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SUICIDE SQUEEZE

Minus The Bear

Fair Enough

    Final Release By Minus The Bear. Cover Art Features A Painting By Bassist Cory Murchy Engraved On The A & B Sides. “Invisible” Remix By Sombear Aka Bradley Hale Of Now, Now (1,000 180g black vinyl, 2,000 Coke Bottle Green) W/ Dl Coupon. “That dichotomy between dark imagery and danceable, inventive rock has always been a hallmark of Minus The Bear's sound” - Noisey // Minus the Bear is a product of the first two decades of this century. From their first show in 2001 to their impending dissolution at the end of 2018, the Seattle band thrived on the musical awakening in the era of the mp3, the internet, poptimism, and the crosspollinations generated from an expanded consciousness of new music forms.

    With their final EP, Fair Enough, Minus the Bear closes the book on their hybrid of art-rock, indie pop, and warehouse party appeal. The opening track “Fair Enough” went through a variety of permutations before the band found new meaning in its lyrical lament of lost passions and finding “the exact moment we turned it off”. The other songs of Fair Enough are a continuation and culmination of Minus the Bear’s diverse sounds. The up-tempo drumbeats, lush electronics, and nimble guitar work that initially set them apart are on full display during “Viaduct”. “Dinosaur” has the groove of early hits of “Fine + 2 PTS”, but crafted with the understated Steely Dan-eque delivery of their more current slow jams. The EP closes with a nod to their ongoing remix collaborations, this time with a rave-up reinvention of “Invisible” by Sombear. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies-only coke bottle green LP.

    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



          Although L.A. Witch hail from Los Angeles, they do not partake in any sort of witchcraft. Yet their ability to conjure a specific time and place through their sound does suggest a kind of magic. On their eponymous debut album, L.A. Witch’s reverb-drenched guitar jangle and sultry vocals conjure the analogue sound of a collector’s prized 45 from some short-lived footnote cult band. The melodies forgo the bubblegum pop for a druggy haze that straddles the line between seedy glory and ominous balladry; the production can’t afford Phil Spector’s wall of sound but the instruments’ simple beauty provides an economic grace that renders studio trickery unnecessary; the lyrics seem more descendent of Johnny Cash’s first person morality tales than the vacuous empty gestures of pre-fab pop bands. This isn’t music for the masses; it’s music for miscreants, burnouts, down-and-out dreamers and obsessive historians.

          Album opener ‘Kill My Baby Tonight’ is the perfect introduction to the band’s marriage of 60s girls-in-the-garage charm and David Lynch’s surreal exposés of Southern California’s underbelly. Sade Sanchez’s black velvet vocals disguise the malicious intent of this murder ballad, with the thumping pulse of bassist Irita Pai, the slow burn build of drummer Ellie English and Sanchez’s desert guitar twang helping beguile the listener into becoming a willing accomplice to the narrator’s crimes.

          ‘Brian’ follows the opening track with a similarly graceful, if not somewhat ominous, slow-mo take on a well-worn jukebox 7”. It’s a vibe that permeates the entire album, from the early psychedelic hue of 13th Floor Elevators on tracks like ‘You Love Nothing’, through the motorik beat and fuzzed-out licks of ‘Drive Your Car’, to the grittier permutation of Mazzy Star’s sleepy beauty on ‘Baby In Blue Jeans’.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Darryl says: Hailing from the streets of Los Angeles this is the magical self-titled debut from L.A. Witch. ‘L.A. Witch’ is a reverb drenched blast of super cool druggy psych-pop complete with a sultry vox and a seedy burnt-out dreamers vibe that smacks somewhere between the Black Angels and a hazy but grittier Mazzy Star.

          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.

          Black Lips / The Coathangers

          Freedom Fries / Watch Your Back

            Finally a split 7” between Black Lips and The Coathangers. This should’ve happened years ago.

            Itʼs as if both bands were locked in alternate garage rock orbits, making elliptical runs around the globe, rotating around the same hometown centre of Atlanta, Georgia but only rarely crossing paths for a short tour or a random one-off show.

            Given both bandsʼ prolific output of 7” singles and split EPs it seems crazy that it’s taken nearly a decade of coexistence and mutual admiration for the Peach State’s two favourite troublemakers to team up on a slab of vinyl.

            The result is a fleeting, glorious cosmic event.

            Black Lips deliver ‘Freedom Fries’, an instant classic combining the countrified piss and vinegar of cowpunk with the immediate gratification of Southern power pop icons Big Star.

            The Coathangers once again remind us why they’re the favourite heirs to The Raincoatsʼ throne with their indignant anthem ‘Watch Your Back’.

            This one-two punch of a split 7” is pressed on half mustard / half wasabi split coloured vinyl with an accompanying digital 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.”

              Audacity

              Counting The Days

              If you’ve lived anywhere near Fullerton, California over the last decade, or if you’ve paid any attention to the recent flux of sun-baked, surfsoaked power pop proliferating along the Western coastline of the US in recent years, chances are you’ve taken notice of Orange County’s rambunctious guitar pop mavens Audacity.

              While last year’s ‘Butter Knife’ album came pretty damn close to capturing Audacity in all their wild and ecstatic splendour, they’ve finally captured the triumphant bedlam of their live show with their latest 7” ‘Counting The Days’ / ‘Mind Your Own Business’.

              The A side is Audacity in all their ragged glory - righteous guitar leads, buoyant choruses and unhinged energy.

              For the flipside, the OC boys pay tribute to British post-punkers Delta 5 with an explosive cover of their debut single from 1979.

              ‘Counting The Days’ / ‘Mind Your Own Business’ is available vinyl courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records.

              7” vinyl with a download coupon.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Ltd 7" includes MP3 Download Code.

              The Coathangers / These Arms Are Snakes

              Sex Beat / Energy Drink & The Long Walk Home

                Back in 2009, Suicide Squeeze Records labelmates These Arms Are Snakes and The Coathangers teamed up for a series of tour dates on the East Coast. It was a perfect pairing: The Coathangers’ jagged catabolic garage rock and These Arms Are Snakes bleary and blighted artcore made for an evening of celebratory chaos.

                These Arms Are Snakes’ seven-year run came to an abrupt end a few months later, leaving a final unfinished recording - a cover of Lost Sounds’ ‘Energy Drink & The Long Walk Home’ - gathering dust in the vaults. In the five years since the Snakes’ dissolution, The Coathangers have toured relentlessly on their three albums for Suicide Squeeze, releasing a slew of split 7”s with various road comrades along the way. Although These Arms Are Snakes remain broken up, the finishing touches on ‘Energy Drink…’ were finally wrapped up in 2014 and it seemed only appropriate to pair the song with a track from their old tourmates.

                The Coathangers are still hard at work touring on their highly lauded ‘Suck My Shirt’ album from earlier this year but they found the time to counterbalance the Snakes’ Lost Sounds cover with their take on The Gun Club’s ‘Sex Beat’.

                Suicide Squeeze are proud to release the split single clear on red and black splatter 7” vinyl with an accompanying download code.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd 7" includes MP3 Download Code.

                ‘Suck My Shirt’ is the fourth full length from The Coathangers. “It’s a balance between overthinking and just going for it,” guitarist Crook Kid (Julia Kugel) says of their songwriting strategy. It’s a duality immediately apparent with the album opener ‘Follow Me’. It’s a classic Coathangers tune with Stephanie Luke’s raspy vocals belted out over their signature ragged garage-rock. But the chorus opens into one of the most accessible hooks in the band’s canon, just before segueing into the next verse with a squall of violent dissonant guitar.

                From there the band launches into ‘Shut Up’, a title that harkens back to the brash sass of their first record. The song still has its spiky guitar riffs and shouted chorus, but here The Coathangers sound less like a jubilant version of Huggy Bear and more like the art pop of late era Minutemen.

                Dedicated Coathangers fans will recognize the reworked versions of ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘Smother’, ‘Adderall’, and ‘Derek’s Song’ from their run of limited edition split 7”s, and hearing them in the context of the album shows that these tracks weren’t merely isolated examples of the band’s more sophisticated side, but were actually demonstrative of the group’s increasing capacity for nestling solid melodic hooks and rock heft into their repertoire.

                By the time the band wraps up the album with the humble pop perfection of ‘Drive’, it’s hard to believe this was the band that garnered their reputation off of raucous bombasts like ‘Don’t Touch My Sh*t”.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Julianna Barwick

                Pacing

                  Limited to 750 copies!

                  Julianna Barwick returns with two new haunting compositions for a 7" single on Suicide Squeeze Records.

                  "Pacing" features Barwick's voice and layered harmonies, "but it's a bit of a diversion from the vocal loop-based songs I tend to make" says Barwick. "I absolutely love the piano. I wish I could play it better. For the cover, I chose my friend Peter Coffin's photograph of a piece he did based on the Newton color scale that corresponds perfectly to the musical scale. I absolutely love the image and it corresponds well with the piano pieces on the single." The b-side, "Call," is a frail and passionate solo piano piece.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Ltd 7" includes MP3 Download Code.

                  Iron & Wine

                  One More Try / Trouble

                    ONLY 3 COPIES OF THIS! FIRST COME FIRST SERVED!!

                    Iron & Wine covers George Michael and Lowell George's Little Feat on the limited edition Two Sides of George 7".

                    The single is part of Suicide Squeeze’s single series and is limited to 750 copies worldwide.

                    The 2012 series boasts an impressive array of talent that also includes the likes of King Tuff, Nobunny, Wax Idols, Cloud Nothings, and Julianna Barwick.

                    About Suicide Squeeze Singles Series: In 1996, Suicide Squeeze began releasing 7-inch records as lifesblood, singles, mostly from Pacific NW bands appeared, documenting some of the most influential music of that time: Modest Mouse, Elliott Smith, 764-Hero, and Pedro the Lion: each played an important role. The label broadened its reach over the years (as well as its series of singles), continually releasing music by a diverse, yet select group of musicians, including Memoryhouse, JEFF the Brotherhood, Dirty Beaches, Bleached, The Melvins, of Montreal, HEALTH, Black Mountain, School of Seven Bells, and many more.

                    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.

                    Charmingly lo-fi pop, full of vivid imagery and gorgeous vocal harmonies. The band’s most accessible album yet. It marks an exciting new chapter in the band’s young career. While previous record "Paranoid Cocoon" found the band lending itself to the occasional lengthy jam, "Tall Hours In The Glowstream" finds Cotton Jones reigning in the songs for a more succinct pop feel.

                    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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