New Selections — Spotlights, Alice Phoebe Lou, Daniel Thorne, spoony bard, Noisem, Francie Moon, Wand, Inter Arma

No more silence! Behold! 

Spotlights: "The Age of Decay"
(via Rarely Unable / Ipecac Recordings / YouTube)

Via Rarely Unable:

Spotlights, the Brooklyn-based band whose music finds “that perfect balance between crushing heaviness and dreamier melodies” (WFPK), release Love & Decay on April 26 via Ipecac Recordings. Spotlights' music is iron tone in a velvet glove. They strike with full force, perfectly balancing the weight and sound spectrum of each instrument. And yet it's a weight that's also sublime in its beauty, with dream-like vocals encased in the mix of subharmonics. A rich and unctuous vibration that melts in your ears, nourishes your brain, and engulfs you with their warmth, like the gravity of a small planet.

"The Age of Decay encapsulates everything we do on this record,” explains guitar player/singer Mario Quintero. “Musically, it has some of the heaviest moments as well as the most dynamic and melodic. It shows little bits of what we get into throughout the entire album in one track. Lyrically, it reflects on personal points in my and Sarah’s relationship, how things grew from when we met, moving around the country and chasing this thing together. The juxtaposition about love against this backdrop of a world that can be hard to deal with.” Mario continues “It’s intangible, It’s intense. It’s beautiful. There’s an impending darkness underneath everything and a sense of unease, but it’s also honest and vulnerable. It’s just really important to us. Regardless of why anyone might react, that’s why we do it.”

Mario handled the production work on the eight-track offering, which was recorded in he and bass player/singer Sarah Quintero’s basement. The new album also finds the band officially grow to a trio, with touring drummer Chris Enriquez becoming a full-time member.

Spotlights' story happens void of spectacle, show, or tableau. However, in this day and age, that might be why their story feels so serendipitous and strange, if not utterly surprising. This story also instantly appealed to some rather influential peers who lent an early endorsement. Two musicians—husband-and-wife duo Mario [guitar, synths, vocals] and Sarah Quintero [bass, guitar, vocals]—simply pick up their instruments and mainline dense distortion, spacey soundscapes, and unnervingly serene vocal transmissions directly from the heart. This unpredictable, yet unassuming sound quietly heralded their arrival in 2016 on the D.I.Y. debut LP,
Tidals. Brooklyn Vegan stumbled upon the project and streamed “Walls.” The song eventually entranced musician and producer Aaron Harris (ISIS/Palms) who shared it with his Palms singer and Deftones frontman Chino Moreno. An invite to open the Deftones summer tour followed as the band would go on to share the stage with everyone from Melvins, Quicksand, Hum, and Glassjaw to Pelican and Pallbearer. Ipecac Recordings co-founders Mike Patton and Greg Werckman fell under the band’s spell and signed them. Spotlights’ Ipecac debut, Seismic, arrived in in the Autumn of 2017. During the subsequent tours, Spotlights recorded an Audiotree session. The band also released an EP, Hanging By Faith, in June 2018.

Alice Phoebe Lou: "Galaxies"
(via One in a Million Media / YouTube)

Via One in a Million Media:

(New York, NY) Having been ensconced in the studio working on her forthcoming album, Paper Castles, Alice Phoebe Lou is pleased to release the new single, "Galaxies."

South African singer-songwriter, Alice has just announced a series of live shows in Europe, as well as North America, having sold out two Cape Town shows in February, which pre-empts her forthcoming album due 8th March. Overseen by Grammy winning producer Noah Georgeson (Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom), "Galaxies" follows previous track, "Skin Crawl," described by The FADER as ‘powerful and stunning,’ and is once again accompanied by visuals that portray Lou’s charm and elegant fragility.

The track, as Alice herself explains,
“Happened on a rainy moody day in Berlin, my friend Harry Charles & I wrote this song while lying on the carpet of my room. Space had become such a theme in my life & music, not in a scientific way but more in a metaphorical sense; drawing parallels between a planet in the expansive universe & the way that one's tiny & seemingly insignificant existence interacts with the world. This song is about being nothing & everything. About being overwhelmed by the weight of existence while simultaneously being in awe & wonder of it all. 'Galaxies' came to life the first time we played in the Planetarium in Berlin; we've played 13 shows there now & every time I see the visuals come to life & the audience being swept away by the combination of the song with the projections of flying through the galaxies, the song makes so much sense”.

The accompanying music video features Alice in a surreal dreamlike landscape coupled with animated design by Hagen Schönfeld. The video is directed by Chloë Lewer and Andrea Ariel, they say, “‘Galaxies’ is the tale of a fallen star, who has ended up living a regular life on earth. There’s no denying that out-of-this-world themes and galactic dreams are intrinsic within Alice and her music. We think of our dear friend as a star, in all forms of the word. So in this video we wanted to portray the high and lows of such journey. The music video was shot with a loving micro crew over two days in between a ‘space’ in Berlin and an ex-military Soviet training ground just out of the city."

The forthcoming Paper Castles tour in the Northern hemisphere includes a series of dates starting this March in North America and Europe.


The Paper Castles 2019 Tour

North America

March 3 - Toronto, CAN - The Garrison
March 4 - Montreal, CAN - Bar Le Ritz PDB
March 5 - Boston, MA - Cafe 939
March 7 - Vienna, VA - Jammin’ Java
March 8 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
March 10 - Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
March 11 - Atlanta, GA - Vinyl AT Center Stage
March 13 - 17 - Austin, TX - SXSW
March 20 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
March 21 - Los Angeles, CA - The Moroccan Lounge
March 23 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
March 24 - Portland, OR - The Old Church Concert Hall
March 25 - Seattle, WA - Barboz


April 5 & 6 – Istanbul, TR – Salon IKSV
April 10 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz
April 11 - Dresden, DE - Polimagie Festival
April 13 - Hannover, DE - Faust
April 15 - Bristol, UK - Thekla
April 16 - Manchester, UK - Deaf Institute
April 17 - London, UK - Earth
April 18 - Nottingham, UK - Bodega
April 20 - Utrecht, ND - Tivoli
April 21 - Amsterdam, ND - Zonnehuis
April 23 - Aachen, DE - Kulturbunker
April 24 - Brussels, BE - Botanique
April 26 - Vienna, AT - Flex
April 28 - Prague, CZ - Futrum
April 29 - Erlangen, DE - E-Werk
May 1 - Friberg, DE - Jazzhaus
May 2 - Munich, DE - Ampere
May 3 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F
May 4 - Stuttgart, DE - Im Wizemann
May 6 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche
May 7 - Mainz, DE - Kuz
May 8 -Kiel, DE - Pumpe
May 9 - Copenhagen, DK - Vega
May 11 - Berlin, DE - Columbiahalle


Daniel Thorne"Fear of Floating"
(via Julian T. Schoen / Erased Tapes / YouTube)

Via Julian T. Schoen:

Saxophonist and Immix Ensemble founder Daniel Thorne is prepping his Lines Of Sight LP due out March 15 on Erased Tapes. Today, he shares the second single, "Fear Of Floating", putting the spotlight squarely on his saxophone.

The Australian-born, Liverpool-based composer and saxophonist may find fans in those who enjoy Colin Stetson.

Daniel had this to say, "Thematically, this music was inspired by birds-eye aerial images and the idea of perspective - how something incredibly complex like a river or the surface of the ocean is reduced to a simple line or shape when viewed from the heavens. The line between natural and man-made becomes increasingly blurred.

"I've long been a fan of studio-based composition, but have always found the infinite possibilities on offer daunting and, often, a stumbling block. To get around this I set myself a challenge of limiting myself to the physical instruments in my possession - a few different saxophones and a bass synth, with no more than four tracks to record them."

Lines of Sight follows Thorne's work as artistic director of the acclaimed, collaboration-focussed group Immix Ensemble. Together with experimental electronic artist Vessel, he co-wrote Transition released on Erased Tapes in 2016. More recently, he worked with acclaimed modular synth wizard Luke Abbott, to create a four-part suite, which was premiered live in June 2017. Immix Ensemble have also performed special live commissions with Kelly Lee Owens, Dialect, Jane Weaver and Bill Ryder-Jones, among others.

As the first track under Thorne's own name, "Iroise" was recorded for the Erased Tapes 10th anniversary release 1+1=X, alongside works by Nils Frahm, Penguin Cafe, A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Rival Consoles. He also recently remixed Manu Delago, known as the live percussionist for Björk and Ólafur Arnalds.


spoony bard"Ego Trippin' Part 99"
(via Us-Them Group / spoony bard music / Bandcamp)

Via Us-Them Group:

"I'm trying to blur the line between rap's grandiosity and De La Soul's parody of it." -- David Nord, Talkhouse

"A dizzying, sometimes disorienting sound that will garner comparisons to Dälek, Flying Lotus, Aphex Twin and others. Ceaseless in its sonic exploration, restless in its vision and tireless in its sense of invention." -- PopMatters

NYC producer and musician spoony bard shares the first single today from his forthcoming sophomore album
Old Friends via The Talkhouse. The track, "Ego Trippin' Part 99" is inspired by De La Soul's classic "Ego Trippin' Pt. 2" but infused with spoony bard's unique collision of influences. Hear the track and the musician's revealing explanation of its origins via Talkhouse.

Like the video game garbled insult of its namesake, spoony bard is the result of a cultural collision as well as an honest and self-deprecating exploration of life. The hybrid of L.A. beat scene, electronic, jazz and avant-garde takes a fresh approach to musical soul-bearing with compelling sonic textures and introspective lyrics. spoony bard combines hints of Flying Lotus, Dalek, DJ Premier, Herbie Hancock, Aphex Twin and more.

spoony bard is the alter-ego of musician David Nord. Originally a jazz composer/guitarist, Nord's equal interest in hip-hop and electronic sounds brought about an evolution in his work, leading him to merge these styles and explore the possibilities of an alternate musical vocabulary.
Old Friends follows Nord's 2017 debut Dweeb, which was featured by Bandcamp Weekly and received considerable press praise. For this album, Nord took a turn backward.

"It's titled Old Friends because on a lot of these songs I had old friends in mind," Nord says. "Old friends also means my old musical friends - guitar playing, some melodies I wrote a long time ago. This album has a lot more live instrumentation on it. There's still plenty of synths, but I did a lot more playing and less sampling."

The album opens with a cascade of notes from electric piano, guitar and what sounds like a droning sitar on "Ego Trippin' Part 99." It sounds almost like a lost Mahavishnu Orchestra track until sampled voices, syncopated percussion and Nord's rhymes take over the proceedings. His style of rapping is so conversational and intimate, it almost sounds like it's a man's unguarded thoughts being telegraphed to the listener. "Levitate Me Later" is a glitch-funk blast, while "Areia" takes a smoothed-out approach with gliding sung vocals and Giorgio Moroder freakout synth soloing. "Extralewd 1" echoes Aphex Twin's best sliced'n'diced grooves. Throughout, it's a delightfully unhinged and explorative album that's impossibly laid back and frenzied at the same time.

Old Friends will be available for download on April 5th via Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.


Noisem: "Filth and Style"
(via Earsplit PR / 20 Buck Spin / Bandcamp)

Via Earsplit PR:

20 Buck Spin has released the searing new "Filth And Stye" single from Baltimore, Maryland's crossover trio NOISEM. The track is an advance warning shot from the band's impending third LP, Cease To Exist, set for release in mid-March.

Cease To Exist was recorded at Developing Nations by Kevin Bernsten (Integrity, Full Of Hell, Magrudergrind), mastered at Audiosiege by Brad Boatright (Obituary, Integrity, Black Breath), and completed with artwork by Ethan McCarthy/Cool Ghoul Ltd. (Primitive Man).

The shortest track on Cease To Exist, "Filth And Stye" is a pure shredder, the track landing like a bombing run and devastating everything in earshot in under a minute. The band offers of the song,
"Trudging through the endless squalor and ceaseless suffering, masses starved, and bastards crowned. Is this world worth saving? Who will stand firm and who will stand and watch it burn?"

Cease To Exist will see release March 15th on LP, CD, cassette, and digital formats through new label home 20 Buck Spin. Find preorders at the label webshop HERE and Bandcamp where prior single "Eyes Pried Open" is streaming HERE. Watch for additional audio and video samples to be issued in the weeks ahead.

NOISEM will tour the East Coast in direct conjunction with the album's release. The Cease To Exist Tour kicks off in the band's hometown of Baltimore on March 15th the day the LP strikes, followed by shows in Brooklyn, Montclair, Providence, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Richmond, before ending in Raleigh March 21st. NOISEM's cohorts in Washington, DC-based No/Más will provide additional hellfire to the entire tour, with Oxalate, Genocide Pact, Bandit, Painbody, and other top-tier locals will be joining in on the action.

NOISEM Cease To Exist Tour w/ No/Más:
3/15/2019 Sidebar - Baltimore, MD
3/16/2019 Saint Vitus Bar - Brooklyn, NY (matinee) w/ Oxalate, Stinger, High Cost, Concussion [info]
3/16/2019 The Meatlocker - Montclair, NJ
3/17/2019 Al Dios No Conocido - Providence, RI
3/18/2019 Gooski's - Pittsburgh, PA
3/19/2019 The Barbary - Philadelphia, PA w/ Genocide Pact, Bandit, Painbody [info]
3/20/2019 McCormack's Irish Pub - Richmond, VA
3/21/2019 The Wicked Witch - Raleigh, NC w/ Old Painless, Cammo, Culling At Wicked Witch [info]

NOISEM returns from the dead with Cease To Exist; leaner, meaner, with a new label and new life. After heavy momentum with their second LP, Blossoming Decay, and subsequent touring including the 2015 Decibel Magazine tour supporting Carcass, Gorguts, and The Black Dahlia Murder, the band seemingly disappeared. However, 2018 saw them return in new form, ready to resume their place among the most promising young bands in metal. This was met with a late-2018 non-album single, "Sin Rash," released through the Adult Swim singles series.

Keeping with the tradition of the most classic grindcore albums, Cease To Exist is an immediately aggressive attack of confrontational energy, pushing the pace with a withering ten tracks over twenty-two minutes. An eruption of grinding blastbeats, unceasing death-thrash riffs, and an acidic vocal snarl to rival prime Jeff Walker, Cease To Exist quells any notion that NOISEM would ease up with time. If nothing else, the band's third LP is their most seething, vicious, and inwardly dark album yet. Cease To Exist displays a cacophony of grind, death, thrash, punk, and hardcore, seamlessly blended, blistered, and set ablaze. With Cease To Exist, NOISEM makes a full circle statement of intent; a savage declaration in the face of an ever more bleak future. Fans of early Carcass, Repulsion, Napalm Death, Exhumed, Nasum, Terrorizer, Mammoth Grinder, Black Breath should get on board.

Francie Moon: "Present Tense"
(via Michael Mehalick / Keeper Records / Soundcloud) 

Via Michael Mehalick:
Singer-songwriter Francie Moon is exactly what you might think of when you hear “free spirit.” Always traveling in her well worn van, Moon has gigged in every nook and cranny, bar and coffee shop in the continental U.S. With a prolific amount of releases to her credit since adopting the moniker in 2013, Francie Moon (real name Melissa Lucciola) is set to follow-up on her celebrated, American Songwriter-backed self-titled EP released in September 2016.

The track premiered via The Vinyl District where Francie Moon detailed;
"I wrote 'Present Tense' while living in Easton, PA in my friend Josh’s jam room above a nail salon in the heart of the city. There was a huge wall of amps and endless musical toys, lights, art supplies, and freedom. Easton is a weird little city that I love with a lot of jazz, art, and sketchiness. I became very inspired one week by this wild combination and wrote many songs and this was one of them. I believe this song is a message about the journey of finding yourself and also being patient and loving with yourself when you’re getting back on track with who you are. A lot of people get caught up in the past and in the future, but this is about forgetting all that and just letting yourself be yourself, happy and free in the moment. I think when you finally let yourself feel that peace and freedom of being here now, fear and uncertainty usually wash away and sometimes doors even start to open for the future you were really dreaming of anyway. It’s so good and important to feel good and feel ourselves, and I think we can do that by not judging ourselves harshly, packing light when it comes to what we hold on to inside and by paying attention to and following the call of what we really love. Easier said than done sometimes, but at least we’re all figuring life out together, all on the same sea, just different boats."

Francie Moon links:
Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram


Wand: "Scarecrow"
(via Drag City / YouTube)

Via Drag City

A little less than two years on from 2017's Plum, Californian scrap polymorphs Wand are prepared to announce their newest, and fifth long playing record, Laughing Matter. By now, Wand is the shifting but unmistakable collaboration between Sofia Arreguin (keys, vocals), Cory Hanson (guitar, vocals), Robert Cody (guitar), Lee Landey (bass) and Evan Burrows (drums). 

Laughing Matter is marked by the confidence and fervor of a band that has lived, feuded, thrived and grown together through years of dedicated jamming, touring and recording, across continents and mind-sets. The music of Laughing Matter is distilled and sculpted from an ash heap of collected improvisations, riven with audio-verite; the methods and instrumentation are traditional handmade rock 'n' roll. Yet the unorthodox arrangements and exuberant songwriting of the first single "Scarecrow", push Wand into new territory aimed toward at the future sound of the band!

Laughing Matter is a record about love in a time of terror; it calls you down from panic room labyrinths, to work the deep tissue of unraveling trauma we all carry so dear. The 15 songs on this record face their energy outward, to take with you through a common world that can't suffer its human abusers much longer. Laughing Matter encourages you to shake hands with your old demons, to lay your pathologies to rest, to hold your spirit close, and let your body do what's next. Listen, watch and take in the new single "Scarecrow" (check out Cory's interview over at Beats1 here as well), Laughing Matter comes on April 19.

Mar.11 in Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
Mar.13 in Austin, Texas @ SXSW
Mar.14 in Austin, Texas @ SXSW
Mar.15 in Austin, Texas @ SXSW
Mar.16 in Austin, Texas @ SXSW
Mar.16 in Dallas, TX @ NSFW
Mar.18 in Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
Mar.19 in San Deigo, CA @ Soda Bar
Apr.19 in Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
May.2 in San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
May 3 in Arcata, CA @ Richard's Goat
May 6 in Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
May 9 in Portland, OR @ Mississippi
May 25 in London, UK @ Electric Brixton
May 27 in Brussels, BE @ Botanique @ Orangerie
May 30 in Berlin, DE @ Privatclub

WAND Online: 


Inter Arma: "Citadel"
(via Relapse Records / Soundcloud) 

Via Relapse Records:

Richmond's INTER ARMA, reigning masters of the slow build, continue to trace a distinctly ambitious trajectory through modern metal. Today, the band announces their 4th full-length offering Sulphur English, coming April 12th, 2019, and share the first single entitled “Citadel”.

Vocalist Mike Paparo comments:

"The lyrics to "Citadel" were written as a sort of clarion call to myself about overcoming depression and the demons that manifest with it. It, like most of the lyrical content on the record, is deeply personal to me.

For the band as a whole, Sulphur English is an ill-tempered, unrepentant act of defiance towards stagnation and complacency. We create this music on our own terms and we refuse to compromise our collective vision, for better or worse."

Sulphur English is due out April 12th on CD/2xLP/Digital. Physical packages are available for pre-order via HERE. Digital Downloads / Streaming Services are available HERE.

Additionally, INTER ARMA have been announced for Decibel’s Metal & Beer Fest Pre-Fest and celebrate the release of Sulphur English with labelmates Integrity, Full of Hell & Devil Master

INTER ARMA’s impulses tend toward the epic, but never bloat; they meld several styles — doom, sludge, and hard psych — without coming off like dilettantes. This newest full-length, Sulphur English, finds them mining deeper in the proggy organic doom fields that made both Paradise Gallows and Sky Burial so thrilling while expanding further the on the psych-folk strain that made those albums' peaks seem so lofty.

Few metal bands have ever made such effective use of acoustic instruments in truly heavy environments as INTER ARMA do; the acoustic guitar that stitches "Stillness" together is as effective as any overdriven bass; a two-minute gloomy piano-and-feedback piece titled "Observances of the Path" rolls out the carpet for "The Atavist's Meridian," an album highlight that rides a gigantic, roomy drum sound into realms akin to a murkier Paradise Lost, a more aggressive Om, and a dreamier, more stoned Kylesa all playing together at once. Few bands make music as engrossing as INTER ARMA; their lengthy, almost meditative songs rumble patiently forward until you're ready to get thrown off a bridge — and then they throw you, with great force.

- Words by John Darnielle

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Inter Arma on Bandcamp

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