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Wye Oak - Shriek


Review: Kyle Minton

Change is frightening. Wye Oak’s latest record, Shriek, isn’t a snapshot of a metamorphosis—the album is well developed and well on the other side of Wye Oak’s changing shape. There’s a finality and crisp across each song that speaks to the gravity of the changes made to the duo’s sound. The guitars are gone, but in their place is a deluge of synth and a better showcase for Jenn Wasner’s improved vocal range.

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"Rekindle" - Brave Bird

EDIT: Stream T-Minus Grand Gesture on Half Cloth now.

Brave Bird, hailing from my home state, is one of the most intriguing groups on Count Your Lucky Stars - a structurally elusive bunch that feel just a tad bit unpredictable. Basement emo bands aren’t often the place to look for differentiation, but Brave Bird have some of that head-cocking perplexity in just how they jangle.

We’ve now been given “Rekindle,” a song measured in its musings, to pair with the more rousing, A.V. Club-debuted “T-Minus Grand Gesture.” Both come of T-Minus Grand Gesture, a 10” following up 2013’s Maybe You, No One Else Worth It.

The EP is due out May 27 and available for pre-order in various packages from CYLS now. Read our interview with Braved Bird from last May here.

- Tyler Hanan

"Sun Glass" - Fucked Up

I’ve rambled about recent Fucked Up news already - the Glass Boys trailer, “Paper the House,” which is such a Fucked Up song title - but permit me to wax on about “Sun Glass” a bit.

"Sun Glass" is, like just about every Fucked Up song, so very, very much a Fucked Up song. Even as the band has evolved from its hardcore roots, each new thing has delivered paired shots of thrilling adrenaline and a refreshing nostalgia. It cleanses even as it fills.

Soft guitar intro with just a hint of feedback open. Damian Abraham busts through like the Kool-Aid man (except more svelte!). An anticipatory bridge, a pause like a roller coaster car pausing atop a crest and kissed by sun, teases the horizon-chasing ending with its gang vocals. Really, the only twist that caught me was the calm, almost fade-out of an ending, which might be more a function of construction of album than that of song.

It’s all familiar, and it’s all fantastic. I’m not sure how the whole of Glass Boys, out June 3 on Matador, will follow-up the monumental David Comes To Life - could it possibly be bigger in any way? - but I’m eager to find out.

Also cool - I always, without fail and without shame, refer to Fucked Up’s anthemic rock as sun-kissed, sun-glazed, bathed in rays, and so forth. Andy Capper (and also Fucked Up’s own Mike Haliechuk) get it. There is so much sun and light and joy in this video, with a ferocious bearded man writhing in the sun-soaked (see?!) glory - it’s like they filmed the music itself, somehow getting past its actual waves.


- Tyler Hanan

NSB Podcast: Ep.1 

Tyler and Kyle inaugurate the first Nothing Sounds Better podcast with talk of Record Store Day, that new Wye Oak album, and a lot of ranting about the perils of attending Bonnaroo. 


- Tyler Hanan & Kyle MInton

"Hollow" - Alex G

Who is Alex G?

I first fell into the land of lofi indie pop quite accidentally. I befriended Malcom Lacey of Arrange, who has always displayed a far greater knowledge of music than I have ever had. Through him - his blog, his recommendations, his conversations with other people that I creepily took note of - I first found Warren Hildebrand’s Foxes in Fiction and Sam Ray’s Ricky Eat Acid. The floodgates opened. I’ve been scrambling to find all these wonderful artists I’d never known, awash in a flood of a sounds I’d never heard.

It took too long to find Alex G. It was a name I  saw tossed around reverentially, akin to how film friends speak of the enigmatic Shane Carruth. Just as it took me until recently to find Carruth (with Upstream Color), it wasn’t until the split with R.L. Kelly for Birdtapes that I fell in love. There was something different about it, a peculiar particularity to it. Alex G’s songs were special, fantastical. I was still woefully ignorant as to who Alex G was, but the music had finally caught me in its sway. 

Now I’m caught up with the bandwagon and have the opportunity to get excited at the same time as everyone else. I’m late. I’m slow. I’m just glad to be here. 

Today, Orchid Tapes announced Alex G’s twelfth release and first full-length vinyl release: DSU, due June 17. Accompanying the announcement, the Fader had gifts. It had a fantastic new song, “Hollow,” and an article about this scene’s favorite son. The title? “Who is Alex G?" So easy. So apt. 

Read it, grab the soon-to-be-sold-out preorder for DSU here, and keep an eye on Orchid Tapes for updates. Cassettes? Probably. Second pressing? Maybe! Enjoy, friends. It’s a wonderful day. 

- Tyler Hanan

"Water Fountain" - tUnE-yArDs

That wackadoo video tUnE-yArDs promised yesterday is here. Much as a tUnE-yArDs video should be, “Water Fountain” is big, bright, and absolutely bonkers, it’s zaniness inspired by Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Nate Brenner, the other half of tUnE-yArDs, plays the dancing chef, and we even get the end of Franklin Ruehl’s science lesson. 

Read director Joel Kefali’s explanation for the origin of the video over on Pitchfork. Nikki Nack is still out May 6.

Science in action! Yes! YES! YES!

- Tyler Hanan

"I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore" - The Menzingers

The excellence of this song is already established. It’s a fist-pumping anthem both the dissatisfied youth and the not-so-youthful can immediately identify with without feeling like self-pitying mopes.

Coinciding with today’s release of The Impossible Past follow-up Rented World, The Menzingers unveiled this clever music video directed by Whitey McConnaughy. Our ambigutagonist has had enough of the lonely serial killer life and wants to turn over a new leaf.

The kicker - he’s kinda kicking ass at it. He’s really sticking with that whole “new leaf” thing. He’s staying positive, keeping at it, and putting that machete to a societally-beneficent use. I only hope he sanitized it. Sure he’s a little creepy, but it’s in that lovable, pre-00’s classic romance way.

After you’ve had some fun with the video, check out Rented World via your favorite legal music medium. The band will be on tour soon, and half the people who will be in those crowds already know every word to every song. 

And spoilers, but finally he knows what it’s like to have the rug pulled out from under you when you’re home free.

- Tyler Hanan

"Water Fountain" video preview - tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs has previewed tomorrow’s video for “Water Fountain,” but it doesn’t become what you expect until 45 seconds into the 52-second clip. We get a science lesson before the bright colors kick in.

Franklin Ruehl is, according to the impeachable Wikipedia, “an American ufologist and cryptozoologist” who “holds a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the UCLA” and had a public access cable TV show in the 80’s called Mysteries from Beyond the Other Dominion.

I have no idea what he has to do with “Water Fountain.” Nikki Nack is out May 6. Science!

- Tyler Hanan

"Wait for a Minute" - tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs have snuck out a second song off their upcoming album Nikki Nack. Following the playfulness and “WOO-HA!”ing of “Water Fountain,” “Wait for a Minute” is a low-key, Malay-produced change of pace that reminds me of the music I was told came out of Brooklyn when I was a kid. Empty subway groove.

Nikki Nack is out May 6 in the US and May 5 in the UK on 4AD, with various preorder options available here.

- Tyler Hanan

"Suns Out Guns Out" - Concord America

Birthed around a shady pizza place and an “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked” stage dive, Concord America is as dirt-stained, scuzzy, and out of fucks to give as those glamorous origins would suggest.

The Atlanta trio spat out first full-length Shag Nasty last year, and now the three follow it with the EP Suns Out Guns Out. The title track is a mess of writhing limbs and abused guitar strings, furious and wild just because it can be. It’s a fiery two minute entry into the storied history of bands telling us to get with the shit-kicking because it’s all fucked anyways, man, and it’s fun as hell.

Suns Out Guns Out is out May 27 on Post-Echo. Check out the tracklist below.

- Tyler Hanan

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