Artist Rediscovery: Sir Sly

Check THIS to start listening while you read

             Anyone
remember the song “Gold”? You know, released in 2013 – popular over the summer
that next year? No, well, unfortunately not many people I’ve talked to seem to
remember it. Clicking this might jog your memory, if
you’ve heard it before at least. The song was off the album You Haunt Me by Sir Sly, and it was a magnificent album. Sir Sly focuses on an
ambient, electronic “chill” pop sound mixed with some interesting vocals. The
band is a three-piece formed in California just back in 2012, so relatively new
to the music scene. You Haunt Me is
their debut, with 12 tracks, was released in 2014. I’ve been patiently awaiting
the release of a second album; but, it’s been three years and all I’ve gotten
is one single, “Expectations”, in 2016 and nothing since. I figure maybe if
they get more support they’ll be more apt to release some new music, so here’s
an artist rediscovery of Sir Sly.

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             If you’ve
heard Sir Sly, it because you found them through their most popular song,
“Gold”, which admittedly is a pretty sick track. A lot of the tracks on You Haunt Me feel very much like “Gold”,
with a sort of accusatory lyrical composition and an ambient electronic feel.
It’s the sort of music you listen to on a cloudy day (so pretty much everyday
here..). Like any angsty new band, the songs focus mainly on the destructive
end of a relationship, and the hindsight that comes with it. From tracks that
focus on self-doubt like ”Leave You, to tracks that blame the other person,
like “Found You Out”, we journey through every part of a relationship as it
ends. This album has it all; from fast paced and anger filled, to melancholy
and down-tempo.

             Sir Sly
takes advantage of metaphor, and employs the technique liberally throughout all
their songs. It kicks ass when coupled with the atmospheric feel of the whole
album. Not only that, but the unique twinge of the vocals completes the
electronic undertones that accent most of the tracks. Beyond the base
metaphors, the lyrics feel destructive and precise, they hit right where they’re
meant to – this band certainly is country but they know how to pull your
heartstrings. I’ve found that they express a lot of things about love that you
won’t find very often in music; the subtle doubts. Sir Sly doesn’t necessarily
focus on huge, glaring, problems that are visible on the surface of a relationship.
Rather, their music emphasizes things like pride or disloyalty (or other
personality traits) that leak into a relationship and poison it. Here are some
of my favorite lyrics:

“A taker and a giver / Oh I made you shiver
/ Couldn’t I deliver?”                    (Found You Out)

“I believed in you and then you feel apart/ You broke my trust, broke
my heart” (Nowhere/Bloodlines, Pt. I)

“I’ll be the bigger man while you act like you’re innocent / No matter
where you go, your lies will follow you” (Found You Out)

“I don’t owe you a single thing, not a God damn thing” (Gold)

If you don’t listen to Sir Sly then you really should. If you’re
ever feeling angry, sad, or just sorta existing, Sir Sly is the band for you.
They are fairly difficult to characterize, but they are similar to The Neighbourhood,
a slowed down David Guetta, or maybe more of a Bad Suns type vibe. As far as
where to start listening, I recommend “Found You Out”, “Inferno”, and “You Haunt Me”.
Thanks for the read! See you next week.


<3 Zach Krieger

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Father John Misty Drops Single, and Film, and Announcement of New Album

Father John Misty,
a.k.a. Josh Tillman released not only a new single this month, but a 25-minute
film to accompany it. “Pure Comedy” is the first song off his upcoming album of
the same name, slated for release April 7 of this year. This is his first
release since I Love You, Honeybear
from February 2015. It appears that the same ironic, satirical lyrics that
appeared on Honeybear aren’t leaving
any time soon. “Pure Comedy” is reminiscent of “Bored in the USA” from Honeybear, which utilized a laugh track
to drive home the satire. If you haven’t picked up on the irony Tillman
masterfully employs, “Pure Comedy” gives another example of the satirical
Father John Misty. In the accompanying black and white film, also titled Pure Comedy, Tillman teases additional
songs off his upcoming album. The video is bizarre, eclectic, and extremely
surreal. For sneak peeks at new material and to see a joyous Tillman directing
a church choir, it’s worth the lengthy 25-minute timestamp. The new single
features Tillman’s crooning vocals and melancholy piano, so while titled “Pure
Comedy”, it’s made clear that Tillman isn’t laughing. You can listen to the new
single here.

-Jessica Gloe

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Slowdive new single: “Star Roving”

Legendary 90s shoegaze band Slowdive has returned with their first new music since 1995’s Pygmalion. Although the group reformed in 2014 for some live performances, they have not released any new tracks until now. 

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I’ll admit, whenever an older band releases new music after long periods of inactivity, I’m usually not expecting much, but Slowdive has such a strong track record of excellent music that I was cautiously optimistic when I heard they had been in the studio. 

“Star Roving” does not disappoint. While their last album had a more minimalist, ambient vibe to it, their newest track recalls the sound of their earlier releases with layers of fuzzy-sounding guitar and distorted vocals. The music in some places sounds reminiscent of the band’s old contemporaries Ride or Chapterhouse, although I was reminded on first listen of the more upbeat Yo La Tengo tracks. I had worried that any new music they put out would sound uninspired or derivative, as can sometimes happen with band reunions, but “Star Roving” shows the band hasn’t lost their songwriting abilities. Hopefully the quality of this track is reflective of any future music Slowdive may put out. 

Find Slowdive here: 

Twitter / Website

-Noah Prince

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New Music Update: Pop Punkers Aim to Strike Gold

New music output is a fickle thing.  There’s new music being released all over the world all the time, even now; however, sometimes there seems to a be a huge burst or lull in output.  One of the most reliable of these boom/bust cycles is the early fall rise, and the subsequent December-January comedown.  Artists release music in the early fall, anticipating an end-of-year list bump in sales or a possible Grammy nod, and then the music world generally calms down for a while, recharging itself.  

The first month of 2016 saw a decent crop, however: Rihanna’s ANTI, Anderson .Paak’s Malibu, and of course Blackstar all came out in the year’s first month.  This year is yet very young, and yet we’ve already had some very high-profile releases in the indie world.  The returns of The xx, The Flaming Lips, Run the Jewels, and even Dropkick Murphys have set 2017 off with a plethora of new tunes to try and wrap our brains around.  And in the upcoming weeks, we’ll see a flood of new albums to sink our teeth into, seemingly from every genre under the sun.  It’s a good time to be a music fan.

Some of the biggest names in music appear poised to release new projects this year, many of them under the ever-widening umbrella of the “indie” scene: Arcade Fire, Spoon, and The Shins have announced albums, and released accompanying singles as well.  Tool have been hinting at something for a while (a long, long while) while.  The Orwells have a new single.  King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is putting out another goddamn album.  Gorillaz are coming back!  And in the near future, some very exciting releases should be expected.  Here’s a few of my most anticipated:

Cherry Glazerr, Apocalipstick: Los Angeles-based weirdo rockers Cherry Glazerr haven’t released a full album in just over three years, and they seem hellbent on following up their debut record, 2014′s Haxel Princess, with something huge.  Collaborating with some big-name producers (Joe Chiccarelli of The Strokes’ Angles and Carlos de la Garza of M83’s Junk), the band is looking to expand their sound and audience on Apocalipstick.  Preceding singles include the riffy, groovy “Told You I’d Be With the Guys”, which promises a rock record that could be among the year’s best.  Apocalipstick is out January 20 on Secretly Canadian.

Cloud Nothings, Life Without Sound: Cloud Nothings have a lot to live up to with this project.  The band rode the swell of support for 2012’s Attack on Memory and 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else through the departure of lead guitarist Joe Boyer, a collaborative album with Wavves, and a grueling tour schedule.  But now they have to follow up two of the best lo-fi punk records of the decade, and we hope they can follow through on the promise of their two preceding records.  Though lead single “Modern Act” disappointed me a little bit, follow-up “Internal World” brought much more to the table.  This album, according to frontman Dylan Baldi, is supposed to be a bit more vocally interesting and less dark than Here and Nowhere Else, and I’m optimistic about where this focus will take the band.  Life Without Sound is out on January 27 on Carpark Records.

Japandroids, Near to the Wild Heart of Life: Japandroids have been putting out some of the most life-affirming, shout-along music in recent memory, which really makes you wonder: can there really only be two of them?  The guitar-and-drums duo get such huge sound out of their instruments that it seems hard to believe.  Their most recent release was 2013’s Celebration Rock, a critically acclaimed release that included standout track “The House that Heaven Built”, and since then the black-clad rockers have undoubtedly been looking for a way to adequately follow up a triumph like that.  Near to the Wild Heart of Life has to be damn good.  The album’s first single is the title track, which comes out of nowhere, hitting you with a thick wall of drums and pure energy.  It bodes well for a band whose MO has always been: “Hit ‘em fast, hit ‘em hard.”  Near to the Wild Heart of Life is out on January 27 on ANTI-.

The Menzingers, After the Party: The Menzingers are a band that remind me of the do-or-die emotion of high school, and that’s not just because I got a little too into them in my sophomore year.  The Philadelphia-based quartet can be counted on for some killer hooks and some incredibly interesting lyrics to boot.  2012’s On the Impossible Past is, in my very humble opinion, completely flawless; it’s a masterwork the whole way through, an emotional call to a time that we’ve either forgotten or never had in the first place.  2014’s Rented World was a bit more flawed, but it had some notable standouts: opener “I Don’t Want to be an Asshole Anymore”, for all its long-windedness, is one of the best things they’ve ever done, and follow-up “Bad Things” is hardly a slouch.  Their latest record is preceded by singles that range from decent (“Bad Catholics”) to exceptional (“Lookers”), and I look forward to hearing singers Greg Barnett and Tom May bleeding their hearts out all over the damn thing.  After the Party is out February 3 on Epitaph.

Dirty Projectors, Dirty Projectors: Ah, Dirty Projectors.  The perfect bridge between Arcade Fire’s accessible anthems to Animal Collective’s unrelenting madness, this band has always occupied a weird place in the indie world: they’re not the weirdos AnCo are, but they’re not exactly a band to show your friend whose closest brush with the indie scene was when he accidentally walked by Sufjan Stevens’ set at Coachella this year.  They’ve always been really good, but never have they fully scraped their way into mainstream consciousness.  The closest they’ve come was 2012’s Swing Lo Magellan, an album that shivers and shakes but never falls down, and their new self-titled release hopes to deliver further on the promise of that record.  If this record has anything near half as good as “About to Die” on it, you can catch me listening to it day and night.  Dirty Projectors is out February 24 on Domino Records.

-John Morse

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Artist Profile: American Wrestlers

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American Wrestlers is a relatively new band, having formed in Missouri in 2014. The band began as the solo act of Gary McClure, originally from Scotland, and a member of the British indie band Working For a Nuclear Free City. He initially released the band’s first album, self-titled American Wrestlers, for free on Bandcamp. After the band began gaining popularity on the internet, American Wrestlers was re-released by Fat Possum Records in 2015. Following this, McClure assembled a full band, with Bridgette Imperial on keyboard, Josh Van Hoorebeke on drums, and Ian Reitz on bass. They have a new album out, Goodbye Terrible Youth, just recently released on November 4th. 

American Wrestlers’ music employs a classic indie rock sound that should be familiar to any fans of the genre. While their debut had a more lo-fi sound, as is typical of home recordings, with fuzzy, distorted guitar, their new album has a cleaner, bigger sound, with jangly guitars and catchy riffs. The band’s newer songs are faster and louder than those on American Wrestlers, as the band’s sound evolves, yet they retain the same quality songwriting that drew attention to them in the beginning. As their first album as a full band, Goodbye Terrible Youth shows a lot of promise, and hopefully marks the beginning of a strong career.  

Recommended for fans of: Working For a Nuclear Free City, Yuck

Key tracks: “There’s No One Crying Over Me Either,” “Real People,” ”Give Up,” “I Can Do No Wrong”

Soundcloud / Bandcamp / Twitter

-Noah Prince

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