Sub Pop

Episode 357: Loma - Loma

Episode 357: Loma - Loma

The best art happens when like-minded creatives get together with the simple goal of sharing and exploring a moment or feeling. For their debut album, Loma - the band made up of Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg and Cross Record's Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski - headed to the Texas countryside to craft their shared vision and returned with one of the best albums of 2018 to date. Intimate, but sonically sprawling, Loma depends as much on the sounds of the locale where it was created as it does the grandiose soundscapes of Peter Gabriel and exacting folk of Fairport Convention.

We're here for it, and you should be too, so let's hang out for a few and talk about this remarkable first step for a band we hope will be around for years to come. 

PLUS! Motorcade loves that 80's sound ERGO we love Motorcade and have got a track to turn you on to them too!


"Relay Runner" - Loma

"Relay Runner" - Loma

Sounds Like:

The pressing sense of urgency and dread, of natural sounds and industrial clatter

Why You Should Care:

During Shearwater’s Jet Plane and Oxbow tour in 2016 and 2017, the opening act was the husband-and-wife Austin duo Cross Record, made of Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski. In comparison with the drive and electrified energy of Shearwater in its most direct mode, Cross Record in concert tends toward the amorphous, moving only infrequently toward rock structures with Cross singing over Duszynski’s multitracked guitars, keyboards, and assorted electronics.

Despite the differences in approach, the tour must have been a companionable one, because Shearwater singer and guitarist Jonathan Meiburg has put Shearwater on a friendly hiatus and joined Cross Record in a new project called Loma. 

Loma’s second single “Relay Runner” opens with field recordings of frogs fading into a naggingly insistent industrial drumbeat. Emily Cross’s vocals take on an increasing sense of the desperation to escape. The track devolves into Meiburg’s heavily processed guitar and the continued thumping rhythm, producing an overall feeling of urgency and dread. “I find a needle in the night / I'm at the bottom of the lake / I'm coming up again / I'm throwing everything away.”

Loma will be released February 18, 2018, on Sub Pop Records.


Sleater Kinney @ 9:30 Club - 2/24/15

Sleater Kinney @ 9:30 Club - 2/24/15

In 1994, when Sleater-Kinney arrived on the scene, grunge/alternative rock had, for the most part, seen its swift yet potent “golden age” come and go. With the doors flung wide open, radio-friendly imitators were swarming in in droves, much to the disdain of early fans, yet simultaneously to the immense satisfaction of label heads and radio programmers. Yes, the mid-to-late-90s made weird with the “rawk” as it packaged it into more and more consumer-friendly parcels. But rock ‘n roll can never truly die, so it was up to bands like Sleater-Kinney to do what any good rock and roller would do: Get weirder.


TRACKING: Husky - "History's Door"

SOUNDS LIKE: Jenn Wasner sits in with SilverSun Pickups
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Two great sounds that sound great together

The band Husky is just completing its first US headlining tour and headed back to Australia, but they are leaving us with the upbeat and infectious “History’s Door,” a song whose momentum will leave you trying to decide if it’s better suited for listening to while driving with the windows down, wearing earphones as you stroll the city, taking a rain ride across the wide open country. It’s the kind of pop song that gets stuck in your head after two listens, urging you to keep playing it till you find the perfect scene, but it’s not all lightness and momentum. On top of the irresistible push forward is an equally urgent message to shed the past, to move on from a love affair that, though difficult to leave, is even harder to stay in.

Husky is made up of cousins Husky Gawenda, vocals and guitar, and Gideon Preiss, keyboard, plus bassist Evan Tweedie and drummer Luke Collins. The band had the good fortune to win a contest for Australia’s best unsigned band on the strength of “History’s Door” and caused a stir by getting signed to Subpop right away. This may have been Husky’s first US headline tour, but it seems unlikely that it will be their last.

Forever So is out now on Subpop.


REVIEW: The Helio Sequence - Negotiations

Negotiations, the latest album from The Helio Sequence, is a lush and atmospheric addition to their catalog. The five years since “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” have been put to use creating a unified and moving collection of songs documenting the difficult conversations at the end of a relationship. Filled with moments of melancholy interspersed with uplifting and hopeful sparks, the album will satisfy both long time fans and newcomers to the band.

After the release of 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the band’s Portland, OR, studio flooded, and though their equipment was spared, the space was ruined. The duo, comprised of Brandon Summers, lead vocals and guitar, and Brandon Weikel on drums and keyboards, relocated to a new studio and used that opportunity to renovate their sound and style. This evolution provides the more cohesive quality of the album and marks a gentle departure from previous works.

The songs of the aptly named Negotiations trace the tense conversations of a dying relationship. Songs take one side or the other of a circuitous debate, questioning direction, assigning motives, and placing blame.  Tension permeates the album, each song adding a different sense of the anguish of breaking up and the conversations we offer each other, or have with ourselves, in the middle of a break-up. Yet, the sound is so lush that it buoys hope while reinforcing the sense that the Summers is trying to make the best of a situation he has no control over.


LIVE: Beach House @ The 9:30 Club - 10/17/12

All photos by Joy Asico (joy@chunkyglasses.com / www.asicophoto.com)

Beach House drifted into D.C. last week, bringing along an extra drummer and stage props designed to look like an abandoned industrial warehouse, and the 9:30 Club turned into a film noir set for a night. The Baltimore based band is synonymous with dreamscape-ish atmospheric pop, and Wednesday’s show, the final performance of the American leg of their Frightened Eyes tour, showcased the recent work of a group you'd expect to see playing in the background of a bar scene in Blade Runner. Performing songs drawn primarily from this year’s Bloom and 2010’s Teen Dream, Beach House mesmerized the audience, who stood transfixed for most of the evening as songs broke over the densely-packed house like waves next to, uh, a beach house.

Alex Scally walked onto a dark stage and played the opening strain to “Wild” to start the show, joined by touring drummer Daniel Franz on a simple snare line. When Victoria Legrand emerged a few minutes later and took over center stage, the mostly somber crowd reacted with the largest outpouring of emotion of the night, singing along as Legrand growled, and “My mother said to me, that I would get in trouble...” Legrand’s live voice was raw and almost guttural at times, but blended beautifully with the layers of looping vocals running in the background. It’s not a secret that most bands now play loops of prior-recorded material during their live shows, to mimic the way a song is constructed on the album, and electronic-based bands rely on this technique even more - the only glitches were a few occasions where Legrand pulled her face away from the mike to swing her fantastic mane of hair, clearly no longer singing, while the vocals continued on without her. She wasn’t lip-synching, because her mike was louder and more distinct than any of the back-up vocal tracks, but it was still a bit of a disconnect to hear lyrics while visually seeing no mouths moving on stage.


TRACKING: METZ - "Wet Blanket"

SOUNDS LIKE: Japandroids, The Men, Male Bonding, Nation Of Ulysses
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: This trio plays heavy, grungy music that hasn't been this good since the 90s
 

This band is not to be messed around with.  They are ferocious, they are aggressive, they are demonic, they are fierce.  They are Toronto's METZ.

As a phrase, wet blanket makes you think of those kids who always put a damper on those high school parties you threw when you're parents were out of town.  As a song, "Wet Blanket" soaks you in the loudest of tones.  Huge guitars, drums that haven't threatened to be so loud and frightening since Bonham.  This song is meant to be heard as loud as your speakers will go, and once the meters are in the red you are to find a way to get this song to go beyond that. Held together by a sludgy bassline and drums that sound like shotgun blasts in the distance, "Blanket" goes off to a territory that brings to memory some other Sub Pop band from the early 90s.  They're an angrier version of The Men, a pissed off Japandroids, they are METZ and they will destroy you.


TRACKING: Daughn Gibson - Reach Into The Fire

SOUNDS LIKE: James Blake, Johnny Cash
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: This electro-crooner signs a record deal and releases his best song yet!

With the announcement of his signing to indie stalwart Sub Pop, Central Pennsylvania truck driver Daughn Gibson dropped upon the word a catchy new number last week. “Fire” doesn’t stray much from the strengths that solidified his debut album All Hell, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  What is new is building a track based on samples of some of his new label mates like female folkster Tiny Vipers and hip hopper Shabazz Palaces.  
 
As the song fades in at its start, the samples in question come together to form a solid backdrop to Gibson’s baritone.  But what is this fire he’s reaching into? Is it his star on the rise? With this signing and dates supporting Yeasayer this summer, if you don’t know who Gibson is yet I think the world is about to.  Sub Pop will release his next album in 2013.


REVIEW: Father John Misty - Fear Fun

It’s really challenging not to write a review of Father John Misty’s (ex-drummer of the Fleet-Foxes) debut album Fear Fun as if it was a Dennis Wilson solo record. References to the “Canyon” and “Malibu” certainly evoke his life story. That’s not to say the songs aren’t great. But if he wore his inspirations any more on his sleeves, he would have cufflinks with Charles Manson’s grin on them.

This is a moving-to-Los Angeles record. Not the Los Angeles of Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction, of the Sunset Strip and heroin, lots of jack, Cantor’s in the small hours of the morning, then have a stroke after one too many speedballs. Instead, it’s the soft, hazy Los Angeles of canyons, beaches, and smog-painted sunsets, along with copious amounts of pot, and not a small amount of sadness.

J. Tillman has a voice that is warm, assured while still vulnerable. He surrounds that voice with a fairly spare and quiet accompaniment. While there are pianos, acoustic guitars and percussion, none of them assert themselves very much. Despite all the instrumentation he might as well as be singing a cappella somewhere off Topanga Canyon.