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Sun Over Hills - Ricky Eat Acid

It’s a good day to be a fan of Orchid Tapes and friends. Foxes in Fiction released oodles of information about new LP Ontario Gothic, including the first single. That’s pretty excellent - we haven’t heard new material from that project in a while. 

We have heard from the prolific Sam Ray this year, though. The friend of Foxes and person of many projects dropped a free new Ricky Eat Acid EP today. We’ve already heard a new album, Three Love Songs, and outtakes from Ricky Eat Acid this year - why not another five songs? 

The thing is, these five songs are vastly different from the TLS material. Ambient is replaced with the electric, as the tracks are kinetic, frenetic, and fun-over-everything. It’s “like a fun nightmare.”

The EP premiered over on The Fader, as Orchid things often do, where Duncan Cooper names a few samples I couldn’t have. There’s that afore-mentioned free download, and there’s also a little statement from Rayabout the EP. I’m going to drop an interesting snippet here, but head over there to find the whole thing. It’s a pretty cool take from Ray on playing live as Ricky Eat Acid.

So with Sun Over Hills, I just wanted to make something that was fun for me. Making Three Love Songs was really taxing and a great experience, but not particularly fun. Also, this year I started playing live as Ricky Eat Acid for the first time and realized that, though it’s phenomenally transcendent in certain situations, ambient/drone music is not particularly fun to play for audiences, no matter how much you ‘sell it’. 

The official street date for the EP is July 8. Dance, nerds.

- Tyler Hanan

"Shadow’s Song" - Foxes In Fiction

We’ve been waiting on this one a while. Foxes in Fiction is the project of Warren Hildebrand, who is also one of the fine folks behind NSB favorite Orchid Tapes. Small notes about a new record have been dropped here and there, like the tracklist and, before that, the title (no link to that, because I can only go so far down in a Twitter feed before feeling like an insane person).

Anyway, that album is Ontario Gothic, and this is the first single. “Shadow’s Song” is a lovely track full of an assortment of lush sounds, including violin and cello (from Owen Pallett and Ansel Isaac Cohen, respectively). It tracks like a peaceful sigh - a long inhalation of clean air and aromatic fragrances, and contented exhalation of same. It’s a portrait of a green, daydreaming tranquility.

Despite these wonderful feelings it creates (in me, anyways), the album’s focus should be noted. Perhaps the “healing” is the tie.

Ontario Gothic is an album comprised of seven songs dealing with individual instances of loss, grief and the process of healing over the five years following my younger brother’s death in 2008 and how I navigated life in the wake of that tragedy. It was recorded in Toronto and New York between fall 2011 and spring 2014.

Ontario Gothic is set to be released by Orchid Tapes on September 23. A pre-order is up now, right here. Orchid Tapes has oft had the most delightful packaging of a record, including a thank you card and Orchid Tapes stickers in a small, logo-stamped envelope, a guava candy, a logo-stamped bag of tea, and at times a photo. Ontario Gothic will include these and more. The entire list, via the Foxes Facebook

Ontario Gothic will also include contributions from Rachel Levy, Caroline White, Sam Ray, and Beau Sorensen - again, a number of our favorites.

- Tyler Hanan

"Let It Go" - The Tins

A part of me is sharing this only out of appreciation for the fuck-it gall of calling a single “Let It Go” in 2014. For most of America, there is only one “Let It Go,” and it involves omega level X-Men ice powers.

This “Let It Go,” brought to us by Buffalo trio The Tins, is fairly anthemic in its own right. It won’t build ice palaces, but you can jam to it on a bright summer day. Modest verses lull between an infectious chorus and a Wolf Parade synth bridge, making for a surprisingly memorable track. It won’t catch on like the most recent bearer of this title, but I’d certainly flip over the record if this were on the “Let It Go” b/w “Let It Go” B-side. 

I swear that’s a compliment, full-stop. This track is really fun, and it comes off a self-produced EP called Young Blame. That EP comes out on July 29, and I will certainly be giving it a shot. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Stranded (On My Own)" - Titus Andronicus

I didn’t watch the 2-hour Patrick Stickles press conference. Maybe I will later - Stickles is a prickly guy who proves fascinating, even when I find his a rant or rambling abrasive. From the sound of it, we get a fair insight into Stickles as he talks about his favorite 7”s and goes number 23 on the numbers 7 and 14.

Life is short, though, and that press release is longer than a properly succinct film. For now, I’m good with the highlights: a 7-week 7” subscription series kicking off on 7/7/14 with a rerelease of Titus’s 2007 debut “Titus Andronicus” b/w “Fear And Loathing In Mahwah, New Jersey,” complete with a bonus disc of 2005 material.

Some more info dump (no wonder the thing took so long): the other 7”s will be splits with Titus friends. There’s this new song up above - it’s off an August 25 split with Wicked Kind, a band featuring Titus members.

Four hundred subscriptions are available on the previous mentioned 7/7/14 - those are apt to fly off the proverbial webstore shelves. There’s also a release party at Shea Stadium, for those who are within a not-absurd distance of Brooklyn.

Also, 7+7=14. Jesus, that’s a lot of information. Just wake up early on July 7 to buy stuff. This news is pretty cool, unique in its scope and the spin it puts on a recent trend (small-scale subscription series). It’s similar to Joyful Noise’s one-a-month flexi-disc series. I’m just glad Stickles has the beard back. His beard game is too strong to be wasted. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Mirror Images" - Image Society

We’ve had plenty of instances of bands releasing songs that share the band’s name: Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Iron Maiden, and all the others. It’s like a mission statement, or a declaration of purpose. What about something like this, where a word - a not entirely common word - is repeated? Should I take this as something of a starting point, a song by which to judge the new-to-me Image Society?

I have no idea. But yes, the song. “Mirror Images,” regardless of titular intent, tells of a rock band fond of sweet, center-stage pop melodies and little accentuating flourishes - those little flicks at the end of lines are fun, well-timed, pretty little things. Despite the rather delightful and noteworthy intricacies happening underneath the vocals, though, this track is all about the singer going HAM. 

It all contrasts quite a bit with the gritty, rundown warehouse the band has settled down in for this 405-premiered video. Tarryn posits that it’s the Brooklyn-based Image Society “paying paying homage to their indie and punk rock roots.” Since she knows much more than I do, I’m taking her word for it. Take a listen and a look, and mind the band’s upcoming debut EP The Doom of Youth if you’re a fan. 

- Tyler Hanan

Medals - Parlour Tricks

Parlour Tricks’ Medals is a collection of raw post-punk recordings that feels a few years displaced. It’s a melding of a few different things, but those things are almost unimportant. What it most sounds like, in this given context, is like a few talented and like-minded friends jamming together in a garage. They noodled around and started finding some common ground, a meeting of the pseudo-spontaneity of punk and the more high-minded and open nature of anything labeled “post-.”

I don’t know if that’s what it is. I suppose I could ask. Given that Medals is a Post-Echo release, it certainly supports that - band member W. Heyward Sims is also Devereaux, a project with a Post-Echo album due in the fall. 

An introduction isn’t necessary, though. The music tells the story itself. It betrays familiarity, and a shared appreciation of a certain sound. This sound had a time; our current time doesn’t have much of this sound. Fortunately, Medals is refreshing in its nostalgia, and quite good besides. 

Medals is a solid post-punk dozen. Any of the twelve songs can be plucked out and appreciated, though each with enough tricks to make the uniformity in sound more of a setting than a whole, monotonous, one-trick pony. Some highlights include opening salvo “Entropy” and the quick-lipped “Radio Out” (a tad bit of Refused-y funk punk), the sturdy, single-quality “Frequency,” throaty throwback “Red” and the reverb-happy, very finale-feeling “Down In The Minefield Of A Memory.”

One of my favorite qualities in any medium is proper ambition, which can be better (and more favorably) described as a self-awareness and a vision that doesn’t overreach. It’s okay to be fun, or consistent, or just plain good. Medals is each of those.

Medals is also available from Post-Echo in bronze, silver, and gold vinyl, which is fun, in addition to their Future-Proof format. 

- Tyler Hanan 

"Meanwhile On Main Street" - United Nations

Following up “Serious Business” in the lead-up to The Next Four Years, “Meanwhile on Main Street” takes far more time with the listener, wining and dining before getting to all that shrieking business. The A.V. Club-debuted track has a nice little intro, spiked with drum hits and escorted by a pair of melancholy, nigh-twinkling guitars. Geoff Rickley’s volume escalates, bass breaks in, and the anticipated fury commences. It’s well-executed political ferocity, which is par for the unofficial UN course. It’s a nic ebit of nuance, though, further stoking those fires that burn for the album’s July 15 release on Temporary Residence Ltd. Preorder that obnoxiously packaged sucker here, and check out their tour dates with Frameworks below. 

- Tyler Hanan

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"Dangerous Days" - Zola Jesus

Well that didn’t take long. Last week, we got an ambient trailer for a new album from Zola Jesus, along with the title Taiga and word that it’d be released in October. This tells us so much more.

We have a release date - October 7 from Mute - but that’s not as important as this song. This song, you guys. Nika Roza Danilova has been getting bigger and more expansive in her music, but this is so much more, so very pop. Crystal clear, melodic pop that soars through night skies, something that could capture the same swath of people that fell for “Midnight City,” the M83 track Danilova wasn’t on.

I loved Conatus, but I’m also immediately in on this new shift. In the past, various permuations on “goth” would often be included in blurbs on Zola Jesus. Danilova is far beyond that now, or at least some brand new version of it. There are still plenty of traces of old iterations - the music, though its jagged edges have been sanded smooth, is still familiar, and the voice is unmistakable - but that first verse could pop up when turning the radio dial without so much as arched eyebrow. Please, let this song start popping up everywhere.

As an added bonus, as noted by Pitchfork Taiga was mixed by Dean Hurley, who has worked with former Zola Jesus collaborator David Lynch, including on the masterful Dark Night of the Soul.

- Tyler Hanan

Taiga trailer - Zola Jesus

Nika Roza Danilova, she of the Zola Jesus moniker, has announced her new album. The follow-up to 2011’s fantastic Conatus and the gorgeous collection of lush reimaginings that was last year’s Versions is due in October. 

The new trailer is wickedly fantastic, giving away little while portending much. It’s a confident bit, demanding attention as it crescendos. We don’t get to hear what comes next, but I’m ready for it. These fifty seconds get the imagination bubbling and boiling with furious excitement. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Meeker Warm Energy" - Lone

Matt Cutler, the human being behind the sounds of Lone, doesn’t make science-fiction movies. At least, he hasn’t told us about any. If he did, the titles would be magnificent. Reality Testing is Cutler’s follow-up to 2012’s excellent Galaxy Garden, and the two both sound as though they’re begging for film adaptations on the level of 2001

If you’ve spent some time away from Galaxy Garden, then Reality Testing might strike you as more of the (fantastic) material you heard two years ago. Don’t be fooled—Cutler is consistent, but not repetitious. Reality Testing fills out the holes and tinny corners of Garden and crafts robust, hip-hop bent beats that go for miles upon miles upon miles. “Meeker Warm Energy,” like much of Reality Testing, feels as though it goes on for much longer than it actually does. In Lone’s case, this is a positive sensation. The cosmic black of “Meeker” isn’t boring or threatening. There’s calm in the idea of drifting forever, and Cutler has a pretty good grasp on that.

Lone’s Reality Testing came out on June 16, 2014. Buy it here

- Kyle Minton