The Low Anthem are finally back after a four year hiatus. The HearYa love affair with the Providence outfit is coming up on 10 years. I sure hope they get us something nice for our anniversary. Eyeland will be their 5th album and I can’t wait to hear the full thing. We’ve done two HearYa sessions with the band – here and here
Here’s some info on the album.
Eyeland proved a true beehive of industry as artists and bands from Rhode Island and beyond all approached Low Anthem to play live or cut tracks at the increasingly in-demand facility. EYELAND, the album, “was kept warm,” says Miller, “incubated,” as he and Prystowsky produced and recorded over 30 different acts.
Miller and Prystowsky eventually burrowed their own work, ably assisted by current Low Anthem musicians Florence Wallis and Bryan Minto as well as such first generation members as Jocie Adams, Mike Irwin, Tyler Osborne, and Andy Davis. The four-year process saw the duo pushing their creativity to its threshold by toying with perspective, speed controls, aggressive editing, and progressively more outré approaches. EYELAND’s risky songcraft and sonic experimentalism truly came into focus with the involvement of Providence’s renowned Trinity Repertory Company, which in 2014 invited The Low Anthem to create a new work for their stage. EYELAND was reverse engineered to fit a detailed but still abstract storyline, conjuring a fantastical dreamscape “where the world is a trick of the eye,” says Prystowsky.
“It’s hard to detail the narrative without giving away the surprise ending,” Miller says. “The album exists in the dreamt reality of a few children who experience a traumatic break from innocence when an air hockey table catches fire and burns down one of their houses. The valley that they live in turns into a nightmare of paranoia and then there’s a battle to regain control over their consciousness.
I feel like I never give enough time to Cass McCombs. But then I’ll hear a song and get on a Cass kick for a week. Well I was glad to hear he signed to Anti and even happier to hear this song. In addition to being a sweet tune, it has backing vocals by Angel Olsen as an added bonus. I guess I’ll get on a little Cass kick for the weekend. Here’s a little info on the album.
Mangy Love is McCombs at his most blunt: tackling sociopolitical issues through his uniquely cracked lens of lyrical wit and singular insight. Throughout, he uses himself as a mirror to misguided and confounding realities, confronting them head on. The severity of his lyrics is contrasted by the music, which ventures into groovy realms of Philly soul, Norcal psychedelia and New York paranoia, articulating the spontaneity and joy of his live show better than ever before. Hip-hop and Beat poetry influences have never been more evident, with several songs employing a speech-style and clever fast-paced wordplay. There are guest appearances by many fellow musicians of his tribe ranging from Angel Olsen (on “Opposite House”) to Blake Mills, under the production of veteran Rob Schnapf and Dan Horne. Mostly written during a bitter New York City winter and while traveling in Ireland, Mangy Love is McCombs reaching new sonic heights, creatively evolving lyrically, and resulting in his most provocative, yet immediate record yet.
Busting out of Fort Worth, this quartet sounds like a Texas BBQ version of J. Roddy Walston & The Business. Its gritty, smokey and definitely for real. Per the their label, Lightning Rod Records, the band is equally influenced by ZZ Top and space. And while those sound like they would go together like peanut butter and sardines, it comes off as darn good listen.
The lead single, Mockingbird finds the protagonist charging around the solar system fighting the good fight as some sort of lone wolf/vigilante. Its got a filthy riff that fuels the tune and gives a nice scuzzy feel to it.
They also work current issues into a current songs in their own special way. Beat The Machine is as you can imagine from the title; a song about being fed up with all the bullshit and lies we’re fed on a daily basis. Liberty Bell 7 takes on the current immigration issues in our country by imagining a future where the protagonist is illegally helping people on to a new planet.
If you like raw Southern rock and roll, step on up to QCNH. They will soon emerge as one of your favorites.
I don’t consider myself to be a fan of rap. There are a couple of acts I enjoy but for the most part, it doesn’t connect. But when you listen to Kendrick Lamar or watch him perform, it becomes very clear that he’s close to lapping the field. He’s executing stuff that most guys couldn’t even dream of.
I got that same feeling when I spun Teens Of Denial for the first time. For those that have been living under a rock for the last year, Cat Seat Headrest is the brainchild of Will Toledo and he is just starting what forecasts to be a really special career. Originally the band was him banging out songs in his bedroom but for his first Matador album of new songs; he’s got a set band now. And that has done him some good. The album seems to have a swagger about it; not so much cockiness but a confident feel that exudes that feeling when you feel you are at the top of your game.
Like last year’s Teens Of Style, Teens Of Denial sounds like the quintessential Matador album. While the album is chock full of loud/soft dynamic, liberal use of distortion and some killer guitar work; it is Toledo’s take on the world around him and his place in it that really captivates. The track (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School For Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem) is a brilliant take on an acid trip and really captures the spirit of my sophomore year of college.
The 11 minute epic, The Ballad of the Costa Concordia is alot to take in. At first I thought it was in poor taste and a little self-centered to use a senseless tragedy as an analogy for struggling to find your place. But the reality, that’s how teenagers think.
Toledo is just beginning a career that is going to be something special. Like Kendrick, you get the feeling that it won’t be long before he’s lapping the field.
Photo by Chloe Aftel I received an email stating that this band I had never heard of, Tancred, was going to be touring with Speedy Ortiz. I checked out a couple of tunes and was looking forward to seeing them. You see, I’m going to see Speedy Ortiz tonight with Hop Along. I figured I [...]
I fucking love Okkervil River. They have a new album coming out in September via the fine folks at ATO Records. Below is the lead track titled Okkervil River RIP and it is my favorite tune they’ve released since The Stage Names. Here’s some background on the album from Will Sheff. The new Okkervil River [...]
Photo by Tim Furnish Every once in a while a video captures the spirit of a song in such a moving and compelling manner. What The People Want is the lead track off of Freakwater’s first album in 10 years, Scheherezade. The lyrics of the track are brutally graphic, detailing the rape and murder of [...]
Arbor Labor Union began life as Pinecones and much like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, Pinecones entered into the cocoon of Sub Pop and re-emerged as Arbor Labor Union. Whatever happened during this transformation, the band definitely sounds better. After spending some considerable time with I Hear You, I still fall back on Parquet Courts [...]
Today I decided to work from home; specifically on my new back patio. As I settled in with my laptop on the couch, I put on the latest from New Madrid as my background music. It didn’t take long for me to get lost in the psych-pop beauty of it all. The sun was shining [...]
For those not in the know, Amy Klein was a member of Titus Andronicus back in day. She left the band back in 2011 to work on her other projects and now she’s all set to release her debut solo LP. The album will be titled Fire and will be released via the fine folks [...]