Carpark Records Racecar USB + American Giant Sweet 16 Sweatpants
Jan 1st, 1970
Jan 1st, 1970
Formed in the spring of 2011, roommates Sean Tracy, Julian Moore, and Dan Coulson began playing music together in a small Allston, Mass. bedroom. Over the course of several months, the trio turned their half-witted beer-fueled jam sessions into fully fleshed-out songs. With their similar upbringings in the Massachusetts and New Hampshire local music scenes, the three’s fast paced and up-tempo writing style came naturally. The trio established themselves in the local Boston music scene as a weekend usual while releasing two EPs as Chandeliers, Big Shot Weekend, and Monday. Newly christened as Chandos, the band has just finished recording its debut LP, which will be released by Carpark winter 2015.
Skylar Spence (formerly Saint Pepsi) started in December 2012 as an Ableton exercise, but is now 21-year-old Ryan DeRobertis’ main outlet for songwriting and production. As DeRobertis developed his sampling technique, he branched out into disco and funk music. The netlabel Keats Collective released the Hit Vibes album in May 2013. Around the same time, DeRobertis received even more attention for his “Call Me Maybe” remix, a captivating re-working of the Carly Rae Jepsen hit.
Since then, Skylar Spence has been focusing on exploring the weird side of pop music. “I’m drawn to tuneful melodies; complex chord structures; outlandish synths and drums; and I like to take pop a capellas and see how I can warp the songs while keeping the melodies almost entirely intact,” he says. DeRobertis sums up his ambitions simply: “I want to make pop music for freaks, basically.”
Greys are a loud rock band from Toronto. Feel like you’re up to speed? As self-appraisals go, it’s a bit sparse, but it tells you all you need to know about the band without the pretentious accoutrements. It’s short, fast, and to the point – much like their debut album, If Anything.
There are plenty of other adjectives one could associate with the band: Caustic. Brash. Noisy. Abrasive. Dissonant. Melodic. Sarcastic. Explosive. It’s immediately apparent that the young quartet graduated from the School Of Noise Rock, Class Of ‘93, and their professors were guys like Reis, Denison, MacKaye and Cobain. So have many others, sure, but where Greys differentiate themselves is their economic distillation of those lessons into a funhouse mirror reflection of punk rock.
One needn’t look any further than the first two songs on If Anything for clarification. The opening track and lead single, “Guy Picciotto,” kicks the album off with a cacophony of noise which quickly races into a driving sing-song that recreates the familiar-to-millions moment of life-altering inspiration and identification with idols like the titular Fugazi guitarist. Shehzaad Jiwani and Cam Graham’s guitars propel the song skyward as Jiwani yells wistfully, “There goes my hero/He plays the same guitar as me/When I see him flying right off the stage/I want to be like him every day in every way.”
The band was formed in 2011 over a mutual appreciation for huge guitars and mathy rhythms. Three EPs in as many years (2011’s Ultra Sorta, 2012’s Easy Listening and 2013’s Drift) saw them rapidly growing both as players and performers, whittling their sound down to a sharp edge over 100,000 kilometers worth of DIY shows across North America. By the time If Anything was being recorded over the autumn of 2013, Greys were less interested in paying homage to those who first inspired them than carving out their own identity.
The stargazing on the album’s opener quickly turns to shoegazing on its second cut, “Use Your Delusion,” as Jiwani’s wide-eyed adulation fades to ambivalence. The song’s supercharged stomp, courtesy of drummer Braeden Craig and bassist Colin Gillespie, has the singer shouting, “I wish I could be less cynical/I wish that I could relate/I wish someone would write a song about me for a change/And I wish I liked it.” Simply wanting to mimic their heroes isn’t enough, and the group meld grungy muscle with indie rock detachment and post-punk angularity to create something familiar yet unique. The song eschews hardcore downstroking in favour of tremolo bends and stop-start rhythms. Such details only make themselves apparent on repeated listens, however, as the first few spins leave the listener spinning from If Anything’s all-out aural assault.
Therein lies the rub for Greys; an avid respect for their punk forebears wrestling with the bratty audacity to move beyond those paradigms. While If Anything amply satisfies the primal urge one derives from the best punk rock, it also rewards multiple listens with textural curiosities, evoking more than just the noise rock staples with debts owed to Unwound, Polvo, The Swirlies and Sonic Youth. In short, it’s equal parts Jesus Lizard and Jesus And Mary Chain. This is crystallized in the band’s live show, earning them a reputation as a formidable act whose amplitude is matched only by its intensity.
Put simply: Greys are a loud rock band from Toronto.
Attention came swiftly following Speedy Ortiz’s 2012 Sports EP on the Boston-centric label Exploding In Sound, and with good reason. Massachusetts-based songwriter/guitarist Sadie Dupuis’ knotty, lyrically dense songs were fully realized by her bandmates, with intricate guitar lines crisscrossing over Darl Ferm’s fluid bass and Mike Falcone’s precisely executed drumming in a way that was simultaneously catchy and jarring. After the success of its 2013 Best New Music-honored debut full-length Major Arcana, the band formalized its assault through a year and a half of relentless touring with bands in whose brainy-slash-brawny legacies it followed—among them Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Ex Hex, and The Breeders. In 2014, the band added guitarist Devin McKnight of the Boston-based post-punk group Grass Is Green, whose guitar parts both match and challenge Dupuis’.
Speedy Ortiz’s second proper album—Foil Deer, recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn when the band wasn’t pushing forward on its hectic 2014 tour schedule—comes out on April 21, 2015. The songs represent a leap forward, possessing a lightness that mirrors Dupuis’s post-grad school outlook; they also have a deliberate nature to them, one that emanates from extra studio time and more experimentation with the band’s essential form. (Ferm contributes a few unexpected guitar parts; Falcone’s vocal harmonies zing in with more force.) Speedy Ortiz possesses big-tent rock swagger and punk’s restless yet intimate spirit in a way that makes the impulses seem identical; while the quartet can still command crowds at festivals like Primavera Sound and Pitchfork Music Festival, they also relish playing Boston’s teeming basements alongside the city’s next generation of bands. That willingness to push not just forward, but in all directions, makes Speedy Ortiz one of rock’s most exciting outfits.
Young Magic is the sonic pairing between Indonesian vocalist, Melati Malay and Australian producer, Isaac Emmanuel. Although currently based in New York, the eclectic outfit has recorded music whilst traversing the four corners of the earth.
After debuting a series of 7” releases on Carpark Records in 2011, the band took the stage at Iceland Airwaves and began touring globally, including main support tours with Youth Lagoon and Purity Ring. February 2012 saw the release of their full length, Melt with the likes of NPR, BBC, New York Times, XLR8R and a plethora of other publications and blogs singing the album’s praises. The group’s immersive visual show continued to expand throughout 2012 and 2013 with performances at Berghain, Austin Psych Fest and The Brooklyn Museum.
This year, the duo present a new gift from their explorations in their sophomore release, Breathing Statues. The album navigates through a labyrinth of phantom harmonies and crystalline beats, with cover artwork by longtime collaborator Leif Podhajsky. Recorded in fragments through Morocco, France, Czech Republic, Australia, Iceland and finished in their home studio in New York, Breathing Statues is a lush and distinctive collection that colors the world a new soundscape.