Braids "Euphoric Recall"
From Secret City Records:
Over the past decade, Montréal’s Braids — musicians Taylor Smith, Raphaelle Standell-Preston, and Austin Tufts — have devoted themselves to exploring their art, together, making for one of the more daring and fluid catalogs in contemporary experimental pop. JUNO Award winners and twice-shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, Braids see their story as a series of actions and reactions, a collective expression that swings like a pendulum between process-driven precision and open-hearted freeness. For their fifth full-length, Euphoric Recall, the band embraced the latter, intuitively pursuing the playful joy and spontaneity they’d been craving in the absence of live performances — the “kinetic and exciting” (The New York Times) energy that’s become their superpower across over 500 shows played worldwide.
Standell-Preston found herself in the rush of new love, drawing generously from her tender heart space, which Smith and Tufts, renewed by recent collaborations and studio work, understood intrinsically. As songs emerged, the rhythms and textures became brighter and looser, unhurried and brimming with life, the result of greenlighting the ideas that simply felt good the second they hit the air. Often written on the spot in just a few takes, Standell-Preston’s lyrics are vivid, exhilarating, and evocative, a directness indicative of fully knowing oneself and engaging the moment. Organic and electronic elements weave in and out, shading a rich universe without crowding it. Self-produced and for the first time composing and arranging string parts, the band welcomed the guiding flourishes of an ensemble on cello, viola, and violins. The sound is lush and sprawling yet captured with in-the-room clarity; it grooves viscerally, freer, and wholly anew.
Braids abandoned strategy, burned it down, and realized their love record. Love, all of it; the unbound bliss, the budding impulses, and the messy imperfections, a supernova swirled up in a suite of bold, patient, symphonic pop songs surrendered to the present, Euphoric Recall.
Dommengang "Wished Eye"
Dommengang exudes the wild freedom and seeking spirit of the American West Coast. The rock trio delivers guitar innovation, serpentine grooves, and propulsive drumming with gleeful abandon. Guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson switches from explosive to expansive on a knife’s edge, laying down wailing hooks before evaporating into bristling fuzz. Bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem’s foundations play with time, galloping forward or stretching out into the cosmos. Wished Eye is an expression of the sheer joy of making music together. Fans of Danny Kirwan and Peter Green will find plenty to love in the guitar lines of Wilson, but Wished Eye is not a look back. The irresistible guitar is infused with deep psychedelia, powerfully expressive drumming, and some devastatingly dirty bass tones. Markham and Wilson’s dual vocal delivery and thoughtful lyrics only propel this force. Dommengang provides a rock punch while ushering the listener into deep space. It’s a glorious romp and a tribute to the power of holding nothing back.
Wished Eye is the studio album of a band that, live, ignites chaotic release and otherworldly meditation. To capture this energy and freedom in the studio, the trio tracked all the songs together to tape and let experimentation run wild. This journey of exploration was indeed linked to all members relocating to Portland, Oregon, finding a new home for their ideas to flourish. Markham explains: “We jammed several times a week for two years, at times with no real goal but to play music and make noise together. Lots of nights were followed by backyard hangs around the fire.” Sig elaborates: “We went into rehearsal with no expectations other than to let every idea breathe and let it go as long as needed.” Working without time constraints or limitations, they could dig deeper than ever into their shared experiences.
“Runaway” conjures the serenity of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty, melodies slowly blossoming from ambiance like an oncoming trip in the woods. “Society Blues” shatters the illusion right out of the gates with explosive solos and a rounded, syncopated cadence. Bass clarinet from Golden Retriever’s Jonathan Sielaff pushes the track to its euphoric apex. The smoldering wreckage is followed with the introspective “Last Card,” a ballad delivered with true vulnerability and sincerity. Instrumental “Little Beirut” invokes Portland’s revolutionary spirit, while “Blue and Peaceful” explores a need for stillness with anthemic riffing crumbling into a shimmering folk-rock spiral. Title track “Wished Eye” delves deep into the unconscious with a dream-state jam, the name revealing itself to the band via a looped lyric from a scratched Meditation Singers gospel LP.
Delivered with greater confidence and exuberance than ever before, Wished Eye captures the force of a Dommengang show and their explorative nature — from euphoria to transcendence. Where previous Dommengang albums evoked a restlessness and a yearning for the open road, Wished Eye takes you on that journey with a seasoned band that has found the key to traveling without ever leaving home, and what a trip it is.
Beat Bronco "Another Shape of Essential Sounds"
The Beat Bronco Organ Trio are back with 10 heavy-weight instrumental tracks of the finest quality. “Another Shape of Essential Sounds” sees the Madrid trio stick to their winning formula with a psychedelic twist: sublime Hammond organ grooves, nifty guitar work and dynamic drums combine to produce a rich, uplifting, and vintage sound. Straight to the point, no fillers, and no messing around with the longest cut just over 4 mins, these are irresistible, foot-tapping tunes which sound as good on the dance floor as at a dinner party.
WORRIERS "Warm Blanket"
And yet, on their newest album Warm Blanket, they’ve never sounded more free.
The band’s fourth full length record has the feel of an exciting debut and there’s a reason: it marks the first time that Denitzio accepted that the group they had been trying to treat as a band is actually a solo project. After a pace of touring and recording that would be breakneck for most, but de rigueur in the underground scene which forged them, Denitzio found themselves in the summer of 2022 with a chance to finally catch their breath. “I realized I could write whatever I wanted.”
The DIY ethic that Denitzio developed on a thousand punk tours, playing squats, house parties and rowdy warehouses is never far from their mode of operation. And so—with no proper training in audio recording—they recorded and mixed the entirety of Warm Blanket at home. Atom Willard (Against Me!, Social Distortion) contributed drums remotely, adding an orchestral element of weight and emphasis to the proceedings.
The result is a collection of songs that reflects Denitizio “unlearning the expectations of being in a band” and writing music “that’s more in line with my actual influences.” Written during a particularly fertile creative period—Denitzio had already completed an entirely separate new album to be released later—Warm Blanket marked a chance to write the kind of songs they had always appreciated but were unsure of how to place in the Worriers catalog.
The album reveals a songwriter tossing off former constrictions, giving themselves the space and time to properly reflect on all they’ve learned. There’s a somber yet tender unpacking of the past; songs littered with mix tapes, motorola phones, Brooklyn bars in their heyday, house shows, broken bikes and doomed love.
On “Prepared to Forget”, Denitzio delivers an aching paean to the time when they had friends who still thought they could get away with anything; even the most self-destructive things.
And lest you think their signature critical edge has dulled, “Never Kicks In”—which functions as a sonic tribute to the Magnetic Fields—offers a biting send-up of Denitzio’s non-committal musical peers who seem to perpetually coast by on doing the bare minimum for their art.
There’s also a new tenderness at work in their writing, perhaps best seen on “Pollen in the Air”, which sees them literally sprawling out all over the landscape declaring: “we could be anywhere,” marking the terms of their new perspective.
The album finds Denitzio as a vigilante seeking revenge, a lover ready to be hurt and a weary traveler, meditating on heartache and loss, all while wanting to continue the beautiful, exhausting struggle.
In short, they are anyone they want to be.
Few bands have the luxury of writing a first album a decade into their discography. But for Worriers, Warm Blanket is exactly that: a staggering debut from a songwriter who is just getting started.