Jade Hairpins "Harmony Avenue (Merge)"
From Merge Records:
Jade Hairpins sneaked onto the scene in late 2018 with a mysterious 12-inch on Merge Records and a couple of poetic sentences about hiding in trees. The label remained tight-lipped while touting Dose Your Dreams, a truly epic new Fucked Up album released on the same day. Fast forward to 2020, when Fucked Up drummer Jonah Falco and songwriter/guitarist Mike Haliechuk burst out of the proverbial trees with Harmony Avenue, a collection of songs written and recorded in real time. Pop foraging with analog acoustics and electronic landscaping.
The album’s themes mostly focus on contradictory behavior and double entendres as well as regret and control, revelation, support, and complete absurdity. Jade Hairpins are here to challenge, confound, and sparkle their way into listeners’ hearts and keep them coming back for more!
Sweet Spirit "Trinidad (Merge)"
From Merge Records:
Trinidad marks the Merge debut of Sweet Spirit, the mighty sextet from Austin, TX. The songs are stripped down yet more intricate than ever before. It’s a pop record made by punk rockers—sonically happy and lyrically bitter. Lustful, sassy, and passionate.
Touting inspirations as varied as Prince, T. Rex, William Onyeabor, ABBA, Roy Orbison, Shintaro Sakamoto, Francoise Hardy, and Robyn, the band has created an album that pulsates with more LinnDrum and synth than guitar. Set up your dancefloors now and prepare to be swept off your feet by Sweet Spirit!
Apparat "Apparat Soundtracks: Stay Still"
Golden Retriever and Chuck Johnson "Rain Shadow (Thrill Jockey)"
From Thrill Jockey:
The four longform pieces that comprise Rain Shadow were devised entirely remotely. In contrast to the album’s harmonious sound, each member of the trio tracked their performance separately from one another – Johnson from his home studio in Oakland, CA, and Sielaff and Carlson each in their Portland, OR homes. Previous Golden Retriever albums used their live performances as a reference point for arranging ideas. Rain Shadow’s collaboration instead grew from members introducing a simple idea, as if posing a musical question which the others would respond to with recordings of their musical reactions. Johnson’s extended tape loops which gently degrade with each repetition into resonant tones served as the basis for the album’s two longer pieces. The modal woodwinds of “Lupine” took shape through Sielaff’s barest playing on the album. “Creosote Ring” sprung from Carlson’s Linnstrument controlled synthesizer mimicking vocal glissandi like an estranged cousin to Johnson’s pedal steel. After compiling the musical dialogue for each piece, Golden Retriever and Chuck Johnson selected two songs each to arrange and mix. Through the trio’s meticulously detailed methods, openness as players and shared vision, this seemingly disjointed process instead gave rise to invigorating new avenues of creativity.