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"Down From the Rafters" - Hundred Waters

"Down From the Rafters" is the best of Hundred Waters, a subtle panoply of fragile, slightly exotic, and unerringly beautiful sounds. Even the name is apt, as it is the title of music that certainly sounds like it descended from an attic where the walls between worlds is thin. It takes the listeners’ hands and leads them through a place that only Hundred Waters can construct. 

I’m thankful for the new way Soundcloud links embed. The full size art here is far closer to replicating the optimal listening experience that is the Hundred Waters website than the old Soundcloud setup. Would that we could actually face that corner and feel the chill that most certainly has seeped into and pervaded that place. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Be Free" - King DudeChelsea Wolfe

King Dude (T.J. Cowgill) and Chelsea Wolfe have reteamed for an aptly titled 7”, Sing More Songs Together. The 7” has two songs on it, the Cowgill-penned “Be Free” up above and the Wolfe-written B-side “Bed On Fire.” The collaborative release will be released on March 28 via Cowgill’s own Not Just Religious Music label. This release falls less than one month short of the year anniversary of their first team-up, Sing Songs Together.

It’s easy to see why we are getting another dose of this pairing. Eliding any business benefits, their voices are fabulously complementary. King Dude’s deeper-than-a-well intonations and Wolfe’s sage, smoky verses intertwine like they were meant to grow together, as if the owners of the voices are reincarnations of some long-dead folk duo who have found each other once again. 

King Dude also has an album due out the eighth of the next month. Simply titled Fear, even this twosome’s full-lengths (Fear and Wolfe’s Pain Is Beauty) are similar. 

- Tyler Hanan

Fragmented World Trailer - Split Single

Split Single, the project of Jason Narducy (Verboten, Bob Mould’s band) has been kicking around for a bit, but the debut album is just now coming out.

The solo project grabs headlines by way of Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Jon Wurster (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats) backing him, two names that seem to earn the focus of the big print. 

That’s not wholly a bad thing though, even if it is a bit misleading. The songs we’ve heard already, embedded below, are thrilling (if familiar) older indie rock fare, a sound you’d expect of these veterans and their backgrounds. 

Fragmented World is due out April 1. 

Fragmented World tracklist:

  1. Waiting for the Sun
  2. Monolith
  3. Last Goodbye
  4. Searches
  5. Fragmented World
  6. Made For Breaking
  7. Love Is You
  8. Never Look Back
  9. My Eyes
  10. My Heart Is Your Shadow

"Kerosene Girl" - Young Widows

Young Widows have always made grim and deafening rock, harsh and abrasive stuff that pummeled listeners, but the trio hasn’t released a track quite like this one. It’s a truly electrifying track, a transfixing five-minute descent into obsession and madness. Evan Patterson is unhinged here, and pulsing, maddening guitar riddles everything.

It’s beyond bursting at the seams, and it gives a hint that Young Widows’ fourth album could be well beyond their usual consistent quality. It will be interesting to track the tenor of the album - the finest tracks on In and Out of Youth and Lightness were the more measured and patient tracks.

Easy Pain is due out from Temporary Residence Ltd on May 13.

- Tyler Hanan

"Home" - Arrange 

Damn. It’s been a while since we’ve heard material from Arrange, the main project of Malcom Lacey, and he’s returned with a doozy.

The first single off his new album Their Bodies In A Fog is recognizably an Arrange track, what with its unerring prettiness, its play with dynamics, and Lacey’s understated vocals. It’s (beautifully) familiar, but then those horns enter during the song’s finale - that is a finale. 

From the sound of it, this album will have emotional heft aplenty. This track is only beginning to touch on the themes - though with lines like “If you’ve got the best of you/Then how come you’re haunted,” we’re getting pretty deep in already. We look forward to hearing more from the album, and to talking with Lacey more about it. 

Their Bodies In A Fog is due out March 4 from Orchid Tapes. Preview the album here. Digital preorders are available now on the Arrange bandcamp, while physical preorders are yet to be announced. 

Their Bodies In A Fog tracklist:

  1. A Fog 
  2. Home
  3. Stranger
  4. Dream
  5. Time
  6. Heart // What If This Were It? 
  7. Alumni (with Ricky Eat Acid) 
  8. Movement
  9. Dark Rooms
  10. Say You Will

- Tyler Hanan

"Babel" - We Roll Like Madmen

This week, We Roll Like Madmen released a throbbing electronic album called The Kids Must DieIt’s frenetic throughout, packed with six on-edge constructions that almost physically gets listeners off their asses. Even on the brief lapses between tracks and the more sensual “Samsara” it’s trying to make hearts race and walls quake as it oscillates wildly.

We’re spotlighting “Babel,” which is not one of the big, hip hop feature-brandishing singles. We’re big on minimal use of the human voice these days, apparently. “Babel” is simply a little calmer, a little subtler. There’s more space to savor the movement.

The album is available now, streaming on the Post-Echo Soundcloud and available from Post-Echo in the form of customized bullet drives or digital download. The album tracks are also available as part of the label’s Future Proof series of customizable 10” records.

- Tyler Hanan

NSB 3x3 // January


2014 is already killing it. I love a lot of music that’s largely lacking vocals. Apologies to louder bands like Against Me! and The Lawrence Arms, who both returned with some nice albums (especially the former). Those were great and all, but they’ve been overridden in this little corner of the internet by an ambiance-busting banger, world-encompassing atmospherics, and some of the coldest, slickest grooves to slither off the space superhighway. I can just let these albums happen to me, let them lead me on a journey through other astral plains of existence, man.

And yes, this monthly feature will usually go up earlier. 


Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

We’d been looking forward to this one every since it was announced. Sam Ray takes another hand at his Ricky Eat Acid moniker, creating a pretty album of nuanced ambiance. There is this one song, though - “In my dreams we’re almost touching.” It’s as enthralling as any song you’ll have heard on a 2014 album, a masterful concoction that will never leave your brain. Three Love Songs is precise, tasteful, and transportive.

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"Feral Love" - Chelsea Wolfe

Alright, follow me carefully here. This is a music video for “Feral Love,” but it’s also a teaser to get you to watch another Chelsea Wolfe thing - you know, if you’re into dark topics and weird imagery and stuff. Any dialogue is solely made up of Pain Is Beauty lyrics. I was going to make fun of that, but after looking at the lyrics, it could actually be interesting. I should probably mention that I was a big fan of Pain Is Beauty.

Wolfe has co-written a film, Lone, with veteran music video man Mark Pellington (commercials you’ve probably seen, music videos from bands you’ve definitely heard of, films you likely haven’t even heard of), who also directed the feature. 

Lone is a sight and sound exploration into the themes of nature, sexuality, memory, mortality, forgiveness, love, innocence, fragility, violence and beauty.

So said Pellington. We all enjoy some of those things, so tune it.

The release will not only be a stream, but also one of those nifty USB-releases that are that are probably way more practical than the similarly hip cassette releases. The flash drives will probably be shaped like a canine tooth or be the color of blood or something else weird and maybe cool.  

This is either going to be really awesome or entirely too silly. I’ll be watching every second, probably. At least Wolfe they’re trying to do something interesting with Wolfe’s stellar songs. 

Now seems like an opportune time to remind you of the Game of Thrones trailer. Also the fact that Game of Thrones is coming back soon. Dragons. Daenerys. Dinklage. Feelings. 

- Tyler Hanan

"The Tower" - Wye Oak

Baltimore must be having a blast, everyone. Wye Oak recently announced Shriek, the follow-up to 2011’s superb Civilian, and fellow Baltimore band Future Islands announced Singles, their follow-up to their excellent 2011 release On The Water. Also, the bands are playing with one another on a few dates on their respective new tours. That’s a lot of Baltimore synergy to go around.

Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stacks made it very clear that their next record would no longer follow the duo’s soft-loud-soft indie-rock dynamic, something we might’ve seen coming from the band’s Adult Swim contribution a year ago, but “The Tower” isn’t too drastic of a break. The spine of the songwriting is still very much guitar-based, but a litany of glittering synths and stark keyboard work joins Wasner’s warbles. The best part may be that Wye Oak’s new window dressing didn’t damage the most potent bit of the duo’s routine: that slow, emotional crawl through Wasner’s voice as the music tiptoes to a close. Some of Civilian's best songs unraveled at a deliberate pace, and Shriek seems keen on building a brand new sound around a familiar pace. 

- Kyle Minton

"American Horror" - Speedy Ortiz

Speedy Ortiz are as buzzy as could be after last year’s debut Major ArcanaThe tuneful grit remains on “Everything’s Bigger" and "American Horror." The latter squeals and writhes like angst made into monstrous flesh, fitting for an album Sadie Dupuis is selling as introspective. "American Horror" is cathartically noisy, gleefully grimy, and functionally familiar, a specific combination that retroactively makes the band’s buzz seem a foregone conclusion.

The track is the second off of the band’s upcoming EP Real Hair. It’s due February 11 from Carpark Records. Preorder the four-track release digitally or on wax here

- Tyler Hanan