sweeping promises - hunger for a way out

Sweeping Promises: Hunger For A Way Out (2020)

It started, like it usually does, by listening to Rollins’s radio show. It ended, like it usually does, by checking out both a new band – Sweeping Promises – and a new label – Feel It Records – digging deep into the wealth of cool new music. Hunger For A Way Out is the two-piece band’s debut, and it checks off all my happy boxes for this kind of niche rock and roll: mono, 45 rpm, garage-y feel that evokes Joy Division and other post-punk but with a keen sense of pop that’s not overly saccharine.

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letting up despite great faults - iv

Letting Up Despite Great Faults: IV (2022)

Sometimes you hear a song and you just know. That time was a little over two weeks ago, and I was – as per usual – listening to Henry Rollins spin music on KCRW (episode 676 to be exact). The first notes immediately brought college in the early 90s, discovering this whole world of jangly chords and reverb that would soon replace (for a time) all the hair metal and screaming I grew up with. The song was “She Spins” from IV, the latest album from shoegaze/indie pop band Letting Up Despite Great Faults. Their first proper album in eight years, it reaches back to a time where I was constantly thrown off balance by all the new sensory input a kid experiencing the new worldview college away from home offers, and it does it with a forward thrust that completely leans into the style without feeling like a dated retread.

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Dwyer, Sawyer, Coates, Zoby, & Renteria: Gong Splat (2021)

Back from vacation and happy to see some more vinyl coming in from Castle Face Records. This time it’s the latest from John Dwyer and his constantly rotating assortment of musician friends creating more fuzzed out space jams that emphasize rhythms and soundscapes that harken back to krautrock while simultaneously pointing to distant, futuristic horizons. Call it Gong Splat, call it whatever you like, but know that like all of Dwyer’s collaborative projects there’s an undeniable pulse that will take you to points unknown in the universe.

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Grave Flowers Bongo Band: Strength of Spring (2021)

At some point Castle Face Records stopped being the home of Osees (or Oh Sees, or Thee Oh Sees, or OCS, etc.) and became one of the most dependable labels for delivering rock and roll aimed squarely at my brain. Few labels are consistently knocking out great rock that slides effortlessly into psych and prog but somehow John Dwyer keeps finding them and signing them. Case in point: Grave Flowers Bongo Band, who not only embody everything I love about the label on their sophomore record Strength of Spring, but have the added bonus of being produced by another of my favorite artists, Ty Segall. For some that’s a recipe for garage rock disaster; for me it’s buzzed out sonic bliss.

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Consuming in 2021: New Music

Sorry I’ve been away for a while. Due to holidays and some burnout I’ve been helping to hold down the fort at my other job over at Nine Circles, where I took over our weekly playlist and started my annual series of posts wrapping up my favorite metal albums of the year. And while my primary focus for 2021 has been digging deeper into the nooks and crannies of the music that made me a rock and roll addict for over 40 years, I still managed to find my way to a number of new releases that fired the synapses and gave way to the euphoric bliss of being able to turn away the ever-growing anxiety and depression. So before we jump back into the waters of yesteryear (Christmas yielded a bevy of vinyl treasures I can’t wait to talk about) let’s spend a little bit of time talking about some new music that kept my head, heart, and soul afloat this year.

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boris - reincarnation rose

Boris: Reincarnation Rose (2021)

Boris is a band that evolves with you. I remember first discovering them when Pink was released back in 2005, and you could argue this was the start of their more “accessible phase” so maybe it was good timing, coming in at a point where the band was injecting their unique style into molds with recognizable shapes. I kept listening as they moved forward, but their previous, more drone and noise inspired works always felt distant and unconnected for me. As I grew older and experienced more music, their sonic signature continued to align closer to mine, until the point arrived where I find myself more often than not turning to the band’s entire catalog based on my mood and my emotion/mental needs. So enter Reincarnation Rose, which on the surface is a single being used to push Wata’s collaboration with Earthquaker Devices on a new fuzz pedal modeled after her tone, but on a deeper, more personal level for me marries what I originally loved in the band, and what I grew to love the more I listened, and the more I opened up to music.

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