Each month offers up a number of month-end lists that highlight some of the best full-length releases. These lists are seen on a number of sites across the internet. However, what often gets lost in the commotion of creating these lists are smaller, independent releases that come in the form of 7-inch plays and split albums. These releases could feature songs from emerging talent looking to leave their mark in music or from prominent artists working with friends and other acts to create unique offerings for fans. We at Bearded Gentlemen Music thrive on digging through smaller releases, demos, and other releases that underground music has to offer. Therefore, each month we look to shed some light on a number of diverse releases you may have missed. Everything from garage rock to black metal to post-punk, and in between, could make an appearance. Take some time to sift through our selection and find something you might like.
Dopethrone / Fister – Split
SLUUUUUUUDGE. Gritty, NOLA sludge by way of Montreal trio, Dopethrone, and the St. Louis trio of Fister. Dopethrone brings black metal-styled vocals over guitars that sit at the lowest of registers on a track called “Host”. Fister brings a similar down-tuning on “The Failure,” but also sends the tempo downward into oblivion. It’s slow and filthy, like stagnant, pungent rivers oozing from treatment plants. Both tracks have many sludge stylings but it is in the murky depths of their dissonance that lies the difference in their two tracks. Dopethrone brings the blackened, bluesy vibes while Fister revels in trudging doom. While you’re on Bandcamp checking out the split, make sure to check out other works by the artists. Dopethrone released Hochelaga in 2015 and Fister has been a part of two other splits this year with Teeth and Everything Went Black. – Cody Davis
The Philadelphia music scene has always been rich with culture. Whether it’s the Hip-Hop coming from claustrophobic basements of the underground, or the do-it-yourself Rock crawling its way out of the seediest dive bars the city has to offer. Even with such diversity in the scene, Louie Louie, an all-female garage pop outfit inspired by the surf and sun of the early 1960s, seems to have come out of left field.
As their name suggests, there’s plenty of influence from 1960s pre-Beatles pop bands like The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las, but never feeling forced or too tongue-in-cheek like most indie acts who draw influence from the past. From the reverb-soaked harmonies and jangly beauty of the surf ballad title track to the discord sultriness of Blondie meets The Black Angels found on side B’s “Miles Around”, Louie Louie deliver something that’s both comforting and exciting as hearing Dusty Springfield doing vocals for Teenage Fanclub.
One of the most interesting aspects of this release is how in spite of being their debut, they’ve managed to completely nail their style as if they’ve been doing this for decades.They are in good company too “Out In The Streets” has just recently been released on vinyl and digital through Baltimore’s Hidden Volume Records, home of releases from The Above, The Reverberations, and The Kurt Baker Combo to name a few. Louie Louie may have only been functioning as a band for a short period of time, but if this release is any indication, they have a promising career ahead of them. – Aaron Cooper
Brooklyn’s Party Lights know exactly what it takes to make people happy and that is fully demonstrated on He’s Gonna Hurt You, released by Hidden Volume Records on May 20th. Imagine a surf rock version of Best Coast, as vocalists, Anna Blumenthal, and Joan Chew combines to form sugary sweet, simplistic hooks. On the title track the chorus is sung so matter of factly, you can just imagine Blumenthal and Chew standing there, hands on hips and sporting a wry ‘I told you so’ smile.
‘Chances’ is a touch more ballsy. The vocals are much the same, think the Go-Go’s backed by the Sex Pistols, but the overall track has more oomph. Let’s face it, there is definitely a wrong way to cross punk and pop together the ultimate oxymoron, but Party Lights pass the test with a flourish. Third and final track ‘Thick Skin’ takes elements from the previous two and creates a song that is both easy to the ear and very VERY easy to dance to. If you like your pop with a bit of an edge then Hidden Volume Records is your best friend. The Baltimore-based label seems to know the right way to combine punk and pop, all with a dash of surfer rock thrown in. – David Dring
In sleuthing around the depths of the metal underground, a dark ambient/black metal album emerged. France’s blackened one-man project, Saturnian Tempel, joined forces with Belgian dark ambient one-man band, Vermapyre, who has described his sound as “vaudevillian horror soundtrack performed on homemade instruments”, to create a dark, immersive split. The split features an individual song from each artist. Saturnian Tempel delivers an alternative version of the track, “♃”, from his album, Opus I, while Vermapyre brings “Aultre Ne Veulx Estre”.
Saturnian Tempel’s track is harsh. Three and a half minutes of visceral, cutting black metal filled with wailing guitars and brittle howls that are bookended by sections of sinister sounds and noise. Vermapyre’s six-minute “Aultre Ne Veulx Estre” puts the listener in a dark and frigid expanse. Icy cold winds weave around the ears as the lingering fear of something looming in the distance continues to grow. It is quite the unnerving track and a great ambiance to juxtapose the flaying that Saturnian Tempel’s “♃” delivers. – Cody Davis
You have to give credit to bands like The 86 Olympics, keeping the spirit of the 80’s alive and doing it in style. Members Andrew James Glose and Jaime A. Jimenez combine chunky synths and confident vocals in some kind of shoulder pad wearing throwdown, creating the kind of the late 80s disco magic that their name partially alludes to.
Their 7” Love Tonight/Radio Heart is two tracks taken from their debut which was released in June last year. Side A ‘Love Tonight’ has the potential to be the coolest track you’ll hear all year. It has flashes of a mature sounding Chromeo mixed with the vocal style of Spandau Ballet. The track doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet you still can’t help but be charmed. You want to feel the love so amorously described in the lyrics and you’d better not miss a single ‘whoa’ littered in the song.
Side B is ‘Radio Heart’ sounds too much like Depeche Mode to be ignored, which is nothing but a good thing. Comparisons have to be made with Cold Cave too. The offset deeper vocals on the second part of the chorus really drive home the fact that Glose and Jimenez want to take you back to the decade they so affectionately attempt to recreate. Their two-track 7” is glossy, well-made and a surefire way to get you moving this summer. – David Dring
Over the past few years, The Evening Attraction has been making a name for themselves in the Chicago music scene with their exclusive blend of Bebop Jazz, 1960s Garage Rock and modern Alternative. In 2013 they found themselves sharing stages with the likes of Roadkill Ghost Choir and Futurebirds at legendary clubs such as The Beat Kitchen and The Double Door.
Recording all of their music on 2″ tape, the clearly have a knack for adding a sophisticated retro flair to their vibe both musically and visually. Their latest 7″ is no exception! The title track “The Kids Don’t Care For Rock N Roll” is a groovy romp of hand claps, fuzzy grooves and power pop melodies that invoke muscle cars, and the overuse of pomade. Side B’s instrumental “Tea Party” is equal parts Booker T & The MGs and Death In Vegas. Not only is an instrumental a breath of fresh air in 2016, but both tracks are impossible to listen to without dancing along. While both tracks offer a heavy dose of dance-inducing fun, both work for completely different reasons. Side A utilizes noisy garage rock combined with sing-along hooks, and Side B delivers a cool organ and bass groove combo that’s nowhere to be found on any rock track in last twenty or thirty years.
“The Kids Don’t Care For Rock N’ Roll” is being released through the Dallas-based indie label Classic Waxxx Records, who are famous for vintage style vinyl and packaging. Aside from special color variants on this limited run, each 7″ is outfitted with a 1960s mod sleeve and Decca-style label that plays well with the retro vibe of the release. As one of my personal favorite local bands, The Evening Attractions have returned the coolness and swagger that’s been missing from the indie music scene, both locally and internationally. – Aaron Cooper