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Friday, August 31, 2018

Ruby Haunt: Sanctuary

Duo Ruby Haunt, comprised of childhood friends Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour, have released Sanctuary, their second single this summer.  Immediately engaging, gentle, and reassuring, Ruby Haunt show forth the way home after what has obviously been a long journey.  A futuristic synth sound with a familiar chord progression, simplistic riffs, and a lightly dancing piano part couple with the vocals, soft and nearly buried, to give an experience almost like that of chancing to look upon the face of a dear old friend that one had given up on ever seeing again.  Listening to this single seems to be all about experiencing a journey homeward.  Stream and buy Sanctuary at the link below.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

STIMULI: They Are We

Out of Oakland, California and self-produced by lead singer Jimmy Tomahawk, STIMULI has released their debut album, They Are We.  Many of the tracks bear similar composition and introspection to rock bands of the 90s such as Tool and Black Sabbath.  The trio is a good, solid fit as far as musicianship goes, and they sound commercially presentable and ready for radio.  Tasteful incorporation of sitar, Native American flute, and guitar fingerpicking give some nice dimension when the songs start to feel predictable and cliche.  The album as a whole seems to lack enough juxtaposition and momentum to elicit playing on repeat, but there certainly are compelling moments. Stream and buy They Are We at the link below.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Thirsty Curses: All Shook Up

All Shook Up is the sophomore album from North Carolina's Thirsty Curses. The thirteen tracks span from commercial indie rock, to commercial altrock. While the band says there are some punk and progrock  influences, we don't hear it. More than anything this band reminds us of Kings of Leon. The album is well produced and has moments where it shines, but for the most part is another of the many solid altrock albums that are released every year and fits well there. A good record. Watch the video for album track Dimlit Cathedral, then stream and buy All Shook Up at the link below.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Jordan Siwek: Sun Inside You

Sun Inside You is the debut album from NYC singersongwriter Jordan Siwek. When it comes to songwriting, piano players write differently than guitar players. This is true both in terms of key, as well as stylistically. Think about the likes of Ben Folds, Billy Joel and Fiona Apple as compared to Ben Harper, John Mayer and Damien Rice. No where is this better showcased than with the eleven tracks on this album. The songs offer varied arrangements and phrasing that range across light rock and R&B, with elements of jazz and Jamaican thrown in for good measure. The sheer stylistic depth is a testament to an artist with talent and taste in ample supply. Listening to this album recalls all the classic piano based crooners and our readers will find a record that is totally compelling. This is a definite must have. Stream and buy Sun Inside You at the link below.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Junk Parlor: Dance With Me Bela Lugosi

Bay Area indie punk rock band Junk Parlor tells a fabled family legend in Dance With Me Bela Lugosi.  They bring old timey instrumentation and melody together with light-hearted, homespun, storytelling lyricism, and the result is an entertaining, upbeat reimagining of a story that one of the band members grew up hearing from his Hungarian grandmother. This is a light, amusing listen that essentially gives the listener the feeling of having been in the parlor with grandmother to hear the story firsthand.  Stream and buy Dance With Me Bela Lugosi at the link below.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Llarks: Like A Daydream

The latest from Birmingham-based artist and FZB favorite Llarks, Like A Daydream, seems to have the magical power to relax and enchant its listener. Tagged as beautiful noise and modern classical, this album soothes and beckons to the dreamer deep within - come out, come out, wherever you are.  The constant presence of ambient guitar carries the album's autonomy to fullness, while the surrounding instrumentation blurs the lines of reality and distinction. Llarks gifts the listener with both the safety and the space necessary to daydream free, unencumbered by the world.  This album is a must have.  Stream and buy Like A Daydream at the link below.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Klammer: You Have Been Processed

You Have Been Processed is the sophomore full length album from Klammer, a four-man rock band out of Leeds. From the first few bars on, we find an uncanny resemblance to Joy Division - especially vocally. The palette this band works with is dark, heavy, driving, and foreboding, though it gets to feeling a bit repetitive and predictable at times. The music is compelling but the presentation is a little lackluster; individual songs, sounds, and ideas are great, but the overall execution of the album as an entity lacks the edge and in-your-face-ness that this genre begs. Klammer offers a genuinely engaging soundscape - hopefully their production team can keep up next time. Stream and buy You Have Been Processed at the link below.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Boobs Of Doom: Thor's Womb

Avant-garde doom auteurs Boobs Of Doom are back with a new EP, Thor's Womb. This release see's a higher purpose, as it has proceeds dedicated to Carrie's Fund. The fund has been established to help defray medical expenses of a woman in need of surgery not available in her native UK to treat a rare spinal condition. The three tracks are dark, sparse ambient offerings, that help deliver the depth of the emotional message being conveyed by the fundraising campaign. Ambient, highly textured and deeply melodic, this EP stands on its own, but paired with its raison d'etre the work becomes absolutely compelling, Stream and buy Thor's Womb at the link below.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sum: It's Alright To Be Me

It's Alright To Be Me is the debut single from NYC group Sum. The track is a stylish amalgamation of jazz, soul, pop and funk. The record has a quirky panache, a touch of swagger and an overall catchy patina of a smooth club disc. The musicianship is strong, the stunning vocals display a unique sense of phrasing and a playfulness of delivery. This is a very strong track that we feel may unfortunately suffer commercially from the very cross pollination of styles that gives it much of its strength. This a track that delivers art in every context that word can conjure and deserves to find a wider audience. We look forward to hearing an album from this group, as a long format release will serve them much better than a single. Stream and buy It's Alright To Be Me at the link below.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Tulipomania: Off The Map b/w On The Outside

Off The Map is the new single from Philadelphia based Tulipomania, The track is a dense postpunk dirge, with guitars having a bit of a Chris Isaak feel, that could live on a sinister soundtrack. This is paired with a heavy overall feel and a slight lofi sheen. The sultry vocals enhance the malevolent feeling in the tracks creating a dark compelling vibe. The lead track is paired with two versions of a remix of the group's track On The Outside, done by UK artist Spinello. The remix has all the requisite glitchiness that one would expect. Stream and buy Off The Map b/w On The Outside at the link below.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Braggers: Shine On b/w Indian Summer

Kansas City based garage punk masters Braggers have released a new single Shine On b/w Indian summer in advance of their sophomore studio album, expected in October. Led by seminal pop-punk artist Esteban Leon, the album sees a continuation of what Braggers does so well, stylish, hooky punk music with dense guitars and Leon's own unique vocal styling. This is a release that drips with authenticity, as Leon croons and growls through two heavy tracks that immediately engage the listener. Coming on the heals of the Bragger's live album released last February, this single is the perfect way to wet one's appetite for their coming studio album. Stream and buy Shine On b/w Indian Summer at the link below.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Postcode: Acoustic Zebraland

Acoustic Zebraland is the new EP from FZB favorites Postcode, and is their first new material release since 2015. Led by prolific artist producer Mikie Daugherty, with guitarist Kieran Ball and featuring vocals by Marie Reynolds. The four tracks are accomplished acoustic takes on songs with depth and beauty. Engaging melodies showcase Reynolds wonderful vocals and harmonies, which draw the listener into the songs with a compelling existentialism. The guitars weave stylish passages that break in occasional counterpoint, all of which serves to showcase an EP of superlative beauty. Watch a live video for EP track Buried, then stream and buy Acoustic Zebraland at the link below.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

m1nk: The Far Side

The Far Side is the new single from m1nk, the UK - Greece collaboration of Barry Snaith and Erika Bach. Released on Netherlands indie label Seja Records, this track is an experimental excursion across styles. Dark, foreboding, sensual and unexpected, the song unfolds as a passion play of goth intimacy. This track is unique in its musical apparition, with a totally original sound that pays homage to many genres, while sounding like none directly. This is a single for the musically adventurous; those bored by cliche pop and formula radio fare. Watch the video for the track, then stream and buy The Far Side at the link below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Falcon Jane: Feelin' Freaky

Feelin' Freaky is the third full length from Ontario Band Falcon Jane. The ten tracks are spritely indie rock, with some nice dream pop elements and occasional lo-fi patches. The band is fronted by singer/songwriter Sara May, who has a classic indie voice, demure yet powerful, silky yet raw, and totally compelling. The band has carved out a unique original sound, which separates them the from bunch and entices the listener with its diverse set of influences. This is a strong album through and through and is a must have. Stream and buy Feelin' Freaky at the link below.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Caelo: How Does It Feel b/w Wait For You

South African band Caelo have released How Does It Feel b/w Wait For You, two "B" sides that didn't make the band's 2017 debut release Visions. The band released this two track virtual 7" in May of this year and have followed it up by again releasing How Does It Feel this month as a new release. Both tracks are solid indie rockers and give a glimpse into a band that is developing and we hope will be putting out some new music soon. You can only keep rehashing for a short time and that time has now gone. Stream and buy How Does It Feel b/w Wait For You at the link below.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Curling: Definitely Band

Definitely Band is the sophomore album from Berkeley, CA based band Curling. The ten tracks showcase a great indie rock band that is sonically mature beyond their two albums. With every track having a distinct personality, the culmination is an album that is greater than the sum of its parts. Outstanding musicianship abounds, the arrangements are smart and unexpected, with a definite nod toward jazz stylings that never overshadow the truly fine rock being served up. The album is original, uniquely adventurous, heavy and amazingly diverse. This is an absolute must have. Watch the video for album track Radio King then stream and buy Definitely Band at the link below.

Hideous Sun Demon: Fame Erotic Dream

Fame Erotic Dream is the third studio album from Perth, Australia based psych-punk band, Hideous Sun Demon. The twelve tracks immediately lash out at the listener with enough raw energy to seer the flesh off your bones. The album recalls punk royalty like Wreckless Eric, Undertones and dare we say it, The Clash. It is no surprise to regular readers of this blog, that we love punk. It takes a lot to impress us and impress us is exactly what this album does. Hard edged. titanic, but retaining that live unpolished sheen that is only attained by the very best in this genre. This is an absolute must have. Watch the video for album opener Antithesis, then stream and buy Fame Eroctic Dream at the link below.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Delta Will: Multitudes I

Delta Will, a four-piece band from Toronto, gives us Multitudes I, the first of a three-piece installment.  With highly evident psych-pop and soul influences, this album tugs at the existentialism that is being human.  Multitudes I is full of calculated contrast, vacillating between serene contemplations and explosions of sound; it's organic, yet groovy and synthy; polished, though unpredictable; beautiful, believable, and strangely relatable.  The sweetly harmonized guitar lines are a rare delicacy, and the melodic use of human voice effortlessly delivers thought-provoking, reflective lyricism.  This is an absolute must have.  Stream and buy Multitudes I at the link below.

Subways On The Sun: The Honeymoon Stagecoach

Seattle-based Subways On The Sun recently signed to Spartan Records, who then re-released the band's debut album The Honeymoon Stagecoach.  Energetic and youthful, this album is thrilling to listen to and certainly radio-ready in terms of precision and production.  Smooth-sounding, soothing vocals inspire the listener to adventure into the lands of imagination concocted by the instrumental lyricism.  However musically exacting the song, Subways On The Sun sound so good together, and each individual musical voice makes its contribution with clarity and ease.  We eagerly await Subways On The Sun's sophomore album due out on September 21st, but this first album is a definite must have in the meantime.  Stream and buy The Honeymoon Stagecoach at the link below.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Tal Michles: Giving Up The Sea

Giving Up The Sea is the debut EP from Tal Michles, on Israeli label Schwarz Neon Licht. The six tracks move effortlessly through an electro-acoustic landscape, with an original sound and perspective. Sometimes dark, sometimes huge, this EP has a diverse sonic vibe that delivers plenty of swagger and totally engages the listener. Theis EP is stylish, a bit quirky and inventive, with a sound that will keep you coming back for more. Stream and buy Giving Up The Sea at the link below.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Norphlet: Norphlet

Norphlet is the S/T debut EP from the Texas/California duo collaboration. The five tracks span a nice amalgam of indie rock, pop punk and post punk. The songs are dynamic and energetic, with a nice raw edge and a touch of lofi vibe. The album is huge sounding, and one forgets this is just two dudes, when confronted with the towering harmonized guitar lines, heavy passages and strong songwriting. This is a very noteworthy debut and is a must have. Stream and buy Norphlet at the link below.

The Human Circuit: Electric City

Electric City is the new album fro Austin based nine piece band, The Human Circuit. The twelve tracks showcase a band that transcends mere indie genres, blending elements of David Bowie, with Arcade Fire and smooth horns ala Chicago. The vocals are strong, the arrangements are smartly done, the songs are well written and the musicianship is superlative. Unfortunately all this goodness is marred by poor production. The tracks are muddy, the whole thing lacks raw energy and mastering is non-existent. This is a great band and we hope future releases are able to adequately reflect that. Stream and buy Electric City at the link below.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Dentist: Night Swimming

Night Swimming is the new album from New Jersey indie rockers on Cleopatra Records. The eleven tracks see the trio at their best with strong songs, classy arrangements, and sterling performances. This is a band that was recognized by Mercury news as one of the 10 best bands at this year's SXSW. Dentist rises to that heady hype by delivering an album that impresses at every level and will stay on repeat after all the pretenders have long faded. This is a band to watch, as we would expect them to show up on indie radio soon. This album is a definite must have. Watch the video for album track, The Latter, then stream and buy Night Swimming at the link below.

Amuse: Shortcuts

Shortcuts is the third album from Indianapolis pop punk band Amuse. The twelve tracks are commercial, formula pop punk, like you would get from any number of bands...Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio and the list could go on for quite a while. The album is fast, energetic, catchy and well played. It's also completely derivative, with the band regurgitating all that has been done before without adding anything unique or original. A well written and well produced album from a band that would be better served finding there own voice, rather than settling for clone status.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Feature Friday: Submarine Broadcasting Company

Welcome to another installment of Feature Friday, with today's guest Submarine Broadcasting Company.

How did the Submarine Broadcasting Company start?
The Submarine Broadcasting Company was effectively created by accident. Or at least, we never intended to be a netlabel. Inspired by the (currently defunct) netlabel Digital Dizzy, founder and submariner-in-chief Rob thought he'd release a charity benefit album, but with a twist; all tracks would need to feature a home-made instrument or household object. The aim was that this might draw the artists out of their comfort zones a little. The album was released as One String Inspiration and sold surprisingly well. Alongside this, Rob had been trying to find a netlabel to peddle his musical project, Beltism, and had experienced a series of rejections. The solution was obvious: leverage the momentum of One String Inspiration to create a netlabel to promote his own music. Thus the Submarine Broadcasting Company was born.

A lot has changed in the two years that followed (not least that Rob doesn't get the time to make his own music anymore!) but the music is still generally left-field and there's a very strong emphasis on charitable releases.

What sort of music do you specialise in?
For the most part, it tends to be experimental, various flavours of ambient, art-house, progressive and krautrock; possibly reflecting Rob's musical preferences. But it's not like we have gone out of our way to champion the most un-commercial music we can find; rather it's that we don't really have the bandwidth or tools to promote ambitious chart-oriented bands seeking huge audiences, so we concentrate on working with more niche artists with small but loyal followings. That said, acts like Crayon Angels or Sibilla produce very conventionally crafted and perfectly radio-friendly music, so it's certainly not all harsh noise and drones.

How do you find your artists? What's the process of working with the Submarine Broadcasting Company?
The majority of our roster have come through social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter. Some we have courted, others have approached us. We work closely with other netlabels - most notably Digital Dizzy, Studio 4632 and Bearsuit Records, plus a few others - and you'll see a healthy cross-pollination between their artists and ours. We often find we are able to offer a release to an artist to meet timescales or some other criteria that perhaps doesn't suit their regular label at that time. One of our key tenets is that the pie is big enough for all the independent netlabels, but we have to work together. This is reflected in other parts of our operations too - we work without contracts; the artists are free to walk away at any time and they maintain complete ownership of their music. We think this is just being fair.

The majority of our releases are presented to us in a finished or near-finished state. We do sometimes master the releases, and maybe perform a few other mix or production tweaks, but we don't tend to get involved with the artistic decisions around the content. Essentially we like to work cooperatively and offer as much or as little as the artist needs; sometimes it's just distribution, other times it might be mix, master and full CD cover art.

The cooperative ethos extends into other aspects of A&R too. We have never said "that material is not good enough for us" to any of our artists - our ethos is that if the artist believes in it - if they are happy to put their name to it - that's good enough for us. This might be different if profit was our ultimate aim, but we are far more motivated by publishing something interesting. We want to provide an outlet, a shop window, for the unusual and the interesting, and we feel the artists are the best judges of their own work.

Who should we listen to get a flavour of the Submarine Broadcasting Company?
If you're feeling adventurous, try t.r. hand 'Folke Meditations'which shows a healthy disrespect for any recognised conventions or genres, fusing experimental music, found-sound collage, ambient, dub and other styles into a unique piece of conceptual art.

If experimental is your thing, check out experimental supergroup GOATS. This challenging and complex album proved to be our surprise hit of 2018. One reviewer said "GOATS shows you a disturbing path in which you constantly turn to see if you are not followed." The band were pretty happy with that.

Beltism's work tends to be on the ambient/experimental spectrum, but Rob used his influence to get Beltism's neo-krautrock EPs released on Submarine Broadcasting.

Crayon Angels are a completely different proposition. Semi-acoustic singer-songwriters with soulful female vocals and music touching on pop, jazz and folk, Crayon Angels are fiercely melodic with incisive witty lyrics.

One of the stalwarts of the UK ambient scene, Cousin Silas needs no introduction here. But we were delighted when he offered us his brilliant long-form ambient/drone album 'Radio Galaxies'. This is music to float in and submerge into. 

What's next for the Submarine Broadcasting Company?
A rest! After the 'Exhibition' compilation (a benefit for the Shaw Mind Foundation mental health charity), which weighed in at seven CD volumes, or eight hours of music, we'd like a break please. Realistically we've got releases committed until August, but then maybe we'll all concentrate on our own projects for a couple of months. After that, who knows? We haven't done any cassette releases, so that would be fun, and our 'Klang' neo-krautrock extravaganza never made it to vinyl, so that's another itch we'd like to scratch. We'd really like to do something a bit more interactive, like a web-radio show or maybe a Mixlr broadcast, but it would need to be something different from the other shows out there, so it will take us a while to work on our secret sauce. And hey, if we've learnt anything from the last three years, it's that the things you don't plan can be as every bit as fulfilling as the things you do!    

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Joshua T. Merello: Equilibrium

Equilibrium is the self-released debut EP from Kansas City based instrumentalist Joshua T. Merello. The six tracks comprise two pieces, Anxiety and Tranquility, each of which is delivered in three movements of expressive classical guitar. Encompassing elements of folk, classical and latin music, the EP is full of wonderful melodies, engrossing counterpoint, simple beauty and flawless execution. The final product is a transcendent work of art in its purest form, just a man and a classical guitar. Stream and buy Equilibrium at the link below.

Bitter Fictions: Disagreements

Disagreements is the new album from Canadian band Bitter Fictions on Calgary indie label Shaking Box Music. The seven tracks are dissonant and discordant guitar explorations, that unfortunately fail on many levels. Mostly lacking the melodic or atmospheric qualities of the well made ambient music or the more formal song structure of noise rock, the EP offers little to engage with the listener. While there are definite artistic elements to the pieces, there is also little demonstration of musicianship. The album seems to be harsh for it's own sake and is more of a room clearer than something to be enjoyed aurally. Stream and buy Disagreements at the link below.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sage: Sage

Sage, an Ontario-based band signed to Restroom Records, has released their S/T debut full-length LP.  These guys are a 90s-leaning lo-fi fuzz-pop band, somewhat similar in style to Swervedriver.  Gritty vocals and dirty harmonies backed by progressive instrumentalists characterize their sound, and they really do have a sound they can call their own:  quite a bit like 90s rock, some grunge to it, definitely lo-fi, fuzz pop.  These guys are no cookie-cutter band, and it wouldn't be easy to stuff them into any one particular category. Sage proclaim to love "noisy pop songs," and that's what they're good at!  Watch the official music video for EP track Fuss, and then stream and buy Sage at the link below.

The Tale: First Four Songs

San Diego-based indie band The Tale has recently released their debut EP, First Four Songs.  Progressive, punk, and ska influence this band as they tell tales and hard realizations, accompanied by good, gritty music.  This band knows how to jam, and this studio album is balanced well and serves them well.  The original tunes describe love, loss, and a few of life's many mysteries, but none of that is anything that a spirited guitar solo can't fix!  Watch the video for EP track Invisible, then stream and buy First Four Songs at the link below.