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Mrs. Piss

Self-Surgery

    Mrs. Piss is a new collaboration between Chelsea Wolfe and Jess Gowrie . Drawing on their collective rock, metal, and industrial influences, the project began while the two were touring around together during Wolfe’s Hiss Spun album in 2017. The result is their debut album Self-Surgery, which was recorded at The Dock Studio in Sacramento, CA and in Wolfe’s home studio, The Canyon. These songs feel more urgent and visceral than anything either of them has created before: heaviness spurred on by punk spirit. Chelsea Wolfe (vocals, guitar) “Working on this project brought Jess and I so much closer as songwriters and production partners, after reuniting as friends and bandmates. It was freeing and fun to channel some wild energies that I don’t typically put into my own music.

    We tried not to overthink the songs as we were writing them, but at the same time we did consciously put a lot into crafting them into our own weird sonic vision. This project was a chance for us to do things our own way, on our own terms, and we plan to invite more womxn musicians along for future Mrs. Piss recordings.” CW // Jess Gowrie (drums, guitar, bass, programming) “To me, Mrs. Piss represents a musical chemistry cut short long ago that now gets a second chance. Creating with Chelsea has always been very liberating for me, and we both push each other to try new things: anything and everything. Both of us have grown so much as writers and musicians since our first band together (Red Host), and with the journeys we had to take separately to get there, we both have so much more to say; so much more pain and anger to express. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Red & Black splatter vinyl

    Jaye Jayle

    Prisyn

      Prisyn features guest appearance by Emma Ruth Rundle. Evan Patterson has always been a wanderer and an explorer. It’s evident in the constant evolution of his music since his earliest days as a guitarist in left-of-center bands, but it’s best exemplified by the constant creative shifts within the fever-dream blues of Jaye Jayle. On the newest Jaye Jayle album, “Prisyn” Patterson takes his boldest leap into unknown territories, capturing immediate moments in his ever-shifting surroundings with the most basic tool at his disposal: the GarageBand app on an iPhone. Instead of his usual backing band, he paired up with Ben Chisholm (White Horse, Revelator, Chelsea Wolfe) as collaborator and producer to create an electronic album completely unlike anything else from Jaye Jayle and an ambitious step from 2018’s remarkable No Trail and Other Unholy Paths LP.

      The LP began with a request from couture designer Ashley Rose, when she proposed that Evan Patterson team up with Sargent House label mates Chelsea Wolfe and Ben Chisholm to create a soundtrack for one of her upcoming fashion shows. Patterson was in the early stages of a massive eleven-week stretch of touring and used his downtime in the van to flesh out ideas on his phone. “I sent a track to Ben and he sent it back the next day with additional instrumentation, sounds, and effects,” Patterson recalls. “It was wild. He suggested we make a whole record that way.” By the end of tour, Patterson and Chisholm had an LP’s worth of songs waiting for vocal treatments. “I printed out all these poems, stories, and journal entries I’d made on my phone over the course of the year and went into the studio with my friend Warren (Christopher Gray). We’d find things that rhythmically worked, and that’s how all the lyrics and singing happened. It was all gut instinct, improvisational,” Patterson recalls.

      “The vocal approach isn’t meant to be full of hooks and melody. The music is framed almost as a film score for my life. Instead of David Attenborough or William S. Burroughs as a narrator, I used this opportunity to narrate visuals from my reality,” he continues. The record's title “Prisyn” is a play on the idea of a synthetic prison, and alludes to Patterson’s desire for artistic freedom and the album’s conflicted use of addictive technologies. But in the time of the pandemic, he also views it as an example of overcoming adversity in desperate times; this is a record that could have been made under the jail-like confines of quarantine, with Patterson and Chisholm having never been in the same room at the same time. Patterson comments, “These songs have a totally different energy, and that’s the exciting thing about making art. Things have to progress. I don’t want to draw the same picture for the rest of my life. Maybe that keeps you from being a master at it, but being a master isn’t the key to art. It’s having that constant expression, the constant outlet, the constant change." 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: Vinyl Single LP printed on silver board stock + download card.

      Disheveled Cuss

      Disheveled Cuss

        Disheveled Cuss, singer/guitarist Nick Reinhart’s self-titled debut album under that moniker, is like a welcome time capsule from another era, a trip through 90’s-inspired pop/rock on par with any of the timeless and lauded milestones the decade produced. Nick’s coming of musical age in an era when the Pixies, Teenage Fanclub and Smashing Pumpkins were major features on the cultural landscape is writ large across Disheveled Cuss. Their respective presences, and others, populate the sonic DNA of the songs, emerging here and there like new snapshots of old friends.

        “Playing music like this is satisfying in a very different way than what I’m used to,” Nick explains. “It’s a rock band playing ‘normal’ songs and in many ways, that’s the least normal thing I’ve done.” It seems only fitting, then, that the most relatable of topics, love – attraction, obsession, rejection, etc. – plays a central role on Disheveled Cuss. Brokenhearted, perhaps, Nick has crafted a work of poignant exuberance, a melancholy rock classic masquerading as an artifact from his youth. Which isn’t to say Nick’s taking himself any more seriously than he has previously, with many songs betraying a tongue-in-cheek attitude that’s familiar to those who know him as the frontman of cult favorites, Tera Melos. If he isn’t casting doubt on his own ambitions, he’s likely painting an idiosyncratic portrait of something (or someone) peculiar, or sublime. Possessing standards that have kept the bar high over Tera Melos’ four albums of genre-bending, post-everything rock, Nick has quietly emerged as a unique, technically-minded player whose talent seems in direct proportion to his modesty. A rare combination of punk energy, crafty and inventive melodies, and oblique vocal harmonies that often feel as though they’re leaking into your mind from someone else’s dream, Tera Melos mine the kind of varied territory unlimited proficiency can offer.

        Keeping pace with the trio for the past decade and a half, meanwhile, have been Nick’s forays into everything from hardcore to experimental jazz. His versatility and eagerness to collaborate are evidenced not only by ongoing contributions to groups as disparate as Best Coast, Death Grips and Portugal. The Man, but by his membership in Big Walnuts Yonder, alongside legendary players such as Mike Watt, Nels Cline, and Deerhoof drummer, Greg Saunier. Whistle-stop projects, such as Bygones with drummer Zach Hill, suggest a need to strip things back to basics now and again, however momentarily. Stoking the wizardry in recent years, no doubt, has been his role as co-host of Pedals and Effects, a video blog for gadgetheads that finds Nick talking shop and jamming with The Mars Volta’s bassist, Juan Alderete. 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: Single LP w/ printed inner sleeve + download card.

        Red Sparowes

        The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer (10th Anniversary Re-issue)

          To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer, Sargent House is incredibly proud to present a limited edition re-issue of Red Sparowes critically acclaimed third studio album. The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer maintains their layered arrangements and swirling amplified crescendos, Americana noir soundscapes (punctuated by the extended pedal steel on “In Every Mind”), and gloriously triumphant melodies (“Giving Birth to Imagined Saviors”). Earlier records focused on the larger scope of the album, but The Fear… is song-centered, with the individual tracks harboring stronger independent identities. Where previous endeavors found the band propelled by enormous walls of sound, they managed to temper their monolithic progressions with distinct passages of separated and soft-spoken instrumentation. Thunderheads storming across the prairie, outraged students taking to the streets, migratory herds stampeding along the tundra--any number of images could describe the grandiose scope of Red Sparowes’ lush vignettes. Wielding both a master’s sense of nuance and an outsider artist’s unhindered expressionist zeal, the Los Angeles quintet created a catalog of haunting and hallucinatory guitar orchestrations over the course of the millennium’s opening decade.

          With three albums, a string of split releases, multiple U.S. and European tours, and a number of line-up changes under their belt, Red Sparowes released their most focused release in 2010, The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer. For Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer recording consisted of guitarist/keyboardist Bryant Clifford Meyer (Palms, Isis), bassist/pedal steel player Gregory Burns (ex-Halifax Pier), drummer David Clifford (ex-Pleasure Forever), guitarist/keyboardist Andy Arahood (ex-Angel Hair) and guitarist Emma Ruth Rundle (Marriages, The Nocturnes). The album was recorded August - September 2009 at Infrasonic Sound by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business, Tool). Red Sparowes have been dormant for the last decade but will be reuniting to headline Roadburn 2020 (date tbc now), curated by former Red Sparowes guitar player Emma Ruth Rundle.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Coloured LP Info: Yellow / Olive galaxy coloured vinyl for Indie stores only.
          Contain a poster insert.

          Chelsea Wolfe

          Birth Of Violence

            Chelsea Wolfe has always been a conduit for a powerful energy, and while she has demonstrated a capacity to channel that somber beauty into a variety of forms, her gift as a songwriter is never more apparent than when she strips her songs down to a few key components. As a result, her solemn majesty and ominous elegance are more potent than ever on Birth of Violence.

            There is a core element to Chelsea Wolfe’s music—a kind of urgent spin on America’s desolation blues—that’s existed throughout the entirety of her career. At the center, there has always been Wolfe’s woeful longing and beguiling gravity, though the framework for compositions has continuously evolved based on whatever resources were available. Her austere beginnings were gradually bolstered by electronics and filled out with full-band arrangements. The music became increasingly dense and more centered around live performances. Her latest album, Birth of Violence, is a return to the reclusive nature of her earlier recordings

            “I’ve been in a state of constant motion for the past eight years or so; touring, moving, playing new stages, exploring new places and meeting new people—an incredible time of learning and growing as a musician and performer,” Wolfe says of the era leading up to Birth of Violence. “But after awhile, I was beginning to lose a part of myself. I needed to take some time away from the road to get my head straight, to learn to take better care of myself, and to write and record as much as I can while I have ‘Mercury in my hands,’ as a wise friend put it.“ Birth of Violence is the result of this step out of the limelight. The songs stem from humble beginnings—little more than Wolfe’s voice and her Taylor acoustic guitar. Her longtime musical collaborator Ben Chisholm recorded the songs on a makeshift studio and helped fill them out with his modern production treatments and the occasional auxiliary flourish from ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola).

            The album opens with “The Mother Road,” a harrowing ode to Route 66 that immediately addresses Wolfe’s metaphoric white line fever. It explains the nature of the record—the impact of countless miles and perpetual exhaustion—and the desire to find the road back home, back to one’s roots. Songs like “Deranged for Rock & Roll” and “Highway” offers parallel examinations on the trials and tribulations of her journeys while the ghostly “When Anger Turns to Honey” serves as a rebuttal to self-appointed judges.

            While the record touches upon tradition, it also exists in the present, addressing modern tragedies such as school shootings in the minor-key lullaby “Little Grave” and the poisoning of the planet on the dark wind-swept ballad “Erde.” But the record is at its most poignant when Wolfe withdraws into her own world of enigmatic and elusive autobiography. Much like Alan Ginsberg’s hallucinatory long-form poem Howl, the tracks “Dirt Universe” and “Birth of Violence” weave together specific references from her past into an esoteric overview of the state of mankind. Though the lyrical minutiae remain secret, the overall power of the language and delivery is bound to haunt the listener with both its grace and tension.

            “These songs came to me in a whirlwind and I knew I needed to record them soon, and also really needed a break from the road,” Wolfe says. “I’ve spent the past few years looking for the feeling of home; looking for places that felt like home. The result of that humble approach yields Wolfe’s most devastating work to date.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: I've been a big fan of Chelsea Wolfe for a while now, and it's absolutely true that the beauty of these compositions really shines when stripped back to Wolfe's haunting vox and an acoustic guitar. Pieces like 'American Darkness' certainly harbour more than a nod to classic folk psychedelia of the late 60's but imbued with a gothic gloom and echoic spookiness that is uniquely hers.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            CD Info: Digipak CD.

            Russian Circles

            Blood Year

              There are few things one can be sure of these days, though one truism that remains is that Russian Circles will continue to reign as one of instrumental music’s supreme champions. These masters of sonic tension and release plan to deliver their seventh studio album August 2nd on Sargent House. Dubbed Blood Year, the LP is less a musical exploration and more a statement of authority, lest there be any doubt that Russian Circles remain a force to be reckoned with on the stage and in the studio. The Chicago trio have always explored the dynamics of volume and timbre, with their albums often vacillating between caustic attacks and blissful respites.

              Russian Circles returned to the studio with Kurt Ballou to record Blood Year, but this time they tracked it in Chicago at Steve Albini’s world-famous Electrical Audio. From guitarist Mike Sullivan’s riff-fueled assaults, to Dave Turncrantz’s war machine rack and floor toms and Brian Cook’s meat grinding bass lines, the sound of Blood Year is that of a band unafraid to flaunt their hard-earned prowess. Sullivan, Turncrantz, and Cook made a conscious effort to approach the songs on Blood Year with the same organic feel of a live show. In an age where rock records are often built on a computerized grid, Russian Circles chose to track the foundations of the songs together in one room as complete takes without click tracks. The human pulse and unmetered energy is woven throughout Blood Year, a presence that can be felt with each bone-rattling minute

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: I love a bit of Russian Circles, and remember listening to 'Station' obsessively over ten years ago. Their sound has considerably evolved since then, not too stylistically different but a lot richer and more texturally diverse. Blood Year is undoubtedly their greatest outing yet and is the perfect tonic for anyone who wants a modern take on post-metal, brilliantly structured and unsurprisingly, brilliantly played.

              Earth

              Full Upon Her Burning Lips

                Commemorating thirty trips around the sun as one of metal’s most monolithic bands, Earth release their ninth studio album, Full Upon Her Burning Lips. A purge of the embellishment and panache from previous releases, Full Upon Her Burning Lips intimates Earth’s commitment to the minimalism of their primordial days.

                Deconstructing the tried-and-true dynamic consisting of Dylan Carlson on guitar and bass and Adrienne Davies on drums and percussion, Full Upon Her Burning Lips taps into the Platonic ideal of Earth—an incarnation of the long running band bolstered by the authority of purpose, where every note and every strike on the drum kit carries the weight of the world. In addition to scaling back the flourishes of their hulking, drone-driven opuses, Full Upon Her Burning Lips was composed sans narrative, relying instead on their collective subconscious to hone in on the overarching muse as the songs developed.

                The record was engineered, mixed, and mastered by long time associate Mell Dettmer at Studio Soli. Showcasing Carlson’s sepia-toned Bakersfield Sound guitars and Davies’ death knell drums, Full Upon Her Burning Lips mines for the expressive, nuanced, and tonally rich components of Earth’s arsenal of sound. And indeed, anyone that’s followed Earth on their journey will bask in the unadulterated hums, throbs, and reverberations conjured by Carlson and Davies.

                “I feel like this is the fullest expression and purest distillation of what Earth does since I re-started the band,” Carlson says in reflection of Full Upon Her Burning Lips. And indeed, anyone that’s followed Earth on their journey will bask in the unadulterated hums, throbs, and reverberations conjured by Carlson and Davies.

                Helms Alee

                Noctiluca

                  After more than a decade of existence, five studio albums, and a slew of EPs, it’s easy to imagine Helms Alee continuing on in perpetuity as one of those tightly-guarded artists with an extensive catalog of treasures just waiting for the uninitiated to discover the depths of their riches. But things are going to change with the release of their fifth album, Noctiluca; the album continues Helms Alee’s tradition of blending girthy sludge riffs, deceptively clever compositions, lush instrumentation, and transcendental melodies into a potent standalone sound and proves why the band has rightfully stuck around all these years.

                  Starting with album opener “Interachnid,” Helms Alee displays their multifaceted approach with Hozoji Matheson-Margullis's eight-armed drum patterns underpinning thunderous walls of fuzz distortion provided by bassist Dana James and guitarist Ben Verellen, with Verellen’s barrel-chested roar serving as a counterpoint to the siren song vocals provided by Mathenson-Margullis and James. The balance between knuckle-dragging force and transcendent beauty fluctuates throughout the record, with songs like “Beat Up” operating on single-minded aggression, while songs like “Pandemic” completely eschew the heavy-handed approach in favor of blissed out dream pop. “Spider Jar” still sounds like the more subdued side of Helms Alee in many ways—jangling Jazzmaster guitars and tom-heavy drum patterns set against soaring vocals—but never before has the band sounded so authoritative with such straightforward arrangements.

                  Inspired by the bioluminescent marine algae of the same name, Noctiluca pays tribute to the oceanic themes that has pervaded Helms Alee's music. The marine reference is perhaps the closest approximation to their sound: mysterious, magical, and providing light in the darkness. Helms Alee have always been able to jump between the sublime and the savage, but with the aid of producer/engineer Sam Bell (Minus the Bear, R.E.M., The Cars), the band pushes their various methods to new extremes on Noctiluca. 

                  Blis

                  No One Loves You

                    Atlanta, GA’s Blis. debut LP, No One Loves You, avoids the trope: it’s an album of a band that’s lived a lot of life, exploring sonic realms that on the surface, should not go together, but manage to find cohesion. The record mosaics their influences—the intricate rock riffs of American Football, Pedro the Lion’s midtempo balladry gone awry with crucial aggression, indie rock sensibility that has mainstream press publications referencing Modest Mouse and Silversun Pickups. It was their 2015 Starting Fires in My Parents House EP that inspired Sargent House Records to sign them. The band officially started recording under the Blis. name a few years ago, but frontman/primary songwriter Aaron Gossett has been pursuing the project for much longer. “It’s pretty much the first musical endeavor I did after high school,” he recounts.

                    The quartet—drummer Jimi Ingman, bassist Luke Jones, guitarist Josiah Smith and Gossett—have found a system that works, though the process was arduous. In the two years since their last EP, they’re at home with their lineup, they’ve spent an impossible amount of time on the road (including a two month U.S. tour with now label mates And So I Watch You From Afar). No One Loves You is a record of complex musicianship and even more complicated emotional development—despondent songs that criticize the negative forces in Gossett’s life while never feeling particularly hopeless. Almost every track mentions God or religion. He explains. “If you get to the core of a lot of religions, they’re kind of awful: really disgusting homophobic, misogynistic shit.” It’s harsh, but near the heart of Blis. There’s loving sentiment beneath the percussion, beneath the moments of riotous riffing and explosive texture. Even the title of the record itself reflects the duality of Gossett’s interpretation. “Lost Boy” is a love letter to his partner and a criticism of blind belief. 

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    CD Info: 6 panel digipak

                    Tera Melos

                    Trash Generator

                      It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Tera Melos. 4 years to be exact. And, oh my, are they back with a vengeance. Trash Generator, the trio’s third full length, is an astonishing blast of confidence and rejuvenation. It sounds as if the downtime has recharged the band with an entirely new sense of purpose.

                      The performances are brilliant and sharp, the songs concise yet intricately detailed, and the album production deftly captures the band’s strength as a live unit. Their dalliances with mellower psychedelic phrases on their previous two albums, X’ed Out (2013) and Patagonian Rats (2010) are significantly trimmed and instead utilized as colorations within a swirling maelstrom of righteous aggro punk-jazz abandon. Tera Melos — guitarist/vocalist Nick Reinhart, bassist Nathan Latona and drummer John Clardy — have learned to stop worrying and just be Tera Melos.

                      Regardless of the group’s own potentially esoteric goals, if you’re not reaching for the “next level” at every turn, you’re supposedly not doing it right. “ “We made Trash Generator because we just wanted to get together, have some fun, and make something that we think is cool.” The trio decamped to San Diego in late 2016 to record at Singing Serpent Studios with Ben Moore (Hot Snakes, Pinback). “We stayed in a spare place at Rob Crow’s house which had a barracks kind of feel to it,” Clardy explains. “We’d come home exhausted each day and fall asleep within an hour. It was very spartan when away from the studio.” That mindset clearly informs the direct, in-your-face energy of Trash Generator. 

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      CD Info: CD 6 panel digipak + lyric insert

                      Big Walnuts Yonder

                      Big Walnuts Yonder

                        Big Walnuts Yonder is bassist/vocalist Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), drummer Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and guitarist/vocalist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos). It is not a supergroup. "It's worlds colliding," says Mike Watt. Four exceptional musicians whose work spans multiple genres and generations, Big Walnuts Yonder is a monumental endeavor that's more than the sum of its parts. The results are a truly epic album defying categorization, where one might hear elements of proto-punk, free jazz, power pop, experimental music, psych-rock and your first teenage acid trip all in one. The impetus for Big Walnuts Yonder came about way back in 2008 from a conversation between Watt and Reinhart while their bands toured together in Japan.

                        The two discussed recording together and who they might bring in to the sessions. "Nick gets ahold of my first opera," Watt explains. "Made in 1997 with Nels Cline. He said 'what's it like playing with Nels?'" "So Watt says, 'if you want to know the man, play with the man,'" Cline elaborates. Cline agreed to join if Reinhart picked the drummer. Reinhart quickly mentioned Saunier, unaware that Cline had previously brought Watt to see him perform at a Deerhoof show years before. The lineup solidified in its mutual appreciation and they began making plans to write and record - while circumnavigating the schedules of 4 extremely busy musicians. "We had planned it for so long," Saunier says. "Then several years passed in which nothing occurred due to everyone's schedules. It was 2-3 years of warm, leisurely prep time, then suddenly made in a panic with time and money on the line."

                        The album was recorded in just 3 days in summer 2014 in Brooklyn, NY with producer and former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone engineering at his Studio G. "It was this concentrated sort of freakout," Saunier says. "We basically had to invent a new band on the spot. And, people might have a stereotype of what each person does, but we all showed up to do what we're prevented from doing in other groups." The album's 10 tracks were recorded primarily live with very few overdubs. Although Big Walnuts Yonder was created under somewhat spontaneous circumstances, the group endeavored to ensure the album wouldn't sound like a jam session. "It was very clear among us," Saunier notes: "Let's not overindulge and make it a 'musician's recording'." Asked how he might describe Big Walnuts Yonder, Cline succinctly nails it on the head: "It's sick. It has an extreme quality and kicks ass." 

                        Chelsea Wolfe

                        Unknown Rooms : A Collection Of Acoustic Songs

                        Northern California native Chelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk — a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. Her voice similarly haunts and soothes, with words that illuminate life's darker corners in order to reveal the unlikely truth and beauty hidden within. In a way, Wolfe is on a journey to the surface of her own music.

                        2012 finds releasing her first acoustic emanation on Sargent House, titled Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs.The experience is a secret shared, a side of our heroine rarely seen or heard, and the making was as intimate as it gets: recorded in the woods of Northern California and at Wolfe's L.A. home, co-produced by her bandmate Ben Chisholm, with players Ezra Buchla of Gowns (viola), Andrea Calderón of Corima (violin) and Daniel Denton of Gothic Tropic (bass). 

                        Helms Alee's music is exactly the sort of mutant, fantastic hybrid that used to only occasionally erupt out of small, isolated scenes, uninformed by trends of the day — instead inspired by the band’s own collective contributions. The Seattle trio’s unique amalgam of metal, art rock, pop and punk is charmingly reminiscent of the fertile creativity that groups once had before the Internet seemed to instruct bands to only copy one another. Helms Alee’s third album, Sleepwalking Sailors sounds like many styles combined into one, and none of it concerned with any notion other than creating vital, urgent and uniquely characteristic music.

                        Bassist/vocalist Dana James, drummer/vocalist Hozoji Matheson-Margullis and guitarist/vocalist Ben Verellen combine a vast array of ideas within a single song, while still sounding entirely cohesive. Their songs are undeniably heavy, but also freely roaming through icy post-punk and warm melodic haze at any given moment. Any given song can be pummeling one moment and then subtly shift into triply harmonies without the listener even realizing what has happened. Sleepwalking Sailors was recorded with engineer Chris Common (These Arms Are Snakes, Pelican, Chelsea Wolfe) in Seattle, and marks the band’s first release for new home Sargent House. "We spent 3-1/2 years writing the songs for this album, so it's thematically all over the place” Verellen says. “We ended up with something that sounds really big, but also a bit more aggressive."

                        "Zorch demonstrate how good 'weird' can be." SPIN.

                        The debut full length by Austin duo Zorch is the end result of nearly 5-years worth of material similarly collected, then shredded, condensed and completely remolded into a solid whole. It sounds like two hyperactively creative minds finding ways to cleverly merge together effervescent synth blips, blue-eyed soul vocals, gang-chant backups, blurting EDM bass lines, frenetic drums, hazy psych-drone and even the proverbial kitchen sink taking leads here and there. Each song sounds like it could've been crafted out of samples from several different decades of pop culture history, though it's entirely the work of two exceptional musicians.

                        If Zzoorrcchh sounds like a photomosaic looks, it's because there is similarly a meticulously organized logic to it all. When Zac Traeger (keyboards, omnichord, vocals) and Shmu (drums, omnichord, vocals) first started playing together in 2008 while studying music in college in Boston, the pair would improvise and record many hours worth of ideas. Some of these songs are direct descendants of those jams; the duo picking out pieces of those recordings, re-organizing and reworking them multiple times and in various studio settings while also adding on and creating new ideas. Demo versions of some of the songs on this album were previously released, only to again be redone a couple of times over for the album. And, Zorch even previously offered up all of the basic audio tracks from early EPs for fans to remix their own versions.

                        The band are just as intensive about its live shows, often playing upwards of 20 shows during the 4 days of SXSW. Zzoorrcchh kicks off fittingly by easing listeners into their world with a slow fade-in to whirling synths, a stately piano loop and countless layers of sounds comprising "My Joy is Explosion." The minute-long tune immediately segues into the blissfully hyper celebration of life, "We All Die Young." Here, Shmu's rollicking drum pattern that might make Neil Peart's head spin drives Zac's frantic synth arpeggios while several layers of voices sing, "what a day, let's celebrate it/ I want to feel elated." Elsewhere, on "This Is The Way It Goes" neo-rave staccato chords sounding like computer error tones, marimbas and pounding toms meet cheerful vocals singing the song title's seeming lament. "Inopportune Sailing" starts off like a repetitive, perky chiptune from an imaginary 80s video game that morphs into a full-fledged living pop-soul jam. It sounds like Zorch actually beat Daft Punk to the punch at making their own organic recordings sound like vintage song samples. "Zut Alors", a longtime fan live favorite lyrically pokes fun at conspiracy theories of reptilian overlords with the refrain, "giant surprise/ We are lizards disguised/ And we're controlling your lives/ With trilateral spies."

                        The album is a wild auditory amusement park that gets more and more exciting with each visit. Early support/features confirmed with Pitchfork, Spin, Magnet, Alarm, Consequence of Sound, MSN and much more.


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