Saturday, June 1, 2013

This Month in Releases: May 2013

I haven't decided yet whether or not this will be a reoccurring piece, but every month our region is graced with so many quality releases that it seems appropriate to pay homage to my favorites with a special post. The rules are simple: each release is a fresh issue/or reissue from a local artist or label, singles were not included unless they were EP length, and of course, the actually release date had to have been in the month of May. If you don't see your favorite release here then I either don't like it, haven't heard it, or one or both of us has the wrong release date. If you're certain it isn't the latter then feel free to drop me a line via the comments section or through our Facebook. Enjoy!

Tender Hips are the latest in a string of exceptional Walla Walla bands that have relocated to the Seattle area in the last year. On their first EP they mix equal parts tenacity, technical prowess, and pop sensibility to produce an exceptional release that only gets better with repeat listening.

Big Eyes, Almost Famous (Grave Mistake)
The widely anticipated sophomore album from Seattle's Big Eyes arrives on the heels of several successful 7"s (including splits with Audacity and Mean Jeans), and it definitely doesn't disappoint. On Almost Famous the threesome have managed to polish and expand their sound, but without compromising the punk energy that has made them a local staple.

Land of Pines, The Long Defeat (Fin Records)
This EP is everything we're looking for in an indie rock release: heavy yet playful, catchy but never trite or obvious. The five-some seem just as comfortable swapping male and female vocalists as they do swapping heavy ominous guitar work for indie pop sensibility and we think you'll love it too.

Panabrite, Xenon District (VCO Records)
Seattle's Panabrite, aka Norm Chambers, returns with yet another album full of thick and suspenseful ambient music fit for some lost prolific sci-fi film. In a genre where even the best practitioners are too often lost to obscurity, the texture and scope of Xenon District make a statement that is very hard to ignore.  

Mace, The Metamorphosis Through Dreams (Further Records) 
Enrico Cesaro, aka Mace, is a young producer from Padua and The Metamorphosis Though Dreams marks his first physical release--lucky for us he choose our very own Further Records as the vehicle with which to make his entrance. Consisting of dark, beat-heavy waves of synth, this record is a late night drive soundtrack waiting to happen.

On their 3rd full-length record, and their first for Seattle's Lost Sound Tapes, K&TL provide still more evidence of their ability to write poignant, yet charming pop/folk music. Keep a look out for the 5 piece on tour in the next few months as they wind their way around the west coast with fellow Vancouver natives Ok Vancouver Ok.

Stalebirth, Comepuppy (self-released)
I'm sure that for many people this is where the discussion about "what constitutes music" ensues. However, despite what you call it, I don't think that anyone who honestly listens to Comepuppy can say that it isn't powerful and evocative. Whether they're dealing in thick atmospheric noise, uneasy free jazz, or haunting piano work, Stalebirth prove here that they're an integral part of what makes the Seattle scene so unique.

Clocking in at just under 23 minutes, this live track was recorded at Hollow Earth Radio on the 25th of April during the Debacle Fest Preview Show. The live format and the expansion of the act into a trio to include cello and violin contributions (and hence the "Folk Assembly" moniker) works beautifully with the dark and eerie TGP sound established on earlier releases.


This compilation/reissue-plus of minimalist and new wave music from Columbus OH's Near Paris consists of a rare EP from 1985 plus 7 additional tracks from the period. It's just another in a series of awesome releases that Medical Records has endeavored to bring back to life in the last few years.


We Are Loud Whispers, Suchness (Hardly Art)
This debut LP is the product of a long distance collaboration between Seattle's Sonya Westcott (Arthur & Yu) and Japan's Ayumu Haitani (4 Bonjour's Parties). Sonically the project resembles a more free-form version of the Postal Service (i.e. heavier on the DNTEL), and it is delightful.
The Colorplates were an art punk/post punk band that formed in Seattle in 1979 and eventually disbanded in 1982. These recordings, which were sourced from a number of disparate formats over the course of their career, provide an interesting retrospective on the evolution of this relatively short-lived, but very listenable group.

Seattle-based blog What's Up Seattle returns with its newest sampling of Seattle's music community. Although a these songs cover a multitude of styles, they tend to favor the darker/noisier end of the spectum.

While we wait for more music from him, CTPAK Records' Timbreline has provided us with a pretty stellar mix of dance tracks. Check it out!

Various Artists, Skylight Remixes Vol. 1 (Hush Hush Records)
Seattle's Hush Hush Records return with a wonderful collection of remixes of their flagship artist's debut album. The wide breadth of approaches undertaken here provide more than enough impetus to keep an eye out for more from DJ Alex and crew in the future.

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