Wye Oak "No Horizon (Merge)"
From Merge Records:
No Horizon, the new EP from Wye Oak, is the latest offering and sound of a project plumbing the depths of an “evolve or die” ethos. For multi-instrumentalists Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, there is no fear of the unknown, no preciousness about rigidity, no hard definition of what Wye Oak is.
The resulting EP is beautiful and strange: distinctly and recognizably Wye Oak, while simultaneously unlike any other of the band’s studio work. Eerie and dreamy, a complicated, unpredictable amalgamation of thoughtful lyrics, steely glints of synths and effects, lithe guitar lines, and the depth of Wasner’s voice, it all unfurls with the ease of any Wye Oak song, built out by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ presence, their tangle of crystalline voices presenting like an orchestral arrangement.
Fat Night "Live For Each Other (Acrophase)"
We Versus The Shark "Goodbye Guitar (Ernest Jenning Record Co.)"
From Ernest Jenning Record Company:
When We Versus the Shark formed in 2003, the group’s members were barely in their 20s and living in three different states. The math rock foursome converged on the music hub of Athens, Georgia as a homebase and promptly set about storming the town’s gates. Starting with their debut album Ruin Everything!, the group kicked up a screwy racket of Dischord-ant guitars, noisy synths, and electro-shock rhythms. Foot soldiers in the DIY basement army, they dutifully toured their asses off, squirming and spasming over small stages at home and abroad. Seven years, an EP, a darkly aggressive follow-up (Dirty Versions) and a cover album later, the group called it a day in 2009 and scattered to the four winds once more.
With WVTS in the rear-view, the group followed their own paths. Guitarist/vocalist Samantha Paulsen explored the cosmos with surf-scientists Man… Or Astroman? while getting her nursing degree. Guitarist/vocalist Luke Fields went on to pursue thrills both onstage (in Nintendo-rock outfit Bit Brigade as well as positive guitar-worship group Double Ferrari) and off (as an avid rollercoaster enthusiast). Bassist/vocalist Jeff Tobias plays saxophone in New York psych-jazz quartet Sunwatchers and London-based indie-folk ensemble Modern Nature, among many other projects. Drummer Scott Smith relocated to Amsterdam to work as an economist, and releases material under the name President of the Drums.
In 2015, upon revisiting archival demos, Fields determined: there was plenty of gold left to be spun and plenty of notes (trust us, plenty) yet to be played. Putting the long-awaited final touches on some unfinished bangers and uncorking some new gems, the group quietly converged in the Classic City a handful of times over the next few years to make Goodbye Guitar. Recorded with the band’s longtime studio collaborator Mike Albanese (Maserati/Cinemechanica) and mastered by Joel Hatstat (Cinemechanica), the ten-song firecracker LP is at once an energetic return to form and a rediscovered wellspring of joy. With their youthful anxieties (mostly) left in the past, Goodbye Guitar is the sound of four people having the time of their lives playing together. It’s hyper-melodic and unapologetically maximalist, bursting with acrobatic slashes of guitar and unexpected humor. As the world spins fully out of control, the reunited We Versus the Shark hope to offer an opportunity for guitar-shredding elation. Say hello to Goodbye Guitar.
Rose City Band "Summerlong (Thrill Jockey)"
From Thrill Jockey:
Rose City Band started purely as a recording project, with Johnson’s role mostly obscured for the self-titled debut album. Released with no promotion, in the style of private press records, it was a liberating act, a focus on music without any expectations. Explaining it with a chuckle, Johnson elaborates, “I always would threaten to my friends that I’m gonna start a country rock band so I can retire and just play down at the pub every Thursday night during happy hour. I love being able to tour and travel, but I also like the idea of having a local band … more of a social music experience.” Freedom from expectation and obligation gave Johnson the space to experiment with new instrumentation and arrangements. The introduction of lap steel, mandolin, and jaw harp enhance Johnson’s lean guitar work with radiant overtones, placing Summerlong more overtly within the country tradition than its predecessor. Work on the album began at Johnson’s home studio in Portland during the summer, but, interrupted by touring, it would not be finished until the winter season. The dark isolation of winter and the pining for summer’s easier days can be felt in the album’s few quieter moments. Summerlong was mixed by John McEntire (Stereolab, Broken Social Scene, Tortoise) at his newly minted Portland Soma Studios and mastered by Amy Dragon at Telegraph Mastering, also based in Portland.