HTRN Vol. 1
By Mixtape Mandi
UV-TV - "HEAR"
After a well-received demo and 7" split with LA's Shark Toys on Emotional Response in 2015, UV-TV is set to release their first long-play record Glass on March 10th via Deranged Records. The eleven burning cuts were self-recorded over two days in a retired Gainesville train station with a couple borrowed microphones and a tape machine. Stuck somewhere in the middle of Florida is UV-TV. Rose Vastola, Ryan Hopewell and Ian Bernacett write melancholy pop songs with jagged, abrasive edges. Combining strong hooks with chainsaw guitars and blissful treble--comparisons to Black Tambourine, JAMC and The Shop Assistants fit best with shoegaze stripped of its fat and its fluff.
WHITE REAPER - "THE WORLD'S BEST AMERICAN BAND"
Louisville, Kentucky's White Reaper announced the release of their newest album, The World's Best American Band, out April 7th on Polyvinyl Records. Produced by Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Young Widows), guitarist-vocalist Tony Esposito explains the bold album title and band mantra: "Because we are the best. Just like Muhammad Ali was the greatest, you gotta say it out loud for people to believe it." Boasting textured melodies, layered guitars and more seasoned lyrics, The World's Best American Band finds the quartet busting out of the basement sound established on their previous full length (2015's critically acclaimed White Reaper Does It Again) and setting their sights on the arena. Garnished with glimpses of the golden age of rock and roll, TWBAB is loaded with guitars that scream and gigantic drums in lockstep rhythm, each song packing its own massive, but none the less unique, punch. The Kentucky boys eagerly await hitting the road in 2017, with festival dates confirmed at Hangout, Bunbury and Bonnaroo already confirmed. They have also just announced a hometown record release show on April 8th at Zanzibar.
STRANGE LOT - "HAVE IT YOUR WAY"
Strange Lot premieres "Have It Your Way," from their forthcoming LP Gods & Clods, out March 3rd. Strange Lot's psychedelic sound channels the desert backdrop of their native Arizona. What began in the summer of 2014 as a bedroom solo project for Dominic Mena (guitar and vocals), evolved into a full band, fleshed out by Tim Lormor on drums and David Dennis on bass guitar. Last year, the band supported international acts The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tijuana Panthers, Night Beats, and Kikagaku Moyo. Their first full-length Another Mind (2015) reached #73 in the CMJ TOP 200, while The Phoenix New Times named it one of the 20 Best Records of the year. Drawing upon influences from the band’s affinity for Ennio Morricone soundtracks, their upcoming LP touches on the disappearance of middle class in this society. Recorded on an Otari 8-track tape machine, the tracks were mastered by Joe Lambert (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Washed Out).
NINE POUND SHADOW - "TELL ME WHY"
The Bay Area’s newest up-and-coming duo Nine Pound Shadow - Danger Mouse’s latest signing to 30th Century Records - has released a gorgeously psychedelic video for single “Tell Me Why,” a stunning introduction track to Nine Pound Shadow’s woozy, folk-pop sound featured on their newly released, self-titled EP. Nine Pound Shadow is brothers Brendain and Christopher Langlois, whose sound is a brilliant mix of 60s psych haze, Kings Of Convenience, the clouds of harmonies on the song “A Horse With No Name” by America, and a splash of a few dazzling California sunsets for good measure. Their debut single, “Melody,” caught the attention of Danger Mouse, who included the song on last year’s 30th Century Records, Volume 1 compilation, and signed the band to the label. Their EP, which was produced by Asa Taccone, is a brilliant introduction to a band whose name you’ll be hearing a lot in 2017.
HUNTER & THE BEAR - "D.R.K."
Brought up on a heavy diet of rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd, Hunter & The Bear are equally inspired by modern bands like Biffy Clyro, War On Drugs and Royal Blood and their debut album offers more than a glimpse of these formidable influences, as well as an insight into what you can expect from their raucous live shows. Paper Heart is a collection of songs about people. Whether it’s those they’ve met on the road, their friends, family, or even themselves; it’s an album of songs about the desires, dreams, and shortcomings that reside within us all. Expansive and anthemic, the high-energy, powerhouse riffs of D.R.K offer more than enough to keep rock purists satisfied. On Paper Heart, all songs are written and performed by this group of close friends, making Hunter & The Bear a real, organic project, one that’s built on pure passion, drive and belief in each other as musicians. With an expansive UK headline tour throughout May and June, as well as a string of festival appearances yet to be announced, why not check out the album and see why Hunter & The Bear are already being pitched as the UK’s most promising rock export.
SYLVAN ESSO - "DIE YOUNG"
Acclaimed duo Sylvan Esso has announced that their long awaited new album, What Now, will be released on April 28th via Loma Vista Recordings. An album that feels urgent and relevant to this particular time in history, What Now asks where we go as a culture when standing at what feels like a precipice. Anticipation has been building for the follow-up to their 2014 eponymous debut album, with the band releasing two tracks from the new album, "Radio" and "Kick Jump Twist," as a 12" vinyl and digital single. Now, the band has shared another track off the record, titled "Die Young." Sylvan Esso's sophomore album is the sound of a band truly fulfilling the potential and promise of their debut. Everything has evolved: the production is bolder, the vocals are more intense, the melodies are more irresistible, and the songs shine that much brighter. However, it is also a record that was made in 2016 - which means it is inherently grappling with the chaos of a country coming undone, the voices of two people nestled in studios around the country who were bemused by what they looked out and saw. It's an album that is both political and personal, and blurs the line between the two; What Now describes the inevitable low that comes after every high, fulfillment tempered by the knowledge that there is no clearly defined conclusion. It's a record about falling in love and learning that it won't save you; about the over sharing of information and the fine line between self-awareness and narcissism; about meeting one's own personal successes but feeling the fizzling embers of the afterglow rather than the roar of achievement; about the crushing realization that no progress can ever feel permanent. It is an album that finds its strength in its own duality. But at its core, What Now is an album of the finest songs this band has ever written - produced masterfully, sang fearlessly - to articulate our collective undercurrents of anxiety and joy.
THE DISTRICTS - "ORDINARY DAY"
Philadelphia four-piece The Districts return with their first piece of music since their 2015 album, A Flourish and a Spoil. "Ordinary Day," mixed by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Explosions in the Sky), gives us a glimpse of what's to come. The band’s Robby Grote comments that the song, "deals with a sort of personal alienation and the realization that you and the world you've existed in have changed. Sort of the feeling of coming through a tunnel and having no way of relating to things in the same way as before. It was written in late summer/early fall and came together quite naturally. Personal lives were in flux and we were sitting around Philly losing our minds." The Districts are currently putting the finishing touches on a new album coming out later this year via Fat Possum. Next month, they’ll begin playing those songs live for the first time at select shows around SXSW before heading on an April headline run.
LAND OF TALK - "INNER LOVER"
Land of Talk, the Montreal-based band led by Elizabeth Powell, has announced its first new album in seven years, Life After Youth, set for release May 19th on Saddle Creek. Produced and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth) and Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes), and featuring Sharon Van Etten, Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Sal Maida (Roxy Music, Sparks), and The Besnard Lakes, the album is a collection of songs that sees Powell in the finest voice of her career, and reuniting with original Land of Talk drummer Bucky Wheaton. Life After Youth's stirring first single "Inner Lover" is a song about self-determination, self-love, self-ownership. It's about the freedom to live, and love as one chooses. Life After Youth is a set of songs that got Powell through tough times. And now, they can do the same for you. Since forming Land of Talk in 2006, the one certainty in Powell's life has been uncertainty, as her band has gone from being one of Montreal's most brash, buzzy indie rock acts to one of its most elusive and enigmatic. After recording Land of Talk's debut EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, she lost her drummer. After releasing Land of Talk's first full-length record produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Some Are Lakes (2008), she lost her voice. And after the release of the breakthrough Cloak and Cipher LP, Powell lost her will. From Montreal to Orillia to Toronto to New Jersey and back to Montreal again, the story of Life After Youth resembles one of those Raiders of the Lost Ark maps with the red routing lines bouncing back and forth into a blur. But from that mental and geographic scramble, a work of great focus and clarity has emerged. But Powell stands today as the patient-zero case study for Life After Youth's therapeutic powers.
PERHAPSY - "HEAVY WATERS"
Perhapsy is the solo project of musician Derek Barber. Active since his college years as a Jazz Studies major at the University of Michigan, Perhapsy has been the main creative outlet for Barber outside playing in various other Oakland-based bands. While on tour in 2009, Barber — who suffers from Bipolar Disorder — endured an extended hospitalization. The experience left a lasting impression on him. Eventually, he emerged with a newfound desire and confidence to write music centered on not just his guitar, but his voice. Although Perhapsy began as an instrumental, post-rock outfit — Perhapsy released by The Record Machine in 2009 — the band has translated into an experimental pop singer-songwriter project characterized by trance-like guitar loops, unexpected hooks, live sonic improvisation, and understated vocals. While continually contributing to Astronauts, etc., Bells Atlas, and Madeline Kenney, Barber self-released his sophomore album Me Tie Dough-ty Walker in March 2016. The is being released March 24th through Wave Dweller and Copper Mouth Records.
LASTLINGS - "URGES"
Australian sibling duo Lastlings share a brand new track "Urges" from their forthcoming Verses EP. The track is out now on Exist. Recordings, the label recently launched by Danny Harley of The Kite String Tangle. Lastlings burst onto the scene in late 2015 with their stellar debut Unreality EP, which has been streamed over 2 million times worldwide and includes standout singles “Chills” and “Verona.” Their unique brand of melancholic electronic pop comes together blending layers of shimmering guitars and gliding synths with airy vocals to create a sound that is entirely their own. 2016 saw Lastlings be named as Triple J Unearthed High finalists, being hand-picked to support acts such as Glass Animals and will be touring Australia in March with Rüfüs Dü Sol. Lastlings much-anticipated sophomore EP Verses is out March 17th.