The RCSN (recession) is Zach Schwartz, vocalist/guitar-puncher/song-writer extraordinaire of Glocca Morra. With this solo project, Zach shows some versatility by crafting bummed-out, lo-fi pop tunes in his bedroom. Rather than relying on sugary pop melodies like so many bands playing this kind of music, Zach builds his in layers, focusing on more complex melodies and progressions that are more angular in nature. The lo-fi production helps rather than hinders the songs, creating a varied palette of textures and tones. By writing solid pop tunes and ignoring many of the conventions that make this type of music seem boring (like, say, the overused surf rock aesthetic), RCSN has made bedroom pop seem fresh and interesting again.

Side Note: This tape is out on Ranch Records, which is ran by Sam Rudich. Yeah, like the Snowing song (Sam’s actually the guy holding the cat on the cover of Snowing’s full length). Sam’s on tour with Kite Party and Glocca Morra right now, and he’s a really great dude. Everyone on that tour is really great, for that matter. Go see the bands and buy some stuff from Sam. Like me, you could be pleasantly surprised by buying a release you’ve never heard of.

Buy it.

Download it.

Bandcamp… it. 

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I’ve been listening to this one consistently for the past few weeks since Andrew sent us a link to the album’s bandcamp page. In regards to the album, he writes:

This record is for the over-socialized victims of the 1990’s ‘you can
be anything you want’, Nickelodeon-induced lethargy that ran away from
home not out of any wide-eyed big city daydream, but just out of a
subconscious return to America’s scandalous origin.

Pretty apt description for the general tone of this album. When listening to the past few albums in Savage’s repertoire (see Denton After Sunset, Unlearn, Foreign Lands, etc.), it would seem he and fellow songwriter, Austin Brown, have a pretty firm grasp on that general pulse.  A grumbling about lack of employment, a word or two about an old girlfriend, the shudder you feel when leaving your hometown. At the surface, these themes may seem very slanted towards a specific demographic; the white, suburban-middle-class raised 20-somethings. However, what generation hasn’t had the same complaints about the society around them? There have always been societal constraints and and the disillusioned to challenge those bounds. That said, I think my mom might like parts of this record.

Sonically, Savage and Brown take heavy krautrock influences and fuse them with punk and 90s guitar rock. The result is a vast improvement on the American Specialties cassette. It would seem that they’ve distilled those mixed and varied influences and created a sound that is unique to Parquet Courts. Both Savage and Brown share writing and vocal duties, but the whole effort is cohesive, yet varied enough to hold your attention throughout. Parquet Courts clearly have a knack for catchy songwriting that they show off uniquely on each of Light Up Gold’s 15 tracks.

Stream/download it at Dull Tools’ bandcamp and preorder a copy at their bigcartel. While you’re there, buy Teenage Cool Kids’ incredible Denton After Sunset!

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Here’s another great record I picked up for a few bucks at Amoeba. I fell in love with this band after they released When You’re In It a few years back but, for whatever reason, forgot to keep checking to see what these guys were up to. Last year, I stumbled upon their latest, Weird Life and was immediately reminded of how awesome these guys are.

These 6 songs find the band further expanding their catchy punk anthems. If you’d like to hear what the love-child of Glocca Morra, Kite Party, and Algernon Cadwallader would sound like and dig songs about dealing with post-college life with a glass-half-full attitude, you certainly should check this out. Also, be sure to order a copy from FSTT’s own Life on an Island records.

These dudes just got back from a short tour, but if you’re from the north east, be sure to catch one of their shows.

Download.

Buy? (try messaging ’em on FB?)

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I spent the first part of my week out in SF for school. Luckily, my hotel was literally around the corner from Amoeba Records (also across from Golden Gate Park; the trip did nothing but reaffirm my love for that city). On Monday evening, I spent around 3 1/2 hours rummaging through their records and ended up snagging a few gems. I’ll be posting a few of them on the blog, but others on my list included:

Pg. 99/Reactor 7 Split 7″ – Document #3

Nana Grizol – Love It Love It

Rolling Stones –  In Exotic Honolulu Bootleg

Sainthood Reps – Monoculture 7″

Teenage Cool Kids – Denton After Sunset

Blind Willie McTell – Last Session

Boyd Rivers – You Can’t Make Me Doubt

Billy Childish and Sexton Ming – Here Come The Fleece Geese

Eric Burdon and the Animals – Everyone Of Us

The Babies – Cry Along With

For Serious This Time – Weird Life

Stirling Says – Balboa

Dr. Dog – Goner 7″

I paid a nearly criminal good price for this lot, despite the fairly hefty stack that I left with. I could have spent another few hours in there but I had my limit for one day.

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Anyway, back to what this post is supposed to be about, Balboa by Stirling Says from San Francisco. This band somehow seems to have flown under everyone’s radar, despite this insanely catchy gem being put out by Adagio 830. Irrelevantly, this band also has ex-member(s?) of Funeral Diner. I had seen this floating around a few distros but for some reason never got around to really listening to it (even though I remember having it on my last computer). The artwork definitely doesn’t immediately command your attention. Upon purchase, I found a small 5×5″ card stock lyric sheet/photo and a black heavy-weight record. What the album lacked in impressive packaging, it easily made up for as soon as I put it on my turntable.

These guys play 90s-style alternative that instantly calls to mind Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. There are also definite nods to Teenage Cool Kids and some other contemporaries. The fuzzed-out guitar play is complimented perfectly with insanely catchy melodies. This album should have been topping year-end lists in 2009, but unfortunately was maybe just a little ahead of the curve with their exhumation of 90’s guitar rock. Who knows?

After checking for a website or an active Facebook page, I found nothing that would indicate these guys are still active. Regardless, download this for free off their band camp and pick up a copy from Bear Records or Bis Auf’s Messer (Europe, also grab some of their coffee!) or dig deep at their local record store (I got mine for $2.99). If anyone has the tracks from the split that they put out slightly before this or a copy they would be willing to part with, send me a message!

Download.

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After weeks of scouring the interwebz, I finally found the records I’ve been patiently waiting to hear for years. These are the final recording’s of L’antietam, the band that introduced me and so many of my friends into the scene that we now love. Family and Arthur Carr will always have a special place in my heart, and are still extremely enjoyable to listen to today. But enough about me, already.

Dark Brew is a 6 minute long, 4 part hardcore head-rush of a song. The pace is unrelenting and the guitars are bludgeoning.  The song shifts periodically in mood, but never lets up on intensity. This is L’antietam at their heaviest and grungiest, and it feels so good. Rock Bottom, on the other hand, feels like a continuation of where the band left off with Arthur Carr. It’s moody, full of tempo changes, and retains the interwoven, subtle melodies that first attracted me to the band. It’s bittersweet, finally hearing the songs I’ve anticipated for years, but knowing that I’ll never see this band again. If you’re into it, I suggest buying the double 7″ quickly. I’m sure it’s going to sell out.

Give em your money.

Give it a listen.

Sirs – Self Titled

July 3, 2012

Best band/album since the death of Bear Vs. Shark. This band is seriously hitting their stride, and I’m loving it. Excellent song-writing, better recording quality, phenomenal playing. Please, please don’t let this band go the way of every great emo band and come to an untimely demise.

Buy that shit up!

Try it out!

DIIV – Oshin

July 2, 2012

I’m sure the hipster hype machine is going crazy over this band, but that shouldn’t deter you from giving it a try. This album will be the companion to my hazy post-graduation summer. DIIV (pronounced “dive”) is the side project of Beach Fossil’s tour guitarist Zachary Cole Smith. To me, this band sounds like the bastard child of Cloud Nothings and Real Estate: melodic indie pop songs with just the right amount of shimmer and reverb. The whole album’s got a very laid back/washed-over feel that just feels so appropriate for summer, yet still remains interesting and engaging in its entirety.

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Buy.

Try it out.