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Erika Wennerstrom

Sweet Unknown

    There's something somewhat frightening, yet utterly freeing when leaving the confines of a successful band to venture solo — especially a band whose latest record was called "effortlessly brilliant" by critics. But, such is the case with Erika Wennerstrom who is taking a brief vacation from her Cincinnati-based rock band, Heartless Bastards, to deliver her solo debut Sweet Unknown.

    But fans of Heartless Bastards need not worry. The band has not broken up. "We'd been going for so long and everyone in the band was just ready for a little break. But I had songs in me that needed to come out. I didn't think it was fair to push them to keep going and I didn't want to do it without them under the band name," explains Wennerstrom, who enlisted the help of HB's Jesse Ebaugh to play bass on 8 of the 9 tracks on Sweet Unknown.

    While Wennerstrom has always been honest the Heartless Bastards songs she's written, the 9 tracks that make up Sweet Unknown are even more personal and reflective, and for her, quite transformative as well.

    The album kicks off with the feel-good roadtrip vibes of "Twisted Highway," which Wennerstrom says sums up her musical journey on Sweet Unknown. On the somber psych-rocker "Staring Out the Window," the artist digs even deeper into the inner workings of her mind. The upbeat and optimistic "Letting Go" epitomizes that experience. "Good To Be Alone" is just one sonic outcome of a formative trip to Big Bend taken soon after the band decided to go on hiatus.

    With Sweet Unknown, Erika Wennerstrom bravely invites the listener in to experience her trials and tribulations of life amist a cozy soundscape of deeply emotive vocals and melodies to what is ultimately the soundtrack to her soul.



    Americana mainstays Deer Tick return to form with not one but two albums in 2017.

    ‘Vol. 1’ is quiet, ‘Vol. 2’ is loud - Deer Tick’s dual personalities, finally channelled onto two distinct and equally brilliant records.

    Die cut covers that resemble picture frames with retractable disco jacket.

    Americana mainstays Deer Tick return to form with not one but two albums in 2017.

    ‘Vol. 1’ is quiet, ‘Vol. 2’ is loud - Deer Tick’s dual personalities, finally channelled onto two distinct and equally brilliant records.

    Die cut covers that resemble picture frames with retractable disco jacket.

    Cigarettes After Sex frontman Greg Gonzalez had a clear vision for his band’s gorgeously cinematic debut album. After the phenomenal online break-out success of “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby”, from the band’s debut EP 1, the Brooklyn transplant (originally from El Paso) wanted to project his worldview on to a bigger screen, a broader canvas. As Greg explains, “This is like the novel or feature-length version of Cigarettes. I wanted it to feel like a complete work, where some of the imagery repeats – like it’s all in the same world. It’s very much a fulfilment of the feelings in the short works.”

    That sense of fulfilment is richly felt on Cigarettes After Sex, which unspools like the most achingly romantic of movies: immersive, cohesive and transporting. Swooning in the spirit of influences such as Mazzy Star and Red House Painters, its sumptuous songs of love elevate Cigarettes to the ranks of those acts who create worlds of their own, exciting the most devoted kind of following.

    Alongside keyboardist Phillip Tubbs, bassist Randy Miller and drummer Jacob Tomsky, the ability of Gonzalez and his band to set a scene and sustain a mood reels you in deeply. On album opener ‘K’, a tale of blossoming love etched in tiny details luxuriates over chiming guitars; on the hymn to romantic compulsion of ‘Each Time You Fall in Love’, the suspended animation of Angelo Badalamenti’s heart-stopping Twin Peaks music is echoed. ‘Sunsetz’ and the gently lilting ‘Sweet’, meanwhile, showcase Gonzalez’s ability to weave impressionistic snapshots of romance into melodies that haunt like memories of past loves, all coalescing around his melting vocals.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: Gorgeous, slow-mo, late night heart-breakers drift by with classic chords, beautiful vocals and not one bad song in sight.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited grey vinyl.

    Partisan Records present ‘Ullages’, the second album from Leeds-based band Eagulls.

    ‘Ullages’ is an altogether different record from the heady fuzz of Eagulls’ 2014 self-titled debut: the drawn out textured melodies recall the shimmering opulence of The Cocteau Twins and the melancholic majesty of The Cure.

    Highlights of the last campaign included taking both ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ and ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ in the US by storm, sharing stages with the likes of Arcade Fire and Pharrell, scooping a major NME Award and playing at some of the world’s most renowned festivals including Coachella, Latitude, Field Day and Reading / Leeds.

    The artwork is a collaboration with British cult photographer Peter Mitchell.

    “A title this sour never sounded so sweet” - SPIN (on ‘Lemontrees’)

    “Their new work is brave, lyrically challenging and accomplished” - Loud & Quiet

    “There’s always been more to Eagulls than just fire and brimstone. With ‘Ullages’ those widescreen ambitions finally look set to be fully realised.” - DIY

    “A sparkling sonic environment situated somewhere between The Smiths, Shins and Stone Roses. It’s a lovely development.” - Stereogum

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: Indies exclusive green vinyl.


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