyboards. Done.

                                In late 2014 they began work on their second album, Hit Reset. Mixed by Eli Crews (with whom the band worked on Run Fast), Hit Reset expands on the band’s established sound: dancier in spots and moodier in others, with girl group backing vocals and even a touching ballad closer. Hit Reset is the sound of a band who have found their sweet spot. Kathleen’s vocals are empowered and her lyrics are as pointed and poignant as ever. From the chilling first lines of “Hit Reset”(“Deer hooves hanging on the wall, shell casings in the closet hall”) to the touching lines of “Calverton” (“Without you I might be numb, hiding in my apartment from everyone / Without you I'd take the fifth, or be on my death bed still full of wishes”), Hanna takes a leap into the personal not seen completely on the first album or possibly even in the rest of her work.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: Like a slightly angrier version of The Moldy Peaches who've been listening to a lot of Joanna Gruesome. Sparse but hard-hitting instrumentation and snarling vocals morph out of twee single-note guitar riffs and thumbing kick drums. There are elements of shoegaze in the mix, the backing to Hanna's tough delivery is more of a drone in places than the forceful drive you see elsewhere. The juxtaposition of twee vocal refrains smashed against uncompromising punky riffs leaves you both invigorated and excited. A stunning return for the Julie Ruin, and yet more evidence that the world should take note of this NYC foursome.

                                Recorded in guitarist TV Coahran’s basement onto an 8-track and engineered by Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks). Tracks 7 and 8 are covers - “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was originally performed in the musical Grease (written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey), and “Not Allowed” was originally written and performed by Californian post-punks Suburban Lawns. This is the debut release from Gazebos.

                                Featuring Shannon Perry (Butts, Katherine Hepburn’s Voice, sought-after tattoo artist) on vocals, TV Coahran (R. Stevie Moore, creator of GGNZLA records/karaoke) on guitar, Jordan T. Adams (Spurm, Monarchies) on drums, and Shane Herrell (Bread & Butter) on bass.

                                'The Agent Intellect' is Protomartyr's third and finest work to date. Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, it’s an elegant and often devastating display of all that makes Protomartyr so vital and singularly visceral an outfit. Over the course of several months, Greg Ahee waded through more than a hundred song fragments until he reached the bottomless melodies of “I Forgive You” and “Clandestine Time”, the inky depths of “Pontiac ’87” and titanic churn of “Why Does It Shake?” Lyrically, Casey is at his most confident and haunting. He humanizes evil on “The Devil in His Youth,” and, amid the charred pop of “Dope Cloud,” he reassures us that nothing - not God, not money - can or will prevent our minds from unraveling until we finally fade away. We are no one and nothing, he claims, without our thoughts. It’s a theme that echoes through the entirety of the record, but never as beautifully as it does on “Ellen.” Named after his mother and written from the perspective of his late father, it’s as romantic a song as you’re likely to hear this or any year, Casey promising to wait for her on the other side, with the memories she’s lost safely in hand.

                                Chastity Belt is a rock band consisting of four friends - guitarists Julia Shapiro and Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott, and drummer Gretchen Grimm. They met in a tiny college town in Eastern Washington, but their story begins for real in Seattle, that celebrated home of Macklemore and the Twelfth Man. Following a post-grad summer apart, a handful of shows and enthusiastic responses from the city’s DIY community led them, as it has countless others, into a cramped practice space. They emerged with a debut album, No Regerts, sold it out faster than anyone involved thought possible, and toured America, a country that embraced them with open-ish arms. Now they’re back and the tab is settled, the lights are out, the birds are making noise even though the sun isn’t really up yet: it’s Time to Go Home, their second long-player and first for Hardly Art.

                                In the outside world, they realized something crucial: they didn’t have to play party songs now that their audience didn’t consist exclusively of inebriated 18-22 year olds, as it did in that college town. Though still built on a foundation of post-post-punk energy, jagged rhythms, and instrumental moves that couldn’t be anyone else’s, the songs they grew into in the months that followed are equal parts street-level takedown and gray-skied melancholy. They embody the sensation of being caught in the center of a moment while floating directly above it; Shapiro’s world spins around her on “On The Floor,” grounded by Grimm and Truscott’s most commanding playing committed to tape. They pay tribute to writer Sheila Heti on “Drone” and John Carpenter with “The Thing,” and deliver a parallel-universe stoner anthem influenced by Electrelane with “Joke.”

                                Recorded by José Díaz Rohena at the Unknown, a deconsecrated church and former sail factory in Anacortes, and mixed with a cathedral’s worth of reverb by Matthew Simms (guitarist for legendary British post-punks and one-time tourmates Wire), Time to Go Home sees Chastity Belt take the nights out and bad parties of their past to their stretching points, watch the world around them break apart in anticipatory haze, and rebuild it in their own image with stunning clarity before anyone gets hung over.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Darryl says: Seattle post-punk female four piece return with their second album and first for Sub Pop offshoot, Hardly Art. Cool twangy and languid guitars meet vocals dripping in melancholy. A big hit on the shop player at the moment.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                Colleen Green

                                I Want To Grow Up

                                  Growing up.
                                  As a prospect it can be terrifying, sad, and worst of all, inevitable. But on I Want to Grow Up, her second album for Hardly Art, Colleen Green lets us know that we don't have to go it alone.

                                  This latest collection of songs follows a newly 30-year-old Green as she carefully navigates a minefield of emotion. Her firm belief in true love is challenged by the inner turmoil caused by entering modern adulthood, but that doesn't mean that her faith is defeated. With a nod to her heroes, sentimental SoCal punks The Descendents, Green too wonders what it will be like when she gets old. Throughout songs such as "Some People," "Deeper Than Love," and the illustrative title track, the listener has no choice but to feel the sympathetic growing pains of revelatory maturation and the anxieties that come along with it.

                                  Sonically the album is a major change for the LA-based songwriter, who has come to be known for her homemade recordings and merchandise. Her past offerings have been purely Green; testaments to her self-sufficiency and, perhaps, trepidation. This time, she's got a little help from her friends: the full band heard here includes JEFF the Brotherhood's Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet's Casey Weissbuch, who collaborated with Green over ten days at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN.

                                  I Want to Grow Up is an experience, not unlike life: questioning, learning, taking risks. And in true CG fashion, a quote from a beloved 90s film seems the perfect summation: "Understanding is reached only after confrontation."

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  In a city full of brilliant people with dead-end jobs and dampened by bitter-cold winters, playing music offers a cheap outlet. Protomartyr’s taut, austere rock was incubated in a freezing Detroit warehouse littered with beer cans and cigarette butts and warmed, feebly,by space heaters. Short songs made for short practices, and the band learned quickly not to waste time. Despite the cold, Protomartyr emerged with a sound that is idiosyncratic but relatable, hooky but off-kilter.

                                  Protomartyr’s economical rock elicits comparisons to possible antecedents like Pere Ubu or The Fall as well as local contemporaries like Frustrations or Tyvek (whose frontman Kevin Boyer played bass in an early iteration of Protomartyr). Singer Joe Casey’s dry declarative snarl serves as a reliable anchor, granting his bandmates — guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard and bassist Scott Davidson — the opportunity to explore textures and reinforce the rhythm section. This is never more apparent than on the band’s sophomore LP and Hardly Art debut, Under Color of Official Right. Where 2012’s No Passion All Technique favored comparatively straightforward punk structures, Under Color takes a more exploratory approach. “Tarpeian Rock” places punk vitriol against a minimalist backing and “Scum, Rise!” casts shadows with guitars that alternately chime and clang.

                                  The cheap outlet, crafted by cold hands in a poorly insulated practice space has, perhaps unwittingly, become a model of Motor City efficiency. And, more than that, it’s produced a stunner of a sophomore album.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Ryan says: Meeting somewhere inbetween Parquet Courts and No Age. Plenty of post-punk and hardcore references. Brilliant!

                                  Laura says: This second album takes a more expansive, exploratory approach than their debut. All the 80s hardcore and post-punk references are there for sure, and there’s still the intensity, but there’s more space in the songs allowing melodies to push through and guitars to occasionally chime as well as clang.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  To shift shapes, much less become shapeless, the Moondoggies had to change: their line-up, the way they communicated, recorded, and wrote. They would have to push beyond the public pigeonhole of being a bearded band from Seattle singing in harmony to give the breadth of their influences a space in the spotlight. For Adiós I’m a Ghost they drew from a diverse list of musical influences from Pink Floyd to Blonde Redhead, Mississippi John Hurt to Nirvana.

                                  Though they are oft compared to Laurel Canyon crooners or Southern swamp boogiers, Adiós I’m a Ghost is a quintessentially Northwest record. It speaks, with more than words, of tumultuous transformation -- changing pace as often as the weather on a Seattle spring day. Musically and lyrically, it balances light and dark, marrying the boisterous blues of their debut album Don’t Be a Stranger, the symphonic sadness of Tidelands, and a temperamental timbre previously unheard from the band.

                                  Recorded with producer Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studios.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                  The year, 2007. The Boys, Jacuzzi. Hatched inside a vulture’s nest, Jacuzzi Boys emerged from deep within the Florida wilds, three radioactive chicks cawing for their piece of electric rock pie.

                                  With No Seasons (Florida's Dying) they freaked their way through the swamps, a psycho stomp of a record, all hallucinations and hand claps. Glazin’ (Hardly Art) found a more polished sound. They installed AC units inside their mobile homes, found a way to turn neon into ice cubes. Now, with their third full-length, the self-titled Jacuzzi Boys, they're going grand, building limestone monuments to those that boogied before them, while writing hypnotic ear worms by the light of a cigarette. Gone is the swamp-thing snarl. In it’s place, the indestructible cool of the casino slot-jockey with nothing to lose.

                                  Recorded at Key Club Recording Co. in Benton Harbor, Michigan—same as 2011’s Glazin’—the new record takes full advantage of expert engineers Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins' sonic sandlot, with Kramer in charge of mastering. The end result? A smashing set of tunes as dazzling as a sparkler.

                                  It’s like that movie you once saw. The one with the boy and the girl and the plastic lounger on the beach. “Be My Prism” was the invitation. “Black Gloves” and “Double Vision” the promise. “Dust” was the rising tide. “Rubble,” the dirty uncle. “Hotline” was the lightning storm, and “Ultraglide” was the ending, the part where he drove her home with the windows down.

                                  You remember you liked it.

                                  It stayed with you while you swam alone in your pool that night.

                                  We Are Loud Whispers is a dreamy duo featuring Sonya Westcott (Arthur & Yu) and Ayumu Haitani (4 Bonjour's Parties).

                                  ‘Suchness’, their debut album, displays intricate electronic orchestration, loops, and effects, while relaying an organic ease.

                                  Assembled over emails sent between Seattle and Japan, ‘Suchness’ transcended geographical and language barriers - and traditional ideas of what a ‘band’ is - in its making.

                                  Grave Babies are a band whose sound might suggest the need for drugs that stabilize mood, while also creating a desire for ones that enhance them.

                                  The centre of Grave Babies’ sound is the sonic equivalent of thwarted desire.

                                  On ‘Crusher’, the band’s first album for Hardly Art, Grave Babies take the harder approach - doing what they’ve always done, but doing it better.

                                  Fergus & Geronimo

                                  Funky Was The State Of Affairs

                                  Fergus & Geronimo return with ‘Funky Was The State Of Affairs’, a sixteen track weirdo-opus about aliens, mind control, conspiracy theories and intergalactic courtship, amongst other things.

                                  Recorded in analogue at Seaside Lounge, New York.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  LP Info: LP format includes a download code and comes
                                  housed in a fancy old-school tip-on jacket.

                                  First full-length under the moniker Deep Time (formerly known as YellowFever).

                                  A bewitching pop duo from Austin TX, comprised of Jennifer Moore on organ, electric guitar and vocal microphone, and Adam Jones on drums.

                                  Jennifer Moore, once the torchbearer for girl-group legends The Carrots, is something altogether unusual in the modern age; a singer with such endangered qualities as personality, style, and an arresting delivery.

                                  Adam Jones is the jazzy batterista; as musical and dynamic a drummer as you will see on the scene today.

                                  Imagine if Stereolab were more interested in sounding like Young Marble Giants or LiLiPut instead of Krautrock and French Pop.

                                  K-Holes

                                  Dismania

                                    Second full-length from NY’s K-Holes.

                                    Featuring former members of Golden Triangle and Black Lips.

                                    The K-Holes sound is not of the grinning, gregarious panderer. Nor is it of the bored or atease. Rather, it’s the sound of escape.

                                    “This is music that inspires the behavior of heathens: topless dancing, violent sacrifice, Bacchanalian orgies, and New Year’s cleansings” - LA Record

                                    “Throw-you-down-on-the-floor-over-a-chalkdrawn- pentagram-with-a-head-full-of-mescaline music” - Qro Magazine

                                    “It's real noisy and then there’s some sax” - Vice

                                    Hunx And His Punx

                                    Too Young To Be In Love

                                      Debut studio album from Hunx And His Punx.

                                      The band’s singles compilation "Gay Singles" (True Panther / Matador, 2009) has sold over 2000 copies on LP.

                                      "Too Young To Be In Love" is the first fully-realized Hunx And His Punx album, and the group’s first for Hardly Art. It was recorded in New York City by Ivan Julian, one of the founding members of inimitable NYC punk legends Richard Hell And The Voidoids. This record was made in the same studio that one of Hunx's idols, Ronnie Spector, once recorded in.

                                      “Deliciously trashy homoerotic pop” - Pitchfork

                                      “Bogart is a vivid, alluring frontman with one thing on his mind” - The New York Times

                                      Fergus & Geronimo

                                      Never Satisfied

                                      New 7” by the Brooklyn, NY (by way of Denton, TX) weirdo-pop wonder duo Fergus & Geronimo.

                                      "Never Satisfied" is a catchy Beach Boys-esque pop tune with a post-millennial skew, while B side "Turning Blue" is a cover of an 80s novelty non-hit from a Pac Man picture-disc LP.

                                      Initial pressing of 500 copies on opaque halfwhite, half-blue vinyl.

                                      This is the first material from Fergus & Geronimo for Hardly Art, in advance of a full-length album due in early 2011.


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