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Baltimore’s premier indiepop trio Expert Alterations have one eyebrow arched as they survey the surrounding pop landscape — they know they can do better. Strip it down, keep it lean, sweat off the fat. Despite their propensity for reducing the elements of pop to its essential core, Expert Alterations are minimal, but not skeletal — their bones are strong and their songs linger long after the music is over. Deadpan vocals mingle with sparkling, chiming guitars (that’s Patrick) and an insistent rhythm borne out of the tenacious, nervous energy of The Fall (that’s Paul and Alan, drums and bass respectively). Expert Alterations’ influences range from the well-trod (TVPs, The Wedding Present) to roads less traveled (Yeah Yeah Noh, Close Lobsters) and they process them into songs that can stand side-by-side with such standard-bearers. Please do not confuse these gentlemen with dilettantes – Alan does double duty also playing bass in noise pop band Wildhoney, and Paul curates Baltimore Popfest and hosts Pay Your Rates, a monthly party devoted to UK DIY and post punk. In addition, the band has toured with a reformed Flatmates and supported bands such
as likes of The Clean, Crystal Stilts and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.
While their influences may be Anglocentric, Expert Alterations are
partnering with one of the finest labels on this side of the pond.
Possessing one of the most vital catalogs in the history of the form,
archetypal indiepop label Slumberland will be releasing Expert
Alterations’ 2014 self-released cassette as a one-sided 12″ this
summer. With five songs of such high quality, there’s no reason it
shouldn’t be on the preferred format, and there is no label more
suited than Slumberland to bring this fantastic EP to their dedicated
Palm is four-piece band from upstate New York. Founded as a trio in 2011, the first songs were all instrumental and focused on the interplay between Kasra Kurt’s and Eve Alpert’s thick, mechanical guitar parts against Hugo Stanley’s sparse, loose drum phrases. The band has refined its sound over the last few years with the addition of Gerasimos Livitsanos on bass, but retains a compositional focus on detail, density, and heaviness. The songs are experiments that playfully handle aspects of music you might recognize, with a palette of sound informed by punk, metal and noise as well as jazz, bossa nova, etc. Palm trashes the listeners expectations with moments of dissonance that are reigned in and precise; by comparison the pretty moments are often where the chaos is. And amid these constant and rapid changes, the band sneaks in a deeper unrelenting repetition. The contradiction makes sense.
“If Sonic Youth had produced a Stereolab album in 1997, it might have sounded a little like […] these recent alums from upstate New York’s Bard College.”
“The band churns jazzy dissonance with raw brawn, transitioning in and out of the beautiful and bestial in perpetual progression.”
Tiny Mix Tapes
“Proving that excess is not necessarily a negative quality, Palm employs a wide variety of sounds, effortlessly thwarting any attempts to pigeonhole the group into a single genre.”
“Palm, for lack of a more apt description of what they do, play the sort of mathematical experimental rock that downright enchants.”
I Guess I’m Floating
“I’ve never thought too hard about what our albums should sound like before they are written. I just trust instinct to lead the way.” That is the philosphy of Nicole Yun of Roanoke, Virginia based noise pop, power rock trio Eternal Summers. And if you haven’t heard of Eternal Summers, you’ll have a lot of catching up to do. On June 2, 2015, they will release their fourth full-length album “Gold and Stone” due out on their longtime label, Brooklyn based indie, Kanine Records.
Having formed in 2009, Eternal Summers has now been operating as the trio of Nicole Yun, Daniel Cundiff and Jonathan Woods longer then they did as a duo without Jonathan. Long gone are the days of the Roanoke based collective known as the Magic Twig Community that saw the handful of like-minded indie artists working together; but what has grown in place is a band that stands on its own, in the words of All Music, “The kind that other bands will look to for inspiration 20 years later.”
With several previous releases, there has already been a lot said about Eternal Summers music. From the crafty minimalism on their debut Silver, to the dream punk sheen on 2012’s breakout Correct Behavior, to the guitar driven power on The Drop Beneath, the evolution of Eternal Summers marks a band that embraces both anthemic rock and bittersweet ballads – a band that is grounded in jangle pop but with an added depth that rewards on repeated listens.
Last year’s The Drop Beneath marked Eternal Summers first full length created entirely outside Virginia and as Pitchfork noted: “The Drop Beneath is the most pristine sounding thing that Eternal Summers have ever recorded” and “indulges their more anthemic side, and the results are solid.” According to Paste Magazine, “Their brand of loose-hanging, guitar driven, hook-filled pop has tightened into a fist.”
For Gold and Stone, Eternal Summers returned to the site of last year’s well-received The Drop Beneath, Resonate Studios in Austin, TX and back into the very adept hands of engineer and mixer Louie Lino to create an album that ventured beyond the pop immediacy of their previous albums. Nicole says, “On this self-produced album, we wanted to target more lush and radiant textures, some classic rock riffs, some jazzier elements and some full-on punk snarl.”
Nicole isn’t exactly sure how influence happens, “Whether it creeps in or just bashes you on the head, I think we made it a point to be as open as possible. We love to listen to bands and think about how their albums came together. We were listening to a lot of Blur, early Radiohead, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Echo and the Bunnymen, Ryan Adams, Lush, Dinosaur Jr., Cleaners from Venus and Stereolab in the van on tour before writing Gold and Stone.” You’ll have to give Gold and Stone a spin to see whether you can pick out those influences or even find traces of the early Eternal Summers “dream-punk,” but regardless, it’s evident Eternal Summers shall not fade.
Eternal Summers never ending tour cycle has seen them play with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Surfer Blood, The Presidents of the United States of America, Cheatahs, We are Scientists, Nada Surf, amongst others. They look forward to presenting Gold and Stone on tour throughout 2015.
Montreal band Solids went to school with bands from the 90s, like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk. Formed by Xavier Germain-Poitras (guitar) and Louis Guillemette (drums), the duo has understood that melody never shines as much as when it is forced to fight its way through many layers of distortion and feedback effects. A first EP released in 2010, Generic Dogs, already united fans of chaotic choruses under the banner of their intense rock. A 7″ (Fog Friends b / w Blown Out) and a split 7″ created with Toronto band Animal Faces have confirmed Solid’s reputation: a rare duo able to reconcile punks, rockers and metalheads. Blame Confusion, recorded by Adrian Popovitch at Mountain City Studio (We Are Wolves, Sam Roberts, The Dears, etc.), is the band’s first full-length album and will be available on October 8th.
Whether playing on stages of majors events such as South by Southwest, Osheaga, POP Montreal and The Fest (in Gainesville, Florida) or in some packed and humid decrepit basements, Xavier and Louis sweat blood because they don’t know any other way of making music. Solids is somehow a gift for all those who never feel as alive as when they’re submerged in decibels!
Garden of Elks
We are GARDEN OF ELKS
We make thrash pop
Chomp is comprised of members of Cloud Nothings (Joe Boyer and Jayson Gerycz) and Total Babes (Chris Brown).