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SUICIDE SQUEEZE

Death Valley Girls

Darkness Rains

    At the core of Death Valley Girls, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel channel a modern spin on Funhouse’s sonic exorcisms, ZZ Top’s desert-blasted riffage, and Sabbath’s occult menace. On their third album Darkness Rains, Death Valley Girls churn out the hypercharged scuzzy rock every generation yearns for, but there is a more subversive force percolating beneath the surface that imbues the band with an exhilarating cosmic energy. Album opener “More Dead” is a rousing wake up call, with a hypnotic guitar riff and an intoxicating blown-out solo underscoring Bloomgarden’s proclamation that you’re “more dead than alive.”

    The pace builds with “(One Less Thing) Before I Die”, a distillate of Detroit’s proto-punk sound. At track three, Death Valley Girls hit their stride with “Disaster (Is What We’re After)”, a rager that takes the most boisterous moments off Exile On Main Street and injects it with Zeppelin’s devil’s-note blues. Darkness Rains retains its intoxicating convocations across ten tracks, climaxing with the hypnotic guitar drones and cult-like chants of “TV In Jail On Mars.” “Death Valley Girls are a gift to the world

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited edition LP pressed on translucent red with black splatter vinyl. Initial pressing also includes a folded 11.7" x 16.5" poster.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    The Coathangers

    Scramble

      The Coathangers “Scramble” has been re-pressed in Translucent Yellow & Green Vinyl. “Suicide Squeeze's politcally aware, all-grrl Atlanta quartet are making sure the revolution will not be such a drag.” Pitchfork. The Coathangers keep the back-alley post-punk party going strong on a scratchy, shrieky, foul-mouthed sophomore album, Scramble, their first for Seattle-based Suicide Squeeze. As with fellow Georgians the B-52s, their best songs play like should-be novelty hits. The Coathanger with the chirpy Snow White voice sings lead on a couple of the catchiest, including upstairs-neighbor rant "Stop Stomp Stompin'" and unrequited-love-at-first-sight song "143", both of which have enough quotidian sloganeering and goofy-but-true detail for UK shouters Art Brut. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Translucent Yellow & Green Vinyl.

      Elliott Smith

      Division Day

        Elliott Smith's "Division Day" is not only one of the late artist's most beloved fan favorite songs, it's also one of Smith's first departures away from the soft-spoken melancholy of his first two albums and into the more sophisticated pop that led to his breakout success. B-side "No Name #6" is a classic in its own right, encapsulating the humble brilliance of one of our generation's greatest singer-songwriters. "Division Day" b/w "No Name #6" is now back in print on tri-color vinyl. Limited to 1000 copies, this 7" single is a crucial document of Elliott Smith's musical evolution, and a vital piece of Suicide Squeeze history



        Guantanamo Baywatch

        Desert Center

        Guantanamo Baywatch’s new album ‘Desert Center’ opens with ‘Conquistador’, an instrumental track displaying enough fretboard savvy and fiery twang to make The Challengers proud. However, any notion that Guantanamo Baywatch are strictly adhering to one facet of rock ‘n’ roll’s classic era is dispelled by the soulful swagger and unabashed pop of ‘Neglect’.

        It’s an inadvertent juxtaposition maintained through the entirety of ‘Desert Center’, with blazing instrumental nuggets like ‘The Scavenger’ alternating with the proto-grunge and golden oldies mash-up of a track like ‘Blame Myself’.

        Like their 2015 album ‘Darling… It’s Too Late’, ‘Desert Center’ was primarily tracked in Atlanta at Living Room Recording with Justin McNeight and Ed Rawls, with Jason Powell doing the bulk of the guitar tracks on his own at Jungle Muscle Studios.

        While Guantanamo Baywatch initially made a name for themselves with their early blown-out recordings, ‘Desert Center’ retains the raw aesthetics of a Hasil Adkins single but has the added heft and thump afforded by a modern studio. This balance is perhaps best captured on ‘Video’, where bassist Chevelle Wiseman drives the tune with a thick, throbbing riff while drummer Chris Scott ruthlessly pounds his kit with a crashing clarity guaranteed to please even the most snobby analogue audiophile.

        On their sixth album, ‘Voids’, Minus The Bear started with a blank slate and inadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategies that fuelled their initial creative process.

        Album opener ‘Last Kiss’ immediately establishes the band’s renewed fervour. An appropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before the chorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus.

        From there the album flows into ‘Give & Take’, a tightly wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratory pulse of early Bear classics like ‘Fine + 2 Pts’, while exploring new textures and timbres.

        ‘Invisible’ is arguably the catchiest song of the band’s career, with Jake Snider’s vocal melodies and Knudson’s imaginative guitar work battling for the strongest hooks.

        ‘What About The Boat?’ reminds us of the math rock tag that followed the band in their early years, with understated instrumentation disguising an odd-time beat.

        ‘Erase’ recalls the merging of forlorn indie pop and electronica that the band dabbled with on their early EPs but demonstrates The Bear’s ongoing melodic sophistication and tonal exploration.

        By the time the band reach album closer ‘Lighthouse’ they’ve traversed so much sonic territory that the only appropriate tactic left at their disposal is a climactic crescendo, driven at its peak by Cory Murchy’s thunderous bass. Not since ‘Planet Of Ice’s ‘Lotus’ have The Bear achieved such an epic finale.

        All in all it’s an album that reminds us of everything that made us fall in love with Minus The Bear in the first place and a big part of that appeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.

        First studio album since ‘Infinity Overhead’ (2012).

        Produced by Sam Bell (The Cribs, Weezer, Snow Patrol, Bloc Party) and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.

        ‘Gift Of Life’, the first proper full length by VHS, follows in the footsteps of their previous EPs, with the band self-recording their amalgam of Lost Sounds’ trashy discontent, early Big Black’s trebly guitar stabs and ‘Only Theatre Of Pain’-era Christian Death’s black reverberations. These are brash and bitter territories to occupy but the band sees no other choice for their musical direction, citing the daily grind as the impetus behind their music.

        The harsh reality of frontman Josh Hageman’s day-today existence working on the periphery of the medical field played a direct role in the overall theme of the album. Those fatalistic views and medical themes are on full display on ‘Wheelchair’, where a punk pulse underscores Hageman’s harrowing description of a life lived in chronic pain with drugs serving as the only escape.

        The album continues on to ‘Hospital Room’, where wiry guitar leads and ominous chords provide the soundtrack to a scene of misery and tragedy within the sanitized walls of Western medicine.

        Elsewhere, the themes of addiction and exposure take on more universal themes, such as on the culturegorging lament of ‘Binge Everything’ or the panopticon-paranoia of ‘Public Act’.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Available to independent retailers as an exclusive clear vinyl LP edition.

        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        From the opening bedlam of barnburner ‘Counting The Days’, Audacity demonstrate that while their songwriting has become more nuanced, their delivery has gotten more savagely precise.

        With recording duties handled by longtime friend and tourmate Ty Segall, Audacity sound like they’ve finally found someone who can capture the frenetic drive of a song like ‘Hypo’, the off-kilter hook of ‘Riot Train’, the undeniable melodic appeal of ‘Fire’ and the cowpunk influence of ‘Previous Cast’.

        “I feel like we get portrayed a lot as a sunshine-y, carefree California band,” guitarist / vocalist Kyle Gibson says “But lots of our songs deal with melodramatic subject matter. The fact we’ve all lived in Fullerton pretty much the whole time we’ve been in the band has some effect on the music. Driving around town, there’s a memory or a ghost on every street. People die or move away or get in trouble, or groups of friends drift apart and start hating each other and get in fights. It’s not demoralizing; it’s a part of life, but of course it affects the music.”

        That frustration manifests itself on songs like ‘Overrated’, where you can almost hear the spit and sweat hitting the microphone, before the band turn around to bask in the unapologetically gratuitous pop swagger of album closer ‘Lock On The Door’.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: LP comes with digital download coupon and printed
        inner sleeves.

        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles

        Oh Man, Cover The Ground

          ‘Oh Man, Cover The Ground’’s softly-stated melodies and breezy air operates on its own sense of time. Though the songs still settle comfortably into threeminute parcels, their gestation bucked at the convention of pop music’s stringent time format.

          “I’m really into meandering, fingerpicked open-tuned acoustic guitar, like John Fahey and Robbie Basho,” says Shana Cleveland. “I started playing guitar in that style during a year right before I moved to Seattle when I was lonely and bummed out in the San Fernando Valley and found solace in spending long afternoons fingerpicking slow moving improvisations.”

          This casualness is evident in the music - you can hear it in the airy ambience of album opener ‘Butter & Eggs’, the gentle piano and strings accompaniment on the title track, the particularly Fahey-esque explorations of ‘Itching Around’ and ‘SPATM’. Even the timeline of the album’s development seems to defy the ephemeral haste that permeates so much contemporary music.

          The bulk of ‘Oh Man, Cover The Ground’ was recorded in Shana’s basement. “I wanted it to sound casual and kind of loose like my favorite folk albums, so we didn’t practice much before recording and a few of the musicians were playing the songs for the first time.”

          On ‘Visits’, Tammar pulls off a pretty incredible trick with each and every one of its post-punk anthems. They mine the classic sounds of paranoia, malaise and misanthropy (Joy Division, The Velvet Underground, The Fall and early 90s alt-rock) and fill it all with so much exuberance and joy of playing that each song becomes a triumph over anxiety and ennui.

          The Magic Musicians

          The Magic Musicians

          This Seattle band features John Atkins (764-Hero) and Joe Plummer (Black Heart Procession) and are recommended if you like Quasi, the Replacements, 764-Hero and the Blues Explosion. They reach to stretch the elastic of modern indie-pop music while adding an appreciative nod to the SST-era of punk rock when Husker Du and the Minutemen were kings. Aggressive where it needs to be, loose when it should be, the Magicians second self-titled album matures and furthers what was started on 2001's "Girls" and shows that the band's got plenty more to offer.


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          Very sad to hear about the passing of one of the greatest singer songwriters: Scott Walker, 1943 - 2019. #legendhttps://t.co/R3xXruSOrN
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