Posted on September 13th, 2017
[as seen on The 405]
As Washer has teased their second LP, All Aboard, over the past few months, there has been a palpable excitement from those awaiting the release. Advanced singles like 'Your Guess Is As Bad As Mine' are as good as anything you've heard this year, and the duo of drummer Kieran McShane and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Mike Quigley have followed with a damn fine full-length, which is streaming here on The 405.
Recorded in Brooklyn and Vermont, and packed with 15 tracks, All Aboard is tightly constructed and compelling follow-up to the band's debut, Here Comes Washer. Washer's uncluttered style has been refined upon here, as all of the album's tracks are concise and compelling. It certainly doesn't hurt that they are also packed with melodies that you'll find yourself humming or singing for days to come.
Give All Aboard a listen below and then buy yourself a copy here from Exploding In Sound Records. And trust us, you'll want this one.
Posted on September 12th, 2017
[as seen on The Fader]
"Don’t just focus/ On empty space/ As if waiting for something to grow/ Would you just stare/ At your own empty chest?" wails Becca Ryskalczyk of Brooklyn band Bethlehem Steel, on their new single, "Alt Shells." Taken from their forthcoming record, Party Naked Forever, "Alt Shells" is a rich, cathartic, soaring guitar-heavy track about depression, and trying really hard to feel something. It's full of self-deprecating, existential questions like, "Why do we create/ Our own importance when actually we don’t mean anything at all?" The message is that nothing matters — but this song fucking rules.
"It is basically an internal conversation based on an overloaded mental state," Ryskalczyk wrote to The FADER via email. "When you hit that wall of anxiety or depression and you can't get yourself to move or even feel anything. Like if the love of your life left you right then and you would still feel nothing. The overload is from taking on all of the pain and stress and fear of everyone around you. Holding it for them and not being able to let it go. Then thinking, 'Who are you to hold this? Nothing matters.'" Listen below.
Party Naked Forever is out November 10 on Exploding In Sound.
Posted on September 6th, 2017
[as seen on NPR]
Every Boston band starts in a basement, but not every Boston band hopes to leave one. Bad History Month, a glum anti-folk act that formed there back in 2007, has never been concerned with fame. For starters, the band's music uses a combination of ribald jokes, effervescent self-deprecation and blunt existentialism focused on understanding oneself from the inside out in service of isolation — assuming the position of the middle school loner in the back of a classroom.
There's a deeply personal openness to this music, so much so that the main songwriter, Sean Bean, often changes his name to dodge attention. That commitment to high-grade introspection and the active avoidance of praise and criticism has helped generate the band's cult following. When media coverage picked up in 2013, the group released a split the following year... and then went into hiding.
So its return to music comes as a surprise. The lead single off the upcoming Dead And Loving It: An Introductory Exploration Of Pessimysticism breaks from the anxiety-laced jams of their past. The album is a musical self-help book about grappling with the meaning of life and various extensions of death-trip empathy — and "Being Nothing" details the moment when Bean realized there's no point.
The song opens with individually-plucked strings, the gentle work of someone treading lightly, as Bean tries, and fails, to go easy on himself. "I think, and so I am / But all my thoughts just say / 'You are nothing.'" His thoughts turn into a fistfight with himself, as he's eventually joined by Adric Giles on drums and Jesse Heasly on bass. The instruments swirl; a queasy pitch-knob organ gives the feel of retching, right as the epiphany comes into focus. "Then a light came on," Sean Bean sings. "I noticed that the words were true / just not the way I thought." Like the music warping behind him, the realization hits full force: Nothingness doesn't have to be the lack of something; it can be infinite space, enough room for anything to exist.
"Being Nothing" extends Bad History Month's sophomoric lean into newly merciful territory, giving the band's deadpan depression an expiration date, to make room for optimism, even if that optimism is dark in logic. It's a familiar thought — you can live freely because no set purpose has been given to you — that's as empowering as you make it. The realization prompted Bad History Month's self-help quest, and it may help others as well.
In that, like the rest of the band's work, "Being Nothing" is a message meant to be folded into a square, tucked into a pocket, and returned to in solitude during times of distress — only this time, Bad History Month hopes it extends beyond the basement circuit, in order to help anyone struggling at large.
Dead And Loving It: An Introductory Exploration Of Pessimysticism comes out Nov. 3 via Exploding In Sound.
Posted on September 5th, 2017
[as seen on GoldFlakePaint]
As cacophonous as you might expect, “The Valley” is a frenetic live cut from the mighty Ovlov, recorded live at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium and taken from a forthcoming new benefit album which features an array of bands from the Exploding In Sound label, all recorded live over the years at the aforementioned venue space.
Released in early October, with all funds from the record being donated to Shea’s fund, following their enforced closure and removal from the venue’s previous address, the album is available on both vinyl and tape, both of which feature their own collection of songs, featuring the likes of LVL UP, Speedy Ortiz, Pile, Porches, and much, much more (see here for full track-listing details).
Taken from 2011’s What’s So Great About The City? EP, ‘The Valley’ is indicative of Ovlov’s hurried charm, the band ripping through the track’s two-and-a-half minutes in a flurry of noisy, gnarly guitars and Steve Hartlett’s rugged lead voice that never once pauses for breath, driving the whole thing forwards to its feisty end-point.
Pre-orders for both the vinyl and cassette are live now (via Exploding In Sound); check out the new track below right here:
Posted on August 31st, 2017
[as seen on DIY]
Best known for shredding guitars in Speedy Ortiz, Devin McKnight struck out alone earlier this year, focusing his attentions on solo occupation Maneka. ‘Tiger Baby’ and ‘Dracula’ provided heaps of promise for the path ahead, and now, his whole debut album is streaming in full ahead of tomorrow’s (1st September) official release.
Along with lovely Dev, ‘Is You Is’ also features guest contributions from Fern Mayo’s Katie Capri, Sam Rosenberg of Two Inch Astronaut, and Jordyn Blakely, who plays in both Stove and Jackal Onasis.
Starting out with a few vocal lessons from close family, before embarking on the daunting journey of stepping up centre stage to the microphone, proved a challenge, Devin tells DIY. It’s one that paid off, mind.
“First and foremost, I wrote every instrument and sang as well,” he says. “I’m usually a band member guy who plays a role in writing but I’d never tell anyone what to play exactly. More specifically, singing is a very new adventure for me. I took a few vocal lessons from my Aunt Cheryl to get my confidence up. And then just started hacking away at it. I never had that role in a band, and it was the thing I was the least familiar with going into this so it definitely made me pretty nervous at first.”
We’re dead pleased to be premiering Maneka’s debut album ‘Is You Is’. Have a listen. It’s out tomorrow on Exploding In Sound Records, and you can pre-order it here.